4/18/11

Pre-Passover Freakout!

Here's a photo of our window herb-garden blooming to represent the fact that: it's Spring! That's nice and all, but I am in a total tizzy! In two weeks I'll be heading back to the USA for an extended visit, and then coming back to Berlin only to head directly to Budapest for a summer internship. In the meantime, there's Passover, Easter, a ton of friend's birthdays, and all the normal stresses associated with being a cleaning lady.

But, I am trying to put off the freakouts just a little bit longer and approach the coming madness with the sort of non-chalance that I am known for. (Not.)

In the meantime I've been having some casual meals like the one pictured above: my take on blini w/ caviar. My friends and I made these little pancakes w/ a bit of onion mixed in, then topped them with a sauteed mince of mushroom and peppers laced with balsamic and soy sauce to make it a bit salty. On top, a dollop of soy yogurt (sour cream would also be nice) and spring onions. Perfect fancy little dinner.

And now onto Pesach! Every year I plan a huge Passover Seder and every year I end up freaking out! This year is no different. I'm having 12-15 Berliners over, only one of whom is Jewish, and trying to not only teach them about Passover but also do the whole thing vegan for a bunch of avowed meat-eaters. Yikes. I am trying to avoid major problems this year in 3 ways:
-testing out a few new recipes beforehand
-making about 1/2 the meal the day before
-doing some experimental combos that take some of the labor out of the traditional meal, and make it exotic enough that people don't even think about meat or dairy.

I hope it works! As you can see, I have a sort of Middle Eastern/ Sephardic theme going on, what with the orange and almond salad, tagine-esque quinoa, and various dips. This is also partially because of the unavailability (or expensiveness) of a lot ingredients I would normally use. However, there's still matzoh balls, so I guess its all ok.

At the end of the day, its one night of these people's lives, so if something goes wrong I am not going to freak out. But since I want people to walk away with a better understanding of both Judaism and Veganism, I am definitely feeling the pressure.

With that said, I present this year's potential Passover Seder Menu:

-Traditional Apple-Walnut Charoset
-V'Con Cucumber Dip
-Baba Ghanoush
-Kosher for passover Matzoh ball soup (recipe here or here) (ie, no tofu!)
-Giant Salad w/ Spinach, Arugula, Almonds and Orange slices and some sort of dressing
-Quinoa Tzimmes Tagine (?)
-This is an idea for a recipe that came to me which combines roasted root veggies and quinoa as a heartier, make-ahead side. It will be roasted chunks of sweet potatoes and carrots, added into a quinoa prepared with onions, garlic, ginger, and some morrocan-ish spices, ie, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon. On top will be some diced apricots.
-Eggplant Potato Moussaka w/ Pinenut Cream (from V'Con)
-Herbacious Leek and Mushroom Kugel (from years past)

And for dessert, coconut macaroons, expresso, and chocolate covered strawberries.

Ok, let me know what you think. Am I missing something? Is quinoa AND moussaka weird? Am I freaking out too much?

Anyways, if you are planning your own seder please feel free to peruse my archives:
-2010 "Dip" Seder
-2009 Seder with recipes that work for Easter and Passover

I'll post pictures afterwards to show you how it went!

Happy Spring!

Song of the Day: Get Down Moses- Joe Strummer

9 comments:

vegan.in.brighton said...

Mmmm I love blinis & yours look great.

Ainsley Drew said...

T, I wish you had a donate button! I'm sorry you've been struggling so much, but at least it looks like you're eating some scrumptious vittles. Have a lovely Passover and safe travels.

Anonymous said...

happy spring, T!

i think your take on blinis is divine - totally going to have to recreate those, fo 'sho.

you always pull off the most delicious looking (and sounding) passover dinners, my friend - and i know this time around will be no different. your menu rocks the most socks, and i don't think quinoa (the dish sounds divine, by the way) and mousaka are weird. i'm looking forward to your leek 'n mushroom kugel again, too. w0000000t!

jessy said...

happy spring, T!

i think your take on blinis is divine - totally going to have to recreate those, fo 'sho.

you always pull off the most delicious looking (and sounding) passover dinners, my friend - and i know this time around will be no different. your menu rocks the most socks, and i don't think quinoa (the dish sounds divine, by the way) and mousaka are weird. i'm looking forward to your leek 'n mushroom kugel again, too. w0000000t!

Bliss Doubt said...

Sounds delish. I think the best dressing ingredient for the leaf-citrus-nut type salads is champagne vinegar.

Your friends are lucky!

Sara said...

Hey, don't freak out! It's not like an angel of death is coming by to murder your first born---it's just a dinner party ;)

Your menu looks amazing, and it looks like you've got dessert totally covered, but I thought I'd bring this to your attention: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/04/matzo-toffee-with-almonds-recipe.html. I'm thinking of making some for our sedar, as a prize for finding the afikoman.

Happy Pesach, dear!

lazysmurf said...

That is a serious menu! I'm sure it will be awesome, good luck with everything!

Chef Mark Rasmussen said...

Great sounding Seder! I'd love to see that more often. Great job getting everyone to participate!

adriennefriend said...

I WANT that little pancake thing!!!!!!!!