Tag: Passover

Famed NYC Grocer Preps for Passover with 1,200 Pounds of Matzo

by in Holidays, April 2nd, 2015

The eight-day festival of Passover commemorates the freeing of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. The highlight of Passover is the Seder, which is observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday. In honor of the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, leavened grain (including bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta) is not allowed at Seder. Instead, matzo (a crisp, unleavened bread) is eaten, along with other traditional Jewish foods.

Eli Zabar is New York City’s iconic and pioneering grocer and caterer, with markets, cafes and restaurants on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Namesake company owner Eli and his team cater more than 500 Passover Seders in New York City. And yet the father of two still finds time to host the family’s Seder at home. “The Zabar family has divided up all the holidays: One gets Hanukkah, one gets Thanksgiving and so on. We like hosting Passover, since it’s a lively, happy time. My whole family shows up! We’re going to be about 35 this year. One of the things that’s happened over the years is that these little kids who didn’t take up any seats and used to spend their time playing or looking for the afikoman are now young adults in need of seats and we’re trying to figure out how to fit more people in.” His Seder uses everything that is featured in his store, and he makes sure to include his favorite dishes, plus a chocolate-covered matzo sweet treat (recipe below).

Read more

Next-Level Macaroons for Passover

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 1st, 2015

Sorry, Francophiles, but in the macaron vs. macaroon debate, I must admit that I prefer the two-O variety. We’re talking the dense coconut kind that will be served at Passover Seders across the country this Friday night. The delicate, jewel-boxed French sandwich cookies (one O) are pretty and all, but for me, the rugged, toasty coconut ones are the stuff of nostalgia. Inexplicably, my grandmother, who was an excellent baker, used to serve the bite-sized macaroons that came in Manischewitz cans. Who knows how many years they’d been in her pantry, but I loved them.

Today, there are few cookies I love more than a well-made macaroon, so it’s just a plus that they’re a Passover-friendly dessert. I devoured an amazing one recently at RareSweets, a charming bakery that opened in Washington, D.C., last fall. Caramelized and crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy within and not too sweet, it was exactly what I want in a macaroon, or any cookie, for that matter. Lucky for us, the bakery’s pastry chef and owner, Meredith Tomason, shared the recipe with FN Dish. She incorporates many family recipes into her menu, and says this one was a staple at various holidays throughout the years.

Read more

How to Rise Above Bread for 8 Days of Passover

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 16th, 2014

Salmon with Baby Artichokes

Last night marked the last of this year’s Passover Seders. If you’re celebrating, that means your first shards of matzo and bowls of matzo ball soup are behind you. But what happens between now and the big break on the eighth day? Zapping matzo pizza in the microwave may hold you over for the first couple days, but it won’t be long before you start craving something more. This year, load up on spring veggies and hearty proteins for dynamic, satisfying meals that leave nothing to miss. That way, you can make it till the end without a carb-craving meltdown — or a matzo-induced belly ache. Read more

5 Deliciously Unleavened Passover Desserts

by in Recipes, View All Posts, April 12th, 2014

Aside from the old reliables — always-addictive chocolate matzo brittle, from-scratch coconut macaroons and flourless chocolate cake — Passover desserts are usually forgettable. Attempts at kosher-for-Passover versions of cookies and brownies never turn out very well, and those sugared jelly candies always make an appearance but remain untouched on the Seder dessert spread. Fortunately, we rounded up five decadent new desserts that are worth making whether you’re observing Passover or not.

Lemon-Coconut Matzo Jelly Roll
This flour-free, non-dairy dessert will make an impressive showing when sliced on the post-Seder dessert table. Read more

Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 11th, 2014

Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne VinaigretteWhen I was growing up, Passover wasn’t a holiday we celebrated with any regularity. My mom was Jewish, but she had grown up in a very secular branch of the family. Occasionally we would attend a Seder at our Unitarian church (they were very into the world religions back in the 1980s), but it was not an annual thing.

Once I moved to Philadelphia, however, I found myself surrounded by family that, while still pretty New Age and multicultural, was far more observant when it came to the Jewish holidays.

And so Passover has become a staple holiday on my yearly calendar, second only to Thanksgiving in terms of eating. The meal is coordinated by my mom’s first cousin Amy, and she distributes dish assignments at least a month prior to the meal (so that people can practice and get things just right).

Read more

Cracked Earth Cake — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 22nd, 2013

Cracked Chocolate Earth CakeMy cousin Amy starts planning for Passover in January. The save-the-date email comes first, with the time and location in bold (though they’re the same every year). A few weeks later, dinner assignments follow. Later there are email reminders and carpool arrangements.

