Welp, it's springtime. And springtime can mean only one thing. Pesach is right around the corner. Pesach, better known to most of you as Passover begins on Monday night. And with it comes all the fun eating restrictions that the inlaws just never seem to get. I try to make their lives easier, by just saying "no carbs" and yet they still try to offer me pasta and rice every year.
But the Passover dietary restrictions aren't really a "no carbs" ban, and you won't find a lot of specialized meals on this blog, because really? Our menu doesn't change substantially during Passover. There are two reasons for this. The first is that I live by one of THE most fabulous supermarkets. Better than anyone I've ever lived by when it comes to stocking Passover friendly foods.
I thought the market directly by my house was pretty good - a vast improvement over any I'd been to before. And then, last year, I noticed that the supermarket I more regularly frequent has aisles and aisles of JUST Passover food. AISLES - not endcaps. An entire aisle of Passover condiments - ketchup, oils, vinegars, salad dressings. An entire aisle of Passover baking mixes - pancakes, muffins, cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes. An entire aisle of Passover junkfood - Nestle Quik, Pepsi AND Coke, chips, snacks, chocolate, candy, etc. There are even Passover carbs like couscous and pasta. There's a Passover frozen section which contains Passover buffalo wings and Passover pizza and Passover ice cream! Which makes it so easy to make foods I normally eat.
The second reason is that I can easily go a week without bread, pasta, rice, corn, or beans - which are the 5 big ones in my book. I mean, sure I miss my popcorn. And every year I develop a weird, unnatural craving I can't explain. Last year it was doughnuts. A food I hardly ever eat anyway - maybe twice a decade? And yet, last year all during Passover I wanted a doughnut so very badly. Strange. During college, I started the Passover Potato week. Potatoes are one of those carbs that are allowed during Passover. And in college I pretty much survived off of salads and french fries during Passover week. (Wow - anyone else remember their healthy college meals?) Now, in truth - unless you're making the french fries at home there's a 99% chance they're not going to be kosher for Passover because of the oil involved in cooking them. But I was always willing to turn a blind eye to vegetable oil because up until last year, we couldn't get Passover safe oil. And one of Thatboy's favorite things about Passover is the In 'n Out run we make.
Unlike most Californians, I am not a huge fan of In 'n Out. I just don't see the big deal. To be fair, I don't drool over fast food burgers in general - but of the fast food hierarchy, In 'n Out is pretty low on my list. BUT In 'n Out was the first place to introduce "the protein burger" a hamburger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. Since the bun would be a definite no no during Passover, this is the place Thatboy and I started going to years ago when I wanted a little mid-week Passover treat. And now, we just go because of tradition. Because a burger wrapped in lettuce with a side of fries is sometimes just what you need.
And so, while you may not see a lot of specialty Passover meals in Thathouse, you will definitely find that our potato consumption increases during that week. And there are so many ways to prepare a potato, that we are hardly ever bored. (Especially when you alternate potato with some of that Passover couscous, or pasta, or quinoa)
The twice baked potato was one of Thatdad's specialties. He made it for all our "fancy" dinners. And Thatmom confided in me after he died that she hated it! His was filled with onions, mushrooms, cheese, and I'd be willing to bet - soy sauce, which was his second favorite condiment. Mine is a little different - more similar to the mashed potatoes I posted yesterday, with cheese, sour cream, bacon, and cream. Filling enough for a meal in itself, and perfect for a Passover lunch.
Twice Baked Potatoes
2 medium Russet potatoes
1/4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1/8 cup milk
1 strip bacon, cooked
1 green onion, finely chopped
- Pierce potatoes with a fork, coat with oil and bake at 425 for 1 hour, then cool until you're able to handle the potato without crying and swearing. (I'm always short of this by a minute or so)
- Slice off the top 1/3 off each potato, lengthwise, and hollow out with a spoon, leaving a thin layer of potato inside.
- Combine inside of potato, butter, sour cream, 1/8 cup of cheese, heavy cream, milk, salt, and pepper and mash until smooth.
- Stir in bacon and onions.
- Fill each potato skin with the "inside" mixture and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted.