A Warm Meal to Inspire Rest


Of all the various Jewish holidays, the Sabbath is the oldest, and the only one specifically referred to in the Ten Commandments.

From the Hebrew word shabbat, "to rest," the Sabbath is a time to spend with the family in peace, a festive celebration. It begins at sundown on Friday with the lighting of the candles and blessing of the braided challah, traditionally covered with an embroidered cloth, and ends at sundown Saturday with the Havdalah, or the separation of the Sabbath from the rest of the week. The fragrance of those mixed spices, including cloves and nutmeg, represents the hope for a sweet week ahead.

A custom, perhaps as old as the Sabbath itself, calls for inviting a stranger to dinner to share the meal with the family so that no one is left alone on this warm and welcoming occasion. And remember, Shabbat starts earlier than ever this time of year, so leave yourself time to prepare.

Jewish Holiday Feasts suggests this Shabbat menu.

Tomato-and-Onion Braised Brisket

1 piece of brisket (4 to 5 lbs.)
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes

Trim almost all of the excess fat from the brisket, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Make a paste of the oregano, thyme, garlic and olive oil.

Spread over both sides of the brisket. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place the brisket in a roasting pan. Cover with onions and then with the tomatoes. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake for nearly 4 hours, basting every hour with accumulated juices.

Remove brisket and tomato mixture to a platter. Degrease pan juices and pour over meat. Refrigerate overnight for easy slicing.

Slice and reheat with tomato mixture and pan juices when serving.

Serves 8.

Roasted-Garlic Potato Wedges

6 baking potatoes, scrubbed
3 Tbsps. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut each potato lengthwise into six wedges. Place in a bowl.

Combine oil, garlic, salt and paprika, and toss with the potatoes, coating them thoroughly with the mixture.

Place the potatoes in a single layer on a greased baking sheet.

Bake until potatoes are golden brown and tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve hot.

Serves 8.

Sugar Snap Peas and Honeyed Carrots
[Meat or Pareve]

4 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, cut into strips
2 Tbsps. honey
2 Tbsps. fresh orange juice
2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped chives

In a large skillet, bring carrots and broth to a boil. Cover and cook 1 minute.

Remove cover; add cayenne and peas. Cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in the honey, orange juice and lemon juice. Cook for another 3 minutes.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with chives; serve.

Strawberry, Pineapple and Mango Compote

1 large mango, peeled and seeded
2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsps. honey
1 Tbsp. dark rum
2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small mango, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup shredded coconut, toasted (can be bought already toasted or you can make your own)

To make the mango sauce, purée the large peeled and seeded mango with the lemon juice, honey and rum in a food processor or blender. Set aside.

Place the strawberries, pineapple and small mango in a large bowl. Toss with mango sauce.

Sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve.

Note: If you are toasting coconut at home, spread coconut on a foil-lined cookie or baking sheet, and bake at 250? till lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

But watch carefully; coconut tends to burn quickly!

Jewish Holiday Feasts is written by Louise Fiszer and Jeannette Ferrary.



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