Many of my friends who also live in San Francisco don't have family nearby to spend Yom Kippur with. Since Yom Kippur is not a public holiday, not everyone flies home to be with family. Some fast, some don't. Some attend services, some go to work.
Regardless of how you do Yom Kippur, it's nice to mark the day somehow with people you love. Two years ago when I realized that many of my Jewish friends and I had nowhere to go, I decided to host my first break fast dinner at our house.
There are many reasons to keep this meal no-fuss and no cook: Cooking while fasting is not much fun, it's often on a weeknight so there is little time, and in some ways, no-fuss, no-cook dishes are part of the tradition! Here's what's usually on my table:
I like to break my fast with a nourishing cup of bone broth. While it's become trendy in recent years, many cultures around the world have enjoyed bone broth since ancient times. In Greece, it's avgolemono, in Japan it's tonkotsu (as in tonkotsu ramen). In the Middle East, chicken bone broth was sometimes prescribed as medication. It makes sense then that, generations later, chicken soup is sometimes called “Jewish penicillin.”
One year, I started serving bone broth as a sort of appetizer. Unlike fresh fruit juices, it doesn't cause an insulin spike and is soothing and nourishing to the digestive system. Since it would be tortuous to be around the aroma of a bone broth while fasting, I purchase my 100% grass fed beef bone broth frozen from my local health foods market. I let it defrost on the counter while I'm at services, then heat it up right when I get home. There's nothing quite like the warm, nourishing scent of broth as the first hungry guests walk in the door! To serve 10 guests, I purchase two quarts.
Here's what else is on the menu:
HUMMUS, AUTUMN STYLE
1/2 seeded, sliced and roasted delicata squash (can be made up to two days ahead and stored in fridge)
1/4 cup roasted and chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons crumbled feta or goat cheese
16 ounce container good-quality hummus
handful of freshly chopped chives
olive oil for drizzling
sea salt for sprinkling
Spread hummus in a circular motion onto a large serving dish. Sprinkle delicata squash, cheese, walnuts, then chives onto hummus. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt to finish. Serve with pita or your favorite crackers.
CALIFORNIA-STYLE WHITEFISH SALAD
1/2 pound smoked whitefish (I used butterfish, which I get at an Eastern European market near my house)
2 ripe avoados, peeled, pitted, and cubed
juice of 1/2 a lemon
sprinkling of freshly chopped chives
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Calling this a recipe seems unfair, it's THAT easy! Chop whitefish into 1/2 inch squares. Place in a medium-sized mixing bowl with cubed avocados. Squeeze lemon juice over, crack some fresh pepper over it and mix. Place in serving bowl with a sprinkling of chives. It's not the most beautiful dish in the world, but it's delicious. I started serving this since some of my friends are lactose-intolerant and I wanted to make them a whitefish salad they could eat! Serve with toasted bagels.
HOMEMADE SALMON SCHMEAR
8 ounce package salmon lox, chopped into small pieces
Two 8 ounce packages of whipped cream cheese (the whipped part is important)
1 small shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
In a large mixing bowl, blend chopped lox with cream cheese, shallot, capers, and half of the dill. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with dill and serve with toasted bagels.
Purchase one 24 ounce jar of dill pickles. Place them on a serving dish and sprinkle with some dill.
Because, of course :)
I've found that Yom Kippur works best served buffet-style for me. As with other gatherings, I like to prepare the table and foods as much as possible in advance. That way, I'm not having to expend too much energy while fasting!
Wishing you an easy fast and G'Mar Tov!
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