This year we’re hosting a seder at our house for friends. I hate eating a hearty meal shortly before going to bed, which is one reason why we never invite guests for Friday night (unless they’re staying with us for all of Shabbat). A typical Friday night meal for us is chicken soup that includes vegetables, cut-up chicken, matzo balls and/or noodles. We’re full, but not stuffed after a meal like that.
But once a year, at Pesach, when we find ourselves famished at 10 PM and have only just reached the meal portion of the haggadah, an exception must be made.
Since most people we know are non-kitniyot-eaters (though I’m compiling a mental list of those who do partake for future Shabbat Pesach and Shvi’i shel Pesach meals), I’m working out a menu that includes not only our standard Ashkenazi-eating guests, but also their vegetarian son. Here’s what I have so far.
Soup: choice of potato leek or chicken with matzo balls
Roasted garlic chicken (roast garlic separately, then separate the skin from a whole chicken and stuff the mushy cloves between skin and flesh, then roast the chicken with plenty of salt, pepper, and olive oil on the outside; this is my kids’ new favorite chicken)
Matzo farfel kugel (this is my friend Heather’s recipe and is a lovely balance of matzo and vegetables; I could eat it all year long)
Baked potatoes (I may coat peeled potatoes in olive oil, then roll in a mixture of matzo meal, salt and pepper before baking. Or not.)
Salad of tomato slices and chopped basil, with balsamic vinaigrette
Green salad (probably a modified Caesar salad with chopped egg, no cheese, and perhaps some matzo farfel in lieu of croutons)
Chocolate nut cake
Chocolate farfel clusters (since the Cap’n don’t eat nuts)
I have friends whose connection to many of the holidays is entwined with the foods that go with those holidays. I don’t share that—I usually vary my menus for holidays—but Pesach is different, and while the type of chicken I make might vary, it’s not seder night without matzo ball soup, Heather’s kugel (it’s the only kugel I make, ever), and chocolate nut cake (good enough for year round, though I don’t make it aside from Pesach).
What are must-have dishes for YOUR Pesach? And are there any other suggestions out there for a vegetarian (who doesn’t eat fish)?
Chag kasher v’sameach!