Shavuot Ideas -Baby Lettuce Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts

We served this salad between the amuse bouche and main course as a light refresher, but you can also serve this before the dessert course. Irene chose Dalton Winery, Fume Blanc, 2008 to serve with the salad. This wine is aged in oak barrels and was a lovely crisp wine that I have also served with a fish course.

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Baby Lettuce Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons walnut oil or avocado oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bag assorted baby lettuce
  • 1 bunch of arugula rocket, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons date honey silan
  • 1 medium Bartlett pear--halved cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Maytag or Danish blue cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Place the walnuts on a baking tray and drizzle the date honey over the nuts and mix until they are completely coated. Add more date honey, if necessary. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the vinegar and shallot. Whisk in the olive and walnut oils and season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce, arugula, walnuts and pear slices, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Crumble the blue cheese on top and serve.

A Date with my Honey

I use Silan, also known as date honey, as part of the yeast starter for the bread that Mr BT and I make every week. It doesn’t really impart any extra flavour to the bread, but I think it is a bit healthier than white sugar.

I was really tired of making the same chicken dishes I make all the time, so I decided to try an experiment using date honey. It has a slight taste of dates and can be spread on bread, mixed with equal parts of tahina and used as a spread, used on pancakes instead of maple syrup, etc. What I like about Silan is that it is not sickeningly sweet.

I mixed the date honey with oranges and grapefruits from the trees around the moshav. And for an extra kick, I added some chili paste and grated ginger. It made an excellent spicy barbeque sauce.

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Spicy Silan, Citrus and Ginger Chicken
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup date honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice or lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger grated with a microplane
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Place the chicken in a baking dish. Mix all of the ingredients and pour over the chicken. Bake for 1-1/2 hours or until falling of the bone.
  2. Serve with rice, couscous or quinoa.

Ice Cream – Middle Eastern Style

L to R: Roasted Apricot-Almond Ice Cream and Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream

It is quite hot here now and I thought it was time to pull the ice cream maker out again. I took a look at my long list of ice cream recipes and really didn’t see anything that tickled my fancy, so I started thinking about what ingredients are available right now and one of them was fresh apricots. As most of you know by now, I love to experiment with different ingredients and I didn’t want to make some ordinary apricot ice cream, so I thought about what spices would go well with apricots…. ras al hanout. I got the idea for this ice cream from a recipe from a fellow blogger, Mike’s Table. He is hosting a blog event called “You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts“. I can’t wait to see the other entries.

The other ingredient I have wanted to experiment with for quite a while is raw tehina (sesame paste). I didn’t want to use sugar to sweeten the tehina because it just didn’t sound right to me, so I decided the perfect sweetener in keeping with its Middle Eastern roots would be date honey, also known as silan in Hebrew.

The apricot ice cream came out nice and creamy with a strong fruity taste, although perhaps not quite as acid as I would have liked. Next time, I will try adding some dried sour apricots as well.

The tehina ice cream is creamy and has a smoky sesame flavor that is reminiscent of halva. It is not too sweet and the pistachios add a nice crunch. Next time, I will add some chopped dates to the mixture.

They are both delicious ice creams and will be added to the top of my ice cream recipes.

 

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Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw tehina raw sesame paste
  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup date honey silan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup roasted pistachios roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk in a saucepan, taking care not to boil. Remove from the heat and add the tehina, mix well, cover, and let steep for about an hour. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and date honey.
  2. Rewarm the milk mixture and strain into the yolk mixture, constantly stirring, using a spatuala to extract as much of the milk-tehina mixture as possible. Discard the solids.
  3. Tehina Ice Cream Base
  4. Place the egg-tehina mixture in a clean saucepan and cook at medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Strain the mixture once again, and cool over ice-cold water. Chill in the refrigerator, add the double cream and churn it in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
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Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw tehina raw sesame paste
  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup date honey silan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup roasted pistachios roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk in a saucepan, taking care not to boil. Remove from the heat and add the tehina, mix well, cover, and let steep for about an hour. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and date honey.
  2. Rewarm the milk mixture and strain into the yolk mixture, constantly stirring, using a spatuala to extract as much of the milk-tehina mixture as possible. Discard the solids.
  3. Tehina Ice Cream Base
  4. Place the egg-tehina mixture in a clean saucepan and cook at medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Strain the mixture once again, and cool over ice-cold water. Chill in the refrigerator, add the double cream and churn it in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
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