A Shavuot Menu

May 15, 2012

8 min read


Celebrate with these tantalizing dishes.

Salmon Flowers in Lemon Sauce

Salmon Flowers in Lemon SauceShavuot we decorate our home with flowers to remind us of the mountain upon which God presented us with the Torah. This recipe also is presented in the shape of a flower to fit the theme of this holiday.

Many times in cooking up simple dishes presentation is key. Every homemaker likes to make an impression. Salmon is a pretty basic appetizer offered at many festival meals but serving it in the shape of a flower makes it very special, and receives rave reviews from my guests! I serve rather small portions to leave room for the rest of this spectacular meal!


  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1 Tbs turmeric (optional)
  • ½ tomato pureed
  • 2 fresh cloves garlic minced
  • 3 salmon steaks cut in half lengthwise


Combine 1st 6 ingredients. Make a paste and smear the salmon steaks generously on all side. Oil a muffin tin well and take a half a piece of fish and roll into the muffin tin. It should fit in comfortably. Bake at 425 for 10 to 15 minutes until fish is golden. Serve cold or hot. Garnish with celery leaves and a twisted slice of lemon or lime.

15 minutes
Serves 6

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom SoupIngredients:

  • 1 lb. white mushrooms
  • 6 Tbs butter
  • 1 small onion, fairly finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup sour cream


Wash mushrooms well, peel the tops and remove stems. Slice mushroom caps, and chop stems.

Melt butter or oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onions until translucent then add sliced mushroom to pan, and sauté until mushrooms are tender, approx. 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, take out some mushroom slices and reserve for garnish. In a separate dish stir 1 tablespoon flour with ½ cup of water removing lumps until well combined. Add it to the pot and gradually add remaining water, stirring constantly until thickened. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Puree soup with a blender stick. Add sour cream. Cook gently for another 5 minutes. Garnish with reserved mushroom slices.

Serve in pretty bowls and top with croutons.

20 minutes
Serves 6

Pasta with Broccoli and Pine Nuts

Pasta with Broccoli and Pine NutsA delightful dish that is easy to make ahead and warm up when needed for the dairy Yom Tov meal. Any pasta will work with this dish. My favorite is wide noodles, or penne noodles pictured above.

The beauty of this dish, apart from the speed from pot to plate, is how the broccoli takes on the lightly creamy, cheese sauce. I find myself always wishing there was more broccoli and less pasta when I eat it.

The pine nuts provide little flavor bursts with some textural contrast.

Note: you can substitute the pine nuts with toasted sesame seeds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds.


  • 400g (14oz) wide noodles/elbow macaroni/penne pasta
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 handfuls toasted pine nuts or any one of these toasted- sesame /sunflower/ pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 lbs. frozen broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large handfuls grated cheese
  • Additional grated cheese or parmesan, for serving


Bring a very large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium low heat. Add pine nuts or seeds and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until golden. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Set your timer to go off three minutes before the pasta will be done. Cook pasta and when the timer buzzes, pop in the broccoli and continue to cook for the remaining three minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli bright green and cooked through. Reserve a cup of the cooking water then drain immediately.

Put the frying pan back on a low heat and add pasta and broccoli. Add the sour cream. Toss to combine all ingredients well then add cheese and toss again until the cheese has melted. If it looks a little dry, add some reserved pasta water until the sauce is to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

15 minutes
Serves 6

Nutty Cole Slaw and Feta Cheese Salad

Nutty Cole Slaw and Feta Cheese SaladHere is a delicious and light version of red cabbage at its best. Red cabbage is delicious raw but many serve it cooked or steamed with equally tantalizing results!


  • 1 Red cabbage, sliced (use two bags of pre-checked cabbage)
  • 8 oz (240 grams) Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 shakes dill
  • 4 ounces Pine nuts, roasted or toasted in a pot
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Lemon juice, fresh squeezed


Slice the red cabbage or spill contents of bags into a bowl.

Dress with olive oil and lemon juice.

Top with crumbled Feta cheese and pine nuts or seeds. Mix thoroughly and serve in pretty salad bowls, or as part of the main course!


You may substitute feta cheese with your favorite cheese and serve as a main course or filling lunch. Substitute pine nuts with other seeds such as sesame or sunflower seeds. Substitute parsley with cilantro or other fresh herbs of your choice.

10 minutes

Scrumptious Amaretto Cheese Cake

Scrumptious Amaretto Cheese CakeIngredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • For the topping:
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 lb regular cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1 Tbs melted butter
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3 Tbs Amaretto liqueur


Prepare the crust:
Preheat the oven to 325°F and position a rack in the lower portion. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl until well mixed. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press firmly into an even layer in the bottom. Set aside.

Prepare the topping:
With the food processor knife crush almonds into coarse pieces. In a small bowl, toss the crushed almonds with the melted butter and sugar. Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and place in the oven to toast lightly while you prepare the filling, about 7 or 8 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare the filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add the sour cream, melted butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and Amaretto and blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Pour into the springform pan, place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. The cake should appear set but still wiggle in the center if gently shaken from side to side.

When the cheesecake is done, shut off the oven, and leave the cake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Gradual temperature changes help prevent the top from cracking. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake and place on a cooling rack for another 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.

20 minutes
Makes 12 servings

For different toppings: Reserve a tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture for topping. You can also make an orange version ~ substitute orange extract for the almond and Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec) for the Amaretto. Top with some shaved dark chocolate or chocolate orange leaves.

Original Flower Challah

Original Flower ChallahBasic Water Challah Recipe


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs active dry or 2 ounces fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup oil (we use canola, but vegetable is fine)
  • 6 cups unbleached white flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk for a wash
  • Sesame or poppy seeds or cinnamon sugar for topping (optional)


Mix ½ cup water with 1 tsp honey and the yeast. Allow to activate until bubbles form, approximately 10 minutes. Set aside. In a mixing bowl add salt, 1½ Tbs honey, flour; oil and 1½ cups water add the fermented yeast. Knead until a smooth and semi firm dough forms. Let dough rise for 1 hour, punch it down and then let rise another half hour.

You can also use your own favorite challah recipe.

The dough is now ready to be used for the flower.

Take a ball of dough and roll it out into a circle.

Place rolled out dough onto parchment paper allowing room to grow.

Then cut 5 slits into the circumference of the disc of dough to make 5 petals.

To create 2nd layer of petals, cut 1" strips of dough, roll out and place one piece over each petal. To finish off the flower place a few small balls of dough on top making an indentation into the middle of the dough so all layers stay in place.

Let rise for another 30 minutes.

Smear egg wash over the flower shaped challah. Sprinkle with your favorite seeds.

Bake at 375 until golden brown approximately
½ hour.

Chag Sameach!

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