Purim is my time of year. It is filled with fun and joy. Each year my family chooses a costume and we all dress up the same. One year we were clowns, another year pirates, witches, panda bears, cowboys and Indians.

Our festive meal is filled with Purim Torah and plenty of good food, and it's open to everyone.
On Purim we send two items of food to at least one person, Mishloach Manot. It ensures that everyone has food on Purim and it increases love between Jews. My wife and I make something original and fun that can be put on the Purim table and enjoyed immediately.

This year we are going to give three small jars filled with:

(a)chimmichuri,
(b)hot pepper salad, and
(c)basil or citrus pesto,

OR

Three 1 lb. containers filled with:

(a)cold sesame noodles,
(b)wheat berry salad, and
(c)barley cumin and mint salad.

Happy Purim!

• 3 tbsps. Vinegar
• 2 tbsps. water
• 1 tbsp. garlic
• 3/4 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 1/4 cup oil
• 1/2 cup parsley

Chop parsley medium fine, and add all the remaining ingredients. Serve as a dip with potato chips, crackers, or as a relish on meat or chicken.

Basil Pesto

• 4 cups fresh basil
• 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
• 1/2 cup grated cheese (not to be used with meat or fowl)
• 2 tbsps. garlic
• 7 tbsps. oil
• salt and pepper to taste

Chop or blend basil, and all the remaining ingredients. Top with toasted pine nuts.

Hot Pepper Salad

• 8 fresh hot peppers, sauted in oil
• 1/4 cup chopped garlic
• 1/3 cup oil
• salt and pepper to taste

Chop or blend peppers, and all the remaining ingredients. Enjoy!

Citrus Pesto

• 2 cups basil
• 1/3 cup grated cheese (optional, not to be served with meat)
• 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 2 tbsps. oil
• 2 tbsps. lemon juice
• 2 tsps. chopped garlic

Combine all ingredients (except pine nuts) in processor until chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Top with pine nuts.

Makes one cup.

Barley with Cumin and Mint Salad

• 2 cups water
• 1 cup barley
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/8 tsp. tumeric
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
• 2-3 tbsps. finely chopped onion
• 1 1/2 tbsps. lemon juice
• 3/4 tsp. cumin
• 1 tsp. oil

Bring water, barley, salt and tumeric to a boil in a 2-qt. heavy saucepan, then simmer, covered, until barley is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Drain barley in a colander and transfer to a bowl. Stir in mint, onion (to taste), lemon juice, cumin, oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Cold Sesame Noodles

1 lb. wheat flour noodles, any type
• 1/4 cup oil
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 2 tbsps. sesame paste (techina)
• 2 tbsps. vinegar
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne
• 1 tsp. salt
• 3 garlic cloves, minces

Fill a 10-qt. pot with water, bring to a boil, and cook noodles until firm but cooked through. Drain and immediately rinse under cold running water until noodles are completely cold. Drain well. Toss in 2 tbsps. sesame oil and 2 tbsps. soy sauce. Cover and chill about 1 hour.

In a small bowl, whisk together sesame paste and 3 tbsps. warm water until smooth. Add remaining 2 tbsps. sesame oil, remaining 2 tbsps. soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, cayenne, salt and minced garlic.

Just before serving, toss cold noodles with sesame dressing.

Makes 6 servings.

Wheat Berry Salad

• 3/4 cup wheat berries, cooked until tender, then cooled
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tsp. dill (you can substitute from this list anything your heart desires)
• 1/4 tsp. mustard
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• juice of 1 lemon
• 2 tbsps. dry, white wine
• 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
• 2 cloves crushed garlic

While berries are marinated and chilling, dice and add:

• 1 scallion
• 1 carrot
• 1 cucumber
• 1 red onion
• 1 pepper
• 1 stalk celery