Now that my children are grown, with children of their own, I sometimes think about the “old days” and remember the good times, the festive occasions, the fun we had. The Jewish holidays rank high on my list of best memories, especially the Passover Seders. Whether I’m thinking about the times that my cousin and I would crawl under the table while my uncle recited the Haggadah or last year, when my grandchildren threw the styrofoam “hail” and plastic locusts as we mentioned the Ten Plagues, the memories are good, the kind that I love to deposit in my memory bank.
There are good food memories too, from my grandma’s famous chicken soup to the complaints I got when I first served haroset made with dried apricots, pistachio nuts and cayenne pepper.
My first Seder continues my family's generations long menu featuring matzo ball soup, followed by roasted turkey. Chremslich, of course. In fact, a double portion of that.
But all the rest is different. Over the years there was one food change after another, little by little as new in-laws came into our family, tastes changed and allergies had to be considered. So these days we have our own family expected recipes -- matzo ball soup and turkey, plus homemade baked cranberries, spinach pie (made with a matzo crust), imam bayeldi, and lots of other vegetables and the now standard spicy dried fruit haroset.
I used to serve flourless chocolate cake, but we had that a little too often, so because Passover is also my grandson's birthday, I will serve homemade macaroons along with a traditional chocolate roll, the one I used to make when my daughter Meredith's birthday fell during Passover. (You can stuff the roll with whipped cream, jelly or parve lemon curd filling).
Every year I add one new dish to my first Seder. One year it was Ratatouille. A few times there was a new version of haroset. I even made matzo farfel chocolates one year.
This year? A new salad! Here it is:
Roasted Beet and Brussels Sprouts Salad
- 4 medium beets
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1/2 pound (about 30) medium size Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or use Balsamic vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel the beets and cut them into bite size pieces. Place the beets on a baking sheet and pour one tablespoon olive oil over them. Toss to coat the beets. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 20 minutes or until tender. Trim the Brussels sprouts (cut them in half if they are large). Place them on a baking sheet and pour one tablespoon olive oil over them. Toss to coat the sprouts. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 15 minutes or until tender. Place the vegetables together in a bowl. Mix the remaining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and orange peel and pour over the ingredients. Let rest for about 10 minutes, place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste.
Makes 6-8 servings