Category: passover

Challenge- Passover is Coming!

For Passover, I am always looking for your input. This year especially I wanted to hear from you.  I just finished working on a Jewish Holiday Cookbook and I could have easily pulled amazing recipes from there for you and been done with it.  Let me tell you, this cookbook is going to be great! However, I asked some friends what were they looking for this year to add to their menus. Of course I heard the plea for desserts. The twist I heard was “Please give me something with no matzah meal!”

If you keep kosher for Passover, you know matzah meal can leave you feeling a little weighted down by the end of the week. So I accepted the CHALLENGE. Obviously, you will still eat matzah and there has to be matzah meal in matzah balls, for the soup. But here are recipes that are great and matzah meal free. You can use these as one menu for your dinner or you can use just a recipe or two. As always feel free to send me your questions and comments. You know I love hearing from you!.  Have an easy Passover!

Mustard Onion Marinade Brisket
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Mustard Onion Marinade Brisket
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Make a paste the first five ingredients and rub all over the brisket. Wrap brisket in parchment then foil. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Remove parchment and foil. Place in a roasting pan, with beef broth and cover TIGHTLY with foil, again.
  3. Bake at 500°F for 1/2 hour then reduce heat to 325°F and bake another 2 hours or longer.
  4. Let meat rest for at least a 1/2 hour before slicing. Better yet let it cool completely. Refrigerate and reheat or serve cold.
Recipe Notes

All I can say is YUM!!!!

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Passover Potato Souffle
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Passover Potato Souffle
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes and cook in a medium saucepan until tender. Drain. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mash.
  2. Grate half the cheese and mix with hot potatoes. Add salt, pepper and paprika.
  3. Beat the potatoes until cheese melts. Add the milk and egg yolks. Mix well.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff; fold them into the potato mixture.
  5. Turn into a, very lightly greased, 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese.
  6. Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 20 minutes
Recipe Notes

This recipe serves 4. It doubles easily.

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Zoodles with Garlic Parsley Sauce
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Use a Spiralizer to make whatever veggie noodles you like. I like a mixture of zucchini and carrots. Cook in boiling water until al dente. You don't want them too soft. Reserve the water.
Zoodles with Garlic Parsley Sauce
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Use a Spiralizer to make whatever veggie noodles you like. I like a mixture of zucchini and carrots. Cook in boiling water until al dente. You don't want them too soft. Reserve the water.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large saute pan, melt the margarine. Add the garlic and sauce until soft. Watch it, so it doesn't burn. Add the parsley and continue to saute until soft.
  2. Add the zoodles and toss until well coated in sauce. If you want the sauce a little thinner add some of your reserved pasta water.
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Chocolate Pavlova with Raspberries and Marscapone Cream
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Chocolate Pavlova with Raspberries and Marscapone Cream
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Ingredients
Pavlova
Mascarpone Cream
Servings:
Instructions
Pavlova
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace a 9" circle on parchment using a cake pan or plate. Flip paper over so meringue won't touch pen.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy soft peaks form, about a minute or two. Increase speed to medium-high and gradually add the sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form. This should take about 8 or 9 minutes. The meringue will be white and glossy.
  3. Sift the cocoa powder through a fine sieve or sifter and add to meringue. Add the vinegar and the chopped chocolate.
  4. Using a large rubber or silicone spatula, fold the mixture until well combined. It should be light mocha colored and no streaks.
  5. Secure the parchment with a dab of meringue in each corner, then mound the meringue in the center of the circle. Even out the sides, slightly with the spatula or a knife. You don't want it to be perfect or overworked.
  6. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes , or until the meringue is puffed and crisp all over. It should still be a bit wobbly underneath, if you touch the center.
  7. Turn the oven off and prop the door open. Leave the meringue in the oven to cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. It is best to let it cool gradually.
Mascarpone Cream
  1. In a medium bowl , beat the mascarpone, heavy cream and vanilla until just combined. Gradually add sugar and continue beating. Increase speed and beat until soft peaks form. You soft clouds of cream.
  2. Mound cream in the center of the meringue and spread to just cover top. Top with fresh raspberries and serve. You can shave some more bittersweet chocolate over the top for more decoration.
  3. The Pavlova can be made a day or two ahead of time and assembled up to 12 hours ahead. Just be sure to keep all components refrigerated.
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Passover Leftovers and Beyond

Well, I survived the first two seders of Passover.  I wanted to post pictures from the desserts I made.  They were amazing this year and will definitely become a regular part of Passover future.  Let me refresh your memories.  I made a Chocolate Caramel Torte and an Almond Cake with Mixed Berries.

