Passover, which begins tonight, should be joyous. And for the most part, it is. But it can be stressful to host many people and, at the same time, keep in mind very specific observances of the Seder meal. It’s nothing if not a minefield of food do’s and don’ts.
There’s no letup after the two gargantuan Seder feasts, either. Passover has not passed over. You still have to eat and snack and get through--if you are observant--six more days and nights of Passover-correct repasts (no flour, no leavening agents, no fermented anything, no seeds, no grains, no flour, no mustard etc.).
The trouble is, a cook’s energy runs low and his or her imagination ebbs. Those at the Passover helm can become snarly; those at the table cringe at the idea of brisket and gefilte fish once more.
I live in the trenches too, so lately I have devised after-the-Seder recipes: a matzo-based lasagna, seasoned chicken fingers and even some great, simple baking.
Meal-makers need not say, “OK. The roast chicken and brisket parade has passed; if I see another matzo ball and sweet and sour meatball, I will weep.” What’s needed is good, easy food, and food that is not as heavy or as illustrious as Seder fare. In short, regular stuff made Passover-appropriate. Stuff you would eat anyway, stuff you can take to work or enjoy after school (kids still are hungry for cookies and squares).
These are some of the recipes that get my family through the rest of the Passover week. Some things, such as the Passover Picnic-Style Chicken, is even better made with matzo meal than with bread crumbs. Matzo meal makes a terrific breading, and here it results in crunchy, golden chicken. Matzo comes in handy in Matzo Lasagna, taking the place of pasta. The dish is made with a bechamel-like sauce.
Marcy Goldman runs the Baker Boulanger Web site, www.better baking.com.