Break-fast pickle? Try cucumber salad and your own cream cheese
By SHANNON SARNA
(MyJewishLearning.com) — Fasting on Yom Kippur is one of my least favorite parts of being Jewish. I recognize the value of reflective fasting, and I know some people even enjoy the fast day, but for me it is a torturous 25 hours until I can break into the bagels and kugel.
The last thing anyone wants to do after fasting and sitting in synagogue is to start cooking and prepping a complicated or heavy meal. The dishes I like to serve for Yom Kippur can all be made in advance — in fact, they are better when prepared well ahead of time. And not just for the sake of your sanity.
A quick pickled cucumber salad is a standard in my home and a dish I learned to make from my grandmother. It’s slightly sweet, just a tad spicy, and the crunch of the cucumber is really satisfying next to a bagel schmeared with cream cheese. You need to make this recipe ahead of time to properly allow the cucumber to absorb the flavors.
Anyone can break open a tub of cream cheese for a break-fast. But if you make your own custom cream cheese flavor — like the Chipotle Cream Cheese Spread below — your family and guests will think you spent hours and hours in the kitchen. Making your own cream cheese is very easy and a fun way to take the spread up a notch.
If butternut squash kugel and a coffee cake had a baby, the Cakey Crunch Sweet Potato Kugel below would be the result. It is absolutely delicious, but I make sure to warn people: It’s highly addictive, you won’t be able to eat just one portion. It is also the perfect dish to make ahead and reheat once the fast is over.
Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad
1 large seedless English cucumber
1 onion, thinly sliced
6 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoon water
2 or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
Slice cucumber 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick.
In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and dill.
Add thinly sliced cucumbers and onions to bowl and mix until liquid coats all the cucumbers and onions.
Place salad into container and allow to chill several hours or overnight.
Yield: 14 servings
Chipotle Cream Cheese
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle in adobe (depending on your tastes), minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
In a mixing bowl, combine minced chipotle and liquid, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add softened cream cheese and mix until combined thoroughly. Serve with fresh bagels and sliced avocado.
Yield: 12-14 servings
Cakey Crunch Sweet Potato Kugel
8 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3-4 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup orange juice or orange-flavored liqueur
8 ounces mini marshmallows
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks margarine or butter, melted
Boil sweet potatoes in large pot of water until tender, around 20-25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Drain the sweet potatoes and mash in a large bowl. Add vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and orange juice or orange-flavored liqueur and mix well.
Grease a 9-by-11 baking dish. Layer half of the sweet potato mixture evenly in the baking dish.
Sprinkle marshmallows over the top. Add remaining sweet potato mixture on top of marshmallows and spread evenly using an off-set spatula or knife.
Sprinkle yellow cake mix evenly over the top of sweet potato mixture. Pour melted butter or margarine evenly over the top of the cake mix.
Bake for 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 16 servings
(Shannon Sarna is editor of The Nosher blog on MyJewishLearning.com, where these recipes originally appeared.)