MARCH 26, 2013


Last night was the first night of Passover (this is a cute video Isaac’s Hebrew school teacher sent us). It’s tradition that you create a Seder meal the first two nights of Passover. This year, for the first time in a long time, we are only doing one. Like most holiday’s, Passover is a time to gather with family, honor our heritage and traditional foods, and show gratitude to those that sacrificed before us. In the past, Passover was the holiday dreaded by my boys. Giving up foods, for one week, was almost as bad as shutting off the satellite for two weeks (yes, I really did that). Since giving up gluten, Passover is much less of a challenge than it has been in years past.

This year, the first night of Passover will be celebrated in our home. This is not a holiday that I generally host. But with my sister-in-law’s house under construction, I offered to create the meal. As you know from previous posts(read here, here, and here), I like to plan, so cooking for 22 and not just the usual 5, is not as daunting to me as would be for others. I always make it a point to make a few new dishes. This year I made my friend, Lisa’s Matzoh Kugel (deli-sh!), gefilte fish, and a feta cream spread for the patties.

The first thing I did was create the meal plan. I knew I didn’t want to serve soup this year, instead I focused on the sides. With a bit of planning and a lot of prepping, list making, and time management, my meal was pretty much complete by Sunday evening. My goal on Monday was to simply bake off the desserts (ingredients were measured and organized Sunday night), make the feta spread, assemble the matzoh kugel and farfel, and pan fry the patties. By 9:00 a.m., I was free. A hike, lunch with my mom and Levi, and a short cat nap was all accomplished before everyone arrived at 5:00 p.m.

I have made these Leek + Turkey Patties in the past, but this time I made a feta cream spread to accompany it. What a beautiful combo!

I do admit to eating the Gefilte fish that comes in a jar. I know, it’s kind of gross. Making it yourself, using Ungar’s frozen loaves is my newest Passover must have and obsession. I read a bunch of chat rooms on how best to cook it and for me, simply placing it in a small dutch oven with some carrots, onions, celery, Celtic sea salt, pepper, and paprika, and covered with water was the path that I took. Baked in the oven for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours and refrigerated overnight – it’s that easy. This is one of those dishes that I could become addicted to.

My grandma Rose’s matzoh farfel was something I grew up on and couldn’t get enough of. I cannot remember the last time I made it and this year I was craving it. Jewish food, in my opinion, can be a bit monochromatic (yellow and brown). Adding spinach to her original recipe gave me what I miss most on these holidays – GREEN!

Desserts have never been a fan favorite on this particular holiday. After much research and lots of trial and error, I have come up with a few that will be passed on to my grandchildren one day. This chocolate cake, these cookies, and some of our favorite homemade ice creams (accessorized with chocolate sauce and caramel sauce) was a dessert table that made both the kids and the adults shout with praises. Red wine, homemade lemonade, and green iced tea was on the beverage menu and I can honestly say, no one left our home hungry.

Passover is all about setting yourself free. How are you going to set yourself free in the coming year and challenge yourself to tasks that you might be too fearful to otherwise tackle? I would love to hear from you!

Grandma Rose’s Matzoh Farfel Recipe with a Twist

1/2 box Matzoh Farfel
2 large, organic eggs, beaten
10 ounces fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 – 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 Celtic sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

• mix beaten eggs and farfel in a large bowl until completely coated.
• spread mixture onto a lightly coated, rimmed baking sheet  and let dry out over night (you can also line the baking sheet with foil and coat the foil or use a silpat mat).
• set a large pot of water to boil. cook dried out farfel in boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes. drain and set aside.
• while the farfel is draining, saute onion in coconut oil until translucent, about 8 -10 minutes. place onions in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
• in the same saute pan, add some additional coconut oil in the pan and saute the spinach until wilted, 3 minutes. add salt, pepper, and paprika to both vegetables.
• mix onions, spinach, and farfel together. spread in an oiled baking dish, cover and bake for 20 – 25 minutes in a 350* oven.
• remove from oven, let sit for 20 minutes before serving.
note: I doubled my recipe. Many veggies, such as mushrooms, leeks, zucchini could all work in this dish
yield: 8 servings

Lisa’s Matzoh Kugel

12 Gluten Free Matzohs (or regular matzohs)
9 large, organic eggs – beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt
10.5 ounces | 300 grams | 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
6 ounces | 171 grams | 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter – melted
5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and grated

• preheat oven to 350*. lightly coat  a 9″ x 13″ casserole pan. set aside.
• break matzoh apart and place in a large colander. soak matzoh with water and drain.
• in a large bowl, beat eggs and salt.
• add coconut sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and mix well.
• drain matzoh and stir into beaten eggs. add raisins and grated apples.
• spread evenly in prepared pan.
• bake 40 – 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.
• let sit for 20 minutes before serving.
yield: 10 – 12 servings

Creamy Feta Dip

8 ounces crumbled feta
4 tablespoons good olive oil
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely minced
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne

• in the bowl of a Cuisinart fitted with a metal blade, pulse all ingredients until completely combined.
• place in a glass bowl, cover, and refrigerate for hours before serving.
• bring to room temperature. drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top and serve.
yield: 1 cup