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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Fresh Pea Soup

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2012 03:43 Written by Flax Thursday, 8 July 2010 09:39

It sounds like it would taste horrible but I promise you, this soup is amazing! I have been asked for this recipe by my guests and then by friends of my guests who heard about it from their friends. Of course, the ingredients are so unusual that no one would ever even think of making this soup without a recipe.

The soup is also absolutely beautiful.  It is a bright green color that happens to go perfectly with floral patterned dishes.  It is a fantastic way to open a Shavuot meal, subtly reminding us of Har Sinai, decorated in flowers to receive the Torah.

Traditionally, the Shavuot meal consists of dairy.  While I normally tell people to avoid dairy, if you eat it once a year, on Shavuot, it’s fine.  Below, I list a vegan version where  instead of using dairy ingredients, I make the soup with olive oil and soy milk.   I will be honest, the dairy one is incredible.  The vegan version however is also excellent.  It lacks the richness of the butter and cream, but on the bright side, it is easier to digest, less fattening and of course, much more healthy.

To make it dairy, substitute the soy milk with one cup of heavy cream and sweat the shallots in butter instead of in oil.

Ingredients:

1/2 kilo fresh peas (frozen work as well)
1 small iceberg lettuce, shredded
4 cups water
1 cup soy milk
5 shallots, diced
5 sprigs fresh mint, leaves removed and stalks discarded
2 sprigs parsley
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Atlantic grey sea salt
pepper

Heat the oil in a medium-sized soup pot. Sweat the shallots for one minute. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the peas and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and remove from the flame.

Puree until smooth.

Garnish with large garlic croutons.

This soup can be served either hot or cold, we however prefer it hot.

Serves 6.

Enjoy!

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