Seasonal Cooking

 

Refreshed! Chol Hamoed Dinners

 

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After days of heavy yom tov eating, our stomachs and taste buds are likely craving lighter fare. These wholesome dairy, pareve, and meat options offer a refreshing change of pace—and are easy to prepare after a busy day.

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks


 

Tips For The Perfect Matzo Brei

 

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Once we’ve gotten ourselves past the Seder accoutrements ~ the ceremonial foods, the hearty meal and the sweet desserts, we can look forward to some of the other holiday treats.  In my household, running a close second to the chocolate covered matzo, is matzo brei.  Matzo brei is the quintessential Passover brunch food; although it’s just as appreciated as a light dinner, too.

Loosely translated, matzo brei is matzo fried with eggs.  And while that is often the case, it can be so much more!  For instance, is your favorite style more matzo than egg, like a pancake; or is it more egg than matzo ~ frittata style?


 

15 Passover Potato Recipes

 

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Whenever you talk about Passover cooking, everyone groans and says they are so sick of potatoes. But potatoes on Passover don’t have to be boring. The average American eats about 140 lbs of potatoes every year – that’s a lot. But just think – potatoes can be mashed and fried, boiled and grilled, chipped and chopped. Raw or cooked – everyone enjoys potatoes in their diets.

Here are some great Passover Potato recipes:


 

Pesach Supper Savers

 

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After the Seder Plate is washed and the haggadahs are shaken out and put away, there is an inner sigh of relief mixed with contentment, a feeling of release after all those weeks of build-up leading up to Seder night. We are full, we are sated with the work of our hands…that is, until the next day when the festive intermediary days of Chol HaMoed are upon us and somehow, despite all the food….everyone is hungry. Again?

Chol HaMoed Pesach is a particularly beautiful time of year – with spring buds and blossoms all abloom, it presents wonderful opportunities to spend time with family, go on outings or activities and to leave our kitchens! Nonetheless, at the end of the day, there are still hungry mouths waiting for dinner, especially after a long day out. Now is the perfect time to get organized and anticipate those “forgotten” meals of Pesach. A little advanced planning now will go a long way towards ensuring stress-free meals on days when time and energy are at a premium. Plan a holiday week menu now to minimize shopping trips and maximize your family-time.


 

Prime Grill Exclusive Recipes for your Passover...

 

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Wine and dine your guests this holiday, in the comfort of your own home.

Chef David Kolotkin, executive chef of The Prime Grill in New York City, brings his passion and innovation to your table this Pesach. Learn the secrets behind the unique flavors and flare Prime Grill diners enjoy. Chef David’s love for cooking didn’t sprout in a commercial kitchen. They were born in his childhood home, enjoying his mother’s delicious home-cooked meals and bonding moments with his parents in the kitchen. There, his deep respect for food grew, leading to his illustrious culinary career. Now, this Pesach, find that same inspiration—in your own home, around your own table with these recipes:


 

Five Charoset Recipes from Around the World

 

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Syrian Haroset - Victoria Dwek

My father-in-law, a Rav, told me he was once asked, “Why is haroset delicious if it represents such sad things?” He responded, “Every difficulty in life is really sweet—they are blessings from G-d.” Every ingredient in the haroset is symbolic of the Jewish labor in Egypt. The walnuts are the pebbles of the bricks. The dates represent the mud, and the wine is the blood of the babies who were used in place of bricks when the quotas weren’t filled. As most Sepharadim eat gebrokts, the matzah meal represents the straw, also used to make bricks. This recipe is from my husband’s grandmother a”h, Rosa Dwek, from Aleppo, Syria.


 

Making the Most of Natural Flavors on Passover

 

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I don’t know about you but in my family we are pretty strict on Pesach. It’s a funny thing though because when I talk to some people, they seem to think we are so lenient. Considering that Pesach standards stretch from eating rice to not using dishwashing soap (a relative of mine actually washes her dishes with kosher salt!), I guess I can see why some might consider me lenient.

So what do we, or don’t we, eat? Well thankfully, my family does not use shmaltz. We opt for nut oil instead. We don’t use spices or processed condiments like ketchup, mayo, and duck sauce. So our seasonings mostly involve kosher salt and liquid sugar (a simple syrup that is made by boiling water and sugar and pouring it through a cheesecloth). The liquid sugar really comes in handy for my mom because she loves to make everything sweet. She pours it over sweet potato cubes for perfect candied potatoes, adds it to roasts, fruit salads, and even nut-pancakes.


