Every year during the summer months, we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and the resultant exile in which we still find ourselves. These three weeks of the Jewish year are the saddest days of our calendar. As we usher in the month of Av we try to diminish any activity that would give us pleasure, such as swimming, listening to music, making weddings, laundering etc. It is the generally accepted custom that we refrain from consuming meat and its derivatives. (Click here for a more comprehensive overview of the laws.)

In every home women try to come up with creative alternatives to meat dishes. My children always clamored for the nine day menus all year around. Here are some menu ideas suitable for the nine days.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients

1 Spanish onion cubed
2 garlic cloves minced
1 Tbs flour
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
6 cups water
6 slices toasted whole wheat bread
1 package 8 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

In a 4 quart pot saute onions and garlic, until golden. Add the flour, salt and pepper. Lower flame and simmer for 15 minutes, mixing occasionally. Add 6 cups of water, cook 40 minutes on low to medium flame. Pour into individual soup bowls with a handle. Top with toasted bread and shredded Mozzarella cheese. Put it into the oven for 4-5 minutes allowing cheese to melt, but not burn. Serve immediately

Preparation 20 minutes
Serves 6

Crunchy Asian Coleslaw

1 small head of Napa (also known as Chinese cabbage) or your favorite green lettuce variety
1 small purple cabbage, washed and thoroughly checked
1 large carrot, shredded
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dressing (homemade mayonnaise, tahini, Italian, or dill)

Cut Napa lettuce into ½ inch strips. Cut the cabbage into thin strips. Combine the Napa, cabbage, carrot and onion. Add the dressing. Toss gently until all the vegetables are well coated.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves 4

Fish Balls with Vegetables

I enjoy fish balls anytime but they are especially suited for the nine days. They are almost a whole meal in one dish and it is a great way to get children to eat their vegetables too. Feel free to add any vegetables you have handy or those that need to be used up fast. Serve with scalloped potatoes.

Ingredients

1 lb gefilte fish thawed
2 Tbs oil
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic diced
1 carrot cubed
1 zucchini cubed
1 small sweet potato cubed (used instead of sugar)
1 stalk celery sliced
1 12 oz can tomato sauce
1 can of water (use tomato juice can)
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Instructions

In a 4 quart pot sauté onions and garlic in oil, until translucent. Add all other vegetables and allow to sweat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make fish balls the size of an egg, or to taste (bigger or smaller). Add to vegetables along with tomato sauce and water. Cook for 45 minutes. Adjust spices to taste. Serve as entrée or main dish.

Preparation 20 minutes
Serves 8

Scalloped potatoes

This recipe can be made parve or milk based; I present you with both options. It is very tasty, easy to prepare and is delicious served for lunch or supper.

6-7 potatoes peeled and sliced
1 medium onion thinly sliced
6 Tbs oil or butter
3 heaping Tbs flour
½ cups almond milk or regular milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter/oil and flour until a thick mixture forms. Add almond milk/milk and salt and pepper to taste cook until thick. Place potatoes and onions in a 9x13 pan and pour the milk mixture over the potatoes. Bake covered for ½ hour at 350 and 1 ½ hours uncovered.

Marvelous zucchini muffins

Ingredients

1½ cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small)
2 cups whole-grain pancake mix or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
2 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
powdered sugar (enough to dust the muffins)

Instructions

 

Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix whole-grain pancake mix with spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, and lemon juice. Fold the egg-sugar mixture and shredded zucchini into the pancake-spice mixture; do not overmix. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake 10–15 minutes or until golden. Remove muffins from tin and cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle muffins with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Yields 12 yummy muffins