Purim Is Coming — 5772 (2012)
Happy Rosh Chodesh Adar (today is the first day of the Jewish month of Adar. The first day of the month is considered a minor holiday, and there are special prayers, observances and traditions. Adar is an especially happy month, since the holiday of Purim takes place in Adar, and Purim is one of my favorite holidays. Think Halloween, Mardi Gras and spring break all rolled into one amazing holiday!
I have some amazing and some not so amazing memories of Purims past. There was the Purim in the 11th grade where four of us dressed up as the rock group Kiss. This wouldn’t be so outlandish, except for the fact that this was a very religious all-girls high school. What was totally surreal was that we got the hair and make-up right, but the costumes were a bit off. Instead of skin-tight body suits and 10-inch platform heels we wore dark shirts and denim skirts, probably with argyle socks and clogs. But it’s the thought that counts. I couldn’t seem to find any pictures from that fateful Purim party, maybe someone in the alumi has one or two (Karen? Suz? Debza?)
Then there was the Purim when I was 19 and I was set up on my first and last blind date. It was a Jewish singles dance at the Copacabana (yes, THAT Copa, cue the Barry Manilow song). I wasn’t looking for love, but my friend Chani thought it was a sin to be dateless on Purim night (I guess this is the Jewish equivalent of having that special someone on New Year’s Eve) and set me up with some guy. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember he had the biggest Jewfro in existence, even for 1982. We got along… um… actually, we didn’t. It was intense dislike at first sight. He took one look at my Bohemian outfit (I used to dress like a gypsy back then, I thought I was such an artsy-fartsy dancer type) and looked down his preppy nose at me. We ignored each other for the rest of the evening. Thankfully, Jewish single dances being what they were back in the 80s, all the girls just danced with each other. Chani didn’t seem to be too upset her matchmaking didn’t pay off. So she didn’t get to dance at my wedding to Jewfro Bro, we danced plenty at the Copa. BTW, as a coda to this story, the Copa closed down in 2007. “Now it’s a disco, but not for Lola…” nor for anyone else for that matter.
Then there was that most horrible Purim, when my Chapter One blew up into a million little hamentash crumbs. I was actually cooking for Purim seuda (the Purim feast) when life just came crashing down. It’s not really a story I want to repeat, but let’s just say it resulted in me becoming happily divorced (a state of being that didn’t last long thanks to Ju-Boy). It was that Purim (and the year-long aftermath) that learned who my real friends are. My friend Cara and her family were supposed to come over for the Purim meal, and I remember calling her up and cancelling, without giving a reason. And true friend that she is, she let me deal with Purim, offered her support when she found out why I had cancelled, and held me up for the next year while I put my life back together. Since then we’ve had many Purim meals together.
One of the Purim traditions is venahafoch hu (and it was turned upside down). A few years ago Cara and her Toned Tony came to us in Ra’anana for the Purim feast and I set the whole table upside down. Soup plate (upside down on the table), dinner plate, then dessert plate on top. Cutlery was the wrong way around, and facing the wrong way as well. Drinking glasses were turned upside down as well, and if that wasn’t enough, we started the meal with dessert and ended with soup. Another one of the Purim traditions is to get all boozed up (this is one of my favorites), so by the end of the day, having soup for dessert, we really didn’t know if we were coming or going. Didn’t really matter, one of Toned Tony’s traditions in our house is to always fall asleep on the couch after a meal. They weren’t going anywhere, at least not for a while.
Asian Californian Mexican Faux Crab Salad
Another tradition is to eat things that are made to look like something they really aren’t. As most of you know, crab is not kosher, and this recipe doesn’t really contain crab. Neither is Asian, Californian or Mexican. It’s pure Miriyummy, one of my creations that must have come about when I either had too much to drink, or not enough…
- ¾ cup of diced red pepper
- 2 tomatoes , cored and chopped
- 2 scallions , thinly and prettily sliced on the diagonal
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped coriander leaves
- 2 teaspoons of minced hot pepper, remove the seeds and veins
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ripe avocados, small dice
- 2 -3 tablespoons lime juice
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- sour cream, for topping (use your discretion, or lack of…)
Faux Crab Bit
- 2 ½ cups surimi
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons shredded nori
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- more sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- In a glass bowl, toss together the ingredients for the salsa. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to let the flavors build. You really should let it sit for an hour but 30 minutes is also okay.
- Combine the chopped avocado and lime juice, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
- In another glass bowl, add all of the ingredients for the faux crab.
- Toss, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Okay, now for the combining the three bits:
- You could make the crab the base, then the avocado, then the salsa, topped with sour cream.
- Or — you could make the avocado the base, topped with crab, then with salsa, then with sour cream.
- Or — you could spread a nice base of salsa, top with the crap and then add the avocado, sour cream on top or to the side.
- Or — well, start using your imagination, you don’t need me to tell you how to do everything, do you?
- I’ve served these in our house as an appetizer in over-sized martini glasses. I’ll let you guess the order I layered the bits ;-).
Posted on 23 February 2012, in Appetizers, Family Life, Fish, Holiday cooking, Purim and tagged Adar, Barry Manilow, Copacabana, Hamantash, Holidays and Observances, Judaism, Mardi Gras, Purim, Rosh Chodesh, upside down. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.