One of the ways in which we celebrate our birthdays is to hold a Farbrengen – a hasidic gathering. There we tell and listen to the Torah insights, sing, talk and, of course, eat and say L’Chaim.
My DH held his Birthday farbrengen Saturday night after the Shabbos ended.
I had very little time to pull things together. Generally people expect much less variety and fanciness in food here, in Israel. This is wonderful for me, since I never did cook “fancy”.
So most of the menu was salads.
Henya’s Hassa Salad
I love Hassa – Romaine. It has a taste, it is usually fresh and robust here and, best of all, I buy the brand that does not have to be checked for bugs, just rinsed thoroughly.
2 large heads of Romaine.
2 medium cucumbers (preferably Persian).
1 small tomato.
1 small avocado.
1/2 cup shredded carrots.
1 medium red onion.
2 (or more) cloves of garlic.
1 can of smocked tuna in oil (optional).
1/2 cup of raw hulled sunflower seeds.
1 Tbs. Olive Oil.
Sea Salt to taste.
Craisins and toasted slivered almonds are also wonderful in this salad.
Separate Romaine leaves. Wash them, dry, shred. Put into a large bowl. Add shredded carrots.
Peel and cut cucumbers into quarters. Chop them. Chop tomato into small pieces. Peel, seed and chop avocado. Cut the onion into quarters, slice thinly. Crash garlick. Crumble tuna into flakes. Add all of it to a bowl with Romaine. Juice the lemon into the salad. Mix. Add salt and Olive Oil, mix again.
This salad is better if it stands for half an hour and then mixed again.
Garlicky Carrot Salad
There is no such thing as too much garlic in this salad.
5 medium carrots.
6 (or more)cloves of garlic.
Enough mayonnaise to hold it together.
Peel and shred carrots on the large side of the grater. Chop garlick as small as you can. Preferably even smaller. Add to carrots. Add mayonnaise. Make sure not to add too much, or the salad will get too wet.
Childhood Beet Salad
This tasty salad was usually made by my Dad’s Stepfather, who was a splendid cook. He explained that one of the secrets was to bake the beets, not cook them. This concentrated the sweetness and gives the beet a specific “caramelized” taste.
5 medium to large beets.
6 or more cloves of garlic.
6 dried, prunes.
Enough mayonase to hold the salad together.
Put the beets into a baking pan, cover tightly with foil and slit the foil in a few places to allow the steam to escape. Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour. Until soft and skin looks charred. Peel the beets and grate then on the large side of the grater. Chop the garlic very fine. Add to the beets. Chop the prunes into large pieces. Add to the beets.
Mix and serve. This salad is even better next day.
Super Simple Olive Spread
1 can of pitted olives.
2 cloves of garlic.
Drain well 1 can of olives. Discard the garlic from the can.
Chop garlick in the food processor. When done, do not remove, add olives straight to it. Whirl until finely chopped.
Scoop it out and serve.
Do NOT add salt.
I will freely admit that only the first salad is my original recipe – the rest are variations on the salads I love. Please feel free to change things around and try out your own versions.
The quantity of ingredients I give make family sized salads – and here I mean my family of 9, plus a few guests. So if there are less people at your table simply halve the quantity of the ingredients.