If your childhood was anything like mine, you will remember the stress virtually radiating off your mom in the weeks leading up to Passover. I didn’t quite understand the stress until I had a house of my own. Now I feel bad for not helping out more when I was growing up, but hindsight is always 20/20. Even with all the stress and craziness, I have so many fond memories of Passover. I loved getting to see all my cousins, although I was the baby by so many years that I was stuck doing Ma Nishtana well into my college years. Besides that, it was wonderful.
Below are my favorite tips and tricks to make Passover 2016 more bearable.
My mom did a great job of making sure we had all kind of treats to make getting through Passover less of a chore. The first is apple Popsicle. What is that you ask? For anyone who has ever had fresh apple cider, this is basically a frozen version. When you are making charoset and you squeeze out all the juice from the shredded apples, my mom would pour the juice into Popsicle molds for my brother and I. Although this won’t be practical for everyone, when you live in the South and it is already hot by April, it makes an amazing afternoon treat. I will also divulge a family secret about our charoset, we use ground pecans as our nut element. Yay for yet another use for Georgia pecans.
For most, the theme for Passover is typically how many ways can I eat potatoes? Or how many times can I eat matzah pizza and have it still be socially acceptable? I have a little different approach. Mine is something along the lines of, how many ways can I use “the spread”? The spread as we lovingly refer to it in my family is a cream cheese based spread with garlic, parsley, and green onions. You might have to go through more toothpaste and mouthwash that one typically would…but it gives such great flavor to not only matzah, but scrambled eggs, baked potatoes, etc. The uses are virtually endless! If our flavor combination isn’t right up your alley, find one that works for you.
The only time I remember having marshmallows was during Passover. Nothing like learning all about how metal conducts heat when you attempt to roast a marshmallow over the stove with a metal fork for the first time. Or the genius who thought using a plastic fork was a better idea. As you can see, science wasn’t my strongest subject, but a great way to turn Passover into a learning experience. On request of my mom who didn’t want people thinking she let her children play with fire, I will specify by saying that I was 15 at the time and that the safer option is to toast marshmallows over a candle.
Have you ever gotten halfway through Passover and realized that you have 8 bottles of open, half drunk wine? If you aren’t inviting friends over to help you use up your wine in the form of a big pitcher of sangria, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. I know it might seem blasphemous to mix wines, but once you cut up some fruit and let it sit for a bit to let all the flavors mingle, it tastes amazing.
Spiced and/or Candied Nuts
Once you are finally sick of eating nothing but meat or carbs for about four days, you will probably be ready for a nice salad. Spiced or candied nuts are a great addition to really take your salads over the top. They are also a nice addition to fruit and cheese platters or dessert plates.
Granita & Sorbet
This may sound daunting, but if you have sugar, room in your freezer, and a some patience the possibilities really are endless. My personal favorite was a honeyed grapefruit.
Iced Teas & Ades
Although I grew up in the South, I don’t mean sweet tea even though it is always a tasty treat. I mean flavored herbal teas. One of the things I struggle with during Passover is lack of variety. Being able to pick all kinds of flavors for iced teas tends to abate those feelings. My other soft spot is for -ades. Lemon, lime, really any flavor, but I have a weakness for something nicknamed in my parents house as ‘Zell-ade’. I was not around for the inception, but my understanding is that it was a happy accident. I feel like I am giving away state secrets, but Zell-ade is where lemonade, limeade, and a hint of orange meet to make the most addictive, sugar laden drink known to man.
Maybe I am picky, but I tend to think that Kosher for Passover condiments tend to have a little bit of a funny taste. Ketchup is so easy to bump of the flavors just by adding a couple of spices. It makes the lots and lots of potatoes that you will consume significantly tastier. Since mustard is not an option, we can move on to mayo. I am one of the few people in the world who is not a fan of mayo…really ever, but short cut aioli is a great way to add depth of flavor to a Passover meal.
I hope these tips and tricks will be helpful in getting through your Passover. I would love to hear about any tips you or your family has!