Recipe: Break the Yom Kippur fast with homemade bagels


Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, during which time a strict fast is observed. 

Before the fast, it is customary to serve a family dinner consisting of simple foods prepared with a minimum of salt and spices, so those who fast will not be unduly thirsty or endure the pangs of stimulated taste buds.

At the break-the-fast meal, dairy foods are traditionally served, along with bagels accompanied by smoked salmon. The salty fish makes up for the bland pre-holiday menu, and serves as a reward for those observing the fast.

And the bagel? It’s only one of the most beloved items in Jewish cuisine. Made in a unique manner, they are first boiled and then baked, which gives them their distinctive shiny, chewy crust.

There are many opinions as to where the bagel originated. Many say Germany, insisting that the word “bagel” is derived from the German “bugel,” which means a ring or curved bracelet. Others think bagel-making probably originated in 17th-century Vienna, where a certain bakery sold round, stirrup-shaped rolls to honor a Polish king who loved to ride horseback.

Despite their popularity, very few of us have attempted to bake our own bagels. In my cooking classes, students sometimes tell me that when they make bagels at home, they turn out heavy and undersized. But if you follow my practically fool-proof directions, you’ll see that bagel-making is fairly easy.

At a recent bagel cooking class, we decided to top half of our creations with a sprinkling of chopped onions and some poppy seeds. By noon, we had turned out the most wonderful, fresh-from-the-oven, light, plump, golden brown bagels that have ever come out of my kitchen. 

Consider making some of your own for the Yom Kippur break-the-fast meal. You can offer them by themselves or serve Hot Bagel Appetizers with cream cheese and chopped smoked salmon. I am including a recipe for Scandinavian Bagels and Lox with Dill Sauce as another appetizer.

Instead of making garlic toast with French bread, try my version of Toasted Garlic Bagels using a spread of butter or margarine blended with garlic to serve with salads, roasts or stews. And for a special treat with your freshly baked bagels, try experimenting with some interesting cream cheese accompaniments. 

WATER BAGELS

– 2 cups cold tap water
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 3/4 tablespoon salt
– 1 tablespoon malt
– 1 tablespoon oil
– 8 cups high-gluten flour (12 to 13 percent) or 8 cups flour plus 4 tablespoons powdered gluten
– 5 teaspoons active dry yeast
– 1 tablespoon yellow corn meal

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using a dough hook (if you own one), blend water, sugar, salt, malt and oil. Add 6 cups of the flour mixed with yeast and blend until the dough comes together. Add the remaining flour, beating until smooth. If any dry flour mixture remains in the bottom of the bowl, add several drops of water to moisten it and continue beating 5 minutes.

Transfer to a wooden board; do not add any oil, water or additional flour. Cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 15 pieces, weighing about 3 ounces each. Cover with a towel. Remove one piece at a time and knead by folding each piece in half and pushing out any air pockets; then fold in half again and repeat. Shape into a rope about 5-inches long. Form into a doughnut shape, overlap ends by about 1 inch, and knead into a smooth perfect circle. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Sprinkle corn meal on the wooden board and place bagels on top. Cover with a towel and let rest 5 minutes.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Drop 4 to 6 bagels (do not crowd) into boiling water and boil for 10 seconds only. (At this time, bagels should rise to the top of the water.) Transfer with a slotted spoon to a wire rack and drain. 

Place the bagels on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. 

Makes about 15 bagels.

Variations

ONION-POPPY SEED BAGELS

After boiling and draining bagels, press the top of each bagel into a mixture of chopped onion mixed with poppy seeds. Bake as directed.

EGG BAGELS

Replace the water in the ingredients list with 2 or 3 egg yolks placed in a 2-cup measuring cup, and add enough water to fill it. 

HOT BAGEL APPETIZERS

– 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
– 4 tablespoons sour cream
– 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
– 1/2 cup chopped lox (smoked salmon)
– 3 tablespoons capers
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
– 6 bagels, sliced in half

Preheat broiler.

In a medium-size bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, onions and lox. Fold in capers. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Toast bagels and spread evenly with cream cheese mixture. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until lightly browned. Serve immediately. 

Makes 12 servings.

SCANDINAVIAN BAGELS AND LOX WITH MUSTARD DILL SAUCE

– Mustard Dill Sauce (recipe follows)
– 6 bagels, sliced in half
– 12 small, thin slices of lox (smoked salmon)
– Fresh dill and lettuce for garnish
– 12 cherry tomatoes

Prepare the Mustard Dill Sauce and set aside.

Place a slice of lox on each bagel slice and top with Mustard Dill Sauce. Place on individual plates and garnish with fresh dill, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. 

Makes 12 servings.

MUSTARD DILL SAUCE

– 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
– 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 1 tablespoon white vinegar
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

In a small, deep bowl, combine Dijon mustard, powdered mustard, sugar and vinegar and blend well. With a wire whisk, slowly beat in oil until it forms a thick mayonnaise. Stir in the chopped dill. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Makes about 3/4 to 1 cup.

TOASTED GARLIC BAGELS

– 1/4 pound unsalted butter or margarine
– 3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled
– 3 tablespoons minced parsley Salt to taste
– 8 bagels, sliced in half

In a processor, process butter and garlic until well-blended. Pulse in parsley. Season to taste with salt. 

With a rubber spatula, transfer mixture to a medium-size bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. (You can also shape the mixture into a cube, wrap in plastic wrap and foil, then freeze it; defrost until soft before use.)

Preheat the broiler. Spread the butter mixture on the bagel halves, place them on a baking sheet, and broil until the butter mixture bubbles and begins to brown. Serve immediately. 

Makes 16 servings.


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

Hipster guide to the High Holy Days


” target=”_blank”>atidla.com.

 

3 places to get great local honey

” target=”_blank”>Jewels of Elul: Craig Taubman’s gathering of short stories and anecdotes to help us reflect and prepare for the High Holy Days. 

” target=”_blank”>My Jewish Learning: A clearinghouse of handy information about Jewish holidays, culture, beliefs, etc. Think of it as an interactive “Jewish Book of Why” —with more pictures.

” target=”_blank”>10Q: 10 days, 10 questions. Answer each one and next Rosh Hashanah you’ll have your answers sent back to you, so you can reflect on how much you have (or haven’t) changed.

 

 

(by Sinai Temple’s Rabbi Jason Fruithandler)

 

1. It’s long for a reason — the liturgy tries to give as many opportunities for connection as possible.

Over the course of the High Holy Days, there are special extra prayers, special extra Torah readings, and even a whole extra book of the Tanakh — Jonah — is read. The length and diversity of the liturgy is an expression of the tension between the need for communal strength and individual reality. Each of us stands before God (however you define God) with our own set of deeds and misdeeds. Each of us needs a different kind of encouragement or support to embrace our broken, imperfect selves and make a plan to try to be better. Our prayer services offer a community of people reflecting on the year, medieval piyutim (liturgical poems) on the core nature of death, uplifting music about the possibility of being better, stories of our patriarchs and matriarchs doing the best they can, and many other entry points into the themes of the High Holy Days. Each year, I try to find one access point, one theme, one idea, one song to connect to and carry with me into the coming year.

2. Most of the High Holy Days liturgy is written by poets trying to understand the themes of the holidays.

The early rabbis laid out an outline of what themes the prayer leader should touch on. There were no siddurs for the community. There were traveling professionals who had beautiful singing voices and were masters of the Hebrew language. They would take the themes of that outline and elaborate. The siddur represents a collection, made over the course of 2,000 years, of the best work of those prayer leaders. Do you have a favorite poem? Is there a scene from a movie or TV show that moves you? Add your own to create your personal siddur.

3. The sound of the shofar counts as its own prayer.

Maimonides writes that an entire prayer is in his mind each time he hears the shofar. The powerful sounds of the shofar are meant to stir our souls. The content of that private prayer is going to be different for each person, yet the strength of the prayer is amplified — for all are sharing that moment together. The contrast between the short and long blasts gives us a chance to be individuals together in community.

4. Kol Nidre was extraordinarily controversial.

The early rabbis tried for centuries to abolish or at least to adjust the Kol Nidre service. In many ways, it seems to undermine the halachic (Jewish legal) system. Kol Nidre as a service either annuls all of the vows (promises that invoke God’s name) from the previous year or the coming year. It is possible to annul vows in Jewish law, but you need a rabbinic court. During the Kol Nidre service, we make a pretend court out of three Torahs held by three individuals. There is no halachic standing for such a thing. In addition, it seems to completely alleviate the responsibility of making promises. However, every synagogue in the world has a Kol Nidre service. The people overruled the rabbis. People love the moment of Kol Nidre — not because of its legal standing, but because it transitions us into Yom Kippur. What better way to start a day of forgiveness than by facing the fact that we don’t live up to the promises we make to ourselves and others? More than that, we forgive ourselves for those failings. That forgiveness becomes the foundation of an entire day of admitting all of our shortcomings.

5. Rosh Hashanah is the more somber of the two holidays.

It is the day God is our jury and we are found guilty. Yom Kippur is the “happy fast” — God serves as our sentencing judge, and our sentence is commuted. We have another year to try again.

