Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Easter indulgence

I ended up not leaving Sean's place immediately. Because I was doing several loads of his laundry, I ended up hanging well into the afternoon. Sean had texted that he expected to be back from New York (where he had attended a friend's wedding) around 6PM. I was still at his place at 5:30PM, so I called him and wondered aloud as to whether he'd like to do dinner. He said yes, arrived a little before six (much to the delight of his dog Maqz), and we eventually both decided "fuck it" regarding our respective diets, and ordered a massive mound of Chinese food. In my case, this meant wontons, pan-fried dumplings, and pan-fried noodles with beef, chicken, and seafood. Sean got dumplings, crab Rangoon, and General Tso's chicken.

Both of us were nearly unable to move after we had finished this horrifying carb-fest, and we both considered this weekend a lost cause, dietetically speaking. Sean, to his credit, looks amazingly thinner thanks to his focus on near-daily running and Paleo dieting, although he says he hasn't yet taken up the "minimizing fat wrapped around the internal organs" banner. At a guess, I'd venture that that may be a bit too gung-ho for him. I know it is for me: it's way too early in the weight-loss game for me to focus on my fat-wrapped innards.

Somehow, close to 9PM, I managed to lever myself off Sean's plush living room couch and totter/lumber toward the door. We said our goodbyes; Maqz gave me a final lick, and I was off to the mountains, not at all looking forward to my Monday weigh-in.

But it's not over for me: Monday is an off-day as well, so I'm celebrating my return to the low-carb regime by making charoset, my favorite Passover food. My recipe hasn't varied much over the several years that I've made this dish: raisins, dates, dried apples, figs, peanuts, cashews, honey, ginger, wine (if available), and chili pepper. Charoset represents, for Jews, the mortar slapped between the bricks of the edifices that the ancient Hebrew slaves were forced to build for their Egyptian masters. Its consistency is a reminder of a bitter epoch; its sweetness is a sign of hope for a better future. So: charoset today. I'll have to share the rest of it starting tomorrow, alas, as I won't be able to eat more than an ounce of it at a time.



Elisson said...

"Its consistency is a reminder of a bitter epoch; its sweetness is a sign of hope for a better future." Beautifully said, Kevin.

Your charoset recipe sounds interesting... kind of an amalgam of influences both Ashkenazic (apples, wine) and Sephardic (dates), plus some far-out twists. You won't typically find peanuts in any kind of authentic charoset, but hey, why not? You're inventing something original. Chili pepper!

The Missus makes her charoset from fresh apples (Granny Smith and Pink Lady), sweet kosher wine, cinnamon, and nuts (walnuts, pecans, and/or almonds). I especially like it when she throws in some golden raisins, but I have to ask her - it's not the way Grandma used to make it. I tried a Sephardic recipe one year - dates, honey, et alia - but I did not particularly care for it. It's what you grow up with, after all.

Charoset is emphatically not low-carb, but who cares? I've been eating matzoh like a madman all week, slathering the boards with sweet butter. Gawd, that's tasty.

Kevin Kim said...

Yeah, the chili pepper comes from my memory of the charoset that a Jewish boss of mine shared with me one Passover while at work. I can't remember whether he said it was Syrian or something.

Kevin Kim said...

This page has a bunch of charoset recipes. And you're right: the nuts are mostly almonds and walnuts. I should switch to that in future.

(Persian charoset has cayenne, apparently.)