Read on, maybe you’ll have your own list when you’re done! and if you do . . . can you please share it with me?
So here it is! 10 reasons I love Tu B’Shvat:
1. All you can eat FRUIT.
2. It’s like the Jewish Groundhog Day, a sign of (hopefully, pleeeease G-d) imminent spring.
3. It’s a legitimate New Year celebration, (for the trees, duh) sans cooking, serving and cleaning 3 course dinners for 2 days! Yippee!
4. It’s my little brother’s birthday (ok- I know that one doesn’t really count since its only special for me… But hey- it’s my blog- right?- You can totally leave it off your list)
5. Did I mention the Fruits are EXOTIC?
6. We get to make the ‘she’hechiyanu’ blessing – which always makes me feel so lucky to be alive.
7. The Tu B’shvat Seder! in which we don’t eat any matzah or maror, have weeks of preparation to get to, or drink way too much wine (wait… I like that part!
8. It’s a day to create a healing in our relationship with food. Don’t know about you all, but that’s one relationship in my life that could always use a little fixing. Which leads me right into…
9. The cheese that goes with the fruit and wine… What??! You don’t serve cheese on tu B’shvat? Well I do- and it’s good enough that it gets onto this list!
10. Last… but certainly not least, Shivat Minim Challah. And while this may not have been a thing until now – I am super excited to introduce this as a Tu B’Shvat tradition in my family. And not just because I really need a 10th thing on this list to round it off
This challah is crazy good.
It started while in Israel this past summer. My kids and I were ooohing and aaaahing over the sight of the fruits of Israel- just hanging off the trees for our picking! Pomegranates, grapes, figs, dates, oh my! Who knew these things actually grew on trees?!
To us sad city people – this was way better than Disneyland. And then, because I’m a little challah obsessed (what? You didn’t know this?) the thought occurs to me – “Why not create a challah which includes all of the *Shivat Minim?” (*Seven fruits & grains indigenous to the land of Israel.)
And then of course I proceeded to do just that.
I have to say though – this did prove to be one of the trickiest challah recipes I’ve attempted thus far.
I’m afraid the first few iterations of this were not very good at all. Shocking to hear me say this about any challah, but trust me on this.
Trying to figure out how I was going to get
into a challah that actually tasted good – was more complicated than I had bargained for.
But I persevered, and only 6 months later (eek) I am so proud to present you with this absolutely delicious (and gorgeous!) challah that will be the talk of any Tu B’Shvat party/seder you bring it to!
Or… If tu B’shvat happens to land on a Shabbat- just serve this challah at your Shabbat table and you are set!
Flavored with a hint of almonds, sweetened with date syrup which carmelizes the challah to a gorgeous tan, filled with homemade fig spread, with just a tetch of orange and cinnamon, studded with chewy raisins and rich with fruity olive oil then topped with pomegranate jewels and flakes of barley, this is a challah that creates a sensation!!!
And – yup, in case you were wondering. It has all seven… Wheat, barley, olive, grape, date, fig and pomegranate!
Sorry for the tease, but I promise… this will most certainly be in the cookbook!
A very happy, healing and fruity Tu B’Shvat to you all.