Make Menu Shine With Splash of Wine


Purim is always a special celebration for the children — they dress up in costumes, sing and dance. The grown-ups have their rewards, too, because it is the only holiday when everyone is encouraged to drink a generous amount of wine.

This year, the theme of our dinner is foods prepared and cooked with wine, and we ask our guests to bring a bottle of their favorite wine to share during the evening.

The menu includes a Celery Root Slaw with a Balsamic-Mayonnaise Sauce, served on a mixed green salad, and for dessert there is my Aunt Betty’s Orange Juice-Wine Syrup Bundt Cake.

Celery Root Slaw on a Mixed Salad
Balsamic-Mayonnaise Sauce (recipe follows)

2 cups salad greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 celery root (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Prepare the Balsamic-Mayonnaise Sauce, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

In a medium bowl, toss the salad greens with olive oil and salt and set aside.

Peel the celery root, wash in cold water and, using food processor or sharp knife, cut into thin julienne strips. Transfer to a large bowl, add lemon juice and toss. Add enough sauce to moisten and toss gently.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (until ready to serve) for at least two hours.

To serve, arrange the salad greens on serving plates, and spoon the slaw in the center. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or pomegranate seeds and serve.

Serves four to six.

Balsamic-Mayonnaise Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons Homemade Balsamic Vinegar (recipe follows)
Freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the Homemade Balsamic Vinegar and set aside. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and balsamic vinegar and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional sugar or balsamic vinegar to taste.

Homemade Balsamic Vinegar

1 cup sweet Concord Grape Wine
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon honey

In a heavy saucepan, combine the wine, lemon juice, sugar, and honey. Bring to a boil. Boil until reduce by half. Transfer to a glass jar. Serve on salads.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

Aunt Betty’s Orange Juice-Wine Syrup Bundt Cake

1/4 cup ground walnuts or pecans
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sweet white or red wine (Concord Grape Wine)
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans
Orange Juice-Wine Syrup (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 10-inch bundt or fluted tube pan. Sprinkle with the ground walnuts. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended. Add the zest, juice and wine and blend well.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream until completely blended. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry and the cake begins to shrink away from the sides of the pan. Spoon the hot syrup over the cake as soon as you remove it from the oven and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (optional).

Orange Juice-Wine Syrup

3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Concord Grape Wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

In a saucepan, combine the orange juice, wine, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and simmer for five minutes. Set aside.

Judy Zeidler is the author of “The Gourmet Jewish Cook” (Cookbooks, 1988) and “The 30-Minute Kosher Cook” (Morrow, 1999) Her Web site is