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Running a kosher restaurant for decades has allowed me to help countless people around the world simplify their process of preparing for Passover. Preparing for Passover involves physical and spiritual preparation. The spiritual prep can be just as important. But right now, read on to see how I prepare my meal planning, ordering and cooking for Passover. This simple method I use for GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant can be adapted to any home.

When is Passover?

Passover begins in the evening Saturday March 27, 2021 and finishes in the evening Sunday April 4.

How do you prepare for Passover?

One of the most popular questions I get is “How do you cook for so many people.”  Usually, this is referring to our Shabbat program, which unites up to 800 people per Shabbat during the busier summer months.  During the main part of the year, the average is around 300 people.  That’s still 900 meals over the course of the 25 hours!

When it comes to Passover, even though the crowd is smaller, it takes a fair amount of organizing. Usually on the first night, we run three simultaneous seders in different locations within the Jewish Ghetto of Venice.  One year, we had five! But, the Passover preparation method always stayed the same.

Passover Traditions, Customs & Rituals

In an effort to avoid anything that may have come in contact with chametz (wet fermented grains that have risen), our custom is to peel everything and cook only with salt and oil. It makes everything super easy to prepare.  And, you can really taste the delicious natural flavors of the ingredients.  It is taught that one’s efforts during Passover bring blessing for the entire year! That’s a great return for an eight day investment 😉.

Whatever your custom is, it is beautiful! Plan and create an unforgettable Passover using these tips as a springboard to get started.  I’ve included two downloads: a To Do List and a Menu Template to help you get organized for the entire eight days of Passover!

Preparing For My First Passover Seder at Home

Because of Coronavirus, we could not have a public seder in 2020.  Instead, my family and I had a private seder in our apartment.  It was the very first time we had that experience!  

As I cooked and prepared, the motions seemed the same: peeling, chopping, boiling, baking.  Of course, I had a lot more time on my hands than typical years, and everything got done much more quickly.   

Whether this will be your first year preparing for Passover or you are a pro, these Passover tips and ideas will make preparing for Passover easier for you. You can make them a part of your yearly routine.

How Do I know What to Buy to Prepare for Passover?

The easiest way I have found is to start by making your menu. Use my Passover Menu Template below. Then, create your shopping list. Keep it fun! Enjoy the Passover memories that will pop up from when you were little or imagine the ones that you will create.

The best part is that once you make your menu and shopping list, you will be able to use them as guides each year.  So, every year afterwards, the majority of the work will already be done.

It doesn’t need to be overwhelming.  After all, we are celebrating freedom.  Don’t put yourself under unnecessary constraints and limitations. 

Make a list. Keep it simple. Prioritize by time and function. 

This is what I do the morning of the Pesach seder.

I used to begin at GAM GAM at 7am. Then, as the years passed, I could head into the restaurant a bit later. Like with most things in life, Passover preparation got easier with experience.

My simple To Do List has been my guide to cooking for our public seders for years.

Print it and keep it handy. You can change or add in anything to the list you wish. But the most important thing, as I mentioned, is to keep it prioritized by time and action.  (While this is boiling, then I can peel that, etc….).

PUT: Tomatoes in freezer (makes them easier to peel)

MARK: a few knives with tape as “peel” knives

BOIL: Eggs in egg pot

PEEL: (buy the best peeler you can afford)

Carrots

Potatoes

Zucchini

Eggplant

Tomatoes

BOIL: (in separate pots) Carrots, Potatoes, Zucchini

CUT: Salmon and cook asap

CUT:  Chicken

PREPARE: Soup and Cook

CHECK: Lettuce for Bugs

CRACK: Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios

PEEL & GRATE: Horseradish (do it with the door or window slightly open)

COOK: Eggplant

COOK: Potato Kugel and Carrot Kugel     

MAKE: Mayonnaise

MAKE SALADS & SIDES:

  • Potato Salad with Sautéed Onion
  • Potato Salad with Carrots
  • Egg Salad
  • Babaganoush
  • Eggplant and Egg Salad
  • Tzimmes
  • Sautéed Zucchini & Onion
  • Sautéed Zucchini & Carrot
  • Cucumber with Thin-Sliced Onion & Lemon Juice

MAKE:  Pesach “Noodles” for the Soup (Scrambled Egg Strips)

