Tag Archives: almonds

Parshat Korach – 23, 2012

This Parsha deals with the rebellion of Korach and 250 men of Israel against the leadership of Moshe and Aaron. According to Rashi and Ramban, their’s was a rebellion motivated by jealousy. It wasn’t service to God that Korach coveted – rather, it was the trappings of leadership and fame. They are ultimately punished by God and swallowed up by the ground.

God then instructs Moshe to set up a test to demonstrate that only Aaron and his descendants are and will be the true kohanim (priests) forever. The leaders of all of the tribes (along with Aaron) provide their staffs to be placed inside the Kodesh Kedoshim. (Holy of Holies) All of the staffs remain the same except for Aharon’s, which miraculously blossoms and produces almonds.

Bamidar 17:23 And on the following day Moshe came to the Tent of Testimony, and behold, Aaron’s staff for the house of Levi had blossomed. It gave forth blossoms, sprouted buds, and produced ripe almonds.

Rashi points out that the almond blossoms much faster than other fruits. Likewise, those that opposed the designation of God’s priests – the Kohanim – were punished quickly.

The demonstration was clearly miraculous – a dry stick of wood bearing fruit. And that would have been enough of a sign that the selection of Aaron as the High Priest was a Divine ordination. But God did not simply make almonds appear on Aarons staff. According to a Chabad source:

Rather, He stimulated in it the full natural process of budding, blossoming, and the emergence and the ripening of the fruit. Aaron’s staff defied natures laws and restrictions, yet it conformed to the phases of growth that the almond naturally undergoes. It transcended nature, but did so on nature’s own terms.

I’ve got two recipes to mark the miracle of Aaron’s rod with almonds and blossoms. Both of them are dairy. And VERY decadent. Now that it’s summer and it’s hot, hot, hot I’ve been making pareve Shabbat lunches. Goodbye Cholent; Hello Salmon. (And sushi, and breaded sole, etc, etc.) If you’re not into the non-meat lunches, Shabbos is very loooooooooooong these days, so both recipes would be fun Seudah Shlishit (Third Meal) desserts:

Bamidar 17:23 And on the following day Moshe came to the Tent of Testimony, and behold, Aaron’s staff for the house of Levi had blossomed. It gave forth blossoms, sprouted buds, and produced ripe almonds.

Bamidar 17:23 And on the following day Moshe came to the Tent of Testimony, and behold, Aaron’s staff for the house of Levi had blossomed. It gave forth blossoms, sprouted buds, and produced ripe almonds.

 

Almond Cranberry Fudge

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounces white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1 cup almonds

Melt milk and chocolate in microwave. Add craisins and almonds and pat into an 8″ square pan that’s lined with parchment paper. Chill for two hours. May be frozen.

Here’s a similar idea but with slightly different ingredients and a look that’s a bit different:

Cranberry Almond Bark

  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • 2-3 oz. chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup whole almond
  • 3/4 cup craisins (dried cranberries)

Melt white chocolate in microwave in 30-second ‘blasts’. Stir in almonds and cranberries. Pour onto a large piece of wax paper. Pour melted chocolate on top, and with a knife create swirls.

Have a great Shabbos and B’Tayavon!

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Parshat Shelach – June 16, 2012

So this was a week where I actually thought I could post the recipe on Wednesday night. (Sorry Marilyn, I was thinking of your Thursday morning Parsha class.) I knew what the D’var Torah would be and had the ingredients for the recipe ready to go. But you see dear reader, I made a terrible mistake. I had a horrendous allergy attack that lasted for an hour so I took a ‘daytime’ anti-histamine.

Friends: Learn from my mistake!

DO NOT BELIEVE THE BOX WHEN IT SAYS ‘DAYTIME.’ It was only after I took the pill that I noticed that it also said, ‘may cause drowsiness’ as well as ‘don’t drive.’

I fell asleep at 9:30 am. When I woke up I tried going to the gym but I could barely lift my legs. I fell asleep in the afternoon again. After dinner I lay down to ‘rest’ for two minutes… I woke up in the next morning with my clothes on. Ewww.

I essentially took a sleeping pill first thing in the morning.

Rant over.

Anyhow, back to the Parsha. This week’s Parsha gives the dramatic account of God allowing Moshe to send scouts to the land of Israel to survey it before the nation of Israel will enter. In Bamidbar 13:23

They came to the Valley of Eshkol and they cut a branch with a cluster of grapes. They carried it on a pole between two people

Rashi comments that two poles were used. Eight of the spies took the cluster of grapes, one had a fig, and one had a pomegranate. That totals ten out of the twelve scouts. The remaining two: Yehoshua and Calev didn’t take anything. This confirms that the intention of the ten spies was to bring back a terrifying and slanderous report about the land. The fruit was extraordinary, so imagine how gigantic the people are!

Midrash Rabbah adds that they prefaced their fear-mongering with the words, ‘the land does indeed flow with milk and honey…’ Such is the way with gossip – start off with something positive and then get to the evil.

In this week’s recipe we’ll celebrate the extraordinary bounty and gift of the produce of Eretz Yisrael. And let’s be honest – we all know that the fruit and veggies taste a thousand times better in Israel!

