It’s customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot. Though I used to pull all-nighters with relative frequency, those days are (thankfully) behind me, and a 2am study session can be a little tough. Enter the affogato, a recipe brought to us from Ariel Pollock, that combines a delicious brownie with ice cream (dairy is also customary on Shavuot) and a shot of espresso. The brownie will be something to look forward to, and the espresso will keep you going for the few more hours until sunrise.
I was in charge of loading this recipe onto MyJewishLearning yesterday, and it looked and sounded so delicious that I was distracted for the rest of the day, thinking about how I might be able to either go to a restaurant and get one, or make one myself. I didn’t get a chance to have one yesterday, but it’s the first item on my agenda tonight. No, it’s not quite Shavuot yet, but I’m just preparing myself… To see the recipe and make it yourself, click here.
Lag Ba’Omer is coming, and with it the ancient tradition of building bonfires on this strange mini-holiday. There is some debate as to why bonfires and torches are connected to Lag Ba’Omer, but the most credible story has its roots in the belief that the day might mark the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, who is credited as the author of the mystical Zohar. His students commemorate the day by converging on his grave with glowing torches. In Israel, bonfires light up the night on Lag Ba’Omer (causing something of an ecological disaster, because the fires can sometimes rage out of control, causing death and/or damage to the environment) and even those who don’t light big fires do like to light their barbecues and enjoy grilled food on this holiday.
Wherever you are this year for Lag Ba’Omer, I highly recommend using this opportunity to kick off the grilling season. Here at MyJewishLearning we have lots of great recipes for your grill, including two kinds of lamb kebabs, grilled peppers and haloumi cheese for the vegetarians, and grilled pineapple. None of those sound like your bag? How about grilled asparagus from your local farmer’s market? Plain old burgers and hotdogs are always good. I love the look of these grilled bleu cheese stuffed tomatoes and these grilled summer squash and zucchini caprese skewers. And for dessert, you can’t go wrong with ‘smores! So get your charcoal and lighter fluid ready…Lag Ba’Omer begins at sundown on Wednesday.
She’s already gotten started with her wonderful Genius Kitchen Tips, but I want to take a minute to give a formal welcome to Jessica Fisher, who’s stepping in as Acting Nosher while our Original Nosher is off resting up and laboring.
Jessica attended the joint program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. While finishing up her undergraduate studies, Jessica enrolled at the Natural Gourmet Institute where she became a certified Natural Foods chef. She now lives in Chicago where, as a PresenTense fellow, she is starting Dinner Around the Table, a non-profit organization aimed at teaching Jewish families how to cook and enjoy food together around the dinner table. You can find her tweeting about all things food, health, and Judaism @JessicaAFisher. You can find her personal blog at orange ideal and you can find her all month, right here on the Nosher.
Join me in giving Jessica a very warm welcome. And pull up a chair—I know she has lots of delicious things to share.
Passover is a holiday about food, and about the story of the Jewish people. But what about the story of the Jewish people’s food? We’ve written before about how Passover food can be exorbitantly expensive, and about people eating lots of processed not-so-good-for-you food on this holiday of our redemption. If this is making you think more carefully about where your food comes from–good! We have just the class for you!
In this week-long, service learning experience, participants ages 18-25 will explore the relationship between Judaism and contemporary food justice. This unique seminar will include farm work, text study and meetings with activists, community leaders, and professionals. On the farm, and through volunteer service work, students will gain hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture techniques such as planting, harvesting and soil building. In the bet midrash (study hall) at Hebrew College, students will explore a variety of Jewish texts relating to contemporary environmental and food justice issues such as food security, worker rights, and land stewardship.
When: Sunday, June 3 — Sunday, June 10, 2012
Where: Sustainable farms in the Greater Boston Area and Hebrew College, Newton, MA
Who: Students and professionals, ages 18-25; others will be considered.
How: Tuition is $1000 + transportation; generous fellowships are available.
*College credit available for interested participants*
To apply click here.
To find out more about Fellowships available contact Rabbi Or Rose, 617-559-8636
To find out more about this program visit jewishfarmschool.org or contact Rabbi Jacob Fine
Application Due: May 1st, 2012
Welcome to the Nosher’s Communal Seder. Pull up a chair, and we hope you came hungry, because we’ve got a full seder’s worth of recipes for you, from bitter herbs that will make your eyes tear up all the way to chocolate mousse two ways, we’re here for you. We promise not to make you say the Four Questions, but we do ask that you try everything—and we promise it’s all delicious. We tapped our favorite food bloggers and writers, and they are all ready to present you with some of their favorite Passover recipes. Starting on Monday we’ll be posting a few recipes per day, and by April 2nd (also known as t-minus four days til Seder #1) you’ll have two whole seder menus ready for you, right here. We’ll also give you some great recipes for the rest of the week of Passover, and point you towards some wines we love.
