Each year we get so caught up in the newest Passover products on the market that it is easy to forget that we can enjoy the holiday without sacrificing our health. We are just a few days into Spring and here in Los Angeles the farmers’ markets are filled with all of the wonderful produce that the season has to offer; California artichokes, rainbow chard, French radishes, fresh rhubarb, and of course, the ultimate Spring vegetable, asparagus. This recipe is not new or innovative, it is a reminder that we can all have a healthy and delicious Passover, filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.
2 bunches asparagus
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
On a flat baking sheet, mix oil with salt, pepper and garlic. Roll asparagus in mixture and spread in a single layer. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and roast asparagus for about 15 minutes.
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Many years ago I was a volunteer on Kibbutz Usha in Northern Israel. I asked to be assigned to the dairy and was given the morning shift, working side by side with an Arab named Hasan, a kind and willing teacher. It was quite an experience for a girl from New York. For me, the year I spent on Usha was filled with new experiences, but milking 300 cows a day was one of the highlights. Another was that Norm and I got engaged that year! The kibbutznikim were warm and friendly and we still have lifelong friends that we met that year. One couple in particular, Amitai and Tovchik, became like family to us. Tovchik would marinade eggplants and keep them in a jar in her fridge, ready to serve if you ever stopped by for the typical Israeli 4 pm meal. It was a delicious snack, (although definitely not low-cal.) Sadly Tovchik passed away several years ago but it has become my tradition to make her eggplant dish every Passover. It makes me think of Tovchik and my year at Usha with love and a smile.
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
red wine vinegar
Lay sliced eggplants on a tray in a single layer and salt liberally. Let them sit for half an hour and then pat off excess moisture and salt with a paper towel. Make sure both sides are dry.
Fill a frying pan with about 2″ of oil. When oil is very hot, fry eggplant till brown, several minutes on each side.
Take a deep dish and cover with a layer of eggplant. Then slice 2-3 cloves fresh garlic and toss slices over eggplants. Lightly drizzle with red wine vinegar. Add another layer of eggplant, more garlic and more vinegar and keep repeating till all eggplant is used.
Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 24 hours. Serve at room temperature
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Posted in Passover, Side Dish, Vegetable, tagged Kugel, Matzoh, Mushrooms, Pareve (non-dairy), Passover, Pesach, Thanksgiving, Vegetable Kugel on March 16, 2010 |
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My mother would saute mushrooms, onions, celery and carrots and either mix them with challah for her Thanksgiving stuffing or with matzot during Passover. It is a very simple combination but if the onions are caramelized to the perfect stage and the mushrooms are flavorful, you end up with a really good kugel.
Manya’s Mushroom Kugel
1 1/2 lbs. brown mushrooms or a combination of mushrooms
2 large onions
2 large carrots
2 stalks celery
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
Dice onions and sauté in olive oil over low flame until a rich golden color, this can take up to 30 minutes.
Dice carrots and celery and add to onions and sauté for about ten minutes until tender. Raise heat slightly, add sliced mushrooms and cook an extra 15 minutes. Allow to cool and place in large mixing bowl.
Soak Matzot in warm water until soft. Then squeeze matzot and add to mushroom mixture. Add beaten eggs, salt and pepper.
Prepare 9×13 pan by adding 2-3 Tbsp oil, make sure bottom and sides are well greased and place in 350 degree oven for several minutes. Take out and immediately pour in vegetable mixture. Brush with olive oil.
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
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One of the things I enjoy is seeing how recipes change after arriving on foreign shores, much like the people who carry those family treasures with them. Several weeks ago our friends Susan and Isaac stopped by on a Saturday afternoon. Although our friends were born in Mexico, their parents were immigrants who hailed from Hungary and Poland. Since I too am of Polish ancestry it is always amusing to see how some of the recipes that both Isaac and I grew up eating either were “Mexicanized” by his family or “Americanized” by mine. Over the years I have learned that if Isaac comes over for cholent or jellied calves feet, no matter how well I season the dish, he is going to ask for hot sauce. As I watch him pour this spicy red liquid over my creation I sit and wonder “what my mother would think if she saw him do that.” I have adapted and even come to love some of the Schmidt family creations. Gribenes (fried pieces of chicken fat) in a taco with guacamole or chicken soup that smells like mine but is REALLY spicy.
So, when Isaac and Susan came bearing gifts, leftovers from their Shabbat dinner, we knew we were in for a treat. Susan uncovered the plate which held several chiles, cooked in the style of chile rellenos, something I truly love. Then the surprise. We cut into the chile and instead of cheese, they were filled with kasha, the grain of my youth. Plain, simple, hearty kasha stuffed into a pepper and fried. How delicious.
So here is to old friends, old recipes and new twists.
Chiles stuffed with Kasha
8 fresh green chiles (Poblano or Anaheim (with stems intact, if possible).
Prepare Kasha cooked according to the directions on the box. I add lots of fried onions.
3 tbs flour
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper
1/4 cup oil
Stuff each chile with prepared kasha and set aside. Separate eggs and beat the whites until stiff. Beat yolks and fold into whites, along with flour, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet. Dip stuffed chiles, one at a time, into egg batter to coat, then remove with a large spoon. Carefully lower coated chiles into hot oil, 3 or 4 at a time. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Place in baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Here’s a link to a cookbook project that my friends are working on:
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