Passover Dinner Menu
Marilyn hired me to do part of her and J's Passover dinner. I've never cooked any Jewish food before although I adore matzah ball soup and latkes, which are both pretty standard fares. Guidelines included no dairy and meat on one plate, kosher meats, and unleavened bread (matzah). Flavors guidelines included horseradish, sour cream, smoked fish, chickpeas, and peppers. I came up with:
where you going off to aioli?!"
*Baby Potato with Roasted Pepper Relish, Aioli & Horseradish*
I halved some white creamer potatoes (couldn't find any German butter potatoes which are super yummy), and roasted it with salt, pepper and olive oil. I charred and roasted a red pepper and a yellow pepper to make the relish which used red wine vinegar, garlic, olive oil, parsley, and capers. Topped the potato halves with the relish, then a dollop of the aioli, and a small pinch of the horseradish.
*Smoked Trout Matzah Canape with Herbed Creme Fraiche & Chives*
I used smoked trout for this canape instead of smoked salmon since salmon canapes are way more common. Marilyn emphasized how dry matzah is so I was pretty liberal with the creme fraiche. A little smear on the cracker to hold the trout and a good dollop on top and a sprinkle of chives for a simple smoked fish canape.
*Roasted Lemon-Thyme Chicken Breast*
Chicken breast was requested as the main course. Originally I wanted to use herbs de provence but instead went for a more simple combination of lemon and thyme in case flavors would clash. Unfortunately the kosher selection around town wasn't too great and I of course don't know any Jewish/kosher butcher shops. First I went to Culver City Trader Joe's which bone-in skin-on and boneless skinless chicken breasts. Where's the boneless skin-on!
So next stop was Whole Foods at Fairfax and 3rd whose meager selection of about eight packages was truly disgusting. I got grossed out just looking at them and could not allow myself to buy them. Next stop was the poultry butcher at Farmer's Market across the street. No kosher selection there. Next was a drive up Fairfax where I wished for a sign that said "Kosher Butcher Here!" to pop out at me. I'm sure there was something but none that I could locate quickly while keeping a normal driving speed. Then back to Trader Joe's except this time at La Brea and 3rd, which is pretty much the hell version of grocery shopping. There was so much animosity their parking lot. And it wasn't even from me.
Anyhow, so eventually I had to settle for the TJ bone-in skin-on 'cause there's no way I'm cooking skinless chicken breast. Bleh. Not only did the chicken breasts in each of the three packages vary in size (I tried to get the closest weight to each other from the small selection) but I also had to debone it myself, for the first time. Some came out smaller than other. :/
*Wild Mushroom Persillade with Hazelnut Oil*
As a side I made sauteed cremini, oyster, and king oyster mushroom with thyme and hazelnut oil. Then finished it off with persillade which is a mixture of garlic and parsley used to flavor dishes towards the end of its preparation. I also added some lemon zest and shallots for more flavor.
As I was doing research for this Passover dinner I came across a recipe for haroseth, a fruit and nut paste which is supposed to represent the mortar the Israelites used to cement bricks during their captivity in Egypt. The recipe called for dried apricots, date, figs, walnuts, and a few spices.
"There are as many recipes for charoset as there are Jewish families" says Answers.com. Indeed, because apparently I made a version of haroseth they've never had before and weren't expecting. Oopsie. On the other hand, I thought it at least tasted good. Perhaps with brie, warm crusty croissant and and a gentle drizzle of lavender honey it would be yummy too.
Marilyn and J worked on their part of the menu which included Matzah Ball Soup, Latkes and the Passover Sedar Plate. All this matzah talk is making me want to take a long overdue trip to Canter's.