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Hold Fast

Heading into Tishah B’Av, the mood turns solemn as we focus on our fasting and its reason. But we still have to make sure the crew is well-fed for both before and after the fast! Regardless if your proclivity is for orange juice as the first bite and watermelon as your last — everyone has their routines.

Here are ours… 

PEAS AND CARROTS SOUP 

This soup is a shortcut version of our family’s favorite post-fast soup. It’s easy, filling, and delicious. 

  • 1-2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 large leeks, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced (optional)
  • 4-5 large carrots, chunked
  •  water, to cover
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • ½ cup quick-cooking oats (use gluten-free oats, if needed)
  • 1 cup milk (low fat is fine)

In a large pot, heat oil. Add leeks, celery, and carrots, and sauté slowly to let them caramelize. (If you’re in a rush, you can skip this step.) Add water to cover. Season with salt and pepper, add peas, and let cook for about 20 minutes more. Add oats, allow to cook for 5 more minutes, and season again. Blend with an immersion blender to break up any big pieces that remain. Stir in milk, and reheat gently to serve. Sometimes, for a chunky version, we grate the carrots instead of chunking them, and then skip the immersion blending.

—Estee Kafra, recipe columnist

 LIGHT, EASY, AND SIMPLE 

Everyone in our family just wants to take it light and easy after a fast, so we go simple. A delicious homemade vegetable soup with fresh rolls and scrambled eggs is our go-to post-fast meal. But that comes right after the coffee and cake we eat to actually break our fast. Hey, gotta make up for those calories we lost somehow, right?

—Chavi Feldman, recipe columnist 

RICH MUSHROOM-POTATO SOUP

I rarely serve soup in the summer, but after a fast, there’s nothing like starting the meal with a bowl of this hearty, comforting soup.

  •  4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 8-oz (225-g) pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp pareve chicken soup mix
  • 2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 lb (1 kg) potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or leben
  • ¼ cup flour

Melt butter in a large pot. Mix in onions, and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms and carrots, and cook for 5 minutes. Dissolve pareve chicken soup mix in the water, and add to the pot. Season with dill, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Add potatoes, cover pot, and cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt/ leben and flour until smooth. Stir into the soup to thicken, and let it cook for another minute.

— Bassi Gruen, managing editor

 BAKED BLINTZ CASSEROLE 

BATTER 

  • 4 large eggs (no substitutes)
  • 1¼ cups milk
  •  2 Tbsp sour cream
  •  ¼ cup butter, melted (for best flavor, no substitutes)
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 112 cups flour
  • 1-2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder

FILLING (SEE NOTES)

  • 2 8-oz (225-g) packages curd-style farmer cheese
  • 1 16-oz (450-g) container ricotta cheese, any type
  • 2 large eggs or ½ cup egg substitute
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

FOR SERVING

  • sour cream plain or vanilla yogurt
  • applesauce
  • sliced fresh strawberries or other fruit

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 9*13-inch (20*30-cm) baking dish, or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Place all batter ingredients into the cup of a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade. Blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the container once or twice. Measure out 11⁄2 cups of the batter, and pour it into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until set. Meanwhile, place all the filling ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. Spread the filling over the baked batter, smoothing the top. Give the remaining batter a brief stir to re-suspend the ingredients, then very slowly pour it over the cheese filling so the filling is completely covered. Carefully return the casserole to the oven, and bake an additional 35-40 minutes, or until the top is puffed and set. Garnish with sour cream, yogurt, applesauce, and/or fruit.

—Lori Friedman, administration 

CHOCOLATE-BANANA SMOOTHIE

I don’t always want a coffee at night; there’s nothing better than that postfast caffeine rush, but the risk of being kept awake all night keeps me at bay. Instead of a decaf coffee (what would be the point of that?), I sometimes make this smoothie, especially after summer fasts. This recipe yields one 12-oz serving, made in my single serving blender. Just replicate as necessary.

  • 1 banana, peeled and frozen (I freeze bananas whenever they’re about to turn too brown)
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 packet Splenda, or 2 tsp of sweetener of choice
  • 1 cup almond milk or regular milk

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

—Michal Frischman, chief of staff , recipe columnist 

PETIT PAIN AU CHOCOLAT

Usually, after these summer fasts, everyone’s happy to have a glass of orange juice, a coffee, and a bagel! But sometimes, my girls and I bake to pass the time during the long afternoon, and one of our favorites is my mother-in-law’s Petit Pain au Chocolat — orange-scented sweet rolls with runny chocolate inside. This recipe is in my cookbook, The Well- Spiced Life. 

