Make it ahead of time, then enjoy the party

Recently I had the privilege of leading a cooking class for the Mother’s Circle — a program of the Jewish Outreach Institute.
The Mother’s Circle is an umbrella of free educational programs and resources for non-Jewish women raising Jewish children within the context of intermarriage or a committed relationship.
I demonstrated an easy but very tasty make-ahead brunch showcasing classically Jewish flavors. Make-ahead food items are particularly great for entertaining since you’ll have to spend less time in the kitchen during the actual event.
For the perfect Mother’s Day brunch, engagement party, baby shower or wedding shower, make this deliciously simple brunch. Just add dessert  for a truly decadent feast.

Smoked Salmon and Scallion Frittata

Makes 4-8 servings
olive oil (for greasing)
12 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
6 oz. smoked salmon, flaked
6 scallions, sliced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
8 oz. cream cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch pie pan liberally with olive oil. In a large bowl, beat eggs together with half-and-half. Gently stir in salmon, scallions, salt and pepper. Drop dollops of cream cheese evenly throughout.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the eggs set and are firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then cut into wedges or squares and serve.


Challah Bread Pudding

Makes 10-12 servings
4 cups milk
8 Tbs. (1 stick) butter, melted in microwave
11⁄2 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 loaf challah, cut into 11⁄2-inch slices
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine milk and melted butter with the sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until incorporated and smooth.
Line a large baking dish with the challah slices, sprinkling the raisins as you go. Pour milk mixture slowly over the top of everything and let stand until the bread has absorbed almost all of the liquid, 5 to 10 minutes.
Wrap the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer until set in the middle and lightly browned on top.


Champagne-Pomegranate Cocktail

Makes 1 serving
1 oz. pomegranate juice
1 oz. pomegranate liqueur
Champagne or sparkling wine

Pour pomegranate juice and pomegranate liqueur into a Champagne flute, add Champagne to fill to the top.


Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Makes 4-8 servings
2 Tbs. honey
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 cup halved seedless grapes (red or green)
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds

Whisk together honey, lemon juice and zest, and poppy seeds. Drizzle over grapes, kiwis, strawberries and blueberries in a serving bowl. Garnish with sliced almonds and serve, either chilled or at room temperature.

Gabi Moskowitz is the clergy assistant at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, a caterer and cooking teacher. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. Follow her adventures in and out of the kitchen in her blog,

Gabi Moskowitz
Gabi Moskowitz

Gabi Moskowitz is the co-author of “Hot Mess Kitchen” and the co-producer of “Young & Hungry,” a Freeform comedy currently in its fifth season. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Evan. She can be reached at