 

 

7 places to “just do your own thing in, like, nature

 

” target=”_blank”>Instructables.com for a guide to building a free-standing DIY sukkah out of PVC pipes. ” target=”_blank”>Sukkot.com offers wood-frame or steel-tube sukkah kits, along with wall materials, bamboo roofing, decorations, and even a lulav and etrog. ” target=”_blank”>SiegerSukkah.com also offer easy-to-assemble sukkahs, but be prepared to shell out a few hundred dollars.

3. Go to a Home Depot or Loews with a budget in mind and the dimensions of your back porch or yard, and channel your inner Tim Allen.

4. Team up with some fellow Jews and build a communal sukkah. There’s no better way to break the Yom Kippur fast than with a nosh among friends under the stars.

 

 

Putting the “high” in High Holy Days – 7 “medical” marijuana strains we’d like to see

 

– Dread Lox

” target=”_blank”>Om Shalom Yoga

” target=”_blank”>Pre-High Holy Days Yoga Unwind & Detox at Sinai Temple, Sept. 21, 11 a.m.-noon.

– The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles ” target=”_blank”>israeliparties.com.

Rosh Hashanah Party, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m., at The Victorian, 2640 Main St., Santa Monica. There’ll be mingling, music, dancing, appetizers and a festive party spirit. 

Apple Meets Honey Young Professionals Lounge at Sinai Temple, a place for folks in their 20s and 30s to stop by during or after services at Sinai for light bites (Rosh Hashanah only) and mingling. The lounge will be open on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 (Sept. 25), 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., and on Yom Kippur (Oct. 4), 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah Apple Extravaganza Party, Sept. 18, 8 p.m., at Moishe House LA,110 N. Harper Ave., Los Angeles. There’ll be delicious apple cider, apple pie, caramel apple dipping, and a discussion on what Rosh Hashanah means to young Jews.

 

 

6 best places to get round challah

 

Got Kosher?: 8914 W. Pico Blvd. (get the pretzel challah!)

  

6 places to do tashlich

 

” target=”_blank”>Creative Arts Temple, at Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey, Sept. 26, 10 a.m.

” target=”_blank”>“Down to the River,” East Side Jews, at Marsh Park on the Los Angeles River, Sept. 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m., $40, includes food, drink and transformation. 

” target=”_blank”>IKAR, at Santa Monica Beach, Lifeguard Station 26. Sept. 28, 4:30-7:30 p.m. 

 

 

” target=”_blank”>hearingshofar.blogspot.com.

Self-described “jazz comedian” David Zasloff also offers private lessons. Zasloff has staged shofar shows such as “Shofar-palooza,” and on Oct. 18 at the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, he will perform on the shofar all the Christian songs written by Jews.

Going around the world to break the fast


Breaking the fast has its own set of traditions. Ashkenazim usually break the fast with something salty, like herring, because they believe fish restores salt lost by the body while fasting. Herring also was the cheapest fish in Eastern Europe, where the custom originated.

Egg and cheese dishes—dairy products in general—are popular among the Ashkenazim for the first foods after Yom Kippur.

Some Eastern European Jews break the fast with a German sweet roll called shnekem, from the German word for snails, because of its coiled shape. The yeast dough containing milk and sour cream is rolled out, brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar, raisin and nut filling then rolled up, cut into slices and baked.

Gil Marks writes in “The World of Jewish Desserts” that Central European Jews ate cheese kuchen, a coffee cake, for the meal following Yom Kippur. German Jews also ate erstesternen, a cinnamon star cookie, so called because stars were the sign of the end of the fast day.

Zimbabwe Jews break the fast with juice, traditional rolls with oil called rusks, oil biscuits and cheese. Sweets include almond and honey turnovers and sponge cake. Later they dine on a meal of cold chicken, fried fish, chicken soup and other sweets.

The Jews of South Africa, whose origins were in Europe, have babke, a sweet milk bread with almonds and raisins originating in Poland. They also drink soda water, milk or lemon tea. Later they have a meal starting with pickled herring and lemon fish.

Typical among South African Jews whose ancestors came from the island of Rhodes is breaking the fast with melon pip milk, bread with olive oil, sponge cake, honey and almond turnovers, and rusks.

Others break the fast with cold chicken, chicken soup and sesame biscuits, followed by almond sponge cake with syrup or marzipan. (Marzipan is a sweet mixture of almond paste, sugar and egg whites often tinted with food coloring and molded into forms such as fruits and animals.) Layered phyllo pastry with almonds and honey also may be served.

Among Sephardim and Middle Eastern Jews, a light snack is followed by a heavier meal. For example, some Syrian, Iraqi and Egyptian Jews break the fast with cardamom coffee cake. Some Iraqis drink milk, then have the cake or a cardamom-almond cookie called hagadi badah, Marks writes in “The World of Jewish Desserts.” Afterward they have a big meal that includes teebeet, a stuffed whole chicken with rice that has been left to cook over a low flame all Yom Kippur day.

