Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy (Tree) New Year!

I just wrote an article about Tu B'Shevat, a holiday which is known as the Jewish Arbor Day and the new year for trees. The date coincides with the blossoming of the first fruit trees in Israel, a fact which is hard to register given how numb my hands are as I type due to the eleven degree windchill that I just walked the dog in.

My Tu B'Shevat menu synthesized Middle Eastern fare, Israeli tree crops, and local, seasonal New England foods. Every dish contained at least one ingredient from a tree, even if it was just cinnamon. For instance, sweet potatoes glazed with palm sugar, naan with carmelized onions, goat cheese and dates, and banana cream pie.

For those of you who object because the banana is not a true tree, don't worry, the pie also had lemon curd. We washed it all down with hard cider and pine tea, both tree products and both locally made/foraged, even now in the dead of winter.

While it might seem strange to celebrate spring in winter, there is a convenient connection for those who wish to find a relevant, tree themed event currently happening in the U.S. Here, Tu B'Shevat also marks the start of maple syrup season.

Coincidence? Yes. See here for the article.

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Laura said...

Gorgeous table...looks like it belongs in another era...a very decadent one!

Unknown said...

I love the idea of Tu B'Shevat, and of your menu. One tiny question mark: naan with caramelized onions? I'm guessing that 'tree-grown' in this case loosely covers the onions, which grow in the earth?

Aaron Kagan said...

The naan counted because it had dates on it as well. The only real cheat was the challah, but you have to have challah.

And Laura, there's nothing stopping this era from being a decadent one, too.

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