Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Challenges Of Passover Cooking

Passover is one of the most ancient and traditional of meals. However with any  holiday meal, it can pose challenges ,leaving home  chefs to scratch their heads. One problem is vegetarianism - the other how to make something new with a limited allowance of ingredients. Not to worry - there are solutions.

Many families have to embrace their kids or relatives new vegetarian lifestyle. What happens then to the lamb or brisket?It can still be made but new dishes have to be added.One idea is vegetarian potato and mushroom croquettes, more or less based on latkes. These are really patties that also has onion added for flavor . The binder is ground maztoh meal. The potatoes are first boiled and mashed and then the sauteed onions and mushrooms are the added as are the crumbs. The croquettes are then mounded and fried in extra virgin olive oil (it is considered suitable for Passover cooking) for eight minutes until crisp.A more colorful dish is roasted beet casserole. This recipe works for both vegans and vegetarians.It's simply layering sliced beets in a lightly oiled baking dish and then sprinkling salt, sugar and paprika on top of them. It's then dotted with margarine and baked for half a hour. Spinach and leek can come together with potato to create a kind of strata.It is labor intensive with  cooking the potatoes first however they can be microwaved to save time. There is also making the cashew "cheese" which also requires avocado and layering of the different ingredients from soaked matzoh to leeks and baby spinach.

Another challenge for Passover home chefs is the dessert.Leavening is not allowed so that rules out many cakes.However that also forces a lot of creative thinking.  A mock chestnut torte is  an elegant way to solve this problem. Since chestnut puree is not acceptable for the holiday, mashed sweet potato can be used as the base. The dessert has an almost souffle like quality because the six eggs required are separated and the whites are made into a meringue first before being added to the mix of sweet potatoes, yolks and dark chocolate.Melted chocolate is drizzled over the cake as a glaze and then it's decorated with raspberries.Macaroons are a traditional must and these, too, can be made at home.It's an easy recipe that just needs egg yolks , granulated sugar and  two cups ground almonds. Home chefs can also make the coconut ones too, subbing in the ground almond with shredded coconuts and using the egg whites instead of the yolks, Chocolate chips can be added  or cocoa powder added to the recipe for richer treats. Kids will love matzoh brittle, matzoh topped with homemade caramel and dark chocolate and then broken into bite sized pieces.

Passover cooking should not come with problems. There are solutions for dealing with vegetarianism as well as what to make for dessert. These provide for a tasty meal that suits everyone;s beliefs and taste with ending on a high sweet note.

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