Tag Archives: croutons

Tu B’Shevat – February 8, 2012

At sundown on Tuesday night, the Jewish New Year of the Trees will begin. The 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat is first ¬†mentioned in the Talmud Tractate Rosh Hashana. Tu B’Shevat represents a cut-off date, a bit like December 31st being the last day of your tax year. (In Canada anyway.) Trees that blossom before that day could not be used for tithing after that day.

The Torah compares humans to trees in our need for the four elements – soil, water, air, and sun – to survive. Our connection to the Land of Israel is reinforced on Tu B’Shevat by eating the Seven Species; foods of Eretz Yisrael that are singled out by the Torah for praise. (Deuteronomy 8:8) There are many spiritual parallels between a seed¬†continuously growing throughout its life cycle, and our need to continue to grow in our physical and spiritual observance of the Mitzvot.

Deuteronomy: A land of wheat and barley, and grapes and figs and pomegranates; a land of oil, olives and honey.

Here is a salad that incorporates all of the Seven Species:

Seven Species Salad

  • Croutons, made with wheat flour and olive oil
  • Toasted barley
  • pomegranate seeds
  • sliced fresh fig
  • Dressing with wine vinegar and honey

For croutons:

Once you make your own croutons you’ll never go back to store-bought!

You can use bread, buns, or challah. Both fresh or stale works. Cut bread into cubes. For the equivalent of three buns, drizzle 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle on spices to taste. I just shake on spices so I’ll try to guess the amounts: 1/2 teaspoon each salt, pepper, and garlic. Also add one teaspoon paprika or enough to make the bread cubes orange all over. (You can see how dark my croutons are in the photograph.) Optional: Mrs. Dash flavours, chili powder, or Italian seasoning. This recipe is very forgiving so don’t worry about exact amounts.)

Toss until coated and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Toss the croutons and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the croutons are firm. Try not to each them all up before you have a chance to put them on the salad.

Salad Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Roasted Barley:

Cook 1/4 cup barley (one part barley, three parts water) as per instructions. When cooked, toss with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika and olive oil. Bake in oven set at 350 F for approximately 15 minutes.

Salad:

  • lettuce,
  • grape tomatoes,
  • sliced fresh fig
  • sliced cucumbers,
  • peppers,
  • pomegranate seeds

Layer the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers right before serving. Top with croutons, seeds, and barley. Toss with dressing right before serving.

Enjoy and B’tayavon!

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