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חג שמח

It's been a helluva weekend already, and I'm only halfway done. Which is good, because it's been a long time since a holiday (living in Israel makes you understand why the US celebrates MLK day and President's Day in those dark holidayless months of winter).

Thursday night I unsuccessfully tried to get to yoga (apparently, there was a suspicious package in the park near my studio...never forget your backpack anywhere in Israel, as it is considerably more likely to be detonated than returned). This was ok, as it gave me time to focus on my hamantaschen.

For those of you who aren't down with the Old Testament, every year at Purim, we (by we I mean Jews and those who attend Jewish potlucks) make delicious cookies called Hamantaschen (in yiddish, at least - in Hebrew we call them Haman's Ears...maybe that's what the yiddish means too, but I'll be damned if I'm going to learn yiddish). Basically, Haman was this jerk who tried to convince his king to kill all the Jews, Esther was the fetching Jewish lady who convinced him not to, and so we celebrate the holiday by dressing up in costumes and eating cookies. Basically, it's Halloween with a little bit more narrative support.

Anyway, I made an appallingly large batch of hamantaschen, using Epicurious's recipe and my own fillings. The two fillings were passionfruit-basil and apple-fennel-cinnamon. I thought the passionfruit-basil were better, but they looked awful...I think the filling needed to be thickened more.

Passionfruit-Basil Filling
6 ripe passionfruit
1/4 cup fresh basil (finely minced)
1/4 cup sugar
Flour or Cornstarch to thicken

Scoop out the insides of the passionfruit (seeds and all), and mix it with the basil and the sugar. Put it on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it boils. When it does, add the flour and thicken the mixture. I think you probably want to get it to the point where the spoon will stand in it...mine was too thin and melted through the cookies.

2 pie apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 bulb fennel (finnocio)
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
Flour or Cornstarch to thicken
2 tsp cinnamon

Dice the apples and the fennel, add the sugar and water, and heat it over a medium flame to boiling. Thicken it with the cornstarch. Remove from heat and add cinnamon to taste.

I made the fillings and the dough on Thursday because Friday promised to be busy. Since I'd missed yoga on Thursday, I woke up early and caught the 7:30 class...which rocked. Purim is essentially a carnival holiday, and we had a rather carnivelesque class. We ended up doing a lot of inversions (including an assisted headstand to wheel, which is kind of terrifying and awesome at the same time). After that, I met up with some friends to go hiking in the Hanita National Forest. It was a beautiful day for a hike, and I got some great pictures. The highlight of the day, though, was in the playground. They had a giant wooden wheel which spun...while you ran inside of it. If this doesn't sound like the best thing ever to you, I don't know what's wrong with you.

Anyway, we ended up hiking somewhere between 10-15 k, so it was a pretty substantial day. After that, I went home to bake the cookies for the night's potluck. The potluck was also a lot of fun, and I got to play shabbos goy when the power went out...the host keeps the sabbath, so he was unable to light candles (or to impose on anyone else to light a candle) - but if you can find a goy who's willing to light candles...without being asked...it's ok. It's very strange when someone is trying not to ask you to do something.

Anyway, we survived the brief outage, and I headed home (exhausted) soon after. This morning, I woke up and painted my room. You see, when I moved into this place, my room was this hideous yellow color. There are many things I can abide, but I cannot abide yellow. So after a few hours of diligent application, it's now a lovely turquoise. I'm also a lovely turquoise, but one must make sacrifices.

I was planning on being busy painting all day and tomorrow, but apparently it didn't take as long as I'd planned. Maybe I'll go to the beach this afternoon. It's a hard life, kids.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 19th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
That conversation must have been strange, but now you know =) It's good to be needed eh?

Mar. 19th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
I didn't even realize what was going on at the time...I was just like "Oh, sure, I'll light candles." It wasn't even until later that I realized he hadn't actually asked me to light them.
Mar. 19th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the update!

It must be nice to have a goy around to handle things on Saturday. I imagine it feels like having a little evil imp on your shoulder to handle the dirty details so you don't get in trouble with the big man. You don't actually ASK it to do anything, but it handles it all just the same...

And believe me, you don't want to learn Yiddish. If you do, it'll muck up your language skills (in English, Hebrew, and German) for the rest of your life. My great grandmother educated me on quite a bit of it before she passed when I was 8. Leads to some very interesting misunderstandings of the languages.
Mar. 19th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think it would really confuse me...it's just close enough to Hebrew to be dangerous. But then, a lot of words from Yiddish have come into Hebrew, so I can already pick up on some of it.
Mar. 19th, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Sabrina was very amused by your calling of Purim as Halloween with narrative support.

She was also intrigued by your hamentaschen fillings - the ones she made yesterday just have jams (raspberry, apricot, and strawberry) in them.

She was also a little amused by your Shabbos goy tale. I have yet to have that experience myself, though I'm sure it'll happen eventually. Though Sabrina's family isn't *that* observant about work on Shabbos - heck, we have lights and the the tv (to say nothing of my laptop) on right now *on* Shabbos here in Austin.
Mar. 19th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
Wish Sabrina a Hag Sameach from me :)

One of my friends posted on facebook about experimenting with new fillings, and I thought "why the hell not?" I mean, you eat a LOT of hamantaschen in Israel this time of year...everybody's ready for a break.

Though here the normal fillings are poppy seed, prune, and date, so I suppose raspberry would also be pretty outrageous. I have no idea where I would find raspberries, though...
Mar. 20th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the filling recipes, they look very tasty! Now I just need to talk my friend Kasia into making them for me.

And who doesn't love being the hamster in the wheel on a playground?
Mar. 23rd, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
I remember the playground at Ashland park in Ashland, Oregon has one of the hamster wheels. Only been in it once didn;t like it much because a bunch of the guys in our group decided to spin it all at once. I was caught unawares and couldn't keep up.
Apr. 9th, 2011 12:20 pm (UTC)
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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )