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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Rosh Hashanah Rubies, Beets with Pomegranates

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 01:26 Written by Flax Tuesday, 24 August 2010 01:08

Ok, so maybe real rubies will last for longer, but these will certainly taste better.

This dish is intended to be served at the Rosh Hashanah seder. The beets and the pomegranates are two of the foods that are blessed at the beginning of the meal.

The pomegranates are eaten with the blessing that we should be filled with mitzvot as the pomegranate is filled with seeds (sheyimlu mitzvotainu kerimon).

The blessing for the beets uses a pun based on the hebrew word for beets (selek). The word selek can mean beets or it can mean to banish. The blessing we say over the beets asks G-d to banish our enemies (sheyisalku oyvenu). This is a tradition first recorded in the Baylonian Talmud. Strangely enough, Babylonian warriors would chew on pomegranate seeds before battle, convinced that it would bring them victory over their enemy. How’s that for a food ethnography cross-culturization.

Rosh Hashanah is the season to eat pomegranates. I love pomegranates and could eat them all the time. Especially pomegranate concentrate. It is a fantastic way of sweetening food without using sugar. I use it a lot in salad dressing mixing it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Healthwise, pomegranates have quite a few health benefits. They are rich in anti-oxidants and studies show them to be beneficial in helping people with breast and prostate cancer. They prevent and help hardening of the arteries and help to lower blood pressure. Additionally, studies have shown them to help with cartilage degradation in people suffering from osteoporosis.

They are high in vitamins C, A, and E. they contain folic acid, fiber, niacin and potassium. I say that beats sugar any day of the week.

Ingredients:

2 beets
1 onion, chopped small
1/2 cup pomegrante seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp pomegranate concentrate
salt
pepper

Place the beets in a dutch oven. If neccesary, put a little bit of water at the bottom so that the pot won’t burn. Bake in a preheated oven (180 c) until soft, apx 1-1 1/2 hours.

Cut the beets into small cubes. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Serve cold.

Enjoy!

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Beet Puree

Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2012 01:40 Written by Flax Thursday, 8 July 2010 10:53

The spicy version of this dish below is a great alternative to horseradish (chraine) and can be used as a condiment to accompany fish or meat dishes.  It is also a beautiful side dish all on its own.  Beets are extremely sweet and offer a wonderful alternative to cane sugar while also reducing sugar cravings.  A few spoonfuls of beet juice added to some frosting will achieve a gorgeous pink color, which needless to say, makes for a much healthier alternative to artificial food coloring.

Beets are extremely high in iron and they help to purify and produce blood.  Beets, along with spinach, are considered to be a slippery foods, helpful to anyone who suffers from constipation.  Another benefit to eating beets is that, along with carrots, they help with hormone regulation, specifically during menopause.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized beets
  • 1 parsnip
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Atlantic grey sea salt

Wash the beets and the parsnip and place them in a sealed oven proof dish. Bake at 180 c (350 f) for 1 hour. Allow them to slightly cool and then peel. Use a food processor to puree all the ingredients until smooth

Serve as a condiment alongside meat, fish, or cornbread.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional counselor and teaches Healthy Cooking Classes.

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