Let’s talk about Passover

Passover seems to have consumed my life for the past two weeks. Not only did we work on an entire segment at the Daily Planet, but I spent two days cooking with the lovely R.L. for our Friday night seder, had a seder on Saturday with some lovely friends, and made an Easter brunch for my roommates which of course featured Matzo Brei. I have also made it my goal to see how many delicious meals I can make with matzo this week. Monday I made Matzo Pizza, and tonight I’m aiming for Matzo nachos.

I have to say that the seder with R.L. took the cake. Here’s what the menu looked like:

Kale Salad with squash (the one I posted a few weeks ago)

Charoset from LA Times

Matzo Ball Soup from LA Times

Crispy potato Roast from Smitten Kitchen

Tangy Spiced Brisket, sub bbq sauce for chili sauce, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Stuffed Lamb Leg (not quite a Kosher recipe, but you can omit the feta)

Coconut Macaroons

Matzo Bark from Smitten Kitchen

Chocolate Cake Roll

Chocolate-glazed nut torte with Sephardic Syrup, from LA Times

  • 2/3 cup (90 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) hazelnuts
  • 1 cup almonds (5.3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup matzo cake meal (1 ounce)
  • 1 cup sugar (7.2 ounces), divided
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil such as grapeseed or safflower oil, divided
  • About 2 cups Sephardi syrup (recipe follows)
  • 8 strawberries (about 5½ ounces)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan in the oven until the skins begin to split, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a strainer.

2. Rub the hot hazelnuts energetically with a towel against a strainer to remove some of the skins. Cool the nuts completely. Reserve 2 tablespoons nuts for garnish.

3. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. If you would like to turn the cake out instead of leaving it on the springform pan’s base, line the base with a round of foil and grease the foil.

4. Grind the hazelnuts with the almonds, cake meal and one-fourth cup sugar in a food processor, stopping to scrape down a few times, until very fine.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with one-half cup sugar until the mixture is pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Stir in the orange zest.

 

Sephardi Syrup

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 pinches of ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

1. Bring to a boil all but the last two ingredients.

2. Add the orange juice and lower to a simmer. Cook for two minutes.

3. Add the zest and let cool. Pour into a bowl and transfer to refrigerator allowing to sit at least 2 hours before using.

Fresh Garbanzo Beans

Fresh Garbanzo Beans

After having these at a restaurant over a year ago I have been dying to try making them myself. Lucky for me I came across a Mexican grocery store that always has them in stock. Fresh garbanzo beans have a similar taste and texture to peas. After doing a little research I found recipes for fresh garbanzo bean hummus, garbanzo bean guacamole, garbanzo bean salad, but my favorite still to date is just simply pan roasted. Look for this recipe on the LA Times Blog, coming soon.

Simply Pan Roasted Garbanzo Beans

  • 2 cups fresh garbanzo beans, unshelled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder or to taste
  • a few squeezes of lime juice

Procedure

1. Rinse the fresh garbanzo beans and pat dry with a paper towel. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Toss with oil and salt.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium high. Once hot add the garbanzo beans.

4. Roast beans until dark brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes. Make sure to move them occasionally to make sure they are not burning.

5. Remove to a bowl, toss with chili pepper and a sprinkle of lime and enjoy*!

*Fresh garbanzo beans are eaten like edamame, squeeze them open and eat the pea inside, not the shell.

Noodles and Cabbage

Noodles and Cabbage

A Purim Recipe

My dad’s comfort food is noodles and cottage cheese and although this dish is lacking on the cheese, I still find it reminds me of this dish and brings me nostalgia to eat it. I think the best thing about Jewish inspired food is the comfort level. I never have to worry about feeling sick afterwards as the food is rarely too spicy and contains little dairy. This recipe in fact is entirely vegan as it was inspired by a story about Queen Esther’s diet. Because she was most likely kosher, I would not be surprised if in fact she was a vegan, unable to eat the meat and dairy provided by her non-Jewish husband.

You can find the recipe here.