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WND – The Holy Trinity

April 9, 2009

pepper-tops

This week is the intersection of three major religious holidays in Boston. It’s Passover – the first Seder was last night. Easter is this Sunday. And, Tuesday was the opening game at Fenway. Normally I’d feel a little blasphemous comparing these three events, but I was at an annual company meeting on Tuesday that got cut short so that we could all watch the first pitch at Fenway. The company meeting wasn’t actually scheduled to be the same day as the first game of the season – nobody in Boston would be that foolish – but the game got washed out on Monday night, so they had no choice but to cut the company meeting short. I’m pretty sure the option of just not watching the game was never even considered. The Red Sox, incidentally, won that game 5-3, and then made up for it on Wednesday by losing 7-2.

Years when Passover and Easter fall in close proximity always leads to entertaining dichotomies at the grocery store. This past weekend at Wilson Farms matzo, meringues, macaroons and brisket occupied one side of the aisle, while the other side boasted chocolate bunnies, sugar cookies with pastel colored icings, and spiral cut hams.

I contemplated both brisket and ham for Dinner this week. As an aside, why is brisket the traditional thing to serve at Passover? Why isn’t it lamb? For that matter, why is ham a traditional Easter meal in the US? I finally decided against doing a brisket mostly because it seemed like a lot of work, and because I was afraid I’d end up with a ridiculous amount of leftovers. I nixed the ham because while the sample I tried was tasty, if I’m going to do a whole ham and have leftovers for the rest of eternity, it’s going to be a real Virginia ham – dense and salty and just about the best thing in the entire world, particularly if you serve it with biscuits the next morning. I did, however, buy a small cut of ham just for us for dinner one night this week. I plan to serve it with sweet potato latkes for that essential touch of religious syncretism.

Not being Jewish, I don’t celebrate Passover – although like many people who have no religious obligation to eat matzo for eight days every year, I’m quite fond of matzo and look forward to its annual appearance in the grocery store. Possibly this is partially if not mostly because, not being constrained by Passover observances, I can spread my matzo with a thick layer peanut butter. I once asked what the difference between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews was and was told with a perfectly sincerity that it really all came down to whether you ate peanuts during Passover. While this is not in fact the definitive answer on the subject, it’s not any more absurd than the long and storied history of schisms in the Christian Church over how you calculate the date of Easter.

I am Christian, at least by heritage and inclination if not by particularly devout observance, but Easter was never a big deal in our house. Mostly we tended to go on vacation, which did usually involve visiting many many churches, but as informed visitors* not as worshippers. I also don’t worship at the Church of Baseball. I can give you a detailed history of the evolution of Just War Theory and how it’s the ideological underpinning of the Geneva Conventions, but I’m not the go-to person for an explanation of the rules of baseball (or golf, or football, or basketball, or hockey, or really any sport).

If you celebrate Passover, Chag Pesach Sameach**.

If you celebrate Easter, Happy Easter.

If you celebrate the Red Sox, may you not have your hopes crushed this year.

If you celebrate the better weather and the blossoming of the crocuses, Happy Spring.

* Like tourists, but unlikely to say things like, “Look! There are gahgoyles up there” (actually overheard during a visit to Lincoln Cathedral in 1998).

** which I’m really hoping means what I think it means.

Chicken in Spicy Coconut Sauce
Curried Cauliflower
Baby Bok Choi

Chicken in Spicy Coconut Sauce

Recipe previously given: Spicy Coconut Chicken & Liberal Guilt

curry

I made a few alterations to the recipe this go around.

I sautéed the chopped onions/peppers/spices in a drizzle of oil for a few minutes, then I added the coconut milk and other ingredients. Note to self, don’t lean over the pot just as you add onions and chilies to hot oil, your eyes will still be watering hours later.

After I removed the chicken from the sauce, I simmered it for close to an hour until it was reduced to about a quarter of its original volume, and then I added a 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to thicken it to a consistency where it would coat the chicken rather than just being soupy.

When you add corn starch or flour to a sauce to thicken it, don’t add it directly to the pot. Remove 1-2 ladles of the sauce to a small bowl. Add the corn starch/flour to that, whisk until it’s smooth, and then add that back to the pot and stir to combine. If you add the cornstarch/flour directly to the hot sauce in the pot it will clump and you’ll never it to incorporate smoothly.

Note:  I accidentally bought Lite Coconut Milk and since I didn’t want to go back to the grocery store, or waste 3 cans of coconut milk (even lite coconut milk), I used it.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference.  I think maybe the sauce thickens a little more on it’s own with regular coconut milk, but otherwise I couldn’t tell that I wasn’t using the full fat version.  And, if this is something that you worry about lite coconut milk has something like a third of the fat of regular coconut milk.

plate

Curried Cauliflower

Recipe previously given:  Curry Dinner

cauliflower-composite

Baby Bok Choi

Wilson Farms had these beautiful baby bok choi on display this weekend and I couldn’t resist. I cooked them the same way that I cook all dark greens, but instead of chopping the bok choi, I split them lengthwise into halves or quarters (depending on size). I cranked the heat just before adding them to the pan so that they would sear rather than just steam in the pan.

Recipe previously given:  Taking the Easy Way Out

bok-choi-composite

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3 comments

  1. Actually, it was York Minster, but nevermind.


  2. Thank you. I knew Lincoln was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out why.


  3. According to the Conservative movement, peanuts and peanut oil are kosher for Passover now.

    Chag Sameach basically means happy holiday.

    Leftover brisket freezes well, and while it takes a long time to cook, is not really that time consuming past initial prep.



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