Planning the Perfect Passover Seder Menu: Complete with Recipes. Non-Gebroks
Posted on 20th of March, 2010 by Lévana
I grew up in a very modest household, but I remember fabulous food at every meal at my home, especially on Pessach. So much so that, fast forward more years than I care to admit, I actually wait for that time of year to showcase my culinary stars. So, what’s wrong with me? No, I don’t have one goodie-goodie bone in my body! Waiting for Pessach to be over and slavery to be back, we are all familiar with, but actually waiting for it to come around? Get real, right?
I can hear all of your concerns because they are often mine as well: “I have to cook with my hands tied behind my back; Cooking for Pessach is triple the price; this celebration of freedom is such slavery I barely survive it; I need a week’s vacation when Pessach ends just to recuperate and get back to normal; I don’t have my regular amenities at my disposal”, and on and on…..
I have for the most part recovered from the dread of Pessach, and I am thinking, with great glee: “This week is my gastronomic week; never mind the rarefied setting: on Pessach I can go for broke – a life-long habit I am not even trying to shake: why should I? I credit it in great part for making me the cook and hostess that I am; I am “stuck” with only the best and most seasonal; here is my chance to streamline in style recipes and ingredient selections; staying away from bread and rice and ice cream and pizza and other delicious nemeses is a given, because it is halachically verbotten”. And on and on….
On Pessach we naturally turn to all fresh seasonal produce and fresh herbs. Many desserts hardly suffer from not being made with flour, if at all: In fact my upcoming cookbook, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure and Simple, due in June of this year please G-d, will bear this out in full: I should tell you it includes, in addition to a very extensive general index and a gluten-free index, a Passover index with more than 200 Passover-friendly recipes, all natural, naturally, what else, since I only have eyes for whole foods: It’s like having 3 books rolled into one!
As I mention, on Passover we are stuck with only the best. for instance, now that quinoa has been approved for Pessach, I make tabouleh and pilaf with it, which liberates me from the compulsory potato dish at every meal. Let me start by telling you something I hope you won’t be too disappointed about: I am afraid you won’t find a single recipe for Passover blintzes, lasagna, pizza and other gimmicky ersatz renditions of chametz dishes. I ask you: Who needs it?! Respect the seasons and give tribute to what each has to offer, then eat all the pizza and blintzes you want during the rest of the year! Deal with the usual suspects fifty one weeks out of the year and give them – and us – time out for one week, and pay special Thanksgiving to all the wondrous foods nature has to offer in the spring, and every single day of our lives!
Just a few words about planning: After a day of shopping for Pessach, I hire two helpers and cook up a storm for two days preceding the Seder nights. I start by making two or three large batches of soup and divide them, label them carefully and freeze them, so that rather than serve the same soup at several meals in a row, I serve a different soup at each Seder meal, and then take out the rest of the batch for the last days. Same goes for condiments, salad dressings and side dishes. Best of all, desserts: fruit compote and fruit molds, brownies, nut cake, nut truffles, meringues, etc…. The best European chocolate brands come out of the woodwork on Pessach, allowing your chocolate treats to be real treats. Follow this simple leads, work hard in the kitchen the two days that precede the Seder, and the great bulk of your cooking will be done by the time Seder night rolls around. After that, it actually becomes a pleasure. And then on Chol Hamoed, I all but snub the kitchen, getting dressed and out the door, getting re-acclimated to the brilliant daylight like a convalescent, after a couple weeks of cleaning-and-cooking house arrest period, walking the two short blocks that separate me from Central Park and admiring the early spring blooming everywhere: where have I been?
So: Still stressing about Passover? Here are my Passover Seder Menu ideas: pick and choose from several options. Click the links to view the full recipes. All recipes are Non-Gebroks!
Appetizers and Side Dishes
Chilled Tricolor Vegetable Terrine with Red Pepper Sauce
Baked Snapper in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Roasted Salmon Moroccan Style
Artichokes and Carrots in Lemon Sauce
Herb-Roasted Root Vegetables
Quinoa with Fried Onions and Chestnuts
Brussels Sprouts and Zucchini in Tomato Sauce Recipe
Beef Tajine with Lemon and Oregano Sauce
Lamb Shanks with Artichokes and Mushrooms
Balsamic-Roasted Chicken Breasts
Moroccan Roasted Chicken
Chicken Tajine with Prunes and Almonds
Brisket in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Brisket in Coffee Brandy Sauce