Happy … You fill in the blank. Birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day — all annual celebrations that are marked clearly on our calendars and are definitely causes for celebration.
But there’s a very special day that sometimes occurs only once or twice in a lifetime.
One of the most thrilling events in life is buying and moving into a new home. A housewarming (or “Hanukat Habayit”) is the traditional celebration of this special time. Upon moving in, it is customary to dedicate the dwelling with the appropriate blessing, affix mezuzahs to the doorposts, and invite friends and relatives to share the joy with a glass of wine and a table set with noshes.
What a wonderful way to transform a new house to a Jewish home.
Some other practices are bringing bread, salt and candles to the new home. Bread symbolizes abundant food, the salt a reminder of the temple sacrifices and candles a symbol of light and joy.
After the house tour, your guests are ready for just a little something to eat and drink accompanied by “mazel tov” and “l’chaim.” The following buffet menu is a perfect way to break in a new kitchen while giving the entire house a sense of warmth and belonging.
Rice Frittata Wedges
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs. minced parsley
1 Tbs. minced basil leaves (about 20)
2 Tbs. olive oil
3⁄4 cup cooked rice
1⁄2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
3 green onions, trimmed and chopped
additional chopped parsley for garnish
In medium bowl, beat eggs with salt, pepper, parsley and basil until well blended. Stir in the rice, cheese and green onions.
In medium skillet, heat the oil. Pour in rice mixture. Shake the pan, slip a thin spatula under the frittata and tilt the pan to let uncooked portion flow underneath. When eggs are almost set, slide frittata onto a large, flat plate and invert frittata back into skillet. Cook another 2 minutes. Serve at room temperature, in thin wedges sprinkled with parsley.
Pasta Shell Salad With Smoked Salmon and Fresh Chives
1 lb. small pasta shells, cooked
1⁄2 cup chopped chives
1⁄4 lb. smoked salmon, cut into strips
1⁄2 lb. fresh salmon, cooked, skinned, boned and cut into cubes
4 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. prepared white horseradish
3⁄4 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper
In large bowl, toss pasta with chives and both salmons. Whisk remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour over salmon mixture and mix well.
Warm Artichoke and Mozzarella Spread
Makes enough for 12
1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
2 cloves garlic
4 oz. whole milk mozzarella cheese, cubed
1⁄4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
4 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
1⁄4 cup basil leaves
12 slices of baguette, toasted
Combine all ingredients in food processor until fairly smooth. Spread on bread and bake in 400-degree oven until topping is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Serve warm. If making spread ahead, refrigerate covered up to 4 days.
Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Gabi Moskowitz. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to firstname.lastname@example.org.