My First Shabbat Next - Mediterranean Themed, Vegan
Hosted by: Davdi Karopkin Brooklyn, NY

This past Friday I hosted my first Shabbat NEXT meal, and hopefully the first of many. There was no doubt that the meal was a great success. I had 16 guests, who included as diverse a range you could find. Most were some of my oldest and best friends, but one person I had just met that night. Everyone understood and appreciated the theme of the meal. Of particular interest, a few more than half of the guests were Jewish, and just less than half of them had been on a Birthright Israel trip. Of the people who hadn’t yet been on a trip, they expressed interest, and of the people who have, they now want to host their own Shabbat NEXT meal. The food was Mediterranean themed, and the menu included only vegan items (I am vegan, and surprisingly to me, this bothered no one). The meal consisted of a large mixed greens salad, as well as a spiralized beet and carrot salad, tabouli salad (which I made the day before and kept refrigerated for 24 hours), roasted eggplant, roasted potatoes and onions, as well as bowls of olives, dates, and raisins. I also made hummus for the first time: the chick peas were soaked for 48 hours, and cooked for 4, before they were blended with tahini and vinegar. Lots of pita bread was served as well. Much of the food was supplied through my membership to a local CSA, while the remainder was purchased organically from my local food co-op. Organic wine was also available. The meal took minimal early food preparation, and the majority of the meal was prepared between 6:30pm and 8pm on Friday, impressive in terms of time spent, considering the large number of guests. The food was delicious, and enough for all 16 guests. By the end of a two hour meal, not much food was left over, which I considered a great compliment to my cooking. Everyone in attendance agreed that the meal was a success, and a great time was had by all.