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Archive for the ‘fun at the seder’ Category

The Latest and Greatest Seder Menus


Quinoa and Mushroom stuffed peppers


PASSOVER IS COMING!!!!!!!! In case you didn’t know, I LOVE THIS HOLIDAY.          We’re all in high gear and there’s still so much to be done. Even as I take a break from cleaning to write this blog post, (justified of course by my sore back and the need to sit down for a few minutes), my mind is preoccupied by the millions of small (some are really minuscule yet I always intend to do them all) interlocking tasks that must be accomplished before I can cook anything for yuntif.   My daughter Emily just reminded me to put on my list the two chores we’ve typically  forgotten and then scrambled to do at the last minute. (Just in case you’re dying of curiosity, they are clean out the vacuum canister and boil the scissors that we use to cut open food packages.)

My dear friend Susan recently asked what to make for her family member who is a vegan. Remember, questions such as this are why I have The Kosher Vegan blog, and I am so grateful I continue to get questions like this all the time. If case this is an issue for anyone else, the menu I am about to share with you is a totally non-gebrochts menu.

I know there are so many vegan and vegetarian Kosher for Passover recipes out there that attempt to dress up already perfect ingredients and I find they are just as likely to detract from the natural appeal of the wonderful fresh vegetables you’re workings with. You don’t have to work that hard to come up with amazing vegan food. After thinking of all the ways that I’ve seen vegetables and grains dressed up to look special, I have concluded that usually, the less done to enhance the perfection of what we eat, the better. And the Sedar menus are perfect examples.

Here then, are my latest and greatest Passover Menus. Feel free to use and pass them on. Please send me your ideas and feedback. Wishing everyone a happy and kosher Pesach, a joyous and meaningful Seder, a wonderful Passover Holiday. Betayavon!

Seder Menu for Friday and Saturday Night

Appetizer: Roasted Beets (just wash and roast medium sized beets in double wrapped tin foil in hot oven, cool, peel and slice) and combine with Sliced Roasted Mushrooms, dash of balsamic vinegar, optional but not necessary. Beets are sweeter when roasted in the oven.

Salad: Green lettuce and minced purple onion (optional) topped with roasted spicy  sweet potato wedges (black pepper and paprika makes them spicy); dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon juice that you prepare in a cruet in advance.

Soup:  Vegetable Soup (broth made from sautéed onions), with diced carrots and asparagus.

Pot, Zuc, Tom

Side Vegetable Dish: Zucchini, Tomato, and Potato Casserole ( Spray casserole dish, layer 2 large zucchini, cut into 1″ slices in bottom of pan. Top with a layer of potatoes, about 2 large cut into 1″ slices, and a layer of tomatoes, about 2 large, cut into 1″ slices. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, dried basil and oregano. Bake 350 about an hour until edges start to brown. Cut into squares).

Crunchy veggies: Marinated cucumbers and onions (thinly sliced in glass mason jar with  white vinegar, pinch of salt and sugar, pinch of dried dill-optional)                           Lettuce Wraps filled with mashed avocado, diced cucumber and mango, tiny squeeze of lime to moisten filling. Use the lettuce you like with this one.

Main Course Friday Night: Eggplant Cutlets with sautéed onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers.  Red sauce is optional here, but I personally don’t add any. Don’t bother to coat the eggplant, just use thick slices, peeled or unpeeled as you prefer,  as the “meat” (slice eggplant, salt, rinse, pat dry, bake approx 15 mins and top with sauce if you’re using, add a layer of sautéed veggies, season as desired-salt, pepper, oregano, basil, etc, bake additional 15 mins)


Main Course Saturday Night: Peppers stuffed with quinoa and mushrooms (don’t bother roasting the peppers first, just wash and clean their insides, stuff with cooked cold quinoa to which you’ve added some chopped and roasted mushrooms. Season as you like, top with sauce if you desire, but I don’t think it needs sauce since the peppers get soft and release liquid keeping it all moist. Bake 35 minutes til tender.)                       I love these quinoa stuffed peppers, and am always very happy with this main course.

Dessert: Fresh Melons Balls and Red Grapes topped with dollop of Mango Pudding,       recipe below, adapted from EAT TO LIVE, by Joel Fuhrman, M. D.   

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 4 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2 banana
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Grind almonds in food processor. Add mangoes, banana, dates, coconut, and vanilla and blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer to bowl or container and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Chill for several hours before serving.


Have a great Pesach everybody.


Pesach, 2015: “THERE WILL BE FROGS”


“There will be frogs”

vegan pre seder snack buffet

I am so grateful my kids really embrace this holiday. I can count on them each year to participate and ask their questions, drink the four cups, partake of the festive meal, resume the Seder after dinner, and sing until the very end. But luckily, they can also allow themselves to have fun. I think it is a requirement. As we cover all the points in the Hagaddah and follow the Halacha as much as we possibly can, we try to incorporate some feature, and it’s different every year, that makes our family Seder uniquely ours.

In my mind, this is a ritual that began around 1998, at a family Seder at my sister Sunny’s house in South Philly. My kids were young then, and my brothers and their families were also at Sunny’s seder that year. Well, Aunt Sunny introduced a great hands on approach; she gave the kids props and asked them to act something out that would reflect the Passover story. This all happened very spontaneously: the kids decided to make David, our youngest, be Moses. They put him into a wicker basket, and floated baby “Mobus” down the Nile. His siblings and cousins pushed him along the floor, passing him from hand to hand until one hand snatched the basket and the baby to live with her in the palace. Slowly, each one of the kids related some small piece of the Passover story that took the Jews from slavery to freedom, in what was a very ingenious way to get them involved.  We’ve tried, in subsequent years, to include a bit of fun and perhaps an out of your seat experience that will keep the evening lively and be something each of our family members and friends will (hopefully), remember fondly.

Over the years, we’ve watched our children act out many clever re-enactments of the Passover story. Following my sister’s lead, I gathered my own assortment of dress up clothes and other hazarai. When she was in middle school, my talented daughter Ilana, who is the oldest of the Samlin cousins (that’s my side of the family), had the idea (spontaneously, of course) that all the cousins should act out “The Brady Bunch Leaves Egypt.” She devised the script on the spot, dressed each of her siblings and cousins to play their parts, and spurred them on their journey from slavery to freedom.    I still remember my nephew Warren dressed as Alice leading the children as they approached  The Red Sea;  he was nothing short of hysterical, with his short wig half cocked, his (then) high pitched voice, and the true to form Alice hands-on- hips stance…

So what was it this year? I’ll give you a hint: it involved a variation on the big ten. Not basketball. Plagues. When the kids were young, the standard bag of plagues was a novelty that definitely kept the kids happy and amused. Why didn’t we have any of this when I was growing up? Check back for pictures of this year’s fun filled and colorful variation on a theme.

A couple of years ago, Emily wanted frog molds for Passover that we found on Amazon. She’s given us green jello frogs one year, and chocolate frogs the next. And this year, once again there were frogs.

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