It’s the Whole Foods paradox: I want to eat healthy, local ingredients—but I can’t afford it. It’s like seeing a fabulous dress at the store, before you turn over the price tag and have to walk away. We’ve all been there. Every time I hold a bag of chia seeds or a carton of hemp milk in my hand, I probably pick it up and put it back 3 or 4 times before I decide that it’s just not in my recently-graduated-college-and-moved-to-the-city budget. But I can’t help it, I love these products. So, what’s a foodie to do?
If you figure it out then please tell me. Living in Park Slope, Brooklyn definitely makes it easier to find these types of ingredients than living in the heart of Harlem where I was before, but it doesn’t make them cheaper. When I feel like I really need it, I’ll treat myself to one of these special omega-3 super foods and believe me, I stretch them as long as they’ll go.
We asked you for your most creative mishloach manot, (edible Purim gifts), recipes and you responded well. (To learn more about this tradition, see this morning’s post We received several hamantashen recipes including ones filled with cheesecake and even brownie bits. There was also the double chocolate hamantashen with chocolate dough and nutella filling — yum!. But our favorite was a recipe that has it’s root in the 1930’s and combines prune and apricot butters, raisins, walnuts and citrus zest. We also like the surprisingly simple recipe for candied ginger we received. Finally, I also share with you my personal recipe for blood orange maple nut granola, which I will be sending to my friends this Purim. Happy cooking and happy Purim.
Forgot to send us your mishloach manot ideas? Tell us about them in the comments.
Hamantaschen from Amy Mates
Amy writes: This recipe was given to me by my mother, taught to her by a kindly neighbor, Mrs. Bailen, on Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side in the 1930’s after her own mother had died and she became the one in charge of all the cooking. We all loved these as kids, and for many years my mom would send delicately wrapped ‘hummies’ to her children across the country, and even to her ‘machatunim’ after I was married. (The original recipe called for cooked pitted prunes, and it took my Great Aunt Bea to tell my mother in the l950’s that in America you can buy a ready made jar of Lekvar and save yourself a lot of work.)
Once upon a time, before Mediterranean food got a facelift and a silent endorsement from the healthfood industry, tahini was a one-trick pony: you made hummus, and then you mixed in some tahini to give the finished dish that je ne sais quoi. Yes? Yes.
These days, tahini is something of a trend. Tahini is showing up everywhere. At Le Pain Quotidien, a French cafe chain, a spicy tahini dipping sauce accompanies the black bean hummus tartine. Mark Bittman, of Minimalist fame, combines tahini with herbs and onions as a coating for his “15-minute herbed fried chicken.” The day tahini met fried chicken was the day it earned its claim of ubiquity.