Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Passover Passed

I always feel a bit let down when the sedarim are over no matter how wonderful the experience. We always thank God for sustaining us and allowing us to live to see yet another joyous occasion, but once the sedarim have passed, I always wonder if we will all be together in good health for the next seder. This was a particular milestone for us because last year, Saul came right out of the hospital and directly down to Baltimore for the first seder. His recovery has been miraculous considering the extent of the stroke. He is almost as good as new. I just turned 58, the age at which our beloved Aunt Sarah died of breast cancer. She never missed coming to help us prepare the food for the seder. I remember the pain with which she was struggling as I washed the dining room floor in preparation and I remember thanking God that I was healthy and able to scrub it on hands and knees as tired as I was. The following year, we all spoke to her from the seder as she lay in her hospital bed in Georgia and Uncle Jack prepared to fly her home to us. As I put away the last vestiges of Passover and prepared a room for her, she died. I miss her terribly even all these years later and I wish she could have been here, like my mother, to enjoy my grandchildren with me.

Alex did a Herculean job (or perhaps a Samsonian job?) preparing both the amazing feast and the 70-page custom Haggadah. Jessica, as usual, ran hither and yon to make sure that everyone had what they needed to get the job done. There were many children present, from 3 weeks to 7 years old. It was boisterous, warm, erudite, nostalgic, sparkling, stimulating, funny, and delicious. I loved every minute of it! Here's hoping next year will be even better!!

Beth, I promised you the chestnut soup recipe, so even though Passover will not pass over until next week, here it is:

Chestnut Soup (serves 8 to 12)
14 oz. peeled, cooked, ready-to-use chestnuts
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 large leeks, split, washed thoroughly, and chopped, or 1 large Bermuda onion, chopped
1 cup dry white wine, vermouth, sherry, or anything else dry that you have left over
12 oz. mushrooms (any type or a mixture will do) cleaned and sliced
2 tbsp. Osem pareve chicken soup mix dissolved in 4 cups boiling water
1 tsp. freshly ground black or white pepper
3 cups low fat milk
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the leek or onion pieces and sauté them stirring frequently until they are translucent—5 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and pepper and sauté about 5 more minutes. Pour in the wine or sherry, increase the heat to medium high, and cook the mixture until the liquid is almost gone. Reserve a half cup of chestnuts and add the rest. Add the pareve chicken stock and simmer the mixture, covered until everything is very soft about 15 minutes. Pour in the milk and pulverize everything smooth with a stick blender. Add the cream. Chop the reserved chestnuts coarsely and add to the soup. Keep on low heat until warmed through. Serve warm.

1 comment:

sabasenders said...

Passover being my favorite holiday, I too am already nostolgic. I loved sharing it with the grandchildren. B"H may it always be so.