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Published on January 15th, 2013 | by WMJledger

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Tu B’Shevat – Slice of Life

By Eileen Goltz

Tu B’ Shevat is one of those historical holidays where you kinda scratch your head and go running to Google to find out the food associated with this holiday… and am I supposed to serve it hot or cold? For many holding a Tu b’ Shevat Seder, (a Pesach like event, without all the cleaning) celebrating fruits grown in Israel is the way to go. The most interesting part of said Seder, according to me, are the four cups of wine or grape juice, representing the changing seasons you’ll get to serve. With kids you go the grape juice route. With adults; the sky’s the limit with wines. You should start with a dark red beverage then move on to a light red, then pink and finally white. Serve assorted fruits and nuts (mentioned in the Torah) with a progression of treats with rinds you need to peel (oranges) to those containing pits (dates and olives) and on to the “eat every part of it fruit” like figs and grapes to end the Seder. There are hagaddahs with how to’s for the Tu ‘b’ Shevat Seders available on line or from your local Judaic store. While I’ve thrown many a Tu b’ Shesvat Seder in my day the most culinary fun I have that day is using up the leftover fruits I bought AFTER the Seder to create some terrific dishes. The following recipes are just a sampling of the fun you can make with the left over fruits and nuts

PINE NUT AND CHICKEN
2/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
(about 3 pounds)
Kosher salt
black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon paprika
1 pound bow tie pasta, cooked, drained
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the raisins in a bowl and cover them with hot water. Set them aside. Drizzle the olive oil into a roasting pan. Place the chicken, skin side up, in the pan and season with salt, pepper, rosemary and paprika. Roast 30 to 35 minutes until the skin is golden. Remove the chicken to a platter to cool; set the pan aside but don’t clean it.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and cut it into bite sized pieces and place it back in the roasting pan. Drain the raisins and add them to the chicken in the pan. Add the cooked pasta and pine nuts and mix to combine.  Place the pan back in the oven for 5 minutes until the mixture is warm.
Remove from the heat and season with the lemon juice and plenty of pepper. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately Serves 6 to 8.

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT STUFFED DATES
2/3 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped and toasted
30 dates
1/2 cup Nutella hazelnut chocolate paste

Slice each date on one side, remove the seed if un-seed and set it aside. Mix the hazelnut paste and 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts in a bowl. Spoon the mixture into each date. Roll the ends of the stuffed dates in the remaining chopped hazelnuts. Place on waxed paper and refrigerate. Makes 30.

CHOCOLATE PECAN BISCOTTI
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 egg white
1 cup pecan, chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
coarsely chopped

Preheat your oven to 375°. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
In a bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add 2 eggs, and mix to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture gradually and mix until combined. Add the pecans and chocolate and mix in by hand. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly sprinkle flour on the top. Gently pat the dough into a rectangle (use a little more flour if it’s too sticky). Cut the rectangle in half, lengthwise and place them on the cookie sheets. Flatten the loaf slightly. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg white then sprinkle the top of the loaf with the sugar. Bake of 12 minutes then flip the cookie sheet back to front. Bake an additional 12 to 15 minutes.
Let cool for 20 minutes. Cut the loafs into one 1/2 inch pieces. Reduce the oven to 300°. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 20 to 24 pieces.

LEMON CRUMB BARS
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened
condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 Lemon

Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and brown sugar and mix until combined. In a bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and oats. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix to combine. Press half of crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 11 inch pan.
In a bowl combine the condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread the lemon mixture onto the crumb mixture in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top of the lemon mixture but don’t press it into the mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 25 to 30 minutes. Cut into 16 pieces and let cool for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and serve. Can be refrigerated or frozen. Makes 12 to 16 depending on the size of the piece.

ORANGE AND JICAMA SALAD
1 pound jicama, peeled and julienned
1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
2 medium oranges cut into segments
Zest of 1 orange
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 avocados, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
or parsley
1 medium jalapeño finely chopped
Kosher salt
black pepper

Place the jicama in a bowl with the lime juice and lime zest and orange zest. Toss to coat. Add the orange segments, bell peppers, avocados, cilantro or parsley, and jalapeno. Mix to combine. Season with salt and black pepper, and more lime juice if you feel it needs it. Serves 8.

© Eileen Tu b’ Shevat 13


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