Home Food Festival recipes for Sukkot and Thanksgiving

Festival recipes for Sukkot and Thanksgiving

Asian arugula salad (Barbara Silverstein photo)

Shabbat Shalom, Chag Samayach, and happy Thanksgiving!

That’s a mouthful. October is always so busy. We just ended the breaking the fast meal and we’re already planning Sukkot and then Thanksgiving. It’s definitely the eating season. For the next ten days, I’m going to enjoy all the food and stick to clothes with elastic waistbands.

Our family’s breaking the fast meal at my sister’s was terrific. It was quite a feast – barbecued salmon, smoked salmon, blintz soufflet, sweet cheese kugel, bagels, cheeses, four salads and some amazing desserts.

My sister made a delicious and very colourful arugula salad with green beans, pomegranate seeds, watermelon radishes and a surprise ingredient – fresh golden berries, which added a lovely tartness to the salad. These ingredients were tossed in an Asian dressing. I’ve paired her salad ingredients with the Kim Kushner’s Toasted Sesame Marinade from I Heart Kosher: Beautiful Recipes from my Kitchen.

At the breaking the fast meal there were lots of lovely desserts, as always – fruit salad, apple cake and a lemon tart. I was particularly proud of my contribution – a chocolate decadent mousse cake. The recipe comes from George Brown College (GBC) Culinary School.

The school also had a terrific recipe for pumpkin pie. I made it in the pie-baking course over the summer and I got a thumbs up from my family. I’m going to include GBC’s recipe for Pumpkin Pie, since it’s an iconic Thanksgiving dish.

The recipe is adapted from Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking by Meta Given. The pie is a dairy recipe, as is the recipe for Chocolate Decadent Cake, which I will also include. I’m noticing that an increasing number of people are serving fish as a main course for family dinners so these desserts would work well.

Israeli-American cookbook author and food writer, Adeena Sussman, was in Toronto last weekend promoting her new book, Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavours from My Israeli Kitchen (Avery). I didn’t get a chance to meet her, but the cookbook looks terrific and it has received rave reviews.

Sussman’s Za’atar Roasted Chicken over Sumac Potatoes would be a festive main course for Shabbat, Sukkot or Thanksgiving. Her Crisp Apple and Pomegranate Slaw is an ideal side dish for any occasion.



1000 ml (8 cups) arugula

250 ml (1 cup) steamed green beans, cooled and cut in quarters

250 (1 cup) pomegranate seeds

2 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced

250 (1 cup) golden berries, sliced in half


In a large bowl, combine the arugula, pomegranate seeds, radishes, green beans, and golden berries. Toss with 150 ml Toasted Sesame Marinade (see below for recipe). Use additional dressing as needed.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


120 ml (½ cup) soy sauce

60 ml (¼ cup) neutral oil such as canola or rice bran oil

15 ml (1 tbsp) toasted sesame oil

125 ml (½ cup) rice vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

30 ml (2 tbsp) honey

3 ml (½ tsp) ground ginger

15 ml (1 tbsp) sesame seeds

15 ml (1 tbsp) ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a glass-fitted jar with a tight fitting lid . Shake well until all the ingredients are well-blended.

Makes approximately 1¼ cups or 310 ml. Keep about 3 weeks in a refrigerator.



4 to 5 medium red potatoes (½ kilo or 1½ lb), scrubbed

4 medium shallots, quartered

60 ml (4 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) sumac

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 small roasting chicken (about 1½ kilos or 3½ to 4 lbs), patted dry

1 small lemon

75 ml (5 tbsp) Za’atar Spice Blend

2 ml (¼ tsp) dried red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves

6 thyme sprigs


Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).

Cut each potato into 6 wedges.

In a 23 x 33-cm (9 x 13-inch) metal or glass baking dish, toss the potatoes and shallots with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the sumac, salt, and black pepper.

Season the cavity and exterior of the chicken well with salt and pepper. Zest the lemon into a small bowl, halve the lemon and set aside.

Add the remaining 45 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil to the bowl along with 60 ml (4 tbsp) of the za’atar and red pepper flakes and gently stir.

Stuff the lemon halves, garlic, and thyme sprigs inside the chicken, then rub the chicken all over with the za’atar mixture. (If you want to, you can tie the legs of the chicken together; it’s easier than doing a full chicken trussing, which is not necessary) Sprinkle with the remaining tbsp of za’atar.