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I always cook more than I need.  I’m not sure if I do it because it’s just my way, if I secretly am hoping my tables will be filled with more family and friends or because I love the leftovers.  This year I way over bought Matzo.  I have always loved the Barefoot Contessa’s Baked French Toast Casserole Recipe, so I thought I’d adapt it to do a baked Matzo Casserole.  I took a few liberties, but it was a hit!  Enjoy.

Baked Matzo Breakfast Casserole

  • 1/2 cup Butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 8 Eggs
  • 4 cups Heavy Cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Matzo, enough to layer in pan

Pour the Melted butter into a 9X13 pyrex pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over butter.

In a medium bowl beat together eggs, cream, honey, vanilla extract and kosher salt.

Layer Matzo in pan, over brown sugar. You may need to break pieces to fit evenly in pan. Layer to top of pan.

Pour cream mixture over matzo, slowly. When about half full, weight down matzo with oven safe glasses.  Keep filling pan until cream mixture just reached the top.

Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight, to absorb liquid.

Preheat oven to 350 and bake covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 – 45 minutes until custard is set.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve.  You can serve straight from pan or turn casserole out onto platter.  The brown sugar will flow out as a glaze.  YUM!!!

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Passover, new traditions and old answers!

Passover is just days away and, as is the case every year, my phone is ringing with people asking for “new” recipes. I decided to do some research, this year. Why do we always eat the same things? Why are the “laws” so different for Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews? Do we really want “new” recipes or is there comfort in the familiar? When I was growing up, we only served Manischewitz Concord Grape wine and the kids drank it too. As a matter of fact, we looked forward to Passover and the opportunity to get a little drunk on sweet wine and say the word  “ass” over and over again. It seemed to be a right of passage. Of course we ate the same menu every year. Now kids get grape juice and modern hagadot use different language. The answer to the difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews Passover diet is easy yet complicated. To oversimplify it greatly, it’s all about stubbornness.

Originally, the prohibition against leavened food only applied to “the five species of grain”. This includes wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt. Since other grains don’t rise (rice, millet, beans and lentils) no matter what or how it is kneaded and manipulated, they were allowed.

Fast forward a couple of centuries and the subject came up again in the Mishneh and Talmud. Somehow, the Mishnah in the 3rd century says its okay and the Talmud of the 5th century says no dice. Later law codes of the Ashkenazim hold a “stringent” line and don’t eat from any species of grain and the Sephardim who usually follow Maimonides only abstain from the original five species of grain. I was raised Ashkenazi but find the Sephardic way, much easier to follow.

As for the menu, as I read through website after website looking at menus, it seemed most followed the same pattern. You must have matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, brisket, some sort of vegetable dish, some sort of potato dish and dessert. Jews have a long history as nomads. Consider the term “wandering Jew”. As a result, “our” food history is one of adaptation. Each time the Jews had to move to stay alive, they would take the recipes and traditions they had and convert them to work with the local food availability and the new culture they were in. Because they were forced to move around, and often didn’t have a lot of money to start with, they looked for inexpensive foods items and preparations that would stretch the uses and make less palatable ingredients, taste better. Brisket started out as an inexpensive cut of meat. We got a hold of it and now it is a cultural icon. Nobody would accuse chicken livers of being designer, but we took it and made chopped liver another iconic preparation. I would like to propose that this year when you are thinking about being enslaved and then being freed; think about your menus, your recipes and your traditions. Free yourself. Take the menus and recipes that have been handed down to you and make them your own. Judy Zeidler published The Gourmet Jewish Cookbook in 1999. While there are a lot of “gourmet” Jewish cookbooks and even some specific for Passover, this is still my favorite. Judy gives you several Passover menus and recipes from all over the world. Before I give you a few recipes to try, I’d like to offer up one more tradition on the newer side. Place an orange on your Seder plate to represent Women and in recognition of the LGBT community, widows, orphans, Jews who are adopted and anybody that may have felt marginalized by the Jewish community. Susan Heschel started this tradition in the late 1980’s. At an early point in the Seder she would ask each participant to take a segment of the orange, say the blessing over fruit and then eat the segment. If you come across a seed, spit it out as if to cast out any discrimination. The orange is there to remind us that we are all part of a whole and that each segment sticks together. I will post pictures to my instagram, Facebook and twitter pages.  Chag Sameach!

