Over the last decade, I have made in excess of one thousand Matzoh Balls. We make about one hundred every Passover and enjoy them throughout the year as well. As the self-proclaimed Queen of The Matzoh Ball, with Passover around the corner, I’m sharing my tips on preparing the fluffiest and tastiest of matzoh balls!
Continue reading “How to Make the Fluffiest, Most Delicious Matzoh Balls”
Tomato Onion Brisket
It’s been a decade since I cooked my first Passover brisket. I had been tweaking the recipe by adding more red wine, and substituting wheat-free tamari, caramelizing the meat under the broiler, and lowering the cooking temperature. In recent years there are no more changes! If you come to our Passover dinner this is the brisket that you’ll be served. Now it’s tradition! And it’s gooooooooooood!
When I first looked at this recipe years ago, I was skeptical. Garlic powder and ground ginger weren’t esteemed ingredients in my kitchen. And I didn’t remember the last time I used onion soup mix. Was it to make dip in college? But the combination of the brisket from Paulina Meat Market and canned tomato sauce mixture produced, well, a miracle of sorts.
Continue reading “Tradition! The Brisket! Tradition!”
Matzoh Balls – They’re Not Just for Passover!
Over the last decade, I have made in excess of 1000 Matzoh Balls. We make about 100 every Passover. We make them the day before, the day we call “Cooking Day.” We make 2 per person 34 X 2 for Passover dinner, plus we have them for lunch on cooking day, for a midnight snack, and lunch the following day. And matzoh balls are not just for Passover, we enjoy them throughout the year when we get the the urge to liven up the chicken soup. As the self-proclaimed Queen of The Matzoh Ball, I’m going to share my tips on producing the fluffiest and tastiest of matzoh balls!
Continue reading “Can We Talk Matzoh Balls?”
Matzoh & Karpas
Karpas – A green vegetable such as parsley, a springtime crop representative of rebirth and redemption is dipped in salt water. The salt water reminds us of the tears our ancestors shed as slaves in Egypt.
Matzoh – We eat matzoh on Passover to remind us that our ancestors left Egypt in such haste, they could not wait for the bread to rise. Additionally, matzoh is the “bread of affliction” – the food of slavery, it reminds us to be humble and to appreciate our freedoms.
My brother, Don, is the leader. Everyone participates. We read from the Haggadah. We recite the blessings. We tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. My nephew, Stone, 7, asks The Four Questions. We sing. We drink. We eat. We laugh. We get teary-eyed. Our story is being retold all over the world on this day.
Here I share our Passover menu and some scenes from the Seder along with the significance of each ritual. And new this year: Come take a peek into our Seder. Watch a 45 second video clip of one of our Seder songs!
Continue reading “Passover Menu 2010”
The tables are set early in the day.
Passover begins after sundown.
And there is much to prepare!
The kids have their own table. Stone is six years old and Jett is four.
They have their own Seder plate, just like the adults.
Passover Seder Plate contains symbolic foods having special significance in retelling the Passover story: z’roa (roasted shankbone), charoset, chazeret (romaine lettuce), karpas (parsley), beitzah (roasted egg), maror (horseradish).
What is the significance of all these frogs?
We have new people at our Seder every year, and they ask, what can I bring? Since the food is already planned, we say, please bring a frog. Our frog community has grown over the years.It is very important that children are involved in the Seder. The frogs, the place mats for coloring, helping with the washing of the hands, and ultimately the hunting for the afikomen help to keep even very young kids engaged and excited about Passover. My nephews are two energetic little boys who are well-behaved and respectful throughout the evening. I am a proud Aunt, can you tell?
My favorite, the Chef Frog (bottom left). Is he holding a brisket?
When Pharaoh refused to set the Israelites free, God punished the Egyptians with Ten Plagues. Frogs are one of the Ten Plagues.
We recognize guests who are attending their first Seder. Lena, Kim and Viktoria are from Germany and are working in Chicago for a year as au pairs.
Everyone is seated. There is Stone at the kids table by the window. Everyone gives him their attention as he welcomed everyone to our Seder with his own poem.
My brother, Don, is the leader. Everyone participates. We read from the haggadah. We recite the blessings. We tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. We sing. We drink. We eat. We laugh. We get teary-eyed. Our story is being retold all over the world on this day.
Seder means order. Here is the order of the Seder:
- Kaddesh – Saying a blessing over the first cup of wine in honor of the holiday.
- Urechatz – Washing the hands, no blessing is said, prepare to eat karpas.
- Karpas – Eating parsley dipped in salt water, representing the tears of our ancestors.
- Yachatz – The middle of the three matzohs on the table is broken, the larger piece becomes the afikomen.
- Maggid – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold. It starts with asking of the Four Questions by the youngest at the table.
- Rachtzah – Hands are washed for the second time with a blessing, prepare to eat the matzoh.
- Motzi – A blessing for bread or grain products is recited over the matzoh.
- Matzah – Blessing specific to matzoh is recited and then matzoh is eaten.
- Maror – Blessing is recited over a bitter vegetable such as horseradish, symbolizing the bitterness of slavery.
- Korekh – Another set of bitter herbs known as Chazeret is eaten as the sandwich to replace the paschal offering. We make a matzoh sandwich with maror and charoset.
- Shulchan Orech – A festive meal is eaten.
- Tzafun – Piece of Matzoh hidden for the children to find and is eaten as the ‘dessert’ or the last food of the meal.
- Barech -Grace is recited over the third cup of wine and then it is drunk. The fourth cup is poured along with the cup set aside for the Prophet Elijah. The door is opened to invite him in.
