seder

Dried Fig and Coconut Charoset

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Every year I make two charosets for our Seders: the family favorite (a Persian style with pistachios, dried fruit and a hint of cayenne), and also a new one.

Last year the newbie was this Dried Fig and Coconut charoset. It was a BIG HIT!

It’s easy to make, you can make it ahead and it is NUT FREE.

Dried Fig and Coconut Charoset

  • 1 cup chopped dried figs

  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries

  • 1 navel orange

  • 1 cup flaked coconut

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup apricot jam

  • 1/4 cup sweet white or red Passover wine

Combine the figs, apricots and cherries in a bowl. Peel the orange and remove the outer white pith (leaving only the orange flesh). Cut the flesh into small pieces and add to the bowl. Add the coconut, ginger, cinnamon apricot jam and wine and mix ingredients. Let rest for at least one hour (preferably several hours) before serving. May be made a day ahead.

Makes about 3 cups

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Mushrooms and Tomatoes

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My Seder menu has been more or less stable for the past few years. I change a recipe occasionally, add a new one now and then, but for the most part it's been mostly the same.

Until this year.

I changed quite a bit this Passover. I was bored with some of the old stuff.

Chicken soup with matzo balls? NEVER BORING! Of course I served that!

Also, I served turkey (like my grandma and mother before me) as well as brisket. I also made my old favorite, spinach pie with matzo crust.

But, there was a new haroset (nut-free).

And lots of new vegetable dishes. Like this one, which was incredibly easy and I set it all up in advance and just popped it into the oven minutes before it was needed.

Of course, this dish is a year 'round thing. And it was so well-loved that I know it will be on my menu throughout the year.

 

Roasted Mushrooms and Tomatoes

  • 12-14 medium-large mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 16 grape, cherry or mini-Kumato tomatoes
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions and garlic in a bowl, pour the olive oil over the vegetables and toss to coat all the pieces. Spoon the vegetables onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the vegetables once or twice during baking, or until tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

Beet and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Now that my children are grown, with children of their own, I sometimes think about the “old days” and remember the good times, the festive occasions, the fun we had. The Jewish holidays rank high on my list of best memories, especially the Passover Seders. Whether I’m thinking about the times that my cousin and I would crawl under the table while my uncle recited the Haggadah or last year, when my grandchildren threw the styrofoam “hail” and plastic locusts as we mentioned the Ten Plagues, the memories are good, the kind that I love to deposit in my memory bank.

There are good food memories too, from my grandma’s famous chicken soup to the complaints I got when I first served haroset made with dried apricots, pistachio nuts and cayenne pepper.

My first Seder continues my family's generations long menu featuring matzo ball soup, followed by roasted turkey. Chremslich, of course. In fact, a double portion of that. 

But all the rest is different. Over the years there was one food change after another, little by little as new in-laws came into our family, tastes changed and allergies had to be considered. So these days we have our own family expected recipes -- matzo ball soup and turkey, plus homemade baked cranberries, spinach pie (made with a matzo crust), imam bayeldi, and lots of other vegetables and the now standard spicy dried fruit haroset.

I used to serve flourless chocolate cake, but we had that a little too often, so because Passover is also my grandson's birthday, I will serve homemade macaroons along with a traditional chocolate roll, the one I used to make when my daughter Meredith's birthday fell during Passover. (You can stuff the roll with whipped cream, jelly or parve lemon curd filling).

Every year I add one new dish to my first Seder. One year it was Ratatouille. A few times there was a new version of haroset. I even made matzo farfel chocolates one year.

This year? A new salad! Here it is:

Roasted Beet and Brussels Sprouts Salad

  • 4 medium beets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 pound (about 30) medium size Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or use Balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel the beets and cut them into bite size pieces. Place the beets on a baking sheet and pour one tablespoon olive oil over them. Toss to coat the beets. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 20 minutes or until tender. Trim the Brussels sprouts (cut them in half if they are large). Place them on a baking sheet and pour one tablespoon olive oil over them. Toss to coat the sprouts. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 15 minutes or until tender. Place the vegetables together in a bowl. Mix the remaining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and orange peel and pour over the ingredients. Let rest for about 10 minutes, place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste.

