passover

Zucchini Pancakes

fullsizeoutput_898b.jpeg

If you're looking for a good mid-week Passover meal -- here it is! I actually make these year round, but they're ideal during the holiday.

And versatile: for a dairy meal add about 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese to the mix. For more substance -- serve with sunnyside eggs. I accompany them with mashed avocado, but sometimes with dairy sour cream or plain yogurt (any of these mixed with a squirt of lemon juice).

Zucchini Pancakes

  • 2 medium zucchini (10-12 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup matzo meal
  • vegetable oil for frying

* for a dairy meal you can add 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Shred the zucchini in a food processor (or grate by hand). Place the shreds in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss the shreds and let rest for 10-12 minutes. Squeeze he shreds to extract as much liquid as possible. Return the shreds to the bowl. Add the scallions and egg and mix the ingredients. Add the matzo meal and mix thoroughly. Heat about 1/8-inch vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Spoon portions of the mixture into the pan to make pancakes about 2-inches in diameter. Leave some space between each pancake. Cook for about 3 minutes per side or until crispy and golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture. Serve with mashed avocado, dairy sour cream or plain yogurt (mixed with some lemon juice).

Makes about 12 pancakes

 

 

Nut-Free Dried Fruit and Apple Haroset

fullsizeoutput_88ef.jpeg

Passover has it's culinary challenges, it's true, but if you're like me, and have a kid with food allergies you are used to reading labels and figuring out substitutions throughout the year. I actually never minded this part. The fears of what could happen to my daughter if she ate fish or certain nuts, plus the medication and trips to the ER when it did happen were enough to motivate me.

Looked at it in a positive way, the Passover prohibitions plus the allergy no-nos are actually ways that have made my cooking more creative.

I like that.

Obviously, we do not have traditional Ashkenazi haroset at our Seders. My daughter can't even be in the same room as a walnut. She can eat pistachios and almonds, so our usual family haroset with dried fruit includes these.

But -- why take any chances? Because it's possible that one nut allergy could be a warning against all others, my daughter doesn't eat any nuts, in haroset or anything else. On Passover I always serve a second version that's nut-free.

Here is this year's:

Nut-Free Dried Fruit and Apple Haroset

  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 4-5 tablespoons sweet red Passover wine
  • pinch of cayenne pepper 

Combine the figs, dates, apricots, raisins and apple in a bowl. Add the nutmeg, preserves, wine and cayenne pepper and mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Let the mixture stand for at least one hour before serving. 

 Makes about 2-1/2 cups

 

 

Zucchini Bayildi

Every year, at every Passover Seder, I serve a side dish called Imam Bayildi, which is basically stewed eggplant, leeks and tomatoes, though sometimes I've made it with onions instead of leeks.

Somehow the occasion wouldn't seem right without this traditional dish.

And yet, last year my kids said that maybe it was getting a little boring. One of them doesn't care for eggplant, so -- there was no Imam Bayildi this year. 

But during the week I will serve a kind of "bayildi" (which means "fainted" -- because it tastes so good that the Imam who first tasted it fainted).

This new dish is colorful and chock full of vegetables. It's spring-like and refreshing, so it is perfect for Passover's sometimes heavy meals. But it's also an all-year round dish that goes with any meat, poultry or fish you might serve. Or serve it as part of a vegetarian dinner.

It also takes much less time than the original recipe.

ZUCCHINI “BAYILDI”

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped (or 10-12 campari tomatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley, sugar, salt, lemon juice and water. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until all the vegetables are tender. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

 

Tagged: vegetablesvegetarianside dishPassoverPesachzucchini bayildibayildiSeder

Passover Spinach Pie

_DSC8890 2.jpg

I can't imagine Passover without this dish. Spinach pie which, during the year I top with buttered phyllo sheets and sometimes with puff pastry, depending on the occasion.

On Passover it gets a matzo crust -- like this one, ready for the oven.

It's a versatile dish too. You can make it plain or add mushrooms or make it with cheese. You can also switch to kale or other greens if you prefer.

Nice for a meatless dinner too.

