Tu B’Av – a holiday of love

Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, is a minor holiday with few customs. In modern times it has become a sort of Jewish Valentine’s Day in Israel. You can read a traditional view of the holiday here.

To add some romance to the day my friend, Faith Kramer, came up with two recipes that are made with roses. Why not give them a try? They will be equally delicious any time of year.

If you would like to try more of Faith Kramer’s recipes you will find them on her site,
http://www.clickblogappetit.com/. Her site features many Jewish recipes so check it for other holiday foods.

These recipes originally appeared in the J-Weekly, which features a food column every week.

Chocolate Rose Berry Cake
Chocolate Rose Berry Cake

Chocolate Rose Berry Cake
Serves 8-12
1/2 cup butter plus extra for pan
10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
6 eggs, divided
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup ground almond flour
1 cup raspberry jam
1/2 to 1 tsp. rose water
3 Tbs. confectioner’s sugar
Whipped cream topping, optional (see below)
Raspberries for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Line bottom with parchment and grease.

Cut 1⁄2 cup butter and chocolate into pieces and melt, stirring occasionally until smooth. Separate four of the eggs and whip whites until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat yolks and remaining eggs with sugar, vanilla, cocoa and almond flour until smooth. Working in batches, fold in chocolate. Gently fold in egg whites in batches. Pour into pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes until top is firm and springs back to the touch. (Cake will be wet inside). Let cool in pan, remove sides, invert on plate and remove bottom of pan and paper.
Stir jam with 1⁄2 tsp. of rose water. Taste. Add more as needed. Once cake is completely cool, use a serrated knife to horizontally cut in half. Spread top of bottom layer with jam, place second layer on top, cut side down. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Spread with whipped cream topping and decorate with raspberries.
Whipped Cream Topping: Whip half-pint heavy cream with 2 Tbs. sugar and 1⁄2 tsp. (or to taste) rose water until soft peaks form.

North African Chicken Sauté
North African Chicken Sauté

My husband has already put dried apricots on his shopping list and is eager to try out Faith’s second recipe.

North African Chicken Sauté
Serves 2-3

2 cups chicken stock, warm
1/2 cup dried apricots
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbs. oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2⁄3 cup 1/4 sliced carrots
2 cups (6 oz.) artichoke hearts (defrosted if frozen)
1 Tbs. crumbled rose petals
1/2 cup chopped mint
Soak apricots in warm stock. Sprinkle chicken with half of salt and pepper. Heat oil in large pan over medium high heat. Brown chicken. Cook until somewhat firm but not cooked through. Set aside.
Sauté onions and garlic until golden. Add remaining salt and pepper and other spices. Sauté briefly. Add carrots. Sauté until carrots begin to soften. Add artichoke hearts. Sauté 2 minutes. Add stock and apricots, bring to and keep at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked and sauce thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in rose petals. Return chicken and juices to pan. Lower heat. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Stir in mint.