The Night Before

It occurred to me, as I titled this post, that it has a double meaning. I could be talking about last night, the night that friends came over and we had a middle eastern themed dinner, the night that my daughter started to really walk on her own, the night she woke up at 3am vomiting and was up for over an hour.  Or I could be talking about tonight, the night before Passover.

I’m actually talking about both.

Dinner last night was lovely.  Old friends, good conversation, delicious food.  I made The Hippo’s Falafel, my eggplant dip and my cousin’s tuna salad. 

(This is the same cousin that I keep promising to blog about, the one who lives in Israel.  I will blog about her soon, I promise.  But she deserves a post all her own so, stay tuned for that.)  For last night’s dessert I made The Pioneer Woman’s Tres Leches Cake.  Which was, as always delicious. I can’t top her photos so, go there and enjoy.  We ate about half the cake so the other half was used tonight as a birthday cake for another friend.  I added a few nice decorations and I thought it was pretty. 

Today, between holding my poor, ill daughter (who is sleeping now and is hopefully done with the upchucking) and visiting with family, I managed to prep for tomorrow.  I got the potatoes peeled, the green beans trimmed and the sweet potatoes chopped.  I store all of those in water overnight in the fridge. Keeps them from turning brown.

Oh, youll make such sweet mashed potatoes....

I also managed to make the soup yesterday.  I’ll make the matzo balls tomorrow and add them at the last minute, as they soak up a great deal of broth.  I still need to plan out my steps for tomorrow- I always work backwards from when we eat so I know when what things need to go in and in what order.  I also figure out what needs the oven and stove so that I can have everything ready at the same time.  For example, I’m roasting two chickens and a brisket.  So I’ll need both ovens but the brisket will take longer than the chicken so I’ll do that first.  See?

“Ok, Ok,”  you’re saying,  “where’s a recipe already??!’  Hang in with me, I promise it’s on the way.

Passover desserts are notoriously bad.  See, Passover is all about no leavening. We’re supposed to rid our houses of Chametz.

Chametz includes anything made from the five major grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt) that has not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after coming into contact with water. Orthodox Jews of Ashkenazic background also avoid rice, corn, peanuts, and legumes (beans) as if they were chametz. All of these items are commonly used to make bread, thus use of them was prohibited to avoid any confusion. Such additional items are referred to as “kitniyot.”

Click here for more info about the meaning of Passover.

As a result, Passover desserts are often dry and not so tasty.  There are exceptions.  One exception is this brownie recipeThe other exception is this chocolate caramel matzo.  I’ve seen a few versions of this recipe but I used the hippo’s, which is actually David Lebowitz’s.  It’s delicious.

Ingredients

4-6 pieces of plain matzo- don’t use sweetened (with grape juice) or extra savory (onion)

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar (I did one batch with dark and the other with light, depends on your preference)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/2-1 package chocolate chips

Directions

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Then add parchment paper.  The matzo will get really sticky so don’t skimp on the pan prep.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a pot.  Let it come to a boil and boil it for three minutes while stirring. Don’t let it burn!  After three minutes, take it off the heat and add the vanilla.  Quickly pour it over the matzo and then use a spatula or knife to smooth it out. Put it in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350.  Cook for 15 minutes, making sure not to burn it- if it starts to cook too quickly, turn the heat down to 325.  After fifteen minutes, take it out of the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the whole thing.  Let this sit for about five minutes, then use a spatula or knife to spread the chocolate over the whole thing.  Let the matzo cool, in the fridge or on the counter, until the chocolate has hardened.  Then break them into pieces and serve.  I made several pans and have them wrapped up and waiting for tomorrow night’s dessert.

Seems like a lot, I know, but I generally dont have much left over.

And, for the record, here’s the state of my fridge.It’s a good thing I have a second fridge downstairs….

See you all soon- not sure I’ll have time to blog tomorrow night but I promise to have something up within the next day or two.

Chag Sameach! 

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