Turkey Meatloaf. Photo by Cyndi Bemel

Key to a great break-fast: Prepare a simple menu in advance


Yom Kippur, one of the holiest and most important days of the Jewish year, is observed by prayer and fasting all day. The 24-hour fast begins at sundown, and since no cooking traditionally is permitted during the holiday, all food that will be served for the break-the-fast meal must be prepared prior to the holiday.

 When planning a break-the-fast gathering at your home, a buffet of dishes that can be prepared in advance is the perfect answer. Your menu should offer something for everyone — from those who wish only a snack to the hearty eaters who crave lots of well-seasoned food to make up for their fasting. 

 In our home, after the shofar has sounded to mark the close of Yom Kippur, we begin the evening with apples dipped in honey, served with my special holiday challah — baked with apples and raisins — and our favorite honey cake.

 This year, I hope to make the preparation of the rest of the holiday meal less stressful with a delicious menu that can be ready to serve when we all gather for the break-fast. Consider this Turkey Meatloaf. It can be made in advance, stored in the freezer and served with Potato Salad, Carrot Slaw or Coleslaw. Include a Cauliflower-Anchovy Salad — the color and zippy flavor of its Parsley-Anchovy Dressing give the understated vegetable a dynamic boost. Add some surprise to the meal by serving candied apple slices with the meatloaf. 

 For dessert, a large platter of Crisp Almond Butter Cookies is the perfect end to the evening. My son-in-law, Jay, has been making delicious homemade almond butter that he always shares with me. It is the cookies’ secret ingredient. The cookie dough can be made in advance, kept in the freezer and baked before serving.  

TURKEY MEATLOAF

2 pounds ground turkey
2 eggs
1 medium onion, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
1 can (15-ounces) crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, and 2 tablespoons of the minced garlic cloves; mix well. Add cumin, salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a skillet and sauté remaining 2 garlic cloves, sliced onions, tomatoes and wine until soft.

Place garlic mixture in a large roaster. Shape 1/2 of the meat mixture into a flat loaf and place on top of the onion mixture in the roaster. Place hard-boiled eggs lengthwise along center of molded turkey loaf. Mold remaining turkey mixture on top of the eggs, pressing to make a firm loaf. Spread ketchup on top of the loaf, frosting the loaf like a cake.

Bake in preheated oven, covered, for 1 1/4 hours, until baked through.

Makes about 8 servings.

POTATO SALAD

8 to 10 medium potatoes, cooked and diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced fresh fennel
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions (scallions)
1/2 cup minced parsley, optional
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish with diced red bell pepper

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, celery, fennel and red bell pepper. Add enough mayonnaise to moisten and toss gently. Add the green onions and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper; toss gently again. Garnish with diced red bell pepper.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

COLESLAW 

1 head cabbage
1 large carrot, peeled and grated (optional)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut cabbage lengthwise into wedges small enough to fit in feed tube of food processor. Remove core. With slicing disk in place, slice cabbage using moderate pressure on pusher. Or, using a sharp knife, slice the cabbage as thin as possible. Transfer sliced cabbage to a large bowl. Add carrot and toss. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and lemon and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional sugar or lemon juice to taste. Toss with cabbage mixture to moisten completely.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

CARROT SLAW

6 medium carrots, peeled and grated
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced apples
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste 

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, celery, apples and raisins. Mix in the mayonnaise; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on a lettuce leaf.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

CAULIFLOWER-ANCHOVY SALAD

1 cup Parsley Anchovy Dressing (recipe below)
1 head cauliflower, rinsed and separated into florets

Prepare Parsley-Anchovy Dressing, cover with plastic wrap and chill.

In a large saucepan, using a vegetable rack, steam cauliflower until tender when pierced with a fork — about 10 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes. To serve, spoon just enough dressing over cauliflower to moisten and toss. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings. 

PARSLEY-ANCHOVY DRESSING

1/4 small onion, diced
1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups tightly packed parsley sprigs, stems removed (about 1 bunch)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade, blend onion, anchovies, olive oil and vinegar. Add parsley, a little at a time, and puree until the dressing is a bright green color. Season with pepper to taste.

Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill. If dressing thickens after chilling, add additional olive oil and mix well. Dressing will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

CRISP ALMOND BUTTER COOKIES

1/2 cup unsalted nondairy margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup almond butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Additional sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

 In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the margarine and sugars. Add almond butter, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder; add to creamed mixture and mix well. For easier shaping, chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Shape cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Place them 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten each ball by crisscrossing with the tines of a fork dipped in sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned and cookies are set.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies.


JUDY ZEIDLER is a food consultant, cooking teacher and author of 10 cookbooks, including “Italy Cooks” (Mostarda Press, 2011). Her website is judyzeidler.com.

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