Beer Sheva is finally on the map.

We just got a branch of Eden Teva – the kosher Israeli equivalent of Whole Foods Market in the US. It’s a gorgeous store and well stocked with healthy and alternative (organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free) foods from around the world. They’ve got hormone-free chicken and beef, fresh fish, dozens of varieties of olives, grains, beans and spices. Their in-store bakery actually makes whole-grain challot without caramel coloring. Among their huge selection of frozen foods, I found cranberries for “Shabbat Thanksgiving”. Not the usual “mini” variety occasionally brought in from Eastern Europe, but big, bright red cranberries from Maine!

Besides the tasty Thanksgiving tradition, there are lots of good reasons to eat cranberries. They contain proanthocyanidins (PACs) and other polyphenols – antioxidants that may benefit everything from heart disease to cancer. Cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections by preventing the growth of E.coli bacteria.

They’re fat-free, low in sodium and high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber.

Since cranberries are naturally tart, the tendency is to add lots of sugar to make them palatable. Just go easy on the sweetener so you don’t overdo the calories.

Here’s my favorite Thanksgiving cranberry recipe:

Cranberry Sauce (Parve)

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or a few slices fresh ginger (optional)

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Bring the maple syrup, water and ginger to a boil. Stir in the cranberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and pop. Let them cool and then refrigerate.

Makes 2 cups

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Thanksgiving Israeli Style

We’re eating pizza for dinner tonight. No, it’s not our new Thanksgiving tradition.

Some of us “old timers” are meeting with a group of English-speaking potential olim. We love sharing our enthusiasm about life in Beer Sheva. And isn’t pizza the easiest when you have a last-minute crowd on a Thursday evening?
Meanwhile, I’ve been cooking for Shabbat. Not all of the kids could make it for dinner, so I turned the menu around to do the Thanksgiving-thing for lunch.
Erev Shabbat
Sourdough multi-grain challah
Glazed carrot soup
Broccoli mushroom quiche
Chocolate cupcakes
Shabbat Lunch

Whole-wheat challah
Cornbread and challah stuffing
Brown and wild rice salad (with lemon vinaigrette and dried cranberries)
Israeli salad
Sweet potato pie
Canned cranberry sauce (procured by my son in Jerusalem)
Happy Thanksgiving and Shabbat Shalom!
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Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Among our extended family, we were the only ones who kept kosher. So my mother always cooked Thanksgiving dinner. A houseful of cousins set up board games, we ran around outside and my mother cooked up a storm.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving any more. Years ago I decided that I wouldn’t cook turkey, or any other elaborate meal, on the day before Erev Shabbat. And Thanksgiving in America is always on Thursday. Now that we live in Israel, we don’t relate to the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving like we used to anyway. We have a barbeque on Yom Ha’atzmaut and celebrate our thanksgiving on Sukkot.

Then November rolls around and I get a little nostalgic for the smells of roast turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Sweet potatoes are abundant and delicious. The chestnuts we brought back from Italy would be perfect in a stuffing. And I’ve got one can of pumpkin from our last trip to the US.

We jokingly call it “Shabbat Thanksgiving”, although the date is dependent on when family and friends can come. My friend in Tel Aviv is cooking turkey dinner for her family in December.

We’ll eat turkey breast and sweet potatoes. A pilaf of brown and wild rice sounds good. I’ll make a salad of baby greens, fresh pears, walnuts and dried cranberries. (I’ve never seen fresh ones in Israel.) If I’m lucky, I may find fresh brussel sprouts this year. I know they’re grown in Israel now, but I’ve only seen them a few times here in Beer Sheva. Pumpkin pie for dessert, and of course fresh baked challah and a good Israeli wine.

Here’s my pumpkin pie recipe. I use Tnuva’s lower-sugar refrigerated soy milk. If your soy milk is sweet, use less sugar in the recipe. For the crust, I use the “No-Roll Whole-Wheat Pie Crust” recipe from my book.

If canned pumpkin isn’t available, use winter squash (d’laat or delorit). It won’t taste like pumpkin, but will still be delicious. Bake or microwave the squash, peel it, remove the seeds and drain off any liquid. Puree it in a food processor and measure a scant two cups for this recipe.

The photo shows whipped topping on the pie. It’s probably cream, which is obviously not an option with a meat meal. Please don’t be tempted to use parve whipped topping. It’s high in either trans or saturated fat, and one of the few foods I suggest avoiding altogether. Just enjoy the pie as is!

Pumpkin Pie (Parve)

¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 ¼ cups soy milk
2 large eggs
Pastry for a single-crust 9” (23cm) pie crust

Prepare the pie crust and set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).

Mix together the sugar, salt and spices in a large bowl. Whisk in the pumpkin, soy milk and eggs. Mix it up well, until it’s smooth. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F (180C) and continue baking for about 45 minutes, until the center of the pie is set. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean.

Let it cool on a rack for at least 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 8

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Chana Rubin, RD

Food for the Soul

Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating
By Chana Rubin, RD

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