"Why is tonight different from all other nights?" ask the Four Questions traditionally read at Passover seders. This year, the answer seems more clear than ever; many Jewish people are celebrating Passover without the physical presence of family and friends at the table, thanks to our new era of social distancing.
Just because you can't gather all your loved ones in one room, though, doesn't mean you can't put on a delightful Zoom seder. With the help of four recipes hand-selected by designer Susan Alexandra, culinarian and Food Network host Molly Yeh, writer and actress Tavi Gevinson, and artist and filmmaker Alicia Mersy, this might very well be your most delicious Passover gathering ever.
Passover was always hosted by my grandparents (of blessed memory). Upon arrival we were greeted with a welcoming nosh: velvety mounds of chopped liver, an array of pickles and olives, and my favorite: onions and egg spread. I know this seems dull, but I assure you, looks can be deceiving. The recipe is simple and like most Jewish fare, the secret ingredients are LOVE and TIME. Though we were far from kosher, for high holidays we abided by traditional fleishing commandments and therefore use OLIVE OIL as opposed to butter (which makes more sense in this context). Here is my grandmother Harriet's recipe for "Bershert Onion and Egg Spread." This has been modified for a one-person quarantine, adjust quantity using your intuition.
Ingredients: 1 White Onion (or if you don't have white use yellow! or red! What do I care!) 4 hard boiled eggs (older eggs work best) pinch of salt pinch of pepper 2-ish glugs olive oil parsley or celery leaves.
Start by slicing onions into thin rounds. If you start crying, it's ok. There's a lot to cry about!
Pour olive oil into pan. Turn burner on to low flame. Toss in onions. Slosh around in olive oil, cover with lid.
The onions need to carmelize, let's give them time, space, consideration. Allow them to languish in their olive oil shvitz for around 20 minutes, until they're the color of Barbra Streisand's hair in Yentl.
Meanwhile, you're hard boiling the eggs, let them simmer for 11 minutes. Remove and immediately dunk in ice water. Let them relax in this cryo bath (very GOOP) for 5 minutes, at least.
Peel eggs and grate for fine texture, dice for chunkier experience. My grandmother used an egg slicer but I doubt you have one of those on hand. Ok, so your onions have carmelized, your eggs are sliced, now be a good yente and marry the two.
Combine in your prettiest bowl (you're instagramming this, don't disappoint your followers!). Make sure to scrape all that delicious golden pomade from your pan! Every drop!
Stir the two until the eggs are glistening. Add salt, add pepper and garnish with some bright parsley or celery leaves. Serve with matzoh.
Bershert in yiddish means "meant to be" and is often the term used when soulmates are united. Though I am alone on this Passover, without my family and my "bershert," preparing recipes as my grandmother taught me and knowing Jews across the world are also preparing their traditional meals, I feel we are together.
I plan to make the skillet chicken and spring vegetables that I just made on Girl Meets Farm! It's vibrant, beautiful, delicious, and not too huge. But if/when I have leftovers, I'm going to plan on making a very lemony tahini chicken salad to have on matzo. I'm also going to make sprinkle macaroons. They're easily made with pantry staples, last for a while (so I don't have to feel like the three of us—me, my husband Nick and daughter Bernie—need to gobble them up quickly), and we all need sprinkles right now. That recipe is on the Food Network site, as well as my blog mynameisyeh.
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 heads baby bok choy, sliced into quarters
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Add the coriander to a spice grinder and pulse a few times until the seeds are just cracked. Set aside.
Sprinkle the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Add the oil to a large cast-iron skillet and heat over medium-high. Once the oil begins to shimmer, sear the chicken, skin side down, until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn the thighs over and cook until brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the pan to a plate, skin side up, and set aside.
After the chicken is removed from the pan, add the cracked coriander and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Nestle the bok choy into the leeks and add 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle the chicken, skin side up, into the vegetables and cook for a few minutes until the thighs are 165 degrees F in the thickest part. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the chives. Serve right from the pan!
I usually work on Pesach. This year my family and I came to cook the Seder for a family in the Catskills; I’m very excited to finally be in the mountains and be able to breath without a mask.
Cooking the Chickpeas:
500g dry chickpeas - the best are the small 6mm ones 4 liter water 1tsp baking soda Wash the chickpeas with cold water In your cooking pot soak the chickpeas in the water and baking soda overnight When you wake up, boil the chickpeas and skim the white foam that floats on top of the water Once the water is boiling, strain and wash the chickpeas Refill the pot with fresh water, add 1tsp baking soda and boil again Bring to boil and simmer for about 2 hours until it’s very very soft Cool down the chickpeas in the water until completely cold.
Making the Hummus:
900g cooked chickpeas 350g tahini 4 ice cubes 40g lemon juice 2tsp kosher salt 1 garlic clove
In food processor: Blend the chickpeas for about 1 minute while the food processor is on Add garlic and chili Add ice Add salt Add tahini Add lemon Mix until you have a very smooth cream and eat warm with a spoon, with lots of olive oil
I'm doing a seder with my family and our friends on Zoom. It will be a deafening cacophony of people trying to talk over each other, just like always. My recipe is: SALTWATER! Instructions: Cry.
Originally Appeared on Vogue