This will give you a multi-course Passover meal:

An Assortment of Salads

Baked Salmon

Chicken “Noodle” Soup

Baked Chicken

Kugel & Various Vegetable Side Dishes

An Assortment of Kosher for Passover Side Dishes

Next Year’s Preparing for Passover Begins This Year

At the end of Passover, I write myself an email with my menu attached. I write what went well and what I need to buy or replace (peelers, utensils etc…).  In the subject line I write “Passover Pesach 20_ _,” with the following year. The body of the email says: “Check today and start ordering now.” (I set a calendar reminder to search and check that email four weeks before the holiday begins). 

Woman setting the tables for a Passover Seder, including boxes of handmade shmurah matzah.
Final Touches! Each seder guest gets an individual box of handmade shmurah matzah.

There are endless kosher for Passover recipes to be found online, such as on Kosher.com’s new app or on Naomi Nachman’s Instagram. Be sure to download my Passover To-Do List and my 8 Days of Passover Menu Template. I hope these tips and ideas will help you prepare your meal planning, ordering and cooking for Passover, this year and every year.

Leave me your comments below with your questions and I will be happy to answer them!

Venice photos printed on metal

Freshen up your home or surprise someone with a beautiful gift from Venice!

There’s nothing like taking a few minutes each day to do something nice for yourself.  It can be very easy to treat yourself in a special way.  Here’s a tip that is not only is nice, but has many benefits as well. Infuse yourself with care.  Learn how to make a tisane infusion with delicious natural ingredients like mint, ginger and cinnamon.

What is the Difference Between a Tea and a Tisane

The difference between a tea and a tisane is quite simple.  Tea comes from specific plants.  A tisane is an infusion of a variety of herbs, leaves, spices and flowers. 

Tisane varieties and combinations are endless, and can suit your mood or taste.  After dinner, I love to make a digestivo, which as you can guess by the Italian name, can help to aid in digestion.  As an after dinner drink, one of the most popular choices at GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant is my infusion of mint, ginger and cinnamon stick.

Yet, this tisane is not only a great way to end your meal.  This particular blend is also a delicious way to start your day.  It’s distinct combination of flavors makes your morning feel like a holiday. 

Make It a Special Moment

For the mornings, I have a special mug that I bought when I was traveling with my daughter.  In the evenings, I love to use the Richard Ginori tea cups I was gifted by a friend.  I also love  tea sets with a floral motif.  Using a specific cup for your “tisane-time” can genuinely elevate the moment.  It’s a reminder that you are taking a time to do something special for yourself.  And, making use of a gift, whether from someone else or from yourself, can conjure up good memories.

Benefits

Aside from taking some time for yourself, a tisane has many physical benfits as well. It can be a great way to avoid caffeine, if that is important to you. Generally speaking, a tisane can be a stress reducer, helping you calm down and unwind after a hard day.  It’s relaxing qualities can also help induce sleep. You work so hard.  You deserve it!

Tisane Your Way!

Whatever your taste palate, there is something for you.  When it comes to nature, there is no limit.  Aside from my go-to tisane mentioned here, other popular choices to create your own infusion are: lemon, chamomile, dill, lavender, rosemary, thyme, orange peels, cardamom and even edible flowers such as pansies.

Whatever the time of year, there are always great ingredients to be found to make a delicious tisane, and it’s always in season to take care of yourself.  So, don’t hesitate.  In fact, make it a priority to do (at least) one more thing beneficial to your physical health.  After all, our physical bodies protect our souls.  So nourish yourself physically, so you will have the calm and strength to nourish yourself spiritually.

Tisane of Mint, Ginger and Cinnamon

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Instructions 

  • Boil water
  • Add mint, ginger and cinnamon stick to suit your taste to a tea pot
  • Cover with the boiling water
  • Steep for a few minutes
  • Drink as is or add your favorite sweetener, like honey.

Want something to dip in your tisane infusion? Try these delicious Italian Bisse Biscotti!

Italian Bisse Cookies biscotti from the Jewish Ghetto of Venice
Italian Bisse Cookies biscotti from the Jewish Ghetto of Venice

What other herbal combinations would you like to try? Let me know in the comments down below the related articles. I love hearing from you!

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