Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Charoset Bar

The past four years our Sisterhood has organized a Women's Seder.  We are lifted spiritually with learning, song and speakers as we approach the Passover holiday.  The evening also provides new ideas and recipes for us to incorporate into our own seders and the holiday week.  This year we were introduced to the very innovative Charoset bar-an assortment of ingredients to create our very own charoset.  It was a hit!  The charoset bar had suggestions of ingredients to mix that would resemble Italian charoset, Moroccan Charoset, and Egyptian Charoset just to name a few.  We created our own small samplings of charoset and compared our special mix with others.

I approached the Charoset bar excited to experiment, but hesitant to implement the idea. Every year I prepare the same menu, reluctant to steer away from tradition. I have two considerations when adding to the seder meal. First, I can't change my timing. Over the years, I perfected the dance that I  have with my small oven and a lot of guests. 
Second, food expectations and traditions. We all enjoy and associate a particular food with specific celebrations. I hesitate to change or eliminate a family /guest favorite.  Currently, I prepare the traditional Ashkenazic Charoset, one with nuts and one without.  Adding the Charoset bar allows everyone to make the traditional charoset or do some culinary experimenting.  Also, the timing of my seder should not be affected. So, I am trying itout this year. Who knows maybe the new traditional charoset will be created this Passover.

If you want to create your own charoset bar, here are some suggested ingredients (all are chopped or sliced):

Apricot (dried)
Lemons and oranges (for juicing)
Ginger, ground
Matzah Meal

Happy Passover!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy and Delicious Macaroons for Passover

Passover is fast approaching. Are you ready? Of course your house is clean, and your menus and shopping lists are ready. Or you are almost ready. Maybe you are still deciding what to serve for dessert at your seder, or what to bring for dessert if you are going to a seder at someone else’s house. Before you buy that can of macaroons in the grocery store, try making your own coconut macaroons. They are so delicious and easy that you will be wondering why you ever bought macaroons in the can. Here is the recipe for Chocolate Macaroons from page 51 of California Kosher. I have added some extra instructions for those of you who want coconut macaroons without the chocolate.


Chocolate Macaroons (Pareve)

One 6 oz package semisweet chocolate chips (pareve)
2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
One 8 oz package coconut (2 2/3 cups, lightly packed) (I have found that shredded coconut works best)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Cool. Beat egg whites until stiff; gradually add salt and sugar. Beat well after each addition. Fold in melted chocolate. Fold in coconut and vanilla. Drop dough by teaspoonful on ungreased, foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake one pan of cookies at a time. Bake exactly 13 minutes in preheated 325 degree oven. Cool cookies completely before lifting them off the foil. Makes 3-4 dozen.

If you want coconut macaroons without the chocolate, leave it out and change the sugar to ¾ cup and the coconut to 2 1/2 cups. Bake these for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until light brown.