Thursday, April 14, 2011

Favorite Passover Recipes; Seders and Maturity

I really wanted to call this something like "Slouching toward Pesach" but I didn't think that it would be as effective a title in attracting web traffic.  As I have remarked before, it is remarkable how many people end up on my site with Google searches for "absolute best latke recipe."  For those who ended up here due to a similar search, I beg your forgiveness, and ask everyone to read on.  No original recipes here, but also I hope nothing ordinary. Just links to some recipes already on the site that are suitable for Pesach, whether for the seder or otherwise. If you want recipes for brisket or matzoh balls, there are plenty of other places to look.

Pesach is always a test of maturity for me.  It turns out that my wife will have to work on both Sunday and half a day on Monday, so I will be responsible for a lot of the final cleaning and the cooking.   I will have to scale back some of my ambitions.  None of Paula Wolfert's confit of artichokes and oranges. (Cleaning 20 artichokes at this time of year!?  I decided my family wasn't worth it.) We were planning on a carrot soup with dill and dill matzoh balls, but we will skip that one as well.  Also, I had high hopes this year of trying to replicate my grandmother's chremslach, which we used to call Martian spacecraft, except rather than flying, they sank like lead to the bottom of your stomach.  These are mashed potato and egg patties, stuffed with shredded meat and gribenes (chicken cracklings) dredged in matzoh meal and fried in chicken fat.  Maybe next year.     Amy said that I was being very grown up and taking these setbacks in stride.

We are going to start our seder with Salmon Buglama, a Georgian dish that is similar (but better, if you asked me) to many of the cold Sephardi fish dishes cooked with tomatoes and served at the beginning of a festive meal.  We were going to make a Moroccan chicken tagine with prunes as one of our main dishes, but decided that there is too much chicken in life, we should be free of it at the seder.  Instead, we will have it for Shabbat dinner the Friday night before (when we are hosting Fulbright fellows from Bolivia, India, Turkey and Uzbekistan -- who needs this right before Pesach?) and will instead have a Yemenite beef and potato stew.  A wonderful side dish that we will not be making because my mother is garlic-averse is broccoli with schmaltz and garlic .  This dish provided me with much comfort in the dark days after the Citizens United decision and the 2010 elections, and if you have chicken fat around, and who doesn't this time of year, it is a great Pesach dish, whether at the seder or during the week. There will be lots of desserts, including Tishpishti, a Turkish walnut and orange cake.  Even if you have another recipe, I urge you to try this one.  It is far easier than any other version and really delicious.  And of course, matzoh toffee which used to be a rarity but now seems to be everywhere.  It is probably the only legitimate reason to buy and use Kosher for Passover margarine. 

There are also a number of recipes on the site that are suitable for the holiday, if not for the seder.  I love matzoh brei, both the conventional version and the Galitzianer version with onions.  Best of all is a riff on Kotthu roti made with matzoh instead of leftover Sri Lankan breads.  It is stir fried with spices, vegetables and eggs, and you can adjust the spices if you are one of the deluded souls who accepts a broad definition of kitniyot  and avoids eating them on the holiday.  Even though there are only two of us at home now (and my wife is on low-carbs) I will probably go ahead and get a 5-pound box of white matzoh so that I can make kotthu roti in the weeks after the holiday.

Finally, last but not least, two nice seasonal easy egg dishes, for those who really want to push their cholesterol through the roof:  spinach with eggs and asparagus Italian-style baked with cheese served with Spanish-style eggs fried in olive oil.

Hag kasher v'sameach to all.  I will try to post again during the holiday if I make anything interesting.

1 comment:

  1. hag sameach Alan. I think I'm going to try the
    Tishpishti this year. I'll let you know what I think.