I have been on a bit of a hiatus these last several weeks and though I’ve been cooking (yes we do eat every day) I’ve been sticking to the normal everyday kinds of things. However, coming up on this Easter/Passover holiday this last week has been an experience of cooking many things for the first time.
Some of you may be aware that P is Jewish and I am not, neither of us are conservative in any religion but his weekend for various reasons we hosted a Passover Seder dinner. This of course meant that I had the pleasure of cooking foods that were far outside of my Czech background or even Canadian background for that matter. All the dishes were kosher for passover but not in the strictest sense of kosher, we did not use separate dishes.
In these next several posts I will share with you many of the recipes that were made and shared by 16 of us… after several glasses of wine and lots of laughs. Though this may have been our first, it likely won’t be our last, the food turned out well, though a few of the dishes were a little crispy and I can say that the edges of the lemon potatoes even caught on fire! LOL… yet I think everyone enjoyed the meal.
This first dish I’m sharing is the haroseth. It is part of the seder that is eaten with the matzo early in the dinner. I’ve had this mixture many times and it generally contains apples and nuts and cinnamon though the variations are seemingly endless. Given that we just finished booking a trip to New Orleans for the end of June, I found this version of the recipe in the New York Times that was adapted from Alon Shaya of the Domenica Restaurant in New Orleans… found here… It just seemed to fit. Dare I say that it was flavourful and super yummy. I also changed it up a little not so much because of any special kind of creativity but rather because I didn’t have a few of the ingredients so I needed to improvise.
- 1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/3 Cup Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Apple Liquor
- 1/3 Cup Onion cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 Granny Smith Apples, cored peels, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 Cup Honey
- 1 Cup Prunes
- 1 Cup Dried Apricots
- 1/4 Cup Apricot Preserves
- Finely grated zest and juice of half a Lemon
- Finely grated zest and juice of half an Orange
- 1 Cup Almond Slivers
- 1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/8 Teaspoon ground Allspice
- 1/8 Teaspoon ground Cardamom
- 1/8 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon
In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, liquor, apples, onions, and honey. Simmer over low heat until the onions are transparent, stirring gently so the apples retain their shape, about 15 minutes.
While the apples are simmering, combine prunes, dried apricots, apricot preserves and lemon and orange zests in a food processor. Pulse a few times until combined but not pureed. Transfer to a mixing bowl. When the apple mixture is ready add it to the bowl and stir gently to combine; there may be some excess liquid, do not worry most of it will absorb into the dried fruit.
Once this is mixed then add the nuts and salt, allspice, cardamom and cinnamon and fold gently to mix. Cover and refrigerate overnight so the flavours meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Yield about 4 1/2 Cups.
Dare I say this was a great way to start my Passover cooking… look for more posts on our Passover dinner in the weeks to come!