Rebbitzine recipes: food for ‘Three weeks’ reflects our mood


Summer is here, and thoughts of vacation and relaxation are in the air. Coupled with summer comes the unique hour observance on the Jewish calendar called “Bein Hametzarim”, otherwise known as “The Three Weeks”. At this time of year, throughout our history, we remember and reflect on the many tragedies that befell the Jewish people. We begin by fasting all day on the 17th day of Tammuz, which was observed this year on July 17. From this time we observe mourning rituals until 9 Av, the day of the destruction of our holy first and second temples. in Jerusalem.

Tisha B’Av will be observed this year from Saturday evening August 6 and will continue on Sunday August 7 until nightfall. We refrain from having our hair cut, listening to live music, buying new clothes and objects that bring us to a state of happiness. Av 9 is the culmination of the three weeks. We also fast on this day, from the day before the two temples were burnt down. It is the age-old custom for Ashkenazi Jews to abstain from eating meat or chicken, excluding the Sabbath for nine days preceding Tisha B’Av. Therefore, I present some pareve (dairy free) and dairy recipes for those dark days in our Jewish history.

It is my hope and prayer that we will soon see peace in the land of Israel and witness the rebuilding of the Third Temple in Jerusalem, rapidly in our day.

1 lb extra firm tofu, drained
and in cubes
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 garlic cloves, peeled &
1 C. fresh ginger, chopped
4-5 tbsp. Sesame oil

In a small bowl, combine all of the above ingredients except the tofu and sesame oil. Add tofu, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet and add the tofu and the marinade. Sauté the tofu for 15-20 minutes over medium heat. Remove the tofu from the pan and serve over a bed of rice noodles topped with steamed broccoli. Top the tofu with 2 tbsp. green onions chopped and sprinkled with 1 Tbs. chopped macadamia nuts.

For 4 people.

1 lb puff pastry
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 medium red bell pepper,
seeded and chopped
1 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated low fat
mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and thaw it for 30 to 40 minutes. In a large skillet, heat 3-4 tbsp. olive oil. Add vegetables and sauté until tender. Remove from heat and let cool. Mix the cheese with the vegetables and set aside. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to form a large rectangle. Place the vegetable/cheese mixture on top of the dough. Roll horizontally to form a sausage. Place dough, seam side down, on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Slice diagonally through 3/4 of the dough. Brush the dough with 1 beaten egg using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. dried basil flakes. Bake at 400°F until golden brown. Take out of the oven and let cool down. Slice vertically 1 inch. slices to form pinwheels.

For 5-6 people.

1 lb salmon fillets
4 Tb. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tbsp. soya sauce
5 Tb. brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, peeled &
2 tbsp. powdered red peppers
Preheat grill.

Combine all of the above ingredients, except the salmon, in a mixing bowl. Add the salmon and cover, marinate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the salmon from the marinade and discard the marinade. Heat a grill pan (or outdoor grill) and grill 5-7 minutes per side. Top with 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds. Serve with roasted seasonal vegetables.

For 4 people.

Soy meat mix:
3 lbs ground soy meat
3 eggs
1/2 cup seasoned bread
1 small onion, peeled &
finely chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 C. cumin
1 C. coriander
1 C. Turmeric
1 C. allspice
1/4 cup pine nuts

Combine soy meat with all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Form 1 inch meatballs. Put aside.

4 large onions, peeled &
thinly sliced
2 tbsp. cumin
1 C. curry
1 C. Turmeric
1 C. allspice

Brown the onions in a large pot with 4-5 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil.

Add seasonings and simmer. Add soy balls. Add two cups of water and cover. Cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from pan and serve over a bed of brown rice.

For 5-6 people.

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