Friday, March 15, 2013

   One of the great things about the At The Table that it provides a venue for learning about culinary traditions and rituals that might be common experience for some folks, but completely new to others. Growing up in a secular, non-jewish household I had never experienced a Passover Seder dinner, and since the ATW... season runs through Passover, planning a modern take on the traditional Passover Seder dinner sounded like a fun way to learn about this special tradition. I approached our Sous Chef Elissa Singer about collaborating on a Seder and she went to work creating a menu for the occasion. I also asked her to write a bit about the planning process and her thoughts about creating the menu. It is as follows:
    When Robert came to me with the idea of doing a modern day take on a traditional Passover dinner for the series “At the Table with...” I was intrigued yet skeptical. How would I go about breaking down a traditional Passover Seder into a 6-course tasting menu? For one, the word “Seder” means “order” in Hebrew.  My first challenge would be to break away from the traditional order of the meal which is the very essence of the dinner. This ritual meal has been practiced for generations amongst Jewish families around the world.  A traditional Passover Seder includes reading from the Haggadah, which tells the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.  As the story is retold, we eat from the Seder Plate, the symbolic foods, and partake in customs that let us remember what the slaves experienced and celebrate our freedom. After the story is told and the four glasses of wine consumed, we eat a traditional dinner that varies from family to family.  
To tackle this project, I thought about the dishes I am accustomed to eating with my family. Some of them are traditional for Passover and some are common amongst Jewish families such as brisket and roast chicken. I decided to stay very close to the order of the Passover Seder with each course progressing according to tradition. While including the symbolic ingredients, I fine-tuned and elevated each dish creating a contemporary take on an ancient tradition.  While this meal does not conform to the Laws of Kashrut, it can be considered Kosher for Passover because of the sole use of unleavened bread or Matzo. I hope that this experience will give you a better understanding of what Passover is all about while also providing you with a delicious meal.  I am excited to share a new approach to an age-long custom!

The menu is here as well:
~Thursday, March 28, 2013~
At the Table with… Passover Seder
Manischewitz Granita
“Seder Plate”
Poached Quail Egg, Charoset Crisp, Roasted Marrow Bone
Parsley, Horseradish and Lemon Gremolata
Pollock Timbale, Haricot Verts, Dill Cream
and Sweet Potato Doodlies
Matzoh Ball stuffed with Chicken Liver Mousse in Consommé
Roasted Squab with Fig and Red Wine Reduction,
Potato Kugel and Crispy Kale
Braised brisket, Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Candied Carrots and Braising Jus
Hazelnut Torte, Cinnamon Ice Cream,
Rhubarb-Strawberry Coulis and Matzoh Brittle

Elissa has created a lovely menu and we hope to see you soon at At The Table!

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