vegetarian matzah ball soup

adapted from Joan Nathan's The Jewish Holiday Kitchen

Some days I feel like I've lived a thousand lifetimes. The past has no doubt made me the resilient creature I am, but it all feels like a lot for just one person to process.

This week, though, has been a kind one. It started off with celebrating the Passover holiday with the Mr.'s parents, and will be bookended by Easter brunch with my Italian clan. It reminds me that while the memories of my childhood can't be changed, my life is far from what is was then. The life my girls are surrounded with is filled with a loving, gentle man whom they call daddy.

This life, the Mr., my girls—perhaps they are my reward for the early challenges I faced. Maybe the first half of life was a test. If so, I think I passed with flying colors.

And so, this soup represents my future. My own remaking of my life, of my family—of new memories that will one day outnumber all the old haunting ones.

serves 8

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup matzah meal

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoons chopped dill

6 tablespoons seltzer water

4 quarts vegetable stock

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins

Cooked spaghetti, if not serving during Passover (optional)

Fresh chopped parsley, to garnish

In a deep bowl, beat the eggs and olive oil together. Stir in the matzah, salt and dill. Pour in the seltzer—the mixture will foam up, and stir well. It will be very loose, but don't worry. Cover the bowl with plastci wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a 6-quart pot. Form the matzah mixture into 8 even rounds. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add the matzah balls. Cook until light and airy, at least one hour, making sure the soup never reaches a rolling boil. The key to fluffy matzah balls (says this Italian Catholic girl) is a long, slow simmer. Feel free to se the pot on the back burner and cook for a few hours, adding more water or stock if the level gets too low.

Thirty minutes before serving, add the carrots to the pot. Raise the heat to bring the soup to a gentle boil, then immediatelt reduce to a simmer again. Let cook until the carrots are tender about, 25 minutes. Add cooked pasta two minutes before serving, if desired.

To serve, ladle into deep soup bowl and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.