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Posts Tagged ‘prophet’

For a book of prophecy that isn’t terribly long (only 9 chapters) the Book of Amos really packs a punch. The Prophet Amos does not mince words and in general he is pretty damning of the Children of Israel and their transgressions. It seems, historically, that Amos was the forerunner of all the other prophets. He lived during the reign of King Jeroboam II, around 786-746 BC, and according to the historical record, this may have been the first book of prophecy ever written!

Having said that, it seems like many of the other prophets may have taken pointers from Amos, and that this book of his recorded prophecies sets the stage for many more to come. Therefore I found it surprising how harsh he comes across. Of course, Amos is delivering “the word of God” and therefore the words are not really his, but he offers a really bleak picture of the situation on the ground in terms of the Children of Israel and their transgressions, so much so that it’s hard to find anything that’s really all that redemptive (and appetizing!) until the later chapters.

I was struck by the following two verses in Chapter Four:

“Come to Beth-el, and transgress, to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices in the morning, and your tithes after three days. And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill-offerings and publish them; for so ye love to do, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” (Amos 4:4-5)

Amos seems to condemn the Children of Israel for sacrificing “Leavened Bread” – in Hebrew the word is “Hametz” – which is the exact opposite of “Matzah” – the unleavened bread that we eat on Passover. However, I found it strange that the prophet should condemn “leavened bread” so harshly – because it is unclear if the show bread – the “Lechem HaPanim” – was leavened or unleavened, it may very well have been leavened, but it was not sacrificed and perhaps that is the crux.

In Amos chapter eight we come across bread mentioned in a more redemptive light, in a very famous verse (that has been put to music often):

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” (Amos 8:11)

So it seems that no matter what kind of bread you eat or sacrifice – leavened or unleavened – what God truly desires from us is to desire him, to desire his words, and so I present to you a form of bread, which I call “Pagan Bread” – to me it was the furthest thing away from Matzah that I could conjure: light and fluffy, sweet and spicy – nothing close to the dry, bland, crisp-bread that we eat on the Passover Holiday. Eat it at your own risk, and make sure to direct your hunger heavenward.

photo 2

Pagan Bread

1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cardamom
1 Tbsp. yeast
3/4 cup milk (soy milk or nut milk is fine too – I used hazelnut milk…YUM)
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg
1.5 tsp. salt
4-5 cups flour (I used fine-ground whole wheat)

Mix warm water, honey, cardamom and yeast together in a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes until frothy. Add milk, olive oil, egg, salt and mix. Add 2 cups of flour, mix until combined. Then add 2-3 more cups until the dough is soft but not sticky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel (or place entire bowl inside a plastic bag). Let rise about an hour or until dough has doubled in size. Punch down and knead into desire shape. Brush top with honey. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until golden brown – about 30 minutes (I used a toothpick to make sure it was done – if dough sticks to the toothpick, allow the bread to bake more).

photo 4 photo 1 photo 3

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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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