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Cooking for Passover

by: Ethel G. Hofman - Last updated: 2005-04-15

Sedar plate

Sedar plate

The eight day holiday commemorates the liberation of the Jews under the leadership of Moses from Egyptian bondage more than three thousand years ago.

It is a celebration of freedom and at the seder, the story of the exodus from Egypt is recalled and read from the Haggadah.

Passover food customs are probably the most complex of all Jewish holidays. Besides keeping to the laws of kashruth, no leavening(chometz) or leavened products such as bread may be used. Baked goods are prepared with matzo cake mealand matzo meal and entirely different sets of dishes and utensils are used.

The menu below incorporates Ashkenazi dishes, familiar and traditional to most British Jews with Sephardic dishes, reminiscent of a Spanish Moroccan cuisine which uses fresh produce and is fragrant with aromatic spices.

On the Greek island of Rhodes,charoseth was prepared with dates as well as apples, cooked down to a pulp anda splash of vinegar added.

Slow-cooked Sephardic Seder Brown Eggs should be cut in half to serve as whole eggs are used only during mourning. Honeyed Melon Trio is scented with cardamom, a member of the ginger family, imparting the melons with a warm, sweet-spicy flavor and a springtime fresh herb stuffing lightlylaced with cumin is loosely packed into the pocket of a veal breast (ask the butcher to cut a pocket in the veal).

You may add or substitute any vegetables of your choice for the MixedVegetable Kugel – grated carrots or broccoli from the supermarket producesection, diced eggplant or grated sweet potatoes. Everything with the exception of the Iceberg lettuce wedges and the Mandarin Chocolate Roll may be prepared two or three days ahead of time. All ingredients used should be labelled kosher for Passover.


Greek Charoseth* Sephardic Seder Browneggs*

Honeyed Melon Trio*

Braised Stuffed VealBreast* Mixed Vegetable Kugel*

Iceberg LettuceWedges with Dressing

Mandarin ChocolateRoll* Dried Fruit Compote

greek charoseth(pareve) makes about 1 1/2cups

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored 1/2 cup apple juice 1/2 cup water 8 ounces pitted dates 1 1/4 cups walnut pieces 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 1 tablespoon cider vinegar 1/4 cup sweet wine or to taste 2 tablespoons honey or to taste

Cut apples into 3/4-inch chunks and place in a heavybottomed saucepan. Add the apple juice,water and dates. Bring to a boil. Partially cover and reduce to simmer. Cook 20minutes, stirring often, or untilapples are softened and liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Cool. Placein a food processor with the walnuts, ginger and vinegar. Process to coarselychop the walnuts. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in sweet wine and honey to taste.Prepare ahead to allow the flavors to blend. May be refrigerated up to oneweek. approx. nutrients per tablespoon: calories – 81 protein – 1g carbohydrates – 12g fat – 3g cholesterol – 0mg sodium – 1mg

Sephardic Seder BrownEggs (pareve) makes 12

12 eggs 1 large yellow onion with skin, halved 1 1/2 cups cold strong coffee 1/2 cup vegetable oil chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish (optional) Place eggs in a large saucepan with enough water to cover byabout 2-inches. Add the onion, coffee, and vegetable oil. Bring to aboil over medium high heat. Reduce to low. Cover and simmer for about 2 1/2hours. Peel eggs under cold running water. To serve: cut in half and sprinkle with chopped parsley orcilantro. Note: the oil helps keep the water from evaporating. approx. nutrients per egg: calories – 90 protein – 7g carbohydrates – 1g fat – 6g cholesterol – 246mg sodium –72mg

Honeyed Melon Trio(pareve) serves 6-8

1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup apricot juice 3 tablespoons lemon juice 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 4 cups honeydew melon, cut in bite size pieces 4 cups cantaloupe, cut in bite size pieces 2 cups watermelon, seeded and cut in bite size pieces shredded mint for garnish (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine the honey, apricot and lemon juices and cardamom. Bring to boil, stirring to blend. Set aside to cool. In alarge bowl, toss the cut up melons. Pour the cooled honey mixture over. Stirlightly to mix. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Garnish with shreddedmint before serving. approx. nutrients per serving: calories – 145 protein – 2g carbohydrates – 38g fat – 0g cholesterol – 0mg sodium –18mg

