How To Celebrate a Tu b’Shevat Seder


January 28th 2015

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Tu b’Shevat is one of these hidden minor holidays, which haven’t gotten much attention until the last few decades. It is kind of a New Age, cutting age type of holiday with no ‘don’ts’ and not even any specific must ‘dos.’ If you are looking for spiritual renewal through mystical teachings, meditational practice and conscious mindful eating, then Tu b’Shevat has much to offer.

On Tu b’Shevat, the sap in the tree begins to flow once again to revitalize the tree. The secret of Tu b’Shevat gently whispers; “when everything looks dead, dark and murky, life, light and glory is hiding just below the surface.” The time when nothing seems to be happening on the outside is the beginning of the richest inner life. Tu b’Shevat begins a period of renewal for the individual and the community. On Tu b’Shevat we can tune into the redemption of spring. Even though we may be experiencing the winter of exile in both personal and collective stage of our lives on the outside, a new life force begins to emerge within our souls on the inside.

Tu b’Shevat – Celebrating the Fruits of the Land of Israel
Another reason why Tu b’Shevat is one of my favorite holidays is that it connects us to the fruits of the Land. The Torah singles out Seven Species through which the Land of Israel is praised:

“For Hashem your G-d is bringing you into a good land, a land of streams,
of wellsprings and underground waters that spring out of valleys and
hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates;
a land of olive oil and honey… You shall eat and be full, and you shall bless
Hashem your G-d for the good land that He has given you” (Deuteronomy 8:9–10)

These Species are especially suited to the climate of the Land of Israel and grow abundantly even without additional irrigation. When blessing G*d for our food, the Seven Species take precedence. Even if you currently live outside of the Holy Land, one way to connect yourself to the Land of Israel is by partaking from these Seven Species especially on Tu b’Shevat.

The Tu b’Shvat Seder
The Tu b’Shevat Seder celebrates our yearning to return to the Land of Israel. The students of the Holy Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Luria in the 16th century, Sefad) compiled a Tu b’Shevat Seder somewhat similar to the Seder for Passover. It involves appreciating the fruits of the tree, particularly those native to the Land of Israel. The Tu b’Shevat Seder is based primarily on Kabbalistic sources. Since the order and the contents of the Seder do not follow specific Jewish law, there is much room for flexibility and creativity for each of you to conduct the Seder in your own way.

Practical Guidelines for Conducting a TubShevat Seder
The Tu b’Shevat Fruit Seder facilitates partaking of the fruits of the Land in a mindful way, enjoying their colors, textures and tastes, while praising Hashem for the fruits with intentional blessings. For more than 30 years the special Tu b’Shevat Fruit Seder, which I enjoy with students, family and friends, is the centerpiece of my Tu b’Shevat celebration.

I recommend setting aside at least two hours to run a meaningful Tu b’Shevat Seder with enough time to share and discuss Torah about each of the fruits. Set your Tu b’Shevat table with four fruit platters arranged according to the Four Worlds. You can invite each of the participants to bring one kind of fruit and share insights about it. Be creative! You may decorate your table with fragrant flowers. Include songs and meditations of your choice between each of the sequences. Just as Passover is accompanied by the Hagadah, we have produced a Tu b’Shevat Seder Text, which includes texts with verses from the Bible and passages from the Oral Torah describing the various fruits. I included our beautifully illustrated Tu b’Shevat Hagaddah in my book, The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel where I also included additional teachings about the hidden holiday of Tu b’Shevat.

Try my recipes for

Walnut Olive Dip

Pomegranate Carrot Salad

Raisin Carob Truffles



3 Kinds of Super Bowl Wings


January 26th 2015

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According to the Chicken council of America, American’s eat an average of 1.25 billion chicken wings during the Super Bowl.  What about duck and turkey? We don’t want to see them left out.

So this year consider a new kind of wing.  We have three new recipes and each one uses a different kind of wing, we didn’t leave anyone out.  Whether you want to make regular ol chicken wings or go for something new with duck wings or turkey wings, these recipe will inspire.

