For our family's Passover meal, each family member is assigned a certain part of the meal. My younger brother brings the appetizers, which rival any you get in a fine restaurant. He'll make chopped liver, bean pate, artichokes with lemon and garlic and other dishes he wants to try on us.
My mother is the chicken soup specialist, and she takes this job seriously. I remember one year the matzo balls were heavy — real sinkers, plunging to the bottom of the bowl. We had to talk her out of locking herself in the bathroom for the duration of the meal. I feared she might never roll another matzo ball. For her sake, I hope this year's batch is better.
My sister-in-law Roberta makes fabulous desserts — a challenge at Passover. They are always a hit, and I'm always fascinated that people can actually eat dessert after our meal. It lasts for hours, and I love the tradition.
Of course, I am the vegetable guy. I don't mind. In fact, it makes me happy. I treat vegetables with a delicate hand and love when my guests can identify them even in their cooked state. You know, if you read this column, that for some reason my mother always cooked vegetables until they resembled an unrelated food group.
Each year I try to outdo my previous menu. These recipes work for Passover meal, or even a regular dinner. My Spinach and Matzo Stuffing is made from soaked and drained matzo. At other times of the year, you can use bread crumbs or croutons instead of matzo. The Sweet-'N-Sour Cabbage is unusual and very simple. It can be made up to three days in advance.