Tomorrow marks the last day of Passover, a holiday that seemed to go by in a flash this year. Due to a slammed weekend at work filling holiday orders (check out all of the matzo balls above), my celebration aired on the more relaxed side of things, which was exactly what I needed after almost twenty hours of standing/running around/heavy lifting/color coding/paperwork filing/caffeinating. The weekend brought with it a variety of celebrations all centered on family, friends, wine, and lots of excellent food.
Friday: The festivities began with a traditional Seder at my aunt and uncle’s house in Metro Detroit. This is the seder I’ve been attending since my toddler years and always brings with it both elements of familiarity and surprise like a Passover Haiku contest and Passover-themed Jeopardy. One year they even hired the Detroit Tigers mascot, Paws, to make a Seder appearance for my cousin’s birthday that fell on the same day. Uncle Mark and Aunt Susan don’t mess around when it comes to seder.
This year's highlights included: learning the secrets behind my Bubbi’s famous gefilte fish (sugar is the secret ingredient--who knew?); seeing my very first selfie stick in person (see selfie above); spending quality time with my cousins (the owners of the selfie stick, featured in the foreground of the selfie above); listening to my Zayde sing songs of his youth; sipping on sweet wine alternated with my favorite Kedem grape juice; and feasting like it was Thanksgiving in April with a menu of roast turkey, beef brisket, cranberry jello mold, roasted root vegetables, stuffing, and my Bubbi’s Passover chocolate chip mandelbrot, of which I ate three pre-seder...oops.
Saturday: Saturday’s seder at my place was inspired by my entertaining idol, Ina Garten. Knowing I was going to be at work all day, I knocked out a bunch of dishes earlier in the week that I could easily store in the refrigerator until the day of the party. The plan went swimmingly and with the help of my friends Mike and Katie, we whipped up an entire Saturday Passover feast in what felt like no time at all. Mike brought his famous matzo ball soup, Katie made Polish pickled eggs with beets, and I tested out four recipes from my newest cookbook love Modern Jewish Cooking including: roast chicken with fennel and orange, Sephardic charoset (a spread of pureed dates, figs, almonds, and red wine eaten with matzo), potato leek kugel, and mango tzimmes (a traditional Jewish sweet stew of carrots mixed with dried fruit). Oh, and can’t forget the blood orange curd ice cream sundaes with olive oil and sea salt from Bon Appetit for dessert--unbelievable! The vibe of dinner was super casual, with the Michigan State vs. Duke final four game serving as background music and all of us reclining/reminiscing for hours. As Ina would say, "how bad can that be?"
Sunday: After yet another hectic workday Sunday morning, I was ready for some hardcore downtime. With the help of my talented friends Steve and Abby of Central Provisions, we created our perfect lazy Sunday, centered on porch time and lots of "Passover-y" snacks. We sipped on chartreuse and cider. Ate gorgeous watermelon radishes with salty butter. Noshed on a light dinner of Springy matzo ball soup bursting with fresh herbs and root veggies. And made a quick pit stop for ice cream before delving into an evening full of old episodes of Broad City and the premiere of Mad Men. A perfectly untraditional end to one of my favorite Passovers yet.