For a Shabbat meal to remember, take visitors to the beach

A sunset picnic by the sea is a simple yet memorable way to entertain out-of-town guests. I frequently get last-minute calls from friends who “are just passing through for a few days and would like to see something of the area while catching up with all the latest.”

Chances are they’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge, ridden on the cable cars and gone wine tasting. Consider, then, an early evening beach-blanket banquet and watching a gorgeous sunset at one of our beautiful local beaches. I cannot think of a more spectacular setting for welcoming the Sabbath.

Accompanied by a lively summer menu, this get-together will surely provide your guests with a feast for all the senses.

This menu features food that is entirely make ahead, easy to pack and free of last minute fuss. The flavors will blend in harmony with the crisp, salty air of the season.


Chilled Orange and Tomato Soup

Serves 8

3 Tbs. oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped

3 cups chopped tomatoes

1⁄2 cup dry white wine

1 Tbs. grated orange peel

6 medium oranges, peeled, pith removed and sectioned

31⁄2 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper

In large saucepan, heat oil. Cook onion and fennel until tender, about 8 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 20 minutes. Puree in blender or food processor. Chill and taste for salt and pepper.


Brandied Meat Loaf with Mushrooms & Pistaschios

Serves 10

3 Tbs. oil

1 large onion, chopped

1⁄2 pound mushrooms, chopped

1⁄4 cup brandy

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs

1⁄2 cup beef or chicken stock

1⁄2 tsp. thyme

1⁄2 tsp. salt

11⁄2 lbs. ground beef

1 lb. ground chicken or turkey

1 cup shelled, unsalted pistaschios

In skillet, heat oil. Cook onions and mushrooms until soft, about 4 minutes. Add brandy and cook on medium high heat another minute. Set aside.

Combine eggs, bread crumbs, stock, thyme and salt. Place ground meats in large bowl. Stir in onion mixture and bread crumb mixture. Stir in half of the nuts. Turn out into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and sprinkle remaining pistachios on top. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven 11⁄2 hours or until well browned. Let cool slightly and refrigerate, loosely covered with foil until the next day. Cut into 1⁄2-inch slices and serve.


Marinated Vegetable Salad

Serves 8

11⁄2 cups cauliflowerets, cooked just until tender

11⁄2 cups thinly sliced carrots, cooked just until tender

11⁄2 cups thinly sliced crook-neck squash, cooked just until tender

11⁄2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked just until tender

11⁄2 cups broccoli flowerets, cooked just until tender

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips

4 green onions, sliced


2⁄3 cup olive oil

1⁄4 tsp. grated lemon zest

1⁄3 cup lemon juice

1⁄2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey

2 tsp. chopped fresh dill weed

salt and pepper

Make sure all vegetables are well drained, combine in large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with vegetables. Cover and refrigerate until next day.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected]