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Shabbat Kiddush Menu

So I am trying to reorganize kiddushes at my shul so that they are more appealing and tastier. Unfortunately, I am pretty much the only one who will be prepping. To add to the list of difficulties, we don't have a separate room to set up kiddush in advance, nor space to do a buffet style kiddush. Basically everything is served family style and can only be brought out at kiddush time. Budget is also a bit of an issue. If anyone has suggestions on simple and inexpensive recipes that I can prep Thursday night to be served Shabbos day (other then the obvious cholent), I would greatly appreciate your input.

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  1. Can you do tuna and egg salad? Pasta salad? Maybe fruit? Kugel is easy to serve family style, too. Chummus, babagansh etc with vegeables and or crackers? Do you want more of a meal or just lighter fare so eople can go home to eat after?

    1. Just to clarify . . . I understand buffet style to be things plated on communal plates and put on tables for people to take. What is family style?

      4 Replies
      1. re: queenscook

        Family style usually refers to food that is placed in serving dishes and passed around the table where diners are seated. You serve yourself from the dish and then pass it on.

        1. re: Miri1

          People sit down at a kiddush?!

          1. re: zsero

            On the Lower East Side they do, although not at a bigger Kiddush for a simcha.

            1. re: zsero

              I have seen the table, sit down style. In places where they have to work to get a minyan, or to get much more than a minyan to attend.

              Such places place dishes on a series of tables, and serve challah rolls. This encourages people to sit, talk, get acquainted - and commit. Or maybe it just gets people who live alone to come help make the minyan.

              To be fair, I have seen it in places that draw as many as 40-50 people on a Shabbos morning. And I suspect that it can work as a way to build a community.

        2. You want to get as much bang for your buck, while still feeding people and at the same time having something that is kavodic of a Shabbas Oneg. Having grown up so far from any kosher restaurants, the mere smell of tuna and/or egg salad is still a turn off. Pasta Salads are always an easy way to go. It is amazing how adding something as simple as wee bit of shredded chicken to a sesame noodle salad (see fishbein's first cookbook for a great recipe only double the amount of sauce called for) with some scallions, and snap peas can turn a fairly inexpensive dish can become a main meal for a large crowd. Or add a bit of finely diced deli to a normal pasta salad, think Chef Salad but with cold noodles in addition to (or in place of) the greens.
          Deli Rolls are fantastic and hold well in the fridge....bulk them out with mashed potato (even...gasp...instant MP with garlic powder and parsley) and stretch the amount of deli need for a single sandwich into 15 single slice servings. Now with winter approaching, give some respect to the mighty and versatile world of cholent....it can be anything from a gumbo to a chili, a goulash or tagine, a Shepard's pie, hearty stew, paella, i could go on forever. If you are going the tuna and egg salad route, feel free to kick it up a nosh. Try a curried egg salad, or go Mediterranean with your tuna incorporating olives, capers, sun dried tomato, fresh oregano and a squeeze of lemon. Does the shul use a plata, crock pots, an oven or a commercial proofer?

          1 Reply
          1. re: gotcholent

            I'm thinking back to some of the kiddushes I've helped prep over the years...in addition to pasta salad you can make a rice or quinoa salad. A broccoli salad with nuts and dried cranberries is easy and delicious. Or cucumber salad. When I was a kid, Waldorf salad was a popular kiddush item. Bean salad is cheap and easy, and better the next day. Rely on vegetables for the bulk of the food so it will be less expensive

            You an also do a big platter o t roasted vegetable and serve it cold. I've done that with great success. Don't forget the ever popular cold cutmplatter if its in the budget. And make sure you have pickles, and olives etc.

            And if you want to add dessert, keep it simple. Fruit, cookies, and cake that can be sliced and plated the day before. Nothing with frosting or cream.

            Good luck!

          2. Maybe lots of Israeli salads/hummus/olives/pita/pickles type things? Falafel and eggplant?

            1. Is this a meat Kiddush as well? If so, meatballs are easy and can be made in a crock pot. Deli wraps are served at our Kiddush and always go (the kids snap them up pretty quickly). Also, Thai peanut salad is easy as well.

              6 Replies
              1. re: azcohen

                Great old world trick to stretch out those meatballs is to make a matzah ball mixture and ball roughly 1/2 the size of your meatballs (remember they will expand) and double your sauce qty. For the home cook who has a bit more time, and preferably someone else to clean up, I'd recommend browning onions slivers, garlic and bit of fenel seed to the mix before balling up. The matzah meal mixture can be rolled in coarse matzah meal again before pan frying. Then mix it, you end up with a fantastic mouthfeeel and structure.....incredibly meatball like. They cook overnight with the meat and act like the "ghanif" when used, as in cholent, absorbing and taking on the flavors of their surroundings while simultaneously allowing you to feed three times the crowd for nearly the same price. Plus you get balls that are two toned, whimsical and delish. (most people guess it's turkey btw). My wife's favorite version incorporates leftover shmura matzah and no meat at all for a wonderful vegetarian option.

                1. re: gotcholent

                  That sounds somgood. Can you please elaborate on the no meat/ vegetarian version? Sound like its right up my alley!

                  1. re: gotcholent

                    Please be a little more specific about these vegetarian meatballs. Are you saying I could mix up a batch of matzoh balls - or even use my go-to Streits mix - maybe adding sautéed onions, garlic, etc. Make little balls and then treat them like meatballs?
                    How much does it add to the "reality" to fry them up first? I've stopped doing that with my regular meatballs in an effort to cut down fat, with good results. But of course, they're real meat.

