Shabbat: Old and New Recipes

August 26, 2016

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, August 26, 2016.

Shabbat: Old and New Recipes

This week’s Torah portion, Ekev, mentions the famous “Seven Species:”

For the Lord thy God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and deep spaces, springing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey.  (Deuteronomy 8:7-8)

These seven species of plants have come to symbolize ALL the indigenous foods of Israel, and are all staples of Middle Eastern cooking. They are all fruits and vegetables of the Holy Land. One stands out though as apparently not a fruit or a vegetable: honey! However, the honey in this list isn’t really what you’re thinking. Although there are lots of references to honey in the Bible, in this particular case, the honey referred to in this quote isn’t bee honey. It’s DATE honey – also called Silan in Hebrew! Date honey is a syrup that comes from dates. It’s rich, sweet, dark, thick liquid that is used in so much Middle Eastern Cooking. In fact... you can get it at middle eastern and organic markets right here in Milwaukee. And, it’s often wedded with the hottest new designer Israeli food: flavor infused raw tehina.

Tehina is a paste made from crushed and ground sesame seeds. It’s usually made into a white sauce by adding water, garlic, lemon juice, and other spices. The raw tehina is available here in the USA in cans and is rather solid. In Israel, it is often more liquidy and is brown in color. If you buy it from the various tehina factories, you can purchase it flavored with herbs, spices, and other flavors including hot pepper, or basil, or DATE HONEY! 

So try this for a special accent to your Shabbat meal: Silan and Tehina. Use raw tehina (tahini). It should be slightly liquid – make sure you mix it in the can incorporating the oil that rises to the top. If it’s still too solid, don’t add water... add a small amount of oil. Then add a couple of tablespoons of date honey. Drizzle it over roasted vegetables (it’s especially good with eggplant), or fresh tomatoes. Or use it as-is as a salad dressing. Delicious. Really. Try it this Shabbat.


Shabbat Shalom