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Passover : Saturday Night Seder: Plan Ahead

March 24, 1994|JUDY ZEIDLER

Passover, my favorite of all the Jewish holidays, celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. During the eight-day observance, many foods may not be eaten--such as grains, flour and beans.

This year, Passover with the traditional Seder meal begins on Saturday evening, which may present a bigger challenge than normal, since many Jewish families do not cook from sundown Friday to sundown on Saturday. This means that most of the Seder preparations will have to be made in advance and completed before sundown on Friday.

My own planning begins weeks in advance of the holiday since our family participates in two complete Seders. Two weeks before Passover the guest list is made; usually 25 family members and friends are invited for each evening. I plan the menu and make a complete shopping list, including when and where to buy everything.

The first task is to prepare the kitchen, removing all the "forbidden" foods. Then it's time to begin shopping for fresh vegetables and fruit. For a Saturday Passover, today is a good time to buy a variety of fish to make gefilte fish, and to pick up meat and poultry from the butcher. I always include Schmura matzo, usually handmade and imported from Israel; it is a must for our Seder. Next, a stop at a local wine shop for an assortment of Kosher Passover wines from different countries.

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Cooking begins with foods that will keep in the refrigerator until the Saturday-night Seder. I grate the horseradish, hard-boil the eggs and make the haroset (a mixture of fruit, nuts and raisins), along with the other ceremonial foods. Gefilte fish and horseradish sauce keep well and so can be prepared in advance.

This year I will serve a roasted turkey and turkey soup, which can also be cooked a couple of days ahead. A good dessert idea is non-dairy chocolate ice. Amazingly, it tastes almost like ice cream. Cookies are a perfect accompaniment. The cookie dough can be prepared today and the cookies baked Friday morning.

The day before Passover, especially this year, will be a very busy day. The table must be set with the special Passover ceremonial plate, the cover for holding the matzo and the wine-stained prayer books from Seders past. Passover silverware, dishes, napkins, wine glasses and holiday candles should be placed on the table. Finally, after a look at my checklist, I will finish the cooking and baking.

With all the preparations completed, just before the Seder begins, I will reheat the soup and turkey and, of course, enjoy the holiday with family and friends.

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On a recent visit, Janie Master, a restaurateur who lives in the south of France, prepared this delicious horseradish sauce to accompany a smoked salmon appetizer. The turnips add a mellow flavor to the fiery horseradish.

JANIE MASTER'S HORSERADISH SAUCE 1/2 pound fresh horseradish, peeled and cut in small pieces 3 turnips, peeled and cut in small pieces 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar or honey 1/3 cup white vinegar

Blend horseradish and turnips in bowl of food processor. Add salt, sugar and vinegar. Blend well. Spoon into glass bowl or jar and cover. Makes about 3 cups.

Each of 48 tablespoons contains about: 5 calories; 32 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 grams fat; 1 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams protein; 0.13 grams fiber.

TURKEY SOUP WITH PASSOVER NOODLES 5 pounds turkey necks, giblets and wings 3 onions, peeled and diced 1 leek, thinly sliced 3 to 4 quarts water 16 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced 5 celery stalks with tops, thinly sliced 3 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced 8 parsley sprigs 1 bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme Salt Freshly ground pepper 1 (10-ounce) package Passover noodles, boiled and drained

Place turkey parts, onions, leek and enough water to cover in large, heavy Dutch oven or pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Using large spoon, skim off scum that rises to top. Add carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, bay leaf and thyme.

Cover, leaving lid ajar. Simmer 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Uncover and simmer 30 minutes or more. Ladle into heated soup bowls with noodles. Makes about 12 servings.

Each serving contains about: 329 calories; 137 mg sodium; 223 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 30 grams carbohydrates; 27 grams protein; 1.27 grams fiber.

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ROASTED TURKEY WITH VEGETABLES 3 onions, thinly sliced 4 cloves garlic, minced, optional 4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced 1 green pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced 2 sprigs rosemary 2 (11-ounce) cans tomato-and-mushroom sauce 1 1/2 cups dry white wine Oil 1 (10-pound) turkey, cut into serving pieces Salt Freshly ground pepper 12 small new potatoes, unpeeled and cut in half

Place onions, garlic, carrots, green pepper, rosemary and tomato-and-mushroom sauce in large roasting pan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Add wine and simmer 5 minutes.

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