 

SPINACH PIE with MATZO CRUST

  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen whole leaf spinach, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cut up mushrooms, optional
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled, optional
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 sheets matzo

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the mushrooms, if used, and cook, stirring often, for another 2-3 minutes or until the mushrooms are softened. Stir in the spinach and mix well. Remove the pan from the heat. For dairy, add the feta and Parmesan cheeses and mix them in. Add 3 of the eggs, the dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and place in a baking dish. Soak the matzo in cold water to cover for 1-2 minutes or until softened but not mushy. Shake off excess water. Place the matzo on top of the spinach mixture. Beat the remaining egg and brush over the top of the matzot. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 4-8 servings (as main course or side dish)

Perfect for Pesach

Perfect for Pesach_1.jpg

Passover is less than a month away so I've already begun the purge of pasta and stuff and am also trying to use up all my flour and get ready for the holiday.

But there's still snow outside and it's cold here so it's nearly impossible to think spring and all the new beginnings we talk about at the Seder. Even if it is the first official day of spring.

That's why, of all the recipes in Naomi Nachman's new cookbook, Perfect for Pesach, I decided to make the Roasted Tomato Soup. Few recipes are more comforting in the winter than tomato soup and yet it is also spring-and-Passover-friendly.

This recipe seemed especially intriguing because it calls for both roasted tomatoes and canned tomatoes. It is no ordinary tomato soup. And Naomi's book is no ordinary book, which is chock full of recipes that are not only perfect for Passover, but also year round. 

Here's another thing that I love about this book: the recipes are EASY, uncomplicated, accessible. There aren't a zillion steps to get to the final product. All the ingredients are easy to find. Almost everyone will have all the equipment needed to make each recipe.

User friendly.

The older I get the more I like user-friendly, easy, simple. 

I don't know how Naomi found the time to write this book. She is a personal kosher chef, she travels world wide, catering all sorts of events. She hosts her own radio show. She gives cooking demonstrations and MCs at scads of events (including Kosher Chopped).

She is everywhere and always with a big smile on her face.

Kudos to you Naomi! Mazal tov on the book.

 

Roasted Tomato Soup

pareve – yields 10 servings – freezer friendly

Growing up, I always loved tomato soup; my mum used to serve it on Sunday night at dinner. Now that I’ve grown up, I make my own version and I discovered that roasting the tomatoes deepens the flavors.

Method

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Slice each tomato in half lengthwise; place, skin-side down, on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt.

Roast for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are caramelized; set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for a few minutes, until translucent. Add roasted tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, stock, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to process soup for a full 3 minutes, until smooth; add salt and pepper to taste.

Ingredients

  • 8 plum tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Cook’s Tip

For a dairy meal, add a handful of shredded cheese to each bowl; stir to melt cheese.

Passover Orange Almond Cake

A few weeks ago I was going through my Passover recipes file and came across a recipe for Italian Almond Cake with Poached Fruit from the Jerusalem Post. Unfortunately, it didn't say whose recipe it was. Also I didn't have the second page of instructions.

I made some changes and figured out how to proceed based on similar cakes I've baked.

 First, I converted all the metric measurements. 

I figured out how much, in cups, came from 3/4 cup whole almonds.

I didn't use blanched almonds, figuring that almonds with skin were just as good.

I switched to coconut oil because I don't like margarine. 

I deleted the liquor and used orange juice instead, and added some freshly grated orange peel. 

I separated the eggs and whipped the whites with sugar to provide a lighter texture than I thought the cake would have without fluffed whites.

I didn't serve it with poached fruit (I used fresh oranges and sorbet).

Some would say that with all these changes the recipe is now mine, and I understand that.

Still, the cake was delicious and I would have preferred to give credit!

Btw, it's gluten free!

Here's my version of Passover Orange-Almond Cake.

Passover Orange Almond Cake

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel
  • 1/4 cup potato starch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a small amount of the coconut oil, lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Set aside. Melt the remaining coconut oil and set aside to cool. Place the almonds and 6 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir at low speed for a minute until the ingredients are well distributed. Add the egg yolks, orange juice and orange peel and beat them in at medium speed for about one minute. Stir in the potato starch. Stir in the cooled coconut oil. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites for 1-2 minutes, going from low to high speed, or until the whites stand in soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Fold them into the almond mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

Crispy Potato Bites

Need a quick nosh during Passover? 
 These crispy potato bites do the trick. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like them. In fact they remind me of franks-in-blankets, the kind of tidbit people don’t want to admit they love, but they actually love them so much they eat more of them than they would ever guess. 
  I make these potato bites ahead and reheat them when needed (defrosted, 400 degree preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes) — although I have seen members of my clan eat them cold, saving me the trouble of washing a baking sheet.  
  They’re not just for Passover, btw. I serve them for sports events (like Superbowl) and other times that I’ve got a small crowd coming over.                     

