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.

Another Pea Soup

I like to keep a  one pound bag of split peas in the house just in case we’re in the mood for pea soup. We just had the big blizzard the day after Christmas, and I was snowed in with my son Benji.  I couldn’t have been happier.  He loves soup, I love him, so I made him a pot of delicious, warming soup.  It was a great day.

1 pound bag of green split peas

1 pound bag of yellow split peas

2 large  onion

4 quarts water

about pound of organic carrots, cut into smallish chunks

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Rinse the peas.  Put in large saucepan.  Pour the water over.  Peel onions and then pierce with a fork, and place in pot whole.  Put sliced carrots in pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Simmer covered about 2 hours over low flame, adding your salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with thin egg noodles, matzoh balls, cooked Kosher hot dogs pieces, or just plain.

Oven Fried Chicken Cutlets

My kids love these oven fried cutlets as much as real fried cutlets.  They are easier to make, and maybe a little healthier.

  • 1 pound thin sliced chicken cutlets
  • Italian bread crumbs, plain bread crumbs, or a mixture of the two (my favorite combination to use is Colonna Italian Style Bread Crumbs mixed with 4-C whole wheat bread crumbs)
  • olive oil (any type)
  • kosher salt and black pepper (if using plain bread crumbs) to taste, black pepper but less salt if using other than plain bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pour some olive oil into a bowl.  Put the cutlets in the oil.  Then pour a generous amount of bread crumbs on a flat plate and any salt or pepper.  Dredge the cutlets in the bread crumbs really well.  Place the cutlets on a half sheet pan covered with foil, that you have greased with some oil.  Bake for about 25-350 minutes depending on the thickness of the cutlets.  

Note:  You can make these for Passover using matzoh meal instead of the bread crumbs, seasoning the matzoh meal with with salt and pepper.  Before baking these, drizzle lightly with olive oil.

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.

Sweet And Sour Turkey Or Ground Beef Meatballs

My son Danny asked me to make sweet and sour meatballs, so I looked at a few different recipes, and then came up with this.  Both my boys really loved the meatballs, but I still like the texture more of meatballs made with beef.  I’m planning to make them this year for the Jewish Holidays, but I think I’ll use organic chopped meat instead of the turkey.  The sauce was delicious! I served them with baked stuffed potatoes, but they’d go well with mashed potatoes too.

Ingredients:

for the meatballs:

  • two pounds ground beef, or ground turkey (I used Empire Kosher ground turkey)- (I’ll use 3 pounds of organic beef the next time I made them)
  • 2 large or extra large eggs (3 eggs for 3 lbs. of beef or turkey)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (1/2 cup for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (1 1/2 teaspoons for 3 lbs.)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (1 1/2 teaspoons for 3 lbs.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (opt.) (I didn’t use when I used 3 lbs. of beef or turkey)
  • about 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (or matzoh meal for Passover) (one cup for 3 lbs. of beef or turkey)
  • 4 oz. unsweetened apple sauce (I used this to give the turkey some moistness) (I used this same amount when I used 3 lbs. of beef)
  • 1/2  onion, grated (didn’t use for beef)

Mix all ingredients together gently.  Dampen your hands and make into meatballs about 1 1/2  in. in diameter.   Set aside while you make the sauce.

for the sauce:

  • one (14 oz.) can jellied cranberry sauce (2 cans for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • one (12 oz.) jar chili sauce (2 jars for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar about 2/3 cup for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons lemon juice (2 T. for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • 1/2 small 3 oz. can tomato paste (the tomato paste cuts the sweetness and makes the sauce rich) (1 small can for 3 lbs. of beef or turkey)

In largish pot, put all above ingredients.  Stir over low flame until everything is dissolved.  Place meatballs in carefully.  Place over lowest flame, cover, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes without touching the meatballs.  When the meatballs are firm enough, stir very gently.  Cover and cook for about another hour, mixing gently every so often. 

You can serve immediately, refrigerate and heat up later, or freeze in freezer containers when it is cool enough. 

Read on

  1. Pour the whole jar of chili sauce into a 4 quart saucepan. Fill the chili sauce jar with water and add the water to the pan.
  2. Add the can of cranberry sauce and cook over medium-low heat until the cranberry sauce melts.

Directions for Making the Meatballs:

  1. While the sauce is cooking, mix the meat, egg, and onion together.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (bread crumbs through black pepper) to the meat mixture and combine well.
  3. After the cranberry sauce has melted, roll the meat mixture into walnut sized balls and gently drop into the sauce.
  4. Cover the pan and cook the meatballs on medium low for one hour.

This recipe makes around twenty-four meatballs. Serve them with plenty of challah to soak up the delicious sauce.

Sources

Read more at Suite101: Sweet and Sour Cranberry Meatballs http://recipes.suite101.com/article.cfm/sweet-and-sour-cranberry-meatballs#ixzz0wvMfRISf

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.