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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Annual Passsover Seder Blog Post

I host a seder at my home every year.  I guess at this point I can call it every year because this is the third year in a row.

Passover seder was always a time for family to get together.  Growing up, seder was me, my brother, parents, and all four grandparents, and sometimes family friends or other relatives.  Mom would make food for at least one of the seders, and it was always a big production of amazing food, including her traditional cheesecakes.  Unfortunately, Mom and Dad still live in Michigan, so I took on the tradition of making seder in California.

Two years ago, I thought about having a seder for my family in California, namely my brother, sister-in-law, and my three nieces, and maybe a couple of other random friends who didn't have a seder to go to.  And I thought, a vegan seder is something pretty unique, I'm not sure people will want to do that.  That small seder became twenty people.  Last year, I had twenty-five.  This year, I bought an extra table to accommodate my twenty-eight guests -- I want everyone I know to have a seder to go to.  And, while a few of my guests are vegans like me, most are not, which presents the challenge of showing them a filling seder dinner that doesn't include any eggs or brisket.

We had a good time -- we told the story of Passover.  I'll admit we didn't do the second half, but I'm okay with that.  My niece Samantha read the four questions and helped to demonstrate the plagues.  

I prepared the majority of the food myself.  This year, everything was kitniyot-free.  It is traditional not only to not eat risen bread during Passover, but also not to eat items that in the old days could have been mistaken for bread, such as soy and rice.  (That said, during Passover, I do eat soy, but that's a whole different subject)

Appetizers were a mock chopped liver made from mushrooms, walnuts, and onions, and Sabra eggplant spread.

These are my matzah balls for the soup.  In the past, I've made the Post-Punk Kitchen matzo balls, which are a bit labor intensive, though delicious and fluffy, but also are made with tofu.  This year, I chose a recipe by Nava Atlas, a matzo ball made with quinoa flakes and matzo meal, and a little bit of oil.  Instead of dropping them in hot water, they are baked.  They taste amazing, and while they are not fluffy like your traditional egg-laden matzo ball, they hold up quite well in the soup and do not fall apart.

Spring salad -- most of the veggies in here are from the farmers' market.  Greens, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, mango, and cinnamon almonds.

Quinoa with cauliflower, pine nuts, and dried cranberries.  I made this last year and people enjoyed it, so I made it again.

Eggplant Casserole by Mayim Bialik.  Amy Farrah Fowler makes a helluva casserole.

Matzo farfel in butternut squash puree.  This is my own creation.  An Italian restaurant made me a pasta in a butternut squash puree. It was amazing, so creamy and yummy, that I assumed they must have slipped in some dairy or butter.  But they insisted, it was just pasta, pureed butternut squash, salt and pepper.  So I tried it at home and it worked with pasta, so I figured it must work with matzo too.  And it did!

The most popular dish, and unfortunately a kind of crappy picture of it.  Carrot apple sweet potato kugel.  The recipe suggests adding sugar.  I don't.  I also cut the margarine down to a third of what is called for in the recipe.

This is what my dinner plate looked like:

Dessert was an apple and date mouse and a chocolate truffle pie from Mayim Bialik's blog.  P.S. Mayim, thanks for the awesome recipes, if you ever read this.

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