Regular chicken wings get a little messier with this mole sauce.  Made in the slow cooker, you can set them and forget them while you prepare for your Super Bowl Party feast.  Here is the full recipe for Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Wings.

Buffalo wings are one of the most common ways to make chicken wings, but it works for Turkey wings too.  The result is a meaty wing with a spicy, finger licking good sauce.  Get the recipe for Turkey Buffalo Wings made with coconut oil and served with the best Non-Dairy Ranch dip.

Duck wings are newer to the scene, they are gamey and require a bit more prep, but if you like duck it is worth it.  You can also feel free to use this coating on chicken or chicken wings, the flavors of peanuts and szechuan peppercorns perfectly match the duck or chicken for a fun game day recipe.

What’s your favorite way to make wings?


/RECIPE/ Kale and Potato Hash with Fried Eggs


January 25th 2015

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This Kale and Potato Hash with Fried Eggs was a lunch saver this week! I needed a last minute meal that would be ready without all too much prep. And this fit the bill perfectly. The potatoes cooked up fast, and I even had time to run out to my cold frame and pick some fresh kale while they cooked. I cleaned the kale and chopped it up just in time to put it into the pan with the potatoes.

I did serve the Hash with two fried eggs each, but then I was serving guys so they have bigger appetites. Here’s a little egg frying tip. To be able to keep them sunny side up without having to flip them (and risk busting the yolk) keep your pan on a low to medium heat. Once you place your egg in the pan season if you wish, and then immediately place a flat lid on top of it. Cook the eggs in this manner until they reach the consistency of your liking. This should help you get an evenly cooked top!

The non-kale lovers of the family even loved this – it’s a great one to get more greens in! One of them commented “This is so delicious that even the kale tasted good!” I did add in the optional spices to make it even more yummy!!!


A Mom’s Guide To Super Bowl


January 23rd 2015

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Have you been waiting patiently on the sidelines as the football fanatics in your life have immersed themselves in a world of ‘touchdowns, red zones and huddles’ for the past 17 weeks? If you’ve been counting down the minutes until the end of the football season – albeit it for slightly different reasons than your other half  – then get ready to celebrate. The big day has arrived; it’s time for Super Bowl Sunday XLIX!

There’s really no escaping the game so why not make a festive evening out of it and host your own Super Bowl party? It’s the perfect opportunity to get together with friends, try out a variety of new recipes and have an entertaining evening in the process.

Here are our top tips for prepping for the event:

  • When it comes to food, Super Bowl is second only to Thanksgiving in terms of calorie consumption. Be prepared for big fans with big appetites! Opt for an easy buffet-style/finger-food menu. Choose foods that will appeal to the adults and kids alike – chicken wings with a variety of sauces, nachos and plenty of dips (see recipe below)*, crudités, a bowl of chili and sliders are all guaranteed crowd pleasers. They are quick to rustle up and you can make a lot in bulk ahead of time too.
  • Although beer is the de rigeur drink to serve at a Super Bowl party, it’s not always everyone’s first choice of drink. Offer an assortment of beverages – a bowl of fruit punch, cocktail/mocktail options and plenty of soda/water. Don’t forget to stock up on ice to keep the drinks cool.
  • Decorate your home with balloons and streamers in the colors of the teams that are playing. Minimize cleanup time and buy disposable plates, tablecloths, utensils and napkins.
  • Make sure you know how many people are planning on attending so you can ensure there’s plenty of seating. No one wants to standing for the duration of the game! If you don’t have enough dining room chairs/folding chairs, lay out throws, blankets and floor cushions so guests can be comfortable on the floor.
For a dairy party try these Mediterranean Lavash Nachos.
For a meat party try these Turkish Lamb Meatballs.

This post is sponsored by Sabra Dipping Company as part of an ongoing partnership.


Kosher Wine for Tu B’Shevat *Giveaway*


January 22nd 2015

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The Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat is one of four “New Years” mentioned in the Mishnah and you don’t have to wait until midnight to start your celebration! Occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, there is a widespread custom to eat foods of the Land of Israel, wheat, barley, grapes, figs and pomegranates, a land of olives and date honey.

