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Welcome to the fourth weekly dKos Shabbat Dinner. For those of you who haven't been following along as this series started, this is what it's all about:

For Jews (at least traditionally), Shabbat is the day of rest. Think of it as the first historically recorded weekend: God spent six days* creating the world and rested on the seventh. Accordingly, we work for six days and emulate God by resting on the seventh. We spend the day with our families, putting aside for the day the concerns of our professional lives. And one of the ways we mark the day as special is with special meals, like the Shabbat dinner.

Mets102 had the idea of a weekly diary, a sort of "what's for Shabbat dinner" to be posted on Thursday afternoon to give people the opportunity to incorporate any of the recipes they read here into their Shabbat plans if they wish to do so. Below the jump, you can read all about some of what I'm planning to cook for Shabbat dinner this week. (And JayinPortland -- you're up next week!)

* But not six literal days -- we're not fundamentalists, you know.

It's been an odd winter in New England. One day it might be 60 degrees and sunny, the next 10 degrees and buried under a foot of snow. Add to the funky weather that all kinds of viruses have been going around for the last three months, and my pregnant wife requests Jewish penicillin nearly every week for Shabbat dinner:

Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls

one 5 pound chicken, quartered
12 cups cold water
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4-5 fresh parsley stems
3 stalks celery with leaves
3 carrots, peeled
2 sprigs fresh dill (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons white pepper

Put chicken in a large pot containing the water and bring to a boil. Skim off the grey foam that forms at the top of the pot. Cut vegetables, dill and parsley into large pieces. Add to pot, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, skimming occassionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool. Remove chicken. Strain soup into a large bowl. Discard onion, celery and leaves. The carrots should be sliced and served in the soup, along with the matzah balls.

To make matzah balls:

4 eggs
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 small carrot, minced (optional)
1 cup matzoh meal

Cooking Liquid:
8 cups cold water
1 chicken boullion cube or 2 teaspoons powdered
2 teaspoons salt

By hand:
Beat eggs and liquid until frothy with a fork or whisk. Add salt, pepper, parsley and carrot. Gradually stir in matzah meal and oil. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour until thickened.

With a food processor:
With steel knife, chop parsley or carrot. Add eggs, liquid, oil, salt and pepper. Process 6 seconds. Add matzoh meal and process about 10-15 seconds more. Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour until thickened.

Bring water, boullion and salt to a boil. Reduce heat. Using wet hands, form matzah mixture into small balls, roughly the size of a golf ball. Don't make them too big; they expand during cooking. Place in pot. Cover and cook on medium heat for 1 hour. Remove with slotted spoon. Transfer to hot soup and simmer at least 5 minutes before serving.

You're all forbidden from telling my wife that penicillin of any variety doesn't actually work on viruses.

Now, everyone knows it's not really Shabbat unless you have challah. And my little sisters, who usually spend Shabbat at our house, are challah snobs, so you know we have some good recipes:

Whole Wheat Honey Challah

six 1/4 ounce packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1 cup honey
4 cups warm water, divided
1 cup oil
5 eggs, plus 1 egg beaten for glaze
2 tablespoons salt
8 cups whole wheat flour
12 cups all-purpose or bread flour

Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon honey in 2 cups warm water in large bowl. Let stand until bubbly, then beat in oil, 5 eggs, 1 cup honey, and remaining 2 cups warm water. Mix well. Gradually add dry ingredients and knead 5 to 10 minutes until elastic but not sticky.

Divide dough in half, place in 2 oiled bowls, and turn to grease tops. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place 1 to 2 hours. Punch down and let rise 1 hour longer. Meanwhile, grease six 8x4 inch loaf pans.

Divide into six parts. Braid six loaves and put in prepared pans. Let rise, covered, 1 hour longer.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each challah with beaten egg and bake 35 minutes to 1 hour, until brown.

Makes 6 loaves.

And finally, because Purim is coming up in less than two weeks now, we have to have some Hamantaschen. (Really, we have to. My wife tells me it's a local ordinance.)


4 cups flour
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup margarine, softened
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon orange rind
1 pound pie filling of your preferred flavor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Place all ingredients in a large mixer bowl and beat together. You may add a drop more juice or flour, depending on consistency of dough. Roll dough into a ball. Divide into four parts. On a floured board roll out each portion to about 1/8-inch thick. Using a round bicuit or cookie cutter cut 3-inch circles. Place 1/2 to 2/3 teaspoon of pie filling in the center of each circle. To shape into triangle, lift up right and left sides, leaving the bottom down and bring both side to meet at the center above the filling. Bring top flap down to the center to meet the two sides. Pinch edges together. Place on grease cookie sheet 1 inch apart and bake for 20 minutes.

For added degree of difficulty, you could make your own pie filling or use chocolate or butterscotch chips instead.

So we've covered the soup, challah, and dessert. There will be more, but my youngest sister lives with us and I have enough cooking of my own to do already -- she's going to be responsible for the main course and sides this week. But this diary is already long enough. It's a good rule of thumb that you should spend more time cooking your Shabbat dinner than reading a diary with recipes for your Shabbat dinner, so Shabbat shalom, l'chaim, and God bless the unionized public workers of my home state of Wisconsin!

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