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Y’all will like this new cookbook

 
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Just in time for summer cooking and entertaining — and thinking ahead for the early onset of the High Holy Days (Rosh HaShanah is Sept. 9), here’s a taste of “Simply Southern — With a Dash of Kosher Soul.” Tracy Rapp and Dena Wruble are the editors of the book, a fund-raiser for the Margolin Hebrew Academy/Feinstone Yeshiva of the South (formerly the Memphis Hebrew Academy) in Memphis, Tenn. The book showcases “traditional kosher recipes turned Southern and traditional Southern recipes turned kosher.” Cooks can learn about Jewish life in the South through personal stories of some of the contributors and color photographs accompany many of the Jewish “soul food” recipes.

The book is a compilation of almost 300 Southern cuisine “classic” recipes, adhering to kashrut, chosen from 1,500 entries by the book’s editorial committee at the school, a small Orthodox day school. More than 2,500 copies have been sold since the book’s release in December.

The hard-covered, spiral-bound book is available at bookstores, Judaica shops, including the Judaica House in Teaneck, and online at http://www.simplysoutherncookbook.net.

Here’s a nice summer choice, perhaps even for a Shabbat lunch if you are serving meat. I am sure you could substitute chicken or maybe firm tofu instead of steak.

Molasses Marinated Meat Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing

Meat and marinade

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup coarse grain mustard

1-2 lb. skirt steak

Blend molasses and mustard. Pour over steak. Marinate for two hours or overnight. Grill or broil to desired degree of doneness. Cut steak into thin slices.

Dressing

1 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

2 tbsp. chopped onion

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. poppy seeds

Whisk together oil, sugar, mustard, onion, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds until smooth.

Salad

1-2 packages Bibb, romaine, or iceberg lettuce

1 cucumber, diced

1 cup cubed mango

1 red onion, chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Sliced apples

Arrange lettuce, cucumber, mango, red onion, and cranberries on platter. Place meat slices over salad. Drizzle dressing over all. Garnish with sliced apples.

Yield: four servings

Carmelized Onions
and Pecan Green Beans

(Two savory delights from the garden in one easy dish!)

2 pounds green beans

4 tbsp. margarine

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Bring pot of water to boil. Add green beans and cook five minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water. Green beans will be al dente. Melt margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté pecans about five minutes until toasted. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon. Add onion to skillet. Cook and stir 15 minutes until caramel-colored. Stir in sugar. Return pecans and add green beans. Add salt and pepper. Cook five more minutes.

Mississippi Mud Brownies

(We’ve been told by someone who grew up in the South that this is a typical Southern dessert. Bring your sweet tooth to dinner!)

1 cup chopped pecans

2 sticks butter or margarine

1 (4-oz.) semi-sweet chocolate baking bar, chopped

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 tsp. salt

1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow fluff

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake 8-10 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Place butter or margarine and chocolate in a large glass bowl. Microwave on high power 1 minute, stirring at 30-second intervals or until smooth. Whisk in sugar, flour, cocoa, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Pour batter into a greased 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and spread marshmallow fluff on top.

Chocolate Frosting

1 stick butter or margarine

1/3 cup milk or soymilk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

I tsp. vanilla

Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan. Whisk in milk and cocoa. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Immediately drizzle frosting over warm brownies. Sprinkle with toasted pecans.

Yield: 16 servings

 
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RECENTLYADDED

In search of dairy’s meaning

There are many reasons given for eating dairy on Shavuot, but most leave the intellectual appetite unsatisfied.

The custom is recorded in the halachic literature as early as the 12th century, and it is widely observed by both Ashkenazim and Sephardim. But despite being a longstanding and widespread tradition, its meaning remains obscure.

Many of the authors who refer to the practice seem strained to provide multiple explanations, and for good reason: Dairy simply is absent from the list of Shavuot themes mentioned in biblical and early rabbinic sources. There is no clear connection between dairy and the wheat harvest, the offering of two wheat-bread loaves and first fruits in the Temple, and the revelation on Mount Sinai. Symbolic foods abound in Jewish holiday traditions, but unlike those we eat on Passover and Rosh Hashanah, nowhere in the Torah or Talmud do we find anything about dairy on Shavuot.

 

The three faces of Ruth

A new look at the relationship between Ruth and Naomi

The book of Ruth is of course a story about choosing — about choosing us. It’s read, correctly, as the story of a woman who forsakes her own people to join the Israelites, leaving familiarity and safety for the terrifying rollercoaster life of a Jew, becoming the ancestor of King David as her reward.

That is a beautiful and satisfying story.

But I read mysteries, not works of uplift, and to anybody brought up on Sherlock Holmes and his descendants, a question intrudes itself — why does no one seem to see Naomi and Ruth together? Why, when they walk back to Bethlehem, do the women talk only to and about Naomi? Why does Ruth vanish from the story as soon as she gives birth to a child, which is given to Naomi? Why do the women talk only to Naomi about the baby? Why are the two women together in Bethlehem only when they are alone?

 

Shavuot recipes

 
 
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