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Posts Tagged ‘Prophecy’

I’ve been meaning to finish up my posts on the Book of Amos, but it’s been a crazy few weeks! Between all the PR for my Hebrew cookbook and Dutch cookbook (links here and here!), three TV appearances, two weeks I spent in New York meeting with editors and agents (for my own work, but also, yes, some cookbook related stuff) – I haven’t had time to breathe! So here is one new Amos recipe for you, one more to go, and after that, we will move on to the next book: Obadiah.

“Thus the Lord GOD showed me; and behold a basket of summer fruit. And He said: ‘Amos, what seest thou?’ And I said: ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then said the LORD unto me: The end is come upon My people Israel; I will not again pardon them any more.” – Amos 8:1-2

Summer Fruit Mini-Pie Baskets

Summer Fruit Pie Pix 9
Crust:
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces
2 tablespoons (15 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (225 grams, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup water, very cold

1 egg (to brush on the tops of each pie)

Filling:
2-3 cups of chopped summer fruit: peaches, plums, cherries
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom
3 tbs cornstarch

Mix dry ingredients together, cut butter into cubes, then mix into dry ingredients. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly and fully integrated, then slowly add the cold water until the dough holds together. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is ready.

Cut fruit into small cubes and mix with all the ingredients in a bowl.

Knead and flatten the dough and roll out on a flat surface until it’s 1/4 inch thick. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray and cut out circles from the dough that will fit into each muffin tin and all the way up the sides (you might need to do a few practice circles until you get the size right). Place each circle in a muffin tin and press up the sides. Spoon filling into each muffin tin.
Summer Fruit Pie Pix 1Summer Fruit Pie Pix 2
To make lattice-work top, roll out the remaining dough, then cut in long 1/2-inch strips with a knife. Weave the dough until your work surface is covered with a long woven strip. Cut circles out of the strip in a size that will nicely fit over the top of each muffin tin. Press the woven top of each mini-pie down to meet the dough on the bottom/sides by using a fork, make small indentations around the sides of each mini-pie with the fork that both presses the dough from the top to the sides, but also creates a nice decorative edge. You can roll out small strips of dough and twist and attach them to the top of each mini-pie to create a basket handle.
Summer Fruit Pie Pix 3  Summer Fruit Pie Pix 4Summer Fruit Pie Pix 5
Brush tops of mini-pies with beaten egg, bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Summer Fruit Pie Pix 6Summer Fruit Pie Pix 8

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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.

Salami 27

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.

Salami 6 Salami 7 Salami 8

 

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.

Salami 9 Salami 1 Salami 29 Salami 10

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.

Salami 2

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.

Salami 3

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

Keep refrigerated.

Salami 17

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I don’t normally post about two different verses in the same chapter, but as I continued to read in Hosea I came across the following verse:

“And the earth shall respond to the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall respond to Jezreel.” – Hosea 2:24

And of course that got the culinary wheels in my brain turning. Corn, wine, and oil is not an obvious combination in a culinary sense, but it is mentioned quite a few times in both the Bible and prophets. Now, historically and geographically, it’s not the grain that we know today as corn that the Bible is referring to – corn as “maize.” The Bible uses the word “corn – dagan in Hebrew” – to refer to all manner of grains. But for the purposes of the modern ear and modern culinary sensibilities I decided to use corn – ground corn to be more specific, the fine-grained type commonly referred to as Polenta. Oil – and I’m assuming here that it is olive oil that is being referred to – was commonly used not only in cooking, but also for anointing and for kindling. Wine was used as a drink but also as a sacramental substance. So it seems to me that the combination of all of these three items in this verse is an attempt to convey the totality of the response that will happen if indeed we succeed in dedicating, or “betrothing” ourselves to God in the proper way and in the proper intentions – as mentioned in verses 21 and 22: “And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in compassion. And I will betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the LORD.” In return for our complete devotion – God will cause the earth to respond to us in an all-encompassing way: physical, elemental, and spiritual – as represented by the grain, oil and wine – three critical ingredients for our physical and spiritual sustenance on earth.

