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North African Themed Shabbat Dinner 10/29/2021

What field trip inspired my new current menu you ask? Dearest husband, @nelachabad, along with a few more of my favorite guys went far far away...

To a land that is VERY near and dear to my heart.

It comes up in every shabbat meal conversation some way.. The magical, magnificent, Jewish history-rich, home to my Bubby Morocco. The place my mother grew up in, and most importantly the place the Rebbe had sent my grandparents to on Shlichus, with a mission to empower the Moroccan Jewish community.

Highly recommend to go for a visit.

Shabbat Shalom!!


Ginger and Mint Cocktail

Serves 8, or a large pitcher

3 cups water

2 Moroccan Mint tea bags

2" ginger piece, sliced

3 strips of peeled orange zest

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup gin

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Mint sprigs, lemon wedge and ice for serving

Simmer the tea, ginger, orange zest, and sugar in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, add gin and lemon juice and chill until cold. Serve with a mint sprig, lemon wedge over ice.

Cumin Seed Challah

Tuck cumin seeds into the challah strands as you roll. Egg wash and top the challah with more cumin seeds and optional sesame seeds.

Tershi- Libyan sweet and spicy squash dip

By Jessica Schneider

1 small kabocha squash (can use pumpkin or butternut squash too) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 pound or 3 cups)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic

1/2 - 1 tsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper (to taste)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt

2 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp white vinegar

1 tbsp water (add more if needed)

To Garnish

2 tsp caraway seeds

or 2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat oven 400 F.

2. Place pumpkin cubes into small baking pan and toss with olive oil to coat. Shake the pan to even out the squash, so they are one layer and not on top of each other. Place pan on middle rack of oven, bake until very soft, about 45 minutes -- after about 30 minutes, scrape and mix the cubes to turn them over.

3. When pumpkin is very soft, pour into food processor and add the remaining dip ingredients. Pulse until well-blended and very smooth. Pour into small serving bowl or plate. (May be stored in air tight container in refrigerator for up to two days, will probably need to drizzle with olive oil to retain freshness.)

4. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with toasted seeds.

Mashwiy-ya - Grilled tomato and pepper salad with harissa

By Jessica Schneider



1 lb fresh plum tomatoes, rinsed and patted dry

4 lb red bell peppers, rinsed and patted dry

1 hot red or green chili pepper, rinsed and patted dry

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for greasing vegetables) + 3 tbsp for garnish

2 tbsp + 1 tsp crushed (or very finely chopped) garlic

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 - 3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp finely ground black pepper

Tunisian hot sauce or harissa, to taste

2-3 tbsp black olives, pitted and thinly sliced

2-3 tbsp capers, liquid strained - optional

Instructions to Prepare Salad

1. Preheat broiler (or "hi" if using electric oven)

2. Rub outsides of vegetables with 1 tbsp oil, place tomatoes in one baking pan and peppers into separate pan.

3. Place pans on top rack in over (about 2 inches from flame), broil until very soft and charred all around, about 15 minutes on each side for bell peppers, 5 minutes on each side for chili pepper, 10 minutes each side for tomatoes.

4. Remove from oven and place tomatoes and peppers into separate bowls. Cover each bowl, let cool 10-15 minutes. Steam will help loosen skins.

5. Once veggies cool enough to handle, peel or pull off outer skins, discard. Cut peppers in half, remove seeds and stems, discard.

6. Chop each bell pepper into small pieces (about 1/4-inch), place in mixing bowl. Chop hot pepper very finely, add to bowl.

7. Cut tomatoes into same size pieces (it's okay if they're practically crushed), add to pepper bowl. Mix well.

8. Pour pepper-tomato mixture into strainer to drain excess liquid. Then pour back into bowl.

9. Add remaining 3 tbsp oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, harissa, black olives, mix well.

10. Pour into serving bowl, let refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Just before serving, adjust seasonings as needed, serve drizzled with a few tbsp oil. Serve cold or room temp.

Orange and Chickpea Salad with cilantro

By Jessica Schneider


4-5 small garlic cloves, minced and mashed to paste with 3/8 tsp kosher salt

1/2 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin


1/2 cup drained chickpeas

1 orange, thinly sliced then peeled

1/4 cup minced fresh coriander leaves

1. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic paste, olive oil, cayenne, ground coriander and cumin, or blend the dressing ingredients all together.

2. Arrange orange slices on serving dish, drizzle with dressing from small bowl, and then sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and chopped olives.

Beef and Vegetable Soup with fava beans and saffron

By Jessica Schneider


13 cups water

1-2 lbs veal or beef with bones (any variation is good)

4 carrots, peeled, cut lengthwise, then cut again into 1/2-inch semi-circles

4 medium red potatoes (about 1 lb), washed, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

8 celery stalks, washed, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tsp saffron threads, dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water

3 or more tsp kosher salt

Few dashes ground white pepper

4 lbs fresh whole fava beans in pod, or 3 cups ready to eat (already peeled and steamed) fava beans, or 2 cups frozen fava beans, or substitute 3 cups frozen lima beans

Instructions to Prepare Soup

1. Heat a little oil in large soup pot. Sear beef for 4 minutes on each side.

2. Add all the vegetables--except beans, sweat for 5 minutes and add the water. Reduce to a medium-low heat, cover, cook 1.5 hours. Meanwhile, prepare beans.

