matzo

Matzo Cheese Pancakes

Matzo Cheese Pancakes

Matzo Cheese Pancakes

People sometimes laugh at me because we are a year-round matzo family, year-round matzo-brei family.

I mean -- when something is delicious, why wait for Passover?

On the other hand, when Passover comes, I like to branch out from the usual matzo-brei breakfasts -- for instance, with pancakes like these, which are rich and holiday-festive, and also substantial enough for breakfast, lunch and even dinner. 

 

Matzo Cheese Pancakes

  • 1 cup cottage cheese

  • 1 cup dairy sour cream

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel or one tablespoon grated orange peel

  • 1/2 cup matzo cake meal

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon potato starch

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • salt to taste

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • butter for frying

In a bowl, combine the cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, vanilla extract and lemon peel and whisk together until well blended. In a second bowl combine the cake meal, sugar, potato starch, cinnamon and salt. Spoon the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the cake meal and whisk until the batter is smooth and uniform. Fold in raisins, if used.

Heat about a tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan or griddle over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add batter by heaping tablespoonsful and cook for 1-2 minutes or so until browned on the bottom. Turn the pancakes over and cook for a minute or so on the second side or until lightly browned. Add more butter to the pan as needed to prevent sticking.

Makes about 16

Stuff It: Matzo Stuffing

Matzo Stuffing with Apples and Portobello Mushrooms

Matzo Stuffing with Apples and Portobello Mushrooms

Almost everyone I know makes brisket for the first Seder.

But my grandma, and then my mother — for all the years that I remember — served turkey. So, so do I.

I may also make a brisket, depending on how many people are coming to celebrate with us. Or, I may make brisket for the second night. Depends.

But there’s always a turkey. And that means stuffing.

And so, the chosen stuffing for this year: crushed matzo with apples and portobello mushrooms. It’s easy and can be prepared in advance; just pop it in the oven to cook about 40 minutes before serving time. Sometimes I add thyme to this dish, sometimes I don’t, depending on the crowd. It’s delicious either way, although of course, the fresh herb gives it a bit more flavor.

Matzo Stuffing with Apples and Portobello Mushrooms

  • 6 pieces of matzo, broken up into little pieces

  • 1-1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock (or vegetable stock)

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped

  • 2 large Portobello mushroom caps, chopped

  • 2 tart apples, peeled and chopped

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, optional

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the matzot in a bowl and pour the stock over them. Let soak for 5-6 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. Set aside. While the matzot are soaking, heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the apples, raisins, parsley and thyme, if used, and cook for another minute. Spoon the contents of the pan into the bowl with the matzot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the eggs, mix the ingredients thoroughly. Spoon the ingredients into a baking dish. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is crispy.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

Sour Cream or Applesauce?

This is the question. Sour cream or applesauce? But usually when we ask that question it's in December and we're talking about what you want on top of your potato latkes.

But this past weekend, in warm and sticky June, when the whole family came and the kids asked for matzo brei for breakfast it was the same thing.

What to put on top.

There are the sour cream lovers. And those who believe applesauce is right.

And this weekend we got a new request: maple syrup.

Maple syrup on matzo brei? 

What would my grandma think?

 

Matzo Brei

 

  • 4 squares of matzo
  • hot water
  • 3 large eggs
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • sour cream, applesauce or maple syrup(!)

 

Crumble the matzot into a bowl. Pour hot water over the pieces and let them soak for 4-5 minutes or until very soft. Squeeze as much of the water out of the pieces as possible. Add the eggs and salt to taste and stir until the mixture is evenly blended. Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the matzo mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Turn the pancake over (it's easier to cut the pancake into quarters first and turn each quarter separately). Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until crispy. Serve with sour cream, applesauce or maple syrup.

Makes 4 servings

Sweet and Fruity Matzo Brei

For kids, finding the afikomen is the most thrilling part of the Passover Seder. I can remember running through my grandma’s house searching for that half of a matzo. My cousin Leslie and I would look together. (We did everything together.) And when we found the matzo we screamed with joy and then when my Uncle Irving fit it together with the other half, we shared the prize (which I think was a piece of candy).

