Tu BiShvat (Hebrew for the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat) is the new year of the trees.
About four miles into the island of Rhodes, I found a converted farmhouse nestled in the mountains, where I was served this eggplant dish.
What better way is there to relax on a hot summer’s night than with a cheese board, wine jelly (a wonderfully sweet counterfoil to strong and earthy blue-veined or chevre cheeses), and a good bottle of wine (preferably from the wine country in northern Israel)?
This recipe was created in 2005 in celebration of the 350th anniversary of Jews in America – inspired by gardening techniques practiced in Plymouth, MA.
Strawberries grew wild in North America. Native Americans brought baskets of these berries to the new settlers. Although in the 1600s berries were used mostly in pies, pastries, and jams, the berry in this salad is a wonderful addition.
Almond cultivation was among the primary occupations of Mediterranean Jews, and it was the Spanish Jews who first replaced flour with ground almonds in baking their tortas.
On Tu BiSh'vat it is customary to eat foods from these seven species: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.
This recipe is more nutritious than typical risotto and has that same risotto consistency, plus the natural starch in the barley grain adds creaminess to the dish. The use of saffron mimics the classic Risotto Milanese, which some connect to the Venetian Jewish community.