In celebration of the grape, we wanted to introduce three special kosher wines from Israel to celebrate Tu B’Shevat:

2010 Shiloh Legend II (Judean Hills); $34. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%),Sangiovese (5%) and Carignan (25%) aged for 16 months in French oak, this red blend is marked by a deep, red dark color with black fruit aromas and a complex bouquet of tobacco, mint and other spices.

2010 Titora Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (Judean Hills); $31. Titora is a boutique winery located in the Modi’in region of the Judean Hills producing a medium to full bodied wine made up of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and 15% Shiraz grapes aged for 18 months.

2013 Barkan Classic Pinot Noir (Negev); $12. The wine is marked by soft, yet palpable tannin, with a fresh almost strawberry aroma with hints of black cherries and mint. Barkan Pinot Noir’s medium body and crisp finish goes well with grilled salmon or veal,

Happy New Year!

*Giveaway* Royal Wine Corp. wants to give you a $150 gift basket!!  Filled with food, wine openers, wine glasses and other wine accessories you will love, Like them on Facebook and then get more options to win below with Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cooking With Joy: Chunky Red Chili


January 22nd 2015

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Over the summer we went to a BBQ festival as a family. We tasted every team’s chili, it was awesome! Our 6 year old loved walking around tasting the different tortilla chips that accompanied every team’s chili, so he was super thrilled to have “Team Mommy’s” chili to taste with chips at home. We were all really looking forward to dinner!

As per the recipe, this was only supposed to take 10 minutes to prep. I didn’t find it that quick at all, between opening the cans and browning the meat, it took more like 25 minutes. One thing that I didn’t understand about this chili was the need for the stew meat. While I am sure it added flavor, it never became soft, even after the 2 hours of cooking.  Next time we make this; I would either use just the ground meat, or maybe add in some brisket instead.

Everything else about the chili we absolutely loved though! The flavors of the cumin, brown sugar, chili powder, red wine vinegar being cooked together for 2 hours made for an incredibly satisfying bowl! We served ours over rice to absorb the sauce, with some chips and guacamole for some added fun. This is a perfect meal to have at the end of a cold day; we will definitely be cooking this again!


Chunky Red Chili page 211
DRESS IT UP Chili Bread Bowls

Note: This blog series, Cooking With Joy, is meant to be a companion to the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller cookbook.  Most of the full recipes are only available in the cookbook.


3 Menus for Tu B’Shevat


January 21st 2015

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Because Tu B’shevat has fallen out on shabbos lately, I can’t seem to remember what it’s like to celebrate it outside of the normal shabbos meal.  I suppose it’s the same really, except that we get two celebratory meals in one week, and double the normal amount of cooking.  To help keep things simple, below are three Tu B’shevat menus that are holiday worthy, but won’t have you slaving away for hours in the kitchen after work.



Seven Species Harvest Chicken


Chilled Mulled Pomegranate Wine with Pomegranate Ice

Shivat HaMinim Salad

Salmon en Croute

Seven Species Harvest Chicken

Brown Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit

Pear Applesauce Cake with Pomegranate Glaze




‘Beefed-Up’ Israeli Salad

Chopped Parsley Beet Salad

Creamy Spinach and Potato Soup

Fig and Onion Galette


Cauliflower with Tahini and Silan

Passion Fruit Cream Cornucopias



Under an Hour

President’s Salad

Honey Sesame Side of Salmon

Pomegranate Chicken

Bulgur with Carrots, Nuts and Dates

Sweet Noodle Kugel

Lemon and Almond Semolina Cake


Check out more Tu B’shevat recipes here!


In the JOK Kitchen with 12-Year-Old “Chopped...


January 21st 2015

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Last fall, 12-year-old Eitan Bernath of Teaneck, New Jersey made headlines as a kosher and Orthodox participant on Food Network’s hit television series, “Chopped“.  Hosted by Ted Allen, contestants have just 30 minutes to plan a three-course gourmet meal for a panel of expert judges that is based on a basket of mystery ingredients.