Pan dulce, a sweet yeast bread in loaf form or rolls, is served by some Sephardim before and after the fast, Marks notes in his book. Marks also writes that the Jews of India for the meal following Yom Kippur have a semolina-filled turnover called singara or kushli, and sutlach, a Middle Eastern rice flour pudding.

Some Yemenites break the fast with ginger cake or watermelon, then they drink coffee and eat cookies. Afterward they have more of the broth from before the fast or another Yemenite soup.

Edda Servi Machlin, author of the cookbook “Classic Italian Jewish Cooking,” among others, recounts that her Italian family drinks vermouth and then eats a special, oval-shaped bread to break the fast. They then enjoy a meal with soup and pasta, chicken, fish, stewed fennel, cold noodles with sauce, sweet cakes and fruit.

Marks writes that Italians typically break the fast with il bolio, an Italian sweet yeast bread.

Nicholas Stavroulakis, who wrote “The Cookbook of the Jews of Greece,” relates that Greek Jews prepare interesting drinks to break the fast. One is made with grenadine; another with almonds; another with lemons; and one has melon seeds, water, sugar and almond extract or rosewater.

Rachel Dalvin, who has researched about the Jews of Ioannina, Greece, shares the fact that these Jews broke the fast with avgolemono, chicken-lemon soup, and a variety of stuffed vegetables that were common in Turkish cookery and acquired because Turkey occupied that part of Greece for centuries.

Some Moroccan Jews break the fast with fijuelas, a deep-fried pastry soaked in sweet syrup. They may also drink arak, an anise-flavored liqueur. Later they have coffee with milk, cake and cookies. Still later they have harera, a special thick soup with chicken and ground vegetables.

Here are some special recipes to break the fast from “Olive Trees and Honey” by Marks, a cookbook of traditional Jewish vegetarian dishes from Jews around the world that can be prepared ahead.

Ingredients:
2 to 5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon table salt or
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups plain yogurt
1 cup milk or
1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
4 cups peeled, seeded, diced or grated cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, cilantro or mint or
6 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon plus
3 tablespoons fresh dill
2 chopped hard-boiled eggs or
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:
Mash garlic and salt into a paste in a bowl. In a large bowl, blend yogurt, milk and oil. Stir in garlic, cucumbers, and scallions. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Five minutes before serving, stir in herbs. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with eggs or walnuts. Serve with crusty bread or pita.

6-8 servings


Italian Cold Pasta in Egg-Lemon Sauce

Ingredients:
Sauce
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour or
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt or
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
2 cups boiling vegetable soup or water

Pasta
1 pound tagliolini/taglierini or thin egg noodles such as linguine
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation:
Beat eggs, egg yolks and lemon juice in a saucepan. Whisk a little of the egg mixture in a bowl with the flour or cornstarch to make a paste. Stir it back into the egg mixture.

Add salt and sugar if using. Gradually beat in hot soup or water. Cook over medium heat, stirring continually with a wooden spoon until smooth and thick, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 1 minute. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt then noodles and stir. Return and bring to a boil and cook 7 to 10 minutes. Drain. Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Let cool at least 30 minutes.

Mix noodles with sauce and garnish with parsley.

5-6 servings


My Favorite No-Herring Taste Appetizer

Though I do not like herring, once I tasted this dish more than 20 years ago I was won over and make it often—and not just for breaking the fast.

Ingredients:
2 cups herring in wine
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dill
2 teaspoons sugar
Chopped scallions

Preparation:
Wash and pat dry herring. Place in a blender. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, dill, sugar and scallions. Blend a second or so just until herring is pureed slightly. Spoon into a serving dish. Serve with crackers or pita chips.

4-6 servings

(Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, food writer and cookbook author who lives in Jerusalem.)

Roll Away Hunger


Yom Kippur’s break the fast is the most anticipated meal of the year. Of course, it’s because we’re starving; we’ve been fantasizing about that first bite for the last 25 hours.

As soon as the sun goes down and the shofar is blown for the last time, our thoughts invariably turn to: How fast can we get to that buffet table?

But as delicious as our traditional dairy delicacies are, they don’t respect the fact that our stomachs have been on hiatus for over a day.

Instead, consider cold Avocado-Cucumber Soup and Sushi.

Sushi chef Tracy Griffith’s recipes are easy to digest and high in water content — exactly what our bodies need after a day with no sustenance.

Griffith of Rika Restaurant and Diamond Lounge on Sunset believes her signature cuisine is the perfect meal for after a fast. It’s not only easy on our digestive systems, but it’s also a treat to our weary eyes. The talented chef and accomplished artist said, "We eat first with our eyes."

