What are your best seder recipes?
March 21, 2013 5:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm throwing a seder with some friends. The brisket is taken care of. Repeat: The brisket is taken care of. (And well! By a very chef-y friend! Whose brisketology I trust completely.) Everything else is pretty much up for grabs, though. What are your go-to Passover recipes?

We're having an utterly secular seder, so kosher, and kosher for Passover, don't really matter, but we'd like to keep some of the traditional dishes as part of the meal. Do you have a fool-proof matzo-ball soup? The best charoset the world's ever tasted? A funky spin on bitter herbs? What else do you like to serve? We like everything, and I am a reasonably capable cook. We're also down for seder-oriented cocktails, if you have suggestions in that realm as well. I read this question, but I'm hoping there are more, and more adventurous, answers to be had. Help me throw the world's tastiest seder, MeFi!
posted by Charity Garfein to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Seltzer in the matzah balls.
posted by brujita at 6:04 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I always make my matzoh ball soup from "scratch," boiling the chicken and mirepoix for the broth, but my dirty little secret is Streit's Matzo Ball & Soup Mix (Kosher for Passover). The soup mix is magic.
posted by Ruki at 6:30 PM on March 21, 2013

Also, when I had to put together my own seder for my daughter and me that one time, I was sent a fantastic haggadah by another MeFite. I'm thinking of using it this year for my own second night seder.
posted by Ruki at 6:36 PM on March 21, 2013

Matzoh ball soup, made with the very best homemade chicken stock and, yes, matzoh balls made w/ seltzer water
lots of haroses
roasted vegetables
coconut macaroons

Kosher/secular or not, it's nice to include some parts of the seder, a seder plate, and to set a place, with a glass of wine, for Elijah.
posted by theora55 at 6:50 PM on March 21, 2013

Response by poster: (We wrote our own haggadah, we do a seder plate, and we set a place for Elijah.)
posted by Charity Garfein at 7:02 PM on March 21, 2013

What about baby kale salad for bitter herbs? Or arugula salad, if you can't easily find baby kale (but it's something I'm seeing a lot in plastic clamshells in the pre-pack greens section of my midwestern supermarket).
posted by padraigin at 7:10 PM on March 21, 2013

Kasha and shells! I don't know my husband's cousin's recipe, though.
posted by limeonaire at 7:19 PM on March 21, 2013

Huevos Haminados

5 c onion skins (just the papery part)
12 eggs
¼ c vinegar
¼ c olive oil
1 T salt
1 T peppercorns

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Arrange half the onions skins on the bottom of a large casserole dish. Put the eggs on top. Add oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cover with the remaining onion skins. Pour in 2 quarts of cold water, adding a little more if necessary to cover the eggs. Cover with foil and bake overnight (at least 8 hours).
posted by zinon at 7:59 PM on March 21, 2013

Frozen gefilte fish is way, way better than the kind in the bottle.
posted by metahawk at 8:03 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oven-roasted asparagus. Nice and seasonal. Heat the oven to 425. Trim & wash the asparagus. Toss it with olive oil, salt, and pepper and distribute it one spear thick on a baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 min or until crispy on the outside, turning once halfway through.

Variety harosets, Moroccan and Algerian to be specific. Or try halik - it's a Kurdish tradition. Grape juice reduced to syrup and blended with ground sesame seeds and walnuts.

Any vegetarians or vegans in the group? Mock chicken liver pate, made with lentils and walnuts. Sounds crazy, but it's good. I don't have a recipe right in front of me now.

Chocolate covered matzo. Real raw horseradish root. If you have a long seder, have some boiled potatoes along with the parsley to dip in salt water so nobody starves.
posted by expialidocious at 8:10 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

a cup of spring water for Miriam
posted by brujita at 8:15 PM on March 21, 2013

I always make 3+ kinds of haroset and people go insane for them.

One is plain Ashkenazi. This should taste familiar - you know the drill.

Then, some combination of Eastern flavors. Experiment, you can't really go wrong with some combination of these ingredients:
- Medjool dates
- good dried apricots
- roasted pistachios
- hazelnuts
- oranges / orange zest
- lemon juice / lemon zest
- rose water
- honey
- golden raisins
- spices: ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, allspice, clove (be very careful with cloves)
- the SECRET WEAPON I can't believe I'm telling other people: pomegranate syrup (which is just reduced pomegranate juice.) Yes. This delivers the richness you crave and the tart balance you need.

This year I'm going to do one dark (based on dates, walnuts, pomegranate syrup and the dark spices, with apple to lighten the texture) and one light (mostly apricots and pistachios, sweetened with date syrup if necessary, with orange to lighten the texture and with lemon zest and maybe rosewater to flavor.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:47 PM on March 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Passover cocktails.
posted by judith at 9:58 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

An orange on the seder plate. Comes from a very orthodox rabbi who said something like "women belong on the bimah, the way an orange belongs on the seder plate."

Oh and I've been making Nana Jose's pecan chocolate cake for dessert for the past few years and it's a big hit.
posted by brookeb at 10:00 PM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

My former boyfriend's lovely grandmother made this choocolate covered matzo that had been soaked in what I think was honey. This recipe looks really similar. Seriously make this.

Also, +1 for the orange on the Sedar plate!
posted by k8lin at 10:58 PM on March 21, 2013

Bitter greens, following on padraigin's comment: A lemony kale salad. Slice regular uncooked kale into ribbons, put in a plastic bag for at least 4-6 hours with the juice of one lemon. Remove kale from bag and toss with a bit of olive oil, panko (or crushed matzo!) and a touch of cayenne.

The lemon juice softens the kale leaves so that cooking is unnecessary, and the breadcrumbs and cayenne make it more weighty and interesting.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 12:21 AM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Moroccan Carrot Salad from Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook; the only thing I do differently is to roast and grind the cumin for half of the total cumin amount - this is probably not necessary. I bring this to a lot of family gatherings including seders. I also like her haroset recipe.

Secret trick of matzoh ball soup is to use the packaged variety while replacing the soup packet with good quality broth. Also add real veggies.

Find a flourless chocolate cake recipe. Make it.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:11 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Find a flourless chocolate cake recipe. Make it.


Fabulous and easy. I am asked to bring this cake every year. A little whipped cream (unsweetened, but with a splash of vanilla extract) goes perfectly with it.
posted by Dolley at 6:14 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I always make a cheesecake. It's pretty easy to make kosher for passover (although I see that's not an issue for you guys).

The best gefilte fish I've had comes from the grocery store by my grandmother's house, where they actually make it at the fish counter. I dunno how common that is, since she does live in a town with a large Jewish population. But if you can find a place that makes it, get it there!

No one has mentioned kugel yet! I have my grandmother's recipe at home somewhere I can dig up, but the savory version includes matzoh farfel, cooked onions and celery, eggs, vegetable and chicken broth baked in the oven like a casserole.

Make sure to have plenty of kedem grape juice on hand for the non-drinkers. White grape juice + seltzer is a delicious combination, for a non-alcoholic "cocktail".
posted by inertia at 8:01 AM on March 22, 2013

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