Passover Party Mix

in 3 gold bowls On the next full moon, Monday April 10,  Jewish families, all over the world will gather to hold a Passover Seder. Passover commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt over 3000 years ago, and the formation of the Jewish nation.

The word “seder” means “order” in Hebrew. It refers to the 15 parts of the Seder ritual which are followed in a very specific sequence. In the retelling of the story, the goal is to relive the Exodus, both symbolically and vicariously, with tastes, sounds, sensations and smells. We do this to link our past to our future, to teach the next generation. This is no mean feat and can make for a long night! 

Every family has their own unique customs and traditions. My youngest sister (I have 4) likes to decorate the table  with items that symbolize the 10 plaguesPlastic jumping frogs,  wild animals, cattle, and stale mini marshmallows (plague of hail). One year my mom covered the table in blue, green and purple jelly bellies to represent the River Nile. We have had Cadbury Cream Easter Eggs (much tastier than the roasted egg on the seder plate and the hard boiled egg dipped in saltwater we eat to represent the tears shed by the Israelites in slavery). I fully expect Dark Chocolate Moses this year.

That same sister is fond of making guest appearances at the Seder, dressed in various costumes. Some family members find this humorous. Others do not.Dressup Bunny 2Dressup Mascot 2Dress Up Steph and pigDress Up ProfessorThis year, I’m planning to get the party started by bringing little bags of Passover Party Mix to the table.

Salty, spicy, sweet and addictive. Not normally adjectives associated with a snack that contains matzoh and kosher for passover crispy o’s cereal! But, add mixed nuts, sugar, salt, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and smoked paprika and magic happens.Ready to mixWatch the culinary alchemy occur.

Put them out on the table in little bowls, paper cones or little bags and let everyone munch. I doubt anyone will be offended.in gold bowlIn paper conesbags 2

Click here to print recipe for Passover Party Mix.

 

 

Bahn Mi Bowl

one bowlBánh mì is the Vietnamese word for bread. The origin comes from bánh (bread) and mì (wheat). Over time, because of French colonialism in Vietnam, the term Bánh mì has become synonymous with a baguette sandwich. This is no ordinary sandwich. It represents two cultures coming together to create something glorious.

The French contributed the baguette, mayo, and pork, but the Vietnamese brought the party with the addition of pickled vegetables, cilantro and jalapeño.

The idea for this lightened up version of Báhn mì comes from Amy Rosen in the 2016 Holiday issue of Food and Drink magazine. Replace the baguette with rice noodles and toss everything together in a bowl. I lightened up her version even more by using ground turkey instead of pork in my meatballs.

Start by making a Radish and Carrot Quickle (quick pickle!) with rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt pickled VegCilantro, green onion, garlic and Sriracha sauce are mixed in with ground turkey for the meatballs.making little meatballscooked meatballsSweet, salty, and sour come together in the dressing for this bowl. Lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar are whisked together for a simple sauce.

Fresh cilantro, mint, thinly sliced cucumber and chopped peanuts are sprinkled on top for a fast and healthy dinner. 4 bowls on marble counter 2

Click here to print recipe for Bahn Mi Bowls.

4 bowls on black backdrop

 

 

Spiced Lamb Hand Pies

rectangular pies for dinnerHappy Pi Day! Did you know that March 14 is Pi Day? Somehow a day that honours a mathematical symbol is feted with the baking of a pie. I’m okay with that. I have always loved math. Algebra and geometry made sense to me. Calculus, not so much! I could never understand its application to real life. Here at salt and serenity we’re going to mark the day with a savory little hand pie, made with ground lamb and a combo of spices that will leave you feeling very joyful. SpicesFood that you can eat with your hands is always more fun, and these flaky little pies are as charming as they are delicious. Redolent of Morocco, the scent of cumin, coriander and cinnamon will perfume your kitchen.Round pieRectangular pieI made a dairy-free pastry, using refined coconut oil (refined coconut oil has almost no scent). You could of course use butter if you wish. I added a bit of cornmeal to the all-purpose flour for a bit of a crunch. You could make them rectangular or round. Just make sure to cut a few holes in the top crust so that the steam can escape during baking and they don’t explode.brushing border with egg 1Sautéed onions, frozen peas and corn were added to the filling for a welcome sweet vegetal hit.filling on bottom half 1crimping 1cutting circleslamb vent holesfilling on bottom half 2crimping 2round pies for dinner

Click here to print recipe for Lamb Hand Pies.

wrapped hand piesRound pie broken

Hummingbird Cake

One SliceI made this cake to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday. Sadly, he will have to enjoy this cake vicariously, from his perch in heaven, as he died in 1999. Some may find this a bit macabre, but those who knew my dad understand that enjoying life vicariously, through others, was ingrained in his being. He got great pleasure and joy from other people’s good fortune.one slice 2Hummingbird cake is a classic Southern dessert, with Jamaican roots. The glorious trifecta of banana, pineapple and pecans meld into a moist dense cake that, once filled and frosted with a cream cheese frosting, could drive a sane person just a tad crazy. I added some unsweetened coconut to the batter because, well, coconut! All you coconut haters can leave it out. You won’t hurt my feelings. I used coconut flakes, but for a less chunky texture, you could use shredded coconut.

This cake recipe is adapted from Bobbette and Belle’s recipe for Hummingbird cupcakes.  ready to bakeNo one is quite sure how this cake got it’s moniker. Some theorize that because the cake is so sweet, loaded with sugar and fruit, that it would naturally attract hummingbirds. Others posit that the cake is so delicious, it makes people hum with happiness, like a bird.cakes coolingassembling cake 1assembling cake 2To decorate the cake I used a #8 Wilton tip to pipe a string of “pearls” around the top and bottom of the cake. I tied some gold ribbon around wooden skewers to create little flags and staggered the heights in the cake.cake and milk

Click here to print recipe for Hummingbird Cake.

Two slices

Poppy Seed Hamentashen

bowl of hamentashenThis is the final instalment of my hamentashen treatise (see part 1 and part 2). Today we’re taking it old-school with the classic Poppy Seed Hamentashen. This is the hamentashen I grew up with. This recipe comes from Uri Scheft. These are the most popular hamentashen at Lehamim, his Tel Aviv bakery.All 3 on black trayMake sure you start with very fresh poppy seeds. You’ll need to grind them up a bit. I found that  my spice grinder was perfect for the task. ground poppyseedsThe poppy seeds get cooked down into a paste with some milk, sugar and butter. Lemon zest adds a perfect zing of freshness. making fillingI learned a great trick from Uri for keeping the hamentashen dough from getting soggy. A handful of cake or muffin crumbs absorb any moisture in the filling leading to hamentashen with a nice crisp bottom crust. I didn’t have any cake or muffin crumbs on hand, so I bought a package of 6 inexpensive white cupcakes at the supermarket, scraped off the icing and ground them up in the food processor to make crumbs. I let the crumbs sit out at room temperature for a few hours to let them dry out a bit. Extra crumbs can be stashed in a freezer bag for another day.making filling 2 I found it easiest to fill hamentashen if I first put the filling into a disposable piping bag.3 fillings

Click here to print recipe for Poppy Seed Hamentashen.

on black tray