My first Passover – Part I

Apr 2nd, 2010 Posted in meals | 1 Comment »

I have long been interested and intrigued with Passover, since it is a holiday where food plays a strong role. However, I’ve never participated in a Passover celebration or Seder. This year I was extremely fortunate to be invited to Eviatar and Yael Zerubavel’s Passover Seder, and I had a wonderful time.  I have a number of photos, which I will post both here and on my Flickr stream. I have a short, silly video, and I even recorded portions of the songs we sung around the table! I haven’t fully decided on how to best assemble them and make them available to everyone who participated, but I’ll be working on that project slowly over the next week or so. In the mean time, I’ll be uploading some of my photos, observations, and thoughts here.

The Gefilte Fish

Eating gefilte fish was another first for me. Certainly, I had heard of it, and I knew that it frequently elicited feelings of comfort or disgust. Some friends talked about it nostalgically, with fondness, like some people talk about meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Other friends made horrible faces, nearly spitting when recalling their experiences with it. I was glad to try it, and I will definitely eat it again.

Gefilte fish is a mixture of ground fish (frequently carp and pike) and “filler.” It’s helpful to think of gefilte fish like crab cakes, salmon patties, or the Thai tod mun. In the case of gefilte fish, the filler is often matzoh meal, onions and carrots. The patties are frequently poached instead of sauteed or fried.

There are easily accessible resources better than me if you’re interested in the history and cultural significance of gifilte fish. Try:



You might also be interested in a quick video of Abbie Hoffman making gefilte fish. I was surprised to stumble across this!

There were at least three vegetarian guests at the Seder, so Eviatar tried a new recipe intended to “evoke” the gefilte fish. “Evoke” is the important distinction; the vegetarian option was not intended to be a substitute for gefilte fish. I think he was very wise to make such a distinction, and he was very thoughtful in providing a delicious vegetarian option.

As you can see, the cucumbers were peeled, halved vertically, hollowed, and then stuffed with a mushroom mixture. Unfortunately, I do not know what Eviatar included in the stuffing, but I will see if I can get the recipe.

One serving portion was half a cucumber – the size you see in this picture. It was really delicious. There was a nice contrast between the savory stuffing and the cool, crisp “shell.” I will be eager to add this recipe to my collection. When I serve the dish it will always remind me of the wonderful time I had at my first Passover Seder.

I’ll be writing a few more Passover-related posts, and I already have the title of my next entry: We’re all Wallers! Making charoset, the mortar.

Chestnuts roasting…

Mar 4th, 2010 Posted in meals | 1 Comment »

I love hot, roasted chestnuts like the ones sold outside Uwajimaya in December. So when I saw bags of chestnuts for sale outside the Super Cao Nguyen in Oklahoma City I excitedly added them to my shopping basket. I decided to make an  impromptu dessert using chestnuts, honey, thyme, and goat cheese. We didn’t have all those ingredients, so I improvised.

I toasted a couple frozen waffles (show of hands: who knew there was a national shortage of Eggo waffles?) and put a light schmear of (heated) cream cheese on them. I roasted and then chopped the chestnuts. I sprinkled the waffles with the chestnuts, added some chopped fresh thyme, and drizzled the whole thing with honey.

I was terribly disappointed, but I made an important discovery: it’s not advisable to leave chestnuts sitting out on the counter in the dry Oklahoma climate. Many were withered beyond palatability. I’ll probably try this again, but I’ll use the fresh chestnuts right away. Oh, and I probably won’t use frozen waffles.

Meat Fest 2006!

Oct 3rd, 2006 Posted in meals | 4 Comments »


Not to be confused with Ham Fest 2006.

Clockwise from left:
Tim L.
Kevin N.
Craig V.
Me
Sarah B.

Dave H. took the picture.

Can you spot the lint brush? Somehow “lint brush” doesn’t belong in the same post as “meat fest.”