Monday, May 28, 2012

What's Cooking? Another Harvest Holiday

Saturday was Shavuot, the holiday in which the Jewish people receive the Ten Commandments. Ok, so I'm pretty agnostic as far as spiritual beliefs go, but this is one of those holidays that piques my interest for purely secular reasons. In biblical times, Shavuot marked the beginning of the harvest season. Also called Hag HaKatzir, meaning “The Harvest Holiday” and Hag HaBikurim “The Holiday of First Fruits," you can understand why I might feel drawn to this particular festival. It hearkens back our agrarian roots, and is indicative of how integral the growing of food was in people's lives. Another interesting aspect is the lead-up to the holiday. Between Passover (marking the barley harvest) and Shavuot (wheat), there is a period of fifty days. Fifty days of uncertainty - rains might fail; a scourge of locusts may decimate the crop - and a constant reminder of how dependent our agricultural systems are on the good graces of Mother Nature. While the holiday remains one of the "big ones" in terms of religious observance, I feel like we have lost this essence as we move farther away from our roots as farmers. Always good to be reminded! (and there are some references to gleaning in the texts, as well).

One of the traditions of the holiday is to consume dairy. There are a number of explanations as to why - we'll stick with the reasoning that, after fleeing from oppression in Egypt and wandering in a desert for forty years, that consuming the namesake of the "Land of Milk and Honey" might symbolize the sweetness of freedom. Since dairy products are not in my repertoire, I decided to take a vegan twist on an old favorite. We can also incorporate some "first fruits," reveling in an early strawberry season. And although buckwheat is not actually the wheat one would harvest at this time (actually gluten-free and not wheat at all), it is still a biblical grain, so I think we are covered. Here goes:
Not-so-Dairy Holiday Blintzes (makes 2)
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup rice flour
2 tbs tapioca flour 
Pinch stevia (or 2 tsp sweetener of some sort) 
Pinch salt 
1/4 cup almond milk

1/4 package of tofu, silken would be nice
2 tbs agave (or to taste)
Juice of half lemon
1/4 tsp vanilla

1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered

1. Combine flours together with sweetener and salt. Add milk and mix. It should be pretty runny, so if it's not, add some more milk or water.
2. Heat a skillet on medium high and spritz with some oil. Pour about half the onto the pan and quickly spread it as thin as possible without ripping it (too much...). Let cook. Flip after edges are done.
3.  Meanwhile, puree the tofu, agave, lemon, and vanilla until creamy smooth. 
4. When crepe is done, let cool for a few minutes. Top with tofu cream and sliced strawberries. Enjoy!

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