For now, sit back, relax, and get salivating. We’re kicking things off with a main course that will knock your guests right over (even if they haven’t been taking the four cups of wine really seriously).
P.S. You can see all the recipes we’ve published so far by clicking here.
Passover is a-coming, and that means it’s time to start choosing recipes, planning menus, and writing shopping lists. Next week on the Nosher we’re going to inundate you with amazing Pesach recipes from our favorite food bloggers. Everyone from Olga at Sassy Radish to Rivka at Not Derby Pie, plus our own Shannon Sarna, and lots and lots of others. But this week we’re getting a head start, featuring some amazing recipes to get your Passover juices flowing.
Brisket may be the quintessential Jewish food. Many families have the tradition of serving brisket at both Rosh Hashanah dinner, and at the Pesach seder, and it’s no wonder—this wonderfully tender meat gets better over time, so it’s easy to make it before the holiday starts, and know that it will be delectable for your guests when you reheat it one or two days later. If oven space is a problem, making a brisket a few days ahead can be a real life saver. And brisket is remarkable because it’s so incredibly easy to make. Our recipe calls for sweet wine, chili sauce and barbeque sauce, but you can get away with basically just seasoning it and cooking it if you need to.
The biggest challenge for your brisket making might be ensuring you have a big enough roasting pan for your meat. If you’re cooking for a crowd I recommend measuring your pan, and measuring your meat before you purchase it. And that reminds me, you need to head to your butcher pronto if you want to order the best cuts of meat for your holiday.
Now, without further ado, check out the amazing Holiday Brisket recipe on MyJewishLearning, or Cranberry Brisket and Passover Brisket from Kveller. For more Brisket ideas check out Baked Bree, big girls small kitchen, and Cooking with Grandma Irma.
This week on the Nosher we’re highlighting some of our favorite Pesach recipes. Next week we’ll be bringing you many exciting new ones, but for now we’re get reacquainted with some of our old standards, and today is the day to talk about something that never fails to bring tears to my eyes—horseradish, also known as chrein.
In fourth grade I had a teacher who told us that in her family her mother would take a massive piece of horseradish and carve a picture into it—usually the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Meanwhile, another large piece of horseradish would have been set aside to use as bitter herbs, and as a garnish for the traditional gefilte fish. You may not be interested in honing your horseradish sculpting skills, but you really should be making your own chrein. It’s easy, and about a thousand times better than the frightening fuchsia stuff that comes in jars. One suggestion for a fun seder—the macho dudes and ladies can have a chrein-eating competition. Get a fun prize for the winner, and have plenty of honey and matzah on hand to cool the burning throats…
For years I lived a dark Potato Kugel-less existence. For some reason my mom never made it when I was a kid, and it wasn’t until high school that I experienced the true starchy joy of potato kugel. It’s a great side dish for any Shabbat meal, particularly in the winter, but for some reason it tastes particularly good on Pesach. And like the best Pesach foods, potato kugel has a simple but very rich flavor. Should you eat it every day? Definitely not. Should you have it right next to brisket on your plate during the seder? Absolutely.
And now, the only Potato Kugel recipe you’ll ever need…
For me, February is prime comfort food month, so this Shabbat I’m thinking about yummy comfort foods I can serve to my guests.
And then for dessert, these Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl have stolen my heart, and I don’t think I’ll be able to recover until I make them and wallow in them for a nice long time. Amiright?
Happy Tu Bishvat! Today we celebrate the birthday of the trees by eating fruit, nuts, grains, and other things that grow from the ground. Some people like to plant a tree on Tu Bishvat, but personally, I just like to eat cake. For instance, this morning I had a piece of our scandalously delicious Banana Cake for Tu Bishvat. As some people have pointed out, bananas don’t grow on trees, but this cake is also packed with nuts, dates, figs and raisins, and I added some chocolate to my version, too. I cannot stress enough how unbelievably good this is. Definitely the best Tu Bishvat dish I’ve ever made.
But if you’re still looking, we have a lemon lavender cake I can recommend, and a lemon and almond semolina cake that will knock your socks off. Combine any of these with a hot cup of tea and you are guaranteed a sweet and happy Tu Bishvat.
Perhaps you’re one of the lucky people who went to a Tu Bishvat seder last night, where you drank delicious wine and sangria, maybe got to eat fruit salad, orange and maple baked tofu, granola, Israeli salad, or persimmon cupcakes, all which are yummy Tu Bishvat foods. There’s still time to make any of these recipes today if you missed them yesterday.
Or if you’re looking for a very low maintenance way to celebrate, how about just stopping by your local grocery and picking up a nice bag of trail mix. As you enjoy the dried fruits and nuts, you can think about all of the great things trees bring to your life. L’chaim! To trees!