A Weekend of Festivities

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Apologies for the delayed post, but times have been busy!

Most years, my family attends a passover seder. This year, however, was the first time we hosted it–in my brother’s home in DC, where my best friend and her fiancé also live (in the basement apartment-family affair, I know.) My friend and I decided to cook our first solo seder, skipping only the brisket, but making the classics.

I decided early on that I wanted to make both types of Charoset–the classic Ashkenazi version with apples and walnuts, and the Sephardic recipe with dates, bananas, and dried fruit.

Sephardic Charoset

Sephardic Charoset

Ashkenazi Charoset

Ashkenazi Charoset

Lauren made super-moist, wonderful classic Jewish meatballs, which I sadly didn’t photograph, and a gorgeous flourless chocolate cake.SONY DSC I took it upon myself to prepare my own horseradish which was surprisingly easy. My brother let me in on an interesting tip–the longer you let the blended horseradish sit WITHOUT the vinegar, the spicier it will be. The vinegar stops the heating-up process (or something equally scientific), so when it’s reached the spice level you’re happy with, add in the other ingredients.SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

Having purchased a small pascal lamb bone, we had to figure out the roasting, as the oven was permanently occupied. The solution? A toaster oven.SONY DSCSONY DSC

We also made matzoh ball soup–my favorite–and I put together my go-to Minestrone for those who aren’t matzoh ball inclined. As usual, my Dad reminded us of the old Marilyn Monroe tale–when she asked Arthur Miller’s family, at her first seder, “are the balls really the only part of the matzoh you can eat?” SONY DSC SONY DSCWe ate poached salmon and roasted veggies for the main courseSONY DSCSONY DSC

The next day, my father prepared a big lamb stew for Easter…what a weekend!IMG_9024

An Egg-Filled Easter Fête

DSC_0280When a close friend asked me to help out with her Easter party, I couldn’t say no.  She’s a master cocktail maker (I detest the word “mixologist”) and asked me to make some tasty bites to keep our friends well-fed during some day boozing. Never one to turn down an entertaining opportunity, but faced with a packed schedule, I went for menu items that could be made/prepped ahead or required very little actual cooking time. Since the party was at 4pm, I knew snacks and sweets would suffice and wanted to frolic with friends instead of being stuck in the kitchen. A longtime lover of deviled eggs, I decided to try my hand at them, along with herbed ricotta dip and a simple cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Continue reading