Healthy Sustainable Shavuot Menu

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Ahhhh…Shavuot. The Jewish holiday that commemorates when Jews received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The holiday that celebrates the first fruits of the season. And the (only?) Jewish holiday where vegetarians don’t feel marginalized by a table crammed with meat-heavy dishes.

With spring’s bounty bursting all over the farmers’ market, Shavuot is a time to pull out all the stops! Focus on seasonal flavors like strawberries, peas and salmon, accented with exotic touches like mango and ginger. You’ve got a long night of study ahead of you, so you better be good and sated.

Need other resources or inspiration? Check out the archive of Shavout articles on the Jew and the Carrot by clicking here.

On the Menu

  • Roasted Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese Croutons
  • Wild Alaskan Salmon with Brown Butter – and/or -
  • Mango Ginger Tofu
  • English Pea Risotto
  • Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

Salad, salmon, and risotto recipes courtesy of Chef Laura Frankel, cheesecake recipe from Epicurious, and tofu recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen.

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Roasted Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese Croutons
Serves 4

2 cups of strawberries cut in half, stemmed
4 ounces of goat cheese
1/3 cup of bread crumbs (use Panko, if available)
2 T. fresh flat leaf parsley-chopped finely
1 T. fresh thyme-chopped finelyFlour for dipping the cheese
1 egg-beaten
4 cups baby greens such as Mesclun variety
1 red onion, sliced very thinly
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
Salt and pepper

1. Cut the goat cheese into coin shapes (about 1 ounce each coin). Place the coins in the freezer for about 30 minutes until firm and easy to handle.

2. Mix the herbs and the breadcrumbs together on a small plate. Salt and pepper as needed. Place the flour on a small plate.

3. Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil.

4. Dredge a cheese coin in the flour. Then dip it into the beaten egg. And finally dip the cheese into the bread crumbs. Place the cheese in the sauté pan and brown it on each side (about 3 minutes per side). Remove the cheese to a paper towel lined plate. Continue with remaining cheese.

5. Place the strawberries on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the strawberries with honey and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Roast eh strawberries for about 10 minutes until they are lightly caramelized and very fragrant.

6. Toss the greens with Extra Virgin olive oil and salt and pepper as needed.

7. Mound the greens on four plates or a serving platter. Place the strawberries and red onion on the greens. Place the cheese croutons on top of the salad and drizzle with honey lavender vinaigrette.

Strawberry photo credit: Whole Foods

Honey Lavender Vinaigrette

1/3 cup best quality honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh lavender or 1 tablespoon dried lavender
2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup walnut oil (or canola oil if allergic)
Salt and pepper

1. Place the honey in a small saucepan. Add the lavender and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow the lavender to steep for at least one hour.

2. Pass the honey through a fine mesh sieve. Whisk all the ingredients together to form an emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wild Alaskan Salmon with Brown Butter
I wait every year for the salmon season to open. Sure the wild Alaskan stuff is pretty expensive but it is an amazing product. You need only a quick glance to see how beautiful and different this fish is from other products. It is a deep, rich brick-orange color. The fat is evenly running through the flesh and the smell is like sea air. This is the way salmon is supposed to be.
4 servings

4 6-ounce Wild salmon filets, skin off
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1.Pat dry the salmon filets. Combine the fresh herbs in a bowl. Press the herbs on to the “presentation “side of the salmon (non-skin side). Salt and pepper the fish on both sides.

2.Place a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Place the salmon filets, presentation side down, in the pan. Here is the hard part-Don’t touch the fish for at least 3-5 minutes until the fish has browned and is not sticking to the pan. If it sticks, it has not browned enough. The browned fish will be crispy and firm and will loosen itself from the pan.

3.Turn the fish over and turn off the heat. Cover the pan and the fish will continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Your fish will be perfect medium rare. If you want it well done (I don’t recommend it) keep the heat on a bit longer and cook the fish until it is firm when lightly squeezed on the sides of the filet.

Brown Butter
I love serving browned butter with salmon. The sweet, nutty flavor of the butter compliments the fresh salmon perfectly. Simple and amazing

4 ounces unsalted butter

1. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook the butter until it has turned a medium golden brown and is very fragrant (about 10 minutes).

2. Drizzle the brown butter over the fish.

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Mango Ginger Tofu
4 – 6 servings

For the marinade:
3 cloves garlic
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons peanut oil or veg oil
2 large mangos, roughly chopped (note: you will need one more mango when cooking the tofu, see below)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup white cooking wine (or vegetable broth)
fresh black pepper to taste
dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoon rice vinegar (use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar if you dont have rice)
juice of two limes
1 cup orange juice

For the tofu

2 blocks tofu extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 mango, sliced in long thin slices
1 red pepper, seeded and cut in long thin slices

1. Make the marinade
In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil, add garlic, ginger and jalepeno, saute on medium heat 7 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add 2 chopped mangos and saute 5 minutes

2. Add pure maple syrup and wine, cover and simmer 35 minutes; Uncover and simmer 5 more minutes.

3. Add orange juice, vinegar, lime, black pepper, allspice and salt; Add mixture to blender, puree until smooth.

4. Prepare the tofu. Cut tofu blocks into 8 slabs each. Place tofu in marinade in a sealable plastic bag or tupperware. Marinate in the fridge for an hour and up to overnight.

5. Preheat oven to 375 – Reserve about half of the marinate. Lay marinated tofu in a single layer in baking pan. Cook for 20 minutes. Flip tofu over and add more marinade. Dredge peppers and sliced mangos in marinade and add them to pan. Cook another 15 minutes.

6. Heat up remaining marinade in a sauce pan and put in a bowl on the table (or floor, where ever you’re eating) so guests (or room mates, or who ever is eating) can pour it over the tofu. Serve over jasmine rice, with a steamed vegetable, such as aspararus or broccoli.

Photo credit of mango and tofu: Single Guy Chef


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English Pea Risotto
This bright green risotto is the perfect compliment to the first of the season salmon. The peas are sweet and delicious.

2 cups shelled English peas
½ cup heavy cream
Olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock or water

1 Shallot, peeled and chopped finely
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
½ cup heavy cream for the risotto
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped mint

1.Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Cook the English peas until they are cooked through (about 8 minutes). Place the cooked peas in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and keep the peas green.

2.Drain the peas and place in a medium mixing bowl. Puree the peas in a blender of with an immersion blender with the heavy cream Salt and pepper to taste.

3.Place a medium sauce pan over medium high heat and bring the vegetable stock to a simmer.

4.Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Add the shallot and sweat for several minutes until the shallot is very soft but not browned. Add the Arborio rice and stir until each grain of rice is coated with the olive oil. Add the white wine.

5.Increase the heat and allow the wine to simmer for several minutes. Add the hot stock or water into the rice by ladlefuls. Stir with each addition of stock before adding another. Continue until the liquid is completely added to the rice and the rice is soft and creamy but remains al dente.

6. Stir in the remaining heavy cream. Remove from the heat and stir in the pea puree. Adjust seasoning and sprinkle with herbs and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Pea risotto photo credit: Fine Cooking

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Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
Serves 6

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 extra-large eggs
2/3 cup purchased lemon curd

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray eight 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups with nonstick spray. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.

2. Add cream cheese and ricotta cheese; beat until smooth, about 1 minute (some small curds from ricotta may remain). Add eggs; beat until well blended.

3. Divide batter among prepared ramekins. Place ramekins on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until puffed, just set in center, and pale golden on top, about 18 minutes. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Spread lemon curd over chilled cheesecakes and serve.

Cheesecake photo credit: Craig Cutler for Bon Appetit.

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