This week is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. Shavuot is a celebration of the spring harvest and the bringing of the first fruits to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, in ancient times. However, it is more commonly known for it’s focus on dairy foods. An explanation of several reasons for Shavuot’s focus on dairy foods can be found on Chabad.org.
I choose to celebrate the spring harvest. Because I don’t eat dairy (it doesn’t agree with me and I don’t agree with factory farms) and my goal is to help you Eat More Plants, I am sharing two non-dairy recipes with you for Shavuot.
You can find this Seven Species Salad by Susan Barocas on Jewish Food Experience. The seven species of foods, special to Israel and the Jewish people, are wheat, barley, grape, fig, pomegranate, olive (oil), and date (honey) (Deuteronomy 8:8). Their first fruits were offered in the Temple starting on Shavuot. This is a hearty meal in itself and perfect for a room temperature Shavuot plant-based option, especially if it’s hot outside.
I divided my batter among a pack of 6 mini graham cracker crusts and two pie-sized graham cracker crusts. (Not the healthiest option, I know, but I haven’t fully moved into my new kitchen so I wasn’t pulling out the food processor to make a healthy crust with almonds and dates!)
This division was a winning strategy for several reasons.
1. I didn’t have to panic that my one big cheesecake was going to overflow in the oven. None of the crusts was overfilled.
2. Making at least one mini of any recipe is an important basic cooking strategy because then you can keep the big dish looking nice for your guests, but take an early taste for yourself. You know, just to make sure no one gets poisoned. It’s for your own good!
3. It’s also helpful to make mini cakes and pies because then you aren’t standing over the serving dish taking a tiny slice, and then another tiny slice, and then another… until you’ve eaten half the cheesecake!
Note that I cooked the mini vegan cheesecakes for 20 minutes instead of 30. I also garnished them with fresh sliced strawberries and lemon zest. I highly recommend doing this.
Speaking of spring and then summer, we bought our first peaches of the year. I have a special talent for receiving heart shaped fruits – and for creating hearts out of fruit (accidentally and on purpose). Check out this example of an accidental creation.
Have a wonderful, safe week, filled with health, food, family and Torah. Chag Sameach!