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Friday, March 30, 2012

Cyber Seder 2012

Historians Uncover Lost Fifth Passover Question:  Why is a cyber Seder different from all other Seders? The answer is when six separate food bloggers graciously offer a complete Passover Seder menu, each recipe a personal favorite, representing diverse family backgrounds and dietary preferences, that's new version Passover 2012 - Internet style.  This Passover potluck demonstrates how any type of community can come together for this special holiday meal to share the effort and share of themselves. We're so glad you could join us.


I grew up in Chicago, with a father of Eastern European descent and a mother from North Africa.  This was my good luck in general, but especially for Jewish holidays when each culture's culinary traditions were enjoyed in at least one meal or another.   

My contribution to Cyber Seder 2012 is the soup course, and while matzo ball is classic and much beloved on most Ashkenazim Seder tables, it's my mother's Sephardi fresh fava bean and potato soup that represents the holiday and season best to me.  It turns out our ancestors were ahead of their time when it comes to seasonality.

After I became a vegetarian, my mother easily replaced the meat-based soup stock in the original version of her soup with a veg-friendly one, and my Seder continues to be off to a very good start.  After the prayers of course.

Marie's Fresh Fava Bean & Potato Soup
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
Faux Matzo Balls aka baby potatoes
1/2 cup fresh celery, diced                                                              
olive oil for sauteing
2 cups medium white or yellow potatoes, peeled, cut in half
1 1/2 cups fava beans, peeled/shucked
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. saffron
1 32 oz. container Wolfgang Puck All Natural Vegetable Stock
2 cups water
Seasalt & fresh ground pepper
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1.  Put about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a stockpot, and when it's hot add the onions and celery.
     Saute until the onions are golden, about 5 minutes or so.  Add the turmeric and saffron and stir to coat.
2.  Pour in the stock, water, potatoes, and fava beans, bring to a boil, and then turn heat to medium-simmer.
3.  Cook for 30 minutes then test potatoes for tenderness.  What you want in the finished soup is some potato chunks and some mashed.  Adjust seasoning, and continue cooking until potatoes reach the right consistency.  The longer this soup cooks the better it tastes. 
4.  Towards the last 2 minutes of cooking add the fresh cilantro.  


The other courses for Cyber Seder 2012 are provided by my blogger pals in the links below.  If you feel you'd also like a salad (which is a must at our dinner) please use this link to my last post.  This salad would make a beautiful addition to any Seder table, with or without the garbanzo beans depending on your own cultural traditions.

Please visit my blogger friends for the rest of our Cyber Seder dinner:
Roasted Spring Vegetables
Charoset & Sweet Potato Latkes with Apple Butter
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Claire's Briscuit
Matzo Strata with Zucchini and Tomatoes

I'd also like to send a very special "Happy Passover" to my friend Faye Levy, who with the help of her husband Yakir, has inspired and brought so many wonderful, meticulously researched and thoroughly tested recipes to aspiring and seasoned chefs everywhere.


  1. Nancy- I love hearing about your background and how it influences the food you make. The Cyber Seder has been fun. Thank you.

    1. Dana, thanks so much for dining with me. Hope we can do it again soon.

  2. Happy Passover to you too from Yakir and me, and thanks so much for your beautiful words about us. I loved this post, with the photo of your parents and the wonderful soup recipe.

    I hope to make your mother's soup this week. For the fava beans, do you just remove the beans from the pods or do you also peel each bean? I guess it's just a matter of taste and how much time you have?

    The whole Cyber Seder dinner sounds delicious and I'm looking forward to reading all the posts in your links.

    1. So glad you liked this post and I know you'll love the other posts and recipes.
      I didn't peel the beans because I always opt for the least amount of steps for similar results. Thanks again for including our cyber Seder in your Jerusulem Post story.

    2. I agree with you and I don't peel fava beans either. I used to peel them (because that's what our chefs did at La Varenne) but I realized that they tasted fine with the peel and this way we can enjoy them much more often.

      And thank you again for the great idea and for organizing it. I have indeed enjoyed the other posts. This sounds like a fun group of people.

  3. I made your mother's soup tonight. It was so good! We liked it a lot and I will make it again.
    I cut the potatoes in cubes but didn't peel them, and they took about 50 minutes to cook to the desired texture (maybe the peel held them together more). I had a different kind of stock and used much less saffron and half the amount of turmeric. I'll email you a photo.
    By the way, when there isn't time to shell fresh fava beans or when they're out of season, you can get frozen fava beans at Middle Eastern markets.

    1. My mother was so glad you made and liked her soup. The photo you sent was great and your soup looked delish. Marie has used the frozen favas from markets before but this year I had a case of fresh favas from Melissa's so we shared, shucked, and froze them a few weeks ago.

    2. Thanks! I have a few fresh favas left and they are young ones that I can cut in pieces, remove the strings and eat the pod too. I'd like to try the soup again soon and prepare the fava beans that way.

      Good for you for shucking and freezing all those fava beans so you and your mother will be able to enjoy them several times. I should remember that when fava beans are at a reasonable price.