I love hosting people for meals and giving gifts for pretty much any opportunity possible. So, like so much else, this part of my life was upended by COVID, until I was inspired by my friend Jodi to give people “COVID care” packages. It’s like giving Purim mishloach manot, but all the time. Each one is just filled with homemade, individually wrapped treats and a note. Living in a socially distant and digitized/online world now, these care packages are a way to connect with people and offer a little surprise that might shift an otherwise very routine COVID day. And, now, with high holidays soon approaching, the COVID care packages can be repurposed for the chagim.
As we all grapple with how to celebrate the holidays in a meaningful way despite all of our constrictions, and the absence of large holiday meals at tables and in sukkahs, the care packages are a way, yet again, to reconnect and celebrate, even from afar.
As Yotam Ottolenghi says, “food can bring people together in a way nothing else could.”
Below are recipes for two dishes I have included lately in packages: roasted stone fruits and chocolate tahini truffles. I have also put links to other recipes from my blog that could easily be used in a care package. Putting the packages together is also super kid friendly–whether preparing these easy recipes, creating notes, or designing the bags.
Roasted Stone Fruits with Pomegranate Molasses and Date Syrup
An array of stone fruits (plums, nectarines, peaches, pluots, etc)
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp date syrup
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice the fruit and place on a parchment paper lined tray.
3. Mix the date syrup and pomegranate molasses together in a small bowl. Pour onto the fruit slices.
4. Roast for approximately 40 minutes until the fruit is lightly browned and soft.
Chocolate Tahini Truffles (recipe from Jewish Food Society)
2 cups dark chocolate (60%+) or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup tahini
1/2 cup cocoa powder
optional: chopped almonds, sea salt, chopped mint, dried fruits, cinnamon, sesame seeds
1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler. Add the tahini and mix well.
2. Keep plain or add whatever optional ingredients you might want. I recently made batches with sea salt and almonds, one with dried cherries, and another with fresh mint.
3. Pour into a parchment paper lined 9 in loaf pan and place in the freezer for an hour.
4. Remove from the freezer, let slightly soften and cut into squares. Dip each one into cocoa powder. The truffles can be kept in the freezer for a month.
Note: you can make a smaller portion, using the 2:1 ratio and pour into a smaller pan or bowl.