My story in this week's Canadian Jewish News celebrates Shavuot with three delicious recipes: SAVOURY GOAT CHEESE STRUDEL, CHEESE BLINTZES, and SEPHARDIC
Canadian Jewish News
June 6, 2008
by Judy Bart Kancigor
If Pesach signals the emergence of spring, with Shavuot the season bursts forth in a riot of color and luscious flavors.
“The Midrash tells us that although Mount Sinai is in the desert,” writes Susie Fishbein, author of the wildly popular "Kosher by Design" cookbooks, “it suddenly bloomed with fragrant flowers and grasses on the morning that the Torah was given to the Jewish people. The custom of decorating our homes and synagogues with leafy branches and flowers is based on this miracle.”
Source: “Aromas of Aleppo” by Poopa Dweck
2 pounds fresh coconut meat, shredded (about 2 to 3 coconuts), or store-bought unsweetened coarsely shredded coconut (see cook’s note)
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 cup pistachios, shelled, blanched, and peeled
Cook’s note: If you use store-bought unsweetened coconut, place it in a mixing bowl and add cold water. Gently fluff the coconut with your hands and let stand for 1 hour to plump and moisten the flakes. Drain before using.
1. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut meat, sugar, lemon juice, 1 cup water, and orange blossom water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally with a wooden spoon. While coconut mixture is still hot, stir in pistachios. Mix well, and cool before serving.
Yield: 40 servings (2 quarts)
Source: “Aromas of Aleppo” by Poopa Dweck
2 dozen very small eggplants, cored
2 recipes hashu (recipe follows)
3 quinces, cored, peeled, and cut into 6 pieces each
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate, homemade or store-bought (see Cook’s notes)
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 pieces candied quince (recipe follows), for garnish
Cook’s notes: While Sephardic Jews eat rice for Passover, Eastern European Jews do not and will enjoy this dish after the holiday.
Tamarind concentrate is sold in Middle Eastern stores. If you cannot find kosher for Passover tamarind concentrate, you can make your own (recipe below).
Yemenite Haroset Truffles
1/3 cup (2 ounces) pitted dates
1/3 cup (2 ounces) dried figs
1/3 cup (2 ounces) raisins
1/3 cup (2 ounces) dried apricots
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup toasted coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 1/2 tablespoons orange liqueur
FOR THE COATING
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely ground
1. Combine the dried fruit, honey, and spices in a food processor
and pulse until smooth. Add the pecans, slivered almonds, and orange
liqueur, and process until well combined.
2. Form the mixture into balls 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll them
in the ground almonds, and place them in individual fluted foil or
paper candy cups. Refrigerate, covered, until firm, at least 3 hours.
These will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Makes 16 to 20
A delicious Passover recipe from "Cooking Jewish" on Lifetime TV's website. Get the recipe.
Haroset is a fruit and nut mixture that reminds us of the mortar our forefathers used when they were slaves in Egypt. Jews all over the world make it with whatever is local. For Jews of Eastern European extraction, that means walnuts and apples, a little sweet wine, and I add cinnamon and honey. But whatever you do toast the nuts!
For an unusual presentation, try my Yemenite Haroset Truffles from my cookbook, COOKING JEWISH. They are so sweet, spicy, and festive, they really belong on the dessert table, but I like to serve them during the Seder, where they won’t get lost amidst that ostentatious display of sponge cakes, tortes, cookies, and pastries. (Ah yes, poor us. No bread for a week. Thus we remember the sufferings of our ancestors!) Recently I made these truffles on FOX TV in Atlanta. To view the podcast click here.
And now here's the recipe:
1/4 cup melted chicken fat or vegetable oil
4 scallions, white and half the green part, thinly sliced
3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, finely chopped (1 to 1½ cups)
1 envelope matzoh ball mix, such as Manischewitz
1/2 cup matzoh meal
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Kosher (coarse) salt
Dash of white pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder (see Note)
2 tablespoons club soda, chicken broth, or water
1. Heat the chicken fat in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
2. Combine the matzoh ball mix with the matzoh meal in a medium-size bowl. Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the mushroom mixture, parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, the white pepper, and the baking powder. Add the club soda and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt it.
4. Form the mixture into balls that are a little larger than a marble, wetting your hands if necessary to keep them from sticking. Drop the balls into the boiling water and cook, covered, at a slow, steady boil (not a hard boil) until tender, 30 minutes (depending on the size of the balls).
5. Carefully remove the matzoh balls with a slotted spoon, and serve in soup.
Makes 24 to 30 golf-ball-size balls
Notes: For Passover use kosher-for-Passover baking powder, or if unavailable, it may be omitted. You will find that after cooking these matzoh balls, the cooking liquid is so flavorful, it is almost a soup in itself, particularly if you have used chicken fat. I use this broth instead of water in soups and stews and for cooking rice.
From “Pure Dessert” by Alice Medrich
8 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1.2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.
Line bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan with foil.
2. Place chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl and set in wide skillet
of almost-simmering water. Stir frequently until mixture is melted,
smooth and quite warm. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. In medium bowl, beat eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla with hand-held
mixer on high speed until eggs are thick and light colored, about 2
minutes. Whisk in warm chocolate. Fold in flour.
4. Scrape batter into lined pan and spread evenly. Bake until toothpick
inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on
5. Invert brownies on rack and peel off foil. Turn right side up on cutting board and cut into sixteen 2-inch squares.
from Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family