Fried Green Tomatoes

During the Seder I shared an article written by Rabbi Debora Gordon in which she writes about “leaving Passover behind”.   We are coming to the last days of the Chag and I too am sad to know that the end of the holiday is approaching.  It  isn’t just the departure of two of my children, and it isn’t just the daunting task of putting things back in order.  It is in part the passage of time, knowing that another holiday season is now behind us and I am faced with the uncertainty of what next year will bring.  Rabbi Gordon wrote that the end of Passover means that “Life stops being so simple”.   We have spent our holiday in simplicity, being at home, in the kitchen, eating all of our meals together, making few excursions out of the house.  With the religious limitations and restrictions comes an ease that occurs when fewer choices means fewer decisions.  That too is something that I will miss.  I will relish these last days of  Yontif and wish all of you a Chag Sameach.

When I was growing up the meals my mother prepared during Passover were really not that different from the rest of the year.  Dinner consisted of soup, chicken or beef, salad and potatoes. A box of Matzoh was placed on the table instead of the loaf of freshly baked rye bread.  The pressure to be innovative is self-imposed and I know that nobody would complain if I made garlic chicken every night.  This year  I have made a conscious effort to incorporate more vegetables into our diet.  We have had Kale chips, trays of various roasted vegetables including artichokes and asparagus,  Greek salads, pickled vegetables, and last night I served a Passover version of Fried Green Tomatoes with a side of tomato basil salad.  Very simple.

Fried Green Tomatoes

3 large green tomatoes

1 cup matzoh meal

3 eggs, beaten

salt and pepper to taste

Safflower oil

Core and slice tomatoes.  Each tomato should yield 4 slices, about 1/2 inch in thickness.  Dip in beaten egg, and then in seasoned matzoh meal.  Heat oil in frying pan till very hot and add tomatoes.  Do not crowd pan.  Fry till brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.  Cast iron pan is best.  Serve hot with a side of tomato basil salad.

Serves 12

Enjoy,

Irene

Passover Pogos

It has been a wonderful Passover so far.  In addition to having all of my children home, on Monday we received word of the birth of two baby boys.  My brother-in-law Jeff became a grandfather for the first time, and some very close friends of my older son (soon to be his family) had their first child.  When your children’s friends begin having children of their own, there is a renewed sense of hope and optimism.  Tonight another one of my son’s oldest friends came to visit us with his 4 year old daughter Avital.  Having this little girl run around the house, much like her father and David use to do, brought back all sorts of memories.  Aaron told Avital that when he was a little boy he often ate in our house and this evening we had the pleasure of having his daughter join us at our dining room table for the very first time.  In honor of our young guest, we decided to make a dish that my children loved when they were her age.  A Passover version of corn dogs that brings out the child in everyone.

Mazel Tov to the new parents, grandparents, and extended family members.

Passover Pogos

1/2 cup oil

1 cup water

2 cups cake meal

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs sugar

4 eggs

8 hot dogs, frozen

Combine oil and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Cook for about 5 minutes, till mixture is smooth.  Transfer to a food processor and add eggs one at a time, and process for about 30 seconds.  OIL HANDS and mold mixture around frozen hot dogs.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about one hour.  Flip hot dogs half way through to brown both sides.

Serves 8

Enjoy,

Irene

Ruthie’s Matzoh Lasagne

Matzoh is often used as a base to make all kinds of pies, both savory and sweet.  This recipe was given to me by my close friend Ruthie. We met at an engagement party about 6 years ago when she marched up to me, introduced herself and called me two days later to join her for dinner.  Talk about determination!  Although her permanent home is in New Jersey,  Ruthie spends several months a year in Los Angeles.  She is one of those women who lights up a room with her sparkling eyes and bright smile.  Ruthie, Chag Sameach, and hang in there kid!!  We love you!

Inside the Streit’s Matzoh Factory

Ruthie’s Matzoh Lasagna

2 lbs. sliced mozzarella cheese

3 lbs. cottage cheese

3 eggs

1 Quart Marinara sauce

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil.  Mix cottage cheese with beaten eggs, and season well with salt and cracked pepper.  Spoon marinara on the bottom of the baking dish and then cover with a layer of matzoh, a layer of mozzarella and a layer of the cottage cheese mixture.  Continue layering till all ingredients are used. Top with mozzarella. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Serves 12.

