Make these tasty dishes for the fall harvest holiday of Sukkot – Orange County Register

The weeklong festival of Sukkot begins Sunday evening, Oct. 9. During the holiday it’s traditional to eat meals in a sukkah, a temporary hut with a leafy roof built in the garden or on the patio. When Yakir was growing up, he and his brothers looked forward to sleeping in the sukkah.

Produce plays a prominent role in Sukkot customs. Pieces of fruit hang from the ceiling of the sukkah for decoration. When I was a child, my parents hung apples and bananas in our sukkah. Clusters of grapes are a favorite too, and recall the lovely sukkah-like grape arbors in Mediterranean lands. A Sukkot prayer ceremony involves holding an aromatic citrus fruit called a citron (“etrog” in Hebrew) together with tender palm fronds and branches of fragrant greens.

To make carrying food to the sukkah easy, casseroles and one-pan meals are convenient. Naturally, people include a variety of vegetables and fruits in Sukkot meals. We’re planning to begin our first dinner with a Mediterranean vegetable salad with mango and pine nuts, and to end it with a delicious, light-textured plum cake.

Tuna fillets are cooked in a sauce of eggplant, tomatoes and other vegetables in this recipe adapted from one in “Mediterranean Lifestyle for Dummies” by Amy Riolo. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Tuna in Vegetable Sauce

I adapted this dish of roasted tuna in a sauce of eggplant, tomatoes and other vegetables from a recipe in “Mediterranean Lifestyle for Dummies” by Amy Riolo. To simplify the preparation, I don’t peel or seed the tomatoes.

Yield: 3 or 4 servings


3/4 to 1 pound tuna fillets, cut into 3 or 4 pieces

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 Japanese eggplants or 1 very small Italian eggplant (about 10 to 12 ounces), cut into cubes

3/4 to 1 pound ripe tomatoes–large, plum, or baby tomatoes, chopped coarsely

2 to 3 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon raisins

1 tablespoon pine nuts


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place fish in a lightly oiled baking pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.

2. In a large, wide skillet, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, green pepper and eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bake fish until its flesh flakes easily, about 12 minutes; check often.

4. Puree tomatoes in a food processor; add to pan of vegetables. Add capers, raisins, pine nuts, and pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. taste; adjust seasoning.

5. Transfer baked fish to sauce. Cook for 3 minutes, and serve.

Sheetpan Chickpea and Broccoli Dinner is easy to make and gains flavor from mushrooms, garlic and spices.  (Photo by Yakir Levy)
Sheetpan Chickpea and Broccoli Dinner is easy to make and gains flavor from mushrooms, garlic and spices. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Sheet Pan Chickpea and Broccoli Dinner

This one-pan main course from “The Low-Carb Mediterranean Cookbook” by Michelle Dudash gains flavor from mushrooms, garlic and spices. I make it with portobello mushrooms but you can use button mushrooms instead. It’s easy to make — just mix, bake, and dinner is ready!

Yield: 4 servings


1 ounce dried portobello mushrooms or 8 ounces button mushrooms

1 small broccoli crown, divided into small florets

1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

1/4 cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Diced avocado (optional, for garnish)


1. If using dried mushrooms, soak them until softened, about 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms to a strainer and rinse well. Chop mushrooms. Put them in a bowl. Strain and add 2 tablespoons of mushroom soaking liquid. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. If using white mushrooms, chop them.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If desired, reserve 1/3 cup tiny broccoli florets for garnish. Put them in a small saucepan of boiling water, boil for 2 minutes, rinse and drain.

3. Place chickpeas, remaining broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, garlic, soy sauce, paprika, coriander, pepper flakes, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Toss to coat everything evenly. Spread on a large baking sheet.

4. Bake mixture for 15 minutes. Toss with two spatulas. Bake until broccoli is tender, about 5 more minutes. Top with blanched broccoli florets. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkle with parsley.

5. Serve topped with diced avocado.

This Mediterranean Vegetable Salad also gets flavor from peach salsa and pine nuts.  (Photo by Yakir Levy)
This Mediterranean Vegetable Salad also gets flavor from peach salsa and pine nuts. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Mediterranean Vegetable Salad with Mango and Pine Nuts

We make our daily salads with tomatoes, cucumbers and onion but for Sukkot we like to add fresh fruit and nuts. The mangoes we prefer are smooth-fleshed ones like Kent, Keitt and Ataulfo. Instead of lemon juice, we make this salad with a tangy fruit salsa.

