Does your family get together for melaveh malkah this time of year? Long Motzoei Shabbos evenings are the perfect time for fun and food. But no one wants these get-togethers to need lots of advance prep. For those who have no intention of taking out a mixer before a party, we’ve got some delicious options. Starting with purchased rye bread, French bread or puff pastry gives you a head start on your menu arrangements. All our recipes make wonderful accompaniments to soups, salads and dips.
Ready-to-eat bread gets a flavor boost from butter and fresh garlic.
- 1 purchased French bread loaf or 4 baguettes
- 1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, checked and chopped or 2 teaspoons parsley flakes or 4 cubes frozen
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Spread both halves generously with butter. Spread crushed garlic over buttered bread then sprinkle with parsley. Put the halves back together and wrap the loaf in aluminum foil, making sure to cover the ends well. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and slice into two-inch pieces. Serve immediately.
You can prepare the bread hours before you need it and wrap it in airtight plastic. Remove the plastic and bake just before serving.
Party bread is a wonderful way to dress up “plain old rye bread.” Your guests will love pulling apart this bread to get to every last piece.
You may have to visit more than one bakery these days to find an unsliced loaf, but it will be worth the effort!
- 1 whole 2-pound loaf of rye bread, unsliced
- 8 ounces butter (2 sticks or one tub)
- 1 bunch scallions
- 8-10 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make 10 parallel cuts diagonally across the loaf of bread, cutting almost to the bottom but not all the way through. Turn bread 90 degrees and make 10 parallel cuts across the loaf, diagonal to the first cuts, once again cutting almost to the bottom but not all the way through.
Wash and check scallions and chop white and light green parts. Melt butter and pour it into all the cuts in the bread. Sprinkle scallions into the slits. Stuff shredded cheese into each cut. Sprinkle loaf with sesame seeds.
Wrap the entire loaf in foil. Bake covered 20-25 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
If you’re willing to put a bit more time into your party preparation, we’ve got an easy one-bowl muffin recipe that makes a tasty substitute to bread at your party!
Puff Pastry Cheese Straws
Cheese straws are made with purchased puff pastry, so they can be ready at a moment’s notice. You can even prepare them in advance, then bake just before serving.
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- ½ cup finely-grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment or silicone mats.
Roll out one sheet of pastry into a 10×20-inch rectangle approximately 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle half the cheese over the pastry and firmly press it into the dough with a rolling pin. Use a sharp knife, pastry wheel or pizza cutter to cut the pastry into strips 1/2 inch wide. Carefully twist the strips, place them on prepared baking sheets and refrigerate until all the pastry is rolled out and cut.
Bake the straws until puffed and lightly golden, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool and serve.
Makes approximately 80 straws.
Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.
Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.