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Archive for the ‘Jewish/Israeli’ Category

Well so much for the week of Passover recipes I planned! Big blog intentions, little follow through. But this post will wrap up Passover belatedly and then onto new and exciting non holiday related recipes. Though I also wanted to make hot cross buns for Easter. I’ve never had one and the recipes I saw floating around last week looked delicious. So there may be one more belated holiday recipe coming!

This is a great kugel! You can hardly taste the matzo – it tastes more like a bread pudding. Really really good bread pudding. I think it would work really well for a brunch. The dish is sweet, but overly so. I cut down the sugar because there are 12 pages of comments about this recipe and nearly all of them suggested cutting the sugar. This recipe is why I love the internet – 12 pages of comments are awesome and really helped to fine tune this recipe.

A few notes. One comment suggested 1 cup of nuts on top. I forgot to add them, but I think walnuts would go wonderfully with this recipe. Another comment suggested adding some lemon juice and zest to the apples, which was another great idea I forgot to incorporate. If your apples (or any fruit) taste less than ideal, lemon juice and zest always perk things up. This recipe reheats very well, which is good since it would feed a small army. The recipe does call for a scary amount of eggs, but keep in mind that it serves 12. Finally, be sure to use a large bowl to mix everything together. As you can see from the photo, I did not and things came dangerously close to a kitchen disaster.

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Toffee chocolate matzo. This stuff is truly crack. Completely utterly addictive crack. Once you start eating it, I guarantee, you will not stop. This is the best Passover candy ever. And I say that as a survivor of Hebrew School Passover candy sales, where we made our parents buy awful, awful candy for some sort of fund raising purpose. Girl Scout cookies sell themselves. Passover candy does not.

The recipe is very versatile. Matzo with toffee and chocolate makes an excellent base for any number of toppings. I liked the simplicity of just adding walnuts on top, but other variations on this recipe have used crystallized ginger, almonds, peanut butter chips or sea salt. Really it is very hard to go wrong here. Even without any toppings, this stuff flies off the plate.

A few notes: Stir the toffee constantly when you are cooking it on top of the stove. Watch the toffee carefully, there is nothing grosser than burned and bitter sugar. Rinse out the pan as early as you can after pouring the toffee over the matzo to prevent the remaining toffee from permanently sticking. If you are making a meat based Seder, then you can substitute margarine for butter. If you don’t have matzo and/or want to make this a year round recipe, use saltines or graham crackers instead of matzo. Finally, allegedly this will keep for a week, but I doubt it will last long enough to test that.

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Olive Oil Matzos

Passover food is usually awful. Matzo that tastes like cardboard, desserts that are dense, tasteless bricks, and dried out brisket that you have to wait an eternity to eat. But I’m here to tell you that things don’t have to be that way. I am reforming Passover food. And we are starting with matzo.

It is possible to make fresh, crisp matzo from scratch. Matzo that doesn’t taste like last weeks newspaper. Matzo that you would want to eat year round. Are you on the band wagon yet? Because I am. These were delicious. Crispy, flavorful and nothing like the stuff from the supermarket. These can be eaten year round and served without the justification of, well it is Passover. I think these would be wonderful dressed up with some exotic colored sea salt (pink salted matzos anyone?) or perhaps with some thyme or rosemary sprinkled on them. But they are also wonderful in their current simplicity.

These may or may not be kosher for passover, depending on your level of religiousness. Technically, matzo must be made in 18 minutes and with special flour. Obviously, I did not do that, but I think it is possible with this recipe. Even with taking photos and doing some clean up, making these took about 35-40 minutes to do by myself. The most time consuming part is rolling out the dough to extreme thinness, so if there are two people rolling, this becomes very doable. But I am not particularly observant to say the least, so take my kosher advice with a grain of pink sea salt.

A few notes. The oven is going to be extremely hot. The baking sheets will be extremely hot. Wear a glove (don’t just use a mitt) and be careful. I managed to burn the knuckle on my thumb (hence the oven glove recommendation) and it hurts! Watch the matzos very carefully, there is a fine line between crisp and burned.

Most irregular shaped matzo you’ll ever see

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Potato Latkes

Happy Hanukkah!

Recently, there have been all these recipes for “healthy latkes” or “foodie latkes” involving zucchini, oats, spaghetti squash and other blasphemous ingredients. This is unacceptable. Latkes should be as simple as possible. My only concession to these ridiculous trends is including apples. Which isn’t even that much of a concession, as much as a compliment to the apple sauce.

But whatever latke recipe you follow, the most important thing is to eliminate as much water as possible from the potatoes. I used paper towels, but next year I might invest in a cheesecloth, as I have heard very good things about their wringing qualities. The next important thing is to use a cast iron pan. Sadly, I did not and I missed it. Cast iron is perfect for frying, it really retains heat and browns the latkes perfectly. But it is possible to make perfectly delicious latkes in a regular non stick pan.

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Pletzlach

In honor of Hannukah, I thought I would not make latkes (well not yet anyway, but they are coming!) and make pletzlach instead. Pletzlach are flattened rolls topped with chopped onions and poppy seeds. I actually had bookmarked this ages and ages ago, but it fell into bookmark oblivion during the Great Computer Crashes of 2007 and 2009 (yes I have terrible luck with computers). But I happily rediscovered it in the Hanukkah recipe slideshow in the New York Times this week.

This is a very simple yeast recipe – it has a lot of yeast and a short rise time, so they come together very quickly. I recently went to a baking demonstration by King Arthur Flour where I finally learned to knead bread properly and I am going to attempt to impart this knowledge via photos. But don’t be dissuaded by what will probably be an overly complicated and overwrought explanation. These are fast, delicious and they smell like a slice of onion-y heaven.


Merged Pletzach

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This is easily the best roasted chicken recipe ever. Ever. Normally, I find roasted chicken to be seriously dry and boring. I’ve tried everything to get a good roast chicken, combining every recipe into a ridiculous amalgam. Once I used rosemary, thyme, white wine, lemons, chicken broth, lemon pepper and it was STILL dry and tasteless. Very disappointing.

But then, I found this recipe in an Epicurious Passover recipe special. Eureka! This is so-not-boring-roasted-chicken and it totally livened up a sad bread-less Passover meal. Like most Epicurious recipes, it seems a bit fussy – anything with saffron seems fussy to me – but since this is a roasted chicken, it is really quite simple.

As an aside, don’t be alarmed the next day if the sauce looks a little neon yellow/green, I think its the tumeric.

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Noodle Kugel

This is a traditional Jewish recipe. It is a sweet dairy pudding and it is very simple to make.  It also doubles and triples nicely if you really like it.  The recipe is my grandmother’s.

Noodle Kugel

Noodle Kugel

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