Place the chicken, breast-side up, on top of the potatoes. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 165°C (350°F) and continue to roast the chicken until a chicken leg jiggles when pulled, the juices run clear, and the potatoes underneath the chicken are soft and the ones on the edges are crisp and golden, about another hour and 20 minutes (the rule is 23 to 25 minutes per pound of chicken, but the high roasting temperature at the beginning of the recipe shaves off a little time).

Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove the lemon, garlic, and thyme springs from the cavity, discarding the garlic and thyme. Carve the chicken right on top of the potatoes, letting the juice coat the potatoes, then squeeze one or both halves of the reserved lemon on the chicken and potatoes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Crisp apple and pomegranate slaw (Dan Peretz photo)


1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced

80 ml apple cider vinegar

1 liter (4 cups) shredded green cabbage

1 liter (4 cups) shredded red cabbage

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, shredded

2 scallions, very thinly sliced

2 medium radishes, very thinly sliced

125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) whole-grain Dijon mustard

25 ml (1½ tbsp) honey

8 ml (1½ tsp) ground cumin

5 ml (1 tsp) kosher salt

2 ml (¼ tsp) freshly ground black pepper

125 ml (½ cup) pomegranate seeds

60 ml (¼ cup) chopped fresh cilantro

60 ml (¼ cup) chopped fresh mint

125 ml (½ cup) lightly toasted shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)


Toss the apples with 1 tsp of the vinegar in a large bowl, then add the green and red cabbage, onion, carrot and scallions and toss.

Combine the olive oil, remaining vinegar, honey, mustard, cumin, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until creamy.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to coat, and let the slaw sit for at least 15 minutes (30 minutes will really mellow the acidity of the vinegar), then toss again with the pomegranate seeds, cilantro, mint and pumpkin seeds before serving.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

(Barbara Silverstein photo)

PUMPKIN PIE (George Brown College, Meta Given)

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh cooked

½ tsp salt

375 ml (3/4) cup sugar

5 g (1 tsp) ground pumpkin spice blend

2 eggs

250 ml (1 cup) cream

125 ml (½ cup) milk

1 tsp cinnamon, ground

1 unbaked, unpricked, chilled 23 cm (9-inch) round pie shell


Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)

Turn the pumpkin puree into a medium-sized sauce pan and stir over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the puree is slightly caramelized.

Mix the sugar, salt and spices thoroughly together and stir them into the hot puree. Reduce the heat.

In a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium. Add the cream and milk. Add 1/4 cup of the pumpkin into the eggs and cream to temper the mixture. Add the remaining pumpkin and beat until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the pumpkin custard or filling into the chilled, undocked and unbaked pie shell shell. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and only a 2½ cm (1 inch) circle in the centre of the filling remains liquid. Cool thoroughly before cutting.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Chocolate decadent cake (Barbara Silverstein photo)


800 ml (3¼ cups) dark chocolate

150 ml (2/3 cup) butter

5 eggs, separated

2 ml (½ tsp) cream of tarter

60 ml (¼ cup) sugar

10 ml (2 tsp) all purpose flour

Chocolate Glaze

250 ml (1 cup) Chocolate

90 ml (6 tbsp) butter

10 ml (1½ tbsp) corn syrup

2-3 oz of white chocolate for garnish (optional)


Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Cut the paper for the sides approximately 1 inch higher than the sides of the pan. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a water bath and melt. Remove from heat and whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate. Set the bowl aside. Place the egg whites and the cream of tatar on the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on high speed until the whites are frothy. With the mixer on, add the sugar in a constant stream. Continue whipping until eggs form soft peaks.

Fold the egg whites and flour together. Add the chocolate mixture 1/3 at a time. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake for exactly 15 minutes. The cake will rise a bit especially around the edges, but it will seem uncooked. As the cake cools, it will sink into the centre. Once the cake cools, use your fingers to gently press the sides of the cake down so the cake is level. Cool the cake in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Remove the cake from the pan but turn it upside down on a cake board. Leave the cake upside down and place it back in the fridge to cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze: Place chocolate, butter and corn syrup into a small bowl over a water bath. Heat just until melted – do not overheat.

To glaze the cake, pour the mixture in the centre at the top of the cake. Work quickly and spread the glaze over the top so that it runs evenly over the sides. If there are any bare spots on the sides, use a spatula to cover them.

The cake can be garnished with white chocolate curls.