The Rebbitsin’s Recipes: Eating for ‘The Three Weeks’ Reflects Our Mood

The Rebbitsin's Recipes: Eating for 'The Three Weeks' Reflects Our Mood

Summer has arrived and thoughts of vacation and relaxation are in the air. In conjunction with daylight saving time, a unique time in the Jewish calendar is observed, entitled “Bein Hametzarim”, also known as “The Three Weeks”. At this time of year, we remember and reflect on the numerous tragedies that befell the Jewish people. We start with an all-day fast on the 17th day of Tammuz, which was celebrated on July 17 this year. From this time on we observe rituals of mourning until the 9th of Av, the day of the destruction of our holy first and second temples in Jerusalem.

Tisha B’Av will be observed this year from Saturday evening August 6 and continues on Sunday August 7 until after nightfall. We abstain from cutting the hair, listening to live music, buying new clothes and objects that bring someone into a state of happiness. The 9th of Av is the culmination of the three weeks. We also fast on this day, starting from the night before, when both temples were burned. It is the ancient custom for Ashkenazi Jews not to eat meat or chicken for nine days prior to Tisha B’Av, except on the Sabbath. So I present a few pareve (non-dairy) and dairy recipes for these dark days in our Jewish history.

It is my hope and prayer that we will soon see peace in the Land of Israel and witness the rebuilding of the Third Temple in Jerusalem soon in our days.

1 pound extra firm tofu, drained
and in cubes
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 cloves garlic, peeled &
finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped
4-5 tsp. sesame oil

In a small bowl, combine all of the above ingredients except tofu and sesame oil. Add tofu, toss to coat. Cover and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet and add tofu along with the marinade. Bake the tofu on a medium setting for 15-20 minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and serve on a bed of rice noodles topped with steamed broccoli. Garnish the tofu with 2 tbsp. chopped spring onions and sprinkled with 1 tbsp. chopped macadamia nuts.

Serves 4.

1 pound puff pastry dough
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 medium red bell pepper,
sown & chopped
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded low-fat
mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the dough from the freezer and let it thaw for 30-40 minutes. Heat 3-4 tablespoons in a large skillet. olive oil. Add vegetables and simmer until tender. Remove from heat and let cool. Mix cheese with vegetables and set aside. Roll the dough into a large rectangle with a rolling pin. Place the vegetable/cheese mixture on the dough. Roll up horizontally to form a trunk. Place the dough seam side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cut diagonally 3/4 of the way through the dough. Brush the dough with 1 beaten egg with a brush. Sprinkle with 2 tsp. dried basil flakes. Bake at 400°F until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut vertically 1-in. slices into pinwheels.

Serves 5-6.

1 pound salmon fillets
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tsp. soy sauce
5 tbsp. Brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, peeled &
finely chopped
2 tsp. ground red pepper
Preheat grill.

Combine all of the above ingredients, except salmon, in mixing bowl. Add salmon and cover, marinate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the salmon from the marinade and discard the marinade. Heat the grill pan (or outdoor grill) and grill for 5-7 minutes on each side. Garnish with 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds. Serve with roasted seasonal vegetables.

Serves 4.

Soy meat mixture:
3 pounds ground soy meat
3 eggs
1/2 cup seasoned bread
1 small onion, peeled &
finely sliced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 cup pine nuts

Combine soy meat with all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Form 1 inch meatballs. Put aside.

4 large onions, peeled &
thin sliced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. curry
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. allspice

Fry the onions in a large pan with 4-5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.

Add spices and let it simmer. Add soy meatballs. Add two cups of water and cover. Cook on a low setting for 30-40 minutes. Remove from pan and serve on a bed of brown rice.

Serves 5-6.

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