Charoset is a sweet, sometimes alcoholic spread or chutney served on Passover. As a ritual food it’s spread on the cracker-like bread substitute called matzo, and meant to symbolize the mortar between the bricks of Egyptian building projects in the story of Exodus. As an Egyptologist I find this topic problematic, but let’s stick to the food: Ashkenazi Jews–those of European ancestry–usually make charoset with chopped apples, walnuts, wine, and raisins, while Sephardic Jews–who trace their ancestry to north Africa, Spain, and the Middle East–make theirs with dates, figs, or apricots, and lots of spices. I much prefer a date base for my charoset, and I recently decided that this spread is far too delicious to make only once a year. I’ve been eating it on toast, and sometimes with a spoon. My recipe adds a New England twist–maple syrup–and the balancing tang of salted almonds.
Clafouti(s) is a French baked custard with fruit that rises to the top during baking. It’s traditionally made with cherries, but I much prefer raspberries, and raspberries go oh so well together with lemon. I’m using Martha Stewart’s Cranberry Clafouti recipe as a base for my own, but I’ve cut out most of the lactose (and also used gluten-free flour, which you can ignore if you’re a wheat-eater). Where Martha uses whole milk and heavy cream, I use soy milk and yogurt. Feel free to sub in your own dairy or non-dairy elements for the ones she and I use!
I’ve had to dial down the title on this one. My friend Sue, on whose recipe I’ve based my own, used to call them “crack muffins.” Well, they certainly are addictive! And they’ll use up some of the root veggies I know many of my friends are inundated with from our market-share. You can use different vegetables if you want, as well as different nuts and dried fruit. These are also vegan, so, hurrah! Thanks, Sue!
Kulfi is a traditional Indian frozen dessert. Today I visited Three Sisters Ice Cream in Providence, RI, where I tasted this treat for the first time. It was so unique–heavy on the cardamom, but very light–and so delicious that I went straight home to try and make the cookie version of it. I upped the spice a bit with some cayenne pepper. Here it is, worked just great on the first try!
Thrice the ginger, thrice as nice! Hefty thanks are in order to my friend Sam and his mom for this exceptional recipe. These cookies are a perfect fall treat, especially with a cup of chai tea or apple cider!
I used to giggle about Chia Pets when someone mentioned chia seeds, but I finally got around to playing with them (the seeds, that is) in the kitchen, and I now consider myself a fan. Chia seeds take on the consistency of tapioca when soaked in a liquid, which means that they can make a gooey dessert out of almost anything. There are about a billion recipes out there for chia seed pudding, and most of them use coconut milk. This is my personal favorite combination, but I encourage you to experiment using other tidbits from the Web.
I was going to call this one “Qualifying Exams Quinoa,” but then I realized that the title wouldn’t be descriptive enough (despite the fact that I have, in fact, just taken my first qualifying exam). But this one’s all about the chocolate.