I ran into Eitan earlier this year walking the floors of Kosherfest with his mother. Showing marketing savvy well beyond his tween years, Eitan gave me his business card and said he would be happy to share his story and a recipe with our online community.  Now that he has done numerous paid cooking demos,  appeared and cooked on the Chabad Telethon (live television), was a guest on Naomi Nachman’s ” Table for Two” radio show and was honored at the Tzivos Hashem “Power of Jewish Children” dinner, it was way past time we had him on Joy of Kosher.

I was immediately impressed with his poise and maturity (as well as his culinary skills) and set up an interview.  Between long hours of day school, Bar Mitzvah lessons and extra-curricular activities, it wasn’t easy for us to find a time to talk, but I finally caught up with him just as he was baking some cookies.

Eitan started cooking when he was 10, and by age 11, he felt he could really take charge in the kitchen and make a full dinner on his own.

I asked Eitan how he got interested in cooking, “First, I want you to know my mom is an amazing chef.  I love her food, but I wanted to try different things that she was not interested in making.  So she suggested I try and so I did.”

Eitan loves Mexican and other ethnic foods. One of his first inspired dishes was Chimichangas, which is basically a fried taco.  Eitan started with simpler meals like Beans For Cheese, where he mixes a can of beans with a can of tomato sauce and wraps it in a tortilla with cheese, a simple dish he found tasted amazing and a family favorite.  He quickly moved on to master many dishes from homemade cheese to General Tso’s.

Eitan clearly has a passion for cooking. While his friends watch football on Sundays, he spends time in the kitchen. Eitan’s mom isn’t ready to hang up her apron quite yet.  Although Eitan cooks a few nights a week when he is able, he hasn’t tackled Shabbat yet. There just isn’t time in a busy 12-year-olds world!

Eitan’s favorite cuisines are Mexican and Indian. He likes spicy foods, but like most home cooks, is able to work with what he has in the refrigerator and pantry. If you asked Eitan to make lunch, you are more likely to get a quick curry than a grilled cheese.

Eitan likes experimenting in the kitchen, especially when he can’t find the ingredients he needs at the local market. He has made the Indian cheese paneer and Queso Fresco, a Mexican soft cheese that is not readily available kosher.

When asked where he sees himself in 10 years, “of course I want to to go to cooing school,” Eitan says, “cooking is not just what we do to get a meal made, it is something I enjoy doing with my time.  If I can cook and make a living at it, then I would say yes!”

Try Eitan’s recipe for Spicy Mexican Deviled Eggs, which he says are a perfect Super Bowl food, although you will more likely find him in the kitchen then in front of the TV come game day, he wanted to come up with something quick and easy that you can eat on the go, “no one like stop sit at a table eating during the game”.   The recipe sounds crazy, but Eitan promises it is really good.

Follow Eitan on Instagram, @chefeitanbernath and maybe you will be lucky to catch Eitan at one of the Passover hotels this year where he will be entertaining all.

Main image is credited to the Food Network, Deviled Egg picture is from Shutterstock.



/RECIPE/ Cold Sesame Carrot Noodle Salad


January 21st 2015

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You can find this uber healthy and very tasty recipe right here.

I made this one with some great expectations – Tamar has some fantastic recipes. And my expectations were not let down! I was nervous part way through though, so make sure to read this post all the way through see what threw me.

I had a lot of fun using my julienne peeler and making veggie noodles. With the first carrot I peeled to a point and then the carrot was too thin which cause my peeler to hit the cutting board. But with the second one I treated my carrot like a square log. I would peel side 1 then turn, peel side 2 then turn, peel side 3 then turn,  peel side 4 and go for another rotation. That way I made my round carrot was turned into a “square log” this meant I ended up with a really small, thin “square log”. Much less excess.

So, what was it that threw me on this recipe. So I had shredded my carrot noodles (which I was very pleased with) and then I moved into dressing mode. And this was all moving along nicely, with the smells of ginger and garlic going on in the kitchen. I added the tahini and the process was still going as expected. That was until I added the soy sauce. Then my dressing seized up, starting to separate, and reminding me of brown gravy. Nervous. I thought that I had ruined it! But I kept plowing through with the directions. I whisked in the water, maybe a little bit more than the recipe called for until it was smooth and creamy. Perfect! So keep following through and yours will turn out great to! Make some, post your pic on instagram, and make sure to hash tag it #coldsesamecarrotnoodlesalad.


