Shabbos in the summer is so beautiful, you almost want to pick up your meal and move it outdoors. And who says you can’t? With the day so long, inviting company breaks up the day and turns a Shabbos lunch into a relaxing afternoon with friends. One of the most common questions I hear is what to make for Shabbos lunch. While cholent and potato kugel are all well and good, sometimes you get a little bored of the traditional Shabbos fare. Your meal can be inspired by anything, especially the season and the weather. Here are some inspirations for your summer Shabbos meal.
Appetizers. To change up the first course from traditional gefilte fish or egg salad and chopped liver, make your favorite fish dish, such as seared tuna steaks over salad, a whole side of glazed salmon, imitation crab cakes, or salmon or tuna croquettes. Serve with homemade or store-bought dips for the challah. Hummus is an easy dip to make. Add fresh basil or edamame to make it fresh and new.
Salads. When I was growing up, we had a mixed vegetable salad of lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. While I still love that simple salad, there are so many options out there to mix it up. I love making a whole first course of salads. Make a fresh salad of sliced avocado, red onions, and tomato with a crushed-garlic and lemon dressing. Toss baby spinach with roasted asparagus and candied pecans, and dress it with a balsamic vinaigrette. Mix cooked quinoa, chopped mango, cucumber, green onions, and baby spinach with a vinaigrette made with oil, white-wine vinegar, and mango chutney. The possibilities are endless.
Main course. While cholent is a Shabbos staple in many homes, it’s not always the main event. I like to offer meat and poultry when having company to make sure there are options for everyone. For a summer-friendly meal, I make a mixed grill platter of boneless chicken thighs and marinated skirt steak and serve it with a tahini dipping sauce. Other ideas are chicken breast breaded with anything from panko to pistachios. Cut into slices and fan out on the plate for a pretty presentation. Hangar steaks or New York strip are also delicious grilled and then sliced just before serving. Make sure to undercook the meat a little so it is not overcooked when reheated.
On the side. Besides the kugel, which happens to be more time-consuming than other side-dish preparations, there are many side-dish options. Rice has unlimited variations, from stir-fried rice to coconut rice. Make your favorite type and add in sautéed veggies, chopped nuts for crunch, and raisins or fresh mango or pineapple. To go with the summer theme, grill or roast veggies like bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, summer squash, and asparagus, and make a colorful grilled-veggie platter. Other delicious vegetables are roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted green beans with mushrooms, or cauliflower purée.
Dessert. Summer fruits stand on their own, but if you are going to make a dessert in the summertime, using refreshing fruit is a good idea. Take mixed berries and cook them with a little sugar and lemon juice, then top with a crumble topping and bake for a fast berry crumble that can be served with pareve ice cream. Bake a tart or piecrust and top with whipped cream and sliced peaches. Make a dip from whipping cream and chocolate-pudding mix. Serve in individual ramekins with skewered strawberries or other berries and biscotti for an easy and impressive dessert. v
Mixed-Grill Platter With Tahini Dipping Sauce
2 12-oz. New York strip steaks
1½ lb. boneless chicken thighs
½ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
6 frozen garlic cubes
1 cup tahini paste
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup hot water
Place steaks and chicken thighs in large Ziploc bag. Add olive oil, brown sugar, cumin, and garlic. Seal and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk tahini and lemon juice in medium bowl till smooth. Add water and whisk until blended, adding a little more if mixture is too thick. Season with salt to taste.
Take meat and chicken out of the fridge to take the chill off. Preheat grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and place on grill pan, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Grill chicken until cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to platter. Wipe pan clean and place steaks on the pan, cooked till medium rare, 3–4 minutes per side. Place tahini in small bowl in center of a platter and arrange sliced chicken and steak around to serve.
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