Shavuot

Shavuot Can Be a Picnic

June 5, 2008
image

Creating a menu for Shavuot can literally be a picnic. We’ve counted our Omer and now the fun begins! Food for the holiday should be happy, healthy and beautiful. We have a bounty of fresh produce to choose from at this time of year and we should enjoy it. I’m planning to start with a Roasted Corn Salsa and Honey Dill Salmon. And for dessert, serve a blueberry cobbler in the shape of the flag of Israel, with either vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. What a delicious way to end a festive meal, and to celebrate Israel’s 60th, too!

Although many people have the custom to eat dairy for at least some of the meals, it is also important to have a group of versatile pareve dishes at the ready. Roasted Corn Salsa is simple to put together, and if you keep it refrigerated, it should last about 4 days. It’s great as a salad for a dairy meal, but it’s also great as a side dish for barbequed chicken, beef or fish. It can be eaten cold, at room temperature or right out of the oven. This is a great way to eat those vegetables, and yet it’s so spicy, smokey and crunchy that you may hardly notice!

ROASTED CORN SALSA
© 2005 Debby Segura
(serves 12-16)
Pam
1 16 ounce bag frozen white corn kernels, thawed
1 16 ounce bag frozen yellow corn kernels, thawed
2 bell peppers, cored and cut into 1/4″ squares
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic and onion powders
3 green onions, minced
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 or more tablespoons minced cilantro
3 green onions, minced
½ cup Chipotle salsa
the juice of 2 limes
1 cubed avocado

Preheat the oven to Broil or Convection Broil. Spray a large Pyrex baking pan with Pam. Add the corn and the bell peppers, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders and toss to coat. Broil in the oven until the kernels begin browning on their edges. Stir, and repeat, twice. Remove the Pyrex from the oven and quickly stir in the green onions. Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Serve at room temperature.

Honey Mustard Salmon is my family’s favorite way to eat fish. It’s savory with a hint of sweet, and the dill is a beautiful touch. It can be eaten hot, at room temperature, or it can be refrigerated and eaten the next day.

HONEY MUSTARD SALMON WITH TARTAR SAUCE
Serves 12-16

One 8-10 lb. salmon, cut in half
head and tail removed, filleted and deboned, cleaned and patted dry
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T honey
1 T dried dill weed
1 t salt
1 t paprika
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
1/4 t curry powder
1/4 t ground cumin
1/8 t cayenne (or to taste)

Preheat broiler, placing the top rack 4″ from the flame. Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with Pam. Fit both filets side by side on the sheet. Sprinkle all dry ingredients on the fish. Drizzle honey on filets. Place 1 T mustard on each filet and rub in the mustard and all other ingredients. Place cookie sheet on top oven rack and cook 5 minutes or until the honey on surface of fish begins to caramelize. Lower temperature to 400 degrees and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or until the filet, at its thickest point, no longer appears raw (or dark orange) when probed with a fork. Remove from oven immediately. May be served hot, at room temperature, or chilled, as preferred.

Tartar Sauce
3/4 C mayonnaise
1 small onion peeled and finely minced
2 medium dill pickles minced (or 1/4 C dill relish)
2 T rice vinegar
1 T dried dill weed
2 t sugar

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar, seal tightly with screw-on lid.
Shake vigorously until mixture is uniform. Serve cold.

BLUEBERRY COBBLER
Serves 12-16

Filling:
3 16 ounce bags frozen blueberries
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Biscuit Topping:
1 ½ cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted margarine, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk, Rice Dream or soy milk
1 egg
egg wash: 1 egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Into a rectangular Pyrex pan, pour the bags of blueberries, the corn starch and 1 cup sugar and stir to combine. Cover the Pyrex tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the center of the preheated oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling. As the filling is baking, make the biscuit topping.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the margarine. Mix in the “milk” and egg and form a soft dough. On a floured surface, knead the dough 4 or 5 times and then roll to a uniform ½” thickness. Cut the dough with a biscuit- or cookie-cutter into two 3″x13″ strips and a large star of David (either use a Chanuka cookie cutter, or cut your own with a paring knife). Remove the Pyrex of hot blueberry filling from the oven. Place one strip near the top of the pan, one near the bottom, and the star in the middle. Brush the top of the biscuit dough with the egg wash, and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Bake until the biscuits are golden, about 15 minutes, or so. Cool at least 45 minutes, to allow the filling to set, before serving.

(c) 2008 Debby Segura. Debby Segura holds an AB in Design from UCLA. She designs dinnerware and she teaches and writes about cooking. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children. Visit her at www.debbysegura.com