A Shabbat Dinner Menu

January 28, 2013

11 min read


With lots of healthy salads and side dishes.

FIRST COURSE: Individual Salmon Salad on Bed of Lettuce
DIPS: Olive tapenada, sun-dried tomato salsa
SALADS: Baba ganoush, oriental cabbage salad, cherry tomato salad with basil and pine nuts, cranberry and cilantro quinoa salad
MAIN: Roasted chicken in lemon & herb, braised beef brisket with onions and mushrooms
SIDE DISHES: String beans, roasted onion potatoes, rice pilaf
DESSERT: Chocolate mousse cake, with fruit salad

Salmon Salad

  • 2 cups cooked, flaked salmon
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, crushed
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 4-5 tbsps. mayonnaise, or enough to moisten
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

In a large bowl, gently toss together the salmon and crushed hard-boiled eggs. In another bowl, combine bell pepper, cucumber, onion and mayonnaise. Add seasonings and stir to combine. Pour mixture over salmon, add lemon juice, and toss lightly to combine.

Makes 4 servings.

Home-made Olive Tapenada

  • 20 pitted olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. drained, chopped capers (I use dill pickles of capers are not available)
  • 2 tsps. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
  • Fresh, cracked black pepper

Combine olives, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, anchovy paste, and pepper in a food processor. Combine to a tough paste. Refrigerate.

Sun-Dried Tomato Salsa

  • 2-lb. jar of sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 red onions
  • 3 hot peppers
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes from can
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsps. cumin
  • 2 tsps. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 2 tsps. sugar
  • 1 bunch cilantro

Soak the sun dried tomatoes in enough water to submerge the tomatoes for 1 hour. Boil them in this water for 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let them cool. Grind onions, jalapenos, and garlic in food processor to fine chunky consistency. Grind the soaked tender sun dried tomatoes in food processor to fine paste. Add crushed tomatoes from can and 2 cups water to this paste and heat on the stove. Add ground onions, garlic and hot peppers. Add all spices and cook until it boils. Add lemon juice, vinegar and sugar. Mix well and turn heat off. Add chopped cilantro to salsa. Let cool and serve. Refrigerate.

This can stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.

Baba Ganoush

  • 1 large eggplant
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill. Preheat an oven to 375ºF. Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill rack 4-5 inches from the fire. Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10-15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and peel off and discard the skin. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste. Add the ¼ cup tahini, garlic, ¼ cup lemon juice and cumin and mix well. Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle it with the parsley. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Oriental Cabbage Salad

  • 2 tbsps. soy sauce
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 1 head cabbage, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, sautéed
  • 1 tbsp. oil

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and oil in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissoves. Remove from heat and cool. Combine cabbage and onions. Toss with the dressing about 20 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Basil Pine Nuts and Tomato Salad

  • 6 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 18 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Pine nuts
  • Pepper, to taste

Place tomatoes into a bowl, add basil and olive oil. Mix to combine. Just before serving, stir in pine nuts and season with pepper.

Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsps. curry powder
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup minced carrots
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

Place the water into a saucepan, and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, then pour into the quinoa, recover, and continue to simmer over low heat until the water has been absorbed. 15-20 minutes. Scrape into a mixing bowl, and chill in the refrigerator until cold. Once cold, stir in the red bell pepper, red onion, curry powder, cilantro, lemon juice, carrots and cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

  • 1 chicken cut into 1/8ths
  • 3 tsps. basil, parsley, and dill, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into ¼ inch slices
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in baking pan. Combine herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over chicken and rub gently. Place lemon on chicken. Bake at 340ºF for 1 hour.

Braised Beef Brisket with
Onions and Mushrooms

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (5-lb.) beef brisket
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 lb. Mushrooms, stemmed and finely sliced
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 bay leaves

Place brisket on a bed of onions in a roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Add the onions and celery. Season with salt and cook until they are very soft and aromatic, 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Toss in the mushrooms and cook until they are soft and wilted. Add the vinegar and reduce it by half. Add bay leaves. Pour on top of the brisket and add the chicken stock to the pan until it just covers the brisket. Cover the pan with foil and roast in the ove. Roast for 3 hours, check the brisket if tender. Add more stock if the liquid level has reduced. Cover the pan again and return it to the oven for another hour, if necessary. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the brisket to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Slice the brisket against the grain on the bias. Serve topped with the onion-mushroom mixture.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Roasted String Beans and Garlic

  • 1 lb. fresh string beans
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Snip ends off spring beans. Place in bag, coat with olive oil and minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Place in oven (350ºF) or under broiler in single layer, on a cookie sheet or roiling pan, until slightly wrinkled. Loner depending on how done you like your veggies.

Hint: cover pan with aluminum foil for simple and easy clean-up!

Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Potatoes and Onions

  • 3 potatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rings
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsps. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or grease lightly with olive oil. Put a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the dish, top with a layer of onion, sprinkle with garlic, drizzle 1 tbsp. of olive oil over it, then season with salt and pepper. Repeat until all potatoes and onion are used. Bake about 35-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Makes 4 servings.

Rice Pilaf

  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil1 tbsp. margarine
  • 1¾ cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a non-stick 10-inch skillet over medium heat and add oil. When hot, add margarine and onions and sauté until the onion is tender, about 2-3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in rice. Coat each grain with some of the grease in the pan. This key step keeps each grain separate. Cook the rice for about 30 seconds, stirring to keep rice from sticking to the bottom. Add 1¾ cups broth and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, lower the heat to a slow simmer and cover tightly. When the rice is done, fluff with a fork and serve.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Servings: 8

For the cake:

  • 1/2 pound margarine (2 tablespoons melted)
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups parve cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 1/2 cups parve cream
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 18 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-ounce pieces


Lightly coat the insides of 3 9 by 1 1/2-inch cake pans with melted margarine. Line each pan with parchment paper, then lightly coat the parchment paper with more melted margarine. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat 1-inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place remaining butter and 8 ounces semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap. Allow to heat for 10 to 12 minutes. remove from the heat, stir until smooth, and hold at room temperature.

Place the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on high until slightly thickened and lemon-colored, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for an additional 2 minutes.

While the egg yolks are beating, whisk 4 egg whites in a large stainless steel bowl until stiff, but not dry, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate mixture into the beaten egg yolk mixture. Add a quarter of the beaten egg whites and stir to incorporate, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading evenly, and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes. (During baking, the surface of the cakes will form a crust; this crust will normally collapse when the cakes are removed from the oven.) Invert the cakes onto cake circles, remove the parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


To prepare the dark chocolate cream, heat 1-inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place the semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap and allow to heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a stainless steel bowl and set aside until needed. Place parve cream and sugar in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a well-chilled balloon whip. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a hand whisk to combine 1/4 of the whipped parve cream into the melted chocolate until smooth and completely incorporated. Add the combined whipped parve cream and chocolate to the remaining whipped parve cream and use a rubber spatula to fold together.


Heat the parve cream and the margarine in a 3-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Place the semisweet chocolate in a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling parve cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Chill 1 cup of ganache for at least 1 hour. Remaining ganache should be at room temperature

To assemble cake:

Arrange one of the cake layers in a 9-inch springform pan, evenly spread half the filling over the cake and top with the second layer. Add remaining filling and top with the remaining cake layer. Chill 2 hours. Transfer chilled cup of ganache to pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Remove cake from springform pan and coat sides and top with room temperature ganache. Using chilled ganache, decoratively pipe stars on top of cake.

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