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Spending as much time in the kitchen as I do, and dealing with such massive quantities of food, I tend to get bored with putting out the same old menu over and over. I usually solve this problem a) by trying not to serve the same dish two weeks in a row (unless it’s something really, really popular), and b) by mixing things up with different culturally themed menus, which has turned out to be a real crowd pleaser!


Themed menus happen at our place about one in every 3 Friday nights, and a lot of the time, I would say that doing a theme is even easier than not doing a theme. Not always though. Sometimes, for example, I might like spending hours rolling sushi or skewering meat, but that has to be on a week in which I feel really well organized and relaxed with my preparations. I say it can be easier though, because my themed menus are usually less complex and time-consuming than my non-themed menus. For example, if we’re doing an Israeli theme, its a lot easier to do Israel salad, schnitzels, pitas etc than it is to do some of the other types of mains and sides that I sometimes put out.

Here are some menus that I will cover over the next few blog posts, some in greater detail than others, and each one is good for 50-60 people:

  1. Asian Shabbos
  2. Thanksgiving Shabbos
  3. Mexican Shabbos
  4. Kentucky Fried Shabbos
  5. Israeli Shabbos

Asian Shabbos

This may be my most time-consuming themed menu, but its always worth it because everyone loves it! Plus, I only ever undertake it when I know I’ll have enough time and help to do it well.  Since I usually don’t do a fish course on Friday night when we’re expecting a large crowd (logistically it’s difficult and even with only one course and dessert there’s always enough food), the sushi or salmon salad is definitely optional. The fruit kebabs are not Asian per say, but at the end of such a huge and filling meal, I like to serve something elegant, light, refreshing and colorful.

The Menu:

  • Optional Starter: Sushi or BBQ Salmon Salad
  • Asian-Style Shredded Cabbage Salad (See recipe in previous post)
  • Asian Lettuce Salad
  • Honey-Soy Green Beans (See recipe in previous post)
  • Egg Rolls
  • Wontons
  • Easy Egg-Fried Rice
  • Sticky Sesame Chicken
  • Optional Beef add-on: Mini Garlic Beef Satay
  • Dessert – Fruit Kebabs over Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Leftovers Option: Sushi Salad

My Recipes

BBQ Salmon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lb Boneless Salmon Fillet (can be pieces or whole)
  • 3 tablespoons Garlic Granules
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (I use Jack Daniels)
  • 1/3 cup Sesame Oil (or Olive Oil)
  • Baby Spinach leaves
  • Cherry/Grape tomatoes cut into halves
  • Cucumber cut into chunks
  • Sesame Seeds (toasted is best)

Lay the salmon flat in a pan and sprinkle/drizzle with Garlic Granules, Honey, Soy Sauce, BBQ Sauce and Sesame Oil – in that order. Make sure there will be enough sauce covering the fish to pour over the entire salad later. If necessary, add more of everything, especially BBQ sauce. Bake for approximately 20 mins in a 365F oven, or until fish is cooked through. Cool the salmon completely (overnight is best)

Cut the salmon into 1 inch chunks and mix together with the leftover sauce and all the salad ingredients. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. [Alternatively, cut the salmon into chunks and lay on a platter of spinach leaves, interspersed with the tomatoes and cucumber chunks, then drizzle with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.]

I have made this salad maybe 1,000 times, and it’s always a hit!

Asian Lettuce Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bags shredded Romaine or any crunchy Lettuce
  • 2 cans Baby Corn
  • 2 cups Almond flakes (toasted is always best)
  • 2-3 cups fried Wonton strips (see below)

Dressing: (This is from http://www.gourmetkoshercooking.com). I usually x3 it.

  • 4 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • Pinch fresh or dried Ginger

Toss all the salad ingredients together with the dressing, except for the Wonton strips which should be added at the very last moment. Do not overdress (your salad or yourself).

Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 3 packs Egg Roll Wraps (I use Nasoya)
  • 12-15 cups shredded Cabbage or Coleslaw mix
  • 4 tablespoons Garlic Granules
  • 2 tablespoons Salt
  • Sprinkling of Pepper
  • Optional: Scallions or any Onions
  • Optional: a drizzle of Soy Sauce
  • Canola Oil for frying
  • Sweet and Sour sauce for dipping

Throw the cabbage, spices and optional ingredients into a food processor and shred until quite small. Place about 1.5 tablespoons of cabbage mix about 2 inches from the edge of an egg roll wrap. Dab the edges of the wrap with water and fold over. Tuck in the sides. Keep rolling until you have a tube. Repeat until all your mix is rolled. Fry in 1-inch deep medium-hot oil, turning over once until browned. Drain on paper towels.

