Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My "Lighten Up" Dinner

During November and December, 60 Beth El families generously volunteered to host other Beth El families for a warm Shabbat dinner for a program called "Lighten Up: Friday Night Invites."  Last week, we hosted our own Lighten Up dinner.  We invited two other families and we sat around my dining room table and talked and laughed and ate until very late at night.  Before the end of the evening, we even made plans for all of us to get together at another couple's home for another Shabbat dinner together. 

When I host people at my home, I use it as an excuse to try out new recipes.  I also like to theme my dinners.  It makes it more fun for me as I plan the dinner.  For this Shabbat, I went Sephardic.  I made roasted lamb, homemade babaganoush (eggplant puree), roasted peppers with sumac, and saffron rice.  It was delicious!!

Lamb with Red Onion and Tomatoes
(This recipe is an adaptation from Susie Fishbein's Kosher by Design: Entertaining)

For the marinade -
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil

2 lbs boneless lamb cubes
cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, cubed

Place all ingredients for the marinade into a large ziplock bag.  Add the lamb, mix around and let sit for a few hours.  Pre-heat oven to 375.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and pour in the lamb mixture.  Add cherry tomatoes and cubes of red onion sporadically throughout.  Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes.


3 large eggplants
2 tablespoons of thaini
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut the eggplants in half, lengthwise.  Place, flesh-side down on large baking sheet.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until very soft.  When eggplants are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl.  You can discard the skins.  Add remainder of ingredients and mix.

Roasted Peppers with Sumac

6 multi-colored bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 375.  Slice peppers and place on cookie sheet.  Pour oil on peppers.  Sprinkle spices on peppers.  Bake for 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and think about using them in your next Shabbat dinner!  If you want to learn more about Lighten Up, let me know!