Something Different for Sukkoth

This is a very emotional time of the year for me, and I know it is too for my husband and children. For so many years my mother z”l would visit us both in South Africa and here in Atlanta at this time of the year. One of all of our fondest and meaningful memories of my Mom is the time she spent decorating the sukkah with our kids. This was the highlight of her visit, and I know both Avi and Michal will have these memories with them throughout their lives, and please G-d they will allow me to carry on this tradition with their children. It is also a time where we welcome our friends and family or adopted families into our sukkah and Mom and I would plan the meals together and cook together for hours. Mom, we try to keep the tradtion going, but know we miss you dearly.

Sukkoth is very early this year. Usually it falls in October when the weather is cooling down and I have to think of things I can make that will warm my guests in the sukkah. However this year it is really hot here in Atlanta, so I have focused on other things. I have tried to come up with different recipes, to stay away from the traditional briskets or yet another chicken dish after all we have eaten over Rosh Hashanah. I decided to focus my efforts on dishes with ground beef and ground turkey. The dishes are easy to make in larger quantities and lend themselves to entertaining in the sukkah.

Please note that all the meat used is my blog can be ordered directly from my husband’s business by clicking on the hyperlink of the underlined, highlighted words.

Mediterranean Meatballs in Olive Marinara Sauce

Ingredients for Meatballs
2 lbs, ground turkey (white meat)
1 medium onion
18 – 20 green olives, pits removed
2 extra large eggs
1 level tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 cup matsah meal

Grind the onions and olives in a food processor or magic bullet till they are finely ground. Blog Sukkoth 007
Add the olive/onion mix to the ground turkey.
Add all the seasonings and the eggs and mix well till all ingredients are incorporated.
Finely add the matzo meal.
The mixture should be soft and sticky, but firm enough to make into balls.
Lightly wet your hands and take a heaped tablespoon of mixture and roll it into a ball. Place in the Marinara Sauce.
Bring the sauce back to a gentle boil and then turn down the heat to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.

Olive Marinara Sauce

I make a very large pot of Marinara sauce whenever I make it and then freeze it and use as I need it in different dishes. So, first I make the marinara sauce and then I tweak it to make the olive marinara sauce.

Ingredients (Makes about 8 cups)
2 large onions chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large cans of Italian plum tomatoes (can have herbs in them)
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt (may need more, but taste it after it has been cooking for a while before you add any extra)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. fresh basil finely chopped, can use 1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbs. fresh oregano finely chopped, can use 1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 can pitted black olives
2 tsp. zaatar (a herb available from middle eastern stores)

Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until they are slightly caramelized.
Add the tomatoes. I take a spoon and cut the tomatoes into smaller chunks once they are in the pot.
Add the sugar and seasonings.
Lastly add the fresh or dried herbs.
Cook on a low heat for about half an hour to let all the flavors blend. At this point taste it and check if it needs more spices.
Use a blender or an immersion blender to blend into a smooth sauce.
Allow to cool before you freeze.

To make the Olive Marinara Sauce:
Use 4 cups of the marinara sauce and add to it the black olives and the zaatar. Let it cook a short while before adding the meatballs.

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Serve with steamed rice or quinoa and stir fried vegetables (recipe following)                                                                                                                                                                                        Blog Sukkoth 014      Blog Sukkoth 011

Medley of Stir Fried Vegetables

2 medium onions
1 large green zucchini
2 medium sized yellow zucchini
1 large eggplant
1 lb. mixed baby peppers (yellow, red, and orange)
2 cloves garlic
1 and 1/2 – 2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. hot sauce
2 tsp. chopped rosemary
2 tsp. chopped thyme
2 tsp. chopped oregano
1 bunch Kale

Slice onions and fry in the olive oil.
Chop garlic very fine and add to onions. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
Slice the zucchinis into small rings and then quarter the rings, and add to the onions. Keep stirring them all the time so they do not stick or burn.
Season with a bit more of the salt and pepper.
Cut the eggplant into little cubes and add to mix. (I do not pre-salt the eggplant if they are firm and bright purple in color). Once again season the vegetables you have just added. Keep stirring.
Remove the stems from the peppers and slice into pieces and add to mix. Keep stirring.
Add the rest of the spices and the fresh herbs and stir well. Allow to cook for 5 minutes.
Tear the Kale leaves away from the stems. Wash them well, and tear them into bite size pieces. Add to the pan and stir them in. Allow the kale leaves to wilt, and cook a further five minutes and remove from stove.  Blog Sukkoth 012

This is delicious with any of the entree recipes in this post or as a side to any meat or fish dish.

