RECIPES FOR PASSOVER SUCCESS: OU WEBSITE, WWW.OU.ORG, OFFERS SCORES OF DELICIOUS SUGGESTIONS TO MAKE HOLIDAY EATING NOT ALWAYS FILLING (ON PURPOSE), BUT ALWAYS FULFILLING
The central role of food in the Passover holiday and the intricacies of Jewish law regarding which foods may be eaten and which foods are chametz (leaven) and may not, require recipes which both are Kosher for Passover and are as tasty as recipes the year ‘round which are not bound by Passover restrictions.
The Orthodox Union website, www.ou.org, once again this year will offer valuable assistance to those preparing meals for the seder and the rest of the holiday period, by providing a large number of recipes together with other food-related features.
The OU website and Shabbat Shalom (www.ou.org/shabbat), the weekly e-zine of the Orthodox Union, offer recipes, food columns and kitchen advice throughout the year. As their readers switch into Passover mode, so do they. Original recipes by Eileen Goltz abound with luscious suggestions; “The Flavor of Memory” food column by Norene Gilletz offers recipes to help use up chametz before Passover, as well as others for the holiday itself; and a Q&A by Harvey Pearlman, known as the Kitchener Rebbe, who throughout the year comes to the aid of people who plaintively ask, “Why didn’t my cake rise?” now deals with the situations faced by the Passover cook.
Eileen Goltz offers a treasure trove of more than 75 recipes for chicken, macaroons, carrots, muffins, baked fruit, kugel (pudding) and quick salads; with the exception of chicken, of course, they may range from meat, to dairy, to pareve (neither meat nor dairy). Some of her recipes are meant to be on the lighter side, as a change from heavier holiday fare. As a sample of what the OU website contains, one recipe in each category is provided below. For Norene’s recipes and to ask the Kitchener Rebbe a question, visit www.ou.org/shabbat.
CHICKEN: “I’m never a chicken when it comes to chicken recipes,” Eileen writes. Here is proof of that:
LEMON CHICKEN AND POTATOES (meat)
Traditional Lebanese dish of baked chicken and potatoes
16 cut up chicken pieces
16 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered salt to taste ground white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 425. Place chicken and potatoes in a large baking dish. Season generously with salt and white pepper. In a bowl, stir together garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Pour over chicken and potatoes. Cover dish with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, increase heat to 475 and cook until chicken and potatoes are golden, about 30 minutes. Place chicken and potatoes on a serving platter and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. Serves 8.
MACAROONS: “Let’s talk macaroons. Not those mushy, squishy kinds that come out of cans or the industrial strength ones that get shipped all over the globe. No, let’s talk homemade, soft, sweet and totally delicious macaroons.
COCONUT AND WALNUT MACAROONS (pareve)
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
1 1/2 cup kosher for Pesach powdered sugar
3/4 cups chopped walnuts
3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut (or more as needed)
Let the eggs sit on the counter for about an hour before separating. Prepare a baking sheet by greasing it very well. Preheat the oven to 350. Place the eggs whites in a medium bowl and starting at low speed, beat the egg whites until they begin to foam. As the foam continues to build, you can turn the speed to medium and then high. Beat until the foam forms stiff, glossy peaks. Add the extract as desired. With a spatula, fold in the powdered sugar and nuts until just combined. Fold both in together to minimize the handling of the batter. Spoon the batter onto the pan in rounded mounds. The batter should be of a consistency that a spoonful will stand as a mound 3/4-inch high on the pan. If the batter is too thin and tries to run, add more coconut. If the last few cookies are too thin, add more coconut again. Bake for 15 minutes for small to medium-sized cookies, 18 minutes for larger cookies, or until the cookies are a light brown color. Immediately remove the cookies with a thin metal spatula by slipping the edge of the spatula under the edge of the cookie and sawing back and forth. Cool on wire racks. Makes 18 to 24.
CARROTS: “During the mad scramble to come up with side dishes for the holiday, the one veggie that doesn’t ever get left in the fridge is the carrot.”
CARROTS AU GRATIN (dairy)
1/3 cup matzo farfel
3 tablespoon margarine, melted
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoon matzo meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup shredded American Cheese
4 1/2 cups cooked, sliced carrots, drained (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
Preheat oven to 350. In small bowl or shallow pan, combine the farfel and 1 tablespoon of margarine. Set aside. In a skillet sauté the onion in the margarine until soft. Add matzo meal, salt and pepper. Stir in milk. Increase heat to medium; cook until bubbly and thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese. Stir until smooth. Stir in carrots and parsley flakes. Spread in shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with farfel mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and farfel is golden brown. Serve warm.
