Sometimes the meal on Purim is just a cozy one, of you and a few friends, maybe just family. Other times, before you know it, you have a real crowd to feed… what should you make??? I have done it before when a crowd was expected, and the best advice I can give is to make yourself a countdown to Purim and make two things per day. Put them into the freezer as you make them. Then, the night before the seuda, take them all out of the freezer to defrost, and on Purim day all you have to do is reheat and serve. It takes a lot of the stress out of serving a large crowd and you can focus on setting the table, going to megillah reading, sending out your mishloach manot, and greeting the many characters at your door with a smile.
The first two recipes here are ideas that incorporate some kind of “hidden food”. There is a custom to serve foods that are covered up on Purim, alluding to the theme in the megillah of “hester Panim” (His face was hidden), the fact that the miracles of Purim were more obscured. Hence the custom of serving “kreplach”, a soft doughy food filled with meat inside, that is boiled up and served inside each person’s bowl of soup. The kreplach recipe I list puts them in a completely different light, tasty and very elegant. This can be used as the opening course for each person; or, if you start your meal with fish, as the second course.
For another hidden food, how about making your own knishes. They are a huge time saver as well as a big crowd pleaser.
Tamar Ansh is an author, freelance recipe developer, and food columnist. Her articles have appeared in Jewish publications worldwide. She has published 4 books so far which include: Splitting the Sea (Targum Press), inspirational stories on finding one’s soul-mate; Let’s Say Amen!, an illustrated children’s book about the holiness of Amen (Feldheim Publishers); her first cookbook, A Taste of Tradition (Feldheim Publishers) which is both gluten free and kosher for Passover. Her most recent book is called A Taste of Challah (Feldheim Publishers, 2007). It is a photographic guide to baking and shaping beautiful challahs, and includes many other healthy and interesting bread types as well. Visit www.TasteofChallah.com to see all her books online, as well as other, not yet published, challah and bread recipes. She will be coming on a short book tour and speaking in two different places in the Tri-State area the week of March 4-9th! See her website for details and locations.