Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek are on a roll with the publication of their latest cookbook in their popular Made Easy Series. When Passover Made Easy was completed, they decided that their next project should be a cookbook that featured the type of food they loved to cook and eat. Dwek explained: “After polling all our neighbours, we concluded that everyone is always looking for more starter and side dish ideas.”
Starters and Sides Made Easy (Artscroll) features 60 of their favourite triple-tested recipes for scrumptious starters and side dishes that will enhance any meal. Each recipe is accompanied by a colour photo.
“When I am entertaining or having the family over for a holiday meal, I don’t want my kitchen to be messy when guests arrive. I like to prepare everything in advance, pull it out of the fridge or freezer and pop it in the oven, so Leah and I added “Ahead” tips for every recipe in this book,” Dwek said.
Schapira added: “When I am looking for a side dish to go with a dinner, I want something quick and easy to make. But sometimes easy doesn’t mean quick. The recipes in our book are about having ideas you love at your fingertips or using ingredients that you can find at your local supermarket.”
Here are some suggestions to serve your family and friends for your Simchat Torah celebrations. Let the good times roll!
CORNED BEEF SPINACH SPRING ROLLS
Leah Schapira writes: “Give me a spring roll, and I’ll eat it. I’ve stuffed them with avocado, brisket, vegetables… I’ve even stuffed these wrappers with brownies and fried them for dessert. These, though, are my best spring rolls yet. Of course they’re better fried, but these also actually work very well when they are baked.”
2 tbsp. oil
1 onion, diced
1 16-oz. bag frozen chopped spinach
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. mustard
1/8 tsp. black pepper
12 spring roll wrappers
6 oz. deli corned beef, cut into thin strips
1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp. water
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. brown sugar
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until completely soft, about 7 minutes. Add spinach and continue to sauté until spinach is completely cooked, about 15 minutes. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper.
Place a spring roll wrapper on your work surface. Shape 1-1/2 tbsp. of spinach mixture into a log-shaped mound in the centre of the wrapper. Place 1-1/2 tbsp. corned beef over spinach mixture. Fold in the two sides, then fold the bottom half of the wrapper over the filling. Roll up to completely enclose. Brush the top edge with a bit of the cornstarch mixture to seal. Spring rolls can be frozen at this point.
To bake the spring rolls, preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with nonstick cooking spray. Place spring rolls on the sheet, leaving space between them. Spray the tops and sides with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 18 minutes, or until crispy. (Alternatively, you can fry the spring rolls: Heat 1-2 inches oil in a saucepan. When hot, add spring rolls and fry until crispy, 3-4 minutes per side.)
Prepare the dipping sauce: In a small microwave-safe dish, combine mustard, mayonnaise, and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until sugar has dissolved. Stir again. Serve with spring rolls. Makes 12 spring rolls.
Variation: Keep this recipe pareve by omitting the corned beef. Or even better… swap the meat for cheese if you want to serve these at a dairy meal.
Ahead: The spring rolls will freeze well. Freeze raw after Step 2 and bake or fry fresh. You can also prepare the dipping sauce in advance and refrigerate. Let it come to room temperature before serving.
CRISPY CHICKEN ROLLS WITH HONEY-GARLIC DIPPING SAUCE
Victoria writes: “Whenever I sit down to create a menu for a party I’m hosting, I think about how I can dress up my family’s latest weeknight favourites. One of these favourites is Leah’s crispy chicken wraps, which she stuffs with onions, red cabbage, well-seasoned schnitzel, and an awesome sauce, because, as she believes, a good sandwich deserves layers. And I agree! This adapted version takes the dish from the dinette table to the dining room.”
1 tbsp. oil, plus more for frying
1 onion, cut into very thin strips
5 (10-in.) whole-wheat wraps
1 lb. chicken cutlets, pounded thin
1 tsp. salt, divided
pinch coarse black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic, divided
3/4 cup panko crumbs
1 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. paprika
Red Cabbage Salad
1 1/4 cups red cabbage
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. oil
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Honey Garlic Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. honey
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp. paprika
pinch coarse black pepper
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Season chicken with 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, and 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic.
In a shallow dish, combine panko crumbs, chili powder, paprika, 1 tbsp. minced garlic and 1/2 tsp. salt. Lightly beat egg in a second shallow dish. Dredge chicken in egg, then coat in crumbs.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken into thin evenly sized strips.
Prepare the red cabbage salad: in a small bowl, combine cabbage, vinegar, oil, sugar and salt. Set aside.
Prepare the honey-garlic dipping sauce: in a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, water, honey, garlic, paprika and pepper.
Assemble the wraps: Spread a tablespoon of the honey-garlic dipping sauce across the bottom-centre of the wrap. Top with onions, chicken strips and 1/4 cup red cabbage. Make sure the filling is evenly distributed. Fold the bottom of the wrap over the filling and tuck under very tightly. Fold in the sides and continue to roll, egg roll-style, holding your fingers under the roll so that it remains very tight. Slice each wrap, sushi-style, into six pieces. Secure by threading a skewer through the edge of the wrap and the chicken. Repeat with remaining wraps and serve with remaining honey-garlic dipping sauce. Yield: 30 roll-ups.
Ahead: Although best fresh, these skewers can be assembled earlier in the day. Serve at room temperature or reheat briefly so as not to cook the cabbage.