Embrace The Make-Ahead: Kosher Blogger Roundup
Light salads are easy to make in advance, and taste better for it. Ronnie Fein/JW
Cold vegetarian and grain salads are the perfect, light break-fast repast.
When the Yom Kippur fast is over, we are all more than ready to eat, and by all, I mean a big crowd. We ask ourselves a lot of important questions during this 24-hour period of solemnity, and one of them is whether we’ve prepared enough food, especially since we have to make it all in advance. Here’s a roundup of tasty make-ahead cold salads perfect for your break-the-fast feast.
They’re light and don’t overwhelm an empty stomach, and yet they are filling enough to satisfy the hungry horde. You can include seasonal ingredients and add textural elements that give the dish crunch. Or you can use a snappy, interesting and flavorful dressing. And of course, they can be served with the traditional appetizing-and-bagels spread.
Tami Weiser at The Weiser Kitchen frequently hosts a big gang for this meal. The favored dishes at her buffet are always the cold salads. “They’re not sides,” she says. They’re more like mains, because many of her guests are vegan and vegetarian. She offers several selections so there will be plenty for everyone: “This is not a moment for austerity,” she says, “the gracious plenty and buffet is part of elevating the day.” Among her favorites are those that have good “crunch,” like her Tri-Color Green Bean and Carrot Salad and those that include a protein and starch or whole grain, such as Mediterranean Tuna-Rice Salad, which she makes with white or brown rice and sometimes with barley.
Fish salads are a break-fast specialty at the Klinkowitz household. According to Sarah, who blogs at Simply Inspired Kitchen, “most Chasidim will not eat fish before a fast because it is said to make a person excessively thirsty.” But fish salads are perfect vehicles for ahead-of-time preparation, and they also “encourage people to drink more water to rehydrate,” so they’re also perfect for eating when the fast is over. Sarah especially loves Nicoise Salad with Potatoes because “you get everything – an easy-to-digest protein, carbs and vegetables – all in one dish.”
Liz Rueven, at Kosherlikeme.com, says cold grain salads are especially welcome because they actually taste better when they’re made ahead of time. “Many grains benefit in flavor from being coated in a dressing for a few hours or even days before being served,” she said. Liz’s children are especially fond of quinoa, so this year she will be serving Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables, which appeared in her e-book “4-Bloggers Dish: Passover.”
At Family-Friends-Food, the make-ahead requirement is Helen Goldrein’s focus. She says her Moroccan Carrot Salad “will happily sit in the fridge for a day before you eat it; in fact, it may even improve as the carrots marinate in the dressing.” Helen also focuses on color, so her buffet table is beautiful as well as bountiful. The carrot salad in orange will sit alongside her Beet Salad with Pomegranate and other seasonal cold salads.
Color and crunch are also important to Hindy Garfinkel of Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker, whose beautiful Kale and Butternut Squash Salad includes healthy raw, chopped kale and also features seasonal tidbits such as pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. And for Melinda Strauss at Kitchen-Tested, it’s the dressing that makes a salad festive enough for the post-fast meal: Her Apricot Nectarine Caprese Salad boasts an intriguing mint, parsley and peanut pesto.
At my house, we always have a vegetarian spread (one of my daughters is allergic to fish), replete with some hot foods such as mujadarah, but mostly a variety of cold salads. Here’s the one I served last year – it was a huge hit, and the recipe is from my book, The Modern Kosher Kitchen.
Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford. She is the author of The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, and friend her on Facebook at RonnieVailFine. She tweets @RonnieVFein.