- Hallel – Several psalms are recited followed by a blessing over the last cup of wine.
- Nirtzah – A wish is made that Jews may celebrate next Pesach in Jerusalem or that the Messiah may come again next year.
Jett is ready to help with The First Washing of the Hands.
Lena and Stone assist with the washing of the hands, here, with Cousin Vicki. Vicki had been the youngest in our family until Stone and Jett were born. The youngest is the one to ask the Four Questions. This year, for the first time in almost three decades, Vicki did not ask the Four Questions. Stone did. (Maybe you remember Cousin Vicki from my posting about her beautiful wedding to Jonah in the Sonoma wine country last Fall here
We eat matzoh on Passover to remind us that the Israelites left Egypt in such haste, they could not wait for the bread to rise. Additionally, matzoh is the “bread of affliction” – the food of slavery, it reminds us to be humble and to appreciate our freedoms. Don places 3 matzohs in a special cloth. The middle matzoh will be broken in half, the larger piece placed in a little bag and hidden. The kids hunt for this piece of matzoh called the afikomen after dinner and receive a cash reward for “returning” the afikomen to the adults.
Stone asks in English and Hebrew:
Why is this night different from all other nights?
Mah nishtanah halyla hazeh mikol halaylot
1) On all nights we need not dip even once, on this night we do so twice.
2) On all nights we eat chametz or matzoh, and on this night only matzoh.
3) On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night maror.
4) On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline.
A second washing of the hands, this time with a blessing, in preparation for eating the matzoh.
As Lena and Stone help with the hand washing at one table, Kristy and Jett assist the other table. One of the objectives of the Seder is to retell our story and teach the next generation about the rituals, symbols, and meaning of the holiday. Next, we recite a blessing for matzoh and maror, eat a Hillel sandwich of charoset and maror, then serve the meal.
Please stop by on April 17 to see the food from this Seder and others!
Later that night:
“I found the Afikomen!”
Passover Seder Plate
Which Includes The Beitzah (Roasted Egg)
I would like to wish a very Happy Easter to all of you who are celebrating tomorrow! May it be a glorious day for you and your families, full of blessings and love.
For our family, Passover began at sundown this past Wednesday. Needless to say, I had been quite busy shopping, cooking and preparing for Passover. I look forward to sharing more about our Passover meal in an upcoming post. Today, in honor of Passover and Easter, I thought it might be neat to put together a compilation of some of the egg dishes that have been featured on Taste With The Eyes.
My nephew, Stone, peels the hard-boiled eggs for Passover.
The Beitzah (roasted egg) on the Seder Plate reminds us of the the festival offering brought by our ancestors to the Temple in Jerusalem. It is a symbol of life and the perpetuation of existence. At the Seder in our home, we serve hard-boiled eggs with the first course, which can be dipped in salt water, representative of the Israelites’ tears over suffering and slavery.
Throughout history, eggs have been associated with Easter celebrations. The egg is seen as symbolic of the grave and life renewed or resurrected by breaking out of it. A red colored-egg symbolizes the blood of Christ redeeming the world and human redemption through the blood shed in the sacrifice of the crucifixion. The egg itself is a symbol of resurrection: while being dormant it contains a new life sealed within it. (from Wikipedia)
If you have something to share regarding the symbolism of the egg in your religion or culture please leave a comment, it would be very interesting to hear about it.
Eggs, Any Style
(click on the name to link to the related post)
PASSOVER ROUND-UP 2009
It’s not too late to join in the Passover Round-up 2009!
It will post on April 17th. If you participated in a Seder this year, I hope you will join us. Please send me a photo of your Seder plate, Passover dish(es), or your Passover table. There are no rules to take part, just email your photo to tastewiththeeyes AT cox DOT net, and tell me a little about you and your Seder photo.
Wishing you a very special Easter.
“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”
– S.D. Gordon
Kasha & Bows
One cup of kasha (granulated roasted whole grain buckwheat) is toasted in a dry non-stick pan for a few minutes, then cooled. A beaten egg is added, stir to coat all the grains. Cook briefly over medium heat until the egg has dried. Add 2 c. seasoned hot chicken stock plus 1 T. vegetable oil, stir, cover and cook on low heat until the liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile sauté a chopped yellow onion in 2 T. vegetable oil, or in schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), as my Aunt Edythe did. When the onion is nice and browned, toss with al dente bowtie pasta and then add the kasha. This is usually served as a side dish but along with a salad, makes a tasty weeknight meal as well.
Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s passing, 38 years ago. I always light a Yahrzeit candle in his memory on this day, say a personal prayer, and spend a few moments “in conversation” with my Dad.
This year I made Kasha Varnishkes, like my Aunt Edythe (his sister) used to make and served it on my parents’ old china, Franciscan Apple.
Also known as Kasha & Bows, this is a traditional Russian Jewish dish, one no doubt taught to my Aunt by my Nana, who was from Kiev.
I find the annual act of lighting the Yahrzeit candle on this anniversary very comforting, and along with the cooking of traditional Jewish foods, it helps to keep the memory of my Dad, Aunt, Nana and Papa alive.
Now, Passover is just around the corner, starting at sundown on April 8. And like last year,
I am excited to host a Round-up of Passover Photos.
If you are participating in a Seder this year, I hope you will join in. Please send me a photo of your Seder plate, Passover dish(es), or your Passover table. If you would like to use my Passover Round-up badge in your blog post, please feel free. There are no rules to take part, just email your photo to tastewiththeeyes AT cox DOT net, and tell me a little about you and your Seder photo. I am hoping that those readers without a blog will participate as well. Let’s share! I will post the round-up after the eighth day of Passover. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Pesach.