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Friday, August 28, 2015

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Appetizers easier to digest after a day of fasting

Tags: Food
Eggs and onions

My favourite sight after fasting all day is the ceremonial table laden with forshpeis – delicious appetizers that have been passed down in our family from generation to generation. Traditionally, this is a dairy meal. After a long day of fasting, a light, easy to digest meal is exactly what our body craves.

As part of my tribute to my ancestors, I prepare everything the day before, the old-fashioned way. But if food processors, blenders and electric grinders beckon, they will definitely save time and energy.




Eating pickled or smoked fish to break the fast was a routine started in the Old Country, by our great-grandmothers, who told us that our bodies needed a lot of salt after we had fasted all day. Schmaltz herring can be found in kosher fish markets.


2 schmaltz herring, filleted, with skin intact

2 onions, sliced thin

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1-2 tbsp. brown sugar

3 bay leaves

3-4 tbsp. sour cream (optional)

1 tbsp. whole pickling spice

12 peppercorns

6 lemons, sliced thin with seeds removed


Soak herring in water overnight. Cut into 1-1/2-in.  pieces. Place herring in a quart jar in layers, alternating with the onions.

Bring to quick boil vinegar, water and sugar, then cool until lukewarm. Add liquid to jar of fish along with bay leaves, spices, lemon slices and sour cream. Store in refrigerator for a day or two before serving. Makes 8 servings.




It is important to get very high quality sardines for this dish.


2 tins (4 oz. each) sardine fillets, mashed

2 tbsp. sweet red onion, grated

2 hard boiled eggs, grated

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. red wine

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 tbsp. fresh dill weed, minced

1 tbsp. fresh chives, minced

pinch of kosher salt and pepper


Combine ingredients and serve with challah, pumpernickel, crackers or fresh vegetables such as cucumber, celery, jicama, bell peppers or Chinese peas. Makes 6 servings




1/3 cup shallots, minced

3 plump garlic cloves, minced

olive oil for frying

1 cup mushrooms

1 cup green beans, halved

1/4 cup celery, sliced

1/4 cup Italian parsley

1/4 cup chives

1 cup toasted whole wheat bread crumbs

2 hard boiled eggs, grated

1 tbsp. melted butter

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. brandy

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp.  ground cloves

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Slowly sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, green beans, celery and parsley, and sauté 5 minutes more or until vegetables are crisp tender. Add the remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly. Turn mixture into a food processor and puree until you like the consistency.  Serves 6.




1 Spanish onion, chopped

1/2 cup red peppers, chopped

2 tbsp. olive oil

8 eggs, hard boiled

1/2 cup chives

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Sauté onions and peppers in oil until golden. Remove to chopping bowl or food processor. Add eggs, chives, salt, pepper, mustard and sesame seeds, if using. Chop or process until smooth but still chunky.

Serve with rye bread, challah, romaine lettuce leaves or endive.

**If you prefer stuffed eggs, halve the eggs after boiling, mix the yolk with the rest of the ingredients and then fill the egg halves with the yolk mixture.




1 large eggplant or 2 medium eggplants

1 sweet onion, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup yellow pepper, chopped

olive oil for sautéing

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp. fresh chopped basil or 1 tsp. dried

1 tbsp. fresh chopped oregano or 1 tsp. dried

1 egg, beaten

1/2 tsp. paprika

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


Preheat oven to 350. Half and parboil eggplant for 15 minutes. Drain. Scoop out meat carefully, so that eggplant shells remain intact. Sauté eggplant, onion, garlic and peppers in olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes, hashing them as they cook.

Place mixture in bowl, mix with lemon juice, basil, oregano, olives, eggs, bread crumbs and spices. Stuff eggplant shells and dust with Parmesan. Place in baking dish with an inch of hot water at bottom. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until stuffing is tender. Serves 4.

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