Not being near our families for the holidays has been a little hard, probably more so for me than bk, but we’re learning to create our own, new traditions. I was unable to attend his family’s Passover seder last year because of grad school, and I decided it would be fun to attempt to host our own this year.
However, once I began researching what goes into holding a seder, I quickly became overwhelmed. I decided to compromised and hold what I termed a “Passover-inspired dinner party,” or as I referred to it on the invites: A Super Secular Santa Cruz Seder. Although not everyone we invited could attend, we had a very good bunch — our graphic designer friends Brooklyn, Julie and Jon, and our photographer/food blogger/lawyer/teacher friends John and Lesley and of course, the fabulous hosts, BK and myself.
I ordered a bunch of expensive gluten-free matzoh online, only to find it a few days later for a much lower price at Whole Foods. Ooops. I made charoset to go with it, though I can’t find the recipe I used now. It was basically this one except with honey instead of the brown sugar, and some chopped dates added. Oh, and I bought some regular matzoh for the non-GF amongst us.
BK got his family’s brisket recipe, made with the wine-butt of all jokes, Manischewitz. I’m used to living in places with much more of a Jewish community, which Santa Cruz lacks. I had to go to three different stores to find it, and my hopes of finding some decent and drinkable kosher wines were basically dashed. So sorry….our wines were not kosher Elijah. It was served alongside roasted carrots and onions, as well as mashed potatoes.
I found this delicious-sounding brussels sprouts recipe from Saveur (that came recommended as a Passover side dish) that calls for shredding the sprouts finely and eating them raw, as a salad tossed with toasted walnuts, shaved pecorino, lemon juice and olive oil. Unfortunately, while using the mandoline, I also managed to slice off a piece of my finger, causing an immense amount of bleeding that didn’t want to subsist for a few hours. I’m still very sorry to whomever of my guests wound up with the missing piece of finger in their salad, but I hope it was delicious none the less.
For dessert, BK and I made two different naturally gluten-free cookies from Ferran Adria’s cookbook, “The Family Meal.” I made the coconut macaroons, which were super easy and very tasty. The recipe calls for just coconut, sugar and egg. BK baked his almond cookies, which also call for just three ingredients — almonds, egg whites and sugar.
So my first “seder” was far from traditional, admittedly, but it was a really fun time spent with good food and good friends. And really, isn’t that what holidays are truly about?