All cold, all make-ahead … Yom Kippur buffet Essay

All cold, all make-ahead . . . Yom Kippur buffet

On Yom Kippur, October 6 this year, the 24-hour fast for the Day of
Atonement concludes with a special menu combining fish and dairy foods.
By custom, all labors for the meal are expended on a preceding day, and
Jewish families spend a reflective day at a synagogue.

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For the foods to be kosher–conform to Jewish dietary laws–they
must contain no meat or meat products if dairy foods are served, as in
this attractive buffet for 8 to 10 from the women of Temple Beth Jacob
in Redwood City, California.

The menu appeals to any hostess who likes to be well organized
before guests arrive. The meal begins with a simple ritual. A blessing
is said over challah, a golden loaf, which is then broken into pieces
for all to share. Then cold cerise beet borscht is served to sip from

The main part of the meal focuses on a molded poached fish salad
served with a sour cream sauce pungently seasoned with horseradish. To
make this dish kosher, use kosher gelatin, available in Jewish food
sections of well-stocked supermarkets or Jewish and Middle Eastern

Accompany with cooled steamed potatoes in a mustard dressing, and a
salad of tomatoes and cucumbers. Sweet kugel– noodles baked in
custard–is eaten with the savory foods in Jewish homes, but it also
makes a wholesome dessert.

Yom Kippur buffet

Challah Beet Borscht

Fish in Fresh Herb Aspic with

Horseradish Cream

New Potatoes in Mustard Dressing

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Noodle Kugel Grapes

Buy a golden loaf of challah–it comes in many decorative shapes,
or make it or another egg-rich, slightly sweet bread from a favorite
recipe; freeze the bread if you make it more than a day before you plan
to serve it.

You can prepare all the remaining dishes 1 to 2 days ahead. Except
for the kugel, which goes from refrigerator to oven just before the
meal, the menu is served cold.

Beet Borscht

2 pounds beets without tops

About 4 cups water

1 small onion, chopped

2 eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Lemon slices

Peel beets and coarsely shred in a food processor or through the
large holes of a grater; you should have about 5 cups.

In a 4- to 5-quart pan, combine the beets, 4 cups water, and onion.
Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer
until beets are tender to bite, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Add eggs, sugar, and lemon juice to beet mixture; in a blender,
puree a third to a half at a time. Season with salt and pepper. Cover
and chill at least 2 hours or as long as 2 days.

Before serving, stir borscht; if too thick to sip, add water to
thin soup to desired consistency. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish
with lemon slices. Ladle into cups to sip, or into bowls to serve with
spoons. Makes about 2 quarts, 8 to 10 servings of 3/4 to 1 cup each.

Fish in Fresh Herb Aspic with Horseradish Cream

2 pounds boned firm-textured white fish (such as lingcod, red
snapper, or halibut) in 1-inch-thick pieces

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds boned salmon in 1-inch-thick piece

Poaching liquid (recipe follows)


2 envelopes kosher or regular unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup each minced parsley and minced green onion


2 whole green onions, split lengthwise

Horseradish cream (recipe follows)

Arrange fish in pan of poaching liquid, overlapping so fish is
submerged. Bring to a boil on high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer
just until fish is opaque in thickest part (cut to test), 7 to 10
minutes. Lift fish from liquid with a slotted spatula; cover and chill.

Boil poaching liquid rapidly over high heat, uncovered, until
reduced to 3 cups, about 5 minutes. Pour liquid through a strainer;
discard residue. Measure liquid; if less than 3 cups, add water; set

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup water in a 1-to 2-quart pan; let stand
5 minutes to soften. Stir over medium heat until gelatin dissolves;
blend in reserved poaching liquid. Chill until mixture is as thick as
unbeaten egg whites; stir in the parsley and onion. Season with salt.

Remove and discard skin and bones from fish; break fish into about
1-inch chunks.

Cut root end and tips from whole onions; lay onions in the bottom
of a 2 1/2- to 3-quart ring mold. Pour about 1/2 inch of the gelatin
into mold, over onions.

