Tag Archives: Passover Menu

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”*
Matzo
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

Dinner
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

Dessert
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

Dinner
Soup
Cold Minted Pea Soup P.109

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

Dessert
Strawberry-Rhubarb Clafouti P.406

Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Filed under Entertaining at Home, Holidays, Menus

Chapter 10 – Braises, Casseroles & One-Dish Entrees

Today is a preview from Chapter 10 — Braises, Casseroles & One-Dish Entrees. It’s a little out of order in our 19-day, 19-chapter countdown to the book being shipped from the Quebecor World printing facility in Kentucky. Rosh Hashana is now only a week away and you could happily go out and buy your brisket today, cook it tomorrow as you watch the Eagles season opener – or someone you love is watching it and you’re not interested! Smart home entertainers plan ahead and do ahead and made ahead brisket is better than made just in time.

So, from Chapter 10:

Holiday-Ready Brisket

Pot-roasted beef brisket with tomato and caramelized onion, traditionally served at Jewish holiday dinners, is also great for any kind of dinner party. It’s easy to make, mostly requiring passive cooking time, and one brisket can feed a crowd. If you can find a second-cut brisket—the fattier but more flavorful cut—it’s preferable, but a first-cut brisket will do.

do ahead Brisket is better made at least a day before it is served and it can be made as much as three days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Skim off fat and reheat in the oven before serving. It also freezes well.

3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
5 pounds beef brisket (preferably second-cut)
11⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups canned crushed Italian tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1⁄2 cup red wine
10.5-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 Preheat oven to 375º. Pat brisket dry. Season brisket on all sides with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or very large ovenproof pot. Add brisket and cook until well browned, about 10 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side. You may have to cut brisket into two pieces to fit it into your pot.
2 Transfer brisket from pot to a plate. Add onions to the pot and cook until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Add brisket and any juices it has released back to the pot. Add carrots, garlic, tomato, bay leaves, wine, beef broth, sugar and flour to pot and stir evenly.
3 Cover pot and cook in the oven until tender, about 3-31⁄2 hours. Check brisket a few times during cooking; add a cup of water if sauce appears dry.
4 Allow brisket to rest 30 minutes before serving, then slice thinly against the grain. Spoon sauce and vegetables over meat and serve.
serves 8-10

Here’s a side Ingredient note that waxes a touch philosophical — food for thought.

Ingredients
Cooking is a Little Like Travel
You can visit new foods and flavors much the same way as you visit new cities and countries. One of the joys of travel is the excitement of shared discovery with someone you love. It’s also exciting to introduce them to a wonderful place you’ve been before. The same can be said of cooking. There’s great joy in sharing an ingredient or flavor. I hope this book introduces you to new food experiences and that you can then share them with others.

And a Pascal Lemaitre illustration.

Picture 1

Thirteen days from the book being shipped. To all those who have bought the book — and with it gained access to At Home Online — thank you. And if you haven’t bought the book, what are you waiting for?

Tomorrow I return to chapter order with Chapter 5 — Tossed Salads & Dressings.

Steve

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Holiday-Ready Brisket Recipe

Pot-roasted beef brisket with tomato and caramelized onion, traditionally served at Jewish holiday dinners, is also great for any kind of dinner party. It’s easy to make, mostly requiring passive cooking time, and one brisket can feed a crowd. If you can find a second-cut brisket—the fattier but more flavorful cut—it’s preferable, but a first-cut brisket will do.

do ahead Brisket is better made at least a day before it is served and it can be made as much as three days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Skim off fat and reheat in the oven before serving. It also freezes well.

3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
5 pounds beef brisket (preferably second-cut)
11⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups canned crushed Italian tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1⁄2 cup red wine
10.5-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 Preheat oven to 375º. Pat brisket dry. Season brisket on all sides with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or very large ovenproof pot. Add brisket and cook until well browned, about 10 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side. You may have to cut brisket into two pieces to fit it into your pot.
2 Transfer brisket from pot to a plate. Add onions to the pot and cook until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Add brisket and any juices it has released back to the pot. Add carrots, garlic, tomato, bay leaves, wine, beef broth, sugar and flour to pot and stir evenly.
3 Cover pot and cook in the oven until tender, about 3-31⁄2 hours. Check brisket a few times during cooking; add a cup of water if sauce appears dry.
4 Allow brisket to rest 30 minutes before serving, then slice thinly against the grain. Spoon sauce and vegetables over meat and serve.
serves 8-10

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Filed under Holidays, Recipes