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September 11, 2009
 

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 By Linda Morel NEWYORK (JTA)--The day before Yore Kippur, I always go to a local appetizing store and buy as much smoked fish as I can carry home. My selections are hardly ever tempered by my wallet, which is why I'm staggered when I get the bill. I do this from habit and because my family adores these foods. But are bagels and lox mandatory to break the Yom Kippur fast? Ideally this meal should be restorative, easy to digest and readily assembled at the last minute. Bagels and lox meet these criteria, so platters of smoked fish--along with kugels and sliced toma- toes-have become the menu of choice among many Ashkenazim in America. But this year I became curious about Sephardic customs. Perusing cookbooks, I discovered a treasure trove of break-fast recipes whose variety astounded me. Sephardim often partake in dairy foods on this special night; bagels and lox are not part of their culinary repertoire. Surprisingly, some Linda Morel Sephardim break the fast with soups and stews Red snapper with raisins and nuts is traditional on break- calling for meat, and with dishes that are typical fast menus in Italy. main course fare, as opposed to the brunch foods enjoyed by Ashkenazim. While the break-fast menu varies among Sephardim chicken broth, but the canned broth in this version eases from country to country, their entrees and side dishes preparation at a busy time of year. are nourishing, delicious, gentle on empty stomachs and Yield: 8 servings economical. They are well worth considering in a year Ingredients: when the stock market remains down and the cost of 3 tablespoons olive oil smoked fish is up. 1 medium onion chopped The Sephardic custom of eating meat to break the fast 5 carrots, cut horizontally into thin circles has roots in Spanish tradition. In "A Drizzle of Honey: The 1/2 cup uncooked rice Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews," authors David 1 (48-ounce) can chicken broth Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson cited several instances of I chicken bouillon cube, dissolved in 1 1/2 cups hot water meat-based menus. Jews in Castile, who clandestinely con- 3 eggs at room temperature formed to their religion to avoid the terror of the Spanish 1 1/2 lemons at room temperature Inquisition, often broke the fast with fowl or other meat. Preparation: In Aragon, Spain, and in Portugal, fish and fowl were the In a medium-large pot. heat olive oil on a low flame. preferred foods on this occasion. Add onion and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Add The authors mentioned the late 15th century custom carrots and rice and stir for another couple of minutes of Rabbi Simuel of Teruel: "After the fast, in the evening until well combined. [his family] ate chicken. Amazingly the family of Aldonza Pour chicken broth and bouillon water into pot. Stir Deli of Teruel broke their fast with doves." ingredients and cover pot. When broth comes to a boil, WhileI'venevertriedadove--atYomKippurorever I've lower flame so that broth gently simmers. Simmer 25 to always felt a nice bowl of chicken soup would be appealing 30 minutes, or until rice is soft enough to eat. after forgoing food for more than 24 hours. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a medium-sized bowl until In "Jewish Food: The World at Table," Mathew Good- frothy. Slowly drizzle in lemon juice while whisking. man discussed the Sephardic custom of breaking the Yom When soup is ready, uncover the pot and stir soup for Kippur fast with chicken soup. In Italy, the broth is often a minute to release heat. Remove a half-ladle of soup and heightened with turkey meatballs and pieces of pasta, gradually drizzle into egg mixture, whisking briskly. (If which sounded very tempting, you add soup too quickly, eggs will curdle.) Repeat this Jews in Greece and Turkey end the fast withAvgolemono, 3 more times, until you've added 2 ladles of soup to egg an egg-and-lemon soup in a chicken broth base that is mixture. thickened with rice. Light and delicious, it's a staple on Stir pot of soup again to continue releasing heat. Slowly Greek diner menus year round, drizzle egg mixture into pot of soup, whisking vigorously. Several cookbooks featured Moroccan Lemon Chicken Soup will appear creamy. with Olives, a wildly popular break-fast stew, which richly To serve immediately, heat soup on a low flame for about deserves its reputation. 2 minutes, until warmed through. Recipe can be made a Moroccohasspawnedaspectrumoftemptingbreak-fastday in advance, covered, refrigerated and reheated on a recipes. In the "Jewish Holiday Kitchen," Joan Nathan low flame. raved about both chicken couscous and harira, a thick BESCE ALL'EBI JCA (Fish, Jewish Style, from Italy) soup brimming with stewing meat, lava beans andlentils. Pareve The original recipe dates back to biblical times. In Italy, this recipe is made with small whole fish. To Nathan's cookbook featured an easy but delicious recipe satisfy American preferences, this version calls for fillets, for Algerian Chicken Tagine (stew) with Quinces, which allowing the dish to be reheated right before the break- the Jaffin family of Algiers served as a main course to fast meal. break the fast. Yield: 8 servings Of course, no Jewish holiday meal is complete without Ingredients: fish on the menu. In "The Classic Cuisine of the Italian 1/2 cup red wine vinegar Jews," Edda Servi Machlin waxed poetic about a sweet- 1/4 cup dry red wine and-sour fish in the Jewish style. 