Sunday, April 24, 2011

Passover Eats: Part 2

Seder plate with traditional shank bone, charoset, parsley,
two bitter herbs and a roasted egg.

In keeping with this year's theme of combining traditional with modern, I chose to shake up Seder menu. The hubby had our own Seder on Monday night and had a lovely Passover dinner with family on Tuesday.  For our meal, I wanted to cook something new and decided to turn to one of my newest cookbooks. Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous is a wonderful book about Jewish cuisine in France. I'll call it a book - more than a cookbook - because of the wonderful stories and history that accompany the recipes. After reading through a number of recipes I chose Membre d'Agneau a la Judaique (Roast Lamb Jewish Style). Joan describes the origin of the recipe was from a 1656 cookbook and that this was one of the first known uses of "Judaique" or "Jewish style" in a French recipe. This recipe gave me an opportunity to use the tin of anchovies I impulsively purchased in my Passover shopping spree. And since the anchovies are chopped and tucked into the lamb to melt away, the hubby wouldn't even notice!

Also new for the Seder was homemade horseradish, which was used in my new Passover deviled eggs, and New England style charoset. I went into my files of saved magazine recipes and found a Cooking Light recipe for a New England charoset that used concord grape wine, maple syrup, and cranberries. Perfect for a local food enthusiast like me! Recipes for the horseradish and deviled eggs were already posted, here I'll include the recipe for lamb and charoset along with a photo recap of all of our dishes.

Fresh horseradish - I don't think I'll ever buy it again!

Slicing the horseradish root into thin slices before processing

Fresh horseradish spicing up the gefilte fish
The beautiful bright red of the beet horseradish made equally beautiful horseradish deviled eggs topped with parsley!

After all these delicious appetizers, we still had room for the lamb. The recipe called for a top round or shoulder roast of lamb. I wasn't able to find that cut at my store, so I substituted a boneless leg roast of the same weight.

Membre d'Agneau a la Juadaique
Adapted from Joan Nathan in Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous

3.5 pound boneless leg of lamb, tied together (the store did this for me)
Salt and Pepper to season the meat
3 anchovy filets, cut into three of four piece each
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
4 springs fresh thyme
3 springs fresh sage
Small potatoes, I used a bag of small red potatoes - about 18 small potatoes
1 pound zucchini, cut into chunks
1 cup of water
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and grated peel from 1 orange

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
In a roasting pan, spread 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom
Add the roast and season with salt and pepper on all sides
Using a small sharp knife, pierce the lamb in a few spots creating small slits
Insert the pieces of anchovies and garlic into the slits
Add the potatoes and zucchini to the roasting pan
Add 1 cup of water to the pan
Pour the remaining olive oil over the vegetables
Top the lamb and vegetables with the remaining olive oil
Place in the oven and roast at 450 for 20 minutes
Lower the heat to 350 degrees and contine to cook for 1.5 hours or until the internal temperature measures 140 degrees
Remove from the oven and place the roast and vegetables on a separate plate
Pour pan juices into a medium skillet and add orange juice and orange zest
Cook, until reduced by half
Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: Approximately 2 hours
Roasting pan, sharp knife, cutting board, platter, skillet, measuring cups and spoons

New England Style Charoset

This recipe was from a Cooking Light magazine clipping I saved from back in 2003, celebrating local New England ingredients. I like chunky charoset, so I did not finely dice the apples, mince the cranberries, or grind the walnuts. Adjust the size of the cuts for your preferred consistency.

3 gala apples, cored and then diced
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup Concord grape kosher wine (like Manischewitz)
4 teaspoons maple syrup (I used Grade A medium amber)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Combine apples, cranberries, wine, and maple syrup in a bowl and mix
Stir in walnuts
Refrigerate for 2 hours in an airtight container

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Cutting board and knife, measuring cups and spoons, serving bowl, spoon

Coming up next:
Passover Eats: Part 3 will cover recipes good for Passover or any time of the year. Stay tuned for matzoh balls, roasted turkey breast with fresh sage and orange, roasted green and white asparagus, and almond macaroons.  And don't miss Part 4 - a Passover edition of snack dinner from the hubby.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Passover Eats: Part 1

Last year at this time, things were crazy and I didn't post anything for Passover! This year, things are equally crazy but I am setting aside time to prepare for Passover and think about the upcoming holiday. Passover starts on Monday night, April 18th. That means there is still time to work on your menus and stock up your house with Passover treats.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was thrilled to partner with The Urban Grape (a fantastic wine shop), Robin from Doves and Figs and Sara from Whole Foods Market in Brighton to put on a Passover Wine and Food Tasting. You can check out a recap of the event on their website. One of my contributions to the event was a write up of recipes to include in a booklet for all attendees to take home. I had fun putting together the recipes and want to share them with you as well. I hope you enjoy!

For Passover celebration, I focus on both honoring tradition and bringing a modern interpretation to the holiday celebration. For me, that means keeping the basic structure and menu that my family had at their Seder, but changing it to reflect where I am now. For example, keeping the same menu, but using ingredients from the local farmers market. That gives a sense of place, and community to the meal.

The recipes below take familiar Passover ingredients and put a new twist on them!

Roasted Beets & Asparagus Appetizer
Serves 6

Roasted beets and asparagus are bright, fresh spring flavors. Bright orange golden beets and the addition of orange infused olive oil ties the dish to the modern practice of including an orange on the Seder plate, to represent Miriam.