MUFFINS: “These muffin and roll recipes are as close to ‘real’ bread and muffins as we can hope to get.” (pareve)
BANANA PECAN MUFFINS
This recipe has been in my Pesach files for over 10 years and it is one of my most requested breakfast treats.
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar, or more to taste
1/2 cup potato starch
3/4 cup matzo cake meal
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups mashed banana
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin with oil or line with muffin papers. Preheat the oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat oil with sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and continue beating. Add mashed bananas and combine well. Combine matzo cake meal, potato starch, cream of tartar, baking soda, and ground cinnamon. Add the chopped nuts and incorporate. Add the dry ingredients to the egg – banana mixture, until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling them to the top. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is brown and a toothpick inserted in the center has moist crumbs. Makes 12.
BAKED FRUIT: “Looking to take out some of the bulk of my meals, I typically turn to fruit and more specifically, baked or broiled fruit.”
BUTTER BAKED PEARS WITH FRUIT AND NUT STUFFING (dairy or pareve) This is a great pareve dessert (but you could add ice cream or frozen yogurt to make it dairy; by adding regular yogurt it makes a great breakfast).
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine; softened, divided
2 large (about 8 ounces each) firm ripe pears
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Vanilla yogurt or frozen vanilla yogurt, if desired
Combine apricots and pecans in small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon butter; use a fork to combine. Set aside. Cut pears in half lengthwise. Using a melon baller or small spoon, remove core from each pear half, leaving a 11/2 inch diameter hole. Cut a thin slice from bottom of each to make a steady base. Place pears with narrow ends towards center in 9-inch square microwave-safe baking dish. Fill each pear with apricot mixture; set aside. Place maple syrup and remaining 3 tablespoons butter in 2-cup microwave-safe glass measure. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir to combine. Pour over pears; cover loosely with waxed paper. Microwave on HIGH about 6 minutes or until pears are tender, basting pears with sauce halfway through cooking time. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm with yogurt. Makes 4 servings
KUGEL (PUDDING): Regarding matzah, “I’ve found ways of maximizing its ability to bind and provide structure to a dish and keeping its amount to a minimum.”
MUSHROOM LEEK MATZO KUGEL (meat or pareve)
5 tablespoons oil
additional oil for preparing baking dish
2 medium onions, diced
11 medium leeks, white and some light green part only, sliced
4 lbs. mushrooms cut in large chunks
4 medium red bell peppers, seeded and diced in 3/4-inch chunks
4 cups matzo farfel
3-4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth, warmed
5 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish. In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and leek. Cover; reduce heat to low, and cook until for 15-20minutes stirring occasionally. At some point, you may want to continue cooking with the cover off. The point is to cook the leek/onion mixture very, very slowly over low heat until the leeks/onions give off all their moisture and they saute in the oil about 3-4 minutes. Remove the mixture to a large bowl. Do not clean the pan.
Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the pan and saute the mushrooms. (Keep cooking until the mushrooms give off their liquid, the liquid evaporates, and the mushrooms are soft) Remove the mushrooms from the pan and add them to the onion mixture. Don’t clean the pan. Using the remaining tablespoon of oil, saute the bell pepper pieces until just starting to soften. Remove them from the heat. Place the matzo farfel in a bowl. Slowly add the chicken (or vegetable) broth until the farfel is just moistened. Add the cooked vegetables to the matzo and then season with pepper and salt. Mix well. Beat the whole eggs and egg white together. Add the eggs to the farfel vegetable mixture. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes or until the top is brown and crisp and the kugel is set. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10
SALADS: “There are times during the week of Passover that you don’t want to have anything to do with cooking. This is when salads start to really look good.”
LEFTOVER DILLED CHICKEN OR TURKEY CHOPPED SALAD (meat)
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey cut into 1 inch cubes
4 green onions, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups chopped lettuce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl combine the chicken/turkey, green onions, red pepper, tomatoes, lettuce, dill, and parsley. Toss to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise and lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
If all of this isn’t enough, the OU website will also highlight Kosher for Passover wine, among other features.
Chag sameach! Have a happy and Kosher Passover, with the assistance of the OU.