My grandmother used to say that a man is the head of the house, but his wife is a neck:where the neck turns, the head looks. This week’s Torah reading is one of my favorite because in it we read how Sarah asked Abraham to do something, he didn’t really like it, and G-d Himself told him in no uncertain terms,”Listen to your wife!” I remind my husband about this dictum any time he, as the head, tries to turn away from his neck.
Preceding this event by a few years, Abraham had an unbelievable visit of the three angels. He was sitting by his tent in the dessert when suddenly he saw three distinguished-looking strangers. Even though he wasn’t feeling well (the angels had been sent specifically on a healing mission), he got up and ran to greet them and invite them to break bread. Of course, it wasn’t just bread, or, in this case, Matzah, as it was Passover. Sarah served milk and freshly churned butter for appetizers; meanwhile, a lamb was slaughtered and a full meal hastily prepared. Even though Abraham had immediately sent a lad to get that lamb business done, Sarah, his wife, knew how to run a kosher kitchen. She would not allow dairy and meat dishes to be served together!
Fortunately, I have not had this problem for years, since, unfortunately, dairy products declared boycott against my health. My husband doesn’t care one way or another, but both of us, as well as guests, still like to schmear something on that delicious challah on Shabbos.
With all due respect to Julia Child, I prefer to use Smart Balance, the light version of it. It is gluten free, which is important to us, and it is plant-based certified vegan. Since some of out friends are vegan, I always try to accommodate their needs.
Inasmuch as I like Smart Balance for cooking and baking, it doesn’t really taste all that great spread on a slice of bread. Since herbed and spiced butters have been popular for some time, I have created my own NOT butter version. Our herb of choice is cilantro, but feel free to use any herb you prefer. Garlic is a must, as well as fresh ground pepper, and just a pinch of salt. If you like it hot, add some chili or jalapeno peppers. It will all get pulverized and whipped together anyway!
Make sure your NOT butter is soft but not melted. Throw it into a food processor or blender, together with chopped garlic and roughly chopped herbs, add salt and pepper, and press the button. Pulse it until you get a very well blended, fluffy and airy mass. While it is whirling, you can entertain the kids by watching the cutest Milne’s poem made into a cartoon, The King’s Breakfast.
Sometimes we tend to forget that Alan Alexander Milne had written some other wonderful poems, besides Winnie the Pooh!
Meanwhile, your herbed and spicy NOT butter is ready. Garnish it with sprigs of the same herb that had gone into it and dazzle your guests!
- 1 cup Smart Balance or non-dairy butter substitute of your choice
- 4 – 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
- Large handful of fresh herbs of your choice (cilantro, dill, thyme, rosemary, etc.), roughly chopped, and more for garnishing
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Optional chili or jalapeno pepper, chopped
- Place all ingredients into food processor, pulse until thoroughly blended and airy.
- Garnish with springs of herb used. Serve chilled.