A Recipe Inspired By Parshat Bo


January 20th 2015

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At Rosh Hashana, I started a blog, Neesh Noosh: A Jewish Woman’s Year Long Journey to Find Faith in Food. Each week, I create a recipe inspired by the weekly Torah portion and what’s in season at my farmers market.  This week, in Bo, the remaining three plagues—locusts, darkness and the death of first-born sons–are inflicted upon the Egyptians. While Egypt was shrouded in darkness, “all Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings” (Bo, 10: 23).  How, despite the plagues and the continuing hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, did the Israelites live at the precipice of freedom and eventually gain freedom?

The Sefat Emet teaches that “God had already placed in Egypt hidden treasures that Israel had to take out. . . . When they clarified the lights that came out of such a place, they would go on to live [and shine] throughout the generations.” (The Language of Truth, Translated by Arthur Green, pgs 93-94).

Led by Moses, they embodied light and strength for both their liberation and the birth of the nation of Israel.  According to R. Levi, Israel was “no more than a heap of barren rocks. But, after they left Egypt, they became like a flourishing orchard of pomegranates.” (Sefer Ha-aggadah, p.71). The recipe that I created for Bo is inspired by the concept of finding light and strength in darkness, as well as the Israelites transformation.

The dish is made with slivered almonds, beets, black quinoa and pomegranate seeds, served in a narrow dish to represent the constriction of Egypt. Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg expands upon the Sefat Emet’s teaching, explaining, “redemption from Egypt (mitzrayim) is a freeing from the “narrow places,” the meitzraim, the straits of the soul, into an expansiveness in which all potential is realized” (The Particulars of Rapture, p. 197).

The almonds are covered—like hidden treasures in darkness— by beets and black quinoa. The beets are plain—like the barren rocks that the Israelites were in Egypt. The quinoa is topped with a sour, spicy sauce, as a reminder of the bitterness of life in Egypt. One end of the dish is piled with pomegranate seeds to symbolize the Israelites transformation to a “flourishing orchard of pomegranates” after their departure from Egypt.

We each have a duty to fulfill our potential in the world through mitzvot that bring the light of Torah to the darkest places of the world. The Israelites journey from confinement in Egypt can inspire each of us to be lights of righteousness in the face of suffering and affliction today. We flourish, like the Israelites, when we do such acts.

Get my full recipe for Quinoa with Roasted Beets and Pomegranate Seeds and bring a little of Parshat Bo to your Shabbat table.

Photo Credit: Eli Ungar-Sargon


Kosher Chef Wars: Quinoa Style


January 20th 2015

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Quinoa has been gaining popularity over recent years for its grain-like quality and high protein value. It is quite simple to make, and can be prepared like a couscous or rice recipe. Stir-frying quinoa is the ultimate way to add tons of flavor quickly.

We asked two top kosher chefs to share their favorite way to prepare quinoa. Chef Yosef Schwartz of Hassid+Hipster, based in South Florida, shared a new technique in prepping quinoa. Chef David Kolotkin of The Prime Grill shared a savory quinoa pancake.

Vote and Win: Email [email protected] or comment below to tell us your favorite quinoa recipe and vote to crown a winning chef of the Kosher Chef War: Quinoa Style.  One winner will receive a $50 product pack prize from Eden Foods.

You can also submit your own quinoa recipe here and it could be published in a special online post!

Recipe #1:

Tomato Soup with Toasted Red Quinoa

Tomato Soup with Toasted Red Quinoa created by Chef Yosef Schwartz of Hassid+Hipster.

Hassid+Hipster is a unique concept, bringing modern, innovative foods and techniques to the kosher market, holding pop-up events and sandwich markets around the US. Born in Brooklyn and now doing pop-ups in Miami, LA, and Jerusalem. Hassid+Hipster strives to bring the best in kosher dining to cities around the world using both local talent and ingredients.