I remember my daughters yelling and jumping up and down with delight when it was their turn to find the afikomen.

This is the way it’s supposed to be. When the children find the half that some grownup has hidden they all shriek and shout, as you can see by the expression of utter joy shown by my grandson Zev in the first photo.

But the two pieces of matzo have to fit together. (It always does! But somehow the kids have that tiniest bit of doubt, which makes it so much fun for the grownups to watch.)

The fitting together part is my husband Ed’s task and you can see (in the other photos) that he’s pretty much thrilled with it and jokes about it with the kids. Sometimes he purposely gets out the wrong half so the afikomen won’t fit. Sometimes he pretends he’s eaten the other half. Or tries to fit it together sideways.

And so on.

Of course Passover, beyond the tradition of finding the afikomen, is all about matzo. Which suits me just fine because I think it is one of life’s most delicious foods. Fresh matzo. Crispy, toasty. Just plain, smeared with butter or cream cheese. Or topped with leftover chicken or chopped liver. Or strawberry jam. 

During Passover I use a matzo to make a crust on top of spinach pie (the same recipe I use year round with a phyllo dough crust). 

I even make toasted cheese sandwiches with matzo (place slices of cheese on top of the matzo and cook in a toaster oven). 

But the family favorite is matzo brei. For breakfast, brunch and an occasional dinner. Is there anyone who doesn’t like matzo brei?

Ed and I still argue over whether matzo brei is better soft (me) or crunchy (him). 

I think this is a common theme among matzo brei enthusiasts.

Although we usually eat plain old matzo brei, I tinker with the recipe. Of course. That’s what I do.

And although we come back to the original time after time, sometimes it’s nice to have a new version. So here is one that we liked. 

 

Sweet and Fruity Matzo Brei

4 matzos

boiling water

4 large eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 cup chopped apple

3 tablespoons raisins

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

 

Break the matzos into pieces into a bowl. Cover with boiling water for about 5-6 minutes or until soft. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Return the matzos to the bowl. Add the eggs, salt, apple, raisins, vanilla extract and lemon peel and mix thoroughly. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, pour the batter into the saute pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Turn and fry for another 2-3 minutes. NOTE: you can fry smaller portions instead of one large pancake. Makes 3-4 servings

 

Matzo Stuffing with Apricots and Raisins

In a roundabout sort of way, yesterday’s post about white bread made me realize that Passover is coming soon. Which means no white bread of course.

Passover is all about matzo.

I love matzo. Fresh, crisp, fragrant, new matzo. When I open that first boxful, I take out a piece, slather some butter on top and crunch, crunch crunch away quickly, stuffing it into my mouth with both hands like a kid sneaking candy.

Why is that? Matzo is available all year. I don’t have to wait until Passover.

But somehow I do.

I suppose because matzo seems more fitting at Passover. Like pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, even though pumpkin pie is available all year too.

Matzo with butter is a real treasure. Not to be underestimated. Like a summer tomato or a new crop autumn apple. It doesn’t need much but itself (except the butter and a few grains of salt).

On the other hand, you can do a lot with it all through the Passover holiday.

Like a sandwich. Matzo is crunchier and crisper than any artisinal bread. So soft fillings like egg salad and tuna salad go perfectly.

I also make grilled cheese-on-matzo (in the toaster oven). The matzo gets even crispier and toastier-tasting!

Matzo Brei, of course.

And stuffing for chicken or turkey.

Like this one:

Matzo Stuffing with Apricots and Raisins

  • 4 pieces of matzo, broken up into little pieces
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup cut up dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Place the matzos in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let soak for 4-5 minutes. Drain excess water. Set aside. While the matzos are soaking, heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the ginger, apricots and raisins and cook for another minute. Spoon the contents of the pan into the bowl with the matzos. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the eggs, mix the ingredients thoroughly. Place into a lightly greased casserole or inside a large roasting chicken to bake (if a casserole, about 35-45 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven).

Enough for a 6-7 pound chicken; 6 servings