Thursday, March 29, 2018

Janet's Passover Kitchen

Last night there was a wonderful confluence of aromas here in Janet's house in Kiryat Ono, a suburb of Tel Aviv, where we are spending the week preparing for Passover. From her kitchen came the aroma of chicken fat -- the traditional schmaltz -- being rendered for one of the many dishes for the Seder tomorrow night. From the garden came the amazing perfume of a citrus tree, the pomelo, blooming in this mild climate. A very unexpected combination.

Right now, the aromas from the kitchen dominate: an enormous pot of chicken soup is bubbling on one burner, as you can see in the photo.

A pot of kumquat chutney is simmering on the other burner. Janet harvested the kumquats this morning from another tree in the garden, and I spent at least an hour cutting them up and taking out their seeds. We both worked on the other ingredients. Janet loves to make chutney from the produce of her own tree.

Who would have guessed that such tiny fruits nevertheless have seeds the same size as those in an orange or a tangerine!
Kumquats, garlic, and ginger being prepped for chutney.
Hot peppers for chutney -- other ingredients include onion, orange juice,
sugar, vinegar, star anise, pepper, and salt.
Chutney simmering in a big pot, which is used only for Passover food.
Janet has lots more plans for our seder dinner tomorrow night. She's been shopping and cleaning for days. All the year-round dishes have been stored away, all the normal food is eaten up or will be discarded, and fresh Passover food and one-week-a-year dishes have replaced everything in the newly-cleaned shelves and drawers of her kitchen.  As I said before, it's quite a production!

Now for some photos of the wonderful greengrocer where Janet bought many of the ingredients for the soup and many other planned dishes. She has other sources for meat, fish, and so on.

Years ago, she says, this small but amazingly stocked store sold fruit and vegetables grown nearby, but the city has overwhelmed the farms that used to occupy land in this area, and now the owners bring in produce from other places. Beautiful produce!

So many colors of little tomatoes!

Quite a big selection of spices. I bought a few to take home.
I was amused to see the same brand of olive oil that I buy at home at Whole Foods.


Jeanie said...

Well, you might have answered my question -- at least partly -- in this post about the cleaning.

Wow -- you will be eating well! That soup looks so good and so does the chutney. And I love that little store! I'd be in big trouble if it was near me because I would go there all the time! Nice photos and the produce looks GREAT!

Mae Travels said...

Hi Jeanie,
To answer your questions:
The point about Passover cleaning is to remove all bread and non-Passover food including even crumbs from the house. All non-Passover dishes are put away, all non-Passover food is thrown away or hidden for the week. Dishes special for Passover have to be taken out of storage, and washed since they were stored for the past year and probably got dusty. So it's way more than just spring cleaning!

There are several rituals for banning the non-Passover food, as well as just plain sweeping, scrubbing, etc. In the morning before the Seder, really observant people make a ritual fire with some bread and other leavened foods, and after that, eat only matzoh for the rest of the holiday (8 days). Although we are in an observant house this year, it's not as strict as the strictest. In our own house we don't really do any of the cleaning or any of the food avoidances.

As I say: quite a production!

Mae Travels said...

PS -- I just learned that in Israel you can have a special cleaning done to your car to remove any hidden (or not-so-hidden) crumbs. There's no end to this.

Tina said...

What a market! That’s an interesting explanation about cleaning you wrote. I didn’t know any of that.

Sherry's Pickings said...

all that lovely food and produce. i have a recipe for cumquat marmalade where you don't have to take out the seeds- saves so much time!