who's in the kitchen

For this 12 wedding summer, light fare at home


My husband Jerry and I have been invited to twelve weddings this summer. As of today we have attended seven. 

Seven outfits, pairs of shoes and evening bags. Hair, makeup and — oh, yes — that pair of spanx to camouflage the damage the extra calories caused at the previous weddings. 

As for Jerry, we’re talking black suit, white shirt, tie, and black dress shoes, unless those dreaded words were printed on the bottom of the invitation: “Black Tie.” When I first met Jerry he explained that he doesn’t like to wear tuxedos.

OK, seriously, can we just discuss this for a minute? What is the big issue with men being uncomfortable in a tux. Especially today when men are able to wear a formal black tie instead of a bow tie with a tuxedo. The only thing left that’s really different than a black suit is the black stripe down the leg and that shiny satin lapel.

Is that really so much of a hardship for you men?

We’re not asking you to stuff yourself into under garments that leave you short of breath for the duration of the wedding, you’re not dancing in high heels, and you don’t have to put any thought into what you’re wearing. So when he asks if he has to wear a tux, the answer is yes. And at this point I think he realizes when he misplaces his bow ties it’s not going to get him out of wearing a tux. I get him another one. Truth be told, the bow tie and jacket don’t last that long. Baby steps, I tell myself; at least he’s wearing a tux.

And while we are talking about tuxedos, I’ll have you know that my granddog, Murphy, was asked to be in wedding photos for his uncle Jon’s wedding to Elle and he was such a trooper. He didn’t complain at all — he even smiled for the photos! Jerry Joszef, you can take some lessons from him.

So seven weddings down and four to go. The weddings we have attended so far took place in converted factories, warehouses, synagogues, on a pier, and in a country club.

Imagine what our grandparents would say if they heard where weddings are taking place these days. Spaces that were once seen as too cold, dark and unfinished for weddings and other simchas are now seen as creative, urban and trendsetting. 

Exposed brick walls, ceiling, structure and systems as well as open floor plans, tall ceilings and a history of industrial era factories are what draw in brides and grooms. What looks like a bare warehouse or factory can be creatively staged and unique.

Each wedding we attended so far his summer was beautiful and what made it more special was that we got to celebrate with special friends and mechatanim.

Oh, and if anyone found a black on black tuxedo tie at Temple Israel of Great Neck, it’s Jerry’s.

Being that we are eating so much at these weddings, sheva brachot and aufrufs each weekend, I try prepare light meals during the week. Searching for some new recipes, I found these three great cold soups that were different and delicious.

Cucumber-Almond Gazpacho

Source: Breana Lai, EatingWell

2 English cucumbers, divided

2 cups chopped yellow bell pepper, divided

2 cups 1-inch pieces crustless country-style whole-wheat bread

1-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds, divided

5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dice enough unpeeled cucumber to equal 1/2 cup and combine with 1/2 cup bell pepper; refrigerate. Peel the remaining cucumbers and cut into chunks.

Working in two batches, puree the peeled cucumber, the remaining bell pepper, bread, almond milk, 6 tablespoons almonds, oil, vinegar, garlic and salt in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

To serve, garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons almonds and the reserved vegetables. Drizzle with a little oil, if desired.

Watermelon Gazpacho

with Feta Crema

Source: Bon Appetit

A super-juicy watermelon is key — it should feel heavy for its size and sound hollow when tapped.

1 pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)

1 large beefsteak tomato, coarsely chopped

1 English hothouse cucumber, peeled, coarsely chopped

1 jalapeño, seeds removed, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 red wine vinegar

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Crema and assembly

1/4 cup almonds

2 ounces feta, preferably crumbled (about ½ cup)

1/4 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons whole milk

3/4 pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)

1/2 English hothouse cucumber, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Olive oil (for serving)

Flaky sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper



Purée watermelon, tomato, cucumber, jalapeño, oil, and vinegar in a blender until smooth. Transfer gazpacho to a large bowl; season with kosher salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving. 

Do ahead:

Gazpacho can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Crema and assembly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can do this step in a dry small skillet over medium heat.) Let almonds cool, then coarsely chop. 

Mash feta into sour cream in a small bowl until mostly smooth, then whisk in milk.

Divide watermelon and cucumber among bowls and pour gazpacho over. Top with crema and almonds, drizzle with oil, and season with sea salt and pepper. Crema can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. 

Curried Squash Soup

Source: Allie Lewis Clapp, Bon Appetit


4 servings

2 large summer squash, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp curry powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Sour cream, freshly cracked black pepper, cilantro sprigs (for serving)


Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add squash, onion, and curry powder; season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Purée until smooth. Serve soup warm or chilled, topped with sour cream, cracked pepper, and cilantro sprigs.