Friday, March 31, 2023

Parshat Shoftim inspiration:

“Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and possess the land the Lord, your God, is giving you.”

Just Ice, huh? That doesn’t sound super appetizing. How about a classic ice dessert made with fresh, end-of-summer fruit? A granita is simply frozen water (or watery fruit), sugar and flavoring. Traditional Sicilian granitas use a little citrus and the icy texture can vary from visibly icy chunks to smooth, semi-frozen sorbet, so make to your preference! These quantities fill my food processor and make about 4 generous servings, so repeat as appropriate for your watermelon and family size!

Watermelon Granita

  • 8 cups of watermelon (about ½ of a typical watermelon), cut into chunks (seedless or with seeds removed*)
  • 2 oz. lime juice (4 Tbsp or the juice of two limes)
  • 1/3 cup sugar

1. Simply add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.

2. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 pan and place in the freezer.

3. Freeze for ~1 hour, then carefully open the freezer without removing the pan, and use a metal spoon to scrape at the frozen top and gently mix it without splashing.

4. Freeze for another hour and repeat the gentle scraping and stirring. Repeat hourly until the desired texture is reached. It will probably take only 3-4 cycles. If you forget it and it is frozen solid, it just takes a little more work to scrape it, or you can break it into chunks and give it a shot buzz in a blender.

5. When serving, give it a final scrape or stir. Any texture between a semi-frozen fruit soup to crystalline ice chunks is traditionally acceptable, so freeze it to your own preference!

*If your watermelon has too many seeds, here is how to remove them for blended recipes in a slightly easier way. Cut the watermelon into chunks. Put it in a blender and quickly blend to a pulp. You should still see larger black seeds in the mixture. Transfer the watermelon to a strainer and push the pulp through the strainer into a bowl.

Parsha Ki Teitzei inspiration:

“You shall not keep in your pouch two different weights, one large and one small. You shall not keep in your house two different ephah measures, one large and one small. Indeed, you shall have a full and honest weight, and a full and honest ephah measure, in order that your days will be prolonged on the land which the Lord, your God, gives you.”

Do I even need to tell you what I made this week? Pound cake seems so obvious. When pound cakes started to be popular, recipes called for a pound of the primary ingredients: flour, eggs, butter, sugar. Over time, people tweaked quantities for improved texture flavor, but basically it remains a satisfyingly simple and honest cake.

This recipe fills two loaf pans or one large bundt pan. Fill the pans to about an inch from the rim and don’t overfill like I did, or else the batter will grip the edge of the pan and be a little concave instead of developing a more picturesque mound. You can halve the recipe for a single loaf pan.


Pound Cake

  • 2 cups margarine at room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups sugar
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Prepare your pans by thoroughly greasing or spraying with a floury baking spray.

2. Beat the margarine until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined, scraping the bowl to make sure it is fully integrated.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, to the mixture, briefly beating after each added egg. Mix in the almond extract.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and briefly mix with a whisk or fork to distribute the baking powder.

5. Change the mixer attachment to a paddle and add ~1 cup of the flour mixture. Mix until integrated. Add the remaining flour and mix until integrated.

6. Pour into your prepared pans and tap gently to distribute the thick batter. Let about an inch remain unfilled, so you may have excess batter.

7. Bake for about 60-65 minutes, until the cake is firm and has a light brown crust.

8. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 10-15 minutes before attempting to remove it from the pan. Serve gorgeously plain, with a simple shake of powdered sugar or a glaze drizzle, or with a simple fruit sauce. In my house, everyone likes it as is!

By Victoria Lupia

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