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Posts Tagged ‘fig’

One of the things I love about the Prophet Joel is that he really goes along with the idea of “Prophecy in the Kitchen” – despite the terrible locust plague that was afflicting the land at that time, despite the terrible damage it did to the crops (see Dried Fruit and Spice Muffins,) he still delivers the message that if we return to God and have faith, anything is possible – even divine prophecy.

“Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth its fruit, the fig-tree and the vine do yield their strength.” (Joel 2:22)

I think that in the above verse is an allegory that’s about more than just figs and vines, it’s saying that no matter how many times the Israelites turn from God, their roots are strong, that there is always room for return. That no matter how far they stray, it’s their roots that will bring them back to God again.

And indeed, in the first verse of Chapter 3, the prophet states (echoing Numbers 11:26-29):

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My spirit.” (Joel 3:1-2)

Of course, it is hard for me to live in Israel during these difficult times and to not find comfort in these words. The People of Israel have deep roots in the Land of Israel, and whether it be locusts or rockets that rain down upon us, our figs and vines will prosper because our roots are deep. And it doesn’t take a prophet to be able to tell us that – we are all prophets in these times and the only vision we have is of a brighter, more peaceful future, one in which figs and vines will prosper all across the Middle East and there will be an end to all this war.

The roots of flavor in this Fig and Port Wine Chocolate Salami are very deep and decadent – comfort food for difficult times.

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Chocolate Salami with Port Wine and Figs

12 ozs chocolate
6 Tbsp. butter/margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 shot espresso
3 Tbsp. port wine
1 sleeve of petit buerre cookies, crushed coarsely
1/2 cup shelled whole pistachios
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting

Melt chocolate with butter or margarine. Add sugar, espresso and port wine.

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Crush petit buerre cookies, chop figs. Add whole pistachios, chopped figs and crushed cookies to chocolate mixture, mix well, using the back of the spoon to crush the mixture even more and combine it well – you should not be able to see the color of the cookies. Add cocoa powder (this will help the whole mixture stiffen up a bit.) Mix well.

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Spoon out half of the mixture onto a baking sheet, use your hands to shape into a messy loaf shape, then use parchment paper to shape into a log. Unroll paper and move the log onto the edge of the parchment paper sheet, then roll up and twist the ends as you would a toffee or hard-candy.

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Place in refrigerator to cool for 3-4 hours. Before serving, unroll the log from the parchment paper and dust with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Roll log in powdered sugar until the sugar enters all the crevices of the log and it is completely covered.

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Slice into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices and serve!

Keep refrigerated.

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“Reuben went in the days of the wheat harvest, and he found dudaim in the field and brought them to Leah, his mother, and Rachel said to Leah, ‘Now give me some of your son’s dudaim.’ And she said to her, ‘Is it a small matter that you have taken my husband, that you wish also to take my son’s dudaim?’ So Rachel said, ‘Therefore, he shall sleep with you tonight as payment for your son’s dudaim.’ When Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah came forth toward him, and she said, ‘You shall come to me, because I have hired you with my son’s dudaim,’ and he slept with her on that night.” (Genesis 30:14–16)

Questions: What do you think these dudaim represent? Why was Reuben involved in all of this? Why do you think Rachel was so desperate to purchase these dudaim that she was willing to give up a night with her husband for the privilege or pleasure of having them?

Ideas: Jasmine tea, plain jasmine rice, dried figs, fig bars, placing a pot of African violets on your table, and even mandrake liqueur from Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emek in the North of Israel, where mandrakes are grown!

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“And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat and that it was a desire for the eyes, and that the tree could pleasantly make one wise, and she took of its fruit, and she ate, and she gave to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)

Questions: What type of fruit tree was this? Why wouldn’t God have wanted to reveal the name of the tree? Why do you think Eve gave to her husband Adam as well? Why wasn’t she just content to eat the fruit herself?

Ideas: Candied citron slices or citron jam, dried figs or fig bars, fresh grapes, raisins, wine or grape juice, and anything made from wheat – bread, cookies, cake or pasta.

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‘They came to the valley of Eshkol and they cut a branch with a cluster of grapes. They carried it on a pole between two people and they also took some pomegranates and figs.’ (Numbers 13:23)

Questions: Why do you think the spies chose these fruits specifically? Why did they choose gigantic fruits rather than bring back more normal sized examples? What could their motive have been? Is it ever good to speak badly of something or someone? Does it matter if we speak negatively about inanimate objects? What power do words have?

Ideas: Put out a bowl of grapes, dried figs and pomegranates (or pomegranate juice if you can’t find fresh pomegranates) to represent the fruit the spies returned with from the Land of Israel. Or put out fruit that is native to your land. Make sure to praise the fruit!

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“You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread as I have commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of springtime, for then you left Egypt…. And the festival of the harvest of the first fruits of your labors that you sow in the field, and the festival of the ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your work from the field.” (Exodus 23:15–16)

Questions: Why are so many of our holidays connected to food? Why are they always connected to a specific time of year? What is the significance of the harvest? What is so special about the number seven? Is it central to our lives? Why?

Ideas: Any bountiful spread of produce will do. Serve everything at your table in multiples of seven. Invite seven guests! Incorporate some or all of the seven species into your meal, make a seven layer salad, purchase or make a seven-layer cake, or make your favorite holiday dish!

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