Makes 6-8 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

 

 

Tuna Patties with Lemon-Mayonnaise

There’s no gefilte fish at our house on Passover. My daughter Gillian is so allergic to fish that even the cooking vapors or opened cans/jars of fish can make her sick. 
 Also, we don’t like jarred gefilte fish. Maybe that’s a heretical thing to say, but, there, I’ve said it. 
 I’ve bought freshly made gefilte fish that Ed and I loved, from a market in Riverdale, but it’s too far from where I live to go there often. 
 I’ve made gefilte fish, back in the day, before Gillian was born. It’s a killer in terms of time and effort.  
 So, these days, if it’s not a family dinner and I can serve fish and need a good dish as an appetizer rather than main course, I make something like these tuna patties. They’re made of mashed fish mixed with seasonings, but unlike gefilte fish they don’t contain egg and matzo meal (but you can add some if you want fluffier patties). They’re sauteed, not poached. And I serve them with lemon-mayonnaise instead of horseradish. 
 Other than that they’re just like gefilte fish. 
 If you would like an alternative to gefilte fish, try these: 

  
 Tuna Patties with Lemon-Mayonnaise 
     
  3/4 cup mayonnaise  
  1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel   
  1-1/2 pounds fresh tuna  
  2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley   
  1 thick scallion, finely chopped  
  1 large clove garlic, finely chopped  
  1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger  
  1 teaspoon finely chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper  
  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  
  1 large egg, optional  
  5-6 tablespoons matzo meal, optional  
  3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil  
     
  Mix the mayonnaise and lemon peel and set it aside. Chop the tuna into very fine pieces and place them in a bowl (you can use a food processor). Add the parsley, scallion, garlic, ginger, chili pepper and some salt and pepper to taste. Add the optional egg and matzo meal, if desired. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Shape the mixture into 16-20 small patties. Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly browned and crispy on both sides and cooked through. Serve with the lemon-mayonnaise.  
 Makes 8-10 first course servings

There’s no gefilte fish at our house on Passover. My daughter Gillian is so allergic to fish that even the cooking vapors or opened cans/jars of fish can make her sick.

Also, we don’t like jarred gefilte fish. Maybe that’s a heretical thing to say, but, there, I’ve said it.

I’ve bought freshly made gefilte fish that Ed and I loved, from a market in Riverdale, but it’s too far from where I live to go there often.

I’ve made gefilte fish, back in the day, before Gillian was born. It’s a killer in terms of time and effort. 

So, these days, if it’s not a family dinner and I can serve fish and need a good dish as an appetizer rather than main course, I make something like these tuna patties. They’re made of mashed fish mixed with seasonings, but unlike gefilte fish they don’t contain egg and matzo meal (but you can add some if you want fluffier patties). They’re sauteed, not poached. And I serve them with lemon-mayonnaise instead of horseradish.

Other than that they’re just like gefilte fish.

If you would like an alternative to gefilte fish, try these:

Tuna Patties with Lemon-Mayonnaise

 

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel

1-1/2 pounds fresh tuna

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 thick scallion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon finely chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 large egg, optional

5-6 tablespoons matzo meal, optional

3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

Mix the mayonnaise and lemon peel and set it aside. Chop the tuna into very fine pieces and place them in a bowl (you can use a food processor). Add the parsley, scallion, garlic, ginger, chili pepper and some salt and pepper to taste. Add the optional egg and matzo meal, if desired. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Shape the mixture into 16-20 small patties. Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly browned and crispy on both sides and cooked through. Serve with the lemon-mayonnaise.

