Sunday, April 20, 2008

you know, I'm not as Passover Crazy as I could be.

You know those crazy Christmas ladies, who have a themed Christmas tree in every room of their house? And when they go on vacation, they go shopping for the sole purpose of buying a commemorative christmas ornament? I'm working on being that obsessed about Passover. I buy cookbooks if they have good passover friendly recipes, the more non traditional, the better. I start planning Seder and other Passover meals a month ahead of time. I'm always surprised how many Passover friendly (or one ingredient away from Passover friendly) recipes I find in my favorite French Cookbooks, The Book of French Provincial Cooking, by Hilaire Walden. Best cookbook purchase ever.

Sure, I don't observe Passover as much as I could (non-Passover friendly food gets shoved to the back of the pantry or fridge, or tossed in the freezer), but i'm happily food obessed. We shared cooking responsibilities with another family this year. They hosted the Seder, we brought the side dishes and one of three desserts. I got to cook on a flat top range for the first time.

With recipes below, or links to the recipes:

Marinated Mushrooms (Adapted from The Book of French Provincial Cooking)
Zucchini Gratin (Same Source as above)
Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Garlic Roasted Potatoes

and Forgotten Cookies for Dessert.

Marinated Mushrooms

1 onion, sliced very thin
l clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coriander
1 cup red wine
1 lb button mushrooms, sliced if bigger than bite sized
2 large tomatoes, diced
salt & pepper
chopped parsley
bay leaf

Saute onion & garlic in oil for about 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, coriander, and tomatoes, salt and pepper and bay leaf. Pour wine over. Bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes. If you want the sauce thicker, removed mushrooms and onions with a slotted spoon, and simmer until it's at a thickness you want, then add mushrooms and onions back in. garnish with parsley. Can be served hot or at room temperature.

Zucchini Gratin

2 lbs zucchini, sliced
olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped basil or parsley
salt & pepper
½ cup matzah meal
¼ - ½ cup shredded greyere cheese
1 tbsp butter

put sliced zucchini in a colander with plenty of salt (it draws the moisture out). Leave for one hour, then rise zucchini well (rinse it again, there is a lot of salt there!) and dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 400. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat, and saute zuchini until they begin to brown. You want them browned, not mushy. Remove zucchini with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add tomatoes, garlic, basil or parsley, and salt & pepper to skillet. Bring to a boil, then simmer till it thickens a bit. Stir the zucchini back in, then pour it all into a baking dish. Mix the matzah meal and cheese in a bowl, and sprinkle that on top. Cut the butter up, and dot the top of the gratin with it. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Stay tuned for more Passover goodness, including Matzah ball soup (I made the best soup of my life the other night. I need to figure out what the heck I did!), Turkey and Leek Fritters, more Rattatoullie, Sweet potatoes with pears, and some other stuff. It's all good.

. . .sadly not much on the book front. I got Michael Moorcock's The Dreamcatchers Daughter from the library, and I've been staring at it for a week, unable to pick it up. If you've been following this blog, you know of my growing obsession with Michael Moorcock, so why can't I pick this thing up? The dust jacket summary mentions something about historical World War II characters (maybe one of them is an Eternal Hero?). . And you know what? I'm just not ready for my Elric fantasy world to be tainted by the contemporary. I want Elric to stay in the beautiful, surreal, idealistic fantasy world he belongs in. Sigh.

Hal Duncan's Vellum also made it into the library bag. I tried reading this book last summer, and I couldn't get into it. Too weird, even for me. So i'll give it another try. And i'm sure next year, i'll pick up The Dreamcatcher's Daughter, and just go nuts for it.

Finished Steven Brust's Book of Jhereg. Excellent book. Now I just need to find time to write a review.

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