Passover pictures

A few pictures from passover celebrations:

Piles of matzah:

Drops of wine:

A carved beet to represent a lamb shank (at a vegetarian seder):

Spain, Sangria, & Spring

I recently returned from a trip to Europe with my family that included a stopover in Sevilla, Spain. It was wonderful—not just because Sevilla is a particularly gorgeous and exciting city, but also because Sevillanos know how to live! Sangria with lunch (maybe gazpacho or salmorejo), followed by a siesta, then tapas (potentially with more sangria), followed by a late dinner (and the chance for more sangria!), which can then be followed by a leisurely walk around the beautiful city at night. Need to get lots of sleep? No problem! It’s entirely ok to sleep in a bit until it’s time for churros y chocolate with your coffee the next morning.

There is so much to talk about with regard to Sevilla that I’m going to have to break it down into parts, but, as always, there will be lots of discussion about food! Lately, I’ve been thinking about having a Sangria & Spring party to try and conjure up some of the warmth that Sevilla had. I think I’ll serve the following:

  • Sangria (obviously!)
  • Salmorejo (this is slightly thicker than gazpacho and perfect for dipping bread into)
  • Guacamole & Chips (ok, they didn’t have this in Sevilla, but I love it too much to exclude)
  • Salad (my style, not the “vegetables-and-lettuce-on-a-plate” style they serve in Sevilla)
  • Olives (another Sevillian staple)
  • Paella (so yummy!)

Salmorejo I can figure out by tasting as I go, my little brother is a guacamole expert, and salad and olives are a no brainer, but I’m a little concerned about the sangria and paella. I like my sangria to be sweetened with something other than sugar. My mother prefers Manischewitz, but I worry that might be too sweet. Anyone have any ideas on good combinations?

Sangria aside, I’m way more concerned about making paella. I don’t have the paellera required to make it, and I’m not sure I’m ready to invest in one just for this occasion. (Plus, I have a strict policy that all kitchen items must be multi-purpose—What else can I use a paellera for besides paella? And even if I did want one, where could I get it?) Does anyone have any good tips for first-time paella makers? Or good leads on buying discount-yet-quality saffron?

Sounds crazy, no?

No one I know thinks Manischewitz is good for anything except filling Elijah’s cup at Passover. But I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for it. I mean, it tastes like grape juice, but so what? Grape juice is nice. Especially if you dip a piece of challah in it, right?

But since Manischewitz is so cloyingly sweet, it really can’t be consumed like wine. Which means there is almost always some left over. So when Kerry over at Serious Eats proposed making Manischewitz into a granita, I immediately went for the half-drunk bottle that’s been sitting in the back of my parents’ kitchen cabinet.

Because we had half a bottle, we used a smaller pan, but we otherwise followed the (very basic) instructions to the letter. (Essentially, pour and freeze.) Thankfully, the smaller quantity also meant that it froze faster, so we didn’t have to wait nearly as long to taste the concoction. The results were delicious—cold, tasty grape-flavored ice with a litle kick. Martini glasses are absolutely the right thing to serve it in, as it looks very pretty against the glass.

Yes, in the end it’s just frozen Manischewitz, but somehow the formation of ice crystals dress up this overly sweet “wine” into a fun and impressive dessert.