Menu for Marge’s Passover Seder, 2013 (2nd Night)

Apricots_Chocolate1A

Chocolate Dipped Dried Apricots
with Slivered Almonds

For the last few years I have taught several Passover cooking classes at three of the major cooking schools in Manhattan (ICE, The Natural Gourmet, and The JCC) that focused on Sephardic specialties. One year one woman contacted me saying that she was very disappointed that she could not attend my upcoming Italian style Passover cooking class, but would I instead be interested in preparing that same menu for her family Seder? (Her husband then drove in from upstate to pick it all up.) This ended up being my first official Passover catering job, and since then every year I get several requests for anything from Middle Eastern Passover desserts, to appetizers, full entrees, and even entire Seder meals.

Of my regular clients, one of my most favorite is Marge, who lives just across the park from me in New York City. Together we have cooked two Chanukah meals, and now I am planning my third Passover dinner menu for her and her family. As is often the case with several of my clients, Marge likes to have some of her own family’s traditional Ashkenazic dishes (such as gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, chopped liver, or perhaps a kugel) while adding some new and unusual Sephardic dishes to change things around and make her meal more unique. With Marge’s family I now know that I have to balance certain individual likes and dislikes, such as the following: apricots and dates are preferred over prunes, cumin over curry (but not too much), no bell peppers, and not to put onions into every dish we make. This year the meal will be for 15 people. Here is my working menu (but there might be changes):

STARTERS:
Syrian Charoset with Dried Apricots, Orange Blossom Water, and Slivered Almonds
Gefilte Fish (Marge’s cousin will bring)
Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls (check with Marge who will bring?)

MAINS:
Tossed Green Salad with Artichoke Hearts, Avocado, and Toasted Walnuts
(with olive oil, lemon juice, and dried mint vinaigrette)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Parsnips, and Carrots (toss with olive oil and salt)
Syrian Meatballs with Allspice and Cinnamon in Tomato-Cumin Sauce
Sephardic Style Brisket with Coriander, Ginger, Tamarind, and Apricots (leave out the prunes)
Potato Kugel (with lots of onions and eggs–not too dry!)

DESSERT:
Syrian Flourless Pistachio Macaroons with Orange Blossom Water (1 1/2 dozen enough)
Egyptian Toasted Walnut-Pecan Macaroons with Dates and Cinnamon (1 dozen enough?)
Chocolate-Dipped Dried Apricots with Slivered Almonds (make fewer than last time)
Other Passover-friendly Cake or Chocolates (someone will bring?)
Fresh Fruit, Sorbets

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