Passover Seder – A Festival of Freedom
Hosting a Passover Seder this week? Chef Laureen details foods you might want to consider serving while embracing the tradition.
Passover is the Jewish holy day and festival that celebrates the exodus of the ancient Israelites who were freed from slavery in Egypt. It begins at sundown Monday and continues for eight days.
It is traditional for Jewish families to gather together on the first night of Passover for a special meal called a Seder. Seder is the Hebrew word for order. The Passover Seder is a festive meal that is conducted in an organized way so that all the mitzvot (God's commandments) of Passover will be performed.
At the Seder table, a special book called the Passover Haggadah is read out loud. The Haggadah includes the story of the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt as well as Seder rituals and traditions. After the reading of the Haggadah, a festive kosher-for-Passover meal is eaten.
Every family enjoys a different menu for the Seder, however the common theme of incorporating traditional Passover recipes invokes the celebration with an abundance of flavors and aromas throughout the menu. To reflect the importance of this celebration your table should be set with the finest china and silverware.
There is a bounty of flavorful Passover recipes available. Ingredients are plentiful in the Smyrna-Vinings area particularly this time of year. Publix, Kroger and Costco have an assortment of kosher for Passover ingredients. The Wine Cellars offer a small variety of kosher for Passover sweet wines as well as a pinot grigio.
In the spirit of the holiday create your own family traditions from the kitchen to the table with a bit of inspiration of several menu suggestions.
Festival Relish Tray – Chopped egg and onion salad and dill pickles.
Grilled Hallumi Cheese – Soft sheep milk cheese brushed with olive oil.
Charoset – A blend of apples, nuts, wine, sugar and cinnamon.
Gefilte Fish – Baked into a loaf with onions, carrots, celery and parsley bound together with egg and matzo meal.
Roasted Salmon with Lemon Herb Matzo Crust – lemon, parsley, thyme, mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and butter blended with ground matzo.
Matzo Ball Soup – Chicken and Matzo Balls with carrots, zucchini, onion, parsnips and celery in a lightly salt and peppered broth.
Sweet Beef Brisket – Marinated overnight with kosher for Passover Coke, red wine, honey and ketchup then roasted in the oven.
Roasted Potatoes – Coated with olive oil, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and thyme.
Golden Cauliflower – Baked with olive oil, salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and turmeric.
Dried Fruit Kugel – Sweet noodle pudding with egg noodles, cottage cheese, sour cream, brown sugar, eggs, water, vanilla and chopped dates baked until golden brown
Chocolate Truffles – Semi-sweet chocolate blended with non-dairy whipping cream, cocoa powder and confection sugar coated with finely chopped pistachios, almonds or hazelnuts.
Four glasses of wine are poured during the Seder to symbolize the four main stages of Exodus. These stages were: Freedom, Deliverance, Redemption and Release. During the Seder one drinks a cup of wine at the conclusion of Kiddush, after telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, before eating the Matzah of Motzi Matzah, at the conclusion of the Grace After Meals and after reciting the Hallel.
There is also a fifth cup of wine – known as the Cup of Elijah. This is traditionally a very large cup that is poured and left at the center of the table. The fifth cup represents God’s promise to give the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.
Embrace the tradition; relish the history behind the food and its significance to Passover.
Peace Love Food.