Passover Menu 2014

It was wonderful having the second night of Passover at my house, except for part of my family’s absense.

I’m glad the food was appreciated and yummy.

Here’s the menu:

  • homemade chicken soup with matzo balls and soup nuts
  • homemade chopped liver with Passover Tam Tams
  • not homemade, but just fine gefilte fish with chraine (horseradish)
  • Ashkenazi charoset
  • brisket
  • roast chicken
  • steamed asparagus
  • Aunt  Florence’s cucumber salad
  • Ellen’s pineapple Passover kugel
  • Judy’s and Shirley’s twice baked potatoes
  • homemade cranberry sauce
  • Passover apple crisp (warm) with vanilla ice cream
  • Judy’s Passover brownies

Eggs and Potatoes in One Pan

I often make one of my specialties, called brenta, which is a recipe of my Grandma Hindes.  Brenta means burned in Yiddish, and these are basically fried potatoes- a Jewish version of hash browns-  but better (you can find this recipe on this site under potatoes). 

To make this, I put about 1 tablespoon of butter in a small nonstick frying pan and melted it on a medium flame.  Then, I put some leftover brenta (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups) in the pan and flattened them to cover the bottom of the pan.  Then I cracked 2 extra large organic eggs on top of the brenta.  I broke the yolks a little, then I covered the pan, and cooked over a medium high flame until the eggs were cooked.  I served and ate immediately, sprinkling with a little kosher salt and some fresh black pepper.  This Is as yummy as can be. 

The next time I do this, I may sprinkle some grated extra sharp cheddar on top of the eggs as they cook.  I’m also thinking about making this dish but in a larger quantity for my family or to bring to school for one of our teacher breakfasts.  I’d do it in an oval baking dish, and bake it in the oven on a high temperature – of course add more of everything- maybe about 4 cups of the brenta, 1 dozen eggs, and about 1/2 cup shredded cheddar over all.  I’ll keep you posted once I do this for more people than just myself.

Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies taste very close to regular chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve made them a few times, and they are really good.

  • 1 1/4 cups matzoh cake meal (sift after measured)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (eliminate to make totally kosher for Passover)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (scant teaspoon if using salted butter)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (may substitute margarine)
  • scant 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 12 oz. package of semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine cake meal , baking soda, and salt in bowl; set aside.  Beat butter in mixer till fluffy. Add sugars and vanilla; beat until creamy.  Add eggs, and beat.  Slowly beat in cake meal mixture, and mix only until blended.  Stir in chips by hand.

Drop by tablespoon onto parchment lined cookie sheets.  Bake 9 to 11 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.

Delicious Oven Fried Chicken Cutlets For Passover Or Anytime

To make this chicken, all I did was simply adapt one of my regular chicken recipes for Passover.  These are delicious, which I know for sure, since all my children loved them.  In fact, my daughter Randi claims that she likes this chicken more than my not for Passover oven fried chicken cutlets.  These are delicious hot, but also cold.  What I like to do is prepare the chicken before I leave for work in the morning without baking it, stick it in the fridge, and then when I get home, I can just throw it in the oven and dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  •  1 pound or so of thin sliced chicken cutlets
  • matza meal
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil or any other oil of your choice (I use a combination of extra virgin and light olive oil, but that is not necessary)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1.  Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil, then pour a few tablespoons of oil on it, and shmear it all over the pan.  Pour some oil in a shallow bowl, enough to coat all your cutlets.

2.  Place the cutlets in oil and with make sure the cutlets are all totally coated in the oil.

3.  Pour a good amount of matza meal on a large plate, and add salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Dredge each oil coated cutlet in the matza meal, using your hands to really coat the cutlet well on both sides.  I usually turn the cutlet over a few times, pressing the matza meal into the cutlet.  Then transfer each cutlet to the sheet pan.  Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper over each cutlet and drizzle the top of the chicken very lightly with.

5.  Place in center of oven for about 15 minutes.  Change the setting of the oven to broil- low.  Then cook for another 10 or so minutes just until the top of the chicken is nicely browned.  During this time, watch carefully.  If chicken is starting to burn, then change the setting back to bake at 400 degrees.

