Showing posts from April, 2008

Pesach 5768 (2008) - Last Day(s)

And now we come to the end of Pesach.   I am tired of eating protein.  My normal menu is all starch with a little protein thrown in for consistency.  Pesach is the opposite.  We eat gebruchs, but I usually do not cook with starch additives, so my recipes are non-gebruchs and Atkin's friendly.
Our guest list for this weekend is full once again. 5 of the 9 boys from the first days will be returning as will Miriam and Sarah.  The major difference is that we are having two families over (one for dinner and one for lunch).   The good news is that both families will be bringing over significant parts of the meals!  Our counts will be around 20 for each meal, so we will need our full table and must plan the menus accordingly.  Recall also that the boys are voracious eaters, so we will need to have at least three mains per mail.
The really good news is that its only one day (two meals + seduat shlishit).  Anyone who needs a second day will just have to make due with leftovers.
Shabbat Pesach…

Pesach 5768 (2008) - First Half Recap

This first days of Pesach are past and our guests have (temporarily) left the building.  We hosted 7 boys from Baltimore, Cleveland and NJ [Haim Frenkle, Zack Sacks, Daniel Davis, Amishav, Sam, Robert and Etan].  Six learn at Mevaseret Zion and one learns at Netiv Aryeh.  We also had two russian high school students (11th grade) from the Naaleh program [Stas and Vitali].  The high school boys learn in a boarding school in Tirat HaCarmel in Haifa.  Last but not least, we had two young women who made aliyah this year [Sarah and Miriam].
The second seder that we supported (but did not participate in), had 13 people ranging in age from 18 to 60+.   It is a strange experience serving and cooking for people who are having a second seder.
From a food perspective, we didn't have enough.  The boys are meat and potatoes people.  Anything I put on the table with meat or potatoes was devoured.  Vegetables fared a bit better, but for most meals, we had nothing left over.  I don't think anyon…

Corned Beef Failures

First challenge of the holiday. I boiled a corned beef today and for the first time in ages, it didn't come out firm.  Perhaps I over boiled it, or perhaps the meat was just not up to my usual standards.  Anyhow, now I have about 2-4 pounds of shredded corned beef.  I was planning on serving this on Sunday morning (Pesach Lunch) as one of two main dishes.  The other dish came out fantastic (Chicken in wine sauce with mushrooms - Yum!).
It seems from a quick perusal of the Internet that the most common thing to do with Corned beef leftovers is to mix it with mashed potatoes and call it Corned Beef Hash.  I'm going to try and make an Irish version: Colcannon, that I found on an email thread here.
First I need to make some mashed potatoes and some stir fried cabbage.  Then I'll mix it together with sautéed onions and bake it until the top browns.
Please let me know if you have any ideas.  The corned beef just fell apart, even with my sharpest knives.

Pesach 5768 (2008) - First Day Lunch

Fifth meal of the weekend.  We're getting tired of eating.  It was a long night and we can still taste the four cups of wine.  What to serve....
Lunch - 19 people Corned Beef Quinoa Pilaf Lettuce Salad Ginger Cabbage Chicken in a Mushroom and Red Wine Sauce (The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook Pg. 632) Roast Potatoes Pesach Brownies Ala Mod

Pesach 5768 (2008) - Seder

We come to the first meal of the holiday (third or fourth of the weekend).  Its Seder Time and that means Tradition.   Recall if you will, the setting.  We start the Seder protocol about 30 to 60 minutes after Shabbat ends.  In Israel this year, we will start the Seder around 9pm.  The big problem is that you cannot set up ANYTHING until after Shabbat ends.  This means that the table, the food and anything else that we need to prepare needs to be done between the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the Seder.
We now sit down and begin.  Some two hours later, we reach the Shulchan Orath (Set Table) portion of the Seder.  Its time to eat.  Clock Check: 11pm.  So we start the meal at 11pm at night.  Who is ready for a major four course rich gourmet meal?  Oh, and recall that at least half the crown is buzzed from drinking two full cups of wine.
My view is that Seder meals should be full of tradition and light on content.  My families tradition is not to serve anything resembling a Paschal …

