Big events are easy heres how to make every Shabbat special

Celebrations come in all sizes and styles. There’s a Kiddush to celebrate a forthcoming marriage, a brit milah to celebrate a new life, b’nai mitzvah to commemorate Jewish manhood and womanhood, chanukat habayit to bless a family’s new home.

Those are the big events, the ones that take special planning and preparations. But what about life’s small but meaningful happenings such as a good report card, a lost tooth, a win on the soccer field or a new job? A wonderful way to celebrate these very special times is during a family Shabbat dinner.

A table set with candles, challah and Kiddush cups inspires the mood of a distinctive meal, festive and peaceful. It is a perfect time to go around the table and ask each other for highlights of the week. This sweet celebration calls for a special menu, something for a memorable meal.

Agvolemona (Chicken Egg-Drop Soup)

Serves 4 to 6

4 cups chicken stock

1 lb. thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 Tbs. Arborio rice

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 eggs

salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring stock to a boil. Add asparagus and cook 3 minutes. Remove asparagus with slotted spoon and set aside. Add rice to stock and cook until rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice and eggs until well blended. Add a ladleful of hot broth to egg mixture in a slow stream, whisking steadily. Whisk this mixture into remaining soup. Add asparagus and heat gently until slightly thickened. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Honey and Cumin–Glazed Cornish Hens

Serves 8


1⁄2 cup honey

2 Tbs. fresh orange juice

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

3 Tbs. cumin seed, toasted and crushed

2 Tbs. ground coriander

1⁄8 tsp. cayenne

3 Tbs. olive oil

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

4 Cornish hens, split in half

salt and pepper

Combine glaze ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse hens and blot dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using about a third of the glaze, brush both sides of hen halves. Place, skin side down, on a baking sheet with low sides. Place in oven and roast 10 minutes. Turn heat down to 375 degrees, brush hens again with half the remaining glaze and roast 5 minutes. Turn hens over, and roast 10 minutes. Brush with remaining glaze and roast until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Chocolate-Raspberry Brownie Cupcakes

Makes 12

2⁄3 cup margarine

3 squares (1 oz. each) semisweet chocolate

3 eggs

11⁄4 cup sugar

2⁄3 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans

36 raspberries

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt margarine and chocolate; cool for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Add vanilla and chocolate mixture; stir in flour and nuts. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Top each cupcake with 3 raspberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until brownies test done with a wooden pick. Cool. n

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]