While those of us on a gluten-free diet may have our daily eating habits under control, the chagim (Jewish Holidays) present a whole new array of challenges. Unless you’re preparing a holiday feast in your own home where everything is under control and to your own standards, it’s often difficult to eat out — even if it’s with family.
Beets — most people either love them or hate them. It’s amusing listening to other CSA members pick up beets with the consistent refrains of yippee or oh-no. They really are a polarizing vegetable. This is unfortunate, in my opinion, given their availability for much of the growing season and their ability to keep well beyond many other vegetables. They are one of the crops that does very well from early summer all the way through the season, so you might find them now at the markets starting, with the beautiful (edible) leaves still attached. The beets are smaller in early summer, with delicious, sweet flavor, so grab them up while you can!
Shavuot is just around the corner, meaning, it’s time to break out the dairy. With recipes for cheesecake and cream cheese rugelach on every corner, I like to add an Italian twist to my holiday table with panna cotta, a silken mold that translates to cooked cream (check back for more Italian recipes this afternoon). While I normally try to limit my dairy consumption, Shavuot screams out for us to challenge our lactose intolerance and enjoy decadent and delicious dairy desserts like this one.
What in years past could be featured at a Passover Seder as the first vegetables of the spring — curly fiddlehead ferns and baby leek-like ramps — have yet to sprout in the Midwest this year. According to my local farmers market in St. Louis, everything’s coming up a bit late this year, including ramps. But the delightfully flavorful and delicate vegetables are showing up in east coast farmers markets and restaurants and will soon be available across the country.
At seemingly every event from non-profit gala to wedding I’ve attended in the past few years, I’ve walked away with chocolate. It’s such a great way to start or end the evening with — the gift of a bite or bar of chocolate. In the midst of planning our sustainable Jewish wedding, which is now only one week away, my fiancé David and I thought it might be nice to also give our guests a similar sweet welcome at their place setting. In the past few months we have made many food-related decisions about our wedding. From the meal we wanted to serve to the favors we made for our guests, it was important that our environmental and Jewish values were expressed.
My last JCarrot, post on balancing religious and personal food values at my wedding reception, really struck a nerve both positive and negative with readers. I received loads of comments about the food and wine at the wedding. There were also comments regarding sustainable wedding décor. We are already well underway with planning the décor, which will keep with our overall eco-vision from A to Z. Our flowers will be potted plants and our challah covers will be made from recycled ties from my grandfather’s collection. The list goes on.
Eleven months into planning our April wedding, and my fiancé and I feel like we should write a book — the ultimate guide to the sustainable Jewish wedding. We dove into the world of wedding planning together, and decided to plan a wedding that would truly reflect us — with our desire to live sustainably and to also fulfill our families’ desire to have a large simcha.
Have you ever been in a room filled with 5,000 farmers, activists, chefs and educators from over 150 countries? Until two weeks ago, I could never have imagined such an occurrence. However, having just returned from Terra Madre, the bi-annual international gathering of Slow Food International — a 10,000-member organization founded to counteract the rise in fast food — I can tell you it’s one amazing experience.