MM Celebration Recipes

These delicious dishes were served at the Mary Magdalene celebration in 2011


(Recipe needs to be multiplied to make enough for each table for MM Feast as appetizer)

  • 2 cups whole natural almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups raisins

In large bowl, combine toasted almonds and sunflower seeds. Sprinkle with soy sauce and ginger. Toss to coat evenly; spread on baking sheet. Bake in oven at 300 F., 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cool completely. Add raisins; toss. Store in air tight container.


To toast almonds, place them in a single layer in a dry skillet, and turn heat to medium. Toast, stirring occasionally, until almonds are fragrant, about 2-5 minutes depending on the form of almonds you are toasting. If almonds are blanched, let them turn golden brown; if they have skins, let their skins just begin to crackle.

To toast in a microwave oven, spread almonds in a single layer in shallow glass baking dish. Microwave on high power 3 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cool on counter.


  • SERVINGS: 4 CUPS (X12)= 48 cups for 130 people


  1. 6 pounds dried chickpeas
  2. 12 tablespoons baking soda
  3. 84 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  4. 6 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 3 teaspoon ground cumin (more to taste), plus more for garnish
  6. 6 cups tahini, at room temperature (see Note)
  7. 3 cups plus 12 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  8. Salt
  9. Paprika, for garnish
  10. 3 cups chopped parsley
  11. Pita bread, for serving


1.   In a medium bowl, cover the dried chickpeas with 2 inches of water and stir in the baking soda. Refrigerate the chickpeas overnight. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them under cold water.

2.   In a medium saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of fresh water. Add the garlic cloves and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the chickpeas are tender, about 40 minutes. Drain, reserving 10 tablespoons of the cooking water and 2 tablespoons of the chickpeas. Rinse the chickpeas under cold water. Peel the garlic cloves.

3.   In a food processor, puree the chickpeas with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 6 of the garlic cloves. Add the cumin along with 1/4 cup each of the tahini and lemon juice and process until creamy. Season the hummus with salt and transfer to a serving bowl.

4.   Wipe out the food processor. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of tahini, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of reserved cooking water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and garlic clove and puree.

5.   Using a ladle, make an indent in the center of the hummus. Spoon in the tahini-lemon mixture. Sprinkle the hummus with the cumin and paprika. Garnish with the reserved whole chickpeas and the parsley, and serve with pita bread.MAKE AHEADThe ungarnished hummus and cooked chickpeas can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days or more. NOTESTahini has a tendency to separate, so be sure to stir the sesame paste thoroughly before measuring.


  • 1 pound chuck or other lean beef. Cut into 2-inch squares
  • 3 Tablespoons flour, seasoned
  • 3 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 3 medium carrots, quartered (or smaller)
  • 1 cup lightly crushed corn chips, measure after crushing

Coat beef chunks in seasoned flour, brown in cooking oil in Dutch oven or large skillet. Add horseradish, tomatoes, onions. Bake this at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Cover before baking.

Cook potatoes and carrots separately, just until almost tender.

30 minutes before serving. Meat is hot, potatoes and carrots warm. Add potatoes and carrots to meat.

In large casserole, place ½ of the crushed corn ships in the bottom; spread evenly. Pour mixed meat, vegetables on top of corn chips. Add last of corn chips over the stew. Cover, and bake for 30 minutes.

Horseradish Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Mix all and chill overnight. Serve with the stew.


  • 2 ½ to 3 pounds of boneless, Chicken Tenders
  • I cup matzo cake meal
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of ground white pepper
  • 6 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 16 ounce jar Apricot preserves
  • ½ cup white wine

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut the chicken breasts in half.  Place the matzo cake meal in a pie plate and stir in salt and pepper.  Coat each breast half with the mixture and arrange them in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

( I just used regular flour with salt & pepper and put it in a small paper bag and shook the piece of chicken in the bag.)

2. Melt the margarine in a medium saucepan.  Add the preserves and white wine.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring well with a wooden spoon.  Pour over the chicken breast halves.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes or until slightly brown and crisp. Serve.

The chicken and be prepared ahead and frozen for up to 1 month.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat, covered with aluminum foil, in a 300 degree F over for 30 minutes

We used frozen chicken tenderloins, because they were a bit smaller and more pieces per bag, and they were on sale.  Also made it with or without the wine and they both tasted good.  I do like the wine, because it adds more flavor.


Preparation Time 15 minutes; Cooking time: 14 minutes

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (15 ½ oz) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onions, carrot, and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Stir in broth and the next 9 ingerdients (broth through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Do not over cook vegetables; want a firm, somewhat crunchy texture.

Peanut Rice:

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup (uncooked) white basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¾ cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup frozen green peas

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice, salt, and turmeric; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in peanuts and peas.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Persian Fruited Rice for Mary Magdalene Service

To serve 60 – 75 people (since there is plenty of other food)

Allow 1 ½ hours to prepare, not counting shelling + chopping nuts.

Buy shelled Pistachio nuts to save time! and chop ahead – 1 lb of pistachios (salted, but not dyed red) It will help later if I sauté them in 1 stick of butter and set aside. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THEM. PH suggests we buy shelled pistachio nuts—I think Sam’s has them.

4 lbs Basmati rice (measure it to see how much water to cook it in)

Using my large pot, rinse several times in water and drain in the metal colander. (It has lots of starch)

Parboil in lots of water for 5 min. and drain.

