Home-Made Applesauce (Compote)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 12:27 Written by Flax Tuesday, 20 December 2011 12:27

This recipe is dedicated to the memory of my Oma who’s yarzheit is on the eighth day of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah latkes are yummy!  Certainly not the healthiest food, and definitely hard to digest.  Potato latkes are often eaten with a little bit of applesauce on the side.  Believe it or not, that little bit of applesauce actually helps with the digestion of the latke.

Apples contain both malic and tartaric acids which inhibit the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the digestive tract.  Apples also contain pectin which removes cholesterol and helps the liver and the gallbladder to metabolize fat.  Apples, especially green apples are used to soften gallstones in preparation for a gallbladder flush.

The recipe below is from my Oma.  My Oma was born and passed away on the same day, on the eighth day of Hanukkah.  Needless to say that my grandmother was a wonderful cook-and her favorite activity was to feed us!  Her homemade applesauce was one of my favorite foods as a child, and to this day it is my ultimate comfort food.  Her method was to cook the apples whole, and then to puree them using a food mill  Using a food mill, a once common kitchen tool,  simplifies the process and makes the work involved almost nil.  Unfortunately, the food mill is no longer common (Williams-Sonoma does sell food mills for the ridiculous price of $150) and this necessitates peeling and coring the apples before cooking them.  While preparing the apples for cooking does require more time and effort, the end result justifies the means.

Tradition holds that being born and passing away on the same day is the sign of someone who is a zadik (a righteous person).  I love that my Oma’s yarzheit is on the last night of Hanukkah, a time when Jews, all over the world are lighting an abundance of candles.  I am comforted in the knowledge that my Oma’s neshama (soul) can be easily drawn by those sparks of light to be with those who might need her.

Ingredients:

  • 10 golden apples
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

If you own a food mill boil the apples whole, if not then peel and core the apples.  Bring the water to a boil and add the apples. Simmer on a low flame for approximately one hour or until the apples are soft. Remove from the flame,  and either sieve through a food mill or lightly mash with a fork.  Add the orange juice and refrigerate.

Serve cold.

Sima Herzfeld Navon has a clinic for holistic medicine.  She also teaches healthy cooking and nutritional healing.

To learn more about Sima visit: www.JustAddFlax.com

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An Abundance of Pomegranates

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 September 2011 10:01 Written by Flax Thursday, 22 September 2011 10:54

Pomegranates and Rosh Hashanah are a bit like turkey and Thanksgiving-there are always left-overs.  If there are only a few remaining seeds then just toss them into a pitcher of water with a slice of lemon.  It looks absolutely magnificent!  I actually buy extra pomegranates as I like to use them throughout the holiday in many different dishes, especially in salads.

In keeping with the whole holiday mood, I bought some pomegranate shaped cookie cutters, I am hoping that they will help me in one of my more anal obsessions.  Honey drips and sticky fingers drive me absolutely bananas!  I am constantly looking for ways to avoid them.  One method that has worked nicely in the past is individual miniature honey pots.  This years new idea is one which I think will nicely occupy my children on erev chag as well.  Use some pre-sliced bread or challah and punch out some pomegranate shapes. If the bread is too soft to work with, then put it in the freezer first for about an hour to harden it.  Spread the cut out shape with honey and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.  Repeat the process, but instead of pomegranate seeds use a few slivers of apple (pour some lemon juice over the apples first to prevent them turning brown).  Arrange the cut-outs on a platter or on individual plates along with the other simanim.  The double advantage here is that it looks beautiful and I it will hopefully will prevent sticky fingers, sticky cutlery, and a sticky tablecloth.  Cut up the remaining bread into small squares and surprise everyone with home-made croutons.

To really emphasize the pomegranate theme try using pomegranate concentrate.  Pomegranate concentrate is a great way to sweeten foods without using any sugar.    I use pomegranate concentrate as a sweetener in cooked dishes, but I especially like it in salad dressing.  On Rosh Hashanah I always make at least one salad that will have pomegranate seeds as an ingredient,  as well as pomegranate concentrate in the dressing.

I offer below two salad recommendations. Notice that both salads contain onions, this is because the flavor of the onion and the pomegranate harmonize beautifully.  The green salad works with any type of lettuce or even with spinach.  If you decide to make both of the salads then double the vinaigrette recipe.

Salad #1

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Salad #2

  • 3 medium-sized beets, cooked, peeled, and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate concentrate
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
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Grilled Pepper Salad

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 July 2011 10:41 Written by Flax Wednesday, 13 July 2011 02:32

This Moroccan appetizer is one of our favorite dishes.  It is a versatile dish and can be  served alone or combined with other dishes.   In the photo, I use it to decorate and flavor  Acorn Squash Flowers.    When I prepare it for Shabbat, I always make extra so that we can eat it all week long.  It can last refrigerated for up to a week.

The tricky part of this dish is to get the peppers perfectly cooked.  The idea is to char them, so that the skin is black but without burning the peppers completely.  The better cooked they are, the easier it will be to peel them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo red peppers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp high quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Atlantic grey sea salt

Grill the peppers until the skin is black on all sides.  Remove from the grill and place immediately in a sealed container or inside a closed paper bag.  Wait until the peppers cool off and then remove the top and the seeds and slide off the skin.  When the peppers are well charred the skin will slide off easily.

Cut the peppers into thin slices and mix together with the remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate in a closed container until serving.

Note:  Do not wash the grilled peppers as they will absorb the water, if neccessary, use a paper towel to wipe off the seeds.

Serves 6-8

Enjoy!

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