"Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." Exodus 20:8-18
Holy, means to be set apart as sacred. The Sabbath is different from all other days; on it we are to set aside our normal routine and dedicate our time to God.
I met the LORD in my kitchen today. …Delighted to begin my Shabbat preparations for the Sabbath. It is a time to shift from our busy work week and reconnect with a focus on God, to thank Him for His goodness and this special day of rest. We take the time to enjoy emotional and spiritual peace and renewal with our friends and family. Our home is always open for friends to join us for this time of rest, renewal and re-connection. It is a time to put aside the cares of this world and acknowledge the Lord, remind ourselves of the importance of holiness in our lives and to seek Him for our joy, contentment and rest. Shabbat is a time to stop from my week's labors, focus on God, and the joy of serving my family in this way.
There are many things that I do on this day to prepare for this special time, so I thought I would invite you into my kitchen and share my thoughts as I prepare our Shabbat meal.
I imagine days of old when women came together to do these preparations. I can see them sharing the tasks of picking from the garden, preparing the grain and choices for this special dinner. I had such a friend many years ago who taught me how to prepare Shabbat. We made bread together, prepared chickpeas, washed and chopped the parsley, koshered the chicken, made the stock for soup, made the matzo balls – I learned so much from her. While we prepared, we shared the stories of our grandmothers, fashion and beauty advice, recipes, concerns for raising our children, tablescape designs. It was a glorious time and joy filled time together.
As I prepared the Challah bread and begin to braid the three strands of dough, I am reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes 4:12, that a three stranded cord that is not easily broken. I prayed for my husband to have strength in his work, that he would have kindness and wisdom upon his lips. I prayed for God’s blessing upon our children and that they would put God first in their lives, I prayed for our home and the friends who visit us.
I was reminded that as we focus on God and prepare ourselves to serve Him, we will have what we need in our relationships to love our husbands, teach our children and have a home that reflects a picture of Christ and the Church to those that observe our lives. I prayed for couples that I know who are struggling in their marriages asking God to bless them with His light and to bring them into alignment with His truth.
As all of us know the Shabbat meal can be a wonderful duty that has many parts to it if we choose to make a homemade meal. I thought about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and that Jesus is making us ready for that. He is the Groom that is molding, pruning and preparing us so on that day we will be His spotless Bride. Just as those who come to my table tonight will not have worked for the beauty and tastiness of the meal, they will enjoy the love and time that I gave in preparing it for them. This comparison was a Selah moment for me. The Spirit continued speaking to me….
Gather all the ingredients together to prepare the rice, hummus and eggplant sauté. This Challah recipe will make two loaves. Take one of the doughs and roll it in a square. Spread it with Nutella rolled it and baked it as a loaf. Wonderful for the next morning. I do this when I have company spending the night, it is a nice treat. It tastes like a chocolate croissant. Yum.
I usually prepare homemade hummus dip for the Challah bread. It is also fine to serve the Challah with butter or olive oil sprinkled with parmesan cheese. My friend, Miri share with me her “secret” to amazing hummus. She removed all of the outer skins of the chick pea and told me that the reason for this is that the skin is very bitter. As I removed these little outer skins I think about my week. Have I treated others with kindness. How has others treated me? For me, I asked God to bring to my mind all that may be in me that has the potential to make me bitter. I asked Him to remove it.
Skinning these little gems takes much time. If we were cooking together, what would we talk about? What would you talk about with those that may join you when you cook a meal? I wondered what the women of old talked about. When working together I am sure that this would not have felt like it had taken very much time at all as we enjoyed our conversations, laughing and telling stories! How time would have just quickly passed as we worked together.
Funny, right now my kitchen is quiet and I am just letting these thoughts flood my mind as I prepare my Shabbat mean with love and intention. As you prepare look at your table and your surroundings. Prepare your home with beauty, fresh flowers, a clean environment. This is one of the things I do for my family that brings me great joy. I want the LORD to shine in our home with hospitality and create moments with our friends, neighbors, and enjoy my family all together around our table. To me this is the foundational recipe for a beautiful home. Time together, connecting with the Lord and each other.
