A Beautiful Feast for Spring
A Celebration of Traditions
I was born with with lifelong passports to the joys of both Easter and Passover tables: holiday dual citizenship. My mother was raised Protestant and converted to Judaism after college. I was raised Jewish, attended Hebrew school three days a week, had a bat mitzvah, and continue to practice Jewish traditions today. My extended family was Protestant, however, and we celebrated holidays together, so I was blessed to enjoy the culinary traditions of Christmas and Easter. (Read More: A Celebration of Easter and Passover Traditions).
On these slides is a feast I developed, deriving from both traditions—a mashup. There were some challenges (I wanted a grand dessert but could use no leavening), but the first work was easy: I said buh-bye to pork and separated milk from meat (combining the two is a violation of kosher rules). Although there is dairy in the salad that comes at the beginning of the meal (before any meat is served), the entrée, sides, and desserts are completely dairy-free.
- Beets with Walnuts, Goat Cheese, and Baby Greens
- Lemon Chicken Soup with Dumplings
- Brown Sugar-Glazed Capon with Bourbon Gravy
- Israeli Carrots
- Green Beans with Shallots and Hazelnuts
- Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley
- Sponge Cake with Orange Curd and Strawberries
- Date and Almond Truffles
Beets with Walnuts, Goat Cheese, and Baby Greens
If you're keeping kosher, you can have dairy before meat is served, so have this salad first, before the chicken soup or capon. You can roast the beets up to two days in advance. For a lovely touch, garnish with edible flowers.
Lemon Chicken Soup with Dumplings
Roasting the bones adds richer, deeper flavor to the stock. If you don't see chicken bones in your butcher's case, ask for them. Take your time when tempering the egg (used to add body to the soup) with the hot broth; the payoff is a smooth, silky texture.
Make-ahead tip: Cook and chill the stock a day ahead; skim solidified fat from cold stock before heating and proceeding with recipe.
Brown Sugar-Glazed Capon with Bourbon Gravy
Capons are great for a special occasion, but a 6-pound roasting chicken works equally well (cook times stay the same). Potato starch thickens the gravy and fits within Passover dietary restrictions.
This became an instant classic at my Passover table when I first served it years ago. The vivid garlic-and-herb vinaigrette contrasts with the sweet carrots, which are a natural Easter vegetable, what with all those hungry Easter bunnies looking for something to munch. If you can find carrots in a variety of colors, such as orange, yellow, and purple, by all means use them! If you can't find baby carrots, simply cut a regular carrot in half width-wise, halve the skinny bottom lengthwise, and quarter the thicker top section. What we're looking for here are long pieces, a visual contrast to most of the other dishes.
Green Beans with Shallots and Hazelnuts
Sautéed shallots and toasted hazelnuts give this fresh green bean dish a burst of flavor.
Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley
Parsley has its own spot on the seder plate, representing spring. Although quinoa is considered a whole grain, it is, in fact, a seed—making it a welcome addition to a Passover meal.
Sponge Cake with Orange Curd and Strawberries
Dairy- and flour-free, this cake is a winner year-round. Matzo cake meal—finely ground matzo—stands in for wheat flour. It's floral and sweet, with lemon, orange, and tangy berries.
Date and Almond Truffles
This dessert is for those at the table who want just a little something sweet. Store truffles in an airtight container for up to five days.