Friday, April 3, 2015

My version of Passover

Happy Passover to everyone observing Passover traditions with Seders over the next couple of nights.

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.

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