Here are a few of my recipes I'd like to share with you, I hope you enjoy them.
I used the chickpeas in two of the dishes that I made today. Half was used for the hummus and the other was used for a rice dish.
Rice with Chickpeas
2 TBS. Olive Oil
2 TBS. minced garlic
2 Cups chopped onions
1 cup uncooked white rice
2 cups boiling water
1 can chickpeas, drained skinned and rinsed
2 tsp. salt
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic and onion until the onion softens. Add the rice, stirring to combine with the onion, garlic, and oil. Pour in the boiling water, stir, and add the chickpeas and salt. Stir again. Cover and simmer for 30 min. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Make ahead tip - Remove from heat, cover saucepan with a kitchen towel, replace the lid. Heat before serving.
Chickpeas, Tahini, lemons, salt, garlic, olive oil, water
Blend about two handfuls of chickpeas in food processer until creamy, add about ¼ cup tahini, juice of ½ lemon, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp. of salt, ¼ cup of olive oil and then water to smooth. Should be a semi-thick consistency.
This is the result. So yummy and delicious! If you like you can warm pine nuts and place that on top, or sprinkle with paprika. Or experiment with other toppings that sound good to you. This is a crowd pleaser for gatherings with fresh vegetables to dip. On Shabbat I make this to accompany the Challah Bread.
Challah Bread – 2 loaves
2 packages active dry yeast
½ cup honey (or ¼ cup sugar)
1 cup warm water
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 TBS salt
¼ cup butter softened (or ¼ cup vegetable oil)
4-5 cups of bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
I use a heavy mixer which is a huge time saver, but this can be mixed and kneaded by hand as well.
1. In a large bowl sprinkle the yeast a pinch of sugar over warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the eggs, egg yolk, remaining honey (or sugar), salt, and butter (or oil). Stir in 4 cups of flour mix well, add remaining flour until dough is soft and silky.
2. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 1-2 hours until dough has doubled in volume.
3. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead it for just a couple of minutes and return it to a clean bowl, cover, and let rise again, until double in volume. An indentation made in the dough should not pop back.
4. Punch dough to deflate it, cut in half. Cut dough into 3 sections. Roll each section into 10-inch strands and braid together, tucking the ends under the loaf. Repeat to make the second Challah bread.
5. Place on parchment paper and mix one egg yolk with 1 tsp. of water and brush the top of each loaf. Let rise again and then place in 350-degree oven for 25-30 min.
The main course was a tilapia fish with pecan crust. Very simple I just heat up a little coconut oil, dip the fish into a mixture of Italian breadcrumbs and finely chopped pecans and then sauté back in the coconut oil for about 5 min each side. Then top with the crumbs left in the pan. Delish!
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1 small eggplant peeled and diced
¼ red pepper diced
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground red pepper
1 seeded ripe tomato chopped
In a medium skillet cook onion and garlic in the 2 tsp. hot olive oil till onion is tender. Add eggplant, salt, and red pepper. Cook and stir 2-3 min or till eggplant is tender. Remove from heat and serve.
This recipe is wonderful because it can be used as a side as I served tonight or you can use this base to make other things with it, things like:
Mix it with eggs in an omelet (or)
Clean portabella mushrooms, grill for 5 min in oven drizzled with olive oil. Brush French loaf sliced with pesto sauce, place mushroom on top, then top with this eggplant sauté. Amazing appetizer. Bake 350 oven for 5-10 min. You can top with mozzarella cheese if you like. I like it plain.
Tonight, I chose a theme of wheat to symbolize the “harvest” and grapes to symbolize “fruitfulness”.
Shabbat Shalom to my new friends and know that my prayer for you is that you enjoy your family and make your home beautiful through the sharing of your table with friends and family.
Family recipes from my kitchen to yours. Enjoy!