Note:  The chicken cutlets I use are very thin.  If your cutlets are thicker, bake them for more time up front, and broil them for a few minutes at the end.  Matza meal takes longer to brown than bread crumbs or corn flakes crumbs.  That’s why I have found it is necessary to broil the cutlets to brown them.  The thin cutlets only need 20-25 min. to cook, and the matza meal will not brown in that time period only on a bake setting.

Judy’s Sweet And Sour Meatballs or Stuffed Cabbage

I adapted this recipe from my Aunt Florence Fried’s recipe for the filling of her stuffed cabbage.  When I used to make stuffed cabbage, I would make extra meatballs for my children.  My son Danny was the one who really loved these.  My mother loved when I made this, but my father especially loved when I made the stuffed cabbage.

for the meatballs or the filling of the stuffed cabbage:

  • 4 pounds chop meat (85% or 90% lean)
  • 4 eggs
  • about 1 cup of plain bread crumbs (or matzah meal for Passover)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the sauce for the sweet and sour meatballs or the stuffed cabbage:

  • 4- 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 4- 6 oz. cans tomato paste (I use Contadina)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sour salt (or substitute 1 more lemon for sour salt 9/11)
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar (reduce to 1 1/2 cups)

if you are making stuffed cabbage:

  • 1 large head of new cabbage

for making the sweet and sour meatballs:

Put all the sauce ingredients in a large pot.  Put over low flame and whisk till blended.  Then form meat mixture into meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Gently drop meatballs into pot.  Simmer covered over a low flame about 2 1/2 hours.    Do not stir until your meatballs have set after about 1/2 hour or so.  If you mix while they are still raw, they will not retain their shape.

for stuffed cabbage:

Core and put 1 large head of new cabbage in a very large pot.  Pour cold water in to cover.  Simmer covered until the leaves are soft enough to separate.  Lay out one leaf of cabbage at a time.  Put about one tablespoon of meat mixture in center but towards the bottom of the leaf, then begin to roll up, then fold both sides over, and continue to roll.  Do with each leaf until you have used all the leaves.  Put half of your sauce mixture in bottom of a very large pot.  Then put all of the cabbage rolls, then the rest of the sauce on top.  If you have any leftover meat, make meatballs out of them and add to the top of the pot.  Simmer with the top on about 2 1/2 hours.

Note:  This freezes very well.

Homemade Dark Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

I made this delicious confection and brought it to a Chanukah party at my in-law’s, Marsha’s house, and people went crazy for it, especially my daughter Randi and my mother. The following week, I doubled the recipe for a Chanukah-Christmas dinner party at my friend Jim’s house. When I brought out the platter with these candies, they looked magnificent. The comment made was that they looked like they were made by Ina Garten or Martha Stewart! If you went to buy these at a fine candy shop, it probably would have cost at least $16.00 a pound. And these taste even better. They are much more delicious than standard macaroons, because they are soft on the inside! You must try them, especially if you want to give your family and friends an incredible treat.

I recommend doubling this recipe.

  • 3 extra large egg whites at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 1 7 oz. bag sweetened flaked coconut
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted *See note at bottom

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Put parchment paper or nonstick foil on 2 cookie sheets.

With electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until foamy; keep mixer on high speed and add the sugar. Beat till you have soft peaks. Gently fold in extracts and coconut.

Drop by rounded teaspoons or tablespoons (depending on how big you want the candies to be) on parchment paper. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes until the coconut on top starts to be a little browned and the bottoms are slightly browned.

Let cool on baking pans. While they are cooling, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on a very low power level.

When macaroons are cool, take them off the cookie sheet one at a time. Then dip the bottoms and then turn them so the chocolate goes a little up the sides. I dip them so there is a pretty thick layer of chocolate on the bottoms. Then place them right back either on the parchment or on some new waxed paper. Place them right on the paper in the fridge for about an hour to set. They will release completely off the paper. Put them on a serving platter and keep cold until you serve them.

* The first time I made these I used all Guittard bittersweet chocolate morsels. The second time, I used a combination of Bakers bittersweet chocolate (in the box) and some semi-sweet chocolate chips. It came out delicious both times.

Passover Spinach Pie Or Passover Spanikopita

This Is The Best Recipe For Passover Spinach Pie Or Passover Spanikopita!