And what’s more inspiring than white rice wrapped in black nori with glistening fish accented by exotic fruits and emerald vegetables? A golden brown challah, ruby-colored wine, a dessert of summer melons colored red, orange and green. This bountiful table of edible art will be a peaceful, harmonious culmination of the most holy day of the year.

Griffith was greatly influenced by Freddie Samuels, her Jewish stepfather whose artistic endeavors included the innovative window displays at Macy’s in New York.

"He has such a high sense of aesthetics. He taught me to appreciate beauty in everything, from how a table should look — set with candles and flowers — to how good food should taste. He loves to cook and owned a wonderful Italian restaurant in New York," she said.

"Lottie [Samuels’ mother] was always cooking this amazing Jewish food — delicious brisket and rugelach. She made us eat until we were sick," Griffith recalled. "And she’d insist we take the rest home. She was so nurturing, always worrying about everybody else — the epitome of the Jewish mother. I loved her."

Combining her talents and background, and buoyed by Samuels, her mother, Nanita ,and her actress sister, Melanie Griffith, Tracy attended the California Sushi Academy in Venice, and became the school’s first female graduate.

While working as a sushi chef at Tsunami in Beverly Hills, Griffith began experimenting with everyday ingredients, creating unusual combinations. She has put her ideas into "Sushi American Style," a cookbook recently published by Clarkson Potter. "I dive into the fusion aspect of sushi, using nontraditional ingredients that are appealing, easy to find and work with," she said.

In the book, Griffith features suggestions, not only for a dairy meal, but also a meat meal, such as the Opal Roll, an inside-out roll made with prime grilled sirloin, red onion, arugula and pink peppercorns served with jalapeno soy sauce.

You might bump into Griffith at a Jewish wedding or bar mitzvah; she’s been catering a lot lately. As is the appeal at Yom Kippur — sushi is healthy, light and easy to make kosher, to say nothing of being delicious.

Avocado-Cucumber Soup

Make this soup the day before Yom Kippur. The flavors will meld and actually taste better the next day. Make sure the vegetables are very fresh and of superb quality.

1 large hothouse cucumber, peeled

1 large avocado, peeled and pitted

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

2 to 3 tablespoons homemade vegetable stock or water

1¼2 teaspoon mild curry powder such as Madras

1¼2 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1¼8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon chives, snipped into 1¼2-inch pieces

1 package edible flowers (optional)

White truffle oil for garnish (optional)

In a blender puree cucumber, avocado, yogurt, vegetable stock or water, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; refrigerate. Pour into individual bowls; garnish each serving with a few chive sprigs, edible flowers, if desired, and a swirl of truffle oil.

Makes 4 servings.

L’Chaim (To Life) Roll

The day before Yom Kippur, cut whitefish and apple, soak apple in citrus water. Trimmed chives should be soaking in citrus water also. At the break the fast meal, set out ingredients; demonstrate how to make the hand rolls, and then let the guests do their own.

4 ounces ginger-flavored kosher whitefish caviar

1/2 cup crème fraiche

1 cup sushi rice

1¼2 pound of smoked whitefish, cut in

1¼2 -x-4 inch strips

6 to 8 half-sheets roasted nori

1 green apple, cut into 1¼4-inch matchsticks

2 to 3 ounces pickled ginger

1 bunch fresh chives, trimmed to 4 inches

Gently mix the caviar with the crème fraiche.

How to Assemble a Cylinder Hand Roll: Spread 2 tablespoons sushi rice on nori sheet. Place nori vertically on rolling mat. Wet hands; spread about 2 tablespoons sushi rice on nori sheet, leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Lay in 2 strips of whitefish, 3 sticks of apple, a few pieces of pickled ginger and 3 to 4 chive sprigs. Crimp over the bottom edge (not up and over the ingredients) and roll up like a sleeping bag into a cylinder. Dollop a heaping teaspoon of crème fraiche-caviar mixture on top of each roll. Pass a small pitcher of soy sauce to pour into rolls. Serve with cocktail napkins in small fluted or shot glass or lay sideways on a plate.

Makes 6 to 8 hand rolls.

"Watermelon" Sushi

The day before Yom Kippur cut cucumber, combine ahi tuna and spicy mayonnaise, and make Mayonnaise and Dipping Sauce. Keep everything in refrigerator. When you get home from temple you and your guests can assemble this easy, colorful sushi.

1 unpeeled hothouse or English cucumber at least 11¼2 inches in diameter

3¼4 cup minced sushi-grade Ahi tuna

2 teaspoons spicy mayonnaise

1¼2 cup prepared Sushi Rice

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

1¼2 cup Citrus Soy Dipping Sauce

Cut cucumber into 10 to 121¼2 inch rounds. Using a 11¼2 inch round canapé cutter with a scalloped edge, cut out the center of the cucumber. Reserve centers for garnish. In small glass mixing bowl, mix tuna with mayonnaise. Firmly press 1 teaspoon of rice into each cucumber circle to fill it halfway. Top rice with 1 teaspoon of the spicy tuna. Sprinkle tuna with a few scattered black sesame seeds to resemble watermelon seeds. Serve with Citrus Soy Dipping Sauce.