Whitefish Quenelles

  • 6 cups store bought fish or veggie stock
  • 1 bottle dry, white wine
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 lbs. pike fillets, skinned, cut into medium pieces
  • 1 1/4 lbs. whitefish fillets, skinned, cut into medium pieces
  • 1 1/4 lbs. carp fillets, skinned, cut into medium pieces
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 additional whites
  • 3 Tablespoons matzo meal
  •  1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons super fine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • a couple of passes of fresh nutmeg on the grater
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For the Quenelles: Pulse the onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Add half of all the fish and process until smooth. Scrape down sides as needed. Transfer to a large bowl and puree the other half of the fish. Then return the first portion and pulse to incorporate all flavors together. With the food processor running, add eggs and egg whites; process until just combined. Pour this mixture into a large bowl and stir in matzo meal, salt, sugar, lemon juice, pepper and nutmeg. Add the ice water, slowly, stirring until all in. Press through a large, fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate, 30 minutes. (you can do up to here a day in advance of next step) Bring stock and wine to a gentle boil, in large stockpot. You can add additional herbs for flavoring if you’d like. Try dill or parsley. Using two, wet, tablespoons, shape the quenelles. Use one spoon to get a mound of the fish batter and holding the spoons opposite each other, use the other to shape it. Spoon back & forth a few times to get a smooth surface (they make oval shape ice cream scoops too). Drop each quenelle into stock after forming. Cook until the float. You want to work in small batches at a time. I usually do 8 – 10 at one time. As they float to the surface use a slotted spoon to transfer them to large shallow dish. I like a lasagna glass dish. Strain some stock over quenelles, to keep them moist. Cool, then cover and refrigerate over night. The day you are serving take the quenelles out and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve as you would gefilte fish, with horseradish. I like a little drizzle of the stock over the fish. Figure 2-3, per person.

Almond Cake with Mixed Frosted Berries

  • 2 ¼ cups almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pound mixed berries
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk almond flour, baking powder and salt. Using a hand mixer, in a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar and rosewater, at high speed until thick and very glossy. Fold in the flour mixture and about 2/3 of the berries, (The rest will be garnish). You will want to work in alternating batches, usually three. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch spring-form pan, bottomed lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325, until toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let cook for 10 minutes, unmold and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar For garnish berries: Whisk together 1/3 cup egg whites with 1/8 of a teaspoon fresh lemon juice, until frothy. Toss, gently, the berries in the egg whites and then strain the egg whites off and lay the berries on paper towels to absorb excess egg whites. Do not let them dry. Working quickly but in batches, toss the berries lightly in 2 cups of superfine sugar. Shake off excess and mound in center of cake. Serve immediately.

Passover Chocolate Caramel Torte

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup Mrs. Richardson’s caramel sauce

Place 1 cup of chocolate chips and butter in a glass or ceramic bowl. Heat in microwave 30 minutes at a time until butter is melted and chips are all but melted. Stir to completely melt the chips. Stir in salt, espresso and vanilla. With a handled mixer, beat n eggs, one at a time, until just smooth. Add the cocoa powder until just combined. Pour batter into a greased tart pan with removable bottom. I line my pan bottom with parchment paper. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes Cool in pan for 5 minutes then lift out onto serving plate and cool completely. For the next step, heat the cream in a saucepan until it is just simmering. Meanwhile put the other cup of chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. When cream is simmering, pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Stir until smooth and thoroughly melted. Pour chocolate sauce over the cake and allow to set. Warm the caramel slightly, in microwave. Spoon the caramel over the top of the ganache. Some of the ganache may melt into the caramel, that’s fine. Serve at room temperature.

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