Food and Holidays

Many holidays are associated with food. For example, Thanksgiving is paired with turkey; Easter usually means a ham for dinner; New Year’s prompts the bubbly stuff like champagne. At Passover, the Passover Plate has many food symbols that have to do with Jewish history and the reading of the Passover Hagaddah.

Two of the symbolic foods that I enjoy for their taste as well as historical significance are maror, which is horseradish  (usually mixed with beets) and charoset, which is a mixture of fruit, nuts and wine. (The c is silent.) To the left is a photo of fresh horseradish, which I peel and grate and a cooked beet to grate. You can also use a raw beet.
Horseradish Root & Beet

Horseradish is available in jars in the supermarket.  For the passover Seder, purchased morar is labeled Kosher for Passover. The  maror  is the bitter herb, symbolic of the bitterness of my Jewish ancestors enslavement in Egypt and the charoset represents the mortar that my ancestors used to make bricks when they were slaves in Egypt. This year I decided to use them on foods that I made for dinner during Passover. Usually, the horseradish is put on gefilte fish and on matzoh. The fruit & nut mixture is also used on matzah unleavened bread squares), and in one part of the Seder, both are put into a mini-matzah sandwich.

Since I did not plan on using these foods in this way, I don’t have exact measurements. You can also find many different charoset recipes representing Jewish culture in other countries and how the fruits & nuts native to that region are part of the dish. Click on:// The recipes start with Afghani style charoset and ends with a Sephardic style with 7 fruits. My own recipe from growing up is identified in the article as Bukharan or European Style Charoset.

Zesty Asparagus (with Horseradish)

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, grater or mini fod processor, baking pan and serving plate
Prep. Time: 5 minutes for asparagus, 10 minutes for homemade horseradish
Cook. Time: 7-10 minutes for asparagus
Categories: Vegan, GF, no added sugar or salt

18-20 asparagus spears
1-2 Tbl. olive, macadamia or sesame oil
Horseradish to taste
Vinegar for horseradish

1. Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees. Wash the asparagus and snap off the ends, which they do normally. Use woody stems in soup stock.
2. Brush baking pan with 1 Tbl. oil, add asparagus and brush second Tbl. onto the spears.
3. Bake for about 5 minutes or more if the spears are thick.  Place on broil for about 2 minutes to make them crispier. (Optional step)
4. While spears are baking, prepare the horseradish. (Skip this step if you are buying the horseradish.)
a. Peel back the end of the horseradish root and grate about 1/2 cup.
b. Remove skin from beet and grate about 1/4 cup.
c. Place both in small processor and buzz until less coarse.
d. Place horseradish/beet mixture in a small bowl and add a small amount of vinegar to moisten.
5. When asparagus is done, remove from oven and place on a (warm) serving platter. Spoon a small amount of the horseradish mixture on top and serve.  Use fresh horseradish very sparingly as it is very strong!
(Note: I use a cast iron pan that goes from oven to table because it has a companion wooden oval plate that the cast iron fits into. Keeps the asparagus hot longer.)

Stuffed Squash

Utensils: Baking pan, cutting board & knife, serving platter or bowl
Prep. Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook. Time for squash: 45 minutes
Categories: Vegan, GF, no added sugar or salt


one acorn squash
For “stuffing”:
one org. apple
one org. pear
crushed walnuts
sweet wine or grape juice


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash in oven and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds, which can be dried for a snack. Shut oven off and keep squash warm.

2. While the squash is baking, soak raisins in small amount of wine or juice, wash and grate the apple and pear (or two apples), crush the walnuts (or pecans or almonds) and place all in a bowl. Mix well, adding more wine if needed to make it more like a paste.
3. Place a large spoonful of “stuffing” into each half of the squash. Any leftover charoset can be used in granola or yogurt.

Note: some people like a chunky charoset, in which case, you can chop the apple & pear. I like it more paste-like, so I grate them.

Yield: one half squash per person.

Earth Day, Every Day: seasonal, organic produce

(Note: I forgot to post a hint yesterday, so today’s hint does double duty: seasonal food and organic food)

By buying food in season (and grown close to home), we save enormous amounts of transport fuel.
By buying organic produce, Mother Earth does not become saturated with harmful pesticides that are not good for the planet or our bodies.

One Response to “Food and Holidays”

  1. Paula Says:

    Happy Passover!

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