Makes 10 to 12 pieces.

Sushi Rice With Rice Dressing

From "Sushi American Style" by Griffith (Clarkson Potter, 2004). If you think you’ll make sushi more than once, Griffith emphasizes the importance of purchasing a rice cooker. Makes about 6 cups cooked rice.

3 cups short-grain white sushi rice

3 to 31¼2 cups of water

Pour rice into a freestanding wire-mesh sieve. Under cold water gently swish rice around with your fingers until water runs almost clear, about 1 minute. To dry, fan rice up and around sides of colander, exposing it to the air. Let sit until completely dry, about 30 minutes. (This step may be done in the morning before temple so that when you get home you can begin cooking rice immediately)

Cook rice in your rice cooker according to directions for Sushi Rice.With a rice paddle, scoop hot rice from cooker insert and spread out evenly over bottom of a large shallow wooden bowl or a large glass baking dish. Holding paddle perpendicularly over rice, drizzle rice dressing over back of paddle, evenly covering rice’s surface. Fold dressing through the rice until grains are coated and glossy.

Place dressed Sushi Rice back into cooker; cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel to keep in moisture. Click cooker button onto the warmer setting. Sushi rice is easier to handle when it’s warm; it also tastes better.

Rice Dressing

The sweet vinegar dressing used on Sushi Rice is called sushi-zu and is the secret to its glossiness and sticking power.

1¼2 cup rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, stir vinegar, sugar, and salt over low heat until sugar and salt dissolve. Do not let mixture boil. Stir to dissolve. Set aside to cool and store in a screw-top jar. When ready to make sushi, add 1 tablespoon of dressing per every cup of cooked rice. Adjust the sweetness to taste. This dressing may be made be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for weeks.

Makes 1¼2 cup.

Spicy Mayonnaise

1¼2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Sriracha (Korean) chili sauce

In a small bowl, mix together ingredients with a fork. For more fire add more chili sauce.

Makes 1¼2 cup

Citrus Soy Dipping Sauce

3¼4 cup soy sauce

5 tablespoons lemon juice, strained

3 teaspoons orange juice, strained

Combine ingredients in a glass jar. Shake vigorously. Keeps in refrigerator up to 4 weeks.

Makes about 11¼2 cups.

No Wrong Way to End Yom Kippur Fast


I grew up in a family that never seemed to do anything right. Our approach to Yom Kippur, for example, was mixed: My father and I observed it; my mother and brother did not. Returning from synagogue at the end of the day, Dad and I were starving, so we grabbed a couple of slices of challah and spread chopped liver on top. Without ceremony, we leaned over a kitchen counter inhaling this snack.

Although the experience was a bonding one, by high school I realized that something was wrong with this picture, that something made me feel uncomfortable. Standing on linoleum, I’d pivot on one of my high heels and contemplate what routine other families followed when they came home from synagogue. How and when did they resume eating?

Years later, when I married into a family more cohesive and observant than my own, I expected the white picket fence of break fasts, yet I didn’t have a clear idea of what that was.

On the first Yom Kippur after our wedding, my husband, David, and I broke the fast at his sister and brother-in-law’s house. Within seconds of our arrival, Scotch and bourbon bottles were cracked open.

"What’s happening?" I whispered to David, as his sister quickly put out nuts, crackers and an assortment of hot and cold dips.

"We always break the fast with cocktails."

"Cocktails?" I asked.

David poured club soda into a glass of Jack Daniels and ice.

"It’s a custom my father started when we were children, and we’ve continued it since his death," he said. "He took Yom Kippur very seriously, but once the holiday was over, he liked to have a drink. Can I get you something?"

"On an empty stomach?"

David suggested I try white wine: "If hard liquor is too strong, then have a glass of Chardonnay."

"Okay," I said. "But pass me the cashews first."

Surprisingly, the wine went down smoothly and didn’t go to my head. Although this scene is not what I’d imagined as a teenager, there was a lot of warmth among the 10 of us gathered around the coffee table. Before long, we helped my sister-in-law take piping hot noodle kugel from the oven and line platters with vegetables and smoked fish.

Since then, I’ve noticed that when it comes to the moment the Yom Kippur fast is actually broken, no two families do it in the same way. That is not to say that different families’ break fast meals do not share common themes. Among Ashkenazi Jews, bagels and lox rule. And, of course, there’s the usual whitefish, sable, herring and sliced tomatoes.

