Ess, Ess/Eat, Eat

Jewish World Review Dec. 31, 2001/ 16 Teves 5762

Holiday Brunch: Fast, Easy and Good

By Ethel G. Hofman -- After all the wining, dining and dancing in fancy duds, it's time to sit back and take a break before it all starts up again to herald a New Year. Brunch with easy to eat savory foods, a hot and hearty soup, and the dress code PJs or jeans fits right in with the mood of the moment laid back and clear the mind.

With all the convenience items in the supermarket food should be fussless. Stock up on items that can be presented in a hurry such as marinated artichokes, a variety of olives, unusual preserves like sour cherry, chunky marmalades and/or ginger. Vegetables such as carrots and cabbage are shredded and washed. Buy orange sections in a jar , fresh fruits are cut up and ready to eat, cheeses are available shredded and pudding mixes are the basis for rich, smooth desserts. Baskets of crisp rolls and artisan breads such as olive bread should be warmed in a preheated 350F oven for a few minutes and served with dishes of sweet butter.

In the menu below absolutely everything should and can be made ahead. Show off the food in unusual dishes. The Chef's Salad is arranged in a large glass bowl preferably with straight sides to show off all the layers but a beautiful big soup tureen will make a stunning presentation. The chowder could be served from the pot just tie a colorful towel around it before ladling it into mugs. Portions of rich creamy desserts may be served in demitasse cups or if you really want to impress, spoon into crystal wine glasses.

No need to even think about loading the dishwasher today. Pick up a supply of colorful paper plates and cups and plastic flatware and place big plastic garbage bags around to be whisked away after everyone leaves. Happy Holidays let the days be filled with joy, fine foods and superb wines.


Sunny Mimosas
Winter vegetable chowder
Fettucini with Smoked Salmon and Vodka
Chef's Layered Salad kosher style
Moroccan Oranges and Olives
Toasted Almond Mocha Whip



Insert a cinnamon stick into center of each tangerine slice. Set aside. Mix the orange juice and tangerine juice. Pour enough champagne to half fill (or more) each champagne flute or glass. Top off with juice mixture. Garnish with cinnamon stick in tangerine slice. Serve immediately.

Note: Mix juices and prepare garnishes ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion or 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced soy sausage links
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 medium leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1/8th teaspoon dried thyme
  • large pinch ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup light cream
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the soy sausage, garlic, carrots, cabbage, peas, leek, beans, thyme and nutmeg. Saute 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes. Slowly stir in the cream and heat through. Do not allow to boil. If too thick, add a little more broth or cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Before serving, sprinkle with the cheese.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 pound fettuccine, cooked and drained
  • 4-6 ounces coarsely chopped smoked salmon
  • 1 cup shredded watercress
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the scallions and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes or until scallions are beginning to wilt but still remain fresh green color. Add the vegetable broth, cream and vodka. Heat through. Place the cooked fettuccine in a large bowl. Pour the vegetable-broth mixture over. Add the salmon, watercress and capers and toss gently to mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.



  • 4 cups torn greens (romaine, leaf lettuce, arugula)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 (12-ounce ) can tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 8 ounces part-skim Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 jars (6 ounce each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced in rings
  • 1 pound asparagus, blanched* and cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons salad mustard
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped cilantro

Toss the greens with the scallions. Arrange in bottom of alarge glass bowl. Top with the tomatoes. Cover with the flaked tuna.

Sprinkle with half the basil leaves, then all of the cheese. Top with separate layers of alfalfa sprouts, red onion, marinated artichokes, half the bell pepper and half the asparagus. Top with remaining basil leaves, remaining bell pepper and asparagus.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard and sour cream. Spread over the salad ingredients.. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Before serving, scatter the cilantro over. Use large salad servers to get down through all the layers to serve.

Note: to blanch asparagus. Immerse in boiling water for 1 1/2 minutes. Drain in colander and run coldwater through. Or place in microwave, cover and cook on High for 1 1/2 minutes. Run cold water over and drain well.



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh gingerroot
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8th teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cups orange sections
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 6-7 large lettuce leaves, shredded

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, ginger, paprika, cumin and white pepper. Add the oranges and olives and toss gently to mix. Season with salt to taste. Spoon into a bowl Top with a border of shredded lettuce.


8 demitasse servings

  • 1 (3 ounce) package chocolate pie filling mix (not instant)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup strong cold coffee
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted.

Combine pie filling mix with milk and coffee in a 1 1/2 quart glass bowl. Cook in microwave on High for 2 1/2 minutes. Stir and cook 2 minutes longer or until mixture come to a full bubbling boil stirring after 1 minute. Stir in the amaretto to thoroughly mix. Cover surface with wax paper. Cool completely in refrigerator. Fold in half the whipped cream. Spoon into demitasse cups or stemmed wine glasses. Garnish with remaining whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted almonds. Serve chilled.

JWR contributor Ethel G. Hofman is the former president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, whose members include the likes of Julia Child. She is the author, most recently, of Everyday Cooking for the Jewish Home: More Than 350 Delectable Recipes.


© 2001, Ethel G. Hofman