Throughout the years, I’ve catered just about every kind of event you can imagine, from a rock climbing party celebrating a man having climbed all the highest peaks in North and South America to a lavish James Bond cocktail party replete with gaming tables and dancing girls behind a screen. I’ve seen everything and without a doubt my favorite celebration is still the Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The energy at these events is contagious. Everyone’s in a good mood. I’m not sure if it’s because they’ve just spent the better part of the morning in a room listening to multiple readings from the Torah and they can’t wait to break out, or maybe because the day symbolizes the passage of a child into adulthood, which I think would give anyone goose bumps. I don’t think I myself ever made that transition and I’m almost… Nevermind!
I’ve been catering these celebrations for over 15 years and it doesn’t matter if you spend $5,000 or $50,000, the end result is the same. The kids always make it seem like it’s the best party they’ve ever been to. Maybe that’s why I like catering these events!
I understand the social pressure that parents must feel to throw an “out of this world” party, but I’ll tell you a secret. I did a fairly low key Bat Mitzvah last year and overheard the children say that it was the best Bat Mitzvah they had ever been to. Long and short of it is, the recipe for a successful Bar or Bat Mitzvah is to make sure the food is fabulous, that you get a really good d.j., pick some fun yet sophisticated linens, a few games and some creative centerpieces. Anything beyond that is a waste of money. This is a kids party. Now, if your party is mostly adults, again, make sure the food is excellent, pick some elegant linens and centerpieces, and make sure the entertainment is current and tasteful.
The last Bat Mitzvah I catered was gorgeous. It took place at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland, MA and Jodi Raphael of Jodi Raphael Events chose the linens and centerpieces with my client. Absolutely gorgeous! She has beautiful taste.
And the photographer, Allan Dines of Northstar Photography, took some amazing shots which I’ve featured in this blog.
Because the event was being held in a temple, certain Kashrut (the set of Jewish dietary laws) had to be followed. Milk is not eaten with meat. Dairy may not follow meat. Since most of my Bar or Bat Mitzvahs enjoy a Sundae bar, that basically determined the menu. It was to be fish and dairy. My client warned me ahead of time that she was a big foodie. So in addition to the Kashrut I had to make sure that the food was contemporary and that it challenged her palette. I think we succeeded! The food was stellar this day. During the cocktail hour, guests feasted on:
Curried Carrot Soup Sips in demitasse cups- recipe below!!
Brazilian Yucca Fritters with Screaming Aioli- recipe also below!!
Smoked Salmon Tartar in Potato Cups with Lemon Aioli and Fried Caper
Garlic Crostini’s topped with goat cheese, oven roasted tomatoes, sautéed wild mushrooms and truffle oil
Zucchini and Feta Pancakes topped with Eggplant Caviar
The children enjoyed:
Oriental Tapas Station overflowing with Fried wontons with duck sauce and hot mustard, crispy spring rolls with plum sauce,
California Rolls(no shellfish- pressed polluck used instead), and
Vegetarian and Cucumber Maki with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.
The adults munched on a plated salad of:
Baby arugula, riesling poached pear, crumbled great hill blue cheese, candied pecans, and mixed greens with Cider croutons and champagne vinaigrette
And then enjoyed a buffet of:
Sake Miso Marinated Sea Bass
with wasabi oil and soy lime syrup
Braised baby bok choy
Stir Fried Asparagus tips with black bean sauce
Sweet Corn Risotto
Assorted Iggy’s Breads with Sweet Butter
Mile high Chocolate Fudge Cake
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
While the kids enjoyed a simple buffet of:
Bow-tie Pasta with Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Basil
Ceasar Salad with homemade croutons
Veggie and Cheese Quesadillas with salsa and sour cream
And saved their appetite for the grand finale:
OVERFLOWING ICE CREAM SUNDAE BAR
Chocolate, Vanilla, Oreo ice cream; Hot Fudge Topping, Hot Caramel Topping, Strawberries, whipped cream, sprinkles, Oreos, Heath bars, m&m’s, peanut butter cup pieces and of course…Cherries
And last but not least a 3 tiered Cupcake Display with Chocolate, Vanilla Bean and Cookies and Cream cupcakes filled with Sweet Cream
It was a stellar event enjoyed by all on a crisp, sunny January afternoon. I’ve posted a couple of recipes below from the adults hors d’oeuvres. If you are interested in any of the the other recipes, feel free to email me at email@example.com and don’t hesitate to contact us when planning your next bar or bat mitzvah. Enjoy!!
1 lb. Yucca (peeled and small dice)
1 Idaho potato (peeled and small dice)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 shallots (peeled small dice)
1 celery stalk (small dice)
2 garlic cloves (small dice)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. fresh herbs- like rosemary, thyme- minced finely
fresh ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs beaten with a fork
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
Fill medium saucepan with water and two tbsp. salt. Bring to boil. Add yucca and potato and boil for 5-8 minutes or until fork tender.
Remove yucca and potatoes with slotted spoon and place on sheet tray. Allow to cool to room temperature.
In medium sauté pan, add the one tbsp. of vegetable oil and bring to medium heat. Add diced shallot, celery and garlic. Sauté until translucent.
Place cooled potato mixture and sautéed veggie mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add heavy cream and chopped herbs, salt and pepper and mash together, making sure to combine all ingredients well.
Turn this doughy mixture out onto flat surface and roll into 2” x ½” fingers. Dip each finger into separate bowls of first, flour, then egg, then panko bread crumbs.
Heat ½” oil in high frying pan to medium high heat. Place fingers in hot oil one at a time, turning frequently until golden brown on all sides. Drain onto paper towels. Serve hot with a Spicy Aioli which is a simple combination of Hellmans’ Mayonnaise and a few dashes of Sriracha hot chili sauce.
Curried Carrot and Ginger Soup
½ cup onions chopped
½ cup scallions chopped
2 small shallots, peeled and diced
1 tbsp gingerroot, peeled and minced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups carrots, sliced thin
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup sweetened coconut milk- like Coco Lopez
fresh lime juice
Saute in hot skillet onions, scallions, shallot and gingerroot in butter with curry, cardamom, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste until onions are softened. Add carrots and broth and cook on simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots are soft. Remove bay leaf.
Transfer to bowl of food processor and add coconut milk, processing until very smooth. Add juice from half a lime. Add tablespoon of water at a time if soup needs thinning.
Season with salt and pepper.
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