Celebrate the age of wisdom with adult fare

Beginning last April, and continuing through the end of the year, many wonderful people in my family and community are celebrating reaching the magical age of 50 — my brother Joshua, who doesn’t look a day over 30 (his words); my good friend Marsha; my husband, Joe, who has maintained his youthfulness beautifully; his best friend Glenn; a couple of my Karen friends (Pell and Kaufman); and a few other friends and family members.

In Judaism, age is respected and revered. We’re not considering 50 to be washed up, ancient or old. In fact, Rabbi Yehudah ben Tema declares in the Talmud that at age 50 an individual is wise enough to give council to others.

“I can’t give any advice. I’m still working on myself.” quipped my friend Marsha Attie, with her usual glowing smile.

My husband the doctor cites strong medical evidence that becoming 50 is better than the alternative. “Every day is a gift. Eat wisely, move a lot, don’t complain, kiss your family.” He rides his bike to work several times a week, about 17 miles, across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Jewish tradition considers birthdays meaningful, a time for reflecting on our lives as Jews. It’s customary to get together with family and friends for a celebration. While celebrating, one should say a prayer of thanks and give tzedakah. My brother Joshua is honoring his birthday with a cocktail party at his photography studio. An amazing chef, Josh loves cooking for others, and will be preparing a delicious feast for his attendees.

Cold Coconut Curry Soup Serves 6-8

4 Tbs. peanut oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
1 1/2 Tbs. curry powder
1 1/2 lbs. carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
3 Tbs. lime juice
Heat the peanut oil in a saucepot and add the shallots, ginger and onion. Add the curry powder and sauté until the vegetables are well coated with the spices and begin to soften. Stir in the salt, carrots and the vegetable or chicken stock. Cover the pot, and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes, until the carrots are very soft. Stir in the coconut milk, and puree the soup until very smooth. Stir in the lime juice and chill the soup for 8 hours. Before serving, taste the soup for salt and acidity—and adjust the seasonings accordingly. The soup may be thinned with a little ice water if desired.

Joshua’s Poke in Martini GlassesServes 8

2 lbs. fresh tuna, cut into small dice
1 cup soy sauce
10 green onions, finely chopped
2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbs. finely chopped macadamia nuts
In a plastic bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Spoon into martini glasses and serve.

Grilled Baby Lamb Chops with Pomegranate GlazeServes 6-8

1 onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup pomegranate juice

1/4 cup red wine
2 Tbs. pomegranate syrup (or molasses)
2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
3 small racks of lamb
Puree all the ingredients (except the lamb) together. Marinate the lamb for at least 12 hours. Remove the lamb from the marinade and bring to room temperature before grilling. Preheat the grill or broiler for 20 minutes. Grill the racks for about 8 minutes per side. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a certified culinary professional. Visit her Web site at www.GoRebecca.com. She can be reached at [email protected].