Cook | Lag BOmer recipes are rich in tradition

Sunday, April 28 is Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day and a respite in the counting of the Omer, the period of semi-mourning between the second night of Passover and the night before Shavout, the giving of Torah. It is traditionally the time between the barley and wheat harvests and has other food associations.

One tradition says it is the day the manna first fell from heaven. Manna was said to resemble coriander seed, which is featured in the short rib recipe.

Lag B’Omer marked the end of the plague that killed 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph. One of his remaining students was Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. He hid from the Romans in a cave for 13 years, kept alive by a carob tree. The cupcake recipe below contains two forms of carob.

Lemon-Ginger Barley Water comes from the tradition of those in need of miracles bringing beverages to share at Rabbi Shimon’s burial site on Lag B’Omer, the anniversary of his death.


Short Ribs with Coriander

Serves 4

1 cup chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1⁄2-inch-square peeled ginger root, chopped

1⁄4 tsp. salt

1⁄8 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄2 tsp. ground cardamom

1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander

1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. minced lemon zest

4 Tbs. oil, divided

4 large beef short ribs on bone (about 31⁄2 lbs.)

141⁄2 oz. can of diced tomatoes, with juice

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup coconut milk

Combine onion, garlic, ginger, salt, black pepper, cardamom, coriander, cayenne, lemon zest and 2 Tbs. of oil in jar of a blender. Process into a paste. Place meat on plate. Rub with paste. Marinate 1 hour.

Heat remaining oil in large, deep sauté pan over medium high heat. Brown short ribs on all sides. Add tomatoes with liquid, stock, coconut milk and any marinade that may have remained on plate. Stir up browned bits from bottom of pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to keep at simmer. Turn meat and stir sauce occasionally. Cook covered for 2-4 hours until meat is very tender (add additional stock if needed). Taste sauce and correct seasoning. If desired, slice meat from bone before serving.


Double Carob Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

2 cups flour

11⁄2 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1⁄2 tsp. baking soda

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon

1⁄2 cup carob powder

1⁄2 cup oil

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups plain, unflavored soy milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup carob chips

marshmallow cream or fluff (store-bought)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-hole muffin tin with paper liners. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon and carob powder. In another bowl, mix oil, vanilla, soy milk and eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mixing until smooth. Mix in chips. Fill liners. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Spread marshmallow cream on top of cooled cupcakes. Broil until topping is just browned.


Lemon-Ginger Barley Water

Makes 3 cups

1 qt. water

1⁄2 cup pearled barley

3 Tbs. sugar, or to taste

1-inch-square peeled ginger root, sliced thinly

1 medium lemon, scrubbed

Bring water and barley to a boil over medium heat. Add ginger root and sugar. Cover and lower heat. Simmer 30 minutes. Take off heat. Peel and chop lemon peel (yellow part only). Add to pot. Cover and let sit 20 minutes. Strain into container, pressing down on solids to remove all the liquid. Discard solids. Juice lemon and combine juice with barley water. Taste and stir in more sugar if desired. Chill. Serve over ice.

Faith Kramer
is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs at Contact her at

Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at Contact Faith at