Getting Ready (and Unbread-y) for Pesach

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Pile of Muffins
15 Mar 2007
Cooking
.Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

imageEveryone is familiar with the Four Questions asked at the Seder, but here is the big question that is on most people’s minds before the Seder: “How do I use up all that chametz in my kitchen so I don’t have to throw it out?”

When you realize that Pesach is just around the corner, it brings panic into the hearts of many. People become frustrated at how much food they end up throwing away and vow to do better next year. For very large families who go through their supplies of groceries quickly, getting rid of the chametz may not be a problem, but it often is for small families, couples, and singles.

My friend, food writer Sue Epstein of Efrat, Israel is the author of “Budget Cooking – Elegant Dining.” Each year, a few weeks before Pesach arrives, Sue goes through her kitchen cupboards and sets aside the chametz. She then earmarks one cabinet for the things she wants to use up and plans her recipes and meals around these items. Here are some of Sue’s wonderful tips and recipes for using up your chometz for your pre-Pesach enjoyment. I’ve also included two of my own favorites for your eating pleasure!

BREAD:

VINEGAR:

RICE:


Sue’s Hootsla (Bread Cube Omelet):

6 servings

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Melt the butter or margarine in a large, heavy frying pan over moderate heat. Add the bread cubes and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Quickly beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper and pour into the frying pan. Cook for about five minutes over moderate heat, or just until the eggs are slightly browned underneath and softly set on top. As the eggs cook, lift the cooked portion around the edges, tilting the frying pan so that the raw egg on top runs underneath to cook.
  3. Cut into wedges or spoon out and serve.

Chunks of Chicken in Sweet and Sour Sauce

4 servings.

Enjoy these crispy, cornstarch-dredged bites of chicken with carrots, pineapple and peppers. Use light or dark brown sugar for the sweet and sour sauce if that’s what you have on hand, or substitute honey – they are equally delicious.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Dip the chicken chunks in the egg mixture, then in cornstarch. Brown quickly in 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Remove to paper toweling with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and stir-fry the onion, red or green pepper, and carrots over moderate heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned.
  3. Add the sugar, vinegar, ketchup, pineapple, soy sauce, wine, and cayenne. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  4. Mix the cornstarch paste into the skillet and heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and clear, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and heat and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve over boiled rice.

Mock Lemon Pie

6 to 8 servings.

It’s astonishing how much this vinegar pie tastes like lemon custard pie.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl combine the sugars, flour and spices, pressing out any brown sugar lumps. Mix in the water, vinegar and melted butter or margarine, then blend in the eggs.
  2. Pour into the unbaked pie shell and bake for about 1 hour, or until the filling is puffed and tinged with brown. Cool the pie to room temperature before cutting.

A wonderful way to use up bread before Pesach is with the following recipe for this scrumptious Stuffing Casserole. And try my Tuna, Rice and Broccoli Kugel.

For some wonderful Passover recipes, visit my website at http://www.gourmania.com – lots of food for thought!

Norene’s Stuffing Casserole

6 to 8 servings.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor fitted with the Steel Blade, make crumbs from stale bread or rolls. Tear bread into chunks and drop through the feed tube while the machine is running. Process until fine crumbs are formed. Measure 5 cups crumbs, loosely packed.
  2. Heat oil or margarine in a large nonstick skillet. Meanwhile, process onions with quick on/offs, until coarsely chopped. Add to skillet. Repeat with bell pepper, then celery, then mushrooms, adding each in turn to the skillet. Brown vegetables quickly on medium-high heat. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  3. Process eggs for 2 or 3 seconds. Add with bread crumbs and remaining ingredients to skillet and mix well. Place in a sprayed 7 x 11-inch glass baking dish.
  4. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown.

Freezes well.

Variation: To use as a stuffing for veal brisket or turkey, omit baking powder and increase mushrooms to 2 cups. Add ½ teaspoon each of dried sage and dried thyme.

Source: The Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz. 


Norene’s Tuna, Rice and Broccoli Kugel

8 servings.

This light and healthy kugel is excellent to serve to family or friends. It’s perfect for a buffet or brunch and is a delicious way to use up rice, yogurt and cheese before Passover. Instead of tuna, salmon can be substituted.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water and a dash of salt to a boil. Add rice, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
    (Alternatively, microwave rice, water and salt covered on HIGH for 6 to 7 minutes, reduce power to 50% (MEDIUM); microwave 10 to 12 minutes longer, until water is absorbed)
  2. Let rice stand covered for 10 minutes using either cooking method
  3. Microwave broccoli and onion covered on HIGH for 4 minutes. Let stand covered for 2 minutes. Broccoli should be tender-crisp. Combine with remaining ingredients except Parmesan cheese and mix well.
  4. Spread evenly in a lightly greased or sprayed 7×11-inch Pyrex casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (Can be prepared in advance up to this point, covered and refrigerated for several hours or overnight.) Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown.

Reheats well and/or may be frozen.

Source: Healthy Helpings by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap Books)

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.