Last year, our wonderful friends, the Slotnicks, invited us over for a Passover Seder.  I wanted to bring a main course dish that my daughter and her husband, who are both vegetarians, would enjoy.  My daughter loves the Greek dish called spanikopita or spinach pie, so I decided to create my own Passover version of it.  It turned out delicious!  And it only took about 30 minutes to prepare.  We’re getting very close to Passover, and I definitely plan to make this Passover spanikopita for Seder or just for a light dinner this year!

  • about 6 matza boards
  • 5 extra large or jumbo eggs (3 for filling, 2 for pouring over the top)
  • 1-10 ounce box of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained well
  • 8 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped finely
  • about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of dried dill or 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped dill
  • about 2-3 tablespoons of butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease sides and bottom of  a 9 x 13 pyrex or ceramic baking dish well with butter or margarine.

In a medium mixing bowl, gently mix the drained spinach with the crumbled feta, the chopped raw onion, 3 eggs the pepper, and the dill; set aside.

Soak about 3 matzas in warm water in another 9 x 13 baking dish.  When the matza starts to soften, gently squeeze the water out, very carefully, so that you don’t crumble the matza.  Then place the matzas in the bottom of the pan to cover it.  Do not overlap the matza; just lay it side by side covering the bottom of the pan the way you would if you were making lasagna.

Spread the entire spinach mixture evenly over the matza, covering the matza completely.  Then soak another 3 matzas in warm water, gently squeeze out excess water, and place the matza over the top of the spinach, covering the spinach completely.  Beat the remaining 2 eggs and pour over the matza.  Dot with butter or margarine.  Bake covered for about 30 minutes till hot and bubbly.

Note #1:  You can prepare this in advance and refrigerate this up until the step where you pour the 2 beaten eggs over the matza.  Then when you wish to bake it, let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes, pour the 2 beaten eggs over it, dot it with butter or margarine and bake covered, for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Note #2:  You may substitute 1 pound of fresh spinach for the frozen, but you will need to saute it (very briefly) in a little oil, butter or margarine, just until it wilts and turns a dark green before you mix it with the feta, egg, onion, pepper, and dill. I like to use the frozen spinach, because 1-16 ounce box of frozen spinach is equivalent to much more than 1 pound of fresh spinach.

Ellen’s Delicious Passover Pineapple Kugel

Learn To Make This Outstanding Pineapple Kugel For Passover!  

I adapted this recipe from a recipe I got from my friend Ellen Wachstein.  Ellen is an amazing person and a wonderful friend! I have so many memories of the happy times my family spent over the years with Ellen, her husband Bobby, and her three great children, Toby, Steven, and Alexa. My favorite memories are of the many days our two families spent together at the Phillips Avenue Beach Pavilion in Deal, New Jersey, or of the many times our two families just hung out together at their house or our house.  Anyway, my family was lucky to be invited over to the Wachstein’s for a Passover Seder one year.  Bobby Wachstein does a fabulous job of leading the Seder!  Of course, I was very into the food.  One of the dishes Ellen made for the Seder was her Passover pineapple kugel.  I loved it.  I got the recipe and I make it every year for Passover.  Whenever I am invited to anyone’s home for a Seder, I always bring this dish, and it  gets rave reviews.  I know if you make this pineapple kugel for Passover once, it will become a favorite of yours, too!

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine (use unsalted margarine to make this dish pareve, otherwise you can use salted margarine or butter) (used margarine for Passover 2014)(used butter Passover 2015)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (you only need salt if you are using unsalted butter or margarine)
  • scant 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2- 20 ounce cans crushed pineapple in natural juice, strained but not dry at all (you will not be using the juice)
  • 6 extra large eggs, mixed in a small bowl (switch to 7 ex. lg. next time– to give a little more liquid)
  • 4 cups of dry matza farfel (used whole canister April 2014) This year, I used 14 oz. of matza that I broke into pieces myself when I couldn’t find farfel)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling on top (also sprinkled cinn. and sugar on top April 2014) I used 2 1/2 teaspoons 2015 and sprinkled top too

to make the kugel:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put the margarine into a 9 x 13 baking dish, rectangular or oval, and place in the oven.  When it is melted take out the pan, swirl the margarine around in the pan to make sure that the sides and bottom are well greased.  Pour the melted margarine into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place a colander in the sink.  Put the whole canister (14 oz.) of matza farfel in the colander.  Run warm water over the matza farfel.  When the matza farfel starts to soften, turn the water off.  The pieces of farfel should be soft, but not mushy.  This is the tricky part.  Because if you have let too much water soak into the matza farfel, it will turn into one glob of mush, and you will have to throw it away and start all over.  Hold the colander with both hands and shake the excess water out, the way you would if you were draining pasta.  Dump the matza farfel into the large mixing bowl with the melted margarine.  Mix the farfel gently with the melted margarine using a rubber spatula.  Pour the sugar and the drained pineapple into the mixing bowl and mix gently with the rubber spatula.   Pour the beaten eggs in, and mix gently to incorporate well.  Add the cinnamon, and mix in.

Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle the top with additional cinnamon.  The cinnamon on the top is what is going to make the kugel look pretty, so be generous.  Bake about 60 – 65 minutes until kugel is browned on the sides and the bottom.  Serve.

Hint #1:  You can bake this in advance, then cut up into 24 pieces, place in heavy duty aluminum foil, and then heat up later either  in the microwave (If you are heating this up in the microwave, take it out of the aluminum foil, and place it on a microwave safe plate).

Hint #2:  I like to bake this in a clear glass baking dish so I can see if the sides and the bottom are browning.  If you bake this in a ceramic baking dish, it will be harder for you to know if the kugel is done.

Grandma Bernice’s Famous Passover or Anytime Oven-Fried Fish

Try This Delicious Recipe For Oven-Fried Fish! 

This recipe was my mother in law, Bernice Kahn’s original recipe.  Bernice was an excellent cook, and this recipe for her oven fried fish was one of her specialties and a huge family favorite.  When I came into the family and everyone found out how much I liked to cook and eat really good food, they told me about Bernice’s wonderful oven fried fish.  After I got married, I started to make it and it was as delicious as everyone claimed!  My mother, father, and ex-husband Joe really loved it when I made this dish.  This fish is so easy to make, and it is delicious!

  • 1 1/2 pounds thicker mild fish fillets such as scrod or halibut
  • 1 to 1 1/2  sticks of melted margarine or butter (I use Fleischmann’s margarine)
  • 1 jumbo or 2 small eggs mixed with 1 teaspoon of water and a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • matzoh meal (which you pour onto a plate and then mix with some kosher salt and pepper)
  • fresh lemon slices, tartar sauce, and coctail sauce for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a half sheet pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Melt 1 1/2 sticks of margarine right in the oven on the sheet pan for 5 minutes or so.  Pour the melted margarine into a shallow bowl.   Dip the fish fillets first in seasoned egg mixture on both sides.  Then place on plate with matzoh meal which you have already seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Turn the fish fillets to make sure they are coated with the matzoh meal on both sides.  Then take the coated fish fillets and dip them on both sides into the  melted margarine, making sure that all surface areas of the fish are coated.  Then place on prepared baking pan.  Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Then change the setting on the oven to broil.  Broil fish (not too close to the flame) for another 10 minutes.  Serve with fresh lemon wedges, tartar sauce, or coctail sauce.

Note:  Thinner fish fillets such as flounder or sole do not work out well for this dish because of the longer cooking time involved.

Best Ever Chopped Liver

This Chopped Liver Is Light And Fluffy! 

This is a recipe for the most delicious chopped liver you will ever eat in your life.  My mother, Shirley Fried, got this recipe from my Aunt Florence.  My mother made this recipe once a year, on Thanksgiving.  I think Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday growing up.  Besides my parents, my brother Kenny, and I, we always had my father’s family over, which consisted of his twin brother, my Uncle Larry, my Aunt Florence, and their three children, Karen, David, and Debbie.  Everyone, and I mean everyone looked forward to that meal.  And that meal was the same every single year.  Here is the menu:  for hor d’oeuvres we had my mother’s homemade chopped liver with party rye, Cohen’s little hot dogs in blankets, Cohen’s  miniature potato puffs, Cohen’s miniature egg rolls, and Sacramento tomato juice.  For the main course we had roast turkey (Empire) with stuffing (my Grandma Rose’s recipe), brisket (my mother’s recipe), salad, cranberry jello mold, candied sweet potatoes, roasted potatoes from around the turkey,  and French string beans with glazed baby carrots.  For dessert we had my mother’s homemade apple pies (she baked 2) with vanilla ice cream, and sliced chocolate pound cake or chocolate chip squares.

