Last year I celebrated Passover by inviting 3 of my friends over for dinner. Not my original idea, but one of my friends wanted to do something for Passover. At the end of it all I spent about 3 days preparing everything, the food was delicious but my bar cart was a casualty at the end of the night and I spent the next couple of days cleaning up. In total I spent about $200 on food for 4 people.
Well this year I just don't have that kind of money to spend on one meal, although my friend kept trying to justify it by saying I would have all the leftovers. He was also supposed to chip in to cover a bit of the cost but that never happened.
So this year it's me alone but I will do my own version of Passover. Although I have cousins who have their own busy lives I don't have my own family to spend Passover with but I am ok with this and if you knew my family you would understand why.
So this year I am going to do a combination of things I make and things I buy. I know lots of people just cater their whole Passover dinners these days but there are some things that I just like to make myself that are better but some things are just not as cost effective to buy for 1 person.
For example, I went to a Thornhill deli and picked up a small container of chopped liver. Although mine is much better I always make too much and I can never finish it. I also bought some sweet Gefilte Fish. I never make this, my mother would make it once every couple of years, it was never a regular thing and it wasn't something I was ever interested in making. It's a bit of a long process and you have to search out special white fish. For one person this is just a whole lot of time for a couple of pieces of Gefilte fish. I also picked up 1 potato latke to try and realized that I like my latkes a whole lot better so I made a batch of them from scratch this morning. You can see the difference in the photo of the 4 dishes all of those things were purchased at the Deli or other stores. The latke photo on the top of the page are my own. The one that I purchased was dense and greasy and it wasn't that flavourful either. I add parsley flakes to mine and pepper and grated onion. This time I also tried a trick I picked up from the Foodshare cookbook where they separate the eggs and whip the egg whites and then add them to the whole mixture. This makes them a lot lighter than the usual latkes. Most of the time I just make a Rostii style potato pancake that's crispy with no onions or eggs. Just potatoes.
The other things I always make myself is Chicken Soup because it's really easy, it just takes a bit of time but I can control the amount of salt and flavour and I know there are no additives to it. I use a package of Matzo balls though when I want matzo balls because it's just easier and it always turns out that way. We always had a debate in our family, my cousins preferred hard matzo balls while I like them light and fluffy.
I also make the Charoset which is a mixture of fruits and nuts. I like to add Brandy and figs to the dates with walnuts and apples and cinnamon. It's kind of like a chunky sweet spread that makes plain matzo's taste a whole lot better. It's actually a great thing to have any time of day because of the ingredients, well you can skip the Brandy but it does infuse the flavour of it. It would be a great thing to have with cheese even after Passover. If you skip the apples and use only dried fruits you can keep it a lot longer.
I never buy Macaroons but I bought some to try and I think I prefer the ones I made myself last year. I just didn't bother to make them this year. A case of too much time and not worth making a batch just for myself.
One thing that occurred to me was that most of the foods seem to be either beige or brown. I am not sure why that is exactly but I do know that my mother the color loving person that she was always made a special dish of roasted peppers with tomatoes that my cousins loved. Yes it's not traditional but it tasted good on matzo's.
I am skipping the all day brisket making and will just make a piece of roasted chicken breast which is a whole lot healthier and more traditional for my immediate family. My aunt would make a really dry brisket but my mother would make a roast chicken instead. I don't think she knew how to make Brisket. Probably better that she made chicken well instead of dried out brisket I suppose.
Well I am skipping any family drama and all the boring prayer books and other things that go along with the Passover traditions and I am just going to stick to eating some of my favourite Passover foods and honouring some of the things I learned from my mother and my aunts Passover dinners.
Enjoy your Passover dinners may they be tasty and stress free.