A quick post to share recipes for both Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Simchat Torah is one of my favorite holidays.The foods we eat are stuffed, scroll or round-shaped to represent the abundance of the Torah. In a previous holiday post, I wrote: “Simchat Torah symbolizes the cycles of our lives. As the Earth rotates, our lives rotate throughout the year; Torahs scroll cycle along their wooden spines each week; our food grows in cycles; on Simchat Torah while holding the Torah, we circle as a community; and we cycle together throughout the Jewish calendar. Continue reading
This is a really easy, hearty soup that is a perfect meal pre or post fast (or both!). I like to end my Yom Kippur fast with nourishing, light foods and tend to avoid the deluge of heavy dishes I often find at many break-fast potlucks. This soup is nourishing and filling but not heavy. It is delicious both when immediately ready for pre-fast meal and after sitting overnight for break-fast with a slice of a dark bread to dip. If you can’t find a kabocha squash, try an acorn one. The squash should be slightly chunky so canned pumpkin isn’t the best option but is do-able in a pinch. Hope you have a meaningful, easy fast and holiday. Also, scroll to the bottom for my other Yom Kippur recipes. Continue reading
Just a quick post to share a stuffed eggplant recipe that is great for both Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Sukkot, an agricultural holiday (ie farm-to-table holiday) that is an opportunity to use the produce that is in abundance at the farmers markets right now makes it one of my favorite holidays. Lots of eggplants are in season at my local farmers markets and the basil was plucked straight from my plants. The filled eggplants are also symbolic of “stuffed” foods commonly eaten on Simchat Torah to represent the Torah scrolls. Scroll to the bottom for more of my Sukkot, Simchat Torah and even Shmini Atzeret recipes. Chag sameach! Continue reading
I love the abundance of zucchinis available in the summer–patty pan, crooked neck, endless shades of yellows and greens. They’re so beautiful and I love the range of delicate flavors of them, depending on the variety. I love cooking but have gone through phases during COVID where I’m simply tired of my own food or just don’t have the energy to make much besides a smoothie. I am not a complicated or fussy cook and try to keep the number of ingredients to a minimum. This dish is perfect for a summer Shabbat dinner or lunch. Continue reading
I have had the great opportunity to trample through the woods and fields just outside Rock Creek National Park to forage for edible plants, berries, flowers and mushrooms this fall. Foraging aside, I have spent endless hours during Covid inside Rock Creek park. I joke that it is my second home but it really is: I don’t start any morning now without hiking or biking in it, no matter the weather, and end many days with a quick jaunt on trails. Spending so much time in Rock Creek has made me keenly aware of the subtle changes every day to the spectacular landscape from the multitude of distinct shades of green leaves in early spring to the trails disappearing afoot as they become layered with leaf cover in the fall. And, my connection to the land has deepened as I have learned about the myriad edible plants and mushrooms living in it.Continue reading
Like everything else, this is an unusual Sukkot. But due to my COVID routine, I have had the privilege for a deeper physical and sensory connection to the holiday’s harvest themes. It includes more time to tend to edible plants on my balcony and long hikes in woods filled with mushrooms and other edibles. And while the holiday celebrates an agricultural harvest, I like to more broadly think of it as a way to celebrate all of our food sources, whether foraged or grown on a farm. Last weekend, I went on a guided foraging trip just a few miles from my house. In a mere mile long walk, we found more than a dozen edibles, including black walnuts, shiso, sorrel, burr cucumbers, American persimmon, and turkey tail mushrooms. We nibbled little bits of each plant along the way but left everything there for birds and other creatures to enjoy. Continue reading
Living through a pandemic has become the ultimate opportunity to look at our food sources and the interconnectedness between what we eat and a host of global issues.
More than 70 billion land animals are raised and killed each year for food and other products around the world, including nine billion in the US alone. Animal agriculture is the main cause of an array of global crises, including climate change, pandemics, water pollution, poverty and hunger.
Zoonosis, the transmission of diseases from animals to humans is, according to the CDC, the source of 75% of all new viruses facing humans. It is happening at a rapid pace because of how animals are raised and slaughtered, primarily in industrial animal agriculture factories and live “wet” markets. From the origination of COVID-19 at an animal market in China to swine flu at an industrial farm in the US to mad cow disease in the UK, the raising and killing of wild and domesticated animals is causing pandemics. Continue reading
Simchat Torah–which starts Monday night– is the end of a long season of holidays and marked by both completing and beginning the reading of the Torah. But, we are not starting over in the same place with the Torah or in life. Rather, we are like spirals, moving into a new place that is deeply connected to the past. How will we understand or be guided by the Torah in this new cycle and year?
The foods of Simchat Torah usually elongated to represent the Torah scrolls or round to represent hakafot–the circles one dances in to celebrate the holiday. This year, I prepared a vegan zucchini quiche with lots of circles. It’s a great way to use up the season’s last bits of zucchini and is easy to prepare. There are many zucchini varieties and it would be interesting to try an assortment in this dish. Though, I perhaps should have made a dish with the super popular spiralized zucchini! Continue reading
Sukkot is a harvest festival that allows us to experience and reflect upon our vulnerability and fragility in the world. All of the practices of this holiday–celebrating fall harvest foods, inviting community and strangers to one’s sukkah and living in an impermanent dwelling for a week–can be examined through the lens of how we are addressing and will deal with the impacts of climate change crisis. Continue reading
Cholent is truly a Jewish food. Jewish communities around the world prepare it specially for Shabbat, each with its own variation in name and ingredients. Also called dafina or skinha (Morocco) and hamin (Sephardic in general), the common thread of cholent recipes are that each is slowly cooked overnight so that it’s ready for Shabbat lunch. You cannot cook cholent quickly in a microwave or pressure cooker. It is a long process, and like Shabbat, it requires one to slow down from the rapid pace of weekday life. And no matter what goes into it, cholent is usually so hearty and filling that a Shabbat meal can be complete with it and nothing else. Continue reading