Pesach 5768 (2008) - Saturday Lunch

Ok. it is Erev Pesach.  All of the Chametz is gone.  But, its at least 12 hours before we can eat dinner at the Seder table.    Our solution is to have Seudat Shlishit around 1:30pm in the afternoon with a full meat meal, minus the bread and wine.
There is a small problem with Kitniyot on Erev Pesach.  Some people have a tradition to stop eating Kitniyot at the same time that they stop eating Chametz.  This makes good sense if you believe that the tradition was created so that we would not eat foods potentially contaminated with chametz (one tradition is that kitniyot items were stored together with wheat products).
These days, when you can get Kosher for Pesach Mehadrin Kitniyot, the potential for Chametz is no longer an issue.  I havn't decided yet if we should eat Rice at this meal or not.  The other alternative is to start serving potatoes....
Shabbat HaGadol Lunch - 19 Starch - Rice or Potatoes Cold Cuts Cajun Chicken (Dry Rub) Israeli Salad Jello Coleslaw Pickles

Pesach 5768 (2008) - Saturday Breakfast

There is a tradition to each three meals on Shabbat.  Most people hold that at least two of these meals should include bread and wine.  Furthermore, We stop eating food early enough so that we are hungry by the time we sit at the Seder Table.  So, what do we do when Erev Pesach is Shabbat?
We had bread and wine at Friday night dinner.  For "lunch", we each a meal with bread and wine before the time for Biyur Chametz.  This year, its something around 9:30am.   Given that its real early, we will serve Breakfast!
Since we will be serving real bread with this meal, we will eat outside on our porch.  We will then throw everything that we don't finish right in the garbage.  Its a trick to prepare just the right amount.  We will try and bring out the food only when its needed.  Stuff we don't need we will leave in the fridge for another day.  (The Chametz comes out all at once and never enters the house again).

Erev Pesach Breakfast - 19 Pita - Chametz Humus - Kitniyot Tuna Salad E…

Pesach 5768 (2008) - Friday Night

Here is the first of the menus for Pesach.  I will be posting each menu separately and updating them in-place as I tune them for the actual numbers and the state of my pantry.
Note that on Friday night we will be serving Kosher for Pesach Kitniyot.  You can actually buy these things in Israel that are kosher for mehadrin.  No problems with Chametz.  Now being a good ashkenazi family, we do not eat them on Pesach, but...  before pesach, these things are permitted and furthermore, you can cook them in the pesach pots and pans and serve them on pesach dishes.  YEAH!
Shabbat HaGadol - Parshat Acharai Mot Dinner - 19 Soup Rice - Kitniyot Carrot Kugel Green Beans and Garlic - Kitniyot Beef in Wine Sauce Chicken Watermelon

Pre Pesach Weekend

The preparations are all underway. The tree is trimmed, the kids are in bed...  No wait, wrong religion and wrong holiday.  My wife is sitting with all of our kids, working out the plans for next week.  Everyone gets a list of jobs and then they sit and negotiate.  I'll clean the closet if you clean the bathroom.  We also write a weekly newsletter and they feel the need to coordinate their articles for the Seder.  My wife plans on putting out two news letters next week, one for the week that was and one specifically for the Seder.  I can't wait to read the articles.
This weekend, my wife is working a Sheva Brachot weekend.    We were invited out for dinner and will have a few guests for lunch.   Given the state of our pantry, the menu options are limited.  We are in clean-up mode, so I'm trying to use up items instead of going to buy more from the store.
Shabbat Parshat Metzora Lunch - 15 Meat Roll Whisky Chicken with Mushrooms Artichokes Cole Slaw Couscous Salad Plain Couscous (no…

Pesach 5768 (2008) Overview

Pesach is just around the corner and preparations are already underway.  Our current guest list includes 7 gentlemen from a post-high school yeshiva program and two young ladies.  Our total count stands at 17 for all five meals.
My wife and family are already working on cleaning the house.    Some of the dry goods purchases have been completed, and now we are looking at the protein purchase (butchers bill) and the fresh produce.  To get the process started off on the right foot, we are making menus.  In the general way of things, I expect these menus to change over the next 10 days.  Yet, I want to keep them online and get your input.  Do you think they are too light, too heavy, or just plain not enough for our hungry guests?  Let us know!
There are five major meals that we need to prepare. Friday Night DinnerEarly Shabbat Lunch (which must be eaten before 9:30am and that needs to include bread)Shabbat Lunch (around 1:30pm, that cannot include bread or matzoh)Seder DinnerFirst Day Lunch