By Eileen Goltz
Every Pesach, most of my friends and family embrace matzoh as though it were manna, using it at every opportunity and at every meal. I, however, run screaming in the other direction whenever it makes its appearance after the Seder.
For reasons of religious custom, there are those who do not combine matzoh or matzoh meal with any form of liquid. This prohibition includes everything from not baking with matzoh meal to not crumbling matzoh into your soup (hence the Yiddish term gebruks, or breaking). For me, avoiding matzoh concoctions is not a religious custom, but a case of any and all matzoh sitting in my stomach for at least three weeks after Pesach. I’m a fruit compote fan myself.
I decided that, this year, I will declare my kitchen an almost matzoh-free zone, with the exception of using enough for Hamotzi and a few other treats my family would perish without. But I’ll have to serve more than just meat, potatoes, macaroons and fruit compote, if I want to avoid an all-out family revolt. And so will you.
The following recipes are so delicious that I promise no one will miss the matzoh, cake meal or farfel at all. In fact, you’re going to want to serve them all year long, way after you’ve forgotten who brought that great bottle of wine for the Seder or who found the afikomen.
Tuna Potato Chowder
(A great change from chicken soup)
2 1/2 c. potatoes, diced
2 c. pareve chicken broth
1/2 c. onions, chopped
1/4 t. sage
1/4 t. paprika
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 c. carrots, sliced
1/2 c. celery, sliced
1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
3 c. skim milk (you can use whole milk)
6 oz. tuna in water, drained and flaked
In a large saucepan, combine 1 c. potatoes, pareve chicken broth and onions. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add sage, paprika and pepper. When the potatoes are soft, mash them very well. Add the remaining potatoes, carrots, green pepper, celery and milk to mashed potatoes and broth. Bring to just a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add tuna. Simmer 5 minutes more and serve. Serves 6 to 8. (You can use a real chicken broth instead of the pareve substitute, and a non-dairy creamer instead of the milk, if you prefer a meat dish.)
Cauliflower Kugel With Mushrooms
(Not the same old Passover kugel)
1 large cauliflower
salt and pepper
3 to 4 T. oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 c. mushrooms, quartered
2 large eggs
2 T. crushed potato chips
1/2 t. paprika
1/3 c. coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°. Divide the cauliflower into medium florets. Cut peel from large stalk and slice stalk. Boil the cauliflower in large saucepan of boiling salted water 8 to 10 minutes or until stalks are very tender. Drain well and cool. Puree in food processor, leaving a few chunks, then transfer everything to a large bowl and set aside.
Heat 2-3 T. of oil in medium-sized skillet and add the onion. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté together over medium heat about 5 minutes or until mushrooms and onions are light brown. Remove from heat.
Add the eggs and potato chips to the cauliflower mixture and mix well. Season the cauliflower mixture with the salt and pepper. Gently stir in the mushroom mixture and any oil in the pan. Oil a shallow 9” square baking dish. Spoon in the cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle 1 T. of oil over top. Sprinkle the top with paprika, then with the walnuts. Bake 30 minutes or until set. To serve, cut carefully in squares and run knife around edges. Use spoon to remove portions. Serves 4.
(A simple twist on an old favorite)
2 egg whites
1/2 t. vinegar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 package (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
3/4 c. nuts, chopped
dash of salt
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt, vinegar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in chocolate and nuts. Drop from a teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° about 10 minutes.
Pecan Praline Bars with Coffee Glaze
(Worth the effort)
5 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 t. vanilla (optional)
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 t. salt
8 oz. pecan halves, (lightly toasted and finely grated)
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 t. potato starch
1 1/2 t. instant coffee powder
1 T. hot water
1/4 c. sugar
12 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 325°. Grease 9”x 9” baking pan. Line bottom of the pan with parchment and grease the paper. Using an electric mixer, beat yolks, sugar and vanilla until slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted. Using clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites with salt in a large bowl until stiff, but not dry. Gently fold in pecans, cinnamon and 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture. Fold the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining egg whites and turn the batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is brown and the tester comes out clean. Turn off oven. Run knife around the edge of the cake to loosen. Let stand in turned off oven for 15 minutes, leaving the oven door ajar. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Glaze: Mix the brown sugar and starch in a heavy small saucepan. Dissolve coffee mixture in the hot water. Stir coffee into the sugar mixture and simmer over medium low heat until thickened, stirring constantly (2 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir briskly to dissipate foam.
Glazed pecans: Oil a baking sheet. Heat sugar in heavy skillet over low heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Then increase heat to medium-low and cook the syrup until it is a golden brown. Stir in the pecans. Transfer the coated pecans to the baking sheet. Using a fork, separate nuts and arrange with rounded side up. Cool completely.
Assembly: Invert the cake on a rack, discarding the parchment. Reinvert onto a platter. Drizzle hot glaze over the top, spreading evenly. Let stand until glaze is firm. Cut into twelve and top each piece with a glazed pecan.
Blueberry and Pink Grapefruit Sorbet Coupe
(Great finish for any meal)
1 lb. bag frozen unsweetened blueberries (about 4 c.)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. medium-dry Concord wine
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand until berries thaw and sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours, or cover and chill overnight. Transfer mixture to blender or processor. Blend until mixture is smooth, but specks of blueberry are still visible. Transfer to ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon sorbet into container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
5 medium-large pink grapefruits (about 4 lbs.)
3/4 c. plus 1 T. (or more) sugar
2 T. kosher for Passover vodka or sweet white wine
Using knife, cut peel and white pith from grapefruit. Working over bowl, cut between membranes to release segments. Squeeze any juice from membranes into bowl. Discard any seeds. Cut each segment into pieces; add to bowl. Transfer contents of bowl to 4 c. glass measuring cup.
Place 3 c. grapefruit and juice mixture in blender (reserve any remainder for another use). Add 3/4 c. plus 1 T. sugar and vodka. Blend until almost smooth and sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Taste and add more sugar by tablespoons, if desired; blend to combine.
Transfer to ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon sorbet into container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. (Sorbets can be made 1 day ahead.)
Arrange 1 scoop of each sorbet in dessert goblets. Garnish with fresh blueberries and grapefruit segments, if desired.
© Eileen Goltz