The issue, then, is not the main course, but rather what is the first thing people consume when they arrive home from synagogue? We’re talking about the snacking that goes on before dinner is served.

After observing people in action and listening to their stories, I find many families have developed informal rituals, and the mini-meals they consume fall into one of several categories.

Cocktail Hour: My in-laws are not the only family to break the fast with liquid refreshments. As a matter of fact, it was customary among Eastern and Central European Jews to get their digestive juices going again by sipping brandy or schnapps.

An executive at Reuters in Manhattan claims that as soon as her family comes home from services, they pour brandy into snifters. Drinking slowly, they also nibble slices of challah. After that, they do not partake in an elaborate meal, but rather eat bowls of chicken soup.

Snap Back with Sweets: Many synagogues serve honey cake to congregants once Yom Kippur services conclude. At home, some families gather in their living rooms to dip apples in honey. This not only brings the cycle started at Rosh Hashanah full circle, but a bit of sweetness gives people a burst of energy, sorely needed after abstaining from food and drink for 24 hours.

A Brandeis University administrator claims that no matter how hungry her family gets, they wouldn’t dream of leaving synagogue until the very end. Because they are a 15-minute drive from home, they eat apples in the car to tide themselves over until dinner.

Starting Over: There are some people who think that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and must not be skipped — no matter what. For decades, a Stockbridge, Mass., grandmother has brewed a pot of coffee for friends and family returning from synagogue.

"Nothing cures caffeine-withdrawal headaches like steaming hot coffee," she said, explaining how she sets up a mini buffet of orange juice, muffins, danish and challah drizzled with honey. She encourages guests to take some breakfast foods before sitting down to a more substantial meal.

Other families prefer to drink tea with their pastries, perhaps because it is soothing and easier to digest than coffee. While the caffeine content varies depending on the variety of tea and the length of time it is steeped, there is enough stimulant in tea to revive people without the sudden jolt of nerves that can accompany a cup of coffee. For these reasons, it’s a gentler way to resume eating and drinking.

Noshers: Although some families do not have an official premeal menu, they have fun nibbling in the kitchen. At no other time are people quite as helpful as when those deli packages of smoked fish are opened. Volunteers often sample a little bit of this and that, while rapidly slicing bagels and piling delicacies on platters.

The aroma of yeasty breads and pungent fish fills the air. Guests and children mill about, slipping a scrap or two into their mouths, waiting. A Manhattan hostess often finds herself yelling: "Stop eating — there’ll be nothing left for dinner."

It’s not surprising that people are antsy after forgoing food for 24 hours. In many households, frenzy prevails. If your gatherings could benefit from a calming influence, perhaps this is the year to inaugurate a custom, bridging the gap between the time when your relatives and friends arrive at your home and the moment dinner is served — one that compliments your family’s lifestyle and brings closure to the most meaningful holiday of the year.

Hot Apple Tea

2 cups apple juice

4 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons honey

5 bags of orange pekoe and pekoe black tea, such as Lipton

1/2 of a Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored

In a medium-sized pot, place apple juice, water, cinnamon and honey. Cover and bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from flame. Add tea bags and cover pot. Steep for three minutes. Meanwhile, cut apple into very thin slices and place in teacups. (You’ll have some apple leftover.) Pour Apple Tea into cups and serve immediately, either before dinner with light pastries or later with dessert. Apple slices will float to the surface and look attractive. Leftovers make great iced tea.

Makes eight cups of tea.

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup fresh blueberries

24 paper baking cups

2 muffin tins (12 muffins each)

No-stick spray

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup white sugar, plus 1 teaspoon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup 1 percent milk

2 tablespoons corn oil

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Rinse blueberries under water. Remove stems. Gently roll around on paper towels to dry. Move to a plate. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of white sugar and roll again, coating evenly. Reserve. Place 24 paper baking cups inside muffin tins. Coat each cup with no-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup white sugar, and brown sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add milk, oil, egg, vanilla, lemon juice, and almond extract. Mix well. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, mixing well. Add blueberries and gently mix into batter with a wooden or plastic spoon. Spoon batter into paper baking cups until they are half full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until muffins are firm to the touch and a cake tester or toothpick comes clean. Eat while warm or cool completely for future use. Store in a covered container at room temperature. Recipe can be frozen. Serve with tea either before the break fast dinner or as part of the main course.

Makes 24 muffins.

Hot Artichoke Dip

2 14-ounce cans of artichoke hearts, drained in a colander

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Garlic powder to taste

No-stick spray

1/2 cup sesame seeds

Paprika for dusting

Preheat oven to F. One at a time, place each artichoke heart in palm and squeeze excess liquid from them. With fingers, pull bottom part from leaves and separate them. You’ll see what looks like hairs attached to the bottom. With fingers, pull off hairs and discard. With fingers, separate artichoke leaves and place them in a large bowl. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. With a spoon, mix well. With no-stick spray, coat either two two-cup ramekins (for hors d’oeuvres) or a four-quart casserole (as a side dish). Spoon artichoke mixture inside and smooth until even with a spoon. Sprinkle sesame seeds and paprika on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until casserole bubbles and top lightly browns. Serve immediately.