I decided to take these ingredients and see what I could do with them in two different directions – savory/salty and sweet. I guess you could take the two different recipes I ended up creating and look at it as a further explanation of the verse – you can take the good of the land, the corn, wine and oil that God provides and you can do a lot of different things with it – you can take it in a savory direction, or a sweet direction – it doesn’t matter which direction you take the gifts that God gives you – so long as you use them with the right intentions.

Polenta Two Ways: Savory and Sweet

What I found fascinating about this experiment was that you can truly take 4 basic ingredients: fine-ground cornmeal, olive oil, wine (red and white) and fresh rosemary – and take them in two completely different directions.

Herbed Polenta Tart with Red Wine Mushrooms, Garlic and Rosemary

Polenta 7

Polenta:
1 cup cornmeal
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil

Red Wine Mushroom Topping:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, sliced thing or diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or diced
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
10 white mushrooms, sliced thin
1/4 cup red wine
1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, as topping)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees c (350 degrees F)

Mix cornmeal with broth, salt, herbs, and garlic powder in a saucepan. Place on the fire and stir constantly until mixture thickens so that there are no lumps. When mixture is quite thick and stiff (most recipes tell you that this is when the polenta mixture starts to leave the side of the pan but this didn’t really happen to my mixture – so I’d say when the mixture becomes like very thick gruel or oatmeal) – then stir in 1 Tbsp. olive oil, mix well and then pour into a pie tart (I greased mine with non-stick spray.) Place polenta tart in the oven. (Let it cook for about 10 minutes)

Polenta 4 Polenta 5 Polenta 6 Polenta 8

While the tart cooks prepare the topping: Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes, add fresh chopped rosemary, cook for 1 minute, then add fresh sliced mushrooms, let cook 2 minutes, then add red wine, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until about half of the liquid has evaporated – about 3-5 more minutes.

Remove Tart from oven and spoon mushroom mixture over top. Top with grated parmesan cheese (optional.)

Rosemary and Lemon Polenta Cake with White Wine and Olive Oil

Polenta 9

1/2 cup polenta/fine ground cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoons minced fresh rosemary/ 1 tsp. dried
Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sweet white wine, such as an Italian moscato or a Muscat de Beaume de Venise
Powdered sugar for the top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a tart pan with non-stick spray

In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, rosemary, and lemon zest. Mix well.

Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale yellow and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Polenta 11 Polenta 12

While still mixing, slowly add the olive oil. Add vanilla, then wine and then the flour mixture, and mix just until blended.

Pour the batter into the pan, and bake until the cake is fragrant, golden, and springy to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes and then turn it out of the pan. After it’s cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar.

Polenta 13

 

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I’ve known for a long time that after EATING THE BIBLE (which sticks strictly to the Old Testament,) I was going to follow up with a series of articles and blog postings about the Prophets. It seemed a natural “next step.” I’m also a poet – and there is nothing like the poetry of the prophets. Following the success of my EATING THE BIBLE cookbook, which is already out in English and soon coming out in Czech, Swedish, Dutch, and Hebrew, I think it’s time.

I’ve decided to name this new venture, PROPHECY IN THE KITCHEN – possibly the name of my next cookbook. The reason for the name is two-fold. First, I think that we are all prophets in the kitchen – on both a superficial and spiritual level. We open the fridge every day and try to divine from its contents what we will concoct for our meals, how we will nourish ourselves and our families. There is also something alchemical about cooking in the kitchen – the way that flour and yeast form bread, the way that beaten eggs can make cakes both rise and fall, the way flavors combine to make something completely new. And to a certain degree we never know exactly what is going to happen when we enter the realm of the kitchen, all we can do is set the stage with the proper intentions, ingredients, equipment and circumstances – and hope for the best, hope that what we set out to create will emerge as we intended.

