Below the Mason-Dixon line, black-eyed peas are a traditional dish eaten in honor of the secular New Year. In the South, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day stems from the belief that they are a symbol of "good luck" for various reasons. One of the most interesting reasons given for their "lucky" status (though I cannot vouch for-and highly question- the validity of this account) is that during the Civil War, when Union forces -under the leadership of William Tecumseh Sherman-plundered the Confederate food supply, all they left was black-eyed peas. The Confederate forces considered themselves fortunate to have been left only these peas to eat and survive by and made them a symbol of "luck". However, us Yidden (Jews) have been eating black-eyed peas on the New Year of the world, Rosh Hashana, way before Sherman even ever heard the word 'Atlanta' (by the way-thank you Mr. Sherman: these new modern buildings are just wonderful). According to the tradition of Sephardic Jews, the Aramaic term Rubia refers to black-eyed peas (a legume thought to have it's origins in West and North Africa). As the word rubia sounds a lot like the Hebrew word Yirbu/Ribuyi, meaning "to increase"- it has become the custom amongst Sephardic Jews to treat these black-dotted peas as a "word-play" siman (symbolic Rosh Hashana food) to signify that "our merits should increase". While here in the South we traditionally cook up black-eyed peas by stewing them with onion, garlic, and smoked turkey leg (in place of ham hocks)-turning them into an awesome, earthy hummus is a great way to serve them as part of the simianim Seder-along with the other symbolic foods we traditionally eat on the eve of Rosh Hashana.
Is it my imagination or have teiglach fallen to the wayside? Teiglach, little honey drenched dough-balls, have long been a Rosh Hashana staple in Jewish communities throughout the world, starting with the Jews of Ancient Rome. According to Jewish food historian, Gil Marks (OBM), teiglach's humble beginnings were as an adaptation by the Jews of Italy of a similar confection known as vermiculos (meaning little worms). According to Marks, the tradition to eat teiglach's predecessor fell by the wayside during the Middle Ages (once is enough?) and came back into popularity in 12th century Eastern Europe, living on since. In Spanish-Sephardic circles they are known as pinyonate, taking their name from their Sicilian counterpart, Pignolata. And why is there a tradition to eat teiglach (teigh, being German for dough) on Rosh Hashana? Because they're sweet and drenched in honey to represent a sweet year...why else?! I also think they're round shape symbolizes fullness/completeness, indicating that we should have a complete, accomplished year.
So I'm joining the small, but determined bandwagon to bring teiglach back to the forefront of Jewish culinaria- adding a modern twist by using Honey Ridge Farm's Blood Orange Honey Creme, in place of regular ol' honey -adding a nice bold citrus kick. And while the process may seem intimidating, it really is simple and just takes a little patience- and it's worth it for taste of tradition...right?! its also a lot easier than attempting croquembouche (not happening in the Kosherology kitchen any time soon)...... and to make it even easier, I give you 2 methods of preparation: Baked or Honey-Boiled.
Combine the honey creme, brown sugar, ginger, and nutmeg in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the teiglach and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow the teiglach to rest for 10 minutes. Using a slatted ladle, remove the teiglach from the honey-syrup and place on parchment paper or a well greased surface. To arrange the teiglach, place the balls on top of each other to create a pyramid/cone. Enjoy!
Method 2: This method produces a lighter/airier teiglach
Sift the flour together with the baking powder and salt. Add the oil and eggs and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Add up to 1/2 cup of flour, if necessary. Let the dough rest, covered with wax paper, for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into balls the size of an egg and roll each ball into a long rope 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the ropes into 1/2 inch pieces and roll each piece in the palm of your hand to make it round and smooth.
Preheat oven to 350°F.Combine the honey creme, brown sugar, ginger, and nutmeg in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Drop the pieces of dough into the pot and stir. Cook for 20 minutes over high heat, stirring occasionally, and being careful not to let the syrup boil over. Transfer the pan to the oven (make sure your pan does not have a plastic handle) and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the teiglach are lightly browned- stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven. Using a slatted ladle, remove the teiglach from the honey-syrup and place on parchment paper or a well greased surface. To arrange the teiglach, place the balls on top of each other to create a pyramid/cone. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift the flour together with the baking powder and salt. Add the oil and eggs and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
Add up to 1/2 cup of flour, if necessary. Let the dough rest, covered with wax paper, for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into balls the size of an egg and roll each ball into a long rope 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the ropes into 1/2 inch pieces and roll each piece in the palm of your hand to make it round and smooth.
Place the the ball on a lined/greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or just until the balls are very lightly browned (keep a good eye on them). Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes.
Combine the honey creme, brown sugar, ginger, and nutmeg in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Immediately lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the teiglach and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
There's just something calming about watching teiglach getting boiled in honey .....
Remove from the heat and allow the teiglach to rest for 10 minutes. Using a slatted ladle, remove the teiglach from the honey-syrup and place on parchment paper or a well greased surface. To arrange the teiglach, place the balls on top of each other to create a pyramid/cone. Enjoy!
