The Pesach dishes are now put away and when the holiday ended, it all seemed to happen so fast, I almost wonder if I dreampt the whole thing?
Weeks and weeks of preparing went by in a blur. The seders were over in a blink and the remaining days were a timeless mix of the wonderful roller coaster of family being together and friends dropping by, with just the right amount of delicious foods, singing and stories holding it all together. I am always astounded by the delicate balance between how much food I prepare (lots) and what’s left at the end (none). Nobody went hungry, I assure you, but the cupboard was officially bare.
One of the primary kitchen values I was taught, especially at Pesach, is that nothing is thrown out. “Everything I have I need and everything I need I have.” Even cardboard and plastic containers are reused to store little delectable treasures.
I think it is the simplicity of this approach that makes such an impact. The family has long since discovered that the matza farfel cardboard drums become cookie jars and those unassuming boxes that held the shmura matzas have been rededicated in the service of delicious.
Everyone learns not to take anything for granted and to experience the rewards of investigation.
One of the simplest and most enjoyed treats of Pesach were the chocolate ‘Chariot Wheels’ (aka chocolate bark) that have become our simcha signature.
I took a 10.5 ounce bar of Shmerling’s Menage bittersweet chocolate and melted it very slowly. The bar was broken into chunks and put in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water and left, undisturbed, for 20 minutes or so. Once melted, I poured it into a round aluminum foil pan (no greasing or paper liner, nothing) over which coarsely chopped, toasted almonds and craisins were scattered. I let it sit on the counter to firm and then put it in the fridge for an hour to move its hardening along, but once solid, popped it out of the container and put it in a napkin lined box for storage.
This was a simple way to celebrate joy and its always nice to share a little something sweet from our kitchens to mark a happy occasion. Especially on Pesach. It’s not like we can run out to the store for anything fancy and this is where the resourcefulness of the Pesach mindset benefits. I hope it lasts.
To My Kosher Kitchen’s dear readership: Thank you for your comments on the What’s Cooking article from My Kosher Kitchen that appeared in this years COR Passover Guide. There were many creative suggestions and good questions generated. One in particular was Heather’s idea to save the orange syrup from her own Pesach Candied Orange Peels and use it in her hot drinks (like the Sweetened Tea Essence) or as a syrup for Sponge Cake. Great idea, Heather!
Please continue to send in your helpful tips and suggestions so that we all may learn.
We’re changing the world, one recipe at a time,
Nancy Weisbrod, Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada