For Friday night dinner, I made:
Vegetable soup with matzah balls
Braised baby artichokes
organic grape tomatoes (for the baby)
Russian dressing with homemade mayonnaise
Fruit salad (mango, banana, orange and date)
Because it was nearly the end of Pesach and I couldn't get any tomato sauce, because it was nearly the end of Pesach and I accidentally melted our one plastic measuring cup on the stove, because it was nearly the end of Pesach and I didn't have any more patience, I did a lot of improvising.
There is a great stuffed zucchini recipe in Debra Wasserman's No Cholesterol Passover Recipes book, but I didn't have tomato sauce, so I improvised something equally great. I chopped up the last tomato and a half in the house and cooked it with onions in olive oil and added the zucchini innards, sugar, salt and pepper, and I mixed all of that with some matzah meal and some chopped cilantro. I have been using a bottle of whole mixed peppercorns in different colors (it has a grinder on the top) and that gave a great flavor to the zucchini.
This time, I made the soup for the matzah balls by frying onion, shallot and garlic in olive oil until golden, then adding with the water a diced sweet potato, a white potato, some zucchini, and a lot of grated fresh ginger. It came out very well, I think in part because I let the soup simmer for a couple of hours on the stove.
I know I mainly write as a vegetarian here, and I am mostly vegetarian, but sometimes I eat fish. Sort of like a macrobiotic diet, except not really--more like occasional guilty and nostalgic inconsistency. (Some people, my mom for example, consider fish to be legitimately vegetarian, but I do not. I think Jewish culture like many others does not consider fish to be meat, and that is why it is pareve in the kosher laws. But I still feel weird about eating it. Kind of like I feel about the second day of yom tov. This parenthetical comment is turning into a full-blown post so I'd better stop here.) I made salmon patties by mashing up two small cans of salmon with a little lemon juice, salt and peppper, chopped onion, matzah meal and eggs. I fried the whole mashed mess in olive oil. My husband didn't try them I don't think, but our guest and I were transported with nostalgia. She said it was just like her mom used to make. I almost never cook fish at home, for the simple reason that the cat has a little fit until you pay her the fish tax.
I also spontaneously invented the cauliflower kugel. Here is my recipe (I jotted it down before Shabbat so I would have it to give you!)
A Passover Cauliflower Kugel
1 large shallot
1 head cauliflower, boiled for 10 minutes and mashed
approx. 3-4 tablespoons matza meal
Place the whole, unbroken eggs in a bowl of warm tap water to come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Dice the shallot and sautee it in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until golden. Break and separate the eggs into two vessels. Beat egg whites until stiff with a pinch of salt. (If they are warmed up, you can do this pretty easily with just a wire whisk and your hands!) Mash cauliflower with fried shallot, egg yolks, matzah meal, salt and pepper. Fold beaten egg whites into cauliflower mixture.
Bake for one hour at 350 F.
Unfortunately, I had not purchased any paprika for the holiday. I am sure this kugel would be better with a dusting of paprika on top, or with a very small amount of chopped herbs.Our friend who came to dinner (the one who finds everything delicate) can't abide the taste of dill, so I didn't put dill in the fish, or in the kugel, or in the soup. I did put some in the soup before I froze it for future meals, though.