Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Belated Passover Post

As was the case before the pandemic, I made the family seder this year. Pestilence and illness reduced our company to ten, and no one was able to bring matzoh ball soup.

We had lots of hors d'oeuvres. There was Michael Solomonov's fantastic smooth tahini from Zahav,

Michael Solomonov's hummus

my own ricotta, sun-dried tomato and lemon zest spread, gefilte fish bites made from Citarella's excellent fish, with homemade horseradish from America's Test Kitchen's DIY, bar nuts from The Union Square Cookbook and tuna tapenade from Joel Robuchon's The Complete Robuchon.

For matzoh ball soup, I went to Friedman's, a quite good Jewish deli/restaurant with numerous branches around the city. I was thrilled to find a sufficient quantity of soup, but really disappointed when I tasted it.. Weak, salty, with not great matzoh balls. I doctored it as best I could be cooking it with some chopped parsnips, dill and parsley, but to little avail. It was barely adequate.

The first main course was Palestinian upside-down chicken  (maqlubeh), in which chicken thighs are cooked with cauliflower florets, eggplant slices, tons of spices and basmati rice and almonds, which are supposed to crisp up like Persian rice. (Recipe courtesy of The Milk Street Cookbook.) It was delicious! Although I didn't get a photo, I have stolen a photo from my dinner of May 31, 2017, which will be covered subsequently.

Palestinian upside-down chicken
The second was a pretty classic seven-hour lleg of amb, with the principal recipe from Bones, by Jennifer McLagan, but with the addition of anchovies, rosemary in garlic in finger-sized holes, as suggested by Simon Hopkinson in his lovely Roast Chicken and Other Stories. Absolutely perfect, without the dryness this dish is prone to.

You can't have a seder without haroset, great on its own but also on matzoh with lots of extreme horseradish: the famous Hillel sandwich. As always, I made two kinds First, figs, date, and apples and walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, from Judith Nathan's Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Food in France. My second was a Syrian-style dried apricot and pistachio puree that I got from Jennifer Abadi's blog, Too Good to Pass Over. Both incredibly simple and tasty.

Finally, dessert. Ginger molasses cake from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert, in homage to my late mother, who adored this cake and anything else with huge quantities of ginger. And my fresh blueberry tart (to which I add raspberries from Rose Levy Beranbaum, by way of Food52 Genius Recipes, always a hit.

Blueberry and raspberry tart
Ginger molasses cake
For post-dessert, assorted brownies and cookies made by Vicki and homemade chocolate covered matzos from Rebecca.

All in all, it was quite a feast!

Bobby Jay

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