There was much of all the above in my ecumenical week of December 29th. On Tuesday, Temple Emanu-El offered a free Handel & Hannakkah (their spelling) concert with counter- tenor Anthony Roth Costanza and mezzo- soprano Isabel Leonard together with the Clarion Choir and orchestra playing period instruments no less. Judas Maccabeus, written by Handel five years after he wrote The Messiah, has similarities though this oratorio focuses on the rebellion against King Antiochus that allowed the Jews to reclaim the second temple. The huge sanctuary seats 2500– and almost all the seats were filled.
Friday Emanu-El had a classic Shabbat service enlivened with Hannakuh (my spelling) music and performers from the Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof. The performance, um, service was pretty rousing all around ending with the dreidel song for which one of the cantors donned sunglasses and rocked it.
Saturday I trekked to Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights to see the houses adorned in zillions of lights, total holiday one-upmanship. My express bus was comfy and landed me less than two blocks from my destination. A friend and I walked around gawping and especially liked the more over-the-top homes. Santa riding a polar bear is a new look as was a
display featuring six reindeer—possibly made where the classic legend is ignored or not appreciated. In this display, poor Rudolph didn’t even get a nod.
Sunday was the annual Park Avenue tree lighting with streets blocked off so people could congregate. I thought crowds would be on the sparse side but no, the area was jammed with adults, babies, toddlers and a great many dogs. The event takes place in front of the Brick Church that went mod a few years back with colored lights. I forgot to wear my reindeer antlers but will get them out for Christmas day.
Very bright all around, a great contrast to last year.
Light Oven Baked Salmon
3 Tbls low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls honey
1 Tbls Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic (not in my house)
1 lb salmon filet skin on
Let salmon come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish (or any dish that will hold salmon) with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.
In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, olive oil, honey, Dijon and minced garlic (if using.)
Place salmon, skin side down, in baking dish. Pour about 2/3 of the sauce over the salmon, reserving the rest. Bake for 15 minutes; brush on the remaining sauce. Bake 2-5 minutes more. Test for doneness by sticking knife into thickest part of fish. If flaky, even it a little pink, that’s it.
Serve with dry white wine, sparkling water or pretty much any beverage of your choice. Hum a seasonal song.