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Create a "Seven Species Salad" courtesy of theJewish Food Mailing List. The Seven Species (Shiv'at HaMinim) are seven types of fruits and grains enumerated in the Bible as being special products of the Land of Israel. They include: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. These seven species are customarily eaten on Tu Bishvat, Sukkot, and Shavuot. (Photo source: Wikipedia)
The Kosher Table

Breaking Bread in the Sukkah

-- Ronit Treatman

What is the most important dish to serve in the Sukkah? Great Aunt Gittel’s stuffed cabbage? Bubbe’s stuffed peppers? Thankfully, for the preservation of peace in the sukkah, neither one! Bread is the only food that the Talmud specifically instructs one to eat in the sukkah. After giving thanks for the fall harvest with the appropriate blessings, heritage foods from Ancient Israel may be savored, and the competition between the stuffed vegetables will commence!

In the Mishna, Maimonides explains that one is required to eat in the sukkah only on the first night of Sukkot (Hilkhot Sukkah 6:7). In this section of the Laws of the Sukkah, Maimonides explained that the required amount of bread is “ke zayit” or as much as an olive in Hebrew (about one ounce). In ancient Israel, bread was one of the most important staples, served at every meal. Wheat and barley would be ground between two stones. It would take about three hours to grind enough flour to bake bread for six people. The resulting flour would be mixed with water and kneaded. The dough would be shaped into thin, flat circles. These would be thrown against the wall of the outdoor bread oven, or tabun. They would stick to the hot wall to bake. When the bread was ready, it would fall off the wall of the oven into the ashes on the floor. The ashes would be shaken off, and the hot bread would be served. Wheat and barley were the most important staples of the Mediterranean. Fresh, hot bread, which integrates these grains from the fall harvest of Ancient Israel, can be the perfect beginning of the outdoor meal.

Barley Bread

This recipe is from The Family Oven Special equipment needed: a large pizza stone; a baking peel or rimless baking sheet.

  • 1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey
  • 1 3/4 cups warm (105-115 degrees F) water
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • 1 cup barley flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 tablespoon novella seeds (also called black onion seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  1. Stir together yeast, honey, and 1 cup warm water in a bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. While yeast mixture stands, stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour with barley and semolina flours, novella seeds, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in flour mixture (still in bowl) and add yeast mixture, 3 tablespoons oil, and remaining 3/4-cup water, then stir until soft dough forms.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, working in just enough of remaining 1/3 cup all-purpose flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Put pizza stone on lowest rack of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces and form each into a ball. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and arrange balls of dough on it. Firmly flatten balls into 5-inch rounds (leave about 2 inches between each), and then brush dough with remaining tablespoon oil. Cover rounds loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and let stand to rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature, 1 hour.
  7. Transfer loaves, 1 at a time, using floured peel or baking sheet, to pizza stone and bake until well browned and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottoms, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Hungarian stuffed cabbage.

Salad is the perfect complement for this delicious bread. The seven species are seven types of fruits and grains described in Deuteronomy 8:8 as being special crops of the Land of Israel. They are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. It is customary to eat the seven species during Sukkot. The Seven Species Salad, below, mixes them, and celebrates the bounty that the Israelites were thankful for.

Seven Species Salad

Recipe from the Jewish Food Mailing List If serving a dairy meal, it is possible to add goat, feta, or any other cheese of one’s choice to the salad. With the addition of croutons made from bread with the recipe for Barley Bread above, this salad also embodies “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8) as there is honey in the bread dough.

  • Mixed baby lettuce
  • Seeds from 1 ripe pomegranate
  • 8 figs quartered
  • 12 seedless grapes, halved or quartered
  • 4 dates, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Barley and wheat croutons
  1. To make the croutons, get some bread (preferably sliced) that has both wheat and barley flour and cut in to bite-sized pieces (2 cm to 3 cm square) and place on a baking tray or casserole dish. In a bowl, combine olive oil and some favorite spices, oregano, basil, and/or thyme. Brush the oil and herb mixture over the bread pieces and bake 400°F until the bread feels like croutons. One can also skip the olive oil and herbs on the croutons and just bake the bread.
  2. Combine everything and enjoy!
  3. It is also traditional to serve stuffed vegetables during Sukkot, including as much from the fall harvest as is possible. Pumpkins and peppers originated in North America and are part of the fall harvest. An original American dish, vegetarian stuffed pumpkin, makes a dramatic presentation of nature’s generosity.

    Baked Pumpkin Stuffed with Roasted Harvest Vegetables

    This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.