Makes 8-10 first course servings

Celebrating Sharon Lurie and Passover with Mexican Matzo Salad

I love the internet. I love it for all the information I can find, sometimes instantly. I can get a recipe for Shakshuka, discover how to get chocolate stains out of a tee shirt or find out who  won the Academy Award for best actress in 1987.  
 Mostly, I can find old friends and make new ones. 
 I met Sharon Lurie because of the internet. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, halfway around the world from me in Connecticut. She’s a fellow food writer and cookbook author ( "Cooking with the Kosher Butcher’s Wife"  and  "Celebrating with the Kosher Butcher’s Wife" ). 
  Someone I know gave me Sharon’s email address and when Ed and I planned our trip to South Africa earlier this year I emailed her out of the blue and asked if she’d meet me.  She couldn’t have been more gracious. She and her husband invited us for Shabbat dinner, which we couldn’t accept because we had some birthday plans with our cousins who were traveling with us. But instead of saying “okay, maybe next time” Sharon came —bearing gifts — to visit us the next day at our hotel. 
  She brought a perfectly wonderful apron (which I have already splashed with tomato sauce, bread flour and other assorted food particles) and several hunks of Dry Wors (a salami-like sausage), Krakelwurst (like kielbasa) and Biltong (beef jerky, South African style), which the four of us gobbled and nibbled over the course of the next several days. She is the butcher’s wife after all!  
  Of course, she brought her two cookbooks (autographed). The recipes in the first book (“Cooking with …”) are proof that just because you come from a family of butchers it means you eat fancy meat all the time and also, just because the meat you eat is kosher it has to be boring, tough and dry as dust. So it includes such goodies as Stuffed Breast of Veal with Roasted Pumpkin and Spiced Sunflower Seeds as well as Lemon-Kicked Lamb Shanks.  
  The second book (“Celebrating with …”) focuses on the big Jewish holidays: Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Chanukka and Purim.  
  Both books have beautiful photos and easy recipes. And after reading through them since we got home, I’ve decided to add a couple of the “Celebrating with …” recipes to my Passover meals this year. Seder dinners can be huge food fests — mine usually are — which makes Sharon’s recipe for   Mexican Matzo Salad a big winner because this salad is light, colorful and festive looking too. It fits perfectly into my menu. I’ve printed it below (using a few formatting changes from the original).  
  My thanks to the internet for allowing me to find a new friend.  
 My thanks to Sharon for your generosity, friendship, gifts and terrific recipes! 

 Mexican Matzo Salad (from “Celebrating with the Kosher Butcher’s Wife” by Sharon Lurie) 

 Garlic Matzo Strips 
 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
 1 teaspoon crushed fresh garlic 
 pinch of salt 
 4 matzos 

 Guacamole 
 2 avocados, peeled and chopped 
 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
 1 teaspoon crushed fresh garlic 
 salt and pepper to taste 

 Fresh Salsa 

 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped 
 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
 1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped 
 1 English cucumber, finely chopped 
 salt and pepper to taste 

 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). To make the Garlic Matzo Strips, mix the vegetable oil, garlic and salt in a bowl and allow to stand for a few minutes. Paint each matzo with the garlic oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Meanwhile, make the guacamole and salsa. 
 To make the guacamole, blend or mash together the avocados, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until needed. 
 To make the salsa, mix the red onion, tomatoes, coriander, cucumber and salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture in a colander or sieve and press to extract as much liquid as possible.  
 Break the matzos in half and layer first with guacamole, then salsa (alternatively, you can serve the guacamole and salsa in separate bowls and have people serve themselves each to place on matzo strips). 
 Makes 6-8 servings

I love the internet. I love it for all the information I can find, sometimes instantly. I can get a recipe for Shakshuka, discover how to get chocolate stains out of a tee shirt or find out who won the Academy Award for best actress in 1987.

Mostly, I can find old friends and make new ones.

I met Sharon Lurie because of the internet. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, halfway around the world from me in Connecticut. She’s a fellow food writer and cookbook author ("Cooking with the Kosher Butcher’s Wife" and "Celebrating with the Kosher Butcher’s Wife").

Someone I know gave me Sharon’s email address and when Ed and I planned our trip to South Africa earlier this year I emailed her out of the blue and asked if she’d meet me. She couldn’t have been more gracious. She and her husband invited us for Shabbat dinner, which we couldn’t accept because we had some birthday plans with our cousins who were traveling with us. But instead of saying “okay, maybe next time” Sharon came —bearing gifts — to visit us the next day at our hotel.