Yield: 4 servings


3 mini cucumbers (Persian cucumbers), halved and sliced ​​thin

1/4 to 1/3 cup finely diced or slivered red onion

2 tablespoons peach salsa or other fruit salsa, or to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large mango, peeled and diced

2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced

1 to 2 tablespoons pine nuts


1. In a salad bowl mix cucumbers and onion. Add salsa, salt, pepper and olive oil and mix again.

2. Just before serving add mango and tomatoes and mix lightly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

The advent of plant-based cheese enables cooks to make a kosher dish of burritos topped with cheese.  (Photo by Yakir Levy)
The advent of plant-based cheese enables cooks to make a kosher dish of burritos topped with cheese. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Spicy Baked Burritos

When I was growing up, beef burritos topped with cheese were impossible to make for kosher meals (because meat and dairy cannot be used together), but now that there are vegan meats and vegan cheeses, you can use one or the other, or both . These easy-to-make burritos, which I fill with beef and top with plant-based cheese, are inspired by a recipe in “Beef It Up!” by Jessica Formicola.

Yield: 4 servings


1 1/4 cups leftover cooked beef–ground, shredded, or cubed (or see Note)

1/2 cup thick, chunky salsa

1 cup drained canned corn or thawed frozen corn

1 cup canned or packaged mixed beans, black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 shredded plant-based mozzarella cheese or other plant-based cheese

4 large flour tortillas

1/2 cup tomato sauce or enchilada sauce

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste (optional)

Avocado slices, shredded iceberg lettuce or jalapeño slices for topping (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Toss beef with salsa, corn, beans and 1/2 cup cheese in a large bowl.

3. Lay out one tortilla at a time on a large cutting board. Place a scant 3/4 cup of beef mixture on bottom two thirds of tortilla closer to you. Roll tortilla tightly; place in prepared baking dish seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

4. Mix tomato sauce with hot pepper sauce. Pour sauce over burritos and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly. Serve with your favorite burrito toppings.

Note: Easy Shredded Beef — Prepare this quickly in an Instant Pot: Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil using Saute function. Season 1 pound top round steak with salt and pepper; sear it until browned on all sides. Add 1 cup vegetable or beef broth, 1/3 sliced ​​onion, 1 mashed garlic clove and 1 bay leaf. seal jar; cook on High Pressure for 25 minutes. Allow it to do Natural Release. Remove meat and drain (reserve liquid for soups). Let meat cool and shred it. (To use a stew pan: bring mixture to a boil; cook over low heat for 2 hours, turning after 1 hour.)

Baking plum cake in a tart pan means there is fruit in every bite.  (Photo by Yakir Levy)
Baking plum cake in a tart pan means there is fruit in every bite. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Plum Cake

Baking this cake in a tart pan gives you fruit in each bite. It’s based on a recipe in “Italian Cooking for Dummies” by Amy Riolo. To ensure that the whipped egg whites are smooth, I add part of the sugar during beating. You can dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 large eggs, separated

1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for pan

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 ripe plums, sliced ​​into thin wedges


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Add a round of parchment; butter and flour parchment.

2. Combine 6 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup sugar in bowl of mixer fitted with paddle beater. Beat on low speed until smooth and fluffy. Add egg folk; beat well.

3. In a small bowl mix flour and baking powder.

4. In another small bowl mix cream, 1/4 cup water and vanilla.

5. Stir flour mixture and cream mixture alternately into butter mixture, adding one third of each at a time.

6. In a clean bowl whip egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and whip until stiff.

7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold beaten egg whites into batter to eliminate any white streaks or lumps.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan. Level the surface. Arrange plums in a circular pattern on top. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar.

9. Bake until a toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean, and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, 35 to 40 minutes.

10. Cool in pan on a rack at least 30 minutes.

11. Gently push up bottom or pan to remove cake; or invert cake onto a cooling rack and remove sides of pan, then bottom and parchment paper; turn cake over to cool completely.

12. Invert cake onto another plate, then onto a serving platter. Serve at room temperature.

Faye Levy is the author of “1,000 Jewish Recipes.”

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