Sunday, April 04, 2010
a Wonderful Pesach
Other than when we were little kids, 2010 may have been the best Passover we ever had. It’s not that any of the others were bad, but this year seemed especially special. Sure, it was not without incident but it was the “perfect storm” of a Passover. The weather was awful and there were a few times we thought we were going to lose the tent, but other than a few small leaks, (which were repaired before the guests arrived), the structure held and everything stayed dry. .
Let’s start with a calendar of events – just so you have a sense of what happened (the potential for disaster), along with how successful it was. Rosalie and Dickie arrived home last Tuesday. By the time we arrived to “hock” (chopped with an old cleaver in a 100 year old wooden bowl) the gefilte fish on Friday they had already made a dozen sponge cakes. (Yes, it was amazing.)
Jordan, Clare, Kerry and I, left New York early enough to stop at the Tick Tock diner, and still arrive before the fish – which arrived with Honey and Sheila about 10:30. If you have read “The Gefilte Fish Chronicles Companion Cookbook”, then you know that first you and unpack the fish. (This year we used whitefish, carp, and pike). Once cleaned, the fish needs to be put through a grinder. It’s not that fish screams “grind me! grind me!” but before it gets”hocked”, it all gets combined with the onions. At the same time the fish is “hocked”, all the heads and bones (it’s already filleted) are boiled together with vegetables and made into stock. This part process takes about two hours. The fish is shaped and placed gently into boiling water for about three hours,
There is always a great deal of tasting and shouting about the seasoning. “More salt” is heard over and over. Once the fish is in, there is usually a shopping break. Since you never rid yourself of the fish smell it is entertaining to watch how strangers react to your odor. Shopping complete, fish tasted and cooling, it’s time to eat anything but fish. This year we all went to the Reservoir Tavern in Boonton. Then a restful sleep.
Over the course of the next few days, matzoh balls are made. (This year by 16 year old Sydney – who is next generation and makes the best matzoh balls ever.) The stuffing for the cholent is created. The matzoh farfel muffins, as well as the chicken, are baked.. Vegetables are cleaned. Chicken pieces become soup. And eggs are boiled. And the cholent is made ready. One of the challenges this year was the meat for the cholent. It is usally big nice pieces of chuck. This year the butcher delivered small, kind of flat pieces of whatever. (Hard to identify). But never to be deterred –especially when it’s too late, the meat was rolled and carefully placed in a pot (the size of Miami), with the potatoes and stuffing. SO MUCH FOOD. So little time. I’m exhausted, so back atcha later. We’re just sayin’….Iris
No Irony: leftovers come home in an antacid box...