3. If using already-prepared beans, skip to step four.

If using frozen: soak in a small bowl of cold water about 2 minutes to soften outer thin membranes, then drain. Working one bean at a time, pinch and break outer membrane until bean pops out. Set beans aside in a bowl at room temp and move to step four.

4. After the soup has been cooked about 1.5 hours, add saffron liquid, salt, and white pepper, and mix gently to combine. Cover and continue to cook additional 1.5 hours until meat is so soft it can be cut with a spoon.

5. About 5 minutes before serving, add beans, and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.

6. Serve hot in soup bowls.

Doro-wat - Ethiopian chicken stew with hard boiled eggs

By Jessica Schneider

Ingredients for Stew

1 lb bone-in chicken thighs, pricked with fork

1 lb chicken drumsticks, pricked with fork

1 large lemon, cut into quarters

1 lb onions (about 4 medium), finely chopped (about 6 cups)

3 tbsp safflower or vegetable oil

2 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated

2 tbsp garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1 tbsp hot paprika, or to taste

1 tsp chili powder, or to taste

2 tbsp sweet paprika

1 tsp ground coriander

3/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp fenugreek

1-1.5 tsp kosher salt

3 tbsp tomato paste, dissolved in 3/4 cup cold water

*you can also use Berbere seasoning if you have, it has all the spices mentioned above, with added cayenne, it will be on the spicier side with this seasoning.

Ingredients for Serving

4-6 hardboiled eggs (1 per person), pricked with small fork

Instructions for Doro Wat

1. Place chicken in large bowl. Squeeze the lemon over chicken, then toss lemon pieces in bowl. Let marinate while preparing sauce.

2. Warm a large saucepan or pot for 1 minute over medium-high heat. Add onions (no oil), cook until very soft, 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning, and reduce heat if needed.

3. Add oil, ginger, cook 5 minutes to soften.

4. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds, stir to prevent burning.

5. Add all spices, including salt, mix well to coat onions.

6. Pour in dissolved tomato paste mixture, mix well. Bring to boil over high heat, stir, then reduce to medium or low heat and simmer, uncovered, for onions to break down and for sauce to thicken, about 35-40 minutes.

7. Place chicken in sauce, simmer over medium-low heat, covered, about 30-40 minutes.

8. Gently place hard-boiled eggs on top of chicken pieces, spoon some stew over each one. Continue to cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

9. Serve chicken pieces and whole eggs on a large platter with the sauce spooned over the top.

**To simplify, I made the onion/spice/tomato paste mixture, placed the lemon marinated chicken in a baking pan, spread the onion mixture on top, covered and baked at 350 degrees for 3 hours.

Garlic and Potato Tajine

Adapted from Jessica Schneider

2 tbsp oil

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups sliced onion

8 garlic cloves, sliced

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp kosher salt

black pepper

2-3 lbs red or yukon gold potatoes, diced

Instructions to Prepare Tajine

1. In a Tajine, or large casserole, heat both oils over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add onion slices and cook 10 minutes, mixing constantly.

2. Mix in garlic, cilantro, turmeric, 1.5 tsp salt, mix well. Cook additional 5 minutes.

  1. Add the potatoes and mix well. Cover the Tajine and let it steam/cook for 25 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and roast for 1 hour uncovered.

Helwat al Yaktin - sweet Libyan butternut squash pudding

By Jessica Schneider

Ingredients for Pudding

8-inch square or round baking/pie pan (non-stick, glass, or ceramic preferable to metal)

2-3 tbsp safflower or vegetable oil

2 tbsp safflower or vegetable oil

2.5 lbs fresh butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (pre-diced from Tjs will work, but frozen or puree doesn't work with this recipe)

1/2 cup vanilla or regular almond milk

3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp dark brown sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for Baking and Serving

1-2 tbsp safflower or vegetable oil (for greasing)

1/2 cup reserved cooked butternut squash cubes (about 8 small pieces so that each serving gets a piece)

ground cinnamon

To Prepare

1. Preheat the oven 350 F. Grease pan generously with oil, set aside.

2. Warm oil in large non-stick skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Reduce to medium-low heat and mix in butternut squash cubes. Cover, cook until very soft and browned, about 20 minutes--stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning.

3. While squash is cooking, whisk almond milk, egg yolks, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and vanilla together in medium bowl.

4. Pour cooked squash cubes (minus 8 cubes for garnish) into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Scrape the puree into the bowl with the milk-spice mixture and gently mix to combine.

5. Scrape mixture into prepared baking pan, spreading it out evenly with spatula. Place pan on middle rack of oven and bake 1 hour, or until center is slightly firm and edges are pulling away from pan -- the mixture will still be a bit soft to touch, but shouldn't be liquidy, and the top should be a deep orange-brown color).

6. Remove from heat, cool 30 minutes, then cover, and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours - overnight.

7. Serve each bowl with a reserved cooked butternut squash cube cold sprinkled with cinnamon, and sprinkle the entire serving with cinnamon, too.

*Can also bake in individual ramekins for 45 minutes.


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