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!
What can’t one do with labneh, the soft, creamy, yogurty cheese of the Middle East? Some things you can definitely do: Dip your veggies in it. Spread it on bread. Use it as a “dressing” on a salad of spinach, red onion, and tapenade. Dunk your over-easy eggs in it. Here’s how to make labneh the easy way.
My terrible photos really do not do this one justice! This is my recipe for JVRP Salmon, named for the excavation where I first made this dish. I was looking for something to make for a potluck, but only had access to a barbecue and a small electric hob. Knowing that most people would make meat on the grill, I decided to go for fish, and make use of the magic that is aluminum foil. This dish can be made very quickly if you’re short on time, but two of the more complicated ingredients can be made from scratch, if you are looking to make the whole thing a bit more involved.