Gil Hoffman, the Post's political reporter, visited my office a while ago to share - not the latest political scoop, but an original recipe variation.
"Since the paper printed a recipe for salad using the Seven Species (shivat haminim) a few months ago," he explained enthusiastically, "everyone has been making it and claiming to be creative. I decided to go a step further.
"Why limit the seven species, each delicious in its own right, to something as mundane as salad? Why not put them in beef? The following is my recipe for Shivat Minim Beef, which was a big hit in our succa:
"Make little slits in the top and bottom of a large cut of filet midumeh, also known as faux-filet, false fillet or falsch filet (cut No. 6). Into each slit insert one date. Slather the top of the beef with fig jelly (jam).
"Bake in a 180-190 oven for one hour, covered until just before the end, in a sauce made of a mixture of: 1/4 cup of pomegranate syrup (more, if you're using juice); up to 1/4 cup of red wine, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. wheat berries, and 1/2 can of a fine barley sauce commonly known as beer."
His happy smile seemed to reach all the way back to his palate.
"This is the ultimate Zionist recipe, perfect for any holiday."
WHEN I saw that a supermarket near my home was selling great-quality plum tomatoes - those firm, delicious, elongated ones - for the rock-bottom price of NIS 0.80 a kilo, I naturally filled up a couple of bags.
As I waited in line to pay for them, the woman behind me pointed to the bags, smiled reminiscently and said, "We used to call those 'Dayan tomatoes.'"
I was intrigued. "You mean Moshe Dayan?"
She nodded. "He helped to introduce that particular strain of tomato into the country."
Later at work I ran into one of our layout people, Yehuda Ledgley, preparing a salad in the staff kitchenette. He was cutting up a couple of tomatoes with care and saving the juice, which he told me he would be using to dilute a dressing made of equal parts of tehina and yogurt.
"It's good," he said, "oh, and don't forget to add garlic."
I was gratified to hear this since I've been using tehina as a dressing for ages. In fact, I've come to prefer it to mayonnaise.
TNUVA DOES a very tender and tasty smoked mackerel - a fish that ranks second only to herring in terms of helping to lower cholesterol levels. Avocados are becoming more affordable, and oranges are slowly beginning to make their appearance in produce departments.
With all that in mind, here are two recipes from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook:
PASTA & MACKEREL SALAD
500 gr. pasta shells
salt and black pepper
2 zucchini, sliced
125 gr. French beans, cut in half crosswise
375 gr. peppered smoked mackerel fillets
30 gr. walnut pieces
juice of 1 orange
3 Tbsp. oil (recommended: 2 Tbsp. sunflower and 1 Tbsp. walnut)
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until it is al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again. Meanwhile, cook the zucchini and French beans in another pan of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes until just tender. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.
Peel and segment the oranges and set aside. Remove the skin and any bones from the mackerel, then flake the flesh into large pieces.
Combine the dressing ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Put the pasta, zucchini, beans, orange segments, mackerel and walnut pieces into a large salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss gently so that the fish does not break up.
Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6.
60 gr. pine nuts
280 gr. mixed salad leaves
finely grated zest of one orange
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. walnut oil
1 tsp. caster sugar
salt and pepper
Spread the pine nuts on a baking tray and slide under the grill for 2 minutes.
Put the salad leaves into a large bowl. Peel the oranges, removing the pith, and separate into segments. Halve, stone and peel the avocados. Slice lengthwise and mix with the orange segments and pine nuts.
Combine the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss gently and serve.