  Crispy Potato Bites  
     
  12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks   
  1/4 cup chopped fresh chives  
  1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary  
  1 large egg  
  2 tablespoons vegetable oil  
  2 tablespoons matzo meal  
  1/2 teaspoon Passover baking powder  
  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  
     
  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 16-18 mini muffin tin cups (or use cooking spray). Shred the potatoes in a food processor, scoop the shreds, replace the shredding disk with the S-blade and return the shredded potatoes to the workbowl. Chop the potatoes until they are small pieces. Squeeze excess liquid out of the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a bowl. Add the chives, rosemary, egg, vegetable oil, matzo meal, baking powder and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to blend them completely. Spoon equal amounts of the potato mixture into the mini muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.   
     

  Makes 16-18

Need a quick nosh during Passover?

These crispy potato bites do the trick. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like them. In fact they remind me of franks-in-blankets, the kind of tidbit people don’t want to admit they love, but they actually love them so much they eat more of them than they would ever guess.

I make these potato bites ahead and reheat them when needed (defrosted, 400 degree preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes) — although I have seen members of my clan eat them cold, saving me the trouble of washing a baking sheet.

They’re not just for Passover, btw. I serve them for sports events (like Superbowl) and other times that I’ve got a small crowd coming over.                   

Crispy Potato Bites

 

12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 large egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons matzo meal

1/2 teaspoon Passover baking powder

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 16-18 mini muffin tin cups (or use cooking spray). Shred the potatoes in a food processor, scoop the shreds, replace the shredding disk with the S-blade and return the shredded potatoes to the workbowl. Chop the potatoes until they are small pieces. Squeeze excess liquid out of the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a bowl. Add the chives, rosemary, egg, vegetable oil, matzo meal, baking powder and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to blend them completely. Spoon equal amounts of the potato mixture into the mini muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

 

Makes 16-18

Matzo Farfel Fattoush

DSC02462.jpg

Every year I buy a kitchen’s worth of Passover ingredients and most of it gets eaten, except for the matzo farfel. I know you can use matzo farfel for stuffing, matzo brei, granola and other foods. But I don’t. A few family members like it cooked like oatmeal, for breakfast, but that’s about it. So I always have a lot left over.

Last year I decided to experiment a bit and see how I could use matzo farfel to advantage.

Fattoush, a light and refreshing salad, was a big winner. 

The word fattoush means “crumbled bread” in Arabic and the salad is pretty basic — seasonal vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber and greens mixed with toasted flat bread.

During the year it’s a good way to use up stale bread. During Passover, matzo farfel is perfect.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Matzo Farfel Fattoush

 

  • 2 cups matzo farfel
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups shredded Romaine lettuce (6-8 large leaves)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the farfel on a baking sheet. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over the farfel and toss, coating all the pieces. Bake for about 15 minutes, tossing the farfel occasionally, or until it is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. Place the lettuce shreds, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, bell pepper, scallions, parsley and mint in a bowl. Mix the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon juice together. Pour the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and toss the ingredients. Add the toasted farfel, toss again and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

 

Makes 8 servings

Salmon, Potato and Spinach Patties

It’s funny how despite the years that pass and the changes we all make to our diets, there are some foods we never give up. For me, one of those dishes is salmon latkes. Ed won’t eat them. This is a solo thing.  Salmon latkes were also my Mom’s favorite go-to dish (red canned salmon, she insisted). She made them for herself. My Dad didn’t wouldn’t eat them.   When April comes I think about salmon latkes more because it’s the month my mom passed away and  yahrzeits  always conjure memories, don’t they?  So I have been thinking salmon latkes lately.  Unlike my mom, I can’t let a recipe go without thinking about how I could change it. How many salmon latke variations can I create?  Well, not as many as  banana bread , but when you’ve got leftover (or canned) salmon, there’s a lot you can do with it.   Here’s the latest version. It’s a good dish for Passover either to replace gefilte fish as a fish course at a Seder, or for lunch or even dinner (make larger burger-type patties).                                                                                                                                    Salmon, Potato and Spinach Patties       1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes  12 ounces cooked salmon  1 cup packed baby spinach leaves, washed, dried and coarsely chopped  2 large eggs  1/2 cup matzo meal  2 chopped scallions  1 tablespoon lemon juice  2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley  2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  1/4 cup matzo meal  vegetable oil        Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and cook them in lightly salted boiling water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a bowl. Mash the potatoes with a fork. Add the salmon and spinach and mix the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the eggs, 1/2-cup matzo meal, scallions, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Shape the mixture into 16-20 small patties. Press the patties into the remaining 1/4-cup matzo meal, to coat both sides. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Fry the patties for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Serve 2 patties per person.     Makes 8-10 first course servings   

