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Kol Nidre - please inspire me

I make dinner for a family of about 18 - and it generally is the same menu every year. Either mushroom barley or split pea soup - which I think I will stick with as those are their favorites and always a winner. Then I make stuffed cabbage and mini meatballs for those who don't like the cabbage. On to mains of sesame chicken (breasts only) with apricots and almonds and salmon. I used to do a roast beef as well but have eliminated this. The sides are always different - little roasted potatoes or orzo and mushrooms, roasted veggies. Oh - and I think we also serve a salad first - with craisins and pignolis.

I know --- it sounds like a lot of food - but traditional Jewish meals generally are.

I would love some new ideas and recipes. I hope you'll share. I am considering chicken mirbella (sp?) this year.

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  1. The Mirabella is beautiful and absolutely delicious. Alternatively you could do a wine/herb-braised chicken or head in a Middle Eastern direction, using warm spices and making a beautiful couscous salad. Love the cabbage/meatball idea: do you use the same mixture for both? And is the cabbage more to the sweet/sour as well? If you ever wanted to even consider changing the flavor profile of that one, you could keep it dairy free if neccessary and do a stock based dill sauce.

    1. There's a dish I make, chicken en saor, which is semi-Italian Jewish, and non-dairy. I say "semi" because it's usually made with fish. Its a sweet and sour dish you have to make the night before, and it keeps very well. Historically, it's been a Sabbath dish since before refrigeration.

      The components are:

      - flattened/dredged/egged/breaded/pan-fried chicken breast halves, which you allow to sit overnight in two marinades:

      - dry marinade: chopped garlic and parsley added to raisins and toasted pignoli (I don't like pignoli, so I often sub pistachios)

      - wet marinade: red onions cooked in lots of olive oil and red wine vinegar.

      When you have your ingredients ready to go, you layer it like lasagne.

      The next day, let it come to room temp, then slice the chicken breasts on the diagonal, and platter it up. It looks nice with Italian parsley and, if you like them, some extra pine nuts.

      I don't know if it's Kol Nidre-approved, but in its fish form, it's from the ghetto in Venice, centuries ago.

      5 Replies
        1. re: Jay F

          Jay - I am confused - is this meant to be served cold/brought to room temp? sounds like great flavor/texture contrasts!

          1. re: smilingal

            It's not meant to be served hot. Not that it isn't perfectly delicious, but letting it sit overnight allows it to develop, the flavors to marry, etc. When I make it in the morning, I don't refrigerate it, in spite of the 2-hour rule. I figure generations of Italian Jews survived this dish without refrigeration, so why should I worry about it.

            24 hours, I'm a little more iffy, and I do refrigerate it.

          2. re: Jay F

            How nice that you don't like pine nuts! I hate them, and you're the first ever I've seen agree.
            Dready soapy little things.
            On the other hand, I'm crazy about raisins, and many people inexplicably don't like them. I think it's because of how they look (like bugs!)

            1. re: blue room

              I don't have a hatred for them, exactly. It's more of a "$___ per pound for *this*?!?" reaction. And I love, love, love pistachios.

          3. Are the people you are cooking for going to fast ? If so, I would not do Marbella as it is very sweet and eating a lot of sweets makes fasting more difficult. If not, I think it is a great choice with cous cous, a varied salad and a fresh veggie simply prepared, green beans or asparagus would be my choice.
            For a less sweet alternative, we like chicken cacciatore.we do fast in my circle, and we have found that actually eating less is better to begin the fast than eating alot.

            5 Replies
            1. re: magiesmom

              Magiesmom - I agree with the less is better - and some of the people fast (myself included). As for the side - this past week I pulled a package (last treasure) of Marbella from the freezer and my DH came home before me so he prepared kasha. That was delicious as well. In truth, I think that anything on the plate to absorb the sauce will be tasty. I am thinking of israeli cous-cous mixed with mini bow ties ( I have made that combo as a cold salad with other ingredients - but I think the two mini pasta-ish starches might be nice.

                1. re: mamachef

                  yes - that is always one of my favorites - probably not a great thing for me personally cause I can shovel it in with the largest spoon available! I just think with the onions and the higher flavor profile it would compete with the marbella.

                  Marci - OT - on a more personal note - I will be thinking of you and your family and saying a special prayer this year in temple. Hang in there - the holidays suck when you are in pain.

                  1. re: smilingal

                    You have no idea how deeply I appreciate that, my dear. Thank you so much. Little asides like this can really do a lot towards keeping me upright and moving forward.

                    1. re: mamachef

                      Everyone experiences their grief differently. I know, for me, I went thru (never really over tho) but hadn't realized till many years later that I was probably living an out of body experience. I know the sensation of feeling like you are punched in the gut out of the blue. My motto of one day at a time sometimes applied to one hour at a time. It is a wonderful thing that you are busy with the frat house - and that you can be generous with your spirit with the boys, who I am certain appreciate you. Hugs and a rubberband to keep it together.