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Posts Tagged ‘pomegranate’

“And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah; he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.” – Genesis 24:53

Eliezer gave Rebecca gifts of bracelets and a nose ring, but he brought out all the stops when he went to go meet her family. He presented them with jewels, with silver and gold, with clothing and fabric, and all manner of precious things. What could be more precious than Beluga Black Lentils? Garnished with jewels of pomegranate and mango, and dressed with a sweet and salty lemon-mint dressing.

lentil Salad 2
Bejeweled Beluga Lentils with Lemon Mint Dressing

1 cup black (beluga) lentils
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup diced mango
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
1/2 cup seasoned and toasted sunflower seeds (season with salt and cumin and toast until golden brown)

Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook lentils with water and 1 tsp salt for about 30 minutes or until lentils are soft (they should still hold their shape though and be somewhat firm). Drain and rinse lentils in a colander or sieve.
Mix lentils with pomegranate seeds, diced mango and scallion.

Mix dressing ingredients in a long/tall container and then puree with an immersion blender.

Pour dressing on top of salad. Garnish salad with toasted spiced sunflower seeds and fresh mint leaves.

This dish should be served warm.

Lentil salad 1

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I’m in a bit of a backlog with my posts, as my Hebrew cookbook came out and I’ve been blessed by a flurry of media attention here (TV, print, radio, online and more…) I’m going to take a break from my Prophecy in the Kitchen posts (even thought I have two recipes from the Book of Amos ready to go: Miniature Summer Fruit Basket Pies and Mashed Potato Mountains with Zaatar, Silan and Red Wine Sauce).

Today I had a journalist come cook with me. She asked me to prepare recipes related to the Weekly Portion of “Chayei Sarah – The Life of Sarah” which spans from Chapter 23 verse 1 of Genesis, to Chapter 25, verse 18. The recipes and photos were too beautiful not to share! And perhaps I will find a way to connect them to some of the books of the prophets as I go, but for now, I wanted to post some of them here.

We made:

Spiced Acorn Squash and Apple Soup in Squash “Wells”

Chicken Thighs in Silan, Beer and Mustard

Bejeweled Beluga Lentils with Lemon-Mint Dressing

Vegetable Bracelets and Rings with Coriander Pesto

Tunnel of Fudge Cave Cake

all the recipes from chayei sarah

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The Book of Joel is the second book in the “12 minor prophets” which begins with the Book of Hosea. It’s hard to say when Joel lived, scholars estimate sometimes between the 5th and 8th century BCE. Like most of the prophets, Joel comes to warn the Israelites that their evil ways (sacrificing to other Gods and idol worship) are causing blight and famine, and that only a return to God and a full repentance will bring about change.

In his time there was a locust plague and a severe drought and this caused the following to happen:

“The vine is withered, and the fig-tree languishes; the pomegranate-tree, the date palm-tree also, and the apple-tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered; for joy is withered away from the sons of men.” (Joel 1:12)

Fruit Muffins 2 recolored cropped

I think that the message here is that you can look at all this dried and withered fruit like a curse, and curse God in return, or like a blessing, and use it to praise God, to repent and say, I was wrong, but good can also come of evil. Of course, it seemed to me that this list of dried fruit would make a fantastic muffin. The prophets warn, but everything comes down to the choices we make. And I say: when life gives you dried and withered fruit – make muffins! (But of course, make them with the right intentions, and makes sure to thank God for the bounty – even if it is withered, it can still be delicious – as I think you will find with these muffins…)

When I made these muffins and I licked one of my fingers to taste the batter I actually said “oh wow” out loud. And I knew that if that’s how good the batter was…that these muffins where going to be stellar. Seriously one of the best muffins I’ve ever eaten. The mixture of dried fruits and spices just pops in your mouth with flavor.

Note: I made these with one egg and 1/2 cup milk – the milk can easily be replaced with soy or almond milk or any other kind of non-dairy milk replacement, and I know that there are egg replacers and that some people use a mixture of flax seed and water to replace an egg – so it seems to me that it would be very easy to make these vegan.

Dried Fruit and Spice Muffins

Fruit Muffins 5

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinammon
1/8 tsp. of nutmeg, cloves, cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups of chopped dried fruit: (chopped dried apple, chopped dried figs, chopped dried dates, raisins, and dried cranberries – sometimes you can find these sweetened with pomegranate juice – that’s the kind I used)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and grease muffin tin.
Mix together: flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom,and ginger.
Chop dried fruit and add. Toss with your hands to make sure that the dried figs and dried dates all get separated and coated with the flour – so none of them end up in large clumps of only one type of fruit.

Fruit Muffins 3

Add oil, pomegranate juice, milk, vanilla and egg. Mix together with as few strokes as possible just so that everything is combined. Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Fruit Muffins 4 Fruit Muffins 8 cropped

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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!

Image

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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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