Plan to Entertain: At Home’s Passover & Easter

Note: This post is from from Passover & Easter 2010

Spring’s Holiday season reaches its peak with the celebrations of Passover and Easter. Passover’s first seder is Monday, March 29th. Easter Sunday is April 4th. Passover and Easter tend to be celebrated among the same family and friends year after year, with those who hosted it before doing it again. Regardless of whether you are a Passover or Easter veteran or virgin, At Home’s principles can help.

At Home’s basic thesis is that better and easier home entertaining is much more a matter of planning and organization than superior culinary skills. As with any complex task, if you break it down into a series of component parts or tasks, and then spread your tasks over time and helpers, you can have better Passovers and Easters, that include one relaxed hour for the host before guests arrive.

Judaism and Christianity may be culinarily linked, as some theologians believe that Christ’s Last Supper on the Thursday evening before Good Friday was, in fact, a seder. For me, the linking of my Passover with Easter occurred when I met my wife Christina. Upon my invitation to her family’s Easter Dinner, now brother-in-law Larry asked me to bring the dessert — hardly my specialty. I made the Strawberry-Rhubarb Claufouti that is included on my Easter menu featured below.

Ideally, your Plan to Entertain starts at least one full weekend before your party. In the case of more complex meals like Passover or Easter, I recommend you begin your Passover planning — and some cooking — this weekend. Because the first seder falls on a Monday, that means that you will have two entire weekends and the week in between to spread your tasks. For Easter, I recommend beginning serious work next weekend. That way your Easter meal prepration will cover nearly two full weekends.

Planning to Entertain begins with menu planning. My At Home Passover and Easter menus are featured below. As noted, all of the recipes are either featured in At Home — the book and companion website — or will be posted on this blog shortly. Of course, you are welcome to copy my menus in their entirety. More likely, pick and chose from my menus to introduce something new to your spring holiday meal.

Passover Menu
As guests arrive…
White wine and sparkling water with lemon slice

Sitting around before the seder
Charred Eggplant Dip P.79
Chopped Chicken Livers* or Mock “Chicken Livers”*
Crudite with jicima sticks, cucumber sticks, radishes and sugar snap peas
Tuna Tapenade P. 76

Seder Preparation
Hard-boiled eggs (Baytzah)
Curly parsley sprigs & salted water (Karpas)
Fresh horseradish cut into strips and/or prepared horseradish (Maror)
Roasted lamb shank bone, chicken neck or chicken wing (Zerao)
Celery sticks – prefer inner sticks with some leaves (Chazeret)
Charoset from At Home P.219 and/or Shephardic Charoset*

Matzo Ball Soup P.114
Gefilte Fish with Carrot Salad P.154

Buffet or Plattered Entrees
Holiday-Ready Braised Brisket of  Beef P.230
Lemon-Garlic Roast Chicken Parts P.158
Asparagus with Mustard Butter*
Ginger-Roasted Root Vegetable Tzimmes P.314
Upside-Down Caramelized Apple Matzo Kugel P.349
or Mushroom-Matzo Pancakes P.348

Passover Chocolate Cake with Raspberries P.448
Macaroons P.467
Spring Fruit Salad: P.426

I am not quite an Easter virgin, but close. My Easter menu has been vetted by my vastly more Easter-experienced wife Christina and brother-in-law Larry.

Easter Menu
As guests arrive
Spring Champagne Cocktail with Honeydew & Mint P.43

Grilled Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus P.70
Deviled Eggs P.95

Cold Minted Pea Soup P.109

Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Fennel & Artichokes P.174
Wilted Spinach with Garlic & Lemon P.313
Mushroom Bread Pudding P.347

Strawberry-Rhubarb Clafouti P.406

Thank you for visiting.

Your Home Entertaining Coach


Filed under Entertaining at Home, Holidays, Menus

3 responses to “Plan to Entertain: At Home’s Passover & Easter

  1. Helga du Mesnil

    I will try to follow the Easter-experienced Christina and Larry even so I never ate what Cristina cooked, but I ate what Larry did! But since I live in a place where “Chef’s” are blooming, I will go out. Billiy still exists, salut!

  2. Darlene R. Scott

    Hello Steve!
    Your book arrived just in the nick of time! I’m planning an 80th birthday party for my husband, and it will be at a lovely site: The Mission room of the Art Gallery near San Jose Mission in Fremont, California. I’m certain it will enhance the entire experience. As a retired HomeEc teacher, I Thank you! from a GSE ’96 grad – PhD conferred at the age of 65!

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