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Passover Recipes

Matzah Spinach Pizza

By: 
Barry Grossman

As we sat around the seder table this year, there was conversation about special childhood memories. My thoughts turned to some of the Passover meals I'd enjoyed growing up. True, there was matzah brei and other special breakfast meals, but what about weekend meals? What? We couldn't have pizza on the weekend during Passover!

Fast forward a few years: As my wife Audrey and I kashered our kitchen and in our quest to add variety to Passover meals, I thought back to college. The "rathskeller" made Passover pizza, and though they used matzah, it wasn't strictly kosher-for-Passover because the oven wasn't kashered. Because it passed our "It could be kosher-for-Passover test,"  Audrey and I launched our now yearly Passover Pizza Challenge.

Here's our most recent rendition of a tasty and kosher-for-Passover pizza.

Ingredients: 
2 matzah sheets
Handful fresh steamed spinach
6 tablespoons tomato sauce
Sliced mozzarella cheese or about 1/3 cup shredded
Sliced cheddar cheese or about 4 tablespoons shredded
1-3 teaspoons olive oil
Fresh basil
Directions: 
  1. Place aluminum foil on lower rack and preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Brush olive oil on matzah sheets, and top with tomato sauce, spinach, cheeses, and fresh basil.
  3. Cook pizzas directly on oven rack until cheese melts, (about 5 to 6 minutes).

When not deconstructing the many fine #Hoboken pizza pies for #Passover with his wife, Audrey Merwin, Barry Grossman is a broadcast engineer and systems engineer at Clark Media, as well as an adjunct lecturer at CUNY NYC College of Technology.

Passover is the most celebrated Jewish holiday in America, with almost 90 percent of American Jews attending some sort of Passover gathering – which also makes it a great time to invite friends and family for brunch.

Chocolate Charoset Truffles

By: 
Deborah R. Prinz

Use high quality chocolate for this truffle, which boasts a Sephardi version of charoset coated with dark or bittersweet chocolate. Make the basic charoset (sans chcolate) for your seder ritual, then concoct the truffles from the leftover charoset to serve them for dessert. Whenever you eat them during Passover, these chocolates are delicious.

Ingredients: 
1⁄4 cup pistachios
1⁄4 cup pecans
1⁄8 cup almonds
1⁄8 cup pine nuts
1⁄2 tart apple
1⁄4 navel orange, with rind
A few drops of sweet white wine
A few drops of honey
Pinch of fresh or ground ginger (or to taste)
Pinch of ground cinnamon (or to taste)
3 pounds dark or bittersweet good quality chocolate, broken into pieces
Directions: 
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.
  • Grind the nuts, apples, and orange separately in a food processor. The nuts should be as close to a powder as possible without becoming “butter.”
  • Combine the nuts, apple, orange, wine, honey, ginger, and cinnamon in a bowl, mixing well. The charoset filling should have a smooth, thick texture. (Note: If using leftover charoset, drain off the liquid.)
  • Roll the charoset into 1-inch balls.
  • Melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; remove from the heat. Using two forks, dip the balls into the melted chocolate and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz lectures about chocolate and Judaism around the world based on stories from her book, On the Chocolate Trail. She co-curated the exhibit “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” for Temple Emanu-El’s Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum, New York City, now available to travel to your community. She recently launched the #chocolatebabkaproject.

Matzah Brei

By: 
Tina Wasserman

This recipe is featured in Tina Wasserman's book, Entree to Judaism for Families filled with tools to help children learn to cook with confidence, with clear, step-by-step instructions for every recipe and tips for adults to make the experience safe and rewarding.

This Passover recipe is quite easy to make with children. It is just difficult to describe! Everyone has their own family favorite. Even after looking at cookbooks from more than 100 years ago and many written in the 1930s, when European Jewish immigrants’ recipes were published, I find it hard to define matzah brei. brei is German and means “wide.” My theory is that since the broken pieces of matzah bound together with egg create a wide or broad pancake, the dish got its name from that definition.

Some matzah brei is made without water, with dry sheets of matzah dipped in egg and then fried. Most recipes call for soaking, washing, or sprinkling the sheets of matzah with water before proceeding. Egg batter seasoned with salt and pepper and no sugar probably had its origins in Germany, Lithuania, or Russia. Those who sweetened their batter with sugar and spice probably have roots in Poland, Hungary, and other areas known in the past as Galicia. Almost everyone uses jam, cinnamon, and sugar, or syrup as a topping.

Here’s my basic recipe. (Can you tell that half of my ancestors came from Poland?)

Ingredients: 
2 sheets of plain matzah (egg matzah may be used, but it falls apart pretty fast)
1 egg
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1–2 teaspoons sugar, according to taste
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Directions: 
  1. Fill a 2-quart bowl with very warm tap water. Break each matzah into roughly 4 pieces and place in the bowl. Press down so that the water covers the matzah.
  2. Mix the egg, milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla in a 1-quart mixing bowl.
  3. Drain the matzah in a colander, and gently press down on the matzah to remove the water. Add the matzah to the egg mixture, and stir carefully with a fork so that egg coats all of the matzah.
  4. Heat an 8-inch nonstick frying pan for 10 seconds. Add the butter and swirl about in the pan until melted. Add the egg/matzah, and gently press to form one large pancake.
  5. Cook until the bottom is golden, and then turn it over with a wide metal spatula or turner. (See Tina’s Tidbits below for the best technique for this.) When the bottom is crisp, remove from the pan, cut into wedges, and serve with topping of your choice.

Tina's Tidbits: 
  • It is easiest to flip the half-cooked brei by using two spatulas or flipping the pancake over onto a plate and then sliding it back into the pan uncooked side down. This second method should NOT be attempted by anyone under the age of 10 and is best demonstrated by an adult.

Kitchen Conversations

  • What are your family matzah brei traditions? Does everyone agree on the recipe? Which version is your favorite?
  • Experiment with different ingredients. Could you make this with vegetables? What about other spices, or a sweet and savory combination by adding pepper with the sugar? Create your own unique recipe. Type it up and save it to start a new family tradition.

Nona's Sephardic Charoset

By: 
Lauren Phillips Fogelman

The Talmud offers a description of what charoset should look like, but it doesn’t specify the ingredients. As a result, different Jewish cultures have developed charoset recipes that relate to regional customs, tastes, and the type of produce that is most readily available. 

My maternal grandmother made this recipe, a thickly blended paste that includes finely chopped nuts with the addition of dates, making  the mixture, which has the consistency of peanut butter, especially delicious. 

Ingredients: 
1 cup pitted dates
½ cup walnuts
1 medium apple, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 or 4 tablespoons sweet Passover wine (Blackberry Manishewitz preferred)
1 teaspoon of unsweetened applesauce
Directions: 
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  • Process until finely chopped into a paste.

Passover Bagels

By: 
Tina Wasserman

A practical dilemma during Passover is taking lunch to work or school without finding a brown bag filled with egg salad adhering to shards of matzah pieces in the bottom. Here’s my answer: bagels!

Made like the classic pâte à choux dough for cream puffs, these rolls turn out crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Shaping the dough into a bagel with a hole allows for even baking so the inside of the roll isn’t soggy. The hole closes up most of the way during baking so you don’t lose the contents of your sandwich.

Ingredients: 
2 cups matzah meal
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil
4 eggs
Directions: 
  1. Combine the matzah meal, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Bring the oil and water to a boil and add to the matzah meal mixture all at once. Stir well to combine.
  2. Using a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, beat in eggs thoroughly one at a time until each is incorporated into the dough. Let stand covered for 15 minutes.
  3. With oiled hands, scoop up about 2 heaping tablespoons of dough and shape into rolls. Place on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Grease your forefinger. Insert your finger into the middle of the roll and twirl your finger around until a hole is formed in the center.
  5. Bake at 375°F for 40–50 minutes.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Have all of the ingredients premeasured in the bowl and saucepan. If the water mixture boils too long, the proportion of matzah meal to water will be off and will result in dense bagels.
  • Oiling your hands serves two purposes: the dough won’t stick when you’re shaping it and making the hole in the center, and it helps to lightly “fry” the top to give the bagel a crisp crust.
  • The most important rule for working with matzah meal is always allowing the mixture to sit covered for at least 15 minutes. Matzah meal needs time to hydrate (absorb the water). Many people make the mistake of adding more meal when the mixture looks too thin. Their finished product is always too heavy and dry.

Sweet Matzah Brei with Cardamom Cashew Crème and Berries

By: 
Chef Mark Reinfeld

This vegan version of the Passover staple uses ground flax seeds to replace the eggs traditionally used in matzah brei. Ours is served with a decadent cardamom scented sweet vegan crème, using soaked raw cashews for the base.

Ingredients: 
CARDAMOM CASHEW CRÈME:
1 cup raw cashews
¾ cup water
¼ cup sugar or desired sweetener to taste
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch sea salt
..........................................................................
MATZAH BREI:
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds or chia seeds
¾ cup water
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegan butter
5 matzahs
3 tablespoons sugar or desired sweetener to taste
Pinch sea salt
..........................................................................
GARNISH:
Fresh berries
Mint leaves
Directions: 

Prepare the Cashew Crème

  • Place the cashews in a bowl with ample water to cover. Allow to sit for 30 minutes up to a few hours. Drain, and rinse well.
  • Transfer to a blender with the remaining ingredients including the ¾ cup water and blend until creamy. Add more water if necessary to reach desired creaminess. While the cashews are soaking, prepare the matzah brei.

Prepare the Matzah Brei

  • Place the flax seeds, water, cinnamon, and cardamom in a small bowl and whisk well. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Run the matzah under warm water until just soft. Be careful not to over soak. Crumble into a bowl into small pieces (¼ to ½ inch is ok).  Add the sugar and pinch of salt, and mix well
  • Place a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the oil. Transfer the matzah mixture evenly to the pan. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the the soaked flax seed mixture and mix well so that it is evenly dispersed through the matzah. Flatten with a spatula so that one large ‘pancake’ is formed, approximately ¼ inch thick.
  • Allow to cook for 3 minutes.
  • Using a spatula, divide the pancake into four equal pieces, flip each piece and cook for 5 minutes, or until it starts to brown. Be careful not to burn. Flip once again and cook for an additional  2 minutes.

To serve

  • Top with cashew crème, fresh berries and garnish with a mint leaf. You can also create a double-layered matzah brei and place cashew crème inbetween the two layers (see photo). 

Mark Reinfeld is the 2017 Inductee into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. He is a multi-award winning chef and author of eight books, including his latest, The Ultimate Age-Defying Plan. His last book, Healing the Vegan Way, was selected as the #1 book for Vegans in 2016 by Philly.com. Mark has over 25 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, Kroger, Danone, The Humane Society, Bon Appetit Management, Aramark, Sodexo, and more. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted “Best Restaurant on Kaua’i.”

His first cookbook, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, has won 9 national awards including “Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA.” Mark is the recipient of Vegan.com’s Recipe of the Year Award and Aspen Center for Integral Health’s Platinum Carrot Award. Through his Vegan Fusion company, he offers consulting services, vegan and raw cooking workshops, a plant-based chef certification program, and chef trainings internationally. His two-part online culinary course, offered in conjunction with the Vegetarian Times, is available. 

Parsley Pesto

By: 
Chef Mark Reinfeld

Serve a dollop atop my vegan Passover entrée, Matzah Encrusted Portobello Mushrooms with Roasted Asparagus.

Ingredients: 
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup fresh basil
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, optional
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
2-4 tablespoons water
Directions: 
  1. Place all of the ingredients except the water in a blender or food processor and blend well.
  2. Add small amounts of water if necessary to reach a creamy consistency. The size and strength of your blender will determine how much water will be required.

Mark Reinfeld is the 2017 Inductee into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. He is a multi-award winning chef and author of eight books, including his latest, The Ultimate Age-Defying Plan. His last book, Healing the Vegan Way, was selected as the #1 book for Vegans in 2016 by Philly.com. Mark has over 25 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, Kroger, Danone, The Humane Society, Bon Appetit Management, Aramark, Sodexo, and more. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted “Best Restaurant on Kaua’i.”

