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Topic: Food

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Food, then and now

Thursday, August 6, 2020 | 16 Av 5780 Dear All, This week’s sidra, Eikev, is the week that introduced into English (via the King James version)  “man does not live by bread alone” and “a land flowing with milk and honey.”  It’s the week that lists the seven species – shivat haminim – that are indigenous to the land of Israel, which Bill Slott points out to me every few years as we ride from Jerusalem to Ashkelon on the first day of the Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride. And it includes the second paragraph of the shm’a, linking our behavior to the climate of the world. Food is a recurring motif. Perhaps that was why Ruby Rivlin, President of Israel, chose this week to spend the day helping Leket pack food for people in need. As Joe Gitler subsequently wrote, President Rivlin wasn’t just doing a photo-op. He’s seriously engaged by the topic and thinking hard – and striving to put the weight of his office – behind new ways to help get food to people who are food insecure. But you don’t have to be President of Israel to make a difference. “Pivot” and “swivel” are words-of-this-year, and they encapsulate […]

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Shiva Asar B’Tammuz

Today is a fast day on the Jewish calendar, known as Shiva Assar B’Tammuz. The Mishnah (a compendium of Jewish oral traditions compiled in the third century) provides five tragedies that happened on this day in Jewish history: It was on this day that Moshe broke the two tablets; the day the tamid, or daily, animal offering was suspended; Jerusalem’s city walls were breached during the Roman siege; a man called Apostumos burned a Torah scroll; and an idol was erected in the Temple. The second “tragedy” – the cessation of the tamid animal sacrifice – is sitting with me this year more than ever as I complete my first year working at Hazon. As I dedicate more and more of my life to asking people to think carefully about the animal products they consume, it’s hard to feel terribly sad commemorating the inability to sacrifice an animal, to see the cessation of animal sacrifice as a tragedy. The name of this particular sacrifice – Tamid – is an important one. The word tamid in Hebrew can mean “forever”, “constantly”, or “routine.” The tamid offering was the mundane sacrifice, the routine one, the one that happened twice a day, every […]

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Isabella Freedman: an update, and an invitation

Thursday, June 23, 2020 | Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5780 Dear All, I want to explain how and why Freedman has been closed, and also to invite you to join us for an “Isabella Freedman Getaway” – a 5- or 12-night stay at Isabella Freedman. An amazing opportunity to escape from the city – or wherever you are – and hang out in a beautiful place, with kosher food, space for kids, and great hikes, trails and trips nearby. And I’m delighted, separately, to share with you the launch of a Virtual Camp Isabella Freedman for adults ages 55+, for the week of July 6th – 10th; and to remind you that registration for our first ever cohort of Adamah At Home is now open. We hope and intend that each and all of these will be very special experiences. To learn more about each, click here for Getaways, here for Adamah At Home, and here for Virtual Camp Isabella Freedman. To explain how these three programs arose, I want to give an update on Isabella Freedman in the last four months. On February 25th, we set up a coronavirus task force. On March 3rd, I left Freedman after a superb and impactful Kenissa retreat led by Rabbi Sid Schwarz. And on […]

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The launch of Adamah At Home, and thoughts about M4BL

Thursday, June 18, 2020 | 26 Sivan 5780 Dear All, Isabella Freedman is closed as a retreat center, but the state of CT has reduced the minimum period for bookings, which now enables us – next week –  to launch Isabella Freedman Getaways. If you’re interested in coming up and spending 5 or 12 days at Isabella Freedman – with three meals a day of (local, ethical) kosher food, in beautiful surroundings – look out for our email next week. We similarly had to take the very difficult decision to suspend the Adamah Fellowship for this summer – the first time since the program began, in 2003, when that has been so. But – but! – we’re now happy and excited to launch a new program: Adamah At Home. The program runs from July 6th to July 26th, and you can send in applications on a rolling basis from now through July 1st. It’s an exceptionally strong program encompassing practical skills, daily conversation and what we hope and intend will be a strong group. We’ll cover Jews ecological learning, garden mentorship, food systems and policy; also food choices, cheesemaking and regenerative farming. And we’ll also talk about structural racism in this country – […]

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Hazon Detroit: Time to Grow

Dear Friends, I was present once, when a teacher told a full room, “In the years ahead, we will be called to be both the hospice caretakers of the old world, the old structures, and midwives of the new one.” It has stuck with me deeply ever since, as I’ve attuned my senses to a crossfade of sorts, watching the volume of an old way being turned down as the volume of a new song increases. With Passover just a few short days away, perhaps we could think of this crossfade like the mythic Israelites leaving Egypt, escaping the cacophony of slavery while cranking up the volume on liberation. At the crux of that crossfade is the 10th plague, when God vows to kill all Egyptian firstborn (Exodus 12:12). This of course, leads directly to the Israelite exodus across the sea. But this is not the whole story. In that same breath, God also promises to bring judgment on the false gods of Egypt (12:12). According to the midrash (Exodus Rabbah 16:3), the true and lasting liberation comes not only from the physical leaving of Egypt, but from the Israelites’ emphatic refusal to worship the idols of Egyptian rule. Yes, […]

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From Organic Farming to Composting: Ramah Campers and USYers Get Hands-on Lessons in Sustainability

by Renee Ghert-Zand Every year, Ramah campers leave at the end of the summer having learned new things that they can incorporate into their lives at home. It could be more Hebrew, how to chant Torah, or how to do a layup on the basketball court.  In the last decade, campers have also been coming away with a heightened awareness and deeper understanding about where their food comes from, and how their eating choices impact their bodies and the environment.  “We are trying to lift the veil on where our food comes from,” said Rabbi Eliav Bock, director of Ramah in the Rockies, one of the Ramah camps at the forefront of making its food sourcing more transparent and helping children and young adults make more informed decisions in nurturing themselves and taking care of the earth.   Ramah camps, as well as the USY on Wheels summer program, are increasingly incorporating experiential educational opportunities for learning about concepts like organic farming, ethically sourced meat, fair trade practices, farm to table eating, waste reduction, and composting — all couched within the outstanding Conservative Jewish educational framework for which these summer programs are known. A number of the Ramah camps have […]

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Recipe: Nectarine Elderflower Chutney

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Miche Bacher. My tag line, “eat pretty”, is not just about how beautiful flowers are and how pretty your plates are when you include flowers in your food, it is a metaphor for the way edible flowers can help us take care of the earth. The flowers we choose to eat are grown organically and are just as enticing to our pollinator friends as they are to us. Fresh flower season is short, so make sure to take full advantage by “putting up” your bounty. Make your vinegars, oils, sugars, chutneys, and alcoholic infusions, and don’t forget to share with friends and family! I love chutney! Really, really, love chutney. It is so underutilized and has incredible potential. I make chutneys all summer long using fresh summer fruits and flowers and through fall and winter with frozen blackberries and dried hibiscus. What do flowers add? Well – they add that “what’s in this?” factor, some health benefits, and a pinch of extra yummm…Don’t have the specific fruit in this recipe? Or the right flower sugar? It’s ok – mix and match, find what you like, the technique is the […]

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Recipe: Sutlach (Cream of Rice Pudding)

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Susan Barocas. A creamy, delicate pudding, sutlach (in Turkish sütlaҫ or mahallebi) is traditionally served to break the fast after Yom Kippur and for Shabbat morning breakfast, although it is a beloved treat any time. The pudding is prepared with milk or pipitada, a drink made by steeping dried and ground cantaloupe seeds in water for 24 hours. This drink is said to be especially restorative following the fast. Instead of vanilla and orange zest, you can use 2 tablespoons rose water for a different flavor. Many people fondly remember mothers or grandmothers sprinkling cinnamon in the shape of their initials on the top of individual servings. Recipe from Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean by Joyce Goldstein. Ingredients 6 tbsp rice flour or cream of rice 6 tbsp sugar 5-6 tbsp water 4 cups milk 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp grated orange zest Ground cinnamon Preparation In a bowl, combine the rice flour or Cream of Rice and sugar. Gradually add the water, stirring until a thick lump-free paste forms. Cooking In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Gradually add the […]

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Recipe: Grounding Khichari (Rice and Lentil Stew)

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Regina Mosenkis. Recipe from What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen by Divya Alter (Rizzoli, 2017) Here is my grounding and warming version of this meal-in-a-pot dish. You can easily prepare it in a slow cooker by starting it at night on low, then in the morning pack the ready khichari in a thermos and take it to work. Grounding Khichari goes well with any of the chutneys on pages 191 to 192, with salads, and with cooked leafy greens. Gluten free, Dairy free Makes about 4 servings Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 40 minutes Ingredients 1⁄2 cup yellow split mung dal or red lentils 1 cup basmati rice 1 tablespoon ghee, sesame oil, or olive oil 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 6 curry leaves or 2 bay leaves 1 small green Thai chile, seeded and minced 2 1⁄2 teaspoons Grounding Masala 2 teaspoons salt 2 cups diced vegetables (you can combine a few), such as carrots, sweet potatoes, taro root, green beans, zucchini, fennel, turnips, celery root, beets, and/or leafy greens 4 to 5 cups water (or if you are using […]

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Recipe: Ejjeh (Edgeh)

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Susan Barocas. These pancake-like omelets are full of flavor from the green onions, herbs and allspice. Cooked in olive oil, they are traditionally served during Hanukkah in Syrian communities, although ejjeh are tasty and satisfying year round when you will find them at street stands throughout the Mid East. There are many variations including with grated potatoes (Syrian ejjeh batata) or zucchini (ejjeh kusa). Ejjeh are usually served stuffed into pita or flatbread with pickled vegetables, cucumbers and fresh tomatoes. Makes eight 3-inch patties Ingredients 4 large eggs 6 tbsp scallions, green and white parts chopped small 4 tbsp parsley 3-4 tbsp mint, dill and/or cilantro, chopped small ½ cup chickpea flour 1 tsp ground allspice 1 tsp salt Ground black pepper to taste ½ cup pure olive oil Preparation In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add all the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well. Cooking Heat the oil in a large skillet at medium temperature. The oil is ready when a drop of water or batter sizzles in it. For each edgeh, drop a heaping tablespoon of batter into the hot oil. Flatten slightly with […]

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Recipe: Homemade Cheese (Paneer)

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Regina Mosenkis. Recipe from What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen by Divya Alter (Rizzoli, 2017) Paneer is freshly made, soft cheese or curd; it is the simplest kind of unfermented cheese and, really, the best cheese to eat. The quality and freshness of the milk will determine the quality of the paneer. You must use whole milk, as the higher the fat-content of the milk, the richer the cheese. Raw milk is the best; low-fat or skim milk are worse, resulting in very little or no cheese. Different curdling agents will produce different types of paneer. The best curdling agent from an Ayurvedic perspective is fresh yogurt or buttermilk; the next best is fresh lime juice. You may also use fresh lemon juice, citric acid crystals dissolved in water, or sour whey from a previous batch of curd cheese. Each curdling agent gives a slightly different texture and flavor of the curd. That is why paneer could be somewhat unpredictable; how it turns out depends on the quality of the milk, sourness of the curdling agent, the temperature, etc. Do not panic! The more […]

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Recipe: Olive Oil Poached Broccoli Stems and Chickpeas on Ricotta Toast