Makes 60 egg rolls

Don’t forget your dipping sauce!

Fried Wontons

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 packs Wonton Wraps (I use Nasoya)
  • 2 lb Ground Meat
  • 4 tablespoons Ground Ginger (or you can use fresh)
  • 4 tablespoons Garlic Granules (or fresh garlic)
  • generous sprinkling of Salt and Pepper
  • Optional: scallions, water chestnuts
  • Canola oil for frying

Grind the meat, spices and optional ingredients together in a food processor. Place a teaspoon of the meat mixture into the center of a wonton wrap. Wet the edges with a dab of water and fold over into a triangle. Repeat until done.

Drop into approximately 1 inch of medium-hot oil until browned on one side. Turn over until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Makes 50-60

Leftover wanton wraps can be cut into strips, fried and used in the Asian Lettuce Salad (above)

Easy Egg-Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups uncooked Rice (most basic kinds should be ok, I use long-grain parboiled)
  • 5 Eggs
  • bunch of chopped Scallions
  • 2 cups of frozen Peas
  • Canola oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Optional: Salt

Boil rice according to instructions. Set aside. Scramble and fry eggs in a small amount of oil. Chop into strips and set aside. In a large pan or wok saute the scallions and peas in about a cup of oil for 7-8 mins. Throw the rice back into the pot (wok) with the peas, scallions and oil in batches, drizzling in soy sauce at the same time. Make sure that all the rice has made contact with the hot surface. Mix in the egg at the last minute. Add soy/salt to taste.

Sticky Sesame Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Chicken pieces (I use all drumsticks) spread out single layer on a tray
  • Sauce (multiply quantities as needed): – 1 cup Honey, 1/2 cup Ketchup, 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • Canola Oil
  • Sesame seeds

Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken. Drizzle with oil. Bake in a 390F oven for approximately 1.5 – 2 hours, turning once or twice. When done, sprinkle generously with Sesame Seeds.

Mini Garlic Beef Satay

Ingredients:

  • Any Beef or Steak cut into small cubes or strips
  • Kebab sticks
  • Marinade: (multiply quantities as needed) – 7 cloves of Garlic, 2x2x2 inch cube of fresh Ginger, 1/2 cup Olive, Sesame or Canola oil, 1/2 cup Honey, 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • Optional garnish: chopped Scallions, chopped Peanuts or Sesame Seeds

String 4-5 pieces of Beef onto wet kebab sticks (or use dry ones and cover the exposed ends with aluminum foil, pulling it off before serving (I prefer this method even though it takes longer) and lay sticks out in a pan. Place marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend for a minute. Pour marinade over kebabs. Cover and refrigerate. Leave for an hour (overnight is even better).

Grill or broil kebabs, turning over if necessary.

Tip: You don’t need to use much meat per stick for these, especially if they are accompanying lots of other dishes. I prefer them as mini sticks, rather than a large bite.

Fruit Kebabs over Vanilla Ice-Cream

Ingredients:

  • Any fruit (I like to use pineapple, watermelon, purple grapes and peach or nectarine)
  • Kebab sticks
  • Pareve (non-dairy) Ice Cream (I prefer to buy it, but I’m sure many of you have great recipes – feel free to share.)

String chunks of fruit onto kebab sticks. Serve each fruit kebab over a mini-cup of ice-cream.

Lisa’s Shabbos Day Sushi Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups cooked Sushi Rice (seasoned with Rice Vinegar)
  • 2-3 shredded sheets of Nori (seaweed)
  • 1/2 cup Black Sesame Seed
  • 1 chopped Avocado
  • 1 diced Carrot (peel and dice before Shabbos)
  • 1 peeled and diced Israeli cucumber (ditto)
  • One of the following: cooked piece of Salmon, handful of shredded Lox, can of Tuna
  • Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Throw all the solid ingredients into a bowl. Dowse with Soy Sauce to taste. Mix well. I use my hands (with plastic gloves) to mix it, which helps to blend the sticky rice with everything else.

Serves 20 – 30 people

Stay tuned for more to come…

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