  • 2 1tsp (1 packet) dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar, dissolved in scant 12 cup very warm water
  • 3 cups flour ⅓ cup sugar, plus extra for glazing
  • 12 tsp salt grated zest of 1 orange or lemon
  • 5 Tbsp margarine, chunked
  • 1 egg + 1 egg for glazing
  • ⅓ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate bar

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm sugar water. Place flour, sugar, salt, and zest into the bowl of the food processor, and pulse to blend. Add margarine, and process about 10 seconds. Add yeast mixture (should be foamy), and blend. In a small bowl, combine the egg, orange juice, and vanilla, and then place that mixture into the processor. Process until mixture forms a ball on the blades (this will make a slightly softer dough than the challah dough). Process another 45 seconds. It should be a moist, soft dough, so if the dough seems dry, add a little more water, a tablespoon or two at a time. Place dough into an oiled bowl, and cover with a plastic bag.

Allow to rise for 2–2.5 hours (since a sweet dough take longer to rise than a regular dough.) Punch down. If you have the time, you could let it rise again. Divide the dough into about 15 balls. Roll a ball out into a rectangle, about 4*6 inches (10*15 cm). Place a square of dark chocolate at one end of the rectangle (I break it in half and lay the halves end to end). Roll in the sides slightly and roll it up stuffed-cabbage style. Lay the roll, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with each ball. Allow to rise until puffy and almost doubled in size. Brush rolls with beaten egg and a sprinkling of sugar.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. It’s best eaten while the chocolate inside is still runny, so if you’re still fasting and can’t eat them straight out of the oven, you could reheat them for five minutes or so in a 350°F oven to re-melt the chocolate.

—Barbara Bensoussan, columnist 

ROLLS FOR THE SOUP

I always prepare the onion rolls, porcupine party bread, or butter croissants that I put into the Bais Yaakov Cookbook, and they’re the accompaniment to a soup. Then, there’s a full meal plus baked delicacies!

—Rivky Kleiman, recipe columnist 

TUNA ROLL

I love to make this tuna roll after a fast — it’s not too heavy for the latenight post-taanis meals I’m used to from England, and it combines starch, protein, and vegetables into one (delicious) dish! Thanks to my mother for this much-loved recipe.

  • 1 onion, diced and sauteed
  • 14 oz (400g) canned mushrooms
  • 7 1/2 oz (200 g) canned corn
  • red and yellow pepper, diced
  • mushroom or onion soup mix, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • water, if needed puff
  • pastry sheet, cut into two large rectangles
  • 2 cans tuna
  • 1 egg yolk, for brushing
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, place the sauteיd onions, veggies, soup mix, salt, and pepper. Mix and add water if needed, to thin the texture. Cut a rectangle of puff pastry to the length of a baking pan. Cut thin strips along the length about a third of the way from the top and bottom. Place the filling along the middle (uncut) part of the pastry. Close by folding the strips alternately from the top and bottom, creating a sort of ‘plaited’ texture. Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake for 25 minutes and enjoy!

—Rochel Grunewald Samet, writer 

TOMATO SOUP — FROM A CAN

I may have to rephrase the title “recipe developer” for a non-recipe recipe like this, but hey, this is really what’s on the request list at our place post-fast! Pour 1 can tomato sauce into a pot. Fill the empty can with water, and pour that in, too. Place a handful of long-grained brown rice (or the grain of your choice) into the pot, and allow to simmer until the rice has softened. Add salt, pepper, and sweetener of choice. Dried basil is optional. My husband eats this soup with Gordon Ramsay scrambled eggs (check out that method for game changing eggs). As “difficult” as it is for me, I graciously allow him to make them as he wishes, and I enjoy having them arrive, steaming, to my plate.

—Rivki Rabinowitz, copywriter 

FISH AND SOUP

We usually do a simple and filling meal. We like baked tilapia and potato soup, which is made with potatoes, celery, and carrots. Fine noodles get thrown in for the last ten minutes of cooking. We have this for before and after fast. Sometimes, I make challah and then use some dough for fresh rolls — it keeps me busy during the long afternoon and tastes delicious with the soup.

