May 26, 2020

Recipes: The Jewish holiday of Shavuot can feature flexible dishes with cheese and fresh produce

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot begins on Thursday evening, May 28. Many families celebrate the holiday with dairy foods. Rich, cheese-filled pastries and cheesecakes are often on the menu.

Since shopping is more complicated these days, we decided to settle for simpler dishes that can be easily modified, so that if you don’t have an ingredient, you can substitute another. Our Mediterranean-inspired vegetable salad, for example, is accented by a choice of tasty toppings, such as Brie cheese, walnuts, asparagus tips, raspberries and apple slices.

Shavuot means weeks, a reminder that it is celebrated seven weeks after Passover. The holiday is also known as the Feast of the First Fruits because this was the time of early harvest in ancient Israel. To commemorate this, produce is prominent on many Shavuot tables. This is a custom we like to follow, and so we try to include vegetables or fruit in every course. For our main course we’re making a delicious pasta dish with roasted eggplant, creamy feta cheese and a light tomato sauce.

This Shavuot most of us will celebrate with members of our households rather than at larger gatherings of family and friends. Our dessert of orange panna cotta, a luscious treat that is popular in restaurants, is practical to prepare for a small number of people and is in fact easy to make at home.

Four-Way Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Brie and Walnuts

Four-Way Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Brie and Walnuts can also be topped with asperagus tips and raspberries. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Choose Brie of the degree of ripeness that you like; the cheese is easiest to slice when it is still firm. You can substitute goat cheese, feta cheese, blue cheese or Swiss cheese. For additional garnish, you might like to add raw fresh asparagus tips, apple slices, raspberries, or all three.

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Baby lettuces are more attractive in the salad if left whole but are easier to eat if they are coarsely chopped. You can dice the cucumber, chop the parsley and cut the onion in advance. Put the salad together shortly before serving.

Yield: 3 or 4 servings


2 to 2 1/2 cups (loosely packed) mixed baby lettuces or baby spinach, coarsely chopped if desired

4 to 5 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

5 to 6 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 small apple, tart or sweet (optional)

2 mini cucumbers (Persian cucumbers), diced

1 or 2 plum (roma) tomatoes, diced

2 tablespoons red onion in short, thin slivers, rinsed and patted dry

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley (optional)

8 to 10 small pieces Brie cheese (3 or 4 thin slices cut in chunks)

8 to 10 walnut or pecan halves

8 to 10 asparagus tips (optional)

8 to 10 raspberries (optional)


1. Put lettuces in a deep plate or platter. For dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until blended.

2. Just before serving, spoon about half of dressing over lettuces and toss very lightly.

3. Cut apple in thin slices or wedges. Top greens with diced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, onion slivers …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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