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Liz Rueven. Recipe adapted from Cooking with Scraps; Turn your Peels, Cores, Rinds and Stems into Delicious Meals by Lindsay-Jean Hard, 2018 Yield: Serves 3-4 with a single slice of toast or makes appetizers for a small crowd This recipe is dairy or may be made pareve/vegan with dairy-free spreadable cheese like Daiya Ingredients 2 heads broccoli, stems (large and small) and leaves included ⅓-½ cup EVOO plus more for drizzling 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Consider saving the liquid, called aquafaba*, for other recipes. ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt Thick slices of crusty bread (use baguette if making this as an appetizer; use larger artisanal loaf, if serving to 3-4 friends). 1 container (16 oz.) whole milk ricotta Red pepper flakes for garnish (optional) Preparation Using a paring knife, remove the tough outermost layer of the broccoli stems, reserving all of the leaves. Chop the stems into roughly chickpea-size pieces. Heat ⅓ cup olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the broccoli to pan. If the pieces aren’t fully covered, add the remaining olive oil. Cook […]

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Recipe: Chickpea Salad

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Ilana Braverman. A healthy, delicious, meat-free recipe. The Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA) works with Jewish institutions to help them align their food choices with Jewish values while strengthening Jewish communities in the process. This chickpea salad recipe, developed by The Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) Forward Food program, is a great 100% plant-based alternative for a chicken or tuna salad for a Shabbat kiddush luncheon that is delicious and sustainable! In collaboration with the Forward Food culinary training team, JIFA has organized trainings for chefs from Jewish institutions across the country to incorporate more plant-based meals into their catering programs. Servings: 3 sandwiches Ingredients  15 oz Chickpeas, canned, drained and rinsed 2 stalks Celery, diced 3 Green Onions, thinly sliced ¼ cup Dill Pickles, diced small ¼ cup Red Bell Peppers, diced 3 tbsp Just Mayo, plant-based mayonnaise 1 clove Garlic, minced 1.5 tsp. Yellow Mustard 2 tsp Fresh Dill, stems removed, minced (optional) 1.5-3 tsp Lemon Juice, fresh ¼ tsp Sea Salt ¼ tsp Black Pepper Preparation In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until flaked in texture. Stir in celery, […]

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Recipe: Aquafaba Mayonnaise

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Liz Rueven. Making aquafaba mayonnaise involves using reserved liquid from canned beans. It’s a great no-waste option and a creative solution for vegans. Note that it will be less thick than store bought mayo. This recipe is parve and vegan. It’s best to use liquid from chickpeas or white beans as they yield a more aesthetically pleasing mayonnaise than what blends up from darker beans. Nobody wants a muddy looking mayo. Ingredients ¼ cup aquafaba 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt ¾ cup neutral flavored oil, like grapeseed Directions Combine aquafaba, apple cider vinegar, mustard and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer*. Whip, using the whisk attachment, on medium speed until the aquafaba gets foamy. Kick it up to medium- high speed until it gets thick, very foamy and soft. Loose peaks will form after about 10-20 minutes. While the mixer is running, add ¼ cup of the oil, drop by drop, and then slowly add the remainder of the oil in a thin, steady stream. Transfer mayonnaise into a covered container in the refrigerator, allowing it […]

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Recipe: Zero Waste Veggie Broth and other Variations on Making Stock

This recipe comes to us from 2019 Hazon Food Conference Presenter Liz Rueven. Zero Waste broth is an effortless way to use vegetable scraps that might otherwise land in the compost or garbage pile. There are as many versions of this idea as there are resourceful cooks but here are some basics to guide you. Save veggie peels in ziplock bags or containers in the freezer. Don’t forget mushroom stems and gills, celery tips and tails, stems from kale. Avoid: stinky or bitter vegetables like cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi and bitter greens (really, all of the crucifers). Leave out potato skins which will make your stock murky and starchy. Consider tossing potato skins with some EVOO and salt and roasting them at high heat for delicious crisps, instead. Consider: Saving corn cobs for corn stock and asparagus tails for asparagus stock. They will elevate your corn chowder and pureed asparagus soup in magical ways but should be made as stand alone broths. Onion skins may color your stock (I don’t mind) but too many can make your stock bitter. Toss 1-2 into your scraps bag and leave it at that. Beets are better off going into their own scrap […]

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