Saturday, April 26, 2008

Crazy times, Passover

Our seder plate.

One of the three tables we set for 23 guests.

This last week has included passover, is the last week of classes before exams, and Jazz fest starts this weekend. Needless to say, its been a bit crazy around here. Colin and I are both ridiculously busy right now, and the number and quality of our posts has reflected this. It will be bad for another week, but then this cycle of exams will be over and we will return to posting interesting New Orleans tidbits.

Briefly, a recap of our passover seder which was amazing and overwhelming all at once. We used all of our wedding china which was awesome, it was the first time we used all 16 place settings. In the end we had 23 people in our living room and were reduced to using buckets for chairs, even though many of our guests were gracious enough to have brought their own seats. We dined on roasted turkey, matzo ball soup, Friedman family haroset, matzo lasagna, and flour-less chocolate cake. We hosted seder the second night (last Sunday) and we are STILL doing dishes from it. I know passover is almost over, but in case you want to file some recipes away for next year, here are my two most requested kosher for passover dishes:

Matzo lasagne:
have on hand a box of matzos, pasta sauce (either pre-made or from scratch) light ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, onions and garlic. You will also need an assortment of sliced veggies, I recommend; sliced mushrooms, zucchini or yellow squash, and baby eggplant.

Mix and saute: all veggies for a few minutes until they are mostly cooked.

Layering: start by putting a single layer of matzo in the baking dish (your normal glass or aluminum non lidded rectangular baking dish) cover with a layer of pasta sauce. sprinkle veggies on top of sauce, then dot liberally with small spoonfuls of ricotta (basically make a layer of ricotta, I can never get mine to be an even layer, so i just put down the spoonfuls until about 7/8 of the surface is covered). Pour more sauce on top of the ricotta and start the whole process over with another layer of Matzos. when the dish is almost full of lasagna, place down a final layer of matzo, sauce, ricotta and plenty of mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 or until cheese melts and lasagna is nice and hot.

Friedman family haroset:
I wish I could give you the actual amounts, but the recipe goes by feel. Here are the ratios of the ingredients though: apples 1, almonds 1.5-2, sultanas + dates 1, splash of wine
and dash of cinnamon.

the most important thing is the texture, which should be moderately sticky and not too wet. The end result should be sweet, but not cloyingly so. The amounts of each ingredient depend on how much haroset you need to make. For this last seder I used 7 normal sized gala apples.

You will need: several apples, peeled. I like gala or fugi, sliced or whole almonds, sultana raisins (golden raisins), dates, sweet wine (I use kosher for passover concord grape wine which is really grossly sweet), cinnamon

1. Food process almonds until bread crumb size, place into a bowl
2. Food process apples until they are in small chunks. Do not make apple sauce! Place in a different bowl
3. In food proccesor, add some of the processed apples and almonds. Throw in raisins and dates , a splash of wine, and some cinnamon. blend well.
4. Sample the mixture and make sure the texture and flavor are
5. Repeat until desired amount is made. The final texture should be consistent enough to be sculpted and retain its shape. We always make little haroset pyramids and sphinxes of ours.


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