A Purim SOS

Two weeks ago I got an actual SOS from a ship. Tova and Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz, en route to the Philippines on the Holland America cruise ship M.S. Rotterdam, were requesting a Persian Purim menu and recipes for the ship’s executive chef.

Queen Esther was a vegetarian, so the foods associated with the holiday are mainly vegetables, rice, nuts and fruits. I responded to their call by rushing menu ideas and recipes via e-mail, hoping the ship stores and the marketplaces at the ports of call would be able to provide the necessary ingredients. From what I understand, they did. The rabbi and friends made hamentaschen in the ship’s galley.

Cabbage Strudel

1 package filo dough
1 pound unsalted butter, melted
2 cups fine bread crumbs

Cabbage Filling (recipe follows)
Sour Cream Dill Sauce (recipe follows)
Sprigs of dill for garnish

Fold the filo leaves in half and unfold one page. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. Continue turning the pages of filo, brushing with the butter and crumbs until you come to the last page. Brush with butter and sprinkle with crumbs.

Spread two heaping spoonfuls of the cabbage filling crosswise on the last page, 2 inches from the edge closest to you and 1 inch from the sides. Cover the filling with the closest edge, and fold the sides over. Brush the sides with butter and continue rolling up the filo.

Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush with butter. Place the strudel on the foil, seam side down, and brush with butter. Refrigerate, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes. Continue with the remaining filo and cabbage filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Slice immediately. Serve hot with Sour Cream Dill Sauce and garnish with sprigs of dill.

Cabbage Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 tbs. paprika
3 cups finely chopped onions
4 quarts shredded cabbage
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until dissolved. Add the paprika and mix well. Add the onions and continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cabbage, brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, partially covered, for one hour or until golden brown. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool.

Sour Cream and Dill Sauce

2 cups sour cream or non-dairy sour cream
1/8 cup snipped fresh dill

In a bowl, combine the sour cream and dill. Cover and chill.

Judy Zeidler is the author of “The Gourmet Jewish Cook,” “The 30-Minute Kosher Cook” and “Master Chefs Cook Kosher.” Her Web site is member.aol.com/jzkitchen/.