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Passover Meals

La Quinta, California: We enjoyed simple meals over the past eight days (not counting the first two nights of Passover). Avoiding grains (including gin, Dear Reader) is easiest to deal with at home. Since we usually do pizza on Sunday, we made matzo pizzas on Sunday because... well...

Matzo "pizzas" baked in the oven, using the left-over veggies from the pre-Coachella brunch. Pizza was served with a big tossed salad. Super crunchy crust.

One night I made a version of Sole Meniere. The sole was dusted in potato starch instead of flour and served over a bed of sauteed fennel, green beans and carrots (all the raw veggies remaining from our Seder food preparation).

Another night, we tried Vietnamese-style sesame-encrusted chicken tenders (I usually use tofu). The chicken was air-fried and served with nuoc cham dipping sauce, grilled bok choy, and a Japanese cucumber and vinegar salad. No rice.

During this week, four cherry tomatoes from our herb/vegetable pots were ready to harvest. Our first crop of 2022!

This was dinner. Turkey sausage from Zoe's Meats, parmesan crackers, cheeses, olives, radish, almonds.

After the tomato harvest, we suffered through a terrible wind storm. Strong gusts pelted the valley all night, stirring up clouds of dust, and keeping us from a good sleep. Then it started to rain - and the drops came down hard enough to cause a water-fall from our roof drain gulley's (remember, no gutters in the desert). I kept going outside to check on the tomato plants, as the wind was really whipping them around - even inside the four walls of our courtyard. I was worried my pathetic attempt at staking the vines was not going to hold. I did some middle-of-the-night stake adjusting, but woke to find one bent vine (not sure if it will recover) and one egg-sized green "Early Girl" tomato on the ground. (Insert sad face here.) My Driver braved Coachella Music Festival traffic to visit a garden store to purchase four really tall stakes, so now the vines are protected in a make-shift twine cage.

Take that, Mother Nature.

All the mess to clean up, and all we thought was how happy the storm was Thursday night and not Friday night during the music festival. THAT would have been a nightmare for the hipsters!

Another ho-hum appetizer plate.

For Shabbat: Matzo Ball Soup. The chicken stock was made from the carcass of the whole butterflied chicken DT grilled Saturday night (16th), and it was outstanding. Since acquiring a pressure cooker, I have learned it makes the BEST stock: place the carcass and any other chicken bits (I do not use offal) left-over, cover the bones completely with water, and pressure cook on HIGH for 45 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally and strain the stock. (Discard the bones.) Chill the stock to let the fat rise to the top. Discard the fat (or not), then freeze the stock in the portions you will need later. Viola! Notice this stock includes no vegetables. No bay leaf. Nothing. You can add salt, as needed, later.

A handful of shredded breast was saved/frozen from last week's chicken for tonight's soup. All I added was one carrot, shredded with a vegetable peeler... and matzo balls. And parsley.

Must. Garnish.

The soup was served with a composed tomato salad dressed with a vinaigrette using the dregs from the bottom of a jar of anchovies (don't waste food!), lemon juice, olive oil and lots of black pepper. It was drizzled over the sliced tomatoes and garnished with kalamata olives. Yummy.

The last night of Passover was not very exciting. I was running out of ideas, and had one massive russet potato, plus a bunch of asparagus that needed to be used. Dave grilled chicken thighs (that had marinated in the last of the jug of orange juice the kids didn't finish during their visit). I suggested we have the potato served au gratin, he grill the asparagus with the chicken, and I would make a wedge salad. DT suggested that was too much food... so compromised to serve the asparagus cold as a salad. (A wedge will be served with our pizza Sunday night.)

Steamed, chilled, and topped with a drizzle of home-made tarragon mayonnaise. Chopped tomato garnish. Salad!

The potato was the hit of the night. Baked in the toaster oven in a teeny pan. My mom made the best au gratin potatoes. Maybe I learned this technique from her? This dish is best prepared with gold potatoes, but we work with what we have.

The Coachella Music Festival ends Sunday night and 125,000 music fans will leave town. Monday, I will venture out to the grocer and restock (assuming the grocers have restocked!), and prepare for another week of meals. One dinner will definitely include pasta.

Until my next update, I remain, your unleavened correspondent.

3 thoughts

  1. I pressure cook mine for 2 hrs. Still faster than hours of simmering on the stove. Most times I do add the scrap veggies I save in my freezer. Mainly carrot peelings, celery pieces and onion ends plus clean skins as it gives it a darker color. And if you can find chicken feet a real plus for the collagen. Makes a very gelatinous broth.

  2. Hi Terry! So glad you’re enjoying using a pressure cooker. I adapted your Spicy Chinese Beef pot for the pressure cooker & just love it. The sauce is so good & the flank steak is very tender. I need to work on your Southwestern Chicken chowder for the pressure cooker. Everyone loves it! Thanks for all your great recipes.

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