She brought a perfectly wonderful apron (which I have already splashed with tomato sauce, bread flour and other assorted food particles) and several hunks of Dry Wors (a salami-like sausage), Krakelwurst (like kielbasa) and Biltong (beef jerky, South African style), which the four of us gobbled and nibbled over the course of the next several days. She is the butcher’s wife after all!

Of course, she brought her two cookbooks (autographed). The recipes in the first book (“Cooking with …”) are proof that just because you come from a family of butchers it means you eat fancy meat all the time and also, just because the meat you eat is kosher it has to be boring, tough and dry as dust. So it includes such goodies as Stuffed Breast of Veal with Roasted Pumpkin and Spiced Sunflower Seeds as well as Lemon-Kicked Lamb Shanks.

The second book (“Celebrating with …”) focuses on the big Jewish holidays: Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Chanukka and Purim.

Both books have beautiful photos and easy recipes. And after reading through them since we got home, I’ve decided to add a couple of the “Celebrating with …” recipes to my Passover meals this year. Seder dinners can be huge food fests — mine usually are — which makes Sharon’s recipe for Mexican Matzo Salad a big winner because this salad is light, colorful and festive looking too. It fits perfectly into my menu. I’ve printed it below (using a few formatting changes from the original).

My thanks to the internet for allowing me to find a new friend.

My thanks to Sharon for your generosity, friendship, gifts and terrific recipes!

Mexican Matzo Salad (from “Celebrating with the Kosher Butcher’s Wife” by Sharon Lurie)

Garlic Matzo Strips

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon crushed fresh garlic

pinch of salt

4 matzos

Guacamole

2 avocados, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon crushed fresh garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Salsa

1 large red onion, peeled and chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

1 English cucumber, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). To make the Garlic Matzo Strips, mix the vegetable oil, garlic and salt in a bowl and allow to stand for a few minutes. Paint each matzo with the garlic oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Meanwhile, make the guacamole and salsa.

To make the guacamole, blend or mash together the avocados, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the salsa, mix the red onion, tomatoes, coriander, cucumber and salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture in a colander or sieve and press to extract as much liquid as possible. 

Break the matzos in half and layer first with guacamole, then salsa (alternatively, you can serve the guacamole and salsa in separate bowls and have people serve themselves each to place on matzo strips).

Makes 6-8 servings

The Original Lamb Shanks with White Wine and Rosemary

How does a turkey neck pass for a shank bone?  Let me just say this. On the first night of Passover my grandma didn’t want to roast a lamb shank just for the Seder plate. She thought it wasteful to leave meat out for so long and then have to throw it away.  And because she always made a turkey for the meal, well, its neck sort of had a shank-like shape didn’t it? So that was our “shank bone.”  No one ever questioned it. But years later, when I was the one hosting the Seders I decided to be more traditional. Besides, I learned that several of the local markets gave away shank bones (completely clean of meat) for Passover. First come, first serve of course, so you have to know the game and when to get there.  Besides, we like to eat that turkey neck, so I would think it wasteful to use it for the Passover Seder plate and then have to throw it away.  Of course lamb shanks are more than Seder plate symbols. They are soft, succulent and flavorful, especially if you slow-cook them, braised in wine or some savory stock and loaded with vegetables to accompany.  Some people do not eat lamb during Passover. But if you do, try these lamb shanks, which have a further benefit: you can prepare them 2-3 days ahead. Or make them some other time.    Lamb Shanks with White Wine and Rosemary       4 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each  2 tablespoons olive oil  4 large plum tomatoes, chopped  3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks  1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks  1 leek, washed and chopped  2 cloves garlic, chopped  1 habanero chili pepper, deseeded and chopped  1-1/2 cups chicken stock  1 cup white wine  2 sprigs fresh rosemary  3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste        Trim any excess fat from the shanks. Pour the olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shanks and cook them for 8-10 minutes, turning them occasionally, to brown all sides. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. Pour out all but about a tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the tomatoes, carrots, onion, leek, garlic and chili pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften the vegetables slightly. Pour in the stock and wine, mix the ingredients and bring to a boil. Place the shanks into the vegetable mixture and baste a few times. Place the rosemary sprigs and parsley in the pan, season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is soft. Discard the rosemary sprigs. Serve the lamb as is, with the vegetables and pan fluids OR, puree the pan fluids with the vegetables and serve it as gravy with the meat.     Makes 4 servings

How does a turkey neck pass for a shank bone?

