Preparing for a break-the-fast meal should not be overwhelming. It is as simple as being organized and ready to go with plans in place to make an organized break-the-fast happen.
First, make a workable list and follow it. If you are a list-writer normally and already have several in your kitchen, write this list on a really bright piece of paper, so you can find it easily. Think about your guests and their diets. Is there anyone who needs to be dairy-free? gluten-free? low sugar or low salt, etc.? People with special needs appreciate the extra care.
Let us start with that list, beginning with non-food shopping items. I recommend using paper goods, but purchase sturdy ones and also decent utensils (don’t look to scrimp here; imagine someone’s plate dropping or leaking onto your carpet or chairs). You can even buy pretty, inexpensive bowls and trays for serving. Add colorful napkins and the table will look pretty.
Serving buffet style works best for a break-fast. Don’t forget to buy lots of tins. Make sure you have orange juice (really necessary when breaking the fast), apple juice, coffee ready to be perked, milk or half-and-half, and seltzer, water, and, perhaps, soda. Don’t forget the ice!
My menu this year will consist of bagels, lox, and different cream cheeses (more to come later); salads, including tuna and egg, (also chopped egg whites); herring in cream sauce with lots of onions; a tray of sliced tomatoes and red onions; a bowl of sliced cucumbers; and a tray of low-fat sliced cheeses, including Muenster, American, and Swiss. Ahead of time, I will prepare a blintz soufflÃ©, quiches, macaroni and cheese, and a lasagne. (This is way too much food, but I try to make a nice variety). Dessert will be simple – fruit, pick-up cake, cookies, and my favorite, candy.
Going over the preparation, buy the bagels as late as you can on Friday and pack them in bags of six in a zipped plastic bag. Buy plain cream cheese (reduced fat is fine) and separate it out into a few small bowls. Add a sprig of chopped-up scallions. You can do the same by chopping up carrots and celery (red pepper, too) to make a veggie cream cheese. If you want to cut down on costs, buy a small amount of lox, and make lox spread, instead of serving sliced lox.
Buy beautiful Jersey tomatoes and large red onions. Look for the Kirby cucumbers. Persian ones are crispy, too. The tuna should be in water, not oil. I finely chop celery into ours. The same goes for egg salad. Leave out the salt and pepper and, instead, let your guests season their salads to taste. The salads should be made on Friday, but if need be, Thursday will be fine.
As for the blintz soufflÃ©, I will make mine on Friday, as late as possible. Quiches and macaroni and cheese can be made (and cooked) on Wednesday or Thursday, not before. For the lasagne, I follow the directions on the box of no-cook lasagne noodles. You can even freeze the mixture.
As soon as you walk in the door after Yom Kippur ends, set the oven (if your oven has a timer, set it to cook the items that need heating – quiche, lasagne, and blintz soufflÃ©). Put up the coffee.
Since the salads will already be on platters and ready to go from the refrigerator, let guests help you take everything out and set on the table. Everyone is going to come in very hungry, so the sooner everything is out, the better it will be.
Don’t forget to pour yourself a delicious cup of coffee, put up your feet, and have someone bring you a plate of food! Have an easy fast everyone.
For more recipes visit the Cooking With Beth Blog at www.jstandard.com