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Roundup: The Seven Species

Monday, January 13th, 2014

This Thursday, Jews around the world will celebrate Tu B’shvat, the New Year for the trees. Traditionally, we celebrate by eating The Sheva Minim, or, Seven Species. They include the following fruits and grains that are native to the land of Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

In honor of Tu B’shvat, I’ve put together a roundup of recipes for each of the Seven Species from all around the web. Enjoy!

Read more about Tu B’shvat

WHEAT:

wheat thins
whole wheat pretzel bread bowls
apricot wheat germ muffins
cream of wheat (farina) pancakes
farro salad with carrots, mushrooms and spinach
Tunisian roasted eggplant & wheat berries salad
kibbeh (ground meat & bulgur)
bulgur wheat patties with spicy tahini sauce
chocolate granola with walnuts & wheat germ
puffed wheat chocolate marshmallow bars

BARLEY:

barley ravioli
crockpot mushroom barley stoup
beer braised brisket with onion gravy
honey chili beer chicken
barley risotto
barley croquettes
lentil barley burgers
Moroccan chickpea barley salad
Tu B’shvat salad
barley scones with roasted plums

GRAPES:

mulled wine
balsamic roasted brussel sprouts & grapes
curried chicken salad with grapes
seared duck breast with grape sauce
yebra (Syrian stuffed grape leaves)
grape jelly cocktail meatballs
moscato poached apricots
red wine poached pears
black grape & plum compote
caramel apple pie grape poppers
concord grape cornmeal cake
sangria ice pops

FIGS:

honey roasted figs (fresh)
apple, fig & beet salad (fresh)
fig chutney (fresh)
grilled cheese with figs & honey (fresh)
fig and goat cheese pizza with balsamic glaze (fresh)
dried fruit brie bites (dried)
Tu B’shvat truffles (dried)
mustard roasted dried fruits (dried)
Tu B’shvat biscotti (dried)
fig, olive oil & sea salt challah (dried)
figgy BBQ sauce (dried)

POMEGRANATE:

pomegranate coleslaw
pomegranate rosemary cheddar cheese ball
roasted sweet potatoes with spiced pomegranate molasses
burnt eggplant with garlic, lemon & pomegranate
pomegranate glazed salmon
sticky chicken wings with pomegranate glaze
crockpot sweet & sour pomegranate short ribs
frozen greek yogurt pomegranate bites
no machine pomegranate ice cream
pomegranate chocolate mousse

OLIVES:

infused olive oils
warm marinated olives
sundried tomato olive tapenade
eggplant caponata
multi grain olive braid bread
chicken tagine with olives & prunes
flounder putanesca
cheese-stuffed fried olives
Colavita olive oil chocolate crinkle cookies
olive oil cake

DATES:

banana, dates, milk & honey smoothie
French roast with dried fruit sauce
silan (date honey) roasted figs
lamb and date tagine
chewy date granola bars
whole wheat date & almond muffins
date honey nut bread
sticky date pudding
almond stuffed dates
vegan berry pies with date crust

NOTE: All photos (besides the ones with the BIB watermark) are from 123RF Photo.

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Whiskey Cider

Monday, September 16th, 2013

I’m really not much of a drinker. At all. I can appreciate a nice glass of red wine, but cocktails? I haven’t the faintest clue where to start. The first real cocktail I ever drank was a whiskey sour when I was dating my husband. It was sour all right. And strong. I didn’t hate it all that much and the buzz I got was kinda fun, but drinking is not really my thing.

When the Kosher Connection team decided on the theme “Spread the Joy” for the September link-up, the first thing that came to mind was inviting someone into my Sukkah to make a l’chaim (more on that later). Since whiskey sours are about the only drink I know how to make, I thought about how I could turn it into a sweeter version that celebrates the coming of fall. I decided to sub the sour element with a spiced apple cider syrup – reducing the cider with lots of  autumnesque spices. To get the real holiday buzz, I used equal amounts of whiskey and cider syrup, but if you want to go easy, you can serve the cider nice and warm (you don’t have to reduce it) and add just a splash of whiskey. Either way, you’ve got a delicious buzz-worthy cocktail to share!

First things first – what is a sukkah? A sukkah is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. If you’ve passed by a Jewish neighborhood, you may have seen them topped with branches and decorated with Judaic themes.

I grew up in Brooklyn, in a modest apartment on Eastern Parkway, just a stone’s throw away from the famous 770 synagogue, the central hub of the Chabad movement. Back in the day, The Grand Rebbe of Lubavitch would draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe, all hoping to be granted a meeting or blessing from him. Living so close to where the Rebbe & his congregants gathered, our Sukkah was a regular stop for family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on their way to the synagogue. As more and more people poured in to our small little hut, it seemed to stretch itself out to accomodate more than it’s physical space. L’chaim’s were poured in abundance as beautiful melodies poured fourth from it’s plastic walls.

My mom would pass her Yom Tov delicacies through the kitchen window, homemade meals of chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, sweet and sour tongue, yerushalmi kugel and other traditional foods which she made from scratch. The smells and tastes of the Chag come back to me each year, as the weather begins to herald the coming of fall, and the leaves begin to show their first signs of browning.

Sukkot is truly a joyous time. And not just because the mess gets left outside, and our homes are filled with delicious food and loving family. But because the emotionally taxing Days of Awe are behind us, and we are certain that we’ve all been inscribed for a happy and healthy year. It’s just the time to take out your shot glasses and spread the joy by inviting others into your humble hut to make a l’chaim.

As for me, I’ll be raising my glass to wonderful memories of a time when people from all walks of life, gathered in our family Sukkah to toast the New Year and all the good things it had in store. May the blessings abound, and may we all merit to raise our glasses to happy occasions!

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