For months I have been thinking how I can make a lasagna that is dairy free, gluten free and still delicious. I had tried different recipes, but was not happy with any of them until one day I made a really good mistake … one of my favorite vegetables is cauliflower, and I make it in many different ways. My favorite way is to make garlic mashed cauliflower just as I do mashed potatoes. The other day as I was making this dish, I accidentally added too much liquid. Before I realized that there was too much liquid I had started to puree it. I continued pureeing it as there was nothing I could do at this point. Guess what, the puree was delicious. It turned out to be this thick creamy “sauce” which was so flavorful. This is when I had my “aha” moment, I could use this “sauce” as my “white sauce” in my lasagne! So that night my new dairy free, gluten free lasagna became a reality!

Scrumptious Dairy Free, Gluten Free Lasagne:

There are 3 things to prepare: the meat sauce, the “white sauce” and the potatoes.

Meat Sauce

2 lbs. extra lean ground beef (or you can use ground turkey)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 small can (170 g.) tomato paste
1 can full water (to scrape the contents out of can)
1 and 1/2 cups water
1 Tbs. chopped oregano
3 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. parev Worcestershire Sauce

Heat oil and fry onion and garlic till soft.
Add ground beef (or turkey) and keep stirring breaking the meat apart to get it to separate into the right consistency.
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Keep stirring the meat and breaking it apart till the meat is cooked through. Season with the salt and pepper.
Add the tomato paste, using the can of water to get the final bits out, and then add the rest of the water. Stir well.
Add the sugar, Worcester sauce, and oregano.
Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes so that the meat gets tender and the sauce thickens.
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White Sauce” or the Cauliflower Puree

2 heads cauliflower – approximately 6 cups of the florets
1 and 1/2 cups hot or boiling water
1 Tbs. parev vegetable or chicken stock powder ( I use ones without MSG)
1 shallow tsp salt
1/2 tsp. seasoned pepper
6 cloves chopped garlic sauteed in about 2 Tbs. parev margarine

Trim florets off the stalk and wash well. Place in a saucepan.
Dissolve the soup powder in the water and pour over cauliflower.
Cook until cauliflower is very soft – about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile heat margarine in a small saucepan and fry garlic until soft. Be careful not to burn it.
Once the cauliflower is soft, remove from heat. Do not drain.
Add the sauteed garlic and other seasonings.
Use an immersion blender to blend into a smooth sauce. Taste to check seasoning.
Set aside till ready to assemble the lasagna.
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In order for the potatoes to be properly tender, I suggest you parboil them for 5 minutes before you slice them.

 4 large Russet Potatoes.

Peel the potatoes.
Place peeled whole potatoes in a pot of boiling water with 1 Tbs. salt for 5 minutes.
Remove from boiling water, run under cold water to stop them cooking and pat dry.
Using a v-slicer or a sharp knife, cut potatoes to make long thin slices ( a little thicker than that used for a potato chip.

To Assemble:

Line the bottom of a casserole dish with the meat sauce.

.Blog Sukkoth 027Note that this is not the bottom layer of the dish, it is the second layer, therefore the dish looks so full.

Cover the meat sauce with a layer of potato slices
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Cover the potatoes with the “white sauce”.
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Sprinkle the top of the dish lightly with Italian Flavored bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 F for an hour.
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Serve immediately or allow to cool and freeze.

 Non-Traditional Sheppard’s Pie

For something less fussy, you can take the meat sauce recipe from above, either with the ground beef or the ground turkey, and once it is fully cooked place it in a casserole dish.
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For Potato Topping

4 large Russet Potatoes
1 Tbs. Salt
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs. parev margarine

Peel and slice into large chunks.
Place in a saucepan and cover with water.
Add 1 Tbs. salt.
Bring to the boil and then turn down and let the potatoes cook till soft.
Drain the liquid.
Add the margarine to the potatoes while hot and mash with a masher till smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover meat sauce with the mashed potatoes.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes and if necessary turn oven onto broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the potatoes slightly.













2 thoughts on “Something Different for Sukkoth

  1. Michal Swerdlow

    Mommy-O you are making me soooo hungry! Those meatballs look UNBELIEVABLE… you had me at “olives”. Also, great idea with the cauliflower! Wow, you never fail to amazing me.


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