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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘wine’

The Story Of Daniel

Friday, December 7th, 2012

There are many wonderful stories narrated in Scriptures about the experiences of the Navi Daniel. Many of these stories are found in Sefer Daniel, while others are found in the Talmud and Midrash.

In the third year of the reign of Yehoyakim, king of Yehuda, Nevuchadnezzar, king of Bavel lay siege to Yerushalayim and conquered it. He took many treasures from the Beis HaMikdash back to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god.

He then ordered his courtiers to round up the wisest children of Yehuda, who would be trained as advisors, for these children were known for their erudition and for their worldly knowledge.

Among the children taken were four outstanding young geniuses: Daniel, Chananyah, Mishael and Azariah.

Provides Meats For The Children

The king commanded Ashpenaz, the chief of his courtiers, to provide the children with the best of meat and wine so that they should be healthy in body and in mind when they appeared before him.

Daniel and his companions, however, would not defile themselves with the king’s meat and wine and requested instead that they be supplied with vegetables.

Ashpenaz was afraid to comply with this wish. “I fear to disobey my lord the King, who has ordered me to give you his meat and wine. For, if he sees you looking worse than the other children of your country who are eating the meat, he will have me killed.”

“Fear not,” replied Daniel. “Experiment by giving us only vegetables and water for the next 10 days and then compare us with the other children who will eat the king’s meat. You will then see who looks healthier.”

He agreed, and for the next 10 days he served them vegetables and water. And lo and behold, at the end of that time their countenance appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children who ate meat. From that day onward, Daniel and his companions only ate vegetables.

G-d gave Daniel and his companions, knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom, and to Daniel, especially, he gave understanding of all visions and dreams.

After three years of study, they appeared before the king and the king found none that in all matters of wisdom and understanding, they were 10 times better than all the magicians and astrologers in his realm. He appointed them to be his personal advisors.

The King’s Dream

In the second year of the reign of Nevuchadnezzar, the king had a dream. He awoke in the morning with a start. It was a terrible dream and it bothered him because he forgot what he had dreamed about. All he knew was that it had been scary.

The king called all of his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and the Chaldeans to appear before him. When they arrived, the king told them that he had a terrible dream and asked them to interpret it for him.

“O King, live forever,” said the Chaldeans. “Tell the servants your dream and we will then offer you its interpretation.”

“I cannot remember the dream,” replied the king. “It is gone from me. If you will not make known to me the dream with its interpretation I shall cut you to pieces and destroy your homes. But if you tell me what I dreamt and its interpretation I shall reward you handsomely and I will give you great honor.”

The Chaldeans replied, “There is no man on earth who can fulfill your request and there had never been a king who has asked such an unfair request.”

Death To The Wise

The king became very angry and commanded the guards to destroy all the wise men of Bavel. Among the wise men to be destroyed was Daniel, who had not attended the sessions of the Chaldeans. When he was made aware of this decree, he sought out Arioch, the king’s captain, and advised him that he would tell the king his dream and its interpretation the following morning. The captain made arrangements for Daniel to appear before the king the following morning.

That night Daniel visited Chananya, Mishael and Azariah and urged them to pray to G-d to help him so that he they would not perish with the rest of the wise men of Bavel. G-d heard their pleas and He revealed the secret to Daniel in a night vision.

Dinner In Venice

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Winter is almost here and nothing says comfort like a rustic Italian dinner.

Pasta e Fagioli (Bean Soup)
(serves 4-6)


1 quart hot water
2 or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 cup of dried beans
1 small ripe tomato, seeded, peeled and diced (or you can use canned peeled tomatoes, drained)
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ tablespoon freshly chopped parsley or rosemary
2 cups fresh egg pasta, or you can use dried egg pasta (broken down pappardelle), or regular dried pasta.


1. Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of cold water.
2. Dice the carrot, thinly slice the celery, and chop the onion finely.
3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomato, beans, and salt, and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Cover with hot water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for one hour or until the beans are cooked.
6. Add the pasta and allow to simmer until the pasta is also cooked (for fresh pasta, usually 3 to 5 minutes; for dried pasta, follow the instructions on the package).
7. Sprinkle with black pepper, adjust the salt, drizzle with a little more olive oil, decorate with the parsley and serve hot.

