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Jewish Food Dinner Party Menu Help

As part of a silent auction for Make A Wish, two friends and I donated a dinner for eight featuring Jewish cooking. The menu is:

Home Baked Challah
deviled eggs
Chicken soup with matzo balls
Salad
Brisket with carrots
Orange almond chicken
Noodle kugel
Potato kugel
Steamed veggies or other vegetable dish
triple chocolate cake
peaches in puff pastry
ice cream/sorbet

My part is really pretty easy but potentially boring. I am responsible for the Salad, veggies and ice cream/sorbet. Any thoughts on some interesting choices for these courses? Would love to make it extra special since folks paid a decent amount of money for the charity! Also, we are preparing it and serving it at their home. Any ideas for other ways to make it special would be appreciated! Thanks.

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  1. Are you doing both meat and dairy?

    1 Reply
    1. re: toveggiegirl

      Yes, I should clarify. Jewish "style".

    2. You could think in terms of Sephardic Jewish food (Egypt, North Africa, Middle East) which opens up all the flavors of those regions. I highly recommend Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food--beyond its usefulness just for this, it's a great cookbook and a wonderful read (lots of culinary history). Plus, it might be worth showcasing this lesser-known Jewish culinary tradition, which is so full of wonderful dishes.
      If you want to stick with Ashkenazi (Eastern European) recipes, then a beet ice cream could be very interesting, and would surely be beautiful to boot. The Roden has numerous Ashkenazi recipes as well to give you flavor and ingredient ideas in addition to specific dishes.
      And then there's always the trusty Flavor Bible--looking up cabbage, cucumber, etc. could yield some neat ideas.

      Kudos to you for doing this!

      1 Reply
      1. re: leonora1974

        Perhaps you might want to add gefilte fish with horseradish sauce? And maybe a bottle of Manishewitz wine?

        also, if this is a Friday night (or even if it's not) since you're serving challah, you could light some shabboos/shabbat. sabbath candles as part of the Jewish experience.

      2. My mother kept kosher, she loved to serve fruit sorbets with mandel bread for dessert. It was very easy. Example, clean a pineapple and cut into cubes. Freeze the cubes on a cookie sheet until frozen solid, . Using a food processor, puree the frozen pineapple and put in metal bowl to harden, store in freezer until needed. Voila! Pineapple never needed additional sugar, but you can do this with other fruits - nectarines, plums, peaches, strawberries, kiwi, mango and either add sugar to taste or put several types together. You might need to add a few drops of lemon or lime juice or a little liquor to brighten up dull fruit. A personal favorite is strawberry, kiwi, mango. The frozen fruit puree/sorbet keeps several days in the freezer. You can serve it with a raspberry, strawberry or other berry sauce as well.

        Your desserts sound kind of rich so a light fruit sorbet should be very refreshing. Good Luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Diane in Bexley

          Now I'm thinking about apricot sorbet with pistachio/almond mandelbrot. Yummmm. But back at the ranch, yep: sorbet. My mom served it (strawberry, from dad's garden) at every single family event or function we ever had.

        2. Thanks all! I love the idea of adding a sephardic touch. I am so used to cooking ashkenazic recipes that I had not thought of that. I will hunt some good veggie recipes down! And, I think that I will make that sorbet that Diane described. I love the idea of the mixture of kiwi, strawberry and mango. but, do you think that I can use frozen mango? Milwaukee surely does NOT have ripe mango this time of year............ LOL

          Was thinking of having a havdalah service since it is Saturday night. Figured that the pretty candle and lovely spices would be a nice touch. I like the Manishewitz idea as long as they don't have to drink it!!

          Thanks all! If you think of anything else feel free to post!!

          7 Replies
          1. re: rjlebed

            Sure, frozen mango should work as you freeze the fruit anyway. Be sure to taste the puree after you mush it up. A good splash of lemon/lime or liquor can really pick up flavor in the winter when the fruit might not be at its prime. Good Luck!

            1. re: Diane in Bexley

              If you live near a Trader Joe's, they have packages of frozen mango cubes and raspberries at great prices.

            2. re: rjlebed

              What about a sort of borscht "style" cold beet salad? Beet salad using fresh dill as a seasoning, or dressed in a sour cream-based dressing, or including some diced dill pickle? Basically taking the flavor principles of borscht but applying them to a salad instead.

              Hmmm, I might try that some time...

              1. re: Lady_Tenar

                without a fork this would be difficult.

                1. re: magiesmom

                  Why would it need to be without a fork?

                  1. re: rjlebed

                    because I was thinking of the jewish app thread! sorry.

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      Glad to see that someone else does goofy things like I do!! :-)

            3. Maybe serve a platter of pickles instead of a salad? Cauliflower, turnip, green bell pepper, baby eggplant, carrot. All delicious and touches adds a hint of Middle Eastern Jewish flavor.