Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tu B'Shvat 2017

it is 11:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  tomorrow night is Tu B'shvat.  it is the New Year of Trees.  I invited my kids to come over for Shabbat.  they will walk home and return for Saturday lunch.  I thought they might want to sleep over if the weather is harsh but it appears to be a warm spell at the moment.  I pretty much prepared the Shabbat meals.

I have been running around town buying the various fruits that we use for our Seder on Tu B'shvat.  some people have the custom to drink four cups of wine like we do at the peach Seder.  i'll be happy with one.  I have walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, black olives, barley, frozen cherries, sabras, persimmons, fresh lemon relish, fresh figs, dates, prunes, apricots, pomegranate, a carob and a carob date bar, red and green grapes, candied citron, apples, pears, cooked quince, and a pineapple.  I make a quince every year.  no one except moi, likes it.  I usually eat the whole thing by myself.

I made an applesauce cake.  I think it might be a tad raw inside.  I cooked chicken livers in teriyaki sauce; made barbecue wings in sweet chilly sauce and fried up chicken fingers.  I might skip the fish course tomorrow night.  I made chocolate leaves.  I made a beef cholent with black beans, wheat and white beans.  haven't done one of these in years.  the daughter-in-law doesn't like cholent.  I threw in a package of prepared kishka but it disappeared in the stew.

I was thinking about making a cheesecake but I decided not to in the end.  maybe i'll make some coconut bars tomorrow.  I need to clean the kitchen floors and pick up the kids from gan.  maybe I can buy some ice-cream.  I grated some raw beets for a salad.  I plan on making one large green salad with cherry tomatoes. we can munch away at the remaining nuts and fruit for dessert in the afternoon.  this year I tried to buy as much fresh fruit as possible.  I did hit the dried fruit pretty hard all week long.

in past years, I made a lot of dishes using the 30 fruits of the Seder.  I used to put out ten types of nuts, ten types of fruits with stones and ten types of fruit with small seeds.  we used to read a bit of scripture for each fruit and drink red and white wine.  by the end of the night we were singing 'yes,we have no bananas' and the Chiquita banana song.  those days are gone.  in the past, you couldn't get certain fruits that were out of season.  now a days, they have everything in the fruit stores.  they had giant papyas but they seemed pretty hard.

one year when Tu b' Shvat fell out on a Friday night, like tomorrow; I cooked up a dish for every single fruit and nut.  I made lychee donuts, carob coconut soufflé, nectarine chutney, lemon couscous, cashew thai chicken breasts, and chestnut soup; to name a few.  that was my greatest culinary performance.  tomorrow night it's just chicken wings and chcken tenders.  and if I get a second wind, i'll make some tilapia  fillets.

I hope it will all go smoothly.  I hope the kids will not be too wild.  I must not have any expectations.  I did my best to provide the fruits and nuts according to the Sephardi Seder.  my friends down the block, are out of town and actually, the kids want it to be just us 5, so we shall be an intimate gathering.  I wonder if the grandkids will get to stay over.  last Friday night my granddaughter got a turn to stay over.  I was not consulted beforehand.  luckily, I had the heaters on timers.  her girlfriend came over so she wasn't bored.  we slept most of the afternoon away.

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