Passover Supper

Here’s what I served 2nd night:

Salad
Simple salad of mixed greens w/ cucumbers, super-red tomatoes, scallions, red onions, and a red wine vinaigrette (I wasn’t crazy about the vinaigrette so I’ll not put the recipe here. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be.)

Entrees
Poached Salmon Fillets with Dill Sauce (recipe based on one in the Spring 2005 ‘O at Home’ magazine, but (esp. the sauce) re-interpreted by me…)

For the stock:
2 cut-up carrots, 2 cut-up celery stalks, bay leaf, few peppercorns, salt, 1/2 cup or so of nice dry white wine

For the salmon:
Buy a salmon fillet (one of the loooong ones) that will be a proper size for the number of servings you will need to slice. Wait to slice the fillet to serving sizes just until you’re ready to prepare this dish – it keeps fresher that way.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300*. Combine all stock ingredients (except wine) with enough water for the poaching process (go ahead and make more stock than you need, it’s easy to toss out or freeze what’s left). Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or so. Add wine and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Cut salmon pieces into individual servings and place in baking dish (I used Corningwear). Pour hot stock over salmon – make sure the level of liquid covers the tops of the salmon completely. Place lid on Corningwear (or you could use foil) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, remove cover, and let set for 10 more minutes.
Transfer salmon to another dish (throw out all the stock) and wrap this dish tightly with Saran. Refrigerate until just before ready to serve, when you’ll remove the skin from the bottom of the fillets), and place on a pretty dish.
This is great served cold (I placed it on a bed of arugula) with the sauce below.

Dill Sauce (this is a little more than enough to cover 15 salmon fillets) Recipe and Directions:3 garlic cloves, diced finely – 4 tbsp capers – 5 of the little stalks of fresh dill (just remove the stem part and use the fine dill) – 1&1/2 cup olive oil – salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Adjust seasoning to taste. Pour over salmon when ready to serve. Yummy!

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Artichokes, Lemons, and Capers (recipe based from one in the Foster’s Market Cookbook, but significantly re-interpreted by me…)

Ingredients (based on 4 chicken breasts, so use the multiple you need):
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – 2 tbsp fresh thyme – matzah meal for breading – one 14oz can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained – 1/4 c. capers – 1 lemon, sliced thinly – 1 c. good dry white wine – olive oil for cooking

Directions:
Rinse chicken. Place one breast at a time in a freezer bag and flatten it with the bottom of a mason jar or something else you like that would work, until the chicken is about 1/3″ thick all over.
Put chicken breast into a dish with the matzah meal, and coat it as you would fried chicken. Shake off the excess.
Heat a skillet with olive oil (I put my stove on a 7.5 setting), and fry the breasts. Make sure to leave room between the pieces (if you don’t you’ll be steaming them too much). Cook until done but not overdone (be careful since they’ll still be going in the oven later that you don’t let them get super-dry on the inside).
When chicken breasts are done, take them out and put them in a plate for reheating later, and place in the refrigerator. Deglaze the pot by pouring in some of the wine. Let it simmer a while to thicken up, then pour that in a bowl and refrigerate.
When ready to prepare the finished dish, preheat the oven on 240*. Put chicken breasts in baking dish, top with the deglazed sauce and top with the capers, lemons, and artichokes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 45 minutes or until nice and warm.

Roasted Lamb

Recipe (based on 2.5# leg of lamb w/out bone):
Make slashes in top fat. Rub with rosemary and lots of garlic, and a little salt & pepper into slashes and all over. Place in roasting pan at 300* and cook for about 22 minutes/pound. Let rest for about 20 minutes before cutting.

Sides
Roasted New Potatoes (recipe: Cut new potatoes into halves or 4ths. Put in bowl with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper. Spread in one layer on baking sheet lined with foil, bake at 400* for 25 minutes or until tender & browned nicely on side facing bottom of baking sheet)

Roasted Asparagus (recipe: Cut 1/4″-1/2″ off bottoms of spears. Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper. Spread in one layer on baking sheet lined with foil and bake at 400* for 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness of spears)

Roasted Carrots (recipe: Peel carrots, slice diagonally into manageable pieces (they’ll shrink a little while baking). Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper. Spread in one layer on baking sheet lined with foil and bake at 400* for 20-25 minutes, until carrots have nice consistency – not terribly soft but certainly not still hard. This way of cooking carrots is great because it really brings out their sweetness)

Matzah Balls (I have to admit that I can’t tell a huge difference between my made-from-scratch matzah balls and the ones in the box, so…….)

Dessert
Chocolate-dipped Strawberries (melt semi-sweet chocolate pieces in a double boiler, and dip strawberries. Place dipped strawberries on wax paper for chocolate to harden. After a big seder meal, these are perfect)

Road Trip Seder

This year, we did 2nd night seder at our house. First night is very traditional, including the food, but since we do the whole thing over 2nd night, this year we decided to try to make it really fun!

We decided this year to have a “Road Trip Seder” since we go on so many road trips.

We actually started in the future, with Star Trek (Av did this for the intro: “Sinai. The primary frontier. These are the voyages of the Jewish people…..”). He did really great with this one. It got corny, but still funny.

Then, we traveled on to Star Wars, where Av was “Darth Seder”, which was hilarious! For the different sons portion, we did different Star Wars characters that corresponded with the attributes of the four sons.

For the plagues, we traveled back to earth and went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We gave out beads representing the different plagues, and had everyone guess which they stood for. We had really cute ones with squeaky frogs, red beads for blood, those huge white ball/beads for hail, I hot-glued a plastic grasshopper to a set of beads with lemons for locusts. For boils, we got one of the beads that had on it all the ingredients for a crawfish boil.

For the part where the different elements of the seder are pointed out, we went to Japan to the set of “Iron Chef”, where Av did the whole Chairman Kaga thing: “Allez Cuisine!……..maror.”

After supper, we went to Hawai’i for the Hallel and had a Hallel-luau. Everybody got one of those $.75 flowery leis from Party City, and that was fun.

We then went to NYC to the set of Conan O’Brien’s show and several of us took part in a ‘In the Year 6000’ bit. One of them was: “In the year 6000, the Chief Rabbi of Israel will throw up his hands and say ‘what’s the point of Passover rules’ when a line of Kosher for Passover doughnuts is announced by Krispy Kreme”. There were a bunch (funnier) others.

For the 4th cup, we went to a football stadium and (this is Av’s family tradition) did their school song in addition to the regular blessing.

We ended with the rest of the songs, including the fun (English) camp version of “Who Knows One?” and those of us who don’t do the Hebrew for Chad Gadya did the animal sounds. Everybody had a blast!

Next year we’re thinking of doing 2nd night all in retro television shows. Who knows?