Thursday, October 5, 2006

Traditions Old & New - Persian-Style Meatloaf & Roasted Cauliflower

What on earth is that???? Well, let me explain.....

There's a short break between Jewish holidays and all the feasting that goes along with them. It's Thanksgiving here in Canada, and more importantly for us, it's Sukkot - The Festival of Booths. The holiday where we celebrate the harvest and remember the 40 years of wandering through the desert in Moses' time. Meals are meant to be eaten in sukkahs - structures with walls but open to the sky. You weave branches to create a partial roof. That's one of our earlier ones - hard to get a good shot of the inside of a sukkah because it's so small.

My daughters and I started to build our own sukkah on the balcony when Joanna started to go to Hebrew school. I wanted them to get a sense of joy and celebration of each of our holidays to connect with our heritage. They'd invite friends over to make challahs before Rosh Hashana, parade around the synagogue at Simchas Torah, get gifts, light candles and eat latkes at Hanukkah, dress up at Purim and celebrate Passover with a a traditional seder.

But I digress....when the girls were little (that's me and Sharron), they'd decorate the walls of our sukkah with pictures they drew and we'd hang things like stringed popcorn and cranberries (that stopped after the bees decided they liked it too). One year we found grape vines growing near some railroad tracks and we thought they'd look beautiful. They did.....for about one hour and then they quickly started to wither, giving our "ceiling" a very crinkly effect. Given that Sukkot takes place in the Fall, we would all bundle up in heavy sweaters (sometimes even plugging in an electric heater) and invite family and friends to join us. The balcony was always small, so naturally it got very "cosy". We actually continued to build a sukkah until the girls went off to university. But it's one of Joanna's favorite festivals and so she and her husband have continued the tradition in Halifax. It should be wonderful.

Another tradition of mine is to buy new Jewish cookbooks to add to my collection and this year I bought two...Faye Levy's Feast From the Mideast which is a wonderful book filled, not only with recipes but also with stories, and Marcy Goldman's A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking (I haven't tried it yet, but I will).

All these festivals... all these feasts.....I am truly shocked that I haven't gained any weight and for that I have South Beach Diet to thank. Because in between feasts (we usually get a week), I revert back to the basics. So I've adapted Faye Levy's recipe for Persian Chickpea Beef Patties and made this meatloaf. And naturally because Weekend Herb Blogging is coming up and I am the host this week, I made some roasted cauliflower with fresh sage and rosemary. So, for a couple of days anyway, I'll relinquish desserts and still eat delicious meals


Don't forget to email me your entries for WHB - ruth AT 4everykitchen DOT com so you can join in the fun. If you don't have a blog, just email your recipe and I'll be happy to post it for you.

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burekaboy said...

roasted cauliflower .... so good!

i laughed when i saw those chinese jack o'lanterns as decoration in one of your pictures. while visually very pretty, my mother planted those in her garden and lived to regret it as they took over a big part of her garden. i remember having to help rip them out by the roots.

hag same'ach and have a good trip to halifax.

Ruth said...

It figures the only things I could grow in my landlord's back yard were jack o'lanterns. They were everywhere!!!

Hag same'ach to you too.

Kristen said...

That cauliflower looks incredible! I've been needing to change up the usual veggies I eat. This looks like a likely contender for dinner tonight.

P.S. I've started blogging again! No one visits anymore though because I was gone for so long!

Kalyn said...

I am so going to make this cauliflower. Love the idea of combining it with rosemary.

Anonymous said...

Cauliflower with rosemary is such a refreshing idea. I always have cauliflower with garlicy yogurt and paprika, and it was so time to try something new!

Sara said...

Ruth thanks for the interesting look into what's going on with you this time of year. That's really neat.