Sunday, May 12, 2013

South Park Shavu'os!

ד' לחודש השלישי תשע"ג

This post is dedicated to Eric and Jennifer, two of the nicest, new people I've met in real life in a long time! As they are from Denver, I just HAD to add a "South Park" connection, which pretty easy to do. Happy Shavu'oth!


There is a tradition for us to eat dairy on Shavu'oth, the day on which we received the Torah at Mt. Sinai.

The tradition has been said to stem from not yet having learned the halakhoth (laws) of slaughtering kosher animals, even though we were obligated to them.

Others suggest a connection to the two loaves of bread offered on Shavu'oth. To distinguish between the two, many Jews wash, have a dairy meal, conclude the meal with birkath hamazon (blessings after the meal), wash again, and have meat meal.

Still others, like the Yekkeshe (German) Jews, having only dairy meals on Shavu'oth.

Some vegans even have something "dairy-like," such as something made with hazelnut or cashew "creams," to pay homage to this custom.

The light and fluffy nature of the dairy dishes served on Shavu'oth are often said to be the antitheses of the unleavened matzah eaten on Pesah (Passover), Shavu'oth being the culmination of the redemption process began on Pesah. As we count the Omer through this period, we rise in levels of purity and spirituality, in preparation to receive the Torah. Whereas the matzah, the lehem oni (bread of affliction) represents humility, the light and fluffy, leaven (ie. raised) items eaten on Shavu'oth represent gaivah (pride).

But, isn't pride a negative attribute? Is it not better to be humble, and strive to be so?

Yes. But, some say that there is one exception, the possession of the Torah. Even coveting another's Torah knowledge is said to encourage one to learn Torah, and not hinder it.

But, now for the most important question: What dairy dishes to make for Shavu'oth?

But, of course, being from San Diego, I have usually had something with a Mexican flavor on Shavu'oth. No one said that the dairy dishes had to be sweet, did they? Although I am sure there are those that will tell you that the Torah is sweet, which it is. Nonetheless, dairy Mexican is my general Shavu'oth custom: Dairy, or more specifically "cheesy," and light and fluffy, or perhaps one could say "poofy..." Watch and see!

No, I have yet to try making homemade cheesy poofs, but it is definitely an option for the future.

The last time I tried making one of making one of my favorites, cheese enchiladas, in 1994, and I must say that they were a complete disaster.

Photo Credit: John Sullivan
And so, I will probably stick with my quick and easy quesadilla recipe. Quesadillas should be made with dough filled with cheese, and fried.

The only tortillas I have found in Israel are white flour tortillas, imported from Turkey of all places. One of these days, I would like to try and make tortillas from spelt flour. But until then, if that's what I have to work with, then that's what I have to work with.

Begin frying one tortilla at a time. As soon as it gets soft enough to fold, add your choice of filling. grated Monterey Jack cheese is preferred, but you may have to use whatever yellow cheese you can get a hold of. Freshly grated hot pepper, freshly-grated garlic, sautéed mushrooms, chopped black olive rings, and chopped green onion are only some of the optional ingredients which can be added.

Photo Credit: Paul Goyette
Fold the tortilla over, and continue frying on both sides, until it becomes golden.

Serve with salsa and/or guacamole.

Still want something sweet, but keeping in line with a Mexican theme?

How about buneulo chips and vanilla ice cream?

Bunuelo Chips and Ice Cream
(Photo Credit: Taco Bill, Melbourne)

They are very easy to make. Simply cut tortillas into the shapes you desire, fry in oil on both sides until crisp. Then immediately coat with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Some take the chips and shake them in a paper bag with sugar and cinnamon. Serve with vanilla ice cream. The above photo has honey. I prefer chocolate syrup with this dessert.



Eric said...

Ha ha, Thanks! Fun meeting you too. Chag Sameach.

Batya said...

This post is included in me-ander: Belated Kosher Cooking Carnival, Tammuz, 5773.  Please read, comment and share, thanks.

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