Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Passover Seder dinner with traditional Haggadah & Christian references

Monday, Stan and I shared our Passover Meal with one of our good friends, Dawn.  Are we Jewish?  No, but we do enjoy honoring this first of seven Jewish festivals, which helps us to remember the value of freedom.  If you get a chance to share this with family or friends please do so, as it’s a great refresher on the Exodus and spiritually refreshing.  After we finished our dinner, Dawn even stated that this was something she would remember for the rest of her life.  How blessed, to have someone feel that way about sharing this experience with us.

Why are the place settings are spread out on the floor?

That’s because on all other nights we eat sitting up,
but tonight we eat reclining.
This is to remind us that now we are free from slavery.  Dawn actually had a lot of fun with the palm fronds after the dinner.  Had I have known that,
I would have let her hunt for the afikoman!

There is only one light on the candle to start because the other two are to be lit by Dawn and I at the start of the Seder.  The extra place setting is for Elijah, when we open the door and ask him join us in our thanksgiving.  Pitcher of water and bowls for everyone to wash their hands during the Haggadah.  Bowl of salt water and parsley for the karpas - bitter herbs, horseradish for the maror, and charoset for the sweetness.  The matzah - unleavened bread (which Stan did an awesome job making from scratch) and the pesha - we did a lamb casserole this year, are on table behind us, along with hummus and raspberry walnut salad.

I told Dawn not to expect too much in the way of dinner, bitter herbs, horseradish, some people don’t care for lamb…but from the rave reviews, dinner rocked.  I used two new recipes that are just the absolute best.  We will be using them again, way before Passover rolls around next year.

    Best Charoset Recipe Ever!

I’ve made charoset before...and not that it tasted bad, it just wasn’t something I’d make on a regular basis, until I found this recipe.  I like it better pureed than chunky.

Linda uses a combination of three nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, with almond the predominant flavor.
1 cup blanched whole or slivered almonds
1/2 cup hazelnuts (brown skins rubbed off)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
4 to 6 tablespoons sweet kosher red wine
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Honey, if desired
Put nuts and sugar in a food processor and pulse until finely ground but not oily. Transfer to a bowl. Put apples in food processor and process until nearly pureed. Return ground nuts to processor. Add 4 tablespoons wine and cinnamon; pulse until fairly smooth. Taste, adding more wine and some honey, if desired.  Makes about 3 cups.

I only used walnuts, skipped adding the almonds and hazelnuts, and I definitely used the honey – this is wonderful for breakfast, even looks a little like oatmeal, but tastes Way better!

    Awesome Baaaaaad A** Lamb Casserole

Ok, that's not the real name of the dish, but that's what they were calling it.  Flavors meld so well, and it's soooo easy to make!  I got this recipe off the
You can watch him make it or you can just go directly to the recipe.

Of course I never follow recipes exactly, I always improvise, or forget to add something ~ that's why I'm not a baker.  Like I forgot to add the wine, not to my glass mind you, but to the casserole.  Didn't even miss it.  More for me!  And I couldn't find the cumin, so I subbed curry only not as much.  I also didn't bake it for 2 hours.  And hour and half was more than enough.  

As part of the ritual, we dip our finger in our wine and as each of the 10 plagues are called out we place a drop on our plate.  As we were cleaning up I noticed Dawn’s splatter plate, was a bit different from the rest.  She had made this cute perfect circle of the 10 plagues.  Mind you, Stan and I just shook our fingers and the wine fell where ever it pleased, but not Dawn, she made a pretty circle.  Frankly I think it’s from hanging out with the baby and doing way too much finger-painting!  And then this one little green leafy stem just kept clinging to the plate – made us think of spring.

    This is my favorite reading from the Haggadah.

In every generation we should feel as if we ourselves had left Egypt. Even though we live long after the exodus, we must picture ourselves fleeing slavery.

The struggle for freedom is a continuous struggle, for never do human beings reach total liberty.

In every age some new freedom is won and established, adding to the advancement of human happiness and security.

Yet, each age uncovers a formerly unrecognized servitude, requiring new liberation to set human souls free.

In every age the concept of freedom grows broader, widening the horizons for finer and nobler living.

Each generation is duty-bound to contribute to this growth, else humankind’s ideals become stagnant and stationary.

The events in Egypt were but the beginning of a force in history which will continue forever.

In this spirit we see ourselves as participants in the exodus, for we must dedicate our energies to the cause begun there. We will defend the heritage of liberty taught to us by God. As inheritors of the priceless heritage of freedom we join now in praising and glorifying God’s holy name. For the miracles which he wrought in the past and also in our day, we offer him our thankfulness. He delivered us from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to happiness, from mourning to rejoicing, from darkness into light.

In gratitude for these manifold blessings we shall sing songs of praise to him.

Had he done nothing more than take us out of Egypt, Dayyenu-(it would have been enough).

Shalom!  Everyone have a Great Easter holiday

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