2016-01-20 / Columns

The rebbitzin’s recipes: Tu B’Shevat celebration highlighting Israel’s fruits

COOKING
DEBI EPSTEIN

Tu B’Shevat—The 15th day of the lunar month of Shevat is the Rosh Hashanah of trees in the land of Israel. Any new growth of fruit after this day is a result of blessings of the New Year. This joyous day refers to the produce of the land of Israel, highlighting the seven species of the land of Israel, “A land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey” (Deuteronomy 8).

It is customary to eat fruit that comes from the land of Israel, and to enjoy a new fruit, which one has not eaten yet this year, in order to recite the bracha (blessing) of Shechiyanu—“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokaynu Melech Haolam Shechiyanu Vikiyimanu Vihigiyanu Lazeman Hazeh.”

Tu B’Shevat takes place this year, Monday, Jan. 25. Please remember to recite the appropriate blessing for a fruit (“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokaynu Melech Haolam Borei Pri Haetz”) and, let us continue to pray for our brothers and sisters to reside in peace in the land of Israel.

Enjoy the following recipes on Tu B’Shevat that include the seven species of the land of Israel.

CHICKEN CUTLETS &
OLIVES
2 lb. chicken cutlets, thinly
sliced
1 cup Kalamata olives, roasted 1/2 cup flour
Oil spray
1 cup kosher white wine
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

Place olives on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Roast in oven for 3-4 minutes.

Remove from oven, and set aside to cool.

Coat chicken cutlets on both sides with flour and place in a pre-heated non-stick skillet, coated with oil spray. Cook for two minutes on each side. Add kosher wine, parsley and olives, and cook for an additional five minutes. Serve on a bed of Bejeweled rice, recipe follows. Serves 4-5.

BEJEWELED RICE
2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup craisins
4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 cup cilantro,
chopped
1/4 cup extra
virgin olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt

In five-qt. saucepan, heat rice coated in olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, excluding craisins and almonds, mixing together well. Cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat, covered. Remove from flame, and let rice continue to absorb moisture for 10 additional minutes. Top with craisins and almonds.

Serves 4-6.

SEVEN SPECIES
SALAD
1 1/2 cups farro cooked
according to package
instructions and cooled
1 cup assorted grapes, sliced
in half
1 cup pitted Mediterranean
green olives
1/2 cup figs, chopped into
quarters
1/2 cup dates, chopped into
quarters
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1 small red onion, peeled and
minced
1 yellow bell pepper,
seeded and chopped

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the above ingredients together. Pour Olive oil and honey dressing (recipe follows) on top, until well combined. It is preferable to marinate for 1-2 hours prior to serving.

OLIVE OIL &
HONEY VINAIGRETTE
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 TBS. honey
6 TBS. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and
minced
2 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Combine all of the above ingredients in a cruet jar and shake two times, until well combined.

Serves 4-6.

DATE LOVERS
BROWNIES
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Mix flour, sugar, eggs, oil, baking powder, salt and cocoa. In a separate bowl, blend dates, baking soda and water. Add to mixture. Pour into a 9x13 pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Serves 8-10. . deb.epst@gmail.com

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