Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shmini Atzeret/Simcat Torah

More holidays are upon us this week - Wednesday night starts the holiday of Shmini Atzeret, the 8th day of Sukkot when we technically stop sitting in the sukkah (we kind of need to have a whole day to come down from the excitement of the 7 day holiday) followed by Simchat Torah where we celebrate finishing the annual cycle of reading the Torah before we start it up all over again. There's seven rounds of dancing with the Torah and everyone gets called up to the Torah for an aliyah- all the kids even go up for one together in most congregations. If you live in Israel you celebrate these two holidays in one,and if you live outside you stretch it out over two days.

More holidays means more eating. The thing about Simchat Torah is that you go to synagogue at night for all the dancing and don't eat until later, so it's really a holiday conducive to snacks and finger food. There are two dishes that I created in the last few days that are prefect recipes for the occasion. One is what has come to be known as the vegetarian deli role over the past few days - pizza dough artfully folded around home made pesto, cherry tomatoes, olives and parmesan cheese. You slice the "roll" into manageable 2 inch slices for serving. The other is a tortilla, smoked salmon, cream cheese and caper roll up, sliced into not sushi-like segments - no cooking required.

You could also try making some roasted potatoes with lemion slices, black olives, paprika and dill- those are in the first shot in this post.

Vegetarian Deli Role

I adapted this recipe from Chef's Confidential - a beautiful kosher cookbook new to my mother's collection (which I'm gaining inspiration from on my own cookbook project).

1 pre- made pizza dough
1 cup of basil leaves
1/2 cup of pine nuts
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tbsp salt, plus 2 tsp
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp parmesan
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
10 kalamata pitted olives

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the pizza dough from the fridge and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

In a food processor or blender chop the garlic, then add the basil leaves, salt and pine nuts. One that is well combined, slowly pour in the olive oil as you continue to process. Add 2 tbsp parmesan and taste for salt.

Place the dough on a silpat non stick baking mat and role out the pizza dough to an even rectangle, nearly the size of the mat. Spread the pesto down the middle four inches of the dough, spread olives and cherry tomatoes over the pesto and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Here is the crafty part that will yield beautiful results. Working on a diagonal, cut slits in the dough with a pair of kitchen scissors every inch, working from the outside of the dough and stopping right before you hit the pesto area.

Now you will weave/braid the strands of dough together by starting on the top left and folding the stand of dough accross the middle of the fillin, and then do the same with the top right strand, continue in this pattern until you get to the bottom of the roll.

Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30 minutes.

Lox and Cream Cheese Roll Up
Serves 4

2 soft flour tortillas
4 tbsp whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup of capers
6 slices of lox

Spread 2 tbsp cream cheese all over one side of each tortilla. Spread 3 slices of lox down the center of each tortillas and sprinkle with capers.

Starting at one end, roll each tortilla onto itself and continue rolling until you have rolled each tortilla. Slice every two inches down the roll and serve cold.

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