Breaking the fast, renewing friendship after Yom Kippur

For the past four years or so, our family has been fortunate to be included in our friends Barbara and Dave’s break-the-fast feast after Yom Kippur. The food is always delicious and plentiful. Of course, 25 hours of fasting, spending the day at temple focusing on our spirituality and then surrounding ourselves with great people of all ages make this banquet one of the highlights of the year.

It reminds me again how important a community is, not only for our family, but for the strength we gather from each other. Over the years, Barbara and I have given and solicited advice and opinions to each other on cooking, catering, marriage, divorce, business ventures, family dynamics (functional and otherwise), arts, foreign policy, summer camps, religion, politics and fashion.

We are truly blessed each year with revitalization, life, spirituality, friendship and community. How fortunate are we to accompany our renewal with delicious food and share with friends and family. Perhaps this year will be the year when we can expand the peace and harmony in our families and communities to the rest of the world.

Aunt Monya’s Blintzes | Makes about 2 dozen

For the pancakes:
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the eggs and milk. Stir in the flour and salt and combine using a blender, food processor or whisk. Allow the batter to stand for an hour or longer (if more than an hour, store in the refrigerator).

Put the batter into a measuring cup with a good pouring spout. Heat a small pan on top of the stove, add a small amount of butter, and when it melts, wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
Hold the pan with one hand and with the other pour some batter into the pan. Immediately, pour any excess back into the container of batter. Return the pan to the heat and cook the pancake until firm, about a minute. Flip the pancake onto a board or plate. Continue until all the batter is used. You may refrigerate them at this point, or proceed to fill and bake them.

For the filling:

Mix ingredients together.
To fill the blintzes, place a large spoonful of filling in the center of each pancake. Fold over both sides, and roll into a rectangular shape. Place the blintzes in a baking dish, dab each one with a little butter and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake uncovered in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until warmed through.

Stuffed Mushrooms | Makes 24

1/2 oz. dried porcini
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
24 large mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbs. grated Parmesan
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
6 Tbs. plain bread crumbs

Soak the porcini in enough hot water to cover for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Rinse any remaining sand from the porcini and chop finely.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté the porcini, chopped mushroom stems, onion, and garlic with 1/4 cup of the porcini soaking liquid until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan, salt and pepper. Add enough of the bread crumbs to hold the filling mixture together.
Spray the mushrooms lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Stuff them with the filling, and bake 15 to 20 minutes in a 375-degree oven. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a Bay Area cooking teacher and food professional. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].