During Passover many of us tend to focus on the Seder dinner but it’s good to plan for the holiday’s other festive meals as well. There are Shabbat dinners, brunches and more casual occasions to get together with friends and relatives.
After the copious Seder meals, which often include one or more substantial main courses of meat or poultry, I like to dine on simpler or lighter foods, the kind I enjoyed during my childhood. When I was growing up, I always loved the dairy dinners that my mother prepared for Passover. To us, as children, these meals were even more fun than the Seder because we were allowed to spread butter on our matzos. In my family, buttered matzo was a much-anticipated Passover delicacy and I love it to this day.
In these milchig menus we could savor our favorite treats, like Passover pancakes and fried matzo with eggs. As a child I sprinkled them with sugar but now I also like Passover pancakes and fried matzo as savory accompaniments for vegetables, like sauteed mushrooms with thyme, or a springtime medley of fresh asparagus and baby carrots with herb butter or with lemon vinaigrette.
For brunch we liked a variety of kugels. Some were made of vegetables and others were matzo-based like the Passover cottage cheese kugel below, as they made a pleasant change from the usual noodle kugels. Even though kosher-for-Passover noodles are now available, I still prepare the old-fashioned matzo kugels both for the good taste and for the memories. As children we topped our kugel with sour cream but it’s also good with low fat yogurt and a garnish of fresh strawberries.
Of course, with a dairy menu come the most delightful desserts. Even with the many pareve substitutes, there’s nothing like a Passover chocolate almond cake with real whipped cream. A finale like this turns any dinner into a feast.
Have a happy and delicious Pesach!
Faye Levy is the author of Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home (Morrow), 1,000 Jewish Recipes (Wiley), and Jewish Cooking For Dummies (Wiley).