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The Symbolism of the Pizza
Carrots: "mehren" , in yiddish- can also mean to "increase" : "May our merits increase"
Beets: "silka"-related to the word "siluk", meaning "removal":
"May our enemies/adversaries be removed from upon us"
Pomegranate: This wonderful antioxidant rich fruit is packed with many fruitful seeds- so should our merits be many: "May our merits increase (like) to be as many as the seeds of a pomegranate"
Lamb (Head): The head is seen as the seat of intellect and of the spirit, as opposed to the rest of the body which can be said to drive our more base instincts- we should endeavor to "be like the head, and not like the tail" (i.e. fall prey to our baser instincts)... I'm not putting a lamb head on my pizza- but will settle for KOL Foods lamb bacon!
Leeks: "karsi"- related to the word "Kares", meaning "cut off/destroyed" :
"May our enemies/adversaries be destroyed"
Black-eyed Peas: "Rubia"- related to the "yirbu/rov", meaning to "increase/ a lot" :
"May our merits increase" (Can't have too many merits). *It should be noted that in the Southeastern US (hey, y'all) there is a custom to eat Black-eyed peas on the secular new year as a symbol of increased livelihood, as they represent coin-currency.
- 1 lb. prepared pizza dough (you can buy store-bought or make your own-recipe here)
- Pomegranate-Tomato Sauce (see recipe below)
- .5 lb KOL Foods Hand-cut smoked lamb bacon strips
- 8 oz. Matchstick (shredded) carrots
- 1 leek, sliced into discs
- 2/3 cup (or so) sliced pickled baby beets
- 1 cup prepared (can cook em' or buy em' canned) black-eyed peas
Pomegranate Infused Tomato Sauce
- 6 oz. can of Tomato Paste
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup white sugar
Prepare the tomato sauce by combining the tomato paste, pomegranate juice, and sugar. Stir until well combined and set aside in the refrigerator.
Saute the lamb bacon over a medium-high flame for 8-10 minutes, until the meat is thoroughly cooked and well-browned. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Using the left-over oil (plus some added if needed) ,saute the carrots over medium-high flame for 10 minutes, or until slightly soft. Remove and set aside. Add sliced leeks into the pan and saute over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until translucent. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the beets on a baking pan and roast for 5-8 minutes, until slightly burnt on the edges, and resemble pepperoni.
Roll the pizza dough into a 12-16" round (I made mine 12", but there is enough toppings to make a full 16" if you so desire) and place on a greased pizza pan. Bake the dough in the 450°F oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Spread the pomegranate infused tomato sauce around the top of the pizza. Arrange the toppings starting with the lamb and black-eyed peas, then carrots ("cheese") and beets ("pepperoni", ending with the leeks. Leave over some lamb and black-eyed peas to sprinkle on top for a nice presentation. Return the pizza to the oven and bake 10 minutes- since you will be reheating it on Rosh Hashana you can arrange it and then bake it on the holiday. Enjoy and may the coming year bring everyone much success, happiness, good health, and all good things!
In the late 1950's, after the critical success of The Cat in the Hat, Random House publisher, Bennett Cerf, bet Ted Geisel (more famously known as Dr.Seuss) that he could not write a book using less than 236 different words-as he had with his first book. Setting out to win the bet, Geisel produced the now classic Green Eggs and Ham- which boasts only 55 different words. And like many other American kids of the latter 20th century, I have been intrigued by the idea of eating green eggs for quite a while. However, there were two main factors holding me back from this dream : 1) I can't eat ham, and 2) I do not like to consume food coloring. So what's a kosherologist to do? Treat myself to some of KOL Foods' awesome lamb bacon strips and break out some spinach- we're making green eggs and lamb!.....and yes, while green eggs may look a little intimidating, they taste pretty darn good (if I do say so, myself) and are naturally packed with lots of HEALTHY vitamin A and C, etc. etc.
- 1/4 -1/2 lb. KOL Foods smoked lamb bacon strips
- One 9 oz. package Baby spinach, washed and dried
- 12 Egg whites
- 3 Whole eggs
- 1/3 cup Casa Del Cielo Chardonnay (from kosherwine.com)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 Haas Avocado
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
Slice the lamb bacon strips , while frozen, into bacon like strips (as thin as you can get them). In a lightly greased saucepan, fry the lamb (frylance of the lamb!) until it is thoroughly cooked and lightly crispy, cooking on for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Set aside in a warm place.
In a large saucepan, combine the baby spinach leaves, onion, and Chardonnay and cook over medium flame for 5-8 minutes, or until the spinach is tender and mostly wilted. Transfer the spinach, minus the leftover liquid, to a food processor. Add the cilantro and process until all of the spinach is finely chopped up and resembles pesto sauce. Drain the liquid and add the avocado. Process until well blended. With a fork, beat the spinach mixture into the egg whites, whole eggs- with the salt and pepper- until well incorporated. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the eggs and cook over a low-medium flame, scrambling almost constantly, until the eggs are thoroughly cooked(about 4-7 minutes). Serve with the bacon and enjoy. I will, I will eat green eggs and lamb. I will eat them, Al', I am!
Pair with 3 awesome wines from exclusively from kosherwine.com: Casa Del Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah, Casa Del Cielo Cabernet Sauvignon, or Casa Del Cielo Merlot.