2 medium golden beets, unpeeled
6-8 spears of asparagus
1/8 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 inch slice of fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons Orange infused olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Line a baking sheet with foil and cover the foil with a thin layer of kosher salt
Place the unpeeled beets on the salt and put in the oven for 45 minutes
After 45 minutes, place the asparagus spear on top of the salt on the baking sheet
Return beets and asparagus to the oven for 15 additional minutes
After 15 minutes, remove from oven
Place asparagus in a small bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt from the baking sheet
Allow beets to cool for a few minutes and then peel
Slice beets into 1/8 inch thick slices
Arrange beets and asparagus on a serving platter
Evenly distribute toasted pecans and crumbled goat cheese on top
Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar and remaining tablespoon of olive oil
This dish is best served at room temperature

Passover Deviled Eggs with Horseradish and Parsley
This appetizer combines familiar items from the Seder plate in a new way. The bright red color of beet-horseradish contrasts beautifully with the bright green parsley and white hard boiled egg.

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons red horseradish
3-4 tablespoons juice from red horseradish (to add color & additional flavor)
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley

Slice eggs lengthwise, remove yolks carefully and place in a mixing bowl
Add mayonnaise, horseradish, and horseradish juice
Mash the yolks and ingredients until smooth
Season with salt and pepper
Using a spoon & spatula fill each egg white (or fill a plastic sandwich bag and cut the corner to pipe the filling into the eggs)
Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top as garnish
Serve chilled

I plan to serve these eggs with the contrasting Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs that I made for Thanksgiving. I think the opposite colors will look great!

And don't forget dessert!

Maple-Chocolate Matzo Crunch
This dessert is a standard offering for many families during Passover. Taking advantage of local maple syrup, this is a new take on an old favorite. Maple sugar can be found from local Maple Houses and is increasingly becoming available at grocery stores.

3-4 matzos (you may need more)
1 cup of butter
1 cup maple sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup (Grade A Dark Amber or Grade B)
2 oz. chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk-chocolate)
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

*For the spice lovers, I made a few pieces of green chili maple chocolate matzo. I sprinkled green chili powder on the melted chocolate before sprinkling with nuts. It was delicious and I am thinking about making a full batch of spicy chocolate matzo crunch for next week!

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange matzo pieces in a single layer
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, maple sugar, and maple syrup
Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula
Remove from heat and pour evenly over matzo
Bake maple covered matzo for 4 minutes
Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the matzo pieces
Return to oven for 1-2 minutes, until chocolate is melted (the chips will still hold their shape)
Using a spatula, spread the chocolate on the matzo, creating a smooth layer
Sprinkle toasted nuts on top of the chocolate
Allow to cool completely and break into smaller pieces
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator

What's your favorite twist on a traditional Passover food or family recipe? I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Countdown to Passover: Event, Recipes, and More!

This year, Passover starts on Monday, April 18. That's good news for all the Boston Marathon runners - they can still enjoy a pre-race pasta dinner and hydrate with Gatorade along the way. For the rest of us, that means that we have a day off from work to watch the race and cook up our Seder feasts.

With about two weeks until Passover, it's the perfect time to start planning menus. Everyone has their favorite holiday foods but its always fun to put a new twist on your old favorites. I enjoy using local and seasonal ingredients in my Passover dishes, and also taking traditional ingredients and using them in new ways.

Are you looking for new recipes and new wines to add to your celebration? I'm excited to be partnering with the lovely folks at The Urban Grape for a fun Passover food and wine tasting that will give you both!  On Sunday, April 10 from 7-9 PM, come by The Urban Grape for a fun-filled Passover Food and Wine tasting! The tasting at The Urban Grape is a collaboration with with Whole Foods Market Brighton, Robin from Doves and Figs and me! Here's the event blurb:

"We’ll take a walk down memory lane as we pair traditional Passover treats like your Grandmother used to make – think chocolate covered Matzo, Charoset and Jelly Roll – with cutting edge Kosher wines from around the world. While we eat, our local farm-to-table experts will be on hand to help you think of ways to incorporate local foods and updated recipes into your passover meal. With an eye turned toward tradition, we’ll give you the tools to pull off an inspired Passover meal.  RSVP necessary for admittance – SPACE IS LIMITED!"

An added bonus, if you attend the event you'll get to take home recipes for new Passover dishes! My recipes include chocolate maple matzo crunch and hard boiled eggs with horseradish and parsley (just to name a few). Hope to see you there!

Here's a look at some of the Passover dishes I've blogged about over the past two years. I'll be adding to the collection this year, stay tuned!

Passover Eats Part 1: Brisket with Concord Grape Wine

Passover Eats Part 2: Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch
Passover Eats Part 4: Roasted Beets & Asparagus

Here's a preview of this year's updated beets & asparagus recipe:

Here are some great Passover friendly dishes:
Quick and Easy Frittata

Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs (just make sure your mustard & mayo are Kosher for Passover)
Farmers Market Bounty Salad (skip the garbanzos and corn)

There are a lot to choose from, just remember to have fun! There's no need to panic, just plan to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables, and sustainable meat and seafood. Think about it - it's a good way to focus on healthy eating!

What are your favorite Passover foods - traditional and new? I'd love to hear about them!


Related Posts with Thumbnails