Catholic Seder

“On this day you shall explain to your son, ‘This is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.”

Recipes in this Post

I am a practicing Catholic. What does that mean? It means I go to Mass every Sunday where I have Communion , I try to go to Confession once a month (and definitely before a Holy day), and I share the Good Word with others. When I was growing up I heard about the Passover Seder, and my mother had friends who were Jewish, but we never went to one. It was not until a year after I went through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) that I went to any form of Seder, and that was put on by a lovely Catholic couple. I thought it was such a nice way to help celebrate what God has given us, that I decided that I was going to have my own Seder. Last night was that first attempt, and was the start of a new tradition in our small family. I did not do a full Seder, I just presented a Seder plate, said some words of explanation where we all participated, and then I served a great dinner that brought it all together. I will share that with you here.

On this day, Thursday of Holy Week, April 1, 2010, we are celebrating the Passover service, which we were asked in Exodus Chapter 13, verse 8-10:

“On this day you shall explain to your son, ‘This is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ It shall be as a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead; thus the law of the LORD will ever be on your lips, because with a strong hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. Therefore, you shall keep this prescribed rite at its appointed time from year to year.”

This is not by any means a complete Seder, it is a much shortened version, but I wanted to at least note the meanings of the items on the Seder plate in the center of our table:

The Decorations

Moses

Our Moses with real lamb's wool


The Ark of the Covenant - no bone!

Since Spane is always wanting to do some kind of craft project, I thought it would be fun to find some interesting Passover craft projects. We made a Moses with the cardboard tube left over from paper towels, a brown wash cloth, and some real lambs wool that I found at Christmas time that I used for the hair and beard. You can find the directions at Kaboose. We also made an Arc of the Covenant out of a clear plastic strawberry box that we covered with gold stars, and put the contents of the arc inside. Spane made a pyramid out of legos, and we made placemats with the 10 plagues on construction paper.

  Update: April, 2011 – We finally got pictures of Moses and the Ark (well, the ark is a little worse for ware).

The Seder Plate

I used a large round plate and put the various ingredients into Wilton Silicon Baking Cups. They come in pastel colors, so they looked very nice on my table.

  • Karpas (vegetable) – we used Romain. We dipped it in salt water to represent the humble beginnings of Jewish people and the food they ate in Egypt as slaves. Salt water is perceived as tears their Jewish ancestors shed because of hardships of slavery.
  • Maror (bitter vegetable) – I used creamy horshradish and was very careful to look at the ingredient list. It seemed fine, and no one had it but I left it out for the lamb. This vegetable symbolizes the bitter harsh living of Jewish people in Egypt.
  • Charoset – Charoset is a paste made from tart apples, dates, nuts, honey, wine or grape juice and spices such as cinnamon and ginger. The mixture looks like clay and represents the mortar which Jewish people used to build cities for Pharaoh. I made a bunch of this as I knew this tasted really good and would be nice to have with yogurt in the morning.
  • Beitzah. – Beitzah is a boiled or roasted egg. Egg represents the reminder about festive sacrifice brought to the Temple in Jerusalem and then eaten. Since Temple was destroyed egg serves as a reminder about this loss. It also symbolizes the eternal life, which is fine for a Catholic Seder. I thought it was important to use an organic brown egg. So is this how the Easter Egg tradition started?
  • Zeroah – Zeroah is a piece of roasted shank bone of a lamb (sometimes chicken wing) and represents the helping hand of God and the traditional sacrifice of a lamb before Exodus from Egypt as well as following sacrifices at the Temple until it was destroyed. Zeroah is usually not eaten but serves as a reminder of the Passover miracle and liberation from slavery. I did not have a lamb shank, but I was going to be serving lamb, and I did not have a chicken wing, so I used a chicken wishbone, and a turkey wishbone as stand ins.
  • Matza – we did not have Matza, I used Carr’s Water Table crackers, they are basically the same thing, unleaved bread, but I since I did not have a large gathering, I did not want to buy three boxes of Matza to sit around my house and go bad.

The Menu

Since I had used romain for my Seder plate, I decided that a salad would be a good accompaniment for the lamb, and the perfect one would be one my friend Helen Reeves Pearson gave me the recipe for, Grapefruit and Candied Walnut Salad. Grapefruit and Candied Walnut Salad

Recipe: Grapefruit and Candied Walnut Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 head Romaine torn
  • 1 Grapefruit sectioned
  • Candied Walnuts
  • Girard’s Raspberry Salad Dressing

Instructions

  1. Make sure the romain is in small pieces. Section the grapefruit making sure there is no pith. Add the romain, grapefruit and candied walnuts to a large bowl. Chill. While the salad is chilling, put a pretty salad bowl in the freezer for at least twenty minutes. When you are ready to serve, toss with raspberry dressing, then transfer to the chilled salad bowl.

Variations

You can use praline pecans instead of candied walnuts.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate – Adrienne Boswell.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Recipe: Candied Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves
  • 1/8 teaspoon Coarse salt

Instructions

  1. 1 Preheat oven to 350F. Use middle rack in oven. Lay walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes. Test for doneness. If not quite toasted enough, toast for 1 or 2 more minutes. Be careful not to burn. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a rack. They should be cool enough by the time the sugar is ready in step 2.
  2. 2 Pour sugar into a medium non-reactive saucepan with a thick bottom. Have walnuts nearby, ready to quickly add to the pan at the right time. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium amber. As soon as sugar is melted and the color is a medium amber, add the walnuts to the pan, quickly stirring and coating each piece with the sugar mixture. Do not let the sugar get more cooked than this, because then it will start to burn and you will have a sour tasting product.
  3. 3 As soon as the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined either with a Silpat non-stick mat, or with wax paper or parchment paper. Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. You may sprinkle the nuts with the salt. Let cool completely.
  4. 4. Immediately immerse the pan in water (it will make a LOT of noise), but this will make cleaning the pan much easier later.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegan

Diet tags: Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate – Adrienne Boswell.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Recipe: Lamb with Balsamic Wine Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 rack Lamb loin chops separated
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 6 sprigs Fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil
  • 1 Shallot minced
  • 1 glass Red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Butter

Instructions

  1. Remove the leaves from the rosemay sprigs. Remove the skin from the garlic. Crush both with the salt and pepper. When all has been crushed almost to a paste, push this paste into each side of each lamb chop. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the seasonings set in.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200. Have ready a large skillet, with lid, that can hold all the lamb and is able to go into the oven. Have ready a large serving platter that can hold all the chops.
  3. Heat the pan and add the olive oil. Put in the chops and sear them on both sides, about 3 minutes each.
  4. Put the pan in the oven, covered for about 10 minutes. Check that the meat is cooked to at least 125 degrees for rare.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and put the chops on the serving platter. Cover to keep warm.
  6. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, pour most of it off. Return the pan to the stove and add the shallots.
  7. Sauté until they are translucent, then deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom to get all the good bits up.
  8. Add the balsamic vinegar and let that cook down to about half.
  9. Add the butter and whisk it in, the sauce will thicken and take on a shiny appearance.
  10. Dip and roll each chop in the sauce and return it to the platter.
  11. Pour the remaining sauce over the chops. Garnish with parsley and sprigs of rosemary if desired.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Diet tags: Gluten free

Dietary restriction: Kosher

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: French

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate – Adrienne Boswell.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Couscous from Alicia at Favorite Place

My friend, and owner of Favorite Place Restaurant in Glendale, Alisia Asmarian, does not give up her recipes, but this one was pretty easy to recreate. This dish goes very well with the lamb above, but also accompanies chicken and pork nicely as well.

Recipe: Couscous From Alicia

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Couscous
  • 1 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 Green onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon Raisins
  • 2 tablespoon Butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

Instructions

  1. Bring the salt and water to a boil. Add the couscous and other ingredients. Remove from the heat and let sit until all the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Quick notes

Keep left over pine nuts in the refrigerator. They are expensive, so you don’t want to have to throw them away!

Variations

You can substitute chopped walnuts for the pine nuts, but it will not be quite as good.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate – Adrienne Boswell.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Dessert

No dinner is complete without some dessert. I wanted something light and simple. My solution was Balsamic Rose Strawberries with Angelfood Cake. Balsamic vinegar and strawberries you ask in shock. Well, they are truly made for each other. The vinegar makes the strawberries more “strawberryeee”, and the rose syrup kicks it up a notch. You can usually find rose syrup in Armenian and Mediterranean stores.

Recipe: Balsamic Rose Strawberries with Angel Food Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Strawberries sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Rose Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Sour cream
  • 4 slices Angel food cake

Instructions

  1. Put the sliced strawberries in a non-reactive bowl, and add the rose syrup, sugar and vinegar. Macerate for at least 20 minutes. Put strawberries on each slice of cake, then top with a dollop of sour cream.

Variations

You can slice the angle food cake, and put it into a low oven for a few minutes to dry it out a little.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 3 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: French

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate – Adrienne Boswell.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Final Thoughts

We had this with Armenian coffee. It was lovely. I am drinking some now as I post this. I hope that this post has inspired you to have your own Passover Seder, no matter what your view of God (or lack thereof). This was a great way to share a meal with friends.

Recommended Products

cast iron pan
Heavy-duty cast-iron construction has superior heat conductivity and retention, so it cooks evenly and holds heat. Durable polished stainless-steel handles stay cool to the touch and make transportation and handling easy. Handles are riveted to the cookware for added strength. Versatile skillet can be used for pan frying, searing, browning, braising and baking a variety of foods. Oven safe to 500F.

silpat sheets
Before baking your next batch of cookies or sticky buns, cover the baking sheet with this flexible nonstick liner from France and enjoy the difference it makes. Reusable silicone-coated sheet developed for French patisseries. Lay it on the baking sheet for an instant nonstick baking surface; does not need to be greased. Provides an excellent surface for rolling out pastry dough. Rolls up for compact storage.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Catholic Seder

  1. Elmira Celeste says:

    Hello, Thank you for this specific material I had been seeking all Google to be able to locate it!

  2. Ambrose Manuele says:

    Hi, Fantastic site. Some truly wonderful posts on this site, thank you for contribution.

  3. Pingback: Holy Thursday – Our Catholic Seder Meal

  4. Pingback: We’re Getting Things Ready to Cook Rabbit!