* organize and plan resources:
* menus & recipes (vegetarians! non-vegetarians! carnivores who also eat PB&waffle!)
* haggadas, various seder materials for adults, children
* guest head-count + places for guests to stay
* scheduling for tasks/goals
* shop for non-perishables & perishables
* turn chametz kitchen into Pesachdik (Passover-oriented) kitchen
* clean and transform the apartment
* clean and transform the car
* various sundries, all astonishingly time-consuming.
Of these, the quest for affordable, gluten-free matza reigns supreme. Where? How? Last year, I ordered my matzot from these lovely people, and the year before we bought our first and slightly crumpled box of oat matza from this company. This year, I will be appreciating but avoiding these matzot, which do not (say the company FAQ) meet the requirements for Passover, though they do meet the requirements for gluten-freeness.
Where my recipes are concerned, I do have a binder with last year's recipes, menus and inventory of my pots, pans, plates, etc - it's a glorious, shedding mass of paper. Tonight, promises the Man, he'll tackle it while I wade through my scraps of recipes. This year, we simplify last year, which had me firmly tethered to the kitchen. Because what's the point of a burble of cousins, if you can't burble along with them?
Until the wading begins, it's electronics all the way, baby - and the annual hunt for the thing that didn't work. Three years down the road from my first seder, that's charoset. Last year, we used this - and the children informed us that it was not banana-riffic. I offered a fresh cranberry-orange relish, and was informed that while fun, it was not charoset. So.
Here's what I've found: dried fruit charoset, non-sponsored dried fruit charoset, or choose one from this list. But I'm most certainly taking suggestions...
Pre-seder mini-dinner, seder 1's dinner and carpas/charoset/z'roa/maror/washed romaine, day 1 lunch, pre-seder dinner, seder 2 dinner, carpas/charoset/z'roa/maror/washed romaine, 2nd day lunch, dinner, 3rd day lunch....breakfast????? yikes??
Oh, me, oh my - how the shopping list does grow. Mine is mostly produce, fish and a bit of (eep) meat. And a headache's worth of fruit, to pacify the children in search of a nice cookie. Which we haven't got. *sigh* Most of our year-round desserts are Passover-friendly, but their ingredients aren't cleared for use by the rabbis. Usually, this is simply a matter of rabbi-power: they don't tend to check the niche market foods, because they're short on time. And rabbis. But we persevere....and make lots of phone calls to the Sephardi rabbinate.
Fluffing my bits of paper, I begin to think that the standard Pesach and allergy mistake is the same. If you lack a central ingredient for a recipe, don't fake it - find another recipe. Sorbet has served us well in the past, and I'm eyeing a variety of the ice creams and sorbets over here. Solid sweet-yumminess? On shabbat, we tested this vegan coconut macaroon recipe, and woot! Yumilicious. Apparently, macaroons are like meatballs: the eggs and flour appear to be crucial, but are, in fact, not. Whew. But I'm still stumped on breakfast. Matza and jam? Listening to me mutter, the Man winced.
The list grows, and my paper-ruffling continues: it's easy to turn out an elaborate, tether-iffic menu, and harder to turn out a simpler one, with built-in breaks between meal preps. Oh, for the luxury of being able to cook in advance of the holiday.... Oh, well. Until that glorious day, I'm eyeing leftovers, and hoping to turn up some good non-lentil, vegetarian bean crockpot recipes. Because we can used dried, inspected beans, but not canned. Any suggestions?