Passover 5769 Menu

Passover menu planning is always a fun experience for me.  I just love food and creating a menu that enhances the spiritual experience of the seder is a great exercise.  I like to try a few new things every year, but also mix in a few fan favorites.  This year I’m bringing back the charoset sampler, but the rest of the menu is new.  I hope this menu works well the with the latest version of the Peeling a Pomegranate Haggadah (shameless plug, I know).

Below you’ll find my final menu with links to either the recipe, if I found it online, or the book it can be found in.  As I have a freezer full of local beef,  I opted to serve meat this year.  Be sure to see my 5768 menu, if you are looking for a vegetarian Passover menu.  I always try to serve a few good Kosher wines, just to prove to the skeptics that they exist.  I discovered a new winery this year: Yogev. The store had a tasting, and I bought two bottles.  They are both blends. The Shiraz blend is a smoky flavor which made me think it would go well with a mushroom dish (which I’m not making) and the Merlot blend is a nice spicy wine -which is exactly the opposite of what I would have thought.  I’m not great at wine-pairing, so I hope these and whatever my guests bring will go well with the food.

5769 Passover Menu
Menu Card template (doc)

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5768 Passover Menu

After more thought and menu planning, I’ve finally settled on a menu for Passover this year. While the idea I came upon during my last post on this subject was in my mind, I actually went in a slightly different direction when planning the final menu.

Below you’ll find my final menu with links to either the recipe, if I found it online, or the book it can be found in. I’ve opted once again for a vegetarian menu for Passover, but I think a lamb dish would go beautifully if someone really wanted to include a meat dish. The dishes I’ve made before are the Sephardic-style Charoset, Bitter Herb Salad, Tofu Marsala, and Tiramatzah.

And just for fun here’s my Passover adaptation of a MS Word menu card template (doc). Feel free to use it for your dinner.

5768 Passover Menu

~ Charoset Sampler ~
Date & Fig Sephardic-style
Apricot-Pistachio
Fig & Port Wine
Orange-Ginger

Matzah

———-

~ Bitter Herb Salad* ~
with lapsang souchong eggs and
oil & vinegar dressing

———-

~ Tofu Marsala ~

~ Cauliflower Leek Kugel ~
with Almond Crust

———-

~ Tiramatzah ~

~ Matzah Baklavah ~

———-

Coffee, Tea, Wines, Sparkling Water

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m not great at the wine pairing thing, so if you have any suggestions — it would be much appreciated.

* There’s no recipe for the bitter herb salad, just a lovely salad made from bitter herbs.

[tags]passover menu, recipes, menu planning, sacred eating, pesach, vegetarian passover[/tags]

Pesach Menu Planning

Passover is only a couple of weeks out and I still haven’t decided on a menu for this year. Actually, I haven’t even narrowed down a theme! Last night I was going through the haggadah and doing yet another round of editing for my use and a future edition. As I was going through it, I was trying to think in terms of what meal would serve this haggadah really well.

Last year, I did an “18 minutes” theme, which was actually suggested by my lovely and talented husband. He suggested it based on our conversations about matzah making and how the time constraints are symbolic since 18 = “chai” and is the word for life. I had a rather major epiphany a couple of years ago while trying to make matzah. The 18 minutes theme worked really well. Most every dish took less than 20 minutes to prepare and it was a delicious and entirely vegetarian experience.

I thought I might do a colonial seder this year and base all the dishes on what 18th Century Jews in America would have served, but I’ve had little luck in discovering much information on this subject. But that’s just to have a theme.

What I’m trying to do now is, without driving myself crazy, focus on the metaphysical and symbolic properties of the foods. With some dishes like charoset or a bitter herb salad it’s easy. But what about the Strawberry-Mint Soup with Panna Cotta I found in Herb Quarterly?. I thought it would make a lovely change from Chicken Soup for the soup course — or dessert.

I suppose if I wanted to invoke a “sense of wonder” then my Strawberry-Mint Soup with Panna Cotta would certainly do the trick. Now that I think about it, this dish is a great way to make a table full of adults relive a sense of child-like excitement. That’s definitely what elements like the first person “maggid” section of my haggadah are about.

I think I’ve discovered my theme, the Oasis Elim! Go with me on this for a second. We repeat several times in the haggadah, “I am here to remember. I am here to be free.” Looking at the order of things, the meal is just like the respite at the Oasis Elim.

And they came to Elim, where were twelve springs of water, and three score and ten palm-trees; and they encamped there by the waters. (Ex 15:27)

Based on the position of the meal, at least in a my Haggadah, it really does seem to be the moment of 15:27 at the Oasis Elim:

  • Escaping Egypt = Maggid
  • Song at the Sea = Dayenu
  • Bitter Waters at Marah = Reciting of the Plagues
  • Waters at Marah turning sweet = Eating of Matzah, Maror, Charoset
  • Oasis at Elim = Dinner!

The menu for the meal will all be intended to invoke the sense of joy and giddiness that the Israelites must have felt when they realized they were safely across the Nile and then finally made it to the lush oasis to rest. Now a meal can hardly inspire the same level of enthusiasm that an escape from 400 hundred years of oppression can, but it can bring surprise, delight, and joy. It can remind of that moment of happiness before we think about all the work that still needs to be done. It can play the role of the gorgeous Oasis that revives and refreshes us before we continue our long journey.

[update 4/15/08: final menu went in a different direction]

[tags]passover, pesach, menu planning, food, sacred eating, eco-kosher[/tags]

Pesach 2006 – The Menu

The links are to either the recipe or the cookbook. There are a couple of things that don’t have recipe, so that’s why they aren’t linked.

The Menu:

Fish and Salad
Smoked Salmon and Egg Canapes on Matzah Crackers
Spinach Salad with Grapefruit, Orange and Avocado

Main Course
Lamb Kabobs
Quinoa Salad
Cucumber Lemon Salad
Mushroom and Tofu Marsala
Algerian-style Charoset

Dessert
White Stilton with Mango and Ginger
Pineapple
Kiwi

p.s. yes, I know that tofu is not kosher according to Ashkenazi — but I tend to follow Sephardic rules for Pesach. And since I’m serving cheese as dessert after lamb kabobs — I think it’s clear that I don’t keep trad-kosher. And yes, the lamb is from an eco-friendly farm. I’ve even met the farmers and they are good, decent people who believe in doing things right and treating the animals with respect.