Distribute about a fourth of the fish chunks around the ring.
Continue to make layers of fish and gelatin until all are used. Press
fish down firmly in gelatin to make top as level as possible. Cover and
refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.

To serve, dip mold to rim in hot tap water just until edges begin
to liquefy; invert mold onto a serving platter. Cut into thick slices
and serve with horseradish cream to spoon onto individual portions.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Poaching liquid. In a 4- to 5-quart pan, combine 1 quart water,
1/2 cup dry white wine, 6 each whole allspice and whole black peppers, 3
tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 large onion, sliced. Bring to a boil on
high heat; reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend
flavors. If made ahead, cover and chill in pan as long as overnight.

Horseradish cream. Stir together until blended 1 1/2 cups sour
cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 to 3 tablespoons prepared
horseradish. Use, or cover and chill up to 2 days. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

New Potatoes in Mustard Dressing

Scrub 16 to 20 red-skinned potatoes, each 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
Set potatoes on a rack in a 6- to 8-quart pan over water. Cover pan,
bring water to boiling, and cook potatoes over medium-high heat until
tender when pierced, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to

With the large end of a melon baller or tip of a small spoon, scoop
out a 1/2-inch-deep cavity in each potato. Arrange potatoes hollowed
side up on a serving dish.

Blend together 3/4 cup olive oil or salad oil, 1/4 cup white wine
vinegar, and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard; season with salt and pepper.
Spoon about half the dressing into potato cavities, allowing it to
drizzle down sides; reserve remaining dressing. Cover potatoes and chill
at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Just before serving, spoon
reserved dressing over and around potatoes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Rinse 2 long English (European) cucumbers, about 1 pound each.
Slice cucumbers, discarding ends; you should have about 6 cups. Place
slices in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt; mix, well. Cover
and chill 30 minutes. Rinse cucumbers thoroughly in cold water; drain.

Mix together 1/2 cup each white wine vinegar and sugar and 1/2
teaspoon dry dill weed. Pour dill dressing over cucumbers, mixing
gently. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days; mix several

Core and thinly slice 4 large tomatoes; arrange tomatoes on one
side of a serving dish; lift cucumbers from dressing and mound
alongside. Pour the dressing over both vegetables. Makes 8 to 10

Noodle Kugel

1/2 pound (8 oz.) dried wide lasagna noodles


4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup (1/2 pt.) small-curd cottage cheese

1 cup (1/2 pt.) sour cream

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine, melted

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup raisins

Streusel (recipe follows)

1 cup whipping cream

In a 6- to 8-quart pan, cook noodles in 4 quarts of boiling water,
uncovered, until tender to bite, about 10 minutes; drain.

Beat together eggs, sugar, cottage cheese, sour cream, butter,
milk, and vanilla until well blended. Pour about 1 cup of this mixture
into the bottom of a shallow, greased 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish.
Top with 1/4 the noodles and sprinkle with 1/4 of the raisins. Continue
to layer these ingredients until all are used. Cover and chill at least
4 hours or up to 2 days.

Sprinkle streusel evenly over the noodles. Bake uncovered in a
350| oven until pudding feels firm in center when touched, about 1 hour.
Whip cream until it holds soft peaks. Cut kugel in squares and serve
warm with whipped cream. Serves 8 to 10.

Streusel. Mix together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup firmly
packed brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. With your
fingers, rub 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) cold butter or margarine into mixture
until coarse crumbs form. Use, or cover and chill as long as 2 days.

Photo: To break the fast at Yom Kippur, thick sweet-sour beet
borscht is served to sip after the loaf of challah is blessed

Photo: Cold buffet, prepared ahead so the holiday is not
interrupted by cooking, combines dairy foods with fish and vegetables.
Molded salmon and sole with sour cream is the main dish, accompanied by
potatoes with mustard dressing and cucumber and tomato salad

Photo: Streusel-topped kugel: wide noodles baked in a raisin-laced
custard are crowned with a dollop of whipped cream to end the meal


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