The Shabbat before Passover is always a fascinating collection of leavened leftovers, and it sounds like Ilana’s Shabbat meals were no exception. While I’m a little embarrassed for being known for stuffing and cheese, it’s oh so good, and it helped empty our cabinets. I think we’re ready, so bring on Pesach! Oh, and Ilana: she’s awesome.
I haven’t found the opportunity or time to host at lot of Shabbat meals lately, but Friday seemed like the perfect combination of events: First, I was looking down the barrel of Passover and really needed to use some “safety” challah I had stowed in the freezer and, second, my friend Michelle was available to come in from far, far away Mt. Airy. It was cause for celebration! So I invited over a bunch of girls and we all tried—and failed—to eat a sick amount of chametz.
Dinner started, of course, with the aforementioned challahs, which, I’m pretty sure, got bigger while they were in the freezer, and some incredible homemade humus from Sarah. I requested extra garlic, and Sarah complied, giving it an awesome garlic-spiciness. Plus, it was super easy. We’re so doing that from now on.
Next, came the obvious first course: pizza! While at the supermarket trying to figure out what to do with some frozen pizza dough we had, Sarah and I came up with a brilliant idea—let’s put tomato sauce and cheese on it (yes, it took me a second to realize that might not be as novel as I thought). I was also thinking basil, but Sarah suggested arugula, which proved to be a really nice
Main course went straight to the heart of the matter: artichoke macaroni and cheese with a side of Israeli couscous. We had no intention of skimping on the chametz, and even the salad had chametzy crunchy noodles. Plus Brussels sprouts, cause that seems to have become my staple. Of course, after the pizza and challah, no one could really eat anything else, so I’m not really sure how the food tasted (except for as leftovers). Still, it was a great group of girls, some of whom had never visited my Shabbat table before, and it made for a really fun night.
I was a little bit unclear what I was going to do for lunch on Saturday (though I figured Friday’s leftover would play some role), and so I ended up going to two lunches. The first was an extended Kiddush after services at BZBI (something I learned from a very young age never to miss), which included a really nice concert from the Penn a capella choir, The Shabbatones, and those adorable mini tuna sandwiches that I love so much.
Afterwards, I decided I would still go by Beverly and Naomi’s chametz fest “picnic,” which got moved to Sara’s because of the rain. Even though I was still full from Friday night (and the lunch I had just eaten), I managed to try the last bite of Sara’s vegetable gratin and a slice of Miriam’s new standby (thank you for that!) stuffing with cheese. Both were totally worth the stomachache. Everything else looked tasty as well, and I was amazed by the variety of chametz dishes that were on the table. Mostly, it was nice to sit on Sara’s floor, watch Aliza play, and hang out with new and old friends for a couple hours.
Still, I bailed a little early (or, as I found out later, a lot early) to go home and meet Alex and Jonathan so we could all take advantage of the long Shabbat afternoon. We played a game of Rummikub (which Alex won!), tried to see if we could make a dent in the candy bowl before Pesach, and generally got to catch up. In fact, the whole day was a classic Shabbat and reminded me of how large and multi-faceted our Shabbat community is becoming. Which is a good thing to realize now, because chag, chag, and more chag, here we come! Shavua tov, and chag sameach!
Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese
In addition to getting rid of chametz, this recipe was also an effort to get rid of all the miscellaneous dairy in the fridge. You’ll see.
1 stick of butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 package of cream cheese
12 oz sour cream
16 oz (or more) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans of artichoke hearts, chopped
2 lbs of pasta
Boil water and cook pasta until tender. Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter on medium heat in a large pot and sauté the onions. Add cream cheese and sour cream until they melt. Melt in cheese and then add chopped artichokes until everything is smooth and saucy. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, or whatever suits you. Put cooked pasta in a casserole dish and pour cheese sauce on top. Cook for 30 minutes or until top is brown.
1 can chick peas
3 cloves garlic
a few squirts of garlic
a few shakes of olive oil
a little tahini
Put everything in food processor and go crazy! (Sarah suggests draining the chick peas but reserving the water to add in at the end.)