His first cookbook, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, has won 9 national awards including “Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA.” Mark is the recipient of Vegan.com’s Recipe of the Year Award and Aspen Center for Integral Health’s Platinum Carrot Award. Through his Vegan Fusion company, he offers consulting services, vegan and raw cooking workshops, a plant-based chef certification program, and chef trainings internationally. His two-part online culinary course, offered in conjunction with the Vegetarian Times, is available. 

Roasted Asparagus

By: 
Chef Mark Reinfeld

Serve on top of my vegan Passover entrée, Matzah Encrusted Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients: 
1 bunch asparagus, tough bottoms trimmed
1 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch sea salt and ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the asparagus on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and top with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and mix well.
  2. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until just tender, depending on the size of the asparagus. Flip once or twice when cooking. Be sure not to overcook!

Mark Reinfeld is the 2017 Inductee into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. He is a multi-award winning chef and author of eight books, including his latest, The Ultimate Age-Defying Plan. His last book, Healing the Vegan Way, was selected as the #1 book for Vegans in 2016 by Philly.com. Mark has over 25 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, Kroger, Danone, The Humane Society, Bon Appetit Management, Aramark, Sodexo, and more. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted “Best Restaurant on Kaua’i.”

His first cookbook, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, has won 9 national awards including “Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA.” Mark is the recipient of Vegan.com’s Recipe of the Year Award and Aspen Center for Integral Health’s Platinum Carrot Award. Through his Vegan Fusion company, he offers consulting services, vegan and raw cooking workshops, a plant-based chef certification program, and chef trainings internationally. His two-part online culinary course, offered in conjunction with the Vegetarian Times, is available. 

Matzah Encrusted Portobello Mushrooms with Roasted Asparagus and Parsley Pesto

By: 
Chef Mark Reinfeld

Look no further for a kosher-for-Passover main course for your vegan guests. Serve family style or, if you wish, fan the Roasted Asparagus over the portobello mushroom and top with a dollop of Parsley Pesto.

Ingredients: 
MUSHROOMS:
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil or additional water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch sea salt and ground black pepper
..............................................................................
ALMOND BUTTER SPREAD:
¼ cup almond butter
¼ cup water
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
Pinch sea salt and ground black pepper
..............................................................................
MATZAH CRUST:
¾ cup crumbled matzah or matzah meal
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh dill
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Olive oil or melted vegan butter for drizzling
Directions: 

Yield: 4 servings

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the portobello mushrooms. Place the mushrooms gill side up and ¼ cup water in a small baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and top with the salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip mushrooms and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip again so the gills are facing up.
  2. Meanwhile, place all of the almond butter spread ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Add more water if necessary to reach a thick, yet smooth and spreadable consistency.
  3. Place all of the matzah crust ingredients in a shallow bowl and mix well.
  4. Spread the almond butter mixture inside of the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms in the bowl with the matzah crust and cover the top of the mushroom completely with a coating of the crust. [Note: It is ok if the  crust does not stick to to the bottom of the mushroom.] Drizzle olive oil or melted vegan butter over the top to help the crust brown.
  5. Return the mushrooms to the baking dish, gill side up, and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

How to Reheat for Another Meal

  • Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the mushrooms top up. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Carefully flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Mark Reinfeld is the 2017 Inductee into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. He is a multi-award winning chef and author of eight books, including his latest, The Ultimate Age-Defying Plan. His last book, Healing the Vegan Way, was selected as the #1 book for Vegans in 2016 by Philly.com. Mark has over 25 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, Kroger, Danone, The Humane Society, Bon Appetit Management, Aramark, Sodexo, and more. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted “Best Restaurant on Kaua’i.”

His first cookbook, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, has won 9 national awards including “Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA.” Mark is the recipient of Vegan.com’s Recipe of the Year Award and Aspen Center for Integral Health’s Platinum Carrot Award. Through his Vegan Fusion company, he offers consulting services, vegan and raw cooking workshops, a plant-based chef certification program, and chef trainings internationally. His two-part online culinary course, offered in conjunction with the Vegetarian Times, is available. 

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