1/2 cup olive oil After tinkering with the recipe, I realized this piquant I heaping tablespoon honey dish would be an excellent way to introduce Sephardic 1/2 cup dark raisins food to the usual smoked fish menu, a way to bridge the No-stick vegetable spray gap for those who aren't ready to jump to meat. 2 red snappers (2 pounds each), filleted and cut into 4 Likewise, Zucca Disfatta, or Pumpkin Puree, is a pareve pieces each, 8 pieces in all recipe that pairs well with meat dishes or smoked fish. Kosher salt to taste Claudia Roden in her landmark "The Book of Jewish Food: White pepper to taste An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York" explained that 1/2 cup pignoli nuts the dish was prepared to break the fast in charming Fer- Preparation: rara, Italy, the setting of the movie "The Garden of the Whisk togethervinegar, wine, oil, and honey until honey Finzi-Contini." dissolves. Stir in raisins and soak for 15 minutes. Sephardic recipe possibilities go on and on. Moroccan Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking Jews also break the fast with a chickpea and chicken om- pan with no-stick spray. Rinse fillets under cold water and elet. Or there's Hamine, eggs cooked for hours until their dry with paper towels. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper. yolks turn creamy and their whites become light brown. Place fillets skin side down in prepared pan, overlapping According to Roden says that hamine, which are sold by as little as possible. street vendors in Israel, have come to epitomize Sephardic Whisk vinegar mixture again and pour over fillets, evenly food there. Like smoked fish, they are eaten at births and coating them. Place pan in oven and bake for 10 minutes. deaths, and to break the Yom Kippur fast. Baste every 5 minutes. Although Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews may come from Sprinkle pignoli nuts over the fillets and continue to different culinary traditions, we are tied together by a com- bake and baste for another 10 minutes, or until fish flakes mon heritage. Whether we eat dairy foods or meat, after when pierced,with a fork. the Day of Atonement we turn to each other, our families To serve immediately, place fish on a platter and spoon and foods we can count on. raisins, nuts, and sauce over fish. To prepare a day in The following recipes were developed by Linda Morel. advance, cover pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate. AVGOLEMONO (Egg and Lemon Soup) Return fish to room temperature. Reheat in a 350-degree Meat oven for 10 minutes, or until warmed through. This light soup hailing from Greece and Turkey is calm- DJADJA ZETOON (Moroccan-Style Lemon Chicken with ingto empty stomachs. Original recipes call for homemade Olives) Meat Yield: 6-8 servings Preserved Lemon Express Jews throughout North Africa and in many Middle Eastern countries cook with preserved lemons, which are quartered, heavily salted, and stored in jars of oil for 3 to 4 weeks. This process softens the peel's bitterness while enhancing the lemon's splendid pungency. Here is a 30-minute method that approximates the burst of citrus flavor achieved the old fashion way: Ingredients: 1 lemon 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 2 cups ice cubes Preparation: With the point of a sharp knife, pierce the lemon skin 4 times, barely breaking the surface. In a small saucepan, submerge the lemon in water. Add olive oil and salt. Simmer on a low flame for 30 minutes. Remove lemon with a slotted spoon and submerge in a bath of ice cubes and water for 5 minutes (lemon may pucker). Remove and dry with a paper towel. Can be made a day before Lemon Chicken, if covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated. Lemon Chicken Ingredients: 1 chicken, cut into 10 pieces (2 legs, 2 hips, 2 wings, and the breast cut into quarters) 5 tablespoons olive oil, or more if needed 1 large onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped Kosher salt to taste Black pepper to taste 2/3 cup green olives (not filled with pimentos), pitted and sliced 2 packages couscous, optional, prepared according to package instructions Preparation: In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil briefly on a medium flame. Saute chicken pieces until golden brown. Remove to a platter. Carefully pour oily chicken fat from pot into a heatproof container. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute onion, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes. Stir tomato paste and tumeric into 1 1/2 cups water, combining well. Return chicken to pot and stir. Add tomato mixture, parsley, cilantro, salt and pepper. Cover pot. On a medium flame, simmer for 45 minutes, turning chicken and stirring sauce occasionally. Meanwhile, slice Preserved Lemon (recipe above) in half and discard seeds. Cut lemon into 1/4-inch pieces, includ- ing the peel. Add lemon pieces and olives to chicken. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Prepare couscous. To serve immediately, place couscous on a platter and cover with chicken and sauce. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro and parsley, if desired. To prepare a day in advance, cover chicken and refrigerate. Reheat on a low flame until warmed through. ZUCCA DISFATTA (Pumpkin Puree) Pareve In Italy, pumpkins have a different taste and consistency than those found in the United States. In fact the word zucca means either pumpkin or gourd. Original recipes call for fresh pumpkin and entail the arduous task of peeling the flesh from the peel. Yield: 6-8 servings Equipment: 6-cup souffle dish or comparable deep ovenproof dish Food processor or blender Ingredients: 1 large onion, chopped fine 3 tablespoons vegetable oil Salt to taste 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more if desired 2 (15-ounce) cans pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) 3 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar No-stick vegetable spray 1/4 cup sliced almonds Preparation: On a low flame, saute onion in vegetable oil. Sprinkle in salt, cinnamon, and pepper, mixing well. Saute, stirring occasionally until onion pieces wilt but do not burn, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, place pumpkin, sugar, vinegar and onion mixture. Process ingredients until well blended. Check salt and seasonings and add more, if needed. Coat souffle dish with no stick spray. Spoon pumpkin mixture into prepared dish. Recipe can be made to this point one day in advance. Cover dish, refrigerate, and bring to room temperature before proceeding. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle almonds and cin- namon on top of pumpkin. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until pumpkin bubbles at the edges. Serve immediately.