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.
Greetings from Egypt, where I’m on the tail-end of a very long research trip–one that has, unfortunately, made it pretty hard to cook things for myself. But lo! Here’s a quick and unique way to prepare a tuna salad. Habibi (darling).
Coronation chicken was invented in 1953 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth. It’s a flavorful salad with a heavy Indian influence. I recently threw a high-tea themed baby shower for a friend whose pregnancy has made her detest chicken, so I decided to give it a go with eggs, and it turned out quite well!
Chraimi is a Sephardic dish I’ve had at my aunt and uncle’s house on the occasion of many Jewish holidays. It’s a garlicky, tomatoey paste for spreading on your favorite protein. It works best on fish–especially salmon and tilapia, which I’ve used here–but I’ve also done this with tofu, and I’m sure you could use chicken as well. Thanks to my cousin Sharonie for the recipe. I’ve been eating this at her house for years, and always wondered how to make it!
Do you like red bell peppers? Do you have said peppers in your kitchen right now? GO FORTH AND DIP!