By Miriam Herst
If you’re having trouble resisting gummy worms, know that you’re not alone. While most Shabbat tables are full of a range of foods that include healthy options, there are also often treats and desserts that you may feel hesitant about indulging in. At a table full of guests there’s bound to be someone who brought a tray of candy as a hostess gift.
If you’re looking for an easy, delicious and healthier alternative to a classic candy tray, you’ll want to consider bringing Melissa Kelly’s Rosemary Almonds the next time you’re a Shabbat guest. This recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser – so much so that when paying a Shiva call recently, Jill was pleasantly surprised to hear the mourner himself ask for his own batch of her now famous Rosemary Almonds.
In the book of Bamidbar, the Torah describes that the staff of Aaron blossomed and yielded almonds to indicate that God chose Aaron to serve as the High Priest.
“And it came to pass, that on the following day, Moses went into the Tent of the Testimony [where he had left the rods] and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted, and brought forth buds, and blossomed, and yielded almonds.” (Num. 17:23)
Our Sages teach that almonds are distinctive in that it takes them only 21 days to ripen, and they ripen faster than any other produce. God’s kindness and blessings come to us at the same quick pace and in the same zealous nature as almonds ripen.
Almonds are known for a range of health benefits and include healthy fats, protein and vitamin E. If you’re working to stay conscious of your high blood pressure, hoping to lower your cholesterol or are in search of foods that promote weight loss, almonds are the snack for you.
The health benefits and the symbolic free flow of blessings that almonds represent in the Torah make them the ideal snack and a perfect Shabbat meal dessert. Whether you’re hosting a Shabbat meal or looking for the perfect hostess gift, Rosemary Almonds are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Melissa Kelly’s Rosemary Almonds
1 quart almonds, shelled but not peeled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
Place almonds on a baking tray and put in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until they are toasted (but not brown).
Meanwhile, combine rest of ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the hot, toasted almonds and toss. Adjust seasonings and allow to cool.
By Miriam Herst