—Faigy Grossman, recipe columnist 

KEEP IT LIGHT

I start by focusing on hydrating well, starting a few days before the fast. I find that filling up on nutrient-dense foods make a big difference. Before the fast, I like having a sourdough roll with some butter and eggs, or fish with veggies and maybe some additional avocado for the extra-filling fats. I find that many people tend to overeat, thinking that will help them be less hungry. It’s actually counterproductive, because overeating will only make you hungrier. Think quality over quantity. Same goes for after the fast. Personally, I can’t eat so much at once after a fast, so I’ll just have a light and filling sourdough roll with sunny-side up eggs. If I’m nauseous from the fast, I’ll have a refreshing smoothie.

—Rorie Weisberg, columnist 

FILLING AND SENSIBLE 

We try to plan our pre-fast meals with an eye toward serving high-fiber foods that are filling, along with foods that have slow-releasing natural sugars. Garden salad (with a low-salt dressing), whole wheat pasta, vegetable soup, and grapes for dessert is a typical prefast meal. After the fast, we eat pretty light — lots of water, some soup, a roll or veggie quiche, and fruit for dessert. Disclaimer: this is our ideal and what we try to prepare and stick to. Do we all eat this way before and after every fast? Definitely not. Certain Berkowitz family members have been known to break their fast on chocolate. No names.

—Sarah Faygie Berkowitz, Columnist 

HOMEMADE PASTA

Since my bas mitzvah, I’ve broken my fast on a cheese Danish and a glass of milk. I serve homemade pasta that I make during the day as an activity to pass the time, and so that we’ll have something good to eat after the fast. The recipe and video for this can be found on Kosher.com.

—Naomi Nachman, columnist 

BABKA LIKE NEVER BEFORE

Because the fasts come out on Sunday this year, pre-fast is serving a more generous and more filling Shalosh Seudos, such as sourdough bread/challah, cheese noodle kugel, salmon, bulgur/quinoa salad, quiche with a whole wheat crust, etc. For post-fast, we have a standard “tradition” in our house, and I make mushroom soup, babka, and sometimes onion rolls, and distribute it to my marrieds who live nearby. My children get through the fast knowing they’ll receive a hot, fresh, aromatic care package at the end of the day. Yes, especially then, many people have asked to join our family! Forget any babka recipe you have in your repertoire until now. This is the real thing — high, fluffy, lots of rich chocolate/ cinnamon filling, and a creamy melt-inyour- mouth streusel. The best part, is that each loaf has just 2 tablespoons of oil in the dough. This babka freezes well.

Yields 3 large babkas, about 10 slices each 

  • 112 cups very warm water
  • 14 cup sugar + ⅓ cup sugar, divided
  • 2 oz (50 g) fresh yeast or 2 Tbsp + 11tsp dry yeast (I prefer fresh)
  • 11cups warm soy milk (low sugar, regular, or vanilla)
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 9 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry) or more if necessary, divided
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 rounded Tbsp dough enhancer (optional)
  • ⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp oil, plus additional for greasing and brushing

FILLING

  • 11cups sugar
  • 2 full Tbsp cinnamon
  • scant 1cup cocoa

STREUSEL

  • 1⁄4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1cup + 2 Tbsp flour

In a mixing bowl, dissolve 1cup sugar in the warm water. Add yeast to the bowl, and cover. If using fresh yeast, let proof for 15 minutes; if using dry yeast, proof for 5 minutes. Add soy milk, vanilla, egg yolks, additional ⅓ cup sugar, and half of the flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the salt, dough enhancer, oil, and remainder of the flour. Continue kneading for 10 minutes until a soft, smooth, and elastic dough is formed. Grease a large (garbage) bag with oil. Place dough into the bag and close it so the dough is covered on all sides by the oiled bag. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. In a small bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. In another small bowl, mix all streusel ingredients together, until it has sand-like consistency.

Punch dough down. Divide into three even parts, and further divide each part into two, to make six pieces. Roll each piece into a medium-sized rectangle. Brush surface lightly with oil. Sprinkle generously with filling, and roll up, jelly-roll style.

