Summer’s coming in

zucchini soupMango chickenhallah

As the weather warms, we look for food that takes little effort and is light to counteract the heaviness of a summer day.

Soup is always a good starter. There’s gazpacho (Fit for the Fourth, 5/5/17), cucumber soup (Cool as a …,  8/1/19) , cucumber gazpacho (Summertime and the Cooking is Easy, 7/26/18) and cucumber pineapple soup (Cool Food for a Hot Day, 6/17/17), of course. But even easier is this versatile gluten and dairy free zucchini soup discovered  by Beryl Hiller on the Allrecipes website.

zucchini soupZucchini Soup (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS
21 ounces zucchini, sliced
2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups water, divided
1 pinch salt or to taste
1 bunch chives, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine zucchini, onions, garlic, and 2 T water in a non-stick pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook 5-10 minutes until zucchini are softened.
  3. Add rest of water and bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool.
  6. Puree cooled soup either using a food processor or a stick blender.
  7. Season with salt; garnish with chopped chives.

NOTES: You could also use an Instant Pot and save on one pan. Sauté in the Instant Pot and then process for about 10 minutes.   No chives?- use scallion greens. Spice it up if you wish. Top with croutons. Serve hot or cold.

Salads are summer’s go to meals. But a good dinner salad is more than just greens. I’ve been buying roasted chickens at Aron’s. One chicken easily is 2 meals plus for 2 adults and will serve a family generously with sides. Good hot or cold, chicken is so versatile as shown in the following recipe.

Mango chickenMango Chicken Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS FOR SALAD
2 cups cooked spiral pasta or your favorite shape. Bowties are nice.
1 cup cherry tomatoes , halved
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 c. red cabbage, chopped or shredded
1/2 English cucumber or 1-2 Persian cucumbers, diced
2 spring onions, sliced
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
handful of parsley or cilantro

INGREDIENTS FOR DRESSING
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
a little sugar, agave or maple syrup to taste
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine Salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix together dressing ingredients.
  3. A short time before serving, pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss.

NOTES: Salads are flexible so increase or decrease ingredients or add compatible ingredients. Serve on a bed of greens, if desired, for a more complete meal. Add Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning . Add slivered or sliced almonds for crunch.

Though it is summer, Shabbat still comes every week, just a little later. That’s perfect for making hallah which has time to rise and still come out of the oven  soft and warm. Here is Tiffany Shlain’s foolproof recipe. It hasn’t failed me yet. This recipe may seem complicated at first but after a time or two, it becomes pretty simple.

Hallah (1 large loaf or  2  medium-sized made in 2 pound disposable loaf pans)

hallahINGREDIENTS
1 cup hot water (95-105 degrees)
1 packet fast acting yeast or 21/4 teaspoons
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3.5 cups all purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 c canola oil
FOR TOPPING
1 egg
coarse salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or Everything Bagel seasoning
FOR RISING
canola oil
hot towel

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in one cup of hot water. If using an electric mixer to knead, use the mixer bowl.
  2. Stir in about half the sugar and let sit for about 20 minutes. The yeast should look a little bubbly and thicker and seem to pull away from the sides of the bowl leaving a border of liquid. If nothing seems to be happening, try again making sure that the water is not too hot.
  3. Add remaining sugar and stir.
  4. Add 2 cups flour and mix.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and 1/4 c. canola oil.
  6. Add salt. Stir and mix into flour mixture.
  7. Slowly add rest of flour (1.5 cups).
  8. If kneading dough by hand, sprinkle some flour on fingers and counter and then dump dough onto counter. Push, pull, knead and fold the dough onto itself. Turn and repeat. Add a bit of extra flour as required until the dough is smooth and elastic. You will develop a rhythm.
  9. If using a mixer with a dough hook, set the speed on low and let the mixer do its work from 7-10 minutes, adding a bit of flour as required. Turn out onto floured surface and finish kneading by hand if desired.
  10. Oil a large bowl with about 2 T of canola oil. Put dough into oiled bowl and move it around until the dough is oil covered. This will help prevent it from drying out.
  11. Cover with tightly sealed plastic wrap and a hot towel. Place in warm spot. Inside an open with no pilot light seems to work well.
  12. Let rise several hours (at least 3 and up to 5).
  13. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface. Divide into 3 balls for one loaf or 6 balls for two loaves. Roll out into ropes.
  14. Braid, tucking the ends under.
  15. Brush with beaten egg and topping of choice.
  16. Put on a parchment covered sheet or into greased loaves pans, for a more structured loaf.
  17. Let rise again for an hour or two.
  18. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes for one large loaf, about 20 minutes for 2 smaller loaves or until browned and hollow sounding when tapped.
  19. Enjoy hallah fresh from the oven.Keeps for a day or two if well-wrapped and freezes well.

NOTES:  Yeast is a living organism. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Call for help, check the internet for help with problems

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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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