This just in: The Spanish Inquisition may have been on the lookout for telltale signs of the Festival of Lights, but they didn’t turn up much. Hanukah wasn’t a big deal in Spain. Hanukah wasn’t a big deal anywhere, really, until American Jews got overwhelmed by Christmas-driven consumerism and decided to put some muscle behind the menorah – which, when you come to think of it, already represents a lot of muscle, otherwise known as the Maccabees. No shrinking violets, they.
This year we’re having to compete with Thanksgiving! Oddly enough, last year I wrote about Sephardic food and Thanksgiving, after one Alan Moskowitz asked me whether I could re-create his Sephardic grandmother’s mysterious chopped liver “stuffing” recipe, which was really an Ashkenazi/Thanksgiving-inspired mina. Despite the funky name, the result is truly delicious and the story is fun. You should check them both out here, and consider putting a Thanksgiving mina on your holiday table, or your day-after-holiday table – especially if you’re ordinarily inclined to add liver to your stuffing, or giblets to your gravy.
But you really want donuts. No – you want fritters. Bimuelos, it’s bimuelos you want, soft, spongy fritters that puff up with air when you cook them, and are light as a feather. Continue reading
Are you in the New York Tri-State area?
Save the date!
Sunday, October 20, 2013
I’m offering one workshop in New York, and I’d love for you to come participate.
In this class we’ll make an Ottoman Sephardic brunch of savory and sweet flavors and luscious textures – a classic desayuno celebrating the fruits of autumn, with some modern twists a la muestra… If you’re new to Sephardic cooking, this is a wonderful introduction.
Regardless of your skill level, the workshops are always informative, delicious, and fun. They’re also very limited in size, so it’s best to reserve your spot early.
I’d love to welcome you! If you’re interested in attending, leave your request below. I’ll send you all the details in a personal email.
The beverages Jews drink to break the fast of Yom Kippur vary among communities, but the majority of them come down to sweetened teas or herbal infusions, sometimes with spice added.
Putting spice in your empty stomach first thing after a 25-hour fast might sound counterintuitive, but many spices have soothing digestive properties. Yom Kippur drinks may contain cinnamon, or cardamom, or herbs like mint and lemon verbena. Other spices valued for their digestive and calming properties include anise, fennel seed, and ginger, and it’s a safe bet someone will be ingesting them somewhere at the close of the holiday.
As a people whose diet is shy of strong spices, Ottoman Sephardim re-awaken the stomach with the mildest of beverages: pepitada, an infusion of crushed melon seeds, steeped several hours in cold water, strained, and sweetened with a little sugar. The drink is in keeping with our custom of beginning meals each day with a melon course, an ancient practice with a sound, healthful logic. Continue reading
Wishing a good and sweet year to one and all – and a joyous one, too.
Filed under Uncategorized