While cooking, listen to this: Super Rich Kids - Frank Ocean
So, Passover is next week. Insane, right? I don't know where January or February went, but now Passover is in a week - maybe 2018 is trying to do us a favor by ending as quickly as possible.
I'm not going to my family for Passover this year, which means I'll be staying home in the city, staring longingly at bagels until I come to my senses.* In helping a friend menu plan her seder, I've been thinking about the foods and traditions my family has for our own. We always have props for the ten plagues on the table - plastic animals and bugs, those plastic monster finger puppet things and, for some reason, tiny plastic cowboys with guns for the death of the first born plague, maybe?
*If you're in the same situation as me, check out this article Alyssa and I wrote about making Passover on your own!
We also always have tiny boiled potatoes in addition to green veggies - part of the seder involves dipping karpas, parsely or another green thing, into salt water, but my dad's dad grew up on a literal mountain in Eastern Europe, where nothing was green and everything was potatoes, so we honor his family by having both. Also, munching on potatoes is never a bad idea.
Then there's the maror, which means bitter, that we're supposed to eat to remind ourselves of the bitterness of our ancestors lives when they were forced to build the not-pyramids in Egypt. Uplifting! Traditionally, Ashkenazi Jews use horseradish as their maror, which is usually bright purple due to the addition of beets. It's a beautiful color, but my sisters and I growing up were NOT having it. That shit is potent. My mom would buy endive leaves instead, and now we have them every year. We keep the horseradish around, though - my dad could eat a jar of it in one sitting and be perfectly content.
Not only are we supposed to eat the bitter things, but we're supposed to also make a "sandwich" with it, along with some matzah and haroset (a fruity, wine-y, nutty mixture). Sounds so good and filling, right? Some people actually like it, but I think it's horrific, so I usually take one bite, consider the tradition fulfilled and move on with my life. That means there are usually a lot of endive leaves lying around, waiting to be turned into a sad little sandwich of their own.
Change their fate! All they need are some grapefruit, avocado, tahina** and pomegranate syrup and they're yet another snack you can nosh on during the seder. They're bright, springy and take five minutes of your life. I have been to seders that were seven hours long. Seriously. I fell asleep on their couch, and I was way too old to be falling asleep on someone's couch. Perhaps if I had had a snack, I would have stayed awake. Learn from my mistakes and make these endive cups.
Love and meows, Rina
**If you do not eat kitniot (grains and legumes that aren't explicitly forbidden on Passover, but some Jews still refrain from eating them), chances are you don't eat tahina. All good! Just omit it. And if you have any more questions about Passover or other Jewish things, you can contact us or your local rabbinic authority.
GRAPEFRUIT AVOCADO ENDIVE CUPS
Yield: 10-12 endive cups
Total Cook Time: 5m
Category: Sides, Appetizers, Passover, Gluten-Free, Vegan, No-Cook
1 endive bulb, leaves detached
1 pink grapefruit, cubed*
1 avocado, cubed
Tahina, for drizzling
Pomegranate syrup, for drizzling
Flaky sea salt, to taste
*to do this easily, cut both ends off of the grapefruit. Place the grapefruit down on one of its cut ends and slice off the peel, making sure to get all of the pith with it. Once all of the pith is removed, slice out segments by cutting next to the membranes on either side. What should come out are cute little grapefruit slices, which you can then slice into small cubes.
Add the cubed grapefruit and avocado to a small bowl and mix to combine. Place some of the mixture into each endive cup. Give each cup a light sprinkling of flaky sea salt, followed by a drizzle of tahina and pomegranate syrup. Serve immediately.