While it is draining, measure twice as much water as the rice (original amount) into the large pot and add to boil:

  • Salt – about ½ teas. per cup of rice
  • A pinch of saffron (if I have it)
  • 2-3 teaspoons Cardamom
  • 2-3 teaspoons Black pepper
  • Enough turmeric to make it yellow (maybe 2-3 teaspoons)
  • 1 pound of unsalted butter
  • While it is heating, put the rice in my large black speckled roaster with:
  • 8-10 oz. dried apricots, cut up with scissors
  • 8-10 oz. dried cranberries
  • 10 oz. golden raisins (2/3 box) Use whole box

Add the boiling water mix and cover with foil and the lid.

Bake at 325 for 30-45 min. Keep checking to make sure not to overcook.

(Change clothes quickly while it bakes)

While it is baking, sauté the pistachios in a stick of butter, if not already done. DO NOT BURN.

Top the finished rice with the nuts and butter.

Set it all down inside one of the church’s large roasters, on warm, if it fits. If not, wrap it in towels and carry it to church in the big cooler with micro – waved hot, wet towels in it. It will stay warm that way for 1 ½ hours so I can go to the service and it won’t stick together in a gummy ball.


Serves 4

  • 4 Plum tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 Fennel Bulbs, each cut into 12 wedges
  • Scant ½ cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Green Onions, 2”chopped
  • Yellow Onions (rings)
  • Zucchini (thick slices)
  • Summer Squash (thick slices)

Reduced Balsamic Vinegar

1.       Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F or the lowest setting.

2.       Put the tomato halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and place in the oven for 3 to 6 hours, depending on how moist you like them. The longer you leave them the more intense the flavor and the drier they will be—almost like sun-dried tomatoes.

3.       Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Put the fennel bulbs in a roasting pan, drizzle with ¼ cup of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning carefully once or twice, for 45 minutes.

4.       Put the remaining ¼ cup oil in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add the red and yellow peppers, oregano, and thyme, increase the heat, and sauté until the peppers are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and fennel, stir gently, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Balsamic Vinegar: Place balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a sauce pan on high heat. Reduce until the liquid is thick. Pour over roasted vegetables, especially the bland ones (zucchini, yellow squash)

Make Ahead: You can prepare the roasted tomatoes in advance. They will keep for a week in the refrigerator.


  • 4 cups mixed fresh greens, combining leaf lettuce with crisp varieties, such as romaine, red leaf, and oak leaf (3 1-pound plastic boxes—washed, dry, back in box)
  • 4 Cucumber, chopped
  • 3 Red and 3 Yellow Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch Bok Choy, chopped
  • 3 1-lb boxes Strawberries, sliced
  • 2 lbs. Green Grapes (halved)

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 4 teaspoons Apricot Jam
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 1 small Shallot, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt, pinch
  • Pepper, hefty grind

Whisk jam, vinegar, oil, shallot, pinch of salt, grid of pepper together. Let stand 15 minutes or more.

Wash and dry lettuce. Tear into bite-sized pieces. Place in an oversized bowl with room for tossing. Place in refrigerator until ready to toss and serve. Can be prepared up to 2 hours in advance. Pour 4 tablespoons of vinaigrette over the greens and toss well with two large forks to coat the leaves.  Wash, dry, and cut the fruit and vegetables. Add the cut vegetables and fruit to the salad and toss again.

Semolina Cake (Basbousa)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 small eggs
  • 2 cups fine yellow semolina
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Blanched split almonds
  • Syrup (recipe follows)

Cream the butter and the sugar and then beat in the eggs. Stir in a 1/2 cup water. Sift together the semolina, baking powder, and soda, and stir into the butter mixture to form a smooth batter. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease an 8-by-12-inch cake pan and pour in the batter. Spread it evenly with the back of a spoon and then score across the top of the cake parallel lines going from the bottom left corner to the top right and vice versa, to form diamond shapes. Place an almond in the center of each diamond. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, when the cake should be firm and lightly browned. Prepare the syrup as described below and pour it, spoonfuls at a time, over the hot cake. Stop when the cake will not absorb any more and set the cake aside to cool before serving.


2-1/4 cups sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Over a medium heat dissolve the sugar in 1-1/2 cups water, add the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and gently boil the syrup for 10 minutes.


1 cup Pearl Barley (No Instant)

3 ¾ cups unsweetened soy milk (Trader Joe’s)

1 stick cinnamon, broken

½ teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons Blue Agave Sweetener

¾ cup Tofutti (Vegan) Sour Cream

3 Tablespoons Blue Agave Sweetener

1.       Place barley in heavy sauce pan with 1 cup of water; bring to boil over medium/medium high heat, stirring occasionally until water is absorbed. Add milk 2 cups at a time, let come to almost boil, add last of milk, salt, cinnamon. Bring to almost boil again, then turn to high simmer. Cook until barley is tender, milk mostly absorbed. It took about an hour when I made this. If necessary add more milk. Shouldn’t be dry. Transfer pudding to a bowl; stir in 2 tablespoons Blue Agave Sweetener, take cinnamon sticks out, set aside to cool. When cool, place in refrigerator until completely cold.

2.       Whisk/stir sour cream and 3 Tablespoons sweetener together until well blended; stir/fold this into cold pudding.

3.       Sauce: 4 cups raspberries—frozen (thawed) or fresh

¼ cup raw sugar

Put thawed berries in a medium bowl, sprinkle with sugar. Mash and stir with fork till sugar is dissolved.

4.       Serve pudding with some raspberry sauce on top.


  • 1 box, Graham Crackers, crushed
  • 1 box Raisins
  • 2 ½ cups pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 pound walnuts, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups Agava Sweetener (or 2 ½ cups Honey)

Mix all ingredients until coated with the agava sweetener (or honey). Roll into balls.

Serves 20.

BAKLAVA was purchased at The Pita Hut.