Herb Stuffed Veal Breast (meat) serves 8

1 package vegetable kishke mix 1/2 cup peanut oil 1 1/3 cups warm water 1 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley 3 scallions, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons chopped chives 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind 1 teaspoon ground cumin pepper and salt to taste 4 1/2 pound veal breast with pocket paprika 1 1/2 cups beefbroth 2 cups cold water Preheat oven to 450F. Pour the kishke mix into a bowl. Addthe oil and warm water and mix well. Add parsley, scallions, chives, sage, lemon rind and cumin. Season with pepper andsalt to taste. Cool. Spoon enough of the mixture into the veal breast pocket tofill loosely. Secure with poultry picks. Set aside remaining kishke mixture touse as below. Place the veal breast in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt,pepper and paprika. Pour 1 cup beef broth and 1 cup cold water around. Roast uncovered in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Add remaining broth and cold water to roasting pan. Cover tightly withfoil. Reduce heat to 350F. Bake 2 hours longer, basting often. Meat should betender when pierced with a sharp knife. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

To use extra kishke mixture: spoon onto a 12-inch square ofaluminum foil. shape into a roll about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap and rollin the foil, sealing ends.

Bake along with the veal in preheated 350F. oven for 1 hour.Slice and serve hot.

approx. nutrients per serving including entire kishkemixture: calories – 611 protein – 74g carbohydrates – 18g fat- 25g cholesterol – 257mg sodium–339mg

Mixed Vegetable Kugel (pareve) serves8

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoonspeanut oil 2 medium red bell peppers, diced 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped 2 cups sliced mushrooms 4 large green zucchini (about 11/2 pounds), coarsely grated 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 4 eggs, lightly beaten 1/3 cup matzo meal 1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste 3/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a9-inch square baking dish with non-stick Passover vegetable spray.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cupoil over medium high heat. Add the peppers, onion and mushrooms.

Saute 2-3 minutes until onionsare beginning to wilt. Transfer to a large bowl. add the zucchini, parsley,eggs, matzo meal, salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish.Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over the top. Bake in preheated oven until nicelybrowned and set in center, about 50 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before cutting intosquares to serve.

approx. nutrients per serving:calories – 170 protein – 7g carbohydrates – 8g fat – 13g cholesterol – 106mg sodium – 326mg

mandarinchocolate roll (pareve) serves8-10

4 eggs, separated 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/3 cup potato starch 1 tablespoon matzoh cake meal 1 cup non-dairy whipped topping 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoonschopped pareve semisweet chocolate 1 (8 ounce) can mandarin orangesegments, well-drained and patted dry

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a15-1/2 by 10-inch jelly roll pan. with wax paper. Coat with non-stick Passovervegetable spray. Whisk egg whites until stiff. Set aside. Whisk yolks with 3/4 cupsugar until pale. Beat in the lemon juice. Sift the potato starch and cake mealand gradually fold into the egg yolk mixture.

Fold in the beaten egg whites.Spread batter into prepared jelly roll pan. Bake in preheated oven until cakesprings back when touched lightly with finger, 18-20 minutes. Turn out onto waxpaper sprinkled with 1 tablespoon sugar. Immediately peel the wax paper fromcake, then roll up as for jelly roll. Let cool.

Mix the whipped topping with 1/4 cup chopped chocolate. Unrolland remove sugared wax paper from the cake roll. Spread the chocolate mixtureover the cake to within 1/4-inch of the edges. Scatter the orange segments overand roll up again. Melt remaining chocolate in the microwave, about 30seconds at High. Drizzle melted chocolate overthe roll. Slice with a serrated knife.

approx. nutrients per serving:calories – 171 protein – 3g carbohydrates – 28g fat – 6g cholesterol – 85mg sodium – 30mg