Potato Salmon Terrine


3 medium/large potatoes
1 fillet of salmon (about 2 lb), baked or steamed
2 scallions or a medium onion
½ cup Chardonnay
1 lemon
3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chives and parsley, to taste


1. Boil the potatoes until soft, drain, peel and mash with a fork or potato masher.
2. Add the salt, pepper, wine and about 2 tbsps of the oil.
3. In the meantime boil the salmon for 15 minutes with the peeled and sliced scallions (you can also cook it in the microwave in 5 minutes).
4. Then drain it and chop the whole mixture in a food processor along with the juice of ½ a lemon, salt, pepper, and about ½ tbsp of chopped chives.
5. Combine with the mashed potatoes and pour into a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3″), previously lined with plastic wrap.
6. Press the puree into the pan with your hands or a wooden spoon, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.
7. Unmold and serve decorated with more chives, and (if you like) some mayo.
* If you are in a rush, replace the fresh salmon and scallions with canned salmon and a touch of onion powder, but the result is less delicate.

Chicken Stew (Ezekiel’s Chicken)


1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, slightly pressed or minced
1/3 cup green or/and black olives, pitted
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons mix of freshly chopped herbs (sage, rosemary, plus basil, mint or parsley)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 or 3 peeled tomatoes
1/3 cup dry wine, red or white


1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the chicken and sauté until golden.
3. Add the salt, pepper, olives, garlic, and herbs, and the chopped (and drained) tomatoes.
4. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, add the wine, then lower the flame and cook covered until tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally, and adding a little water if it tends to dry out.
5. Uncover, and if the sauce is too liquidy turn up the heat to thicken it.
6. You can serve it with a side of polenta, potatoes or rice as a main course.

Chocolate Hazelnut Whole Grain Cake


3 medium/large eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz parve dark, bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp DiSaronno liqueur
1/8 cup almond or soy milk, or more if needed
1 cup hazelnut meal (or almond meal)
4/5 cup whole grain flour (oatmeal or spelt or other; for a GF version, try buckwheat flour)
1 package baking powder
1 pinch salt
Confectioner’s sugar to decorate


1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Beat the eggs with the sugar for a couple of minutes or until light and frothy.

Rain, Wine and Why it’s all Our Fault: The History of the Rain Libel

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

We’re now entering the period when we begin to pray for rain.  Lack of rain was often an excuse to persecute the Jews, specifically those living in Jerusalem.  There are quite a few examples from our history of this rain libel, which was very often linked to the ‘sin’ of drinking wine.

Martin Kabátník, a Czech-Bohemian pilgrim who visited Jerusalem in 1491, reported that when there’s a drought, the Arabs go to the Jews and Christians and break their wine vessels.  Then they break all other vessels they find.  And they blame them, saying that because of them G-d is preventing the rain from coming, because they’re infidels and drink wine.  Kabátník said he heard from the Muslims that it’s OK to wrong the Jews, since G-d doesn’t see it as a sin.

A few years later, in 1495, a student of the Bartneura repeated the same story: when there’s no rain and the water is gone from the waterholes, the Ishamaelites will sometimes gather on us, to pour out the wine and break the jugs because they said that rains don’t come because the Jews sin and drink wine.

Around 30-years later, after the Turks conquered the land, Rabbi Moshe Basula came to Jerusalem.  And he discovered things hadn’t changed.  He writes as follows: It’s the custom of the Ishmaelites in Jerusalem, that when G-d doesn’t make it rain, they say it’s the fault of the Jews who drink wine, and they ask the governor to break the wine-jugs of the Jews. And on Wed. 20th of Kislev 5282 [Nov 20, 1521] the governor claimed that libel, until they agreed on (a fine of) 200 dukats of their currency, every dukat is 4 marcellis.  They fined anybody who made wine, and it cost half a dukat, that is 2 marcellis, for every 100 rotiol of wine, which are 600 of our liters.

A Jewish poem tells us of similar problems twenty years later.  The lamentation, written by Moshe Ma’alim, describes the troubles which befell the Jews in Jerusalem starting in 1542.  In that year a plague hit the city, followed the next year by an earthquake which hit on Passover.  Then locust covered the land, which exacerbated an on-going drought.  The Muslims blamed the Jews, and repeatedly searched their houses for wine, the cause of all the troubles.  This left the Jews with no wine for religious ceremonies.  Finally the Muslims evicted the Jews from the city.

(Yehuda Razhabi, Shalem V)

The lamentation was written while the Jews were still in “Galut,” and ends with a prayer that the Jews will return to Jerusalem soon.

