Pre-Fast Weekend

This year is slightly unusual.   Of the two major fasts in the Jewish calendar, Tisha B'Av is the hardest.  It comes during the worst heat of summer and lasts from sundown to sundown.  This year, it begins right after Shabbat and ends on Sunday night.  That means that not only do we get to eat too much for Shabbat, but we also get to stuff ourselves just before shabbat is over so that we can get through the fast.  Ugh.  I love food, but as I get older, I need to pay more attention to what my stomach is telling me.  Usually, its "You've got big eyes, there is no way I can hold all that stuff that your shoving down your throat."  I've learnt to listen to my body over the past years.  Its amazing how we miss signals and directions that would make us each feel so much better.

This weekend, is going to be relatively quiet.  We have no guests for dinner and a family of five for lunch.  Most of our regular seduat shlishit (literally, the third meal) guests are eating at home to prepare for the fast.

I have been watching and reading a lot of professional cooks and the lesson that I'm trying out these days is to taste your food while it cooks.  While this may seem obvious, its hard for me to do.  My problem is that I don't eat milk after meat and so once I taste a meat dish, I'm off milk for at least 5 hours.  If I cook Friday morning, then I am effectively fleishig (meat) forever.  Today I cooked in the afternoon and tasted everything.   Interesting how a little salt or pepper at the end makes such a difference.  I hope my dishes will be significantly better for it.

Dinner - 8
California Garlic Soup (see recipe below)
Over Baked split chicken
Beef in Wine Sauce
Fettucini noodles
Broccoli

Lunch - 13
Jumbalaya
Grilled Cajun Chicken cutlets
Grilled BBQ Chicken cutlets
Green beans and garlic
Cucumber salad
Tossed Salad
Sorbet

Seudat Shlishit - 8+
Tuna Rice Casserole
Lasagna


California Garlic soup is an old favorite from the early days of my marriage.  It is very simple and fast to prepare.  I usually make a triple recipe.

6 cups beef stock (usually from bullion)
1 tbsp ground cumin
12 cloves crushed garlic
6 tbsp chopped parsley
3 eggs
salt
pepper

Boil the stock and the cumin.  Add the garlic and parsley and cook for about 10 minutes.  Beat the eggs in a bowl with some salt and pepper.  Add a little of the stock to warm it up.  Stir it into the soup whisking gently.  Cook for another 10 minutes.  Taste and correct for salt and pepper. Serve hot with additional parsley.

Don't be afraid of the garlic.  Its mellows significantly.

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