Passover Food Done Right

Here I share my favorites from best-selling author Tina Wasserman’s latest book, “Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora,” and the newly released “Entrée to Judaism for Families: Cooking and Kitchen Conversations with Children.” Wasserman hosts www.cookingandmore.com and is the food editor for www.
ReformJudaism.org.

Persian Cauliflower and Raisin Kuku

20 ounce bag frozen cauliflower (1/2 head of large cauliflower)

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 small cloves of garlic, finely chopped or put through garlic press

5 large eggs

Freshly ground black pepper, about 15 turns of a pepper mill

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

3 tablespoons dark raisins

If cauliflower is fresh then chop into small pieces, if frozen, then defrost and drain in a colander.

Heat a large frying pan on high for 15 seconds.  Add 3 tablespoons oil and heat for 10 seconds more. Lower heat to medium.   Add cauliflower, onions and salt to pan, stir to combine, cover pan, and then cook for 3 minutes.

Uncover pan and sauté until cauliflower is soft and onions are light golden brown.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Do not burn garlic.

Transfer cauliflower/onion mixture to a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until cauliflower becomes a coarse puree. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 11×7 baking dish or 10-inch Pyrex pie plate with the additional 2 tablespoons of oil.

Using a fork combine the eggs, pepper, turmeric, cumin and raisins in a 1 quart bowl. Add to the cauliflower and mix to thoroughly combine.

Pour egg mixture into oiled dish and bake on the center shelf of the oven for 30 minutes or until top is golden and eggs are cooked in the center.  Serve immediately or at room temperature. Serves 4-6.

Note: Cut the cooled kuku into 1 inch squares and place on a plate with toothpicks for bite sized snacks or appetizers.

Cabbage Kugel

The authors of Yeshiva Me’on Ha Torah’s “A Taste of Pesach” mailings have put together a complete 150 recipe collection of kosher for Pesach family favorites in a magnificently presented, down-to-earth compilation of mouth-watering recipes, with stunning full-color photos. This book is designed to put ease and confidence back into Passover cooking.

2 tablespoons oil

3 onions, diced

2 (1 lb) bags shredded green cabbage

1/ 2 teaspoon pepper

1/ 4 cup sugar, or to taste

6 large eggs, separated

1/ 3 cup potato starch

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat one or two 9-x13-inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onions until light brown.  Add cabbage, cover the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is wilted. Add salt, pepper and sugar and stir to combine.  Remove from heat, add yolks, stirring rapidly while adding so they don’t curdle.  Stir in potato starch.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff.  Fold into cabbage mixture.

Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake until golden, for 50 minutes.  Serves 20.

Marble Chocolate Chunk and Cinnamon Meringues

It’s a new era for Jewish home bakers. Kosher baking ingredients have evolved and kosher food in general has become more gourmet. Now, Paula Shoyer offers a thoroughly modern approach to Jewish holiday baking, organizing them by holidays, and including both contemporary and traditional recipes, more than 45 of which have been skillfully tailored for Passover. This is from her “Holiday Kosher Baker: Traditional and Contemporary Holiday Desserts.”

4 large egg whites, at room temperature for at least 2 hours

1 cup (130g) sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup (80g) confectioners’ sugar

4 ounces (115g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4 – inch (6-mm) pieces

Preheat oven to 230°F (110°C). Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff. Reduce speed to low and add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until mixed in. Raise the speed to high and beat for 10 full minutes, until thick and shiny.

Sift the cocoa, cinnamon and confectioners’ sugar together into a small bowl. When the egg whites are ready, spoon out about half of the whites into a separate bowl and set aside. Add the cocoa and sugar mixture to the remaining whites in the mixing bowl, along with three-quarters of the chopped chocolate, and mix on low speed to combine. Add the reserved whites back into the bowl and use a silicone spatula to mix very gently, not completely, to create a marbled effect. Using two large spoons, scoop up the meringue batter and place dollops on the prepared cookie sheet about two inches apart. Chop the remaining chocolate into smaller pieces and sprinkle on top and around the sides of the meringue clumps. Bake for two hours. Let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Makes 8 to 10 large meringues

Double Coconut Chocolate Macaroons

Wasserman loves to make these all year long.

8 ounces almonds

1 cup sugar

2 cups lightly packed coconut

9 ounces dark chocolate, 60% cocoa butter, or 10 ounces chocolate chips

3 egg whites (approximately 1/3 cup whites)

1/3 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 teaspoon almond extract

Place almonds in a processor work bowl and pulse the machine on and off until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the sugar and coconut and pulse once or twice to combine.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave: 1 minute at 80 percent and 45 seconds at 50 percent.  This time is approximate and based on a 1 1/2  inch thick block of chocolate.  It might take less time.  Watch carefully and stir the chocolate after the first 45 seconds to check on the melting time.

In a small glass measuring cup combine the egg whites, coconut milk and the extract. Set aside.  Add the chocolate to the nut mixture in the processor work bowl.

With the motor running, pour the egg white mixture into the work bowl and just process until the mixture comes together and is well combined.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Wet your hands or lightly coat them with oil.  Dough is very sticky.  Freeze for 5 minutes if it is too hard to handle.  Scoop up one tablespoon of dough and shape into a ball the size of a small walnut.  Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.  Bake the macaroons for 12-15 minutes  (Convection ovens only need about 12 minutes at 350F.)  Cool completely and then store in air tight container or freeze.  Do not over bake as cookie will harden more when the chocolate solidifies at room temperature.

Yield: 5 dozen macaroons

Note: Most coconut milk is just coconut and water and comes from Thailand.  There is no hechsher on the can but it may be treated as an unprocessed canned fruit for Passover.  If that does not conform to your rules, combine 1 cup of coconut and 1/2 cup water in a blender (NOT processor) and blend until coconut is fairly pulverized.  Strain mixture pressing hard on the coconut solids to extract as much flavor as possible.  Discard the solids and use liquid in the recipe.

Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission from Holiday Kosher Baker ©2013 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. with photography by Michael Bennett Kress. For more from Kaufman’s Kitchen, go to www.cookingwithsheilah.com.

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