The monumental task of cooking for a 3 day Yom Tov is exciting, yet daunting. Actually, most would suffice to say that it's simply daunting. Six meals, countless challah rolls, a variety of desserts, lots of salads; they all have to get done, somehow.
The first night usually starts off filled with anticipation. The end of the preparations lead into the commencement of lovely dinner celebrations filled with delicious food and (hopefully) great company. We start off inspired and happy, using our best serving dishes and china, oblivious to the mountain of dishes waiting at the end of the night.
Sometime the next day, we recreate the same scene with a slight downgrade. You omit the salad plate (who says you need two plates?), you swap the fancy serving spoons with their disposable counterpart, and you might prefer serving each guest individually, pacing back and forth from the sukkah to the hot plate. It’s a better exercise than soaping and rinsing those serving pieces already stowed away for next yom tov.
By the third meal, you are surely contemplating making aliyah and probably counting the amount of miles you’d need to run on the treadmill in order to balance out the overabundance of food you’ve consumed. By this meal, you’ve surely given into your husband’s nagging and simply stationed your pots in the center of the table (gasp) and let each person serve themselves (double gasp!).
The next few meals pass in a daze, with more broken promises that this meal I’ll really only eat just a few bites and absolutely NO dessert. Oh, you weak willpower.
But thankfully, Hashem made it a mitzvah to eat and savor each dish, each morsel of bread, and each lick of frosting. Best of all, He has eternalized each minute and moment of laborious preparation for us to bank into our spiritual account and reap its benefits long after that multi-layered chocolate cream cake has been devoured.
I leave you here with a quick, light recipe you can throw together. The tender meat of the tilapia infused with the myriad of flavors and spices, make this a succulent dish that will surely leave you enough room for another piece of that multi-layered chocolate cream cake.
Happy Simchat Torah! May you renew and enlighten your relationship to Torah.
Enjoy the second set of yom tov and all the delicious food. I'm also starting my diet next Monday.
Mediterranean Tilapia fillet with Olives and Tomatoes
4 pieces of tilapia fillet
1 cup of pitted black olives
½ cup of halved cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 slices of pickled lemon
3 tb of olive oil
3 tb of herbes de provence
¼ cup of boiling water
Salt and pepper
Cilantro to garnish
- In a wide pan on medium heat, pour a coat of olive oil and sautee the garlic until lightly browned.
- Mix the 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the spices and massage into tilapia.
- Add the tilapia to the pan, and let it cook for 5-7 minutes, until mostly cooked through. Be sure not to move the fish, since tilapia is very delicate and can easily fall apart.
- Add the olives, tomatoes, lemon slices, salt and pepper, and let it sautee for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water, bring the pan to a boil, and lower it to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
- Add cilantro before removing from the fire.