It’s hard to decide what recipes to share since I love all the fruits that are particularly connected to the land of Israel. So I’ll just provide a sampling and you can pick your favorites.
- 1 egg
- ½ pound shortening
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- Blanched whole almonds
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together egg and shortening. Beat in sugars and extract. Mix in flour, baking soda and baking powder until well blended. Roll dough into tablespoon-size balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Press an almond in the middle of each cookie. Brush with egg yolk and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
There is no better ode to olives than this delicious chicken. And probably no more beautiful tree than the old, gnarled olive trees found throughout Israel.
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 cup green olives
- 12 oil-cured olives, pitted
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a blender or food processor, combine all the olives, parsley, capers, and thyme. Process until mixture forms a thick paste. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Top chicken pieces with the olive tapenade. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast chicken for 25 minutes - until chicken is cooked through and golden brown and tender.
Fig and Almond Tart
This incorporates the luscious figs and almonds from the trees of the land of Israel.
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) margarine, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 3 1/2 ounces almond paste, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup tofutti cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 6 large or 12 small fresh figs, sliced, stems removed or 20 dried figs, reconstituted *see Cook’s Note
- 1/4 cup apricot jam
Combine the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, lemon zest, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until blended. Add the margarine and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the machine running, gradually add the water until moist clumps form. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and form into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for 1 hour.
In a clean food processor bowl, combine remaining sugar, almond paste, tofutti cream cheese, vanilla extract and honey. Blend until smooth.
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll out the dough into an 11-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a large, heavy baking sheet. Spread the almond filling over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange the figs on top of the almond filling. Spoon the jam over the figs. Fold the dough border over the filling to form an 8-inch round, pleating the crust loosely and pinching to seal any cracks in the dough.
Bake the tart until the crust is golden, about 40 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a rack to cool for 10 minutes; then slide a metal spatula under the crust to free the tart from the parchment. Transfer the tart to a platter and serve.
Cook’s Note: To reconstitute dried figs, simmer in water for 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely. Strain before using.
Root Vegetable, Barley and Spinach Soup
Barley, one of the seven species, is always good in a hearty winter soup.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 leeks, white part only, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 1 bulb fennel, chopped
- 2 parsnip, chopped
- 1 cup barley
- 3 (32 ounce) boxes Imagine No-Chicken Broth (or a similar product)
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 (8 ounce) bag spinach
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- Grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese (optional)
In a large stockpot, heat the oil. Add the onion, leeks and garlic and cook until slightly softened. Add the celery, carrots, fennel and parsnip and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add barley and pareve chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, sprinkle in pepper and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add spinach and nutmeg and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Pass the cheese, if desired.