A hundred years later, we again hear a very similar story.  Except this time, the problem was the Jews, not the wine.

Henry Jessey was a British priest who believed the Second Coming would only occur if the Jews of Jerusalem would convert.  He tells of several similar stories, the most descriptive is based on a letter written by the Jewish community.

In 1639 there was famine in Jerusalem following a long drought.  A Jewish convert to Islam convinced the Turks that the problem was the Jews: they were sinning against G-d.  The Turkish governor, Muhammad Pasha, ordered the Jews immediately evicted from the city.  The Jews begged (and bribed) the governor to give them three days.  The governor agreed and decreed that in three days, if it won’t rain, the Jews will be evicted and their belongings appropriated.  Any Jew found in the city after that date will be executed.

For the next three days, the Jews fasted, day and night.  As the second day drew to a close, when they saw their prayers weren’t answered, they decided they would rather commit mass suicide then stay at the mercy of the Turks.  But before they did so, they asked the governor to pray at Zecharia’s Tomb.

The governor agreed and so on the morning of the third day the Jews went to Zecharia’s Tomb and prayed and prayed.  The day was a hot day, and the Turks already prepared the stones with which they intended to stone the Jews on their return.  But come evening, after a day of prayer, the rains came.  Within a couple of hours all the water holes filled up.  The rains were so heavy, the Jews were forced to stay in the tomb throughout the night.  And on the next morning, the Turks met the Jews coming back and blessed them and gave them gifts.  The governor gave each of the rabbis a suit.  The Jews were saved, until next time.

Fresh, Colorful & Tasty Sukkos Ideas

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

One year we went out for a meal and instead of bringing along the usual chocolates or wine, I offered the hostess an array of colorful salads. After seeing how muchthey were enjoyed, I thought it would be nice to recreate them. All these salads can be made a day in advance and refrigerated until serving time, making them ideal for a hectic, busy Yom Tov time of year. Besides, it’s always nice to have something different and delicious to serve when extra guests and family come over…

Colorful Baby Corn and Pea Salad

Serves 10

All Photos by: Reuven AnshServes 10

Ingredients for salad

3 cans of baby corn, each chopped into small, bite sized pieces
2 cups frozen peas, thawed, NOT boiled
1 medium size Spanish or red onion, sliced into half rings
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced

Ingredients for dressing

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon pepper


In a large bowl combine chopped baby corns and the frozen and thawed peas. (If you are pressed for time, simply rinse the peas for a minute under tap water, using an ordinary sieve. Then drain them briefly and add them in.)

Then add the peppers and red onion.

Pour the dressing ingredients over all and mix well. Place the salad in a covered container and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Presents beautifully every time!

Red & Green Cabbage Sala
Serves 8

Ingredients for salad

1 small head red cabbage, shredded (or use a half bag prepared shredded cabbage for each color), about 2 cups of shredded cabbage
2 cups of shredded cabbage
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small green apple, diced
1 scallion, diced
1 medium sized firm cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds, optional

Ingredients for dressing

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup light mayonnaise, optional

Place all the shredded and diced vegetables and fruits in a large bowl and toss. Chill the salad in a covered container until serving. In a separate small bowl, mix together the Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, sugar, parsley, olive oil and mayonnaise. If you prefer the dressing thicker, you can whisk it up in a blender instead of doing it by hand. Directly before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss it well and serve.

And here’s to one more simple yet different salad…

Mushroom and Pepper salad
Serves 6

I’m a real fan of mushrooms in whatever form they come. I made up this recipe years and years ago and somehow never thought to publish it before now. It couldn’t be simpler.

Ingredients for salad

1 large can of mushrooms or two smaller cans OR 2 boxes of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1-2 scallions, sliced

Ingredient for dressing

1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (you may need more salt if you are using fresh mushrooms, the canned ones have salt already added)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill


Just put all the mushrooms and diced vegetables into a large bowl. Add in the dressing ingredients and toss to mix well. Leave it to marinade in the fridge, covered, for several hours or overnight. Serve in a pretty dish and watch your guests enjoy!

