Mark (electrichobbit) wrote,

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'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.

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