Home > cooking, judaism > Adventures in Home Cooking 3 – Passover Edition

Adventures in Home Cooking 3 – Passover Edition

I’m not going to discuss my seder menus here – there was nothing unusual. But there were things I did for the other holiday meals that worked very nicely.

One was my lunch for the second day (Friday.) We use horseradish for the maror, the bitter herb of the seder, grated from a fresh root. Even with two largish seders and not truly enormous root, we still had a fair bit left over. I took salmon filet (the long thing slices. Next time, I’ll get the squarer one.) and dipped them in matzo meal, then beaten egg and then coarsely grated horseradish. I baked this at about 350°F for about 20 minutes. Oh, my goodness. The horseradish mellowed, but it also flavored the fish and it was delicious.

And then there was my prep for the second yom tovs, the last two days of the holiday. I knew I’d have guests for three of the four big meals, and I had to prepare for that.

I started with the vegetables. I had five pounds of redskin potatoes. I was making one dish that required mashed potatoes, and I wanted to serve them as a side for another meal. Normally, I don’t peel them but this WAS for company. So I peeled the entire bag of potatoes, and chopped them up, putting them into a soup pot half-filled with salted water. When that was done, I put them up to cook – mashed potatoes are best when started in cold water.

Then I peeled and sliced a pound of carrots, followed by a head of celery, followed by every decent onion I could find to peel and chop. Each vegetable went into its own bowl. By this time, the potatoes were cooked. I drained and mashed them with reserved cooking water, and put aside one quart of them for the recipe. Then I added salt and pepper to the rest, and put the pot in the sink to soak because I’d be using it again soon. I took a break.

When I returned, I took a log of frozen gefilte fish, which I’d let out to thaw a tiny bit – enough to get the paper off. Put that in a small loaf pan and put a handful of each of the vegetables, and covered it with more foil, and put it in the oven, which was then on 350&degF.

So. Then I lit three burners. One was for vegetable soup – most of carrots, half the celery and one third the onions sautéed in oil. I put in too much pepper, some bay leaves and a little thyme and when the veggies were soft, I put in two large cans of diced tomatoes and two cans of water. I let that simmer. In another pan, I browned ground beef in shifts. In the third, I browned chicken legs that I’d dusted with pepper and potato starch. Also in shifts because, well, pan wasn’t big enough for all four. These were placed in a foil baking pan with 1/3 of the onions and the rest of the vegetables, plus 8 oz of mushrooms that I washed, pepper, thyme, rosemary, a fair amount of red wine and some water. I covered this with foil and put in the oven next to the fish. Braised chicken, to be served with the seasoned mashed potatoes for lunch the next day.

As the ground beef browned, I moved it to a strainer over a pot to drain extra fat. When three pounds were cooked, I put the remaining onions in that pot. When these were cooked, I mixed them, the ground beef, the unseasoned potatoes and a bag of frozen spinach, plus some allspice, garlic and pepper, and a couple of beaten eggs. This was covered with sheets of matzo soaked in egg and baked. Main course for Wednesday night, when we’d have four guests. (Two young couples, one married, one dating. They’re in their early twenties. We call them “the kids.” We like them *a lot*.) Three items in the oven, one simmering on the stove. Break time.

Then – I microwaved two heads of broccoli, and marinated it in vinegar, oil, garlic and rosemary, plus a handful of pine nuts (supposed to go with the meat pie, but I forgot.) And then I peeled and sliced some very sour apples we had. I tossed these with brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and rosemary and baked them. When I reheated them later for a dessert, I added some margarine and sweet red wine.

As things were cooked, I took them off heat to cool.

The broccoli, the chicken and the potatoes, plus the fish and a storebought cake, was lunch the first day. The fish, the soup, the pie plus a salad, and the apple compote with lace cookies was dinner the second night. Dinner the first night was steak, spinach and kugel. Lunch the second day was the soup (it was pareve made on meat equipment, so we served it first in plastic bowls with fleishig spoons), cheese omelets and melon.

And my state that afternoon? Cooking farr.

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