Yom rishon, 1 Elul 5772, Rosh Chodesh.
Having our sons home in ones, twos, threes or many is our greatest Shabbat pleasure.
Well -- almost.
This Shabbat happened to be unusual. Sports Guy is in Sweden with the Israeli National American Flag Football team, helping his team to some very respectable standings. Yeshiva Bochur and Stunt Man are still doing their part to protect Israel's borders from people who don't want Israelis to live here. And Soldier Boy and his family and the other brothers are still in a galaxy far, far away.
So this Shabbat was just the Dearly Beloved and me.
And we decided to do it up in regal style.
"Let's just pretend that we are at a holiday resort, and have Shabbat catered. It'll be like room service!"
He agreed. We did. And I highly recommend you give something like this a try, at some point in your marital career. (Here I will toss in a brief disclaimer for my young readers with fifteen or twenty little kids still at home. Don't be jealous. You will get to do this someday, too. Trust me. And we don't feel guilty. It's our compensation for arthritis, intermittent tooth loss due to gum exhaustion, and never, ever again looking as good as you do in that dress.)
Our meal was catered by the wonderfully talented, educational and conscientious Marc Gottlieb of Culinart Kosher. While it is convenient for us that he lives and works right here in Neve Daniel, I understand that he was delivering a large number of orders to other areas of the Gush on Friday as well. (The rumor mill has it that brand-new olah and celebrity kosher chef Jamie Geller and I shared the same caterer this Shabbat. In case you needed to know just how good our local boy is...)
Everything was reasonably priced, and delivered by his charming children in plenty of time to get things set up on the blech before Shabbat. And I had zero stress, because my big job of the day had been to set the table. For two. Draining, I know -- but a woman does what she must.
For Friday night, we shared the Classic Beef Brisket and the Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers. Both dishes were prepared beautifully, and were perfectly complemented by the cheerfully-named Garlic Smashed Potatoes. As sides, we had a Roasted Summer Squash Duet, juicy and lightly seasoned, and Zucchini Papparadelle, which was so refreshing, it actually cleaned the palate like a sip of wine between bites of more robust foods. We complemented the meal with possibly the last bottle of 2009 Tabor Cabernet Sauvignon in Super Turgiman. :-)
Shabbat lunch had me a bit worried, as I wasn't sure I'd ordered enough. I have often found that appetizers provide enough for a main dish -- but I wasn't sure if my choice of Citrus Salmon Skewers with Herbed Rice would be sufficient. I needn't have worried. The salmon held up to the light pre-lunch warming, and was light, lightly-tangy, and not in the least dry. The creamy rice was seasoned exactly right. In fact, if there could have been one improvement, it would have been to have the rice presented separately from the fish, as it was abundant, and would have gone nicely with meat as well. With the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad came a perfectly tangy dressing. (The dressing was so delicious, we saved some of it for seudat shlishit, and chopped up some vegetables for dipping.) And with the addition of some leftover Zucchini Papparadelle, and our usual additions of olives, pickles, salatim and hummus, we had a perfect lunch.
As the lovely afternoon wound down, we realized we couldn't wait for seudat shlishit to have our dessert. So we had the Chocolate Mousse early. This decadent dish should come with a warning label. Delicious. Too much too-muchness. Probably illegal in most states in America and in all Muslim countries.
I wish I had photos for you -- but it was Shabbat, after all. Recommendation: Give Marc a call at 02-991-9443, and see what he has to offer for yourself. You deserve it.
Gil Marks, of Encylcopedia of Jewish Food fame. Ehhhhhh... Seems one way or another, Culiart Kosher is running with the big boys.