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Brian Mailman

Cooking PotAnother cycle of the year is beginning, which means one is ending. We know what's starting, but to see where we're going we need to look back and see where we've been, what we are finishing.

In the Torah, it is written, "But on the fifteenth day of the Seventh Month, when you harvest the produce of the Land, celebrate the Holiday of Hashem for seven days. You shall stay in Sukkot (booths) for seven days; every resident of Israel shall stay in Sukkot. In order that your generations shall know that I housed the Children of Israel in Sukkot when I took them out of the Land of Egypt." (Vayikra 39: 42-43). We are finishing our cycle that began in spring when we left Egypt (Pesach), traveled 40 days to Mt. Sinai for the Giving of the Law (Shavuot) and we now finish it with the traveling onward.

Sukkot (or Succus) is also a harvest festival, known as "Chag Ha'asif, Festival of the Ingathering," emphasizing yet again the special relationship our people have with the land itself. I also see that phrase as meaning "the Ingathering of the People" as the harvest begins and all hands are needed on deck to help each other in this endeavor (OK, fine, not quite an apt metaphor for a desert folk, but y'all get the picture). Where people gather, hospitality happens and sure, in many of our diverse communities the practice is to visit each other (and to especially include the kids) in their Succot and share a light meal (a "Seudat Keva").

A "Seudat Keva" is between a snack and a heavy meal, and by definition includes bread. Because of the lunar calendar, the holiday sometimes occurs early in the year when the weather is still quite warm and when a light meal is great.

What can we do on a grill outdoors? <thinking cap on, play "Jeopardy" theme>. Kids. Bread. Bread. Kids. Hmmm. PIZZA!!!! And round, too, symbolizing the circle of the cycle, and, since the last day of Sukkot is Simchat Torah, the conclusion of the reading of the Torah for the year and beginning of a new reading.

Marcia Goldberg shares with us her from-scratch, kid-tested pizza and sauce; grilling instead of baking is easier than it sounds. Preheat grill to medium-high. Then brush the protopie rounds with oil. Carefully transfer the rounds, oiled side down, with your hands to the grill racks. Lightly brush the top of the "discs" with a little oil.

Grill the rounds until their undersides are golden brown and marked on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the hotness of your grill and thickness of the crust. Flip the crusts over with a metal spatula or tongs.

Top the grilled side with sauce and toppings of choice.

Lightly brush or drizzle the pizzas with some more oil and grill them, covered, a couple minutes more. Ordering delivery is more difficult I think, once you get the hang of it.

Of course, one does not live by pizza alone, and we can certainly keep the harvest theme going with Foodie Michael Miller's colorful Corn Salad (one of the items we decorate the sukkah with are ears of corn). Deceptively simple, there's a slight recall of the North African deserts with the hint of cumin and a surprise kick from Down Mexico Way :)

One of the symbols of the season is the "etrog" or citron -- while there's not much one can do with it besides make a jam (another contribution from Marcia Goldberg) or candy the peel, one can transmogrify the idea of citrus and use an orange. This salad comes to us from one of our New Zealand correspondents, Melissa Shenker. It's a good idea, because if you're using 'shrooms on your pizza, you have the contrast of the raw ones in the salad.

Pizza II (D, TNT)
Source: Crust: Jonathan Friedman's mother in the 2nd grade cookbook from Arie Crown Day School in Chicago; Sauce: A Taste of Tradition by Ruth Sirkis

Yield: 1 pizza

Crust: 1 pkg. dry yeast
7/8 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. oil
Cornmeal for pan

1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 clove garlic, mashed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
4 oz. cheddar cheese
1 2 oz. can flat filet of anchovies (optional)
10 black olives

Make Crust:

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water until foam appears on top, then add salt, oil, and flour.

Knead the dough until the dough is elastic. Put dough in oiled bowl. Turn so surface is covered in oil. Cover with damp towel. Place in warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour. Punch dough, cover with towel. Let rest 15 minutes.

Sprinkle pan with cornmeal. Roll dough. Cover with sauce and cheese, add anchovies and olives.

Bake for 25 minutes in preheated 425 F oven.

Make the Sauce:

Grate cheese coarsely. Mix tomato paste with 2/3 cup water, garlic, oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Drain anchovies. Set aside.

Poster's Notes: When my kids were little I used to make a lot of pizza, all from scratch. They loved it so much that when they were a bit older and would eat out with friends, they would compare all others to mine. I like to make the crust real thin. Any leftovers (I should be so lucky!) were eaten cold the next day. The recipe can be doubled and the leftovers frozen and later reheated (or eaten cold). According to the recipes, this makes 1 pizza. I usually double the dough and make it real thin. I don't use the olives or anchovies; omit salt from sauce; use more garlic; add a pinch of sugar to the sauce. I have at times added shredded onion to the sauce or diced peppers or sliced mushrooms. I also use mozzarella or other melty cheese such as Monterey Jack. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Posted by Marcia Goldberg
Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A4

Corn Salad (P, TNT)
Source: Self
Serves: 4

1 15-oz. can of corn kernels
1/4 cup of chopped pimiento
1 chopped scallion-optional
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 dash of lemon juice
1 pinch powdered cumin
1 pinch garlic powder, or fresh, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Powdered chipotle chili to taste (delicious!)-optional

Mix all ingredients, and allow to sit for a while to develop flavor.

Posted by Michael Miller
Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A

Orange, Mushroom and Onion Salad (P, TNT)
Source: Unknown
Serves: 6

1 small romaine lettuce
10 to 12 fresh button mushrooms
1/2 purple onion (thinly sliced)
1 to 2 oranges
Flaked almonds (lightly toasted)
Dressing: (proportions depend on personal taste)
Dijon mustard
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (a dash)

Peel orange with sharp knife removing peel, white and outer membrane. Chop into small pieces.

Slice mushrooms (not too thinly).

Mix all ingredients together. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over just before serving.

Posted by Melissa Shenker
Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A

Jam, Etrog (P, TNT)
Source: "Jewish Cooking for Pleasure," by Molly Lyons Bar-David

Yield: 1 jar

1 etrog/esrog/citron
1 orange

Wash the etrog and orange and cut them in half lengthwise and then very thinly slice them. Remove seeds. Soak the fruit overnight.

Change the water to cover the fruit and bring to the boil. Change the water again and bring to the boil once more. Pour off the water.

Weigh the fruit and add an equal weight of white sugar. Cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes until the jam begins to jell.

Posted by Marcia Goldberg
Nutritional Info Per Serving: Per serving: 45 Calories; 0g Fat (2% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium

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Brian Mailman (c)2002