In ramekins as hors d’oeuvres serves 10-12. In casserole as a side dish, serves six.

Apple Crumb Coffee Cake

No-stick spray

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, well-beaten

1 tablespoon sour cream

2 cups flour

21/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup blanched almonds, coarsely ground

6 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a seven-by-11-inch glass baking pan with no-stick spray. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and sour cream, beating well. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Pour milk, lemon juice, and vanilla into a pitcher. Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating well between each addition. Batter will be stiff. Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Cover with sliced apples. Place topping ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix them together with your hands until small lumps form and ingredients are well-incorporated. Sprinkle topping over apples. Bake for 30 minutes, or until topping lightly browns and cake tester inserted in center comes clean. Cool to room temperature. Cover loosely with waxed paper and serve the next day.

Makes 18 squares.

Ease Out of the Yom Kippur Fast With Salmon and Potatoes


Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is a time when Jews are required to fast for 24 hours. At the end of this period, family and friends gather for the traditional break-the-fast meal.

This year at the conclusion of services our family and friends will arrive at our home at various times, since they are coming from synagogues that stretch from San Fernando Valley to West Los Angeles.

The transition from fasting to feasting should be a gradual one. Light, simple food is best. These two quick recipes are perfect for the holiday. Just add a few side dishes to complete the menu.

The first recipe is a dish I served a recent dinner, individual mini-potato salads topped with smoked salmon and garnished with a zesty mustard-dill sauce. Everyone enjoyed them so much, I decided to include them in our break-the-fast menu. The secret to this dish is that the potatoes are boiled for only eight minutes and they can be made in advance.

The second smoked salmon dish was inspired by a Swedish friend, Kerstin Marsh, a great cook, and she often serves this family specialty as a first course with sliced fresh cucumbers.

These two delicious dishes can be prepared ahead of time and chilled until ready to serve. It is comfort to return home from the synagogue and have the perfect dish ready for your guests.

Complete the break-the-fast meal with a fresh fruit salad and serve it with the traditional honey cake, my family’s favorite holiday dessert.

Smoked Salmon with Mini-Potato Salads

2 medium white rose potatoes, 1/2-inch

dice (1 pound)

1 small carrots, diced

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced fennel

1/2 cup uncooked corn kernels

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

6 slices smoked salmon (lox)

Mustard-Dill Sauce (recipe follows)

6 sprigs fresh dill

Rinse diced potatoes in cold running water. Bring a large pot of salt water to a rolling boil, drop in diced potatoes and boil for eight to 10 minutes.

Drain into a colander and transfer to a shallow dish to cool. Add carrots, fennel, red bell pepper, corn kernels and enough mayonnaise to moisten, and salt and pepper to taste.

Place a 3-inch ring mold on serving plate and spoon in salad mixture. Trim salmon slices to fit a 3-inch mold. Arrange a slice of smoked salmon on top of salad. Repeat with remaining five serving plates.

Prepare the mustard-dill sauce and spoon around each serving. Garnish with sprigs of fresh dill.

Serves 6.

Mustard-Dill Sauce

This sauce can be prepared several days ahead, Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Try replacing the dill with basil leaves, cilantro, water cress, parsley or sorrel.

3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

1 teaspoon powdered mustard

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/3 cup oil

3 tablespoons fresh chopped (or snipped) dill

In a small, deep bowl, combine the mustard, powdered mustard, sugar and vinegar and blend well. With a wire whisk, slowly beat in the oil until it forms a thick mayonnaise. Stir in the chopped dill. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes about 1 cup.

Kerstin’s Swedish Potato and Gravlax Casserole

Unsalted butter for the baking dish

Eight (1 3/4 pounds) white or red

new potatoes, steamed, peeled,

and thinly sliced

8 large slices gravlax or smoked salmon

1/2 small yellow onion,

peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill

Salt and freshly ground black

pepper to taste

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

3 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter,

cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with butter. Arrange half of the sliced potatoes on the bottom. Arrange the slices of gravlax on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with the onion and dill. Repeat with a top layer of the remaining sliced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, beat the cream and egg and pour over the potato mixture.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs and pieces of butter over the potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve hot or cold.

Makes 6 servings

Note: Whole new unpeeled potatoes, steamed, take about 20 minutes to cook, depending on the size of the potatoes. Peeled and sliced potatoes, boiled, take only five minutes.