Um…Hi. Here’s what’s been going on (not in order of importance). 2 appendicitises, 1 son’s wedding, 1 eclipse. I am extremely special, most people only have one appendicitis, I had two. The first one burst. Ow. It couldn’t be removed because it was a mess. Two weeks in the hospital. Two months recovery. Sigh. Then I healed. Then I got another appendicitis, and they FINALLY took the darn thing out. One week in the hospital, one month recovery.
Then Dear Son married Dear DIL from VENEZUELA!! Wahoo!! BH!!! The amazingly awesome wedding was in Miami, where there are a LOT of people from Venezuela as well as a LOT of people that speak Spanish. Since I speak around 4 Spanish words I did quite a bit of smiling and shaking my head. The wedding was beautiful, the food was incredible, and it was super fun to combine Sephardi customs with Ashkenazi customs to really get the best of both worlds!
The uf ruf weekend was here in hometown Chicago the week before the wedding. I knew that the only way to survive the onslaught of people taking over my house was to actually take a break from my normal way of doing things (read: spur of the moment) and to plan. I was shocked at how well it worked! My friends and family were stunned at the calm in the house the Friday they arrived. Proving once again…It’s all about the plan!
So…in the spirit of calmness and happiness, I’m starting to plan for Rosh Hashanah. Here in Chicago, the holiday is 3 days long. Long. I need to make sure that we don’t starve, thus the plan.
Here are a few helpful tools that I use for planning:
- I use Mastercook. It’s an online and desktop program that takes your recipes (and even downloads new ones for you) and allows you to make a meal plan. I save my recipe plans from year to year, adding new ones that I find interesting.
- I try to cook my meat in advance, then freeze it. I’m not a big advance “cooker” but I definitely will prepare beef products in advance then freeze them. They almost always come out better once they are frozen. True story.
- I check out the latest and greatest Rosh Hashanah recipes from my friends and fellow bloggers. Ok. That was a super easy one.
- Check out my site koshereveryday.com (a little self promotion never hurt!)
I’m starting with a meal plan.
- I make a large calendar that lists the meals for each day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also take a piece of blank paper, then divide it into categories like appetizers, soups, main, side dishes, vegetables, desserts. I will enter the different foods I think I might like to make on that blank sheet under each of the appropriate categories.
- Each meal has certain common foods, like challah, wine, honey and soup. I make a list of those then put those under the appropriate meals in the food calendar.
- I know I will need “new fruits” for the second night meal, so I write it in the food calendar under the second night dinner.
- Some people will make some of the meals dairy to lighten the amount of food eaten. NOT ME! The reason is because I like my sanity. If something doesn’t get eaten during one meal I can serve it at a different meal. I will generally make the last meal the “leftover meal”. Whatever odds and ends we didn’t finish during the other meals get served on the last day. I enter this meal as “leftovers”.
- I make a list of Holiday Centric Foods that are “must haves” during Rosh Hashanah. These would include foods like Leek Patties (see below), Chicken and Leek Soup, Pomegranate Chicken, Honeyed Beets, No Bake Pomegranate Mousse Pie – just to name a few. I then put those into my food list.
- I compile a list of the rest of the foods I want to cook and divide them into the list categories. I know I will need approximately 6 meat items, 6 poultry items (when I cook for a crowd I usually like to serve poultry and meat), 1-2 vegetable items minimum per meal (salad, vegetable dishes), and 2 sides minimum per meal (rice, potatoes, quinoa, kugels, etc.). I call it the “Rule of 3” – In addition to the main course, I like to have a minimum total of 3 sides on the table (including vegetables). I also add 1 dessert per meal plus additional cookies/brownies/treats. Once this list is done I move the items around, pairing the ones that seem to compliment each other, creating a menu.
- I place each food item from the food list onto the calendar. As I move a dish onto the calendar I highlight it on the list. I keep doing this until the entire list is highlighted. If I note that something is missing from the meal plan this is a good time to add it.
- If I’m using Mastercook, it will even generate a shopping list from the recipes and food items on the meal plan. This way I don’t forget to purchase anything I might need to prepare the food.
- I decide when I am going to make each of the items on the meal plan. I write next to each item the day I am preparing it. Mastercook will also generate all the recipes associated with the meal plan when printing the plan.
- As I make the items on the meal plan I highlight them.
Hmmmm…did that make any sense??? Let me know if you have questions or need me to clarify anything. I’ll be busy here making lists in the meantime…
Here’s an awesome recipe I found (and use every year since 2010!) for Karti/Leek Patties in Leah Schapira’s cookbook “Fresh and Easy”. I make them gluten free by using gluten free panko crumbs (which were on sale at my local Jewel store this week!) instead of the glutenous ones. Here’s the recipe:
- 3 large leeks (or 4 small ones), white & green parts only
- water as needed
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 3 to 4 eggs
- 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs or matzah meal
- salt, to taste
- 1 pinch sugar
- oil for frying
- Cut off the dark green part off the leeks and discard. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut the leek into strips and dice.
- Place leeks into a pot with enough water to cover. Add 2 Tablespoons oil. Bring to a boil.
- Drain very very well, pressing out excess water.
- Add the eggs, crumbs, salt, and sugar. Form the batter into patties.
- Pour a thin layer of oil into a skillet over medium heat and bring to a frying temperature. Slip patties into hot oil and fry until browned on one side. Flip patties and brown the other side.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.
Here is some of the stuff I made for my Dear Son’s Uf Ruf. I haven’t baked in a while so this was super-de-duper fun!
Check out this video of the incredibly cool stained glass cookies I made with moving & shaking sprinkles inside!