If there’s anything left over, you can serve it the next day over some shredded lettuce or other greens…

This last recipe is an all time favorite in my family. I got the idea from my mother-in-law, Mrs. Gloria Ansh of Teaneck, NJ. No matter what the age, from two year olds to seniors, this recipe is always a favorite. I enjoy serving it as a second main dish to the Shabbos Chol Hamoed day meal but really, it can be used any time you want a kid friendly recipe that every person at the table will reach for…

Chicken Schnitzelettes
(Well, that’s my personal name for them! Others would call them ‘nuggets’)

Holiday Recipes

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Shank Bone Filled With Dried Fruit And Rice
(Serves 5)


Lamb shoulder (ask the butcher to remove the bones and create a pocket for filling)
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 tbsp. heated honey
6 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
8 garlic cloves, sliced


2 cups round rice, cooked
1 cup pitted dates, cubed
1 dried apricot, cubed
1 cup Granny Smith apples, cubed
1 cup shelled almonds (blanched)
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium ginger root, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

A bed of root vegetables:

3 parsley roots, coarsely chopped
3 celery roots, coarsely chopped
8 medium artichokes, coarsely chopped
6 carrots, sliced
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 head of garlic, halved
1½ cups red wine
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all the filling ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the pocket of the lamb shoulder with the filling.

Sauté all of the root vegetables in a frying pan until golden.

Pour the vegetables into a baking dish.

Place the meat on top of the vegetables.

Mix the honey, thyme, olive oil and garlic together and pour it over the meat. Pour the wine over the vegetables.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90 minutes.

Uncover and bake again at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an additional 90 minutes.

To serve: Slice the meat, place on a serving plate and add a spoon of vegetables.

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake


1 cup corn oil
1 cup water
4 medium eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. instant coffee powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ cup honey
¾ cup sugar
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed


In a standard mixer, mix all the ingredients (except apples) for about 4 minutes, until fluffy.

Divide into 2 long loaf pans (about ¾ of the way full) and sprinkle with apples and almonds.

Bake on 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes.

Cool and serve.

Can be kept in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.

Moti Buchbut is executive chef at Inbal Jerusalem Hotel.

‘Frumer’ than God?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Summer should be a time of relaxation, of allowing your body to get the needed rest from the harsh winter and yearly toil. While the majority of the Jewish world works through the summer, I am sure that some sort of vacation or time off is on the agenda as we would literally fall to levels of fatigue and overwork, not to mention not taking advantage of the summer warmth and sunshine.

Therefore, when a student asked to see me a few days ago, I assumed that she was intending to thank me, perhaps give me a gift and ensure that my blood-pressure remain stable, as should be during the summer months.

As you can already imagine, the opposite happened.

This former student met with me and was very disturbed. Her quandary revolved around her work in the Maternity Ward of one of Jerusalem’s hospitals. A woman was admitted after her contractions had become increasingly close and, in the midst of the pain and breathing, her “water broke.” At that moment, a moment that she would not only be allowed to violate the holy Shabbat [Code of Jewish Law, OC, 330/1] but must if she didn’t invite it and it was a necessity [Tractate Shabbat 129a],  this women began to look behind her, as if someone was following her.  About a half an hour later, this woman was…gone. All attempts to locate her were unsuccessful. The police were called, and finally, after a (long) hour and a half, she returned. When the aghast staff asked where had she disappeared to, her answer was “The Mikvah. When asked why, she matter-of-factly answered that she would never consider giving birth to a baby without immersing in a Mikvah first, as a segula for an easy birth!

This story, to my dismay, was not the only one that gave my former student cause for concern. She went on to describe other such events, asking if this was a form of higher religious observance, a sort of a מידת חסידות [acts of the pious].

As my blood pressure levels began to rise, I looked out to see the beautiful summer skies, and recalled a forgotten experience I had many years ago, when spending the summer in the USA. As a day camp counselor, my nights were fairly free, and therefore I joined a typical “Daf-Yomi” class that would meet after Maariv each night. Like any Tractate of the Talmud, this one dealt with real-life scenarios, amongst them a known discussion about the punishment administered upon a violator of a sin in the realm of inappropriate sexual conduct. The “Magid-Shuir” [teacher of the class] was a very sweet and modest Chasidic Rebbe, who would teach each “daf” clearly [in a mixture of simple English and Yiddish idioms], and devotedly taught us each night, even in the so-called summer “vacation” months of July and August.