Twist 2 small “jelly rolls” together to form a babka, pinch ends closed, and place in a parchment-lined standard loaf pan. Brush tops of babkas with reserved egg whites (see tip), and sprinkle with streusel topping. Let rise for 45 minutes. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake for 40 minutes or until done. Cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

TIP: You’ll only being using part of the 3 egg whites, so you can freeze the rest for later use. I add it to omelets or kugels.

—Brynie Greisman, recipe columnist 

CINNAMON BUNS

I find that baking and cooking helps keep my mind off of my hunger. It’s our tradition to break the fast after Tisha B’Av on cinnamon buns, and Esther O.’s recipe on Kosher.com is a family favorite. After that, it’s usually just a hearty soup (this year, it will probably be the minestrone from Simply Gourmet), along with some fresh bread.

—Faigy Grossmann, columnist

 TUNA CASSEROLE

I’ve been making this basic, no-frills tuna casserole for our post-fast for years (actually, it’s for after the fresh hot bakery rugelach and bourekas that have somehow become nonnegotiable, as we live across the street from a bakery). It’s super-quick and easy, and who wants to cook on a fast day?

  • 3 cans of tuna (if you’re feeling cheap, you can get away with two)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pkg of pasta (any kind), cooked
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • onion powder or onion flakes
  • potato chips,
  • corn chips,
  • Bissli, crushed, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix eggs and tuna together. Add in the pasta, mayonnaise, and seasoning, and mix. Pour into a 9*13-inch (20*30-cm) baking pan, and, if desired, sprinkle crushed chips or any other crunchy snack on top. Bake for 1hour.

—Rachel Ginsberg, associate editor 

HEARTY MUSHROOM-BARLEY SOUP

Our favorite “break the fast” soup is a hearty mushroom-barley soup. It’s easy, it’s filling, and it even freezes nicely.

  • 1–2 onions, diced
  • 4–6 carrots, diced
  • a few ribs celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • oil, for sauteing
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 11⁄4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 28oz (800g) canned mushrooms, including liquid
  • 1 cup barley, or more if desired
  • 10–12 cups water
  • parsley and/or dill
  • 1 or 2 squirts of soy sauce

Saute onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil, until soft. Sprinkle flour, pepper, and salt over the vegetables. Keep stirring until the flour turns golden. Add the mushrooms to the pot, including the liquid in the cans. Then add the barley and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 1 hour. About 10 minutes before the soup finishes cooking, add some parsley and/ or dill, and a squirt or two of soy sauce. You might need to add water if it gets too thick (this often happens if you let it cool and reheat).

NOTE: Sometimes, I make the base of this soup early in the morning (all the steps until adding the water) before going to work, and I’ll transfer it to the fridge. Then, later in the day, my babysitter will add the liquid, put it on the flame, and we’ll have fresh hot soup for supper.

—Shana Friedman, editor in chief 

BERRY-LEMON OLIVE OIL MUFFINS

The fast starts Motzaei Shabbos again this year, so we’ve developed a system for that. Since pre-fast and Shalosh Seudos are one meal, we have a full bagel spread. I serve bagels, egg salad, tuna, Muenster cheese, lox, herring in cream sauce, some type of prepared pasta, and dairy pound cake for dessert. The best part of the meal is that the only thing I need to prep is the pasta salad! Our post-fast is always the same — some type of vegetable soup, homemade garlic bread (for dipping into the soup), and aunt Janey’s broccoli quiche. For dessert, we have some sort of freshly baked goods that we make the last hours of the fast to help the time pass, like these amazing muffins. They’re perfect to break the fast on because they totally fill that post-fast sweet tooth, and as a bonus, they’re absolutely wonderful the next day (slightly warmed) for breakfast!

  • 1 cup oats
  • ⅔ cup oat bran
  • 1⅔ cups spelt flour
  • 3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • cups milk or almond milktogether with 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup blueberries or chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In a large bowl, mix together the first 8 (dry) ingredients. Make a well in the center of the bowl, and add oil, eggs, and milk with vinegar. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened, then mix in lemon zest and juice, and berries. Pour into lined, greased muffin pans. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan.

—Danielle Renov, recipe columnist

(Originally featured in FamilyTable, Issue 651)

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