What to cook for your Passover Seder under lockdown
This year, it won't be Passover as usual. Few people will host large gatherings for Seders, instead creating smaller, more intimate celebrations with just immediate family.
Out-of-town family, even our children, won't fly in, and there will be no need to borrow an extra table and folding chairs from the neighbours.
So, how should we create a Seder and a week of meals to mark this important, joyous Jewish holiday about liberation when so many of us feel trapped in our own houses?
For many of us, our homes are a place of refuge and solace, and the heart of that home is the kitchen, whether it's large enough for a crowd or a tiny corner in a studio apartment. We go to the kitchen not just to feed ourselves but also to find comfort, unwind and release stress after a long day. It's also where we prepare to welcome guests.
While we might be tempted to think of Covid-19 as an 11th plague of Passover, we can instead make this a deliciously distinctive holiday.
NUT-FREE TURKISH HAROSET (Serves 4-8)
Passover tables feature seemingly infinite variations of this dish, which evokes the mortar used by the enslaved Hebrews forced to build structures for the pharaoh. Each version is influenced by the available ingredients and cuisines of the countries and regions where Jews have lived. Most combine fruit and nuts, often with wine.
This easy version does not include nuts or wine, making it perfect for people with nut allergies. It is based on recipes from Turkish Sephardim, descendants of Jews who found a haven in the Ottoman Empire after being expelled from Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition. Haroset has an appealing tart taste and can be sweetened with a little sugar, if desired.
MAKE AHEAD: Make the haroset at least 1 day ahead and refrigerate until needed. The haroset can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
1 large orange, preferably organic
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup pitted dates
Granulated sugar, to taste (optional)
Wash the orange under cool water using dish soap or a vegetable cleaning solution, then rinse thoroughly.
Cut off the peel and pith from the two ends of the orange, then cut the whole fruit, peel and all, into eight chunks. Discard any seeds.
Place the orange pieces, raisins and dates in the bowl of a food processor and process until you get a chunky paste or a smoother, jam-like consistency, if you prefer.
Stop the motor and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add a little sugar, if desired.
Transfer the haroset to a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving.
Roasted Mushroom, Tomato and Herb Salad (Serves 6)
This simple salad enhances the taste of roasted mushrooms with fresh herbs and the acidity of juicy tomatoes. The mushrooms and garlic can be roasted several hours in advance. Assemble the salad just before serving.
Adapted from "Perfect Flavors: Creative, Easy-to-Prepare Recipes Inspired by My Family and Travels," by Naomi Nachman (Mesorah Publications, 2018).
For the mushrooms
280g cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad
2 pints cherry tomatoes, each tomato cut in half
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Finely grated lemon zest of 1/2 lemon, plus juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the mushrooms:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the mushrooms, garlic, salt and the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl, tossing to coat evenly.
Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet; roast (middle rack) for 15 minutes, or just until sizzling and browned.
Let cool; wipe out your mixing bowl.
For the salad:
Return the roasted, cooled mushrooms and garlic to the mixing bowl.
Add the halved cherry tomatoes, coriander, basil, dill, parsley, lemon zest and juice and the 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Toss gently to incorporate.
Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper, as needed.
The Washington Post