Thus, to my surprise, upon stumbling on this particular folio of Talmud, instead of explaining it, he said: “Look in the English,” waiting about two minutes till all the participants did so. Being a bit “Israeli,” just visiting for the summer, I admit that I didn’t own a translated Tractate and thus a chunk of that evening’s page was left unlearned. As the class continued, I found it rather strange that a part of God’s holy Torah was relegated to “the English” rather than be learned. As I was about 20 years younger than the rest of the assembled, I stayed quite; while another participant, apparently as agitated as me, decided to speak: “Rebbe, why don’t we learn it together, it’s the Torah, after all?

The kind Rebbe smiled, and answered as follows; “When I was a kid, I asked my “Tatte” why don’t we Chasidim learn Tanach like the Litvaken? He answered that we don’t learn it because there are immodest episodes in Tanach that would not be appropriate.” Being young, perhaps (too) cynical, and surely naïve, but having just completed high school saturated in the study of the Bible, I just couldn’t contain myself; “Rebbe,” I asked, “Are you saying that we are frumer than the Bible? Are you suggesting that we are too frum to learn what God said to the prophets?”

How To Cook Without Measuring

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

There are two primary forms of measuring when it comes to cooking, and our goal is to wean you away from both of them to the greatest extent possible. (There is also a third form of measuring, but doing without it can be risky and, based on my own disaster-stories, I don’t advise it.)

The first is reading a recipe. The process of looking at the recipe, cooking, looking back at the recipe, going back to cook, is time-consuming, and, unless you’re aiming for perfection, often unnecessary.

The second piece of measuring is utensils, i.e. measuring cups and spoons (or weights, if you’re not American). Ditch them. We want to minimize dishwashing time and all the effort it takes to bring utensils out from the cupboard. In the next chapter we’ll go over tools to estimate measurements, like tablespoons and cups, which will be helpful if this step makes you nervous.

The third piece, which we don’t advise eliminating, is measuring time, as in checking the clock and using a timer. Because this is the least cumbersome and most risky measuring tool to do without (think burnt, inedible food), it’s advisable to hold off on eliminating this tool for now. I tried cooking without it for several months, attempting to get a feel for when my food was done, whether it was pasta, meat or chili. Well, the pasta was soggy, the meat was chewy beyond belief and the beans in the chili had an overcooked, ghastly flavor. (I didn’t even know you could overcook dried beans!) So if estimating time worries you or has burned you like it has me, focus on the first two pieces for now.

Getting Comfortable with the No-Measure System

In case you feel skeptical about your ability to discard recipes and measuring spoons, consider that you already cook without measuring in many ways. Have you ever made a sandwich? Scrambled eggs? A smoothie or a milkshake? You probably dumped together some ingredients, waited until they were done and served or ate it straight.

Take it further: if you ever made mashed potatoes, you probably didn’t measure the amount of butter, milk and seasonings that you included. Or when making French toast, did you calculate exactly the amount of eggs, milk and vanilla? (If you did, don’t worry. We’ll help you get more comfortable in your cooking skin in the next section.) So put your fears aside. You have what it takes to cook and prepare food using your own taste and senses.

No-Measure Recipe Number 1

To get you started on your journey to no-measureville, here is a non-recipe that explains how to cook a basic dish without using measurements. I wrote this recipe as if I’m standing with you in the kitchen, telling you what cooking moves to make. If you’re an experienced cook, much of what I write is already second nature to you. But if you’re new to the kitchen, read the instructions carefully and take your time while cooking.

Master Chili Recipe

Solid standby at tailgating parties, barbecues and hearty winter meals, chili is super-versatile and satisfying. This recipe serves four to six.

Ground beef, about 1 and 1/2 lbs.
Oil, a spoonful
Onion, about 1 medium, chopped
Green pepper, about 1/2 chopped
1 medium can of diced tomatoes or 4-5 chopped plum tomatoes
Kidney beans, about 1 can, drained (or cook your own from scratch! Use about 1 cup)
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper

Brown the ground beef and chopped onion in a spoonful of oil over medium heat. Stir often, breaking up the chunks, until beef is no longer pink. Remove from heat and carefully pour of fat. (A good way to do this is to position a pot lid over the beef, keeping it from coming out of the pan, while you tilt the pan to pour out the liquid.) Add the chopped green pepper, kidney beans and tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, you will need to add some extra liquid like tomato sauce or marinara sauce; just a pour) to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, seasoning with a good sprinkling of salt and a small palmful of chili powder. Add a dash of cayenne pepper; use caution as it’s very spicy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food/recipes/how-to-cook-without-measuring/2012/06/14/

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