Also, I learned how to make my own home made maror this past weekend, thanks to Mariel. (Maror means the bitter herbs used in the Passover ritual, usually made of horseradish.) I for one don't mess around when it comes to horseradish... I'll have none of that pansy sweetened-and-mixed-with-mustard junk you can find in the supermarkets. Nope, I demand the unadulterated product: ground horseradish mixed with vinegar to leach out the bitter flavor and give it a paste consistency. We couldn't find any suitable prepared horseradish in the store for my taste, so Mariel bought me a raw horseradish root.
I wasn't sure what to do with it at first. A horseradish root looks like a turnip, or a big white carrot, basically. Just peeling it made my eyes water like doing a pile of onions (which I'm usually pretty resistant to) and the fumes also go into your nose and produce an overpowering sensation... something like mouthwash for your nose I guess. Mariel figured out from a cookbook that you're supposed to mince it with a food processor. I food-processed the horseradish root into little bits, and when I removed the lid of the food processor, the bitter fumes were so overpowering that I couldn't stand directly over it and even at arm's length it was pretty tough to bear. Mixed it up with some vinegar, and finally it resembled the potent pasty stuff I know and love.
I tried it out with some gefilte fish and matzo, and that was definitely the best horseradish I've ever had. Super-strong with a lot of vegetable-ish flavor that you don't usually taste as much in the store-bought stuff. I am now going to be Mr. Homemade Horseradish for the rest of my life. Yeehaw!