Holidays are for traditional food right?
Well, yes and no. Even traditions change. Maybe more slowly, but they change. New people come into the family. Health issues arise. Someone is allergic to something. Someone else is on a gluten-free diet or has decided to be a vegetarian. Another one hates that old soup that’s been on the menu for ages.
So new recipes are welcome. Especially if those recipes are fresh and modern, easy to make and festive enough for the holiday table.
There’s a new e-book for Passover that has all that and more. It’s called 4 Bloggers Dish and it’s filled with recipes that work not only for the holiday but year round. There’s no way I am waiting for Passover to try the Zucchini Fries with Horseradish Aioli. Ditto the Asparagus with Anchovies and Lemon Dressing.
I know two of the bloggers — Liz Rueven and Whitney Fisch who put this book together. They’re wonderful cooks (as I know Amy Kritzer and Sarah Lasry are). They know food, they know flavor and their Passover recipes offer a whole new collection of dishes that conform to all the Passover dietary laws but bring the menu into the 21st century.
In addition to the recipes you’ll find tips, freezer instruction and notes on how to prepare some of the dishes ahead — a worthy and necessary bonus when you have zillions of other things to do.
Here’s one of Liz Rueven’s soup recipes. It’s a vegetarian version of traditional onion soup that you can prepare on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. It can be a dairy dish too, by including the cheesy matzah crackers.
French Onion Soup with Cheesy Matzah Crackers
Prep Time: 45 minutes. Cook: 30 minutes
4 tablespoons margarine
4 large Spanish (red) onions, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, peeled: 2 whole, 4 chopped
1/3 cup dry red wine
8 cups organic vegetable broth
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Heat margarine in large pan on stovetop. Saute the onions over low heat, stirring only once or twice. Onions should be soft and caramelized in about 20-25 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Add red wine and simmer until the alcohol cooks off, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to large pot with a lid or slow cooker insert. Add vegetable broth, water, and all seasonings. On stovetop; simmer on low for 45 minutes, covered. In slow cooker: cook on High for 4 hours. When soup is finished, remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
Make matzah crackers
3-4 matzah crackers per person
1 cup shredded mozzarella or other cheese of choice
a few sprigs of fresh thyme for plating
Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place matzah crackers in a single layer on sheet. Sprinkle cheese on crackers. Shake a bit of paprika over the cheese for added color. Place pan under broiler and stay close by. Melt cheese until bubbly and remove tray from oven.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with cheesy matzah just before serving. Place a bit of fresh thyme in the center of each cracker.
Makes 8-10 servings
Prep Ahead Guide: Onion Soup may be made 2-3 days in advance and will improve as flavors have time to meld. Re-heat in pot on stove .
Freezer Instructions: Freeze one month ahead, in airtight container, minus the croutons.
This recipe is vegetarian, Gebrokts. The broth is pareve. Adding the Cheesy matzah crackers makes it dairy.