Since getting married, Matt and I have taken on Passover as the holiday to host. This was the first year we hosted in our new house! I planned the menu carefully, knowing that I would be out of commission entirely the day before due to surgery.
Our menu was as follows:
Charoset (and not just for the Seder plate, because YUM!)
Matzah (we order it from Israel made with certified gluten free oats)
Matzo ball soup
Green beans almondine
Flourless chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream
You've got to love a meal that is 100% gluten free! (Well, Steph and I do anyway.)
I did all the shopping Wednesday and made the cake. It was a feat of pure willpower not to sneak tastes before Friday night.
Friday morning started on the right foot when flowers arrived from my grandparents! They are so thoughtful; they knew we were hosting Seder and wanted to provide a centerpiece!
I prepped the brisket and got it into the oven by 10am. I had spent about a week trying to figure out the perfect recipe and taking advice from various sources and friends. I finally decided to pick and choose among all the insights I'd gathered and ended up with a recipe I felt confident in.
|I've never cooked something this immense or so rife with cultural significance before; the stakes were high!
With onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots in the roasting pan, I seasoned the brisket with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, then poured a tomato sauce infused beef broth into the pan and cooked it at 300 degrees. It was fork-tender by 2pm but I kept it cooking until 3:00, then pulled it out and let it rest for an hour. It was absolutely perfect: fork-tender, juicy, and flavorful.
This was seriously a rite of passage; being able to cook a full brisket for Passover really made me feel like a full-fledged adult.
|Dad is striking his usual "no pictures, please" pose as we set the table.
My parents and siblings arrived that evening and I led Seder. As usual when my family all gets together, it was hilarious and just barely on-topic. (I think Seder was interrupted twice to discuss movies and other completely random stuff.) The food was fantastic and basically the evening was just what I wanted it to be!
|Mom's matzo ball soup and charoset.
|The main course!
The funniest part of dinner - second only to my sister singing the four questions - was Zach asking if there were rolls to go with the brisket. (On Passover, you don't eat bread. I was like, "Um, matzah?")
|I made that!
After dinner, we hung out a bit and I showed off the development of our baby pineapples and bananas. Steph and Gordon spent the night, but everyone else headed out after a few rounds of family pictures.
|Zach testing the Indo Board.
|Steph taking a turn.
|Zach and Matt are matching and didn't even plan it!
|The family :o) We're all pretty much color-coordinated now that I think about it. We must have read each other's minds.
Passover is definitely my favorite holiday. Its message of freedom has always resonated deeply with me, and our particular Haggadah draws our attention to the fact that the Jewish people, having suffered oppression, are called upon to seek freedom for all oppressed people. I love that Passover is still so relevant today; although the current situation in Israel is tenuous (to say the least), the holiday gives me hope for the future.
Do you ever host holidays at your house?
What's your favorite holiday?
What's your favorite holiday meal?