Having told a number of people that I would be including this exquisite recipe in the blog this week, I have a feeling that may be why a number of you are here. Keep reading. I’ll get there.
When Marc and I went Pesach food shopping last week, we bought a lot of stuff with the Grad Network’s Pesach Shabbat dinner in mind. We ended up having to go back to the store Thursday night to get some more things. As the RSVPs kept coming, we made one final trip on Friday afternoon. The preparations also involved a half hour phone consultation with my mom about whether or not I was going to have enough food. Thanks Mom! Spoiler alert: We had enough food.
Very luckily for me, Sheila, Deborah, and Suzanne spent several hours on Friday afternoon helping to cook. More accurately, they spent several hours cooking while I sat comfortably and watched them work. They rock. Seriously. Thank you ladies! The menu was as follows:
Gefilte fish (the frozen logs of fish are MUCH better than jarred!)
Vegetarian kishka (the mix came out of a box and is kind of like stuffing)
Roasted sweet potatoes
Lemon pepper asparagus
Tzimmis (leftover from Marc’s family’s seder)
4 GIANT pans of matzah lasagna
Israeli pickles (thanks Joline!)
Shmura matzah (thanks Edward!)
Lots of wine (bottles just kept appearing, so thanks everyone!)
Lots of store-bought cookies and candy (best decision ever: not making homemade dessert for such a big meal)
Passover food is known for being heavy and yet unsatisfying at the same time. If I do say so myself, this meal did a pretty good job of defying that stereotype. The final count was somewhere around 34 people, and everyone seemed happy and well-fed. Every seat in our house was taken; even the basement was packed. It was loud, it was crowded, and it was a great reminder of how truly awesome and unique my job is.
Part of my job, a big part, is schmoozing, but honestly, it was a little too packed for me and my belly to do such an effective job weaving around the crowd. Fortunately, almost everyone made it into the kitchen at some point, so I still got to talk to most people.
So about that matzah lasagna: Shoshanah gave me the recipe 3 years ago, and I’ve made it for Pesach Shabbat dinner for the Grad Network every year since. I was a skeptic at first, since, really, it just doesn’t sound that good. But it is! During the cooking, the matzah even becomes wavy like lasagna noodles. Here’s the recipe, verbatim from Shoshanah (Thank you!!!), though, you must know, we octupled it (yes, that’s 8 times the original, but actually a little more, since each tray had a dozen sheets of matzah in it). The assembly line action was inspiring and efficient, and it resulted in deliciousness.
Matza lasagna ingredients:
8×8 disposable pan
3 boards matza
Cottage cheese (About 8oz)
Mozzarella (some amount in between layers and on top)
Salt & pepper to taste
Boil a few cups of water
Crack and beat two of the eggs. Mix the cottage cheese, the other 1-2 eggs, and salt and pepper. Pour boiling water over the matza boards. Don’t let them sit in the water, or they’ll get soggy and stick together. Right before adding each Matza board to the lasagna, dip both sides in egg. In the pan, layer tomato sauce, eggy matza board, cottage cheese mixture, and mozzerella. (There should be three boards of matza but only 2 layers of cottage cheese mixture.) Make sure to use plenty of sauce on the bottom and top of the lasagna to keep everything moist. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about a half hour, until it looks done. Serves 4 (or 34, depending).
Ilana had us over for lunch today, and it was so lovely. We had chicken, potato kugel, gazpacho, and lots of other things I’m forgetting, plus so. much. dessert. I just couldn’t stop eating the sweet stuff, especially when I discovered the chocolate meringues.
As if that wasn’t enough, we also had a fantastic meal of leftovers at Beverly and Naomi’s later in the evening. I guess it was dinner, but after that much eating in 25 hours (not even getting into the first two days of Pesach – I am restraining myself – there was so much good food over the first days), the whole distinct meal concept starts to break down. And with Pesach Shabbat behind us, we’re less than a day away from the last two days of Pesach where our plans consist, almost entirely, of more food.
You know when I said we had enough food for Friday night dinner? We actually had more than enough, and there’s a half tray of matzah lasagna waiting for me in the fridge. I better get to work, since, as good as it is, I’m still not gonna want it after Tuesday…