Since moving to Newport, I’ve been missing a lot of things about Portland. Not surprising, because Portland is awesome and perfect and weird and magical. But most of the things were Portland-isms I had predicted I’d miss – food carts, coffee shops, young people, Powell’s, etc. What I didn’t quite realize I would be missing in Newport is any sort of a Jewish community. The funny thing is that I’m about to start a new position at a Jewish summer camp in Lincoln City (25 miles up the coast), so I’ll be around some fellow Jewfro-ers soon enough. Still, every now and then I find myself wishing there was a Jewish group in town that I could share challah with or join for dreidel-playing tournaments (please tell me those exist).
In the meantime, with Passover beginning on Monday, I figured the best way for me to feel at home was to make some traditional Passover food! Starting with charoset: a mixture of apples, cinnamon, and super sweet Passover wine that is supposed to symbolize the mortar used by the enslaved Israelites in ancient Egypt.
Some people make their charoset in a food processor to make it into a mortar-like paste, but I went with a…chunkier…appearance for mine. Growing up, my favorite part of the Passover seder was when we were supposed to make “sandwiches” out of matzo and charoset. Technically, the sandwich is supposed to include “maror” (horseradish) to symbolize the bitterness of slavery, but what kid is going to voluntarily taint their delicious sandwich with horseradish?! Maybe I was just a bad Jewish kid. Whoops.
Anyway, charoset is pretty tasty all by itself and you don’t have to celebrate Passover to enjoy it!
Give it a try, and who knows, maybe soon you’ll be eating gefilte fish and chopped liver. With a side of horseradish of course.
- 3 large apples, peeled and diced
- Juice from 1 lemon, or 2 tbsp bottled lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt, about 1/8 tsp
- 2 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup sweet wine (i.e. Manischewitz kosher wine)
- Optional: raisins, nuts
- Begin by peeling and dicing your apples. I used 2 Jazz apples and 1 Fuji….because that’s what I had! Use whatever you like.
- Put diced apples into a mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Add the rest of ingredients except for the optional add-ins, and stir. That’s it! The flavors mix better after it sits for a couple hours in the fridge. Add raisins and nuts just before serving, if desired.