Archive for the ‘Condiments’ Category

Aunt Fox’s Hawley Haroseth

5 April 2009

hawley-harosethweb

 
A Note to Readers:
 
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
  
Tinky

 
We’re so used to artificial light that we forget how many traditional holidays are based on the cycles of the sun. Easter and Passover (and just about every spring holiday there is) are examples. Both holidays are tied to the vernal equinox. On that welcome day we finally achieve parity between dark and light and start lurching toward the golden days and gentle evenings of summer.

 

Like the vernal equinox itself, Passover and Easter mix dark and light. That mixture is key to the two festivals. The Jews’ flight from Egypt more than 3000 years ago is meaningless unless one understands the harsh slavery under which the Jewish people served the Pharaohs. The joy of Easter is possible because of the sorrow of Good Friday.

 

As a food writer and food lover I appreciate the centrality of food to both of these holidays, particularly Passover. Passover illustrates the connection we all feel but too seldom articulate between food and memory. Food is used at Passover to symbolize the history the holiday commemorates and to bring people together to remember this shared history.

 

The centerpiece of the holiday is the meal known as the Seder, in which families gather to retell the story of the departure from Egypt. Much of the Seder’s menu is prescribed by tradition, and during the meal the symbolism of each item on the table is explained.

 

A bitter herb (usually horseradish) symbolizes the hardship of the slaves’ life, for example. My personal favorite symbol, Haroseth (also spelled “charoset” and a variety of other ways), is a paste of fruits and nuts. It represents the mortar the Jews used to construct buildings—most famously the pyramids.

 

Many years ago my honorary Aunt Carolyn Fox brought this haroseth to a Seder at our home in Hawley, Massachusetts. Growing up I ate haroseth moistened with wine. As a lover of sweets I was thrilled with her use of grape juice instead. The last time I made it I used crangrape juice, adding a little New England tang to this Passover staple. Next time I’m thinking of using straight cranberry juice…….

 

 

The Haroseth

 

Ingredients:

 

2 tart apples, peeled and cored

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon grape (or crangrape or maybe cranberry) juice

 

Instructions:

 

 

Finely chop the apples and pecans separately; then chop them together to make even smaller pieces. Stir in the cinnamon, honey, and juice.

 

Spoon a bit of haroseth on a piece of matzo for each guest.

Makes 12 small servings.

Liza’s Mustard

19 December 2008

lizas-mustard-web3

          A note to readers: This blog has moved. For new posts as well as copies of the old ones (including this one!), please visit the new IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.  See you in the kitchen……….

          Tinky

          My friend Liza Pyle introduced me to this sweet-and-tart mustard, which I included in my Pudding Hollow Cookbook. It’s lovely as a straight mustard or as a dip for pretzels or vegetables (if you want to dilute the dip, mix the mustard with some mayonnaise). I usually order a large tin of Colman’s Mustard from Avery’s Store in Charlemont, Massachusetts, so I can make several batches to give as gifts. If you want to give the mustard away, just be sure to tell the recipient to keep it in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

4 ounces (about 1–1/4 cups) dry mustard

1 cup herbal vinegar (Liza uses tarragon)

1/4 pound (1 stick) sweet butter, cut into chunks

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 eggs

Instructions:

          Place the mustard in a small non-reactive mixing bowl, and pour the vinegar over it. Do not blend the two at this stage. Cover the mixture, and let it stand overnight.

The next day, have the butter cut and the sugar and salt measured so that they can be grabbed quickly when they are needed. Place the mustard mixture in the top of a double boiler, and mix it with a wire whisk over hot water. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking continuously until they are thoroughly mixed.

          Add the sugar, butter, and salt, and cook over hot water for 5 minutes, whisking. Liza warns against overcooking as the eggs may curdle. It’s better to have slightly runny mustard (it will thickens as it cools anyway) than to risk this.

          Ladle the mustard into hot, clean jars. Cool them slightly; then cover and refrigerate them. The mustard will take a couple of weeks to develop its full flavor and will keep for months thereafter in the fridge. Makes 3 to 4 cups.