Recipe #2:

Quinoa Pancakes

Quinoa Pancakes created by  Chef David Kolotkin. This recipe is excerpted from  The Prime Grill Cookbook.

Chef David Kolotkin is the executive chef of Prime Grill Restaurant in NYC. A passionate and innovative cook, he is responsible for revolutionizing kosher cuisine and introducing kosher consumers to a high-quality kosher beef.

Don’t forget to VOTE by emailing [email protected] or commenting below with your choice of who the winner of this chef war should be.  One random voter will win a selection of quinoa and other edible treats valued at $50 from Eden Foods!!

Here is the link again to SUBMIT YOUR FAVOURITE QUINOA RECIPE! Your recipe could be published in a special online post!

Joy of Kosher Late Winter MagazineAs seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Purim (Late Winter) 2015

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/RECIPE/ Fig Walnut Cookies


January 20th 2015

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SCRUMPTIOUS is all I have to say about these cookies! They are a great “adult” cookie, the kids might be hunting for the chocolate chips to no avail. The spice combo is perfect, the cinnamon is nicely warming and the clove comes for a nice background kick.

The ingredients needed for this recipe.

I did deviate slightly from the recipe this week. I ended up substituting the Margarine. I actually don’t own any margarine…. I can’t even remember the last time I had it in fact. I know it could sound ridiculous to some, I can hear it already “how in the world do you keep a kosher kitchen without it?!?!?!” My secret weapon is Coconut oil or Coconut butter. My mainstay though is the coconut oil. I use it in everything from pie crust to, biscuits to, well, these cookies. :)   And they turned out wonderfully. I see the coconut oil as a much healthier alternative to margarine. Just because I keep Kosher does not mean I need to compromise my health. So with the coconut oil I get the best of both worlds.

But enough of my soapbox, you want to know about cookies. Fig Walnut ones to be exact. The recipe is straight forward and easy to follow and did I mention yet, they turned out GREAT! However I did find that I didn’t need to press down the cookies to flatten them when they came out of the oven. They were just fine.

One person that I served them to can’t get enough! Its a cookie that is reminiscent of a Fig Newton, YUM! Thats a little lighter, and the crunch of the walnut  – Mmmm! makes this cookie amazing. You really should try it! Then let me know what you think about it! Don’t forget to take a photo of it to post on instagram – use the hash tag #figwalnutcookie for this recipe.


Week {12} Recipes


January 19th 2015

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This week’s recipe are……………

Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing and Toasted…

Dry Rub Roasted Spare Ribs

Kale and Potato Hash With Fried Egg

Smoky Chicken and Sausage Stew

Green Tea Cookies

Brazilian Style Coconut Truffle Cupcakes

Grapefruit Salad with Candied Pecans and Avocado


Looks very interesting….hmmm maybe I’ll branch out and make something that I wouldn’t normally pick….


Tu B’shevat And The Seven Super Foods of The...


January 19th 2015

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Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar, is observed this year on February 4th, 2015 on the Western calendar. This is the day when trees in the Land of Israel officially wake up from their winter slumber and begin blooming and bearing a new fruit cycle.

In our home we find it especially meaningful to eat something from all of the Shiv’at HaMinim, seven species of the land of Israel – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates – that have a special significance in Judaism.

Tu B’Shevat, a real event in Israel – gets little play around the world. To help get you hungry to celebrate with your family try beloved Israeli Master Chef Tom Franz’s Shivat Haminim inspired recipes.

Watch us make and taste:
Moroccan Frena Bread
Salmon Waldorf Salad with Yogurt Silan Dressing
Yogurt Silan Pancakes with Whipped White Chocolate Ganache and Sheva Minim Fruit Salad

Ooooooh, I am so so sorry and so so sad that you weren’t there with us, at the City of David, under the shade of the olive trees, to taste the bite of heaven that is Tom’s food. But we videoed the entire thing for you. So watch and learn and make your own Shiv’at HaMinim, Tu’BShevat feast for your family this year!