With the right dishes, becoming an adult can be a delicious affair

“You need lots of candy and a good DJ for a great celebration,” says bar mitzvah party veteran and Brandeis Hillel Day School seventh-grader Jeremy Moser. Popular games include Limbo, basketball (using a portable hoop), and Mummy Wrap, which involves wrapping friends up in layers of toilet tissue and competing for the fastest and neatest wraps.

Jeremy is looking forward to his own bar mitzvah in June. “I’ve worked a long time, and it was a lot of work. I had to write a speech, but the party is about celebrating what I’ve accomplished.” His party will be at a popular Market Street restaurant.

Jeremy’s mother, San Francisco divorce attorney Barbara Moser, has a more profound view. “My husband, David, and I are so tremendously proud of the incredible effort Josh has expended to be called to the Torah as a Jewish adult. He has undertaken the process of studying Torah and performing mitzvot with intense dedication, sincerity and seriousness.”

That’s not to say that no one is excited about the party. Although the restaurant is upscale and focuses primarily on adults, Jeremy’s party will be serving up all his favorite foods, including ahi burgers, vegetarian pizza and a selection of salads. Dessert is an ice cream sundae bar, featuring the restaurant’s house-made rich ice creams.

Barbara admits attending to the many details that go along with celebrating a bar mitzvah in today’s world: selecting the right clothes for her husband and two sons, looking great in the photographs, choosing a fabulous DJ, and, like many Jewish mothers, worrying about whether she ordered enough food for the Kiddush and the party.

But amid the many details, she keeps in mind the reason for the celebrations. “In a few short weeks, our son is going to take on the responsibility of being a Jewish adult. We are celebrating that he has not only the desire, but the freedom and opportunity to do this as well,” she said.

Ahi Tuna Burgers | Serves 4

6 Tbs. olive oil
4 5-oz. ahi tuna steaks (each about 1 inch thick)
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
4 squares of focaccia, split horizontally
Coat tuna steaks with oil and vinegar, and allow to marinate for up to 2 hours. Preheat the grill or broiler to medium-high heat. Brush cut sides of the focaccia with some of the tuna marinade and grill, cut-side down, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the grilled bread to a work surface.
Grill the tuna, with some marinade still clinging, until slightly charred but still pink in center, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Place the tuna on the bread and top with dollop of garlic mayonnaise (recipe follows). Serve, passing the remaining sauce separately.

Garlic Mayonnaise | Makes about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, through press
2 Tbs. chopped flat leaf parsley
Mix together all ingredients. Store in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups cream
2 cups milk
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 Tbs. finely chopped chocolate
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
Whisk egg yolks and sugar until light in color and thick. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan and whisk in the beaten egg yolks and sugar. Stir constantly over low heat, until the custard is thick. Melt chocolate and stir in. Allow the custard to cool very well.
Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Halfway through the freezing process, add the finely chopped chocolate dust and chopped hazelnuts. Once frozen, the ice cream may be stored in the freezer. Remove the ice cream from the freezer, and allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a certified culinary professional. Visit her Web site at www.GoRebecca.com. She can be reached at [email protected].