Back to the Jewish food programs and several cooking demo/discussions that I zoomed into in the past month. An early program in The Great Jewish Food Fest was about “the bread of the seven heavens,” a Sephardic bread made for Shavuot (see May 29 post), presented by Helene Jawhara-Piner, who studies the culinary practices of the Jews of Iberia. She spoke briefly about the role of food traditions to detect and denounce conversos or crypto-Jews at the height of the Inquisition. This intricate, symbol-filled bread has been written about over the past few years. It seems to be a revival of a tradition attributed to the Jewish community of Salonica, Greece. What Jawhara-Piner demonstrated is her own variation – https://www.facebook.com/greatbigjewishfoodfest/videos/686741942103228/.
Israeli journalist/food writer, Hilla Alpert, also presented Shavuot cooking which emphasizes dairy ingredients in a program sponsored by the Jewish Food Society. She spoke about how this holiday is celebrated Israel’s kibbutzim and moshavs before showing how to make a baked filo-wrapped feta dish, cherry salad, and sweet cheeseballs – https://www.jewishfoodsociety.org/posts/2020/5/12/israeli-culinary-journalist-hila-alpert-looks-back-on-shavuot-on-the-kibbutz.
The “Shabbat Cook Along” of the Great Jewish Food Fest featured chefs Adeena Sussman, Einat Admony, and Michael Solomonov (https://www.jewishfoodfest.org/archives). Sussman prepared roasted root vegetables with tahini glaze. Here’s tip she offered – before juicing a lemon, zest it, microwave for 90 seconds, and save to use another time.
Solomonov made his famous five 5 minute hummus. I made it the next day and the family enjoyed! So easy and so good. I’m not sure if I’ll buy ready made hummus any more.
Five Minute Hummus. In the food processor, pulse the juice of one large lemon and 1 large clove of garlic. Add a full jar of tahini; fill the tahini jar halfway with water to get the sludge at the bottom. Add cumin* and salt to taste. Add ½ cup of water if too thick (I forgot this step!), Finally, add two drained cans of chick peas in food processor for 5 minutes, stir occasionally.
*Note – At a different zoom session, Solomonov recommended replacing cumin with fenugreek or fennel seeds for someone does not like cumin. When I served the hummus in a dish, I replaced the cumin with the fennel and Daughter enjoyed. Thank you!
During another zoom cooking demo, Solomonov showed how he makes his chicken schnitzel. This is a dish I don’t usually eat and have never cooked, something about fried food. But what the heck, I know Constant Companion enjoys a good schnitzel and I had chicken breasts in the freezer. https://www.eater.com/2020/5/22/21263779/michael-solomonov-chicken-schnitzel-recipe.
I left out the hawaj in deference to Daughter. Constant Companion was wowed! I’ve made this dish again alrealdy. I also fried the left over egg and served it alongside the chicken.
Yet another cooking demo by cookbook author Leah Koenig showed Roman Jewish specialties. She characterized Roman Jewish food as deep fried in olive oil. Sephardic influences include pine nuts and raisins. Among the dishes she showed was a sweet bar cookie called Pizza Ebraica.
Koenig also mentioned but did not prepare what she called an ancient Roman dish, Conchia di Zucchine, a marinated zucchini dish. I was curious and found a recipe and tried it with our summer surplus. Typical of Roman methods this is fried, this recipe called for roasting the zucchini. Constant Companion enjoyed it.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Trim 3 green zucchini and 3 yellow zucchini (about 1 pound each), slice lengthwise about ¼ inch thick. Spread zucchini on a roasting pan, bake for about 20 minutes, til browned. In a bowl, mix together 6 minced garlic cloves, ½ cup chopped basil, 1/2 cup chopped mint, 2 tbsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp ground pepper, and ¼ cup red wine vinegar. Gently toss roast zucchini in dressing and marinate two hours at room temperature.
More flowers and blooming trees bring smiles as mask-wearing becomes manditory: my front yard jasmine finally bloomed, as did my mystery pink flowers.
And then there was the elusive, spreading “golden” poinciana (that’s what I call it)