We hadn’t been back in a decade. As we headed North on route 395 we started reminiscing about all the years we had spent vacationing in Mammoth. We had gone during the summer, but loved it most during the winter. We had stayed in various hotels, motels and condos, until we discovered Tamarack Lodge at Twin Lakes. It’s a magical place with a center lodge complete with a fireplace, comfortable couches, the perfect cabin decor, a great bar and the best deconstructed carrot cake I have ever tasted. Around the main lodge are cabins nestled among the trees. It’s the kind of place where people sit around for hours drinking cider, toddies, and hot chocolate. The kind of place where strangers talk to each other, happy to share stories of their successes, or their challenges, on the slope that day.
For years, as the only non-skier, I would sit inside Canyon Lodge, adjacent to the ski area, prepared to spend the day alone with my coffee, books and magazines, staring out through the plate-glass window hoping to catch a glimpse of the kids coming down the slope. This time it was no different.
On our way up, we decided to use Google maps which recommended a new route. We weren’t that comfortable with the idea, it was dark and we weren’t sure where we would end up. Norm is, at best, a reluctant user of Google Maps. He likes his Thomas Guide and he likes to go his way, tried and true. But we followed the voice which was redirecting us around the town of Bishop instead of through it. Of course we arrived safely and that was all we really cared about.
What does all of this have to do with Pesach? Each year, i start off well before the holiday weighing all the options. New recipes, new readings, new ways of making the Seder relevant and fun. But ultimately, it’s really all about the story that we are gathering to retell and remember. On this recent trip to Mammoth, yes we tried a new route, and maybe it shaved off a little time, but in the end it wasn’t actually about the journey, it was all about the destination.
I am still not sure of my menu for the Seder, still pouring over cookbooks, still wondering if I can actually figure out how to make crispy quinoa (the current rage). I am sure that I am wasting a whole lot of time, because in the end I will most likely go back to what’s tried and true, to the dishes we have come to expect around the Saiger Seder. My older son is always discouraging me from trying new recipes, and encouraging me to perfect the ones I already make.
My Mom made cocletten all year round and used matzoh meal even when it wasn’t Pesach. She mixed ground beef with eggs, salt, pepper and matzoh meal. I have added cumin and garlic, and as Norm doesn’t eat beef, I now use ground turkey. A friend told me that her Mom always added finely grated zucchini to her cocletten to get some veggies into her grandchildren. I now do the same.
These are prefect for an easy Pesach lunch or dinner. They are great with tomato basil salad or would be perfect on top of a bed of crispy quinoa. Let me know if you figure out how to make that.
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey thighs
2 large brown onions
2 medium zucchini
2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup matzoh meal
In a food processor finely mince onions and zucchini. Add to a large bowl with ground turkey, eggs, salt, cumin, black pepper to taste, minced garlic, chopped parsley and matzoh meal. Refrigerate for about one hour. Heat a frying pan with olive oil and saute till cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Makes about 40 cocletten. Wishing you a Chag Kasher v’Sameach.