As a lifelong apple and cinnamon addict, my secret favorite part of the Passover meal was always Charoset, the sweet and sticky finely chopped apple and nut mixture served on the Passover Seder Plate.
To me, it was like chunky apple butter on steroids, like the best applesauce EVER, like the inside of a cinnamony apple pie, and like the best thing on the plate.
When I began dating (and then married) a Jewish man and accompanied him to family holiday dinners, I learned that the color and texture of charoset, (aka haroset or charoses) was meant to represent the mortar or mud the Israelites used to make bricks while they were slaves in Egypt. Deep meaning for food, right there on the plate.
Depending on your heritage, charoset might be more like a paste or a dip, or a chunky fruit-and nut salad, and it might have apples, walnuts, cinnamon, sweet wine and honey, or raisins, figs, dates and apricots or pears. Pomegranates, grapes, date syrup and saffron might also make an appearance, depending on where your people are from.
So when I saw a recipe for Charoset Salad in the lively new cookbook “Perfect for Pesach: Passover Recipes You’ll Want to Make All Year,” by Naomi Nachman (2017; Artscroll/Shaar Press; $29.99), I stood up and saluted.
Here was my longed-for, California-style interpretation of the tradition, a saladized version, all ready for prime time!
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The author, a chef, caterer and radio show host, has her oven mitts on the modern pulse of the home kitchen, with creative flavor combos and traditional dishes updated to today. She shares popular recipes from more than 20 years of cooking and catering for Passover. And she wants you to cook these dishes all year long, not just for the holiday week.
Each of the more than 125 delicious recipes features a beautifully photographed picture by kosher blogger and cookbook author Miriam Pascal. In addition, Naomi provides numerous Cook’s Tips culled from her years of professional experience. She also includes Freezer Tips, Prep Ahead, How-to information, and recommendations for basic kitchen equipment.
Check out a couple of her delicious looking creations from the book
Maple Glazed Rack of Ribs
Mock Sesame Noodles
And for any cooks in the family, this book would make a wonderful gift. It might be a welcome new tradition to start a collection of Passover-friendly cookbooks, to spark your family’s celebrations.
Coming up: Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake with Coffee Glaze
Stay tuned to ShockD in coming days for her Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake with Coffee Glaze. Best friends chocolate and coffee…you’ll want it. The salad and then the cake…can I call that my dinner?
Disclosure: The publisher sent a copy of the book for review.