As I confessed in a previous post, this is the first year in memory that I am not hosting a Passover Seder, but am preparing the promised Passover-ish dinner for my immediate family tomorrow night.
It was a liberating feeling just doing the shopping all at once this morning instead of the usual multiple stops at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Hannaford’s, Stop & Shop, and the liquor store. My mini lemon cheesecake came out of the oven a while ago, not yet garnished with the julienned lemon – that has to wait until it cools completely.This is such an easy cheesecake to do, with an almond, butter, sugar, and matzo cake meal crust and fresh lemon zest blended into the batter. It’s also easily downsized from the original recipe for a 9″ cake – made in my 6-1/2″ pan, exactly half the recipe. (See March 8 post for full recipe)
The chicken soup simmered for about 1-1/2 hours – I boost the flavor with Better than Bouillion chicken base because it just never seems to render enough chicken flavor on its own. I could not resist making it with this little Kosher chicken from Wise Family Pastures…”Isaac’s Pride”!
I’ll add the shredded the chicken to the soup when it’s reheating tomorrow, and then the miniature leek & chive matzo balls for just the last few minutes before serving (recipe for those posted on March 14.) As I removed the chicken from the soup pot, it slipped almost completely off the bones. Tasting a tiny piece, I recall how my nana used to make a meal for herself out of the boiled chicken from her soup while the rest of us had her brisket. Now I know why – nothing quite like the taste of kosher chicken simmered in broth. She also ate the feet…and I don’t mean the drumsticks, but the actual yellow chicken feet…that came attached fresh from the kosher butcher. Not on my menu, thank you.
Tomorrow around midday I’ll get the brisket done so it has time after 3 hours in the oven to cool down for slicing and reheating. And then the potato kugel, a vinaigrette dressing for salad, parcook the purple asparagus, and dinner prep will be more or less done.
My son has a theory that a meal should take no longer to prepare than the combined time it takes everyone at the table to eat it. That’s why, like me, he likes to cook enough for leftovers when he’s preparing a meal for two. When there are twelve for Passover stretching a meal over three hours, that concept also holds up – about 36 (wo)man hours in the kitchen. So there will have to be leftovers to amortize the time spent on this dinner, or else the four of us will have to dine verrrry slowwwly.