Everyone loved knowing that the menu would always be exactly the same.  There was something reassuring about that.  My aunt, uncle, and cousins loved the food, and so did my parents, Kenny and I.  What stands out in my memory is how my cousin Debbie, who was the youngest of my three cousins, really overstuffed herself.  She would start yawning at the table, then she’d start to laugh out loud herself because she knew she had eaten too much, she’d say something like, “Debba, what have you done!”, and then she’d have to get up and move over to the couch, where she would sweetly doze off.  I am laughing out loud right now as I picture the expression on her face as she realized how full she was.  Those were the days.  There were none better.  How I wish I could go back and relive them.  What a wonderful family I had!

Anyway, when my mother made the chopped liver, it was quite a ritual.  I can still see her in my mind as she prepared the recipe.  First, she boiled the eggs.  Then she chopped up some onions and fried them in her Farberware frying pan in corn oil.  When they were nicely browned, she transferred them to a bowl.  In the same frying pan, she put the Empire Kosher chicken livers.  She’d cut them in half to make sure there was no blood left.  When they were done, she’d transfer them into the bowl with the onions.  Then my mother and I would go down to the basement where the meat grinder was. She’d attach the meat grinder to a special table that was adequate to do the job.  Then she’d put some eggs in the top of the grinder, some onions, and some liver.  She would turn the big crank.  It was amazing to me how these items went in whole, and came out like little snakes.  When she was all done, we’d go back up to the kitchen where my mother would begin lightly mashing the ingredients together in a bowl.  She’d pour the oil left in the frying pan into the mixture.  She would add some salt and pepper.  Then my mother and I would start the fun part, tasting it.   My mother would ask me if I thought we needed a little more oil, a little more salt, or pepper.  She kept re-seasoning until the chopped liver was perfect.  And it was perfect, and every bit of the preparation was worthwhile.  Oh, did I love that treat.  And so did my father, and my mother (my brother Kenny hated chopped liver).

I have started to make this recipe again.  It’s pretty easy, because I have the grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer.  When I make it, I actually fry the livers and onions in the same frying pan my mother used (she handed it down to me).  I use that pan because it brings back such wonderful memories.   I usually make the chopped liver for holidays like Passover.  I make it now mostly for my mother, who still loves it so much.  She likes to take the leftovers home.  She loves making herself a sandwich on rye with a little mustard.  I just wish that my father could be eating it, too.

See further below for latest version!**

  • 8 oz. Empire frozen chicken livers, defrosted in the refrigerator
  • 2 very large or 4 medium- large onions
  • 8 jumbo or 9 extra large eggs
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • corn oil

Defrost the box of Empire frozen chicken livers in the refrigerator.   Start cooking your hard boiled eggs.  Place my eggs in a pot and cover them with water.  Bring the water up to a boil, and then simmer the eggs for 20 minutes.  Then run the pot under cold water, and then peel the eggs.  Set them aside.  Peel and medium dice the onions.  Put about 1/2 cup of corn oil in a heavy frying pan. Then fry the onions over medium heat.  Season the onions with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper as you’re frying them.  Fry them until they are nicely browned but not burned.  Take the onions out and put them in a bowl, set aside.  Now, place the defrosted chicken livers in the same frying pan, and saute them over a medium flame, turning them as necessary.  Cut them to make sure they are cooked through.  Take them out one at time, and put them in a small bowl; set aside.

Use the grinder attachment of your mixer. Put a nice large bowl under the grinder to catch everything.   Put an egg in, some onions, and some liver.  Run the machine.  Then continue with an egg, some onions, and some liver until you have used everything up.  Pour the leftover oil from frying right in the bowl.  Add some more kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and start to gently mash the ingredients together with a fork, as if you were making egg salad.  If you think the mixture is too dry, add one or two teaspoons more of oil.  Taste frequently, and adjust for seasoning.  Refrigerate in serving bowl or in a plastic container.

Note:  I like to make this either the same day I am serving it, or only 1 day in advance.

**Latest version Passover 2014 (This made 2 1/2 qts.) and it was all eaten except of 1 pint.

  • about 19 oz. chicken livers (I use Bell and Evans now as I can’t find the Empire)
  • 24  extra large eggs
  • about 2-3 lbs. fried onions
  • salt and pepper
  • extra oil as needed