Sunday, November 21, 2010

Interpreting Dreams - Parshat Vayeshev

Joseph gets his start interpreting dreams way before another famous Jew capitalizes on the skill. Sigmund Freud would have had a field day with the two dreams that Joseph dreams in this week's portion, Parshat Vayeshev, as well as the two dreams that he interprets for some new found friends. But what matters more is what Joseph thought of them.

As we talked about last year, Joseph - the son whom Rachel had yearned for so long, turns out to be a real brat. He's always following after his brothers to report if they fell out of line, and he clearly thinks himself better than the rest of the brood. This comes through in two dreams that Joseph has in the portion - and while he doesn't explicitly share his interpretations, their meanings are obvious to his family. In his first dream Joseph and his brothers were binding sheaves of wheat when Joseph's sheaf stood up on its own and the others gathered around and bowed to his.

"Do you mean to reign over us?" his brothers exclaimed on hearing his dream. Without answering he continues to tell them about another dream - this time the sun, moon and eleven stars were bowing down to Joseph. Now his father is the one to get annoyed "What is this dream? Are your mother and brothers and I going to bow to you?" Again we get no answer from Joseph, and the dream sharing leads to his brothers plot to kill Joseph.

When that plot goes awry and Joseph ends up in an Egyptian jail he meets two men whose dreams he interprets. First, a sommelier tells him that he saw a vine in front of him with three branches, that rapidly sprouted grapes, and he pressed them into Pharoh's cup. Joseph explains that the dream means in three days Pharoh will pardon the sommelier and give his job back. Next, a baker tells that in his dream there were three open baskets of baked goods on his head and birds were eating from the top one. Joseph explains that the three baskets represented three days, in which time Pharoh will behead him.

Indeed, the interpretations of these dreams do come true, as do the first dreams that Joseph shared. In homage to Joseph's dreaming and his ability to interpret the dreams of others I've got a savory dish of sun chokes sauteed with sun dried tomatoes and yellow peppers, reminiscent of the sun in his dream that bows down to Joseph's star.


I hope everyone has a very happy turkey day. This year Sam and I are celebrating just the two of us in Cambridge, and we're keeping it simple. I bought a 7.5lb turkey for $11 (I'm so proud of that deal) which I'll smother in fake butter and stuff with herbs, lemon and onion. To go along with that I'll be making my mother's stuffing with roasted chestnuts, celery and challah (the recipe is below) and trying out a new cranberry relish recipe upon Sam's request - cranberry salsa with cilantro and pepitas that appeared in this month's bon appetit.

Sauteed Sun Choke, Yellow Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 yellow peppers, seeded and sliced
5 small sun chokes, peeled and sliced
5 sun dried tomatoes chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a medium pan, heat olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and sun dried tomatoes and stir for 3 minutes. Then add the yellow peppers and sun chokes and saute for five minutes more. The sun chokes will be crunchy and sweet and the garlic, onion, pepper combo will be soft and rich in your mouth.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

1 loaf of 5 day old challah
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, washed and chopped
1 cup chestnuts, roasted, peeled and chopped
1 egg
2 cup stock
2 tbsp poultry seasoning

Slice the challah and toast in a warm oven for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Let the slices cool a bit and then cube them and toss them into a bowl.

Saute the onion and celery until the onions become translucent. Add to the bowl of bread cubes. Add the shelled roasted chestnuts and season it all with slat and pepper.

Mix the poultry seasoning with the stock and slowly pour over the bread cubes and vegetables. Beat the egg and pour that over as well ans then stir it all together.

Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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