Tips for a Fall Feast

Rosh Hashanah has been my holiday to host for over 10 years. What started as a small gathering of close friends who like us, don’t live near immediate family has turned into a full on feast filled with new friends and old as well as our close and extended families. It’s a holiday purely about celebration (and food) and what I love the most is blending my traditional family recipes with new favorites I have collected and perfected over the years. Here are a few tips for staying organized and managing to feed a large crowd on a holiday that often falls in the middle of the week all while still trying to make it to services with two kids in tow.

  1.  Bake and freeze desserts ahead of time: I try to do all of my baking at least the weekend before, freezing everything and defrosting day of. My go to recipes are: Grandma Mitzi Thin Mandal Bread, Grandma Syl Cookies and this Majestic and Moist Honey Cake. Email me for cookie recipes and follow the recipe in link for the cake (this year I replaced OJ with Apple Cider and liked it even better).
  2. Embrace the Slow Cooker! A few years ago I gave up on my Grandma’s traditional brisket recipe and replaced it with a similar but tastier one I found on Smitten Kitchen the best part about recipe is that it can either be prepped the night before, left to cook overnight and just sliced and reheated before the meal OR cooked in advanced and then frozen. Either way, it’s one of the easiest and tastiest brisket recipes I’ve tried.  This year I also made my veggie sides (honey glazed carrots and balsamic brussels sprouts) in the slow cooker which saved some time and avoided having the oven on all day. Check out my Pinterest Page for other slow cooker and recipe ideas for the meal.
  3. Everyone loves a Turkey: For the past few years we’ve started serving a whole turkey along with brisket as a main course. Partially because my husband loves making turkey but also because it can feed a crowd and can be prepped early in the day and put in the oven to roast. We’ve started smoking ours on the Big Green Egg but either way you can’t go wrong and can always use the leftovers for multiple meals after the holiday.
  4. Checklists and prepping ahead: Just as important as the menu is the schedule in which dishes can be prepped. I use my Pinterest Board to organize all my recipes for hosting and a few days before dinner, I pull out tasks that can be done at least a day in advance. For example: cooking grains (farro for this meal), making salad dressing, cleaning and chopping veggies, pulling out serving platters that only get used for such occasions and organizing paper goods and flatware.
  5. Let people bring things:  This is always a hard one for me but something I have learned to embrace. Everyone who comes to dinner always asks what they can bring, I try to think of things that will be easy to pick up and or make and that I don’t want to handle myself. For example: challah/fresh bread, fruit salad, appetizers (gefilte fish/chopped liver), dessert, and of course you can never have too much wine.

These tips can apply to serving a crowd for any occasion and good to keep in mind as Thanksgiving is right around the corner, happy hosting!


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