It’s funny how despite the years that pass and the changes we all make to our diets, there are some foods we never give up. For me, one of those dishes is salmon latkes. Ed won’t eat them. This is a solo thing.

Salmon latkes were also my Mom’s favorite go-to dish (red canned salmon, she insisted). She made them for herself. My Dad didn’t wouldn’t eat them. 

When April comes I think about salmon latkes more because it’s the month my mom passed away and yahrzeits always conjure memories, don’t they?

So I have been thinking salmon latkes lately.

Unlike my mom, I can’t let a recipe go without thinking about how I could change it. How many salmon latke variations can I create?

Well, not as many as banana bread, but when you’ve got leftover (or canned) salmon, there’s a lot you can do with it. 

Here’s the latest version. It’s a good dish for Passover either to replace gefilte fish as a fish course at a Seder, or for lunch or even dinner (make larger burger-type patties).                                                                                                                                 

Salmon, Potato and Spinach Patties

 

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes

12 ounces cooked salmon

1 cup packed baby spinach leaves, washed, dried and coarsely chopped

2 large eggs

1/2 cup matzo meal

2 chopped scallions

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup matzo meal

vegetable oil

 

 

Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and cook them in lightly salted boiling water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a bowl. Mash the potatoes with a fork. Add the salmon and spinach and mix the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the eggs, 1/2-cup matzo meal, scallions, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Shape the mixture into 16-20 small patties. Press the patties into the remaining 1/4-cup matzo meal, to coat both sides. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Fry the patties for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Serve 2 patties per person.

 

Makes 8-10 first course servings

 

Potato Galette

People say they get bored with potatoes during Passover, but I don’t. I could  eat a potato  in one way or another every day. It’s my “ one food you would take to a desert island " food.  Potato Galette sounds fancy, which makes it suitable for a festive holiday dinner. But it’s a very easy dish to make — essentially oven roasted “home fries” with onions.   I use goose fat (frozen; rendered from the goose I roast for Hanukkah) but you can substitute chicken fat, margarine or vegetable oil.   Here’s the recipe:                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Potato Galette   3 tablespoons melted goose fat, shortening or olive oil  2 tablespoons olive oil  2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes  1 large Vidalia or Spanish onion  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme     Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, mix the goose fat and olive oil. Brush a film of this mixture inside a 13”x9” pan. Peel the potatoes and onion and cut them into thin slices. Wipe the potatoes with paper towels (to dry the surface). Place the potatoes slices in the bowl and toss them around to coat them with the fat. Place a layer of potatoes in the pan. Top with half the onions. Repeat layers. Sprinkle the ingredients with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, crispy and browned on the surface.     Makes 4-6 servings      

People say they get bored with potatoes during Passover, but I don’t. I could eat a potato in one way or another every day. It’s my “one food you would take to a desert island" food.

Potato Galette sounds fancy, which makes it suitable for a festive holiday dinner. But it’s a very easy dish to make — essentially oven roasted “home fries” with onions. 

I use goose fat (frozen; rendered from the goose I roast for Hanukkah) but you can substitute chicken fat, margarine or vegetable oil. 

Here’s the recipe:                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Potato Galette

3 tablespoons melted goose fat, shortening or olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes

1 large Vidalia or Spanish onion

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, mix the goose fat and olive oil. Brush a film of this mixture inside a 13”x9” pan. Peel the potatoes and onion and cut them into thin slices. Wipe the potatoes with paper towels (to dry the surface). Place the potatoes slices in the bowl and toss them around to coat them with the fat. Place a layer of potatoes in the pan. Top with half the onions. Repeat layers. Sprinkle the ingredients with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, crispy and browned on the surface.

 

Makes 4-6 servings