 

No Processed Food On Passover

 

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There are many minhagim (customs) regarding Passover. Each branch (sect) of Judaism having their own special interpretations. Among Chassidim, and in our household, we do not eat Gebrokst (allow the matzoh to get wet) for the first 7 days of Passover. On the 8th day we allow the matzoh to be eaten freely with all foods and to be wetted and especially to make knaidlach and matzoh brei. We also take on many chumrahs (restrictions) such as eating only fruits and vegetables that can be peeled. Therefore virtually all spices are prohibited. In our sect, garlic is not used. You might think, that we are left with practically nothing to eat, since we take on the additional chumrah that we don’t use any processed foods, but make everything ourselves. The only processed foods we use are Salt, Sugar (boiled and filtered before Passover, and used in liquid form), Oil, Matzoh and Wine. In recent years, as the family has grown, we now buy potato starch, since we can’t produce enough of it just from slicing and soaking potatoes. (Here is a recipe for Potato Starch “Matzo” Balls)

In truth, I love Passover, because I think it is the healthiest 8 days of the year. No food colorings, no preservatives, no junk. I used to lecture on this subject to people first learning about Jewish Law, saying that if it reads “Kosher for Passover” we don’t use it. My point was, we make everything we can ourselves.


 

Super Passover Stuffings

 

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To stuff or not to stuff? That’s the question when it comes to turkeys and I am definitely in the not to stuff camp. Turkeys are big birds and there’s always a concern that the stuffing will not get to a high enough temperature to kill any growing bacteria. It also increases the cooking time and can lead to drier meat because you have to cook the turkey longer if it’s stuffed.


 

Happy First Day of Spring

 

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The weather has been glorious in our neck of the woods for some time. However, today it officially became Spring. No More Winter! In celebration of the fact that spring is here, we bring you some of our favorite springtime recipes.


 

Seder Tablescape

 

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Dear Joy of Kosher readers,

On Passover, we strive to whip up the perfect hametz-free gourmet menu which a huge feat right after we survive meticulously scrubbing of every inch of our homes. With just a little bit of planning and imagination, we can save some energy to create our own unique Passover seder tablescapes which serves as an elegant backdrop for our delicious Passover meals.


 

Carrot Dill Matzah Balls

 

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These are not your Bubbe’s matzah balls.

But they’re perfect.


 

Ingredient Spotlight: Horseradish

 

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Whenever we approach “Maror” at the Passover Seder, I see my little cousins cringe at the prospect of having to eat the bitter herb to remind us of the bitter work the Egyptians forced on the enslaved Hebrews. The horseradish we consume can even bring tears to your eyes if you have too much. By the end of the two Seders, there is usually enough horseradish to last for 3 or 4 more Passovers or preserved to be used with gefilte fish for the whole year.  The sale of bottled horseradish began in the 1860′s, but there is nothing like making your own.  Here are 2 different methods for preserving.

Drying: 1. Set oven to the lowest possible temperature. 2. Either slice the horseradish into uniform thickness, or grate using a box grater (this is how my leftover horseradish usually is anyway) 3. Lay out the horseradish in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven to dry. Check occasionally, until they are brittle to the touch. (**note–I don’t know how long this actually is) 4. Once fully dried, store in a dark airtight container on a dark shelf. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum seal the horseradish and store in the freezer. Mark with the date and discard after 6 months. Grated: 1. Grate the horseradish with a box grater. Be careful not to put your head too close or you will feel a rush of the released horseradish oils that will make your eyes tear. 2. Take a small clean jar that can hold 1/2-1 cup. Fill halfway with quality red, white, or light balsamic vinegar (1/4-1/2 cup). 3. Spoon the grated horseradish into the jar. Gently swirl with a bamboo skewer to make sure all pieces have been coated with vinegar. 4. Seal and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. Note: Homemade horseradish is usually stronger than store bought especially if you make it when it is very fresh and pungent. Here are some more ideas for how to use horseradish: -Sniff it when you have a cold–it will clear your sinuses right up! -Slice thinly using a mandolin and serve in salads. There are many varieties of horseradish, including a watermelon horseradish, which look beautiful when sliced and served this way. -Boil or steam the horseradish and eat it like you would a turnip or steamed carrots. The cooking process eliminates the pungent flavor of the horseradish, so for those who don’t like the flavor, this can be a great way to still benefit from the nutrition of the root vegetable, which is a great source of fiber.

Gefilte Fish Cakes with Horseradish Sauce


 

Happy Purim!!

 

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Well, it’s been intense preparing for this holiday – but we have had so much bringing you all the Purim recipes and Seudah themes and ways to wrap your Mishloach Manot.

Here’s a round up of what we shared with you – bookmark this page to use again next year!


 

Amalek Kugel for Parshat Zachor

 

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Yes, I was a bit confused to learn that there is a recipe called Amalek Kugel. Amalek? Isn’t his evil tribe our greatest historical enemy? Wasn’t the wicked Haman his grandson? Aren’t Hitler, the Hamas terrorists, the Hizbollah, Ahamdinjead said to be his descendents?

Naming a kugel after him sounded about as strange as naming an ice cream flavor after Hitler, except that it isn’t.