Our Easter/Passover Dinner – an almost success.

There will be no photos today. I know I’ve mentioned that Mike and I come to our marriage with different ethic backgrounds and religions. We’ve made it work for 34+ years through compromise, laughter, trust, friendship and passion. We’ve had our ups and downs, but one of the ways we’ve made it work, is to celebrate both our similarities and differences, in life, in philosophy and in traditions.

So, when holidays like Passover and Easter overlap, or Chanukah and Christmas, we join together traditions from each and enjoy it all. Tomorrow, our son has to work, and Mike and I have theater tickets, so making a big Easter/Passover dinner was going to be difficult. We decided to celebrate with an Easter/Passover dinner tonight.

I made a Smithfield Spiral Ham, following the directions on the package. It was easy to make, carve and enjoy — not too salty, not too sweet (the glaze that came with it), and, the bone is in the freezer for the split pea soup I’ll make at a later date.

I roasted the asparagus with a little olive oil, salt & pepper, roasting a lemon cut in half at the same time, squeezed the lemon over the asparagus and it was wonderful as well. Just a note. I’ve been going to Weight Watchers. I was informed at the last meeting, and I’ve since looked it up, that asparagus is a natural diuretic; a great side with something naturally salty, like ham. BTW – it’s also a great source of fiber, Vits. A, C, E and K and contains glutathione, a potent antioxidant.

Finally, I made veggie latkes.

Latkes are traditionally a Chanukah/Passover dish, and are basically potato pancakes. I decided I wanted to try something different, and easy. When you make potato latkes, you hand grate raw potatoes, add grated onion, beaten egg, potato starch or matzo meal (during Passover you cannot use flour or breadcrumbs or any other leavening agent like baking powder), salt and pepper, then fry them up as patties in hot oil. You need to make sure you drain as much liquid as possible from the potatoes or the mix gets soupy, and you also need to work quickly or the starch turns the potato pancakes a pretty ugly greyish green.

As I said, I was lazy today, and my veggie latkes were flavorful and delicious, but fell apart. Instead of hand grating potatoes, I used a bag of shredded hash brown potatoes which I defrosted and squeezed as much liquid out of as I could. Then I used my Cuisinart and grated 2 zucchini, 2 carrots and one large onion.  I squeezed the liquid out of these veggies as well. I added 3 beaten eggs, matzo meal and salt and pepper. I am not giving you the actual recipe at this point, since, although the flavor was wonderful, they didn’t hold together. I think my proportions were off for the egg and starches. I fried up the latkes, took them out of the pan and put them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment. When we were ready for dinner, I reheated them and served them with sour cream and apple sauce, which is traditional. They looked fine on the cookie sheet, but when I put them onto the serving dish, they broke into pieces.

So, I will adjust and remake them, taking measurements and photos along the way. Some changes I will make. I will take a chef’s knife and run it through the shredded veggies. The shreds of potato, carrot, zucchini and onion, as processed in the Cuisinart were too long to permit the latkes to stick together. I will use a combination of potato starch and matzo meal. The potato starch will help hold them together, and the matzo meal will give them more body so they are not flat. Since I don’t use a leavening agent, the matzo meal helps.

I’ve had lots of things go wrong in the kitchen over the years. I don’t see them as failures–just learning opportunities. Some of my best dishes have been trial and error, or substitutions because I was missing some item from the original recipe.

So, stay tuned. I will make these again and you’ll get to see how they turn out. In the meantime, we have leftover potato/zucchini/carrot/onion mush which will be great with eggs in the morning.

So from our house to yours — wishing you wonderful family memories and Happy Easter or Passover or for that matter, Saturday nite! Ciao! Mangia! Eet Smakelijk! Bon appetit! Guten appetit!



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