On a deeper level, I think that we are all prophets in our own right. My husband and I were discussing Eldad and Medad this week, two prophets from the Book of Numbers who stayed back to prophesy among the Israelites while 70 elders went outside the camp to the tabernacle to receive the ability to prophesy from God. Joshua was furious, but Moses took their side. He said that it was a good thing, and that ideally all the Israelites should be able to prophesy. I think we are living in the information age. An age where Rabbis and Priests and Spiritual Leaders are key, but it is also an age where the Bible, knowledge, spiritual connection and yes, indeed, prophecy is readily available to anyone who wishes to seek it out. If we do so in the proper way, with the proper intentions, equipment, and ingredients – foremost among them, a willingness to allow for the divine – both in and out of the kitchen.

My decision to start with Hosea, I must admit, is completely arbitrary. It was either Hosea or Daniel. (I think that Daniel will be next, I’ve recently become fascinated by his story as a result of working on one of my client’s books – in my other life I’m a literary agent and one of my clients has written a Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel that partly revolves around the Book of Daniel.) I started reading Hosea because it is the first in order of the 12 minor prophets, and as I read, I came across one of my favorite verses, Hosea 2:21 “And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in compassion.” This is a verse very often related to weddings and betrothals. It is also a verse that Jewish men recite as they bind the tefillin straps around their hands – wrapping the straps as a way of betrothing themselves to God and his word.

Hosea didn’t prophesy in an easy time, but then, none of the prophets did. His job was to broadcast God’s love of the Israelites at a time when heresy and apostasy was at an all-time high. Hosea marries a promiscuous woman to symbolize the fact that God is still willing to marry the Israelites despite their sinful ways. God is always willing to accept our sinful ways and take us back, to wrap us back up into His arms and create a new covenant with us. When I read the verse: “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven,” I, of course started thinking about food. Chicken and beef wrapped together in a marriage of flavors. And thus, Mortadella Chicken with Maple Cider Dijon Glaze was born.

Hosea 2:20-2:22
“And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground; and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land, and will make them to lie down safely.”

“And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in compassion.”

“And I will betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord.”

Mortadella Chicken with Maple Cider Dijon Glaze

Chicken 24

250 grams of thin sliced Mortadella Salami (Proscuitto or any other thinly sliced deli meat will work too)
1 kg chicken breasts, pounded thin

Stuffing:
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 ribs of celery, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. maple syrup

Maple Cider Dijon Glaze
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup alcoholic apple cider (I use Buster’s Isra-Ale Sweet Cider 4.8%!)
1/3 cup chicken stock (I use 1 tsp. chicken soup powder dissolved in 1/3 cup water)

Sauté onion and garlic in a cast-iron skillet (or any frying pan will do) for 2-3 minutes,
add celery and sauté for 3 minutes more. Add thyme, salt and pepper, cook for 1 minute. Then
add fresh parsley, cook for 1 more minute. Add panko breadcrumbs, stir, then add Dijon mustard
and maple syrup, mix well on a low flame until well combined. Turn off flame and let filling cool.

When ready to assemble: grease a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Place one chicken breast before you and spread it with thinly sliced Mortadella salami. Place one heaping
tablespoon of filling in the center of the salami, turn up the ends a bit to prevent the filling from escaping
out the sides, roll up and place seam-side down greased in baking dish. There is no need to secure these rolls
with toothpicks if you pack them in next to each other.

Chicken Picture Combo

When finished, sprinkle the top of chicken lightly with remaining stuffing. Then, in the same pan as you made the stuffing,
cook olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, apple cider and chicken stock until mixture thickens. Pour over chicken.

Chicken Picture Combo 2

Place chicken in an oven heated to 175 degrees celcius (or 350 degrees F) and bake for 30-45 minutes.

Chicken 26

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