Let me just say this. On the first night of Passover my grandma didn’t want to roast a lamb shank just for the Seder plate. She thought it wasteful to leave meat out for so long and then have to throw it away.

And because she always made a turkey for the meal, well, its neck sort of had a shank-like shape didn’t it? So that was our “shank bone.”

No one ever questioned it. But years later, when I was the one hosting the Seders I decided to be more traditional. Besides, I learned that several of the local markets gave away shank bones (completely clean of meat) for Passover. First come, first serve of course, so you have to know the game and when to get there.

Besides, we like to eat that turkey neck, so I would think it wasteful to use it for the Passover Seder plate and then have to throw it away.

Of course lamb shanks are more than Seder plate symbols. They are soft, succulent and flavorful, especially if you slow-cook them, braised in wine or some savory stock and loaded with vegetables to accompany.

Some people do not eat lamb during Passover. But if you do, try these lamb shanks, which have a further benefit: you can prepare them 2-3 days ahead. Or make them some other time.

Lamb Shanks with White Wine and Rosemary

 

4 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 large plum tomatoes, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks

1 leek, washed and chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 habanero chili pepper, deseeded and chopped

1-1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

 

Trim any excess fat from the shanks. Pour the olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shanks and cook them for 8-10 minutes, turning them occasionally, to brown all sides. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. Pour out all but about a tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the tomatoes, carrots, onion, leek, garlic and chili pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften the vegetables slightly. Pour in the stock and wine, mix the ingredients and bring to a boil. Place the shanks into the vegetable mixture and baste a few times. Place the rosemary sprigs and parsley in the pan, season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is soft. Discard the rosemary sprigs. Serve the lamb as is, with the vegetables and pan fluids OR, puree the pan fluids with the vegetables and serve it as gravy with the meat.

 

Makes 4 servings

Beet Salad with Baby Arugula, Red Onions and Horseradish Vinaigrette

Jonathan Swift once said that it was a brave man who first ate an oyster.

I’ll say something similar for horseradish. Whoever first tried it must have been awfully hungry. Horseradish is truly ugly, with an irregular shape and knobby bumps and hairy tendrils growing out of it. So it isn’t as if that brave soul couldn’t have resisted.

In addition, once you get through horseradish’s mottled, uneven, earth-colored peel you meet up with knock-you-over vapors so strong and pungent that they irritate your eyes and make your nose run. 

Well, whoever that was, I’m sure glad he/she did.

Horseradish is a wonder. I always have some in the house. So many things to do with it:

mix it with ketchup for homemade cocktail sauce

mix it with butter for use over steamed veggies

mix it with plain Greek yogurt for sauce over roasted salmon

mix it with creme fraiche as a topping for vegetable hash or frittata

And zillions of other things.

But horseradish makes a special presence during Passover, first as the bitter herb at my Passover table and second, as a replacement for the Dijon mustard that at other times is key to the vinaigrette dressings I use over salad.

For example, this Beet Salad with Baby Arugula. I often serve beet salad at my Seder in place of the fish course (because my daughter Gillian is allergic to fish). The recipe here is this year’s edition.

Beet Salad with Baby Arugula, Red Onions and Horseradish Vinaigrette

 

6 medium beets

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1 tablespoon freshly grated white horseradish

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 cups packed baby arugula

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Scrub and trim the beets, cutting away the greens, if any. Wrap the beets tightly in aluminum foil and roast for about one hour or until the beets are tender. Remove the packet from the oven, open the foil and let the beets cool. Peel the beets, cut them into bite-size pieces and place in a bowl. Add the onions, horseradish and dill and toss the ingredients. Pour in the olive oil and cider vinegar and toss the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place equal amounts of arugula on each of 6 plates. Arrange the beet salad ingredients on top. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

Makes 6 servings