What’s for Seder?

Like almost every other holiday, Passover always sneaks up on me.  I blinked and here it is.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed, but I’m not sure stress is really the right word.  Maybe overwhelmed? It always seemed so easy when I lived at home.  I didn’t have to do any of the shopping, I mean I helped (I think), but it’s different that making a menu and putting together a shopping list and then being able to carry all of the bags into your house.  Why do you always need so much stuff?

My husband is oddly excited about Passover this year and has even invited over co-workers.  Me on the other hand, I am just hopeful that he will help with the cleaning and shopping parts.  I am slowly piecing together a menu and I think it is pretty solid. We will be starting with all the traditional Seder foods, you know, the charoset and the horseradish and the parsley with saltwater and the matzah.  Then we will move on to the meal that will include a lemon-herbed quinoa with toasted almonds, rosemary roasted red potatoes, spatchcock chicken and roasted carrots.  I will finish off the night with a flourless lemon almond cake.  I am feeling a little ambition right now but I think that is because I am sitting on my couch blogging while my house still hasn’t been cleaned and I have done approximately 5% of the necessary shopping.  I mean, I bought coconut macaroons….that has to count for something.

For me, I think the struggle has always been a timing issue.  Knowing exactly when all of the little ducks have to be placed in their row to make Seder look flawless. I am hopefully that I will get everything done.  I am always a little excited and nervous when people try my charoset for the first time.  For those who don’t know what it is, I added a wiki link, but it is essentially apples and nuts and wine. Every family has a different recipe and possibly every person has different ones, it’s all based on preference.  Since I grew up on my mom’s, I like hers the best.  It’s not too dry but it’s not soup-y and wet, it’s just right.  I try to make mine taste like hers, keyword try, but I think I do a pretty solid job.  My families is a little different because we use ground pecans, whereas many families use walnuts.  On the other hand, my family is Ashkenazi, Sephardi families use almost entirely different ingredients like figs and orange juice. I digress, I always want people to like my family recipe the best.  Yes, that is cocky and selfish, but I like to take pride in what I do.

My main course is going to be a spatchcock chicken.  I found a recipe that strongly suggests a 48 hour marination.  The marinade features lemon and garlic and tons of pepper and parsley.  What’s not to love? While I am skeptical, I was perfectly happy to throw the marinade together today and not have to worry about it until Seder.  What can I say? I like ease and simplicity when it comes to stressful holidays like this one.  To continue the simplicity I am going to simply roast carrots and cauliflower.  In my humble opinion, cauliflower is severely underrepresented on dining room tables everywhere.  To keep the lemon and herb theme going, I am adding them to a big bowl of quinoa topped with some toasted almonds for crunch.

Last, and most certainly not least will be a flourless lemon and almond cake.

Here is the deal, I got so caught up with prep and planning that I not only didn’t this post, but I didn’t take a single photo.  Due to the stress of the holiday, I will give you guys a shout out list of all of the people and recipes that made this holiday possible.

The charoset and roasted rosemary potatoes were from my dear mother.

The lemon herb quinoa was from Saveur.  It was incredibly delicious and I added some toasted slivered almonds to add some crunch.   I will for sure be making them again.

The roasted “heroin”chicken is from Teri Turner.  The name didn’t lie.  I don’t think I will ever make chicken any other way ever again.

Lastly, the flourless lemon almond cake is from Simply recipes.  I was a little skeptical when I was making the batter but almost the entire cake got devoured…with 4 people.  I think that just about says it all.

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The company was wonderful as to be expected, but my last thing to praise that made the holiday memorable is the addition of our first Seder plate. We got this beauty from the Etsy shop JudaicaArtStudio.  All of their work is breathtaking so be sure to check it out!

I hope everyone is having a meaningful Passover whether celebrating with family or wherever in the world. Chag Sameach!!

 


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