Orzo, Grape, and Almond Salad

  • 2 cups orzo, cooked
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • oil for sauteing
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute almonds with garlic, basil, and oil until they have a nice golden colour. Add to the pasta. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Add grapes.

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!

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Parshat Yitro – February 11, 2012

In 19:10-11 Moshe is instructed by Hashem to tell the people to spend two days preparing to receive the Torah. According to Rabbi Meyer Twersky, an encounter with holiness warrants preparation.

Just as a painter in order to achieve maximum results first primes and then paints, so to we must prepare ourselves before an encounter with kedusha.

The concept of preparing for holy activities has existed for some time. Rabbi Twersky points out that  Chassidim Harishonim spent an hour preparing for prayer.

 They would empty their minds of all distractions and focus on their impending audience with Hashem.

Indeed, they succeeded in achieving an extremely high level. According to Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, both Moshe and the Israelites reached an extremely close relationship with God when accepting the Torah:

This can be seen from the striking parallel between the Torah’s descriptions of Moshe’s level of prophecy – “whom God knew face to face” (Devarim 34:10) – and the people’s experience at Sinai – “God spoke to you face to face in the mountain out of the fire” (Devarim 5:4).

 

How does one empty their mind to prepare for prayer? One method is meditation. Considered standard practice during Temple times,  Jewish meditation is making somewhat of a comeback. Here’s someone who meditates daily and never davens without meditating first. A fantastic internationally known meditation teacher, Chashi has been helping people enhance their power of their Tephillot through meditation. (Right click for a larger image.)

Here’s a fun recipe to commemorate Har Sinai.

Mountain Potatoes

  • 8 potatoes (sorry, I filled up a saucepan, I don’t have an exact amount)
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one egg
Directions
  • Peel potatoes and boil until tender.
  • Drain and add margarine and seasoning.
  • Mash potatoes with a hand masher until the potatoes are smooth.
  • After fifteen minutes add the egg.
  • Place in a piping bag and pipe in a ‘mountain’ shape on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. (Optional, brush with melted margarine.)
  • Bake 15-20 minutes at 400F.

Recipe #2:

In this week’s Parsha, some spectacular events occur. Moshe’s father-in-law Yitro hears of the miracles that G-d has performed for the Israelites. He advises Moshe to implement a justice system of delegated leadership so that Moshe will avoid wearing himself out. The Jews camp at Mount Sinai which fills with smoke, thunder, and lightning as G-d proclaims the Ten Commandments.

Shemot 19:18 describes the entire Mount Sinai smoking like a furnace. Rashi points out that the mountain smoked more than a furnace, and actually blazed with a fire up to the heart of Heaven. But the Torah uses terms that are comprehensible to humans, ‘what the ear is able to hear.’ According to Midrash Rabba, when G-d spoke, no bird chirped, no fowl flew, no ox made a sound, none of the angels stirred a wing, the seraphim did not say “Holy, Holy,” the sea did not roar, the creatures spoke not, the whole world was hushed into breathless silence and the voice went forth: “I am G-d your G-d.”

Imagine.

Shemot 19:18 And the entire Mount Sinai smoked because the Lord had descended upon it in fire, and its smoke ascended like the smoke of the kiln, and the entire mountain quaked violently.

I’ve done “smoked” almonds, or “Smokehouse Almonds” inspired by the spectacular events surrounding G-d’s revelation to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai in a cloud of smoke.

Hot and Spicy Smoked Almonds

  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  • Set oven to 350°F.
  • Mix all ingredients except the nuts and kosher salt in a lasagna-sized pan; mix well.
  • Pop pan in oven, until margarine is melted.
  • Add nuts; toss to coat.
  • Stir ingredients until mixed. Add nuts and toss to coat.
  • Bake until nuts are toasted – approximately 20-30 minutes.
  • Toss with kosher salt
  • Store in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months.

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Parshat Mikeitz – December 25, 2011

In Parshat Mikeitz, a lengthy interaction is played out between Yosef and his bewildered and terrified brothers. The sons of Jacob have arrived in Egypt from Canaan in search of food, due to a famine that has devastated the region.

They are returned to Canaan by Yosef with instructions to bring back their younger brother Benjamin. Yehuda is anxious to return to Egypt and tries to assure Jacob that he will personally assume responsibility for Benjamin.

Yaakov is distraught but insists that they take gifts that are unique to Canaan. In 43:11 he tells them: “Take of the land`s glory in your baggage and bring it down to the man as as tribute – a bit of balsam, a bit of honey, wax, lotus, pistachios, and almonds.”

Inspired by Pasuk 11, Perek 43:

Jacob’s Gifts Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Radicchio
  • Romaine lettuce
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  •  ½ cup of slivered almonds
  •  ¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts

Dressing

  • 3 T. honey
  • 3 T. oil
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. stone ground or deli mustard
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ¼ t. pepper

Yoseph instructs his servant to fill his brother’s sacks with food.  But for his brother Binyamin he says in 44:2: “And my goblet, the silver goblet, put in the opening of the youngest one’s bag, together with the money for his purchase of food.”

A large goblet full of Bubble Double

Here’s a few fun goblet ideas:

Dollar Store goblets - awesome! (I mean the dollar store.)

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