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The 10 meal project: Tales from a Seder

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Since my last post about kicking off the 10 meal project, I’ll admit there hasn’t been much time for cooking anything too exciting. First, Passover came around and since then we’ve been so busy that Mike hasn’t had a chance to pull out another one of those coupons…yet.

Typically, Passover foods just do not inspire me to get creative in the kitchen. But I do love the holiday—I love getting together with family and I love keeping Passover even if the food doesn’t always love me back. I also love those Passover chocolate bars with the cows on them—you know what I’m talking about, right? Those are the best.

Aside from the usual challenge of living on matzo pizza and matzo brei with salami for eight days, this year we also decided to host our families on the first night for Seder.

To be fair, I should say that we didn’t make all the food ourselves—it was more like a potluck and the major dishes, like the brisket for instance, were taken care of. But we did make a number of side dishes and dessert.

The 10 meal project: Tales from a Seder photo 1

I became determined to make homemade toffee-chocolate covered matzo. I found this recipe on Martha Stewart that called for sea salt, which always sounds good to me. The only problem was that it also called for butter, which wouldn’t work with our meat meal, so I decided to substitute with margarine. The margarine made the toffee a little, well, off. But the whole thing looked pretty and both of my grandmas said they thought it was delicious, so I guess that’s a victory, right?

The 10 meal project: Tales from a Seder photo 2

My real success of the night was my vegetable quinoa dish. I had never made quinoa before, and hadn’t really tried because Mike has never really liked it. But it was easy to make, beautiful to look at and quite a tasty alternative to the usual Passover side dishes. We sautéed zucchini, peppers, carrots and onions and mixed in with the quinoa with some garlic and seasoning—easy, right? I also made quinoa again later in the week as a dairy meal, mixing in some marinara and cheese, which was also delicious and a great break from matzo. The really nice thing about quinoa is that a little goes a long way, so if you make it once it can last for a few days.

We also made some roasted asparagus with garlic and olive oil in our toaster oven and some other components of the Seder plate—Mike makes a great charoset.

For Mike, being able to host our families for holidays in our home is a dream come true. He’s an excellent host and doesn’t get stressed out and bogged down by the details like I do. If not for him, I’m not sure I would have the guts to take on something like a Seder, but looking back, it was really rewarding. All told, we make a great team when hosting and what could be a tough job is actually a pleasure for us.

Now that the holiday is over, I’m hoping to spend some more time playing in the kitchen. I’m not sure what I want to take on next, but I’m open to suggestions and recipes. And while I’m still not sure I like to cook, per se, I’m definitely getting more comfortable in the kitchen. More to come next month from this wannabe cook! 

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