It used to be that I willingly accepted whatever meal assignment was handed to me. In recent years, however, I’ve gotten more strategic. As soon as the first Seder planning email goes out, I reply with an offer of what I’d like to bring. This way, I can ensure there will be something on the table that my picky husband will eat, and I get to play to my strengths as a cook.

On Monday (and for the second year running), I’m bringing brisket and a flourless chocolate cake. I bring the brisket because I make a good one, and I do the cake, well, because nothing finishes a meal like a good chocolate cake.

Before you start baking, read these tips

Secrets to Flourless Cakes, Starches and Desserts for Passover

by in Holidays, March 21st, 2013

Flourless Red Velvet CakeIt’s no surprise to see an abundance of flourless chocolate cakes and incredible matzo bark covered in chocolate and butter during Passover — leavened products are forbidden during the holiday, so decadent substitutions are available. In the most-recent issue of Food Network Magazine, the Test Kitchens prepared five cakes without using all-purpose flour (pictured above is Flourless Red Velvet Cake, get more recipes below) to try at home and the results were tremendous. That led us to picking baker and co-owner of Breads Bakery in New York City Uri Scheft’s brain, to dive a little deeper into the subject. The world of starches, flours and desserts is so vast and can be overwhelming — so we turned to an expert.

What would kosher potato starch do to a cake? What type of cakes would you use this substitution in?

Uri Scheft: Potato starch sucks all of the liquid out, but because of the lack of gluten, it doesn’t really bind the ingredients. It leads to a more crumby, more dense cake that hasn’t risen as much. It is good for brownies because they don’t need to rise a lot. Additionally, they are better when not cooked completely through.

Read more

Best 5 Passover Recipes

by in Holidays, March 20th, 2013

Matzo Ball SoupAs you gather your family members to celebrate the Passover Seder, offer them a taste of something new this year by switching up your usual holiday dishes and introducing creative takes on traditional recipes. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five Passover picks to help you pull off an entire meal — complete with casual drinks, showstopping main dishes, a sweet-tooth-satisfying dessert and everything in between — with ease. Check out our favorite recipes below, then tell us in the comments what meals your family will be enjoying this Passover.

5. Flourless Walnut-Date Cake — Rich and indulgent, Food Network Magazine‘s fuss-free cake boasts a smooth glaze of bittersweet chocolate and honey, and, best of all, it an be ready to enjoy in less than one hour.

4. Spiced Tea Punch — If you’re hosting young guests this holiday, leave out the rum from this light, fruity sipper, made with apple spice tea, bright orange juice and bubbly ginger ale, and garnished with a fragrant cinnamon stick.

Get the top three recipes

Matzo Magic — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Holidays, March 19th, 2013

Matzo for PassoverI didn’t grow up eating matzo, but I was always intrigued by it, almost jealous in a way because it wasn’t part of my Catholic upbringing. I can see all of my Jewish friends rolling their eyes as they read this. One bite of matzo and you soon realize, on its own, there’s nothing to write home about.

What makes matzo so special is the significance it carries during the Jewish holiday of Passover, in which leavened products are forbidden (read more about why here). Matzo is made using just flour and water, resulting in a thin, very crisp cracker essentially. It became a part of my culinary world when I met my husband, Mikey, who was Jewish, 18 years ago. While he wasn’t observant, the holidays were rituals he celebrated regardless. And so, each year as Passover came around, matzo became a part of my cooking repertoire. In its most-simple form, I love eating matzo slathered with butter and a drizzle of some good honey.

Make matzo bruschetta

Crispy Zucchini and Potato Pancakes — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 1st, 2013

Crispy Zucchini and Potato Pancakes - The WeekenderWhen I was in high school, I went through a period where nothing I ate sat right with me. My parents took me to our family doctor, trying to figure out what was the matter. I was tested for celiac disease, IBS, Crohn’s and other illnesses that can sometimes cause digestive distress and they all came back negative. It wasn’t until a family friend who was also a naturopathic doctor suggested I take a break from eating wheat-based foods that things began to improve.

This was back in the mid-’90s, before everyone was eating wheat-free and gluten-free. The available rice pasta was terrible and the spelt bread sold at our local co-op was dry and crumbly. I ate a lot of my mom’s homemade granola and gave up a lot of the things I most liked to eat for a time.

Happily, I found that it was enough for me to take occasional breaks from wheat to keep my belly happy and so every couple months, I’d take a week or two off from bread, pasta, cookies and anything else with wheat in the ingredient list.

Over this past weekend, I realized that it was time for another such wheat-free period. I did a little meal planning and made a shopping list of things that would ease the shift (though it’s so much easier to do these days than it was nearly 20 years ago).

Before you start cooking, read these tips