  • 2-3 pounds of mixed root vegetables such as red bliss potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, carrots, turnips, parsnips and beets
  • 2 large red onions, cut in large chunks
  • 6-8 whole peeled shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • several sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • fresh sage leaves (about 5 or 6)
  • olive oil
  • 1 large pumpkin
  • Roasted red and green peppers (optional)
  1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin in such a way that it gives you a "top." Scoop out the seeds of the pumpkin and save them for toasting, or discard them. Clean out the inside of the pumpkin and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and add about 1/2 cup of water.
  2. Place the pumpkin in a 325 degree oven and bake for about 30 minutes until slightly softened on the inside. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Peel and cut the root vegetables in large pieces all about the same size. Place them in a zipper type plastic bag with about 1/3 cup of olive oil. Close the bag and shake to coat the vegetables well. Pour the vegetables in a large roasting pan. Add the cut onions, shallots, minced garlic, and herbs to the pan. Stir with a large spoon. Sprinkle with the kosher or sea salt and some black pepper.
  4. Place the pan, uncovered, in a 425 degree oven. Roast for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan two or three times. Turn the pan and reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes, shaking or stirring to keep the vegetables from burning. Continue baking until all veggies are soft, about 10-20 minutes more.
  5. Remove the vegetables to the warm pumpkin and cover with the top. Serve, adding small pieces of the softened pumpkin if you like. Remember to remove the bay leaves before eating.
  6. Variations: Add some roasted red or green peppers; add a bit of cayenne pepper for a "hot" taste.

A traditional Sukkot dish from Eastern Europe is stuffed cabbage. Its shape resembles that of a cornucopia, representing a bountiful harvest. Eating this stuffed cabbage in the sukkah is like being in the shtetl with one’s great grandparents.

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage

This recipe is from the Jewish Food Mailing List.

  • 2 heads of green cabbage
  • 4 pounds hamburger meat
  • 1/2 cup raw long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt + more if needed to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 large cans of tomato paste
  1. Core cabbage, put in salted water to boil to separate leaves. Reserve the small leaves for lining the bottom of the pan.
  2. Combine the meat, rice, spices, and eggs, mix well with your hands. Lay out a leaf of cabbage and center about 2 tablespoons of meat. Fold up sides and roll up ends to seal each roll. Continue with all the meat and cabbage.
  3. Pour one can of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, with a little salt and a little water, enough to line the entire pan. Line with small leaves, reserve a few for the top.
  4. Fill baking dish with the cabbage rolls. Spread the two large cans of tomato paste across the cabbage rolls. Pour the remaining three cans of tomato sauce on top of all the cabbage rolls. Add enough water to fill the roaster pan to just about the top. Cover the top with the reserved leaves.
  5. Cover and bake at 350°F. Watch for it to come to a boil, then allow 1-1/2 to 2 hours baking time.
The key ingredient in the Etrog cake - an etrog. The etrog referred to in the Bible as pri eitz hadar, literally "a fruit of the beautiful tree."

A sweet-tart end to the meal in the sukkah can be a celebration of the citron or etrog. In the Torah the etrog is called “the fruit of a beautiful tree” (Leviticus 23:40). It originated in the Far East, and was the first citrus fruit to spread to the Middle East. Prized for their beauty and fragrance, citrons come in a variety of shapes, including the Fingered citron, or Buddha’s Hand. The following cake uses one of the precious fruits, and satisfies the curiosity of many guests, who would love to know exactly what an etrog tastes like.

Etrog Cake

This unique cake recipe is from Jewish Recipes.

  • 1 etrog [Dani—URL for hotlink for “etrog”: http://www.jewishrecipes.org/jewish-foods/etrog.html]
  • juice of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon orange juice glaze
  • Orange Juice Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon reserved citrus mixture
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a tube pan with oil.
  2. Grate the etrog peel and then juice the lime, lemon and whatever juice you can squeeze from the etrog. Strain to remove membranes and seeds.
  3. Reserve 1 tablespoon for the glaze. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Cream margarine with sugar. Add citrus mixture and blend.
  4. Add eggs and beat well. Alternate, adding half of flour mixture with half of orange juice, beating well after each addition. Place batter in pan and bake about 45 minutes or tested done. Blend together remaining tablespoon of citrus mixture, confectioner's sugar, tablespoon of orange juice and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  5. Remove cake from pan and drizzle glaze over warm cake.

Harvest crops provide the perfect ingredients for a warm, satisfying end to the feast in the sukkah. Fall apples may be baked into a delicious apple crisp.

Pareve Apple Crisp

This recipe is from the great About website.

  • 7-8 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 6 teaspoons margarine (pareve)
  1. Peel, core and slice apples.
  2. Mix apples with 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, cloves and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar, flour and margarine.
  4. Pour the apple mixture into a pie plate. Top with the flour mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.

As the last bites of this delicious apple crisp melt in one’s mouth, the stars twinkle in the autumn night sky and can be seen through the leafy roof of the sukkah. The fragrant fall air surrounds the guests. The birds chirp their evening songs, and it is possible to imagine what it was like to rest after the harvest, a very long time ago, in the land of Israel.

The Kosher Table welcomes guest columnists! For writers’ guidelines, please contact Philadelphia Jewish Voice Food Editor, Lisa Tuttle at food @ pjvoice.com.

Ronit Treatman was born in Israel and grew up in Ethiopia and Venezuela. She is fluent in five languages, and volunteered for the IDF where she served in the Liaison Unit to Foreign Forces. She currently lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia with her husband and three children.

To view previous editions of The Kosher Table, please click here.

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