Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hamantaschen and Empanadas

This Wednesday night through Thursday is the Jewish holiday of Purim. It celebrates the deliverance of the Jews of Persia from a Nazi-like individual called Haman, during the reign of Xerxes. The hero is a woman called Esther, or as we say in Hebrew, Hadassah. The story is basically that Esther's uncle Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, a government official, because Jews bow to no-one not even God. Haman in response decided to have all the Jews of Persia murdered. The  Scroll of Esther says the number was to be 75,000. Through Esther's intervention with her husband Xerxes (Ahashverous), the Jews of Persia were spared and it was Haman who ended up being executed.

As with all holidays there are foods that go along with the celebration and the favorite one at Purim is a three cornered cookie called hamantaschen. Traditionally these cookies are filled with poppy or prune, but modern bakers fill the cookie with anything they want. My favorite is apricot or raspberry jelly.  Go HERE for a traditional recipe from epicurious. You can also go to The Shiksa in the Kitchen for a terrific hamantaschen recipe as well.

I have even heard of some people making hamantaschen into a savory dish (quite a unique twist), and filling the cookie with meats ala an empanada. Go HERE for a traditional empanada recipe from epicurious. Yes I know this particular recipe includes chorizo sausage, and no I wouldn't put it past some of my fellow Jews to put pork sausage in their hamantaschen. Yeah, I know, Jewish offspring always challenging the power-base, the status-quo and of course finding ways to make their parents crazy.

After all being stiff-necked stubborn pains in the tuchas is what Purim is really all about anyway, so our kindalach are just following tradition. Just ask Mordecai and Esther.

Qi en Pace,


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