Yom Kippur Make-Ahead Menu and Guide
As we approach the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, we are also approaching one of the most celebrated gathering events on the Jewish calendar: Break-Fast. Gone are the days of quiet observation amongst family and close friends and here to stay is the 30 or more crowd of Jews, gentiles, conservatives, and reformed. For some, it has moved beyond Judaism and into the realm of a cultural Jewish celebration.
Upon completion of the Yom Kippur fast, which will begin at sunset on Friday and conclude at sunset on Saturday, a delicious feast of comfort food will be served to a myriad of regular guests and curious new-comers.
Spending the day in a Synagogue, Shul, or Temple – call it as you wish – atoning for a year’s worth of sins doesn’t leave much time to prepare for a house full of guests. It is important however to honor this holiday’s true purpose and keep it holy. In coming to reality with the gravity of the day, the one thing that comes to mind is, “What’s a person to do?”
The good news is we have a plan. This Yom Kippur you will be able to carefully balance a reverence for the High Holiday with an easily planned and delicious break-fast. In other words, bring on the bagels.
What’s on the menu?
Whether you are planning break-fast for 500 at a resort in Tel-Aviv or an intimate gathering at home, the menu is king – or Melach for those of you who enjoy the humor. This lets you know exactly what kind of equipment you will need in the kitchen, which dishes to set out (on Thursday), and it certainly helps to prepare your list for the grocery.
The Kosher supermarket is always such a pleasant place around the high holidays – as I’m sure you know. So, we did a lot of the work here and crafted a perfect make-ahead menu to be served as a buffet. Now, all you have to do is make the trip.
Bagels – These will be served at a “Bagel Station” alongside your lox, lettuce, tomato, red onion, smoked white fish, and cream cheese. Be sure to have an extension cord long enough to set up the toaster near this station. You may also consider asking a few guests to bring toasters to speed up this process.
Salads – The second area of your buffet will consist of egg salad, tuna salad, and a green salad.
Platters – The third area of your buffet will include a vegetable platter, a fruit platter, and a dessert platter. I would suggest cookies, brownies, or cheese cake.
Warm Food – The last section of your buffet – should you choose to include it – is the warm section. Here you will serve blintzes, frittata selection, and Kugel.
Bagels – An assortment of fresh bagels should be ordered or purchased by Thursday evening.
Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion – Slice your veggies for bagels, arrange on a platter, cover in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator on Thursday evening.
Lox – Arrange on a platter, cover in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator Thursday evening. Toss some capers on when you serve Saturday night.
Tuna Salad and Egg Salad – Prepare fresh and store in airtight containers on Thursday evening.
Veggie, Fruit, and Dessert Platters – Either order and pick up on Thursday evening or prepare on Thursday evening and store until Saturday.
Blintzes – These can be made fresh and frozen for use on Saturday evening or purchased frozen.
The Evening of Your Break-Fast Extravaganza:
Depending on your observation rituals, the time your guests should be asked to arrive will vary. Allow yourself between an hour and two to make sure the buffet is ready when your guests arrive. When tackling this event, don’t be shy. Ask a friend or family member for help and split up the preparations as follows:
1. Split preparation into two sections: One person should be responsible for putting out all the prepared platters, sides, and setting up the bagel station. The other person should begin by warming the oven and preparing the Kugel, blintzes, and frittata.
2. Once the warm food is in the oven, the set-up person should make sure a drink station is prepared with bottle openers, a corkscrew, ice, and plenty of beverages. The cook should then prepare the green salad and straighten the mess from cooking.
3. At this point, guests should be arriving and the cook should be ready to deliver the warm food to the buffet. Be sure to have something out to protect the table from the hot dishes.
4. Mingle with guests and enjoy.
Any holiday can be stressful but by focusing efforts on early preparation you will be able to focus on the day’s true purpose without getting overwhelmed by hours of cooking before your guests arrive.
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of what must be done before your event and it certainly isn’t intended for an upscale break-fast but for those of you celebrating with family and friends, I hope this will be a helpful guide for a delicious, stress-free break-fast.
Have an easy fast