Purim is in the air. It is always a challenge to find some interesting items to serve family and friends along with the traditional recipes especially after they have indulged in all sorts of nosh throughout the day.

Pastrami Wrapped Chicken Tenders with Sweet Chili Mayo

Finger foods for starters are always welcome. These finger foods are original entrées to tide your guests over until the meal is served. The children almost prefer it to the traditional foods served.

Ingredients

  • 6 slices chicken breast (sliced into strips)
  • 1 lb. pastrami (ask butcher to slice it paper thin)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper & garlic seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 1 Tbs mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 stalks scallions with the greens thinly sliced

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.

Season the chicken strips with salt and red pepper & garlic seasoning and wrap with pastrami.

Arrange them on a lined baking sheet, bake for 18-20 minutes and then broil for 1-2 minutes on each side to crisp up the pastrami.

While the chicken bakes, prepare the chili mayonnaise,

Mix paprika, honey, red pepper and garlic seasoning, mustard and chili powder (if using). Season with salt and pepper.

Preparation 10 minutes
Serves 12-18 2 pieces per person.

Mediterranean Meat Pie in Phyllo dough.

Phyllo dough is one of my favorite dishes, salty or sweet any which way it is delicious, it is a perfect finger food to serve before the main meal is served.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed in its package
  • 1 egg, whisked in 1 cup of Almond milk
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil for the meat filling
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp ground allspice (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Carefully lay the thawed phyllo dough sheets between two lightly damp kitchen towels. Cover remaining dough while preparing each layer so it will not dry out and become brittle.

Begin with preparing the meat filling. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick pan. On medium-high heat, sauté the chopped onions briefly. Add the ground beef. Cook until fully browned, tossing regularly. Remove the pan from the heat briefly to drain any fat, then return back to the stove. Add in the spices and stir to fully combine. Remove from the heat.

Now, to assemble the phyllo pie, lay three to four sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Fold any excess dough in. Brush the top phyllo sheet very generously with the oil. Repeat this step as you lay three to four sheets of phyllo at a time in the baking pan until you have used up 1/2 of the phyllo sheets.

Now, as you have a nice base for your pie, spread the meat filling evenly on top of the last phyllo sheet.

Layer the remaining sheets on top of the meat repeating the same process as before (again, three or four sheets at a time, fold excess phyllo and smear oil on the top sheet) until the phyllo sheets are used up.

Brush the top sheet very generously with the olive oil. With a sharp knife, cut the phyllo pie into 12 or more squares.

Season the prepared Almond milk and egg mixture with salt and pepper and pour evenly over the pie.

Place the phyllo meat pie uncovered on the middle rack of the 350 degrees F heated-oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until cooked through. It should turn a nice golden brown. Be watchful so that pie does not over bake or burn.

Serve warm as an entrée or side dish. Enjoy!

Notes – Do not skimp on oiling the phyllo layers as indicated above. Make sure you brush a generous amount of the olive oil so that each layer is well soaked. If you want to prepare the pie ahead of time, you can follow the steps all the way, but do not pour the milk-egg mixture over until just before you want to bake it. The pie must be covered tightly and kept in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Do not prepare more than one night ahead.

Preparation 30 minutes
Serves 12 generous pieces, alternatively I cut the squares into diamond shapes to yield more portions.

Mixed Green & Cold Cut Salad

Put this salad in the middle of your table and watch it disappear for it is full of delicious veggies and the delightful cold cut addition

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 6 ounces favorite cold cut, cut into strips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and cut
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 (7-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
  • 1 (5.75-ounce) can large pitted black olives, drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) jar hot peppers drained (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups prepared vinaigrette dressing

Directions

Wash and dry lettuce and tomatoes then cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a very large mixing bowl with remaining ingredients except dressing; toss to mix well.

Pour desired amount of dressing over salad; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Preparation 10 minutes
Serves 10

 

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll

Inasmuch as cabbage rolls are a tradition on Purim (we have featured it in past articles). Here we present the surprising unstuffed stuffed cabbage which has all the flavor but fuss free to make. Keeping it almost traditional.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 packages pre-cut cabbage
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans tomato juice, flavored or plain
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Heat a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef and onion in the hot Dutch oven until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes; drain and discard grease. Add cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, garlic, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover Dutch oven, reduce heat, and simmer until cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.

Pickled Tongue in Apricot Sauce

Here is the traditional Purim specialty pickled sweet and sour tongue. A family favorite that all look forward to all year.

  • 1 3lb. Tongue (pickled or plain)

Apricot Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups apricot jam
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. Brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs Flour
  • 1 Tbs Lemon juice

TONGUE: Fill 4-quart pot three-quarters full of water. Add tongue. When water boils and darkens, change water and continue cooking in fresh water. If tongue is pickled, repeat the process, changing the water a second time. This time, bring to a boil on a high flame and then lower flame to cook over medium flame for 2 to 3 hours until tender. After tongue has cooked, and while it is still warm, hold with fork and peel off skin. When cooled, cut into 1/4-inch slices.

APRICOT SAUCE: Approximately 30 minutes before serving, mix sauce ingredients in a 10-inch skillet and bring to a boil. Add in as many of slices of tongue as will be served. Shut of flame and allow tongue to warm in the sauce for several minutes.

Serves: 6 to 8

Surprise chocolate cups

These delightful Chocolate Mousse Cups are extra decadent and super special. Plus, they're simple to make, thanks to the help of some small balloons! Surprise the guests when you show them how you made these cups leave the balloons and depending on the age of the children allow them to bust the balloons for the fun of it.

Ingredients

CHOCOLATE CUPS

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • 8 small round balloons (see Note)

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt chocolate and shortening 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, inflate balloons to about the size of an orange; tie knots to seal. Dip and spoon chocolate over bottom third of balloon. The chocolate should look like a bowl. Allow excess chocolate to drip off bottom and place on baking sheet. Chill 25 minutes or until chocolate is firm.

To fill the cups

Carefully pop balloons and remove them from chocolate cups. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

Place chocolate chips in a large bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring water, sugar and coffee granules to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour coffee mixture over chocolate chips and stir until chocolate is melted.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, beat whipped cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Gently fold chocolate into the whipped cream until thoroughly blended. Spoon chocolate mousse evenly into chocolate cups and refrigerate four hours or until ready to serve. You can also fill cups with your favorite ice cream.

Notes

Feel free to fill these cups with your favorite ice cream for a simpler dessert.

To make this special dessert even more special, garnish with a chocolate dipped strawberry.

Anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to latex should NOT make or consume these dessert cups.

SERVES 8
CHILL TIME 4 Hr