Saturday, April 23, 2011

Seder Dinner

This year, the worship committee decided we should do a Seder dinner to celebrate Maundy Thursday.  By "we", in essence, they meant "me".  I'm sure I could have recruited more help but I didn't want to do a potluck thing, I wanted to do a really nice meal.  Fortunately, Cara had a Seder Plate Challenge that gave me lots of cool ideas for foods to cook. 

I decided to go with:

Massaged Kale Salad. This was good and people really seemed to like it. I wasn't over the top impressed...I think I'm just not a fan of kale...if I did this again, I'd probably just go with spinach.
Matzoh Encrusted Asparagus. There was definitely WAY too much crust/coating.  I multiplied the amount of asparagus by 10 and didn't double the crust mix at all and still had WAY too much.  I'd be a minimalist if I do this again and only use 1 or 2 matzoh crackers, 1 tbsp of oregano and a half cup or so of Parmesan cheese.  (If I weren't trying to keep it kosher for passover, I might just use Italian bread crumbs with the Parmesan...)

Apricot Beef Brisket.  This was super simple to make and very yummy! I might be inclined to use about half the amount of apricots, not because they were bad, but just b/c they didn't get put to good use after cooking...
Mashed Potatoes.  These were just a safe extra in case other items didn't turn out.  I peeled then boiled the potatoes, drained them, and then added sour cream, heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper...all just eye-balled and to taste.

Charoset.  I basically multiplied each of the recipes by 4 or 5 to have enough for 35 people, and we had way too much of this, I'd say the single recipe could easily serve 8-10.  I'm going to try and slow cook the leftovers to make applesauce, we'll see how that works out.  But the flavor is good and people loved it!

Deviled eggs.  I did two batches, half were normal/basic...just mayo, mustard, salt and pepper, the others had all of that plus curry powder to taste (which are my preference but I know not everyone likes the curry...)
Horseradish Cauliflower Latkes.  these were a decent amount of work. I used a regular steamer on the stove top to prep the cauliflower and prepared the "batter" a day ahead to try and help me out on the day of, which was a good plan, though I almost forgot the egg whites, which was not a good plan b/c they keep the batter together when you fry it.  The suggestion for a ton of horseradish seemed crazy to me, especially as it made me cry as I added it, but in retrospect, I would have gone with more rather than less. She used 6T for 1 head of cauliflower. I used 12T for 5 heads of cauliflower. I definitely could have used more and it would have been just fine.

Oreo truffles.  these were SUPER of the easiest cookies/desserts ever.  I did take the advice of the reviews and used milk chocolate instead of semi sweet and just used a 12oz bag instead of 16 oz and it worked out just fine!

White chocolate truffles.  the original Seder plate challenged had wasabi white chocolate ginger truffles which sounded wonderful and I really wanted to try, but tracking down fresh wasabi was no easy task.  When I found it online, it was $84 for a half a pound, and there was simply no way I was going to go that route. So I found these instead and they were yummy and relatively simple.  though, as you roll the truffles, the heat from your hands will start to melt the chocolate. The powdered sugar does help, as would dipping your hands in ice water every so often.  I'd make these again without hesitation!

Chocolate dipped Almond Butter merengues.  these left a little to be desired in my mind, but that may be because I have too much of a sweet tooth...these just weren't sweet, so they hardly ranked as a yummy dessert in my book, but lots of folks tried them and seemed to like them. If you make them, my caution would be that it's easy to burn the merengue, I'd shorten the cooking time and only cook them on the upper ranks of the oven.

Over all, it was definitely a holiday feast and people really enjoyed doing the dinner (along with the liturgy which I adapted from one sent by a friend).  I think it'd be worth trying again in the future, but with more help and maybe some different recipes or variations. 

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