                    1. re: helou

                      If you are using the shmurah matzah and pan fry, with lots of onions on the inside and a good amount of seasoning, then yes, they are as good as any veggy meatball I've seen or tasted on the market. If you use the out of the box mix, then the balls will be as good as the sauce the cook overnight in, but will not have that meatiness. I imagine that it is the char from the burnt matzah that lends that little extra "all ha'esh" taste.

                      1. re: gotcholent

                        Just to confirm, are you crushing leftover shmurah matzoh (in the food processor?) to use for kneidlach mix?

                        1. re: helou

                          Yup....although I let my two oldest sons (3&6) do the smashing for me. Always ends well;-)

                2. Stuffed grapes leaves (Galil or similar brand). The large can is approximately $11-12 and has about 80 stuffed leaves in it. Decorate the platter with lemon twists or roasted peppers and everyone will think you're a genius!

                  1. I frequently throw together kiddushes on the cheap for my shul. We do dairy and I throw a meal together for around $100. Depending how big your crowd is, you'll need to buy and spend and prepare more.

                    a) I make a vegetarian chulent in a crock pot with different beans, potatoes, and either quinoa or barley, and lots of seasonings (garlic, a ton of fried onions, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, coca cola, parve soup powder, onion soup mix, etc.)

                    b) Commerically prepared kishka to go along with the chulent.

                    c) Sweet raisin kugel, salt and pepper kugel, etc.

                    d) A huge green salad with 3-4 different bottled dressings, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, canned corn, jarred olives, red onions, craisins, Osem croutons, etc.

                    e) Tuna salad, egg salad, noodle salad with sesame-peanut sauce, scallions, red peppers, carrots.

                    f) Crackers to go with tuna and egg salad

                    g) Hummus and baga ganoush in large tubs

                    Desserts: Fresh fruit platters, cakes, cookies, etc.

                    1. Thanks everyone! Your suggestions are very helpful. Our shul draws about 60-70 people at kiddush time and everything is sit down and served family style on the tables. We do not do a washing kiddush but people are welcome to bring rolls (sometimes the shul has rolls also) and wash in shul. This is not frequent though because most people still go home after kiddush to eat lunch and host company.
                      Our kitchen is actually relatively well equipped for a small shul. We have a double oven (although i can't recall right now if it has a Shabbos mode, I should really check on that), two large crock pots, hot water urns, etc. No platas.
                      Based on your suggestions, and also after polling the population, I have come up with the following menu for our basic kiddush (just in case anyone is looking for ideas).
                      The kiddushes alternate every week between meat and fish. If it's a fish kiddush, then we serve a vegetarian cholent, baked potatoes with garlic, dill and oil, 2 types of fish (for example herring and smoked lox or mackarel), fresh veggie trays with hummus and baba ganoush, relish trays with pickled tomatoes, pickles, olives and peppers, crackers, fruit and dessert. I am thinking per suggestions here to also add an egg salad (with my own twist, adding sauteed mushrooms and scallions).
                      For the meat kiddush, it would be all the same stuff, minus the fish and the cholent being fleishig. Instead of the fish we also do a couple of types of cold cuts.
                      We have also decided to offer upgraded options for when kiddushes are sponsored with additions of kugels, chicken drummettes, etc.

                      Gotcholent, can you please let me know how you keep the deli rolls warm and not dried out? Also, how far in advance can they be prepared? If I make them Thursday night in the shul kitchen, of even a few days before that, are they safe?

                      Also, just to clarify, we do family style kiddush not really to attract a bigger crowd and not because we can't get a minyan (that sounds like a call of desperation:)) but because we like it that way. Our shul started as a group of 10 single young professionals, and over the past few years we have grown to a group of about 70 most of whom stay for kiddush. It's more of a family feel:)

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: lenchik

                        As far as our deli rolls go, I have two basic approaches to help keep the rolls from drying out. First of all, before laying the sliced smoked deli meats down, I apply a 1/4 - 1/3" layer of garlic mashed potato wish Jack Daniels infused whole grain mustard, after which we use fatty cuts of house smoked deli like naval pastrami (jack's facon would work great here too), turkey pastrami and salami. Not that this is a forum on halacha, but the STAR-K rules according to the Shulchan Aruch and allows my non-Jewish staff to place dry items (like the deli roll arguably) back into the warmers on Shabbat to heat up and serve later that day. You would need to see how your local Rav holds in these regards. A great deli roll should be just as good cold or at room temp as it would be served warm IMHO. G'Luck & G'Shabbas!!!

                        1. re: gotcholent

                          > naval pastrami

                          Is that something sailors invented, on their long voyages? :-)

                          (Those would be the same ones who stave off scurvy by eating naval oranges :-) )

                          1. re: zsero

                            The smokehouses were on the waterfront. Using seawater cut down on the cost of salt for brining...................VBG

                            1. re: zsero

                              LOL.... The naval cut is the same that would be used for making bacon if this were a pig...lehavdil. It has a similar 50/50 ratio of renderable fat to meat and that same "bacon" like red and white tiger striping. It is my favorite for making beef facon and works great in this application because the fat from the pastrami cooks out and is absorbed by the potato mash imbuing it with that little extra smokey something. When choosing meats for deli rolls, I try and stick with the fattiest options available. Shavua tov y'all!!!

                              1. re: gotcholent

                                As you can tell I was just funning......I know what naval pastrami is. In the old days one could also get shoulder pastrami which was made with a pickled rolled and tied shoulder clod that was then rolled in pepper and spice and smoked. It was a far leaner cut that was often subbed for rolled beef when the patron wanted lean deli. But I'm out of the kosher deli business 35 years.

                                1. re: gotcholent

                                  Yeah, but I'm pretty sure it's a navel cut...