Tip: To increase the nutritional value, add a layer of sautéed spinach, or kale.  This is an easy recipe to experiment with.

Enjoy,

Irene

Coconut Macaroons and other favorite Passover recipes

It’s a busy time and cooking has taken a back seat, for now, but I am busy planning menus and hope to have some photos and recipes to share soon.  As requested, here are some links to my favorite Passover recipes.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments as I always enjoy hearing from you.  As my mother liked to say,  I wish all of you a sizn Pesach (a sweet Pesach).

 

 

Coconut Macaroons

4 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1 Tbs cake meal

1 Tbs potato starch

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate bar (for drizzling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat whites till almost stiff and slowly add sugar and  finish beating till stiff.  Mix all dry ingredients and fold into whites.  Using a teaspoon drop on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes and cool completely.  Melt chocolate bar in double boiler and drizzle over macaroons.

Additional Favorites

Persian Haroset

Appetizers

Marinated Eggplant

Tomato Basil Salad

Your Soup, my Matzoh Balls

Matzoh Balls

Mains and Sides

Garlic Chicken

Mushroom Kugel

Potato Nik (Kugel)

Desserts

Brownie Meringues

Chocolate Chip Mandelbroit

Enjoy,

Irene

Vegetable Tagine

Not in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would fall in love with Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Feeling somewhat disloyal to my Bronx roots I tried to hold back, and although it wasn’t love at first sight, there is something special going on in the “other B Borough.”  The combination of old buildings and store fronts, converted into cozy bakeries and restaurants, run and patronized by hipsters (no idea what they stand for but they do have a certain look) all converge to create a sum that is better than the parts.  Brooklynites eat local and are proud of it.  Everywhere you look, there are food products that are baked, cultured, grown and created in Brooklyn and the labels clearly state that.

We started the morning with coffee and a buttery, raspberry pistachio muffin at Bakeri, a small bakery that has paid as much attention to the decor as it has to the baked goods.  You feel as if  you have been transported to another time and place, with a staff of young women looking freshly scrubbed and who enthusiastically describe every baked good in their display case.  Off to the side one employee is kneading bread dough on a large wooden board, old style, not one piece of marble in sight.   The next day we stopped at the small local farmers market.  There was an interesting combination of older immigrants (this used to be a Polish neighborhood)  and young New Yorkers, all coming out despite the cold weather to buy milk, cheese, eggs and poultry from New York State farms.  My daughter informed me that you had to ” know” that the dairy stand sold eggs, there was no sign indicating it.

The next day we had brunch at Diner, an old dining car that has not been renovated, but has been lovingly allowed to remain in its  glorious original state.

Here is what we ate.

Lemon poppy-seed scone to start.

Market salad of mustard greens, black olives, cranberry beans, croutons, creamy garlic dressing w/shaved parmesan.

Country breakfast: two scrambled eggs, biscuit w/ honey butter and grilled escarole and dandelion greens.

Omelette w/ kale and ricotta pesto and served w/ potatoes.

We forced ourselves to stop there but it wasn’t easy.

Of course, no weekend in New York would be complete without pizza so that same night we ordered in from Best Pizza. Even 40 minutes after it came out of the oven, the crust charred and crisp, the pizza thin, and the garlic knots chewy on the outside and tender on the inside.

So the next time you take a trip to NYC, do something different and take a trip to Brooklyn.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the transformation. From garden to table, this generation of “foodies” have put their stamp on fresh ingredients lovingly offered up to those who are lucky enough to visit.

After having numerous vegetable dishes in New York, I was inspired to try this Vegetable Tagine.

Vegetable Tagine

1 large brown onion, diced

3 Tbs olive oil

2 small fingerling potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks

3 oz. dried cherries

1 can garbanzo beans

2 Tbs pomegranate molasses

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup water

Saute onion in olive oil till golden.  Add both sweet and white potatoes, stir and allow to cook for several more minutes.  Add drained garbanzo beans, and dried cherries to pot. Mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add water and pomegranate molasses and stir. Gently pour into Tagine and add one cinnamon stick.  Cover and place in 275 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours.

Enjoy,

Irene