Beyond Matzoh Balls

By Eileen Goltz

Most people think that Pesach is a celebration of our release from Egyptian bondage and deliverance into Israel.  Yet for me it is the time of the great debate.  Do I serve floaters or sinkers with the chicken soup?  I grew up with sinkers and my husband was raised with floaters.  We have great “discussions” every year about which matzoh ball is the best matzoh ball.  (I’m right, of course).

I would never presume to tell anyone what to cook for the Seder.  Every family has traditional specialties they serve and woe to the person who tries to tamper with them.  Last year I suggested — just suggested, mind you — that we try a wonderful new glazed sweet potato recipe I had found.  I wanted to skip the boring matzoh kugel that’s been served every year since Moses told Tzipporah to throw a few things together and get a move on.  Saying that I got a negative reaction is like saying the Egyptian army got a little wet.  In the end, I relented and kept the menu pretty much the same as it’s always been.  I did, however, promise myself that this year I would make a few additions to the menu.  It’s a little extra work, but after chopping 35 onions and peeling 4,000 eggs, what’s a few extra?  Hopefully, these recipes will become part of our Seder tradition and I can kiss my potato kugel good bye.

Potatoes and Leeks

2 lbs. new potatoes, quartered

8 leeks, washed, trimmed, diagonally sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 T. oil

4 t. chopped fresh tarragon

2 t. grated lemon peel

1 t. salt

In a large saucepan, combine potatoes, leeks and garlic.  Cover with water, add the salt and cook 12 to 17 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Drain.  Pour oil over hot vegetables and sprinkle with tarragon and lemon peel.  Toss gently and serve warm or cold.  Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh tarragon or lemon if desired.  Serves 8 to 10.


Vegetable Kugel

1 c. grated raw apple

1 c. grated raw sweet potato

1 c. grated raw carrot

1 c. matzoh cake meal

1 scant c. margarine

1 t. salt

1 t. passover baking soda

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

3/4 c. sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease 10″ casserole.  Mix all the ingredients together well.  Pour into the baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Raise oven to 350 degrees, remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Slice and eat hot.  Serves 6 to 8.


Passover Lemon Bars

1 c. matzoh cake meal

1/2 c. margarine

1/4 c. “powdered sugar”*

4 large eggs

2 c. granulated sugar

1 t. “baking powder”*

1/4 t. salt

2/3 c. lemon juice

* NOTE: I find my ingenuity tested to its limit at this time of year.  I can’t always find the kosher-for-Passover items that I need.  So rather than do without, I make them myself.  (See recipes below).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat together cake meal, margarine, and powdered sugar until well blended.  Press into bottom of 9″ square pan.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Combine eggs, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon juice and beat until smooth.  Pour over baked crust and return to oven until bubbly and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.  Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar and cut into bars.


Powdered Sugar

1 c. granulated sugar minus 2 T.

2 T. potato starch

Mix together in a food processor for about 2 seconds or place in a plastic bag and shake together.


Baking Powder

1/2 T. baking soda

1/2 T. cream of tartar

Mix together in a plastic bag.


Ambrosia Medley

2 c. fresh pineapple cubes

2 bananas, sliced

2 c. fresh strawberries, sliced

4 T. powdered sugar

1 c. coconut

1/2 c. orange juice

Layer half of the pineapple, banana and strawberries in a medium serving dish or dessert dishes.  Sprinkle with 1 T. of the powdered sugar and 2 T. of the coconut.  Repeat layers.  Top with remaining coconut.  Slowly pour orange juice over fruit.  Chill until serving time.  Serves 10. This can be doubled or tripled.


Fruit Gazpacho

2 c. tomato puree

3 c. orange juice, with pulp

2 t. sugar

zest of 1 orange and 1 lime

2 c. diced cantaloupe

2 c. diced honeydew

1 mango, peeled and diced (optional)

1 apple, peeled and diced

1 c. blueberries

1 c. green or red seedless grapes, cut in half

fresh strawberries

1 or 2 kiwi, peeled and sliced

Combine tomato puree, orange juice, sugar, orange and lemon zest, cantaloupe, honeydew and mango in a large bowl.  Process half of the mixture in a food processor until smooth.  Pour the mixture over the fruit in the bowl.  Mix well.  Stir in the apple, blueberries and grapes.  Refrigerate, covered, for several hours.  Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with several strawberry halves and a couple of kiwi slices.  Serves 8.

Eileen Goltz 1996

This article was featured in the Spring 1997 issue of Jewish Action.
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