Passover Is Coming: Cook Ahead

How often have you wanted simple, delicious meals and recipes?  Social media personality and chef Miriam Pascal knows this well. Hundreds of thousands of her fans regularly enjoy her creative, tasty and just-plain-fun recipes, which she shares on her popular blog and in her bestselling cookbooks.

A self-taught  cook and baker, Miriam is the founder of OvertimeCook.com, one if the world’s leading destinations for kosher recipes, and she loves sharing her passion for recipes, food and photography on her website, as well as in her popular food column in Mishpacha Magazine’s Family Table. Her first book, the dessert cookbook “Something Sweet,” enhanced her reputation as the go-to source for easy-to-prepare, delicious kosher recipes. Her second cookbook, “Real Life Kosher Cooking,” has become a kitchen staple. Miriam has garnered a large and loyal following of home cooks who appreciate her expertise and experience in creating simple, family-friendly recipes that fit the lifestyles of busy people who want to serve nutritious and delicious meals. As a result, Miriam has released her much anticipated follow-up cookbook, “More Real Life Kosher Cooking: Approachable recipes for memorable dishes” (Artscroll, Brooklyn, NY)  in which she shows home cooks how to create memorable dishes with approachable recipes, using simple, common sense preparation with great ideas and fantastic results. Miriam’s work has been featured by numerous national magazines and other media. The brisket and soup are from “More Real Life Kosher Cooking.”

Matbucha Brisket

I frequently get requests for non-sweet roast recipes, and I love to fulfill that request because my family prefers their Yom Tov roasts savory too, and I’m always looking for the next great idea. This one struck me one day when I thought about matbucha — the ever-popular dip made from vegetables. I decided to braise a roast in a matbucha-inspired sauce, and the meat was so incredibly flavorful, I knew it was a winner!

Yields 6-8 servings
1 (about 3-pound) 2nd cut brisket (see note)
kosher salt for sprinkling
black pepper for sprinkling
3 tablespoons oil
2 onions, sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 bell peppers, sliced, preferably different colors
2 plum tomatoes, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ jalapeño pepper, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid

Preheat oven to 325°F. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of roast.

Heat a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Add meat; sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned on the outside. Transfer to a roasting pan; set aside.

Turn heat under the frying pan to medium; add oil, onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.

Add peppers, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño and remaining teaspoon salt. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened.

Raise heat to high. Add cumin, chili powder and diced tomatoes with their liquid. Cook until mixture starts to bubble around the edges. Pour vegetable mixture over the meat.

Cover roasting pan tightly; bake for 40 to 50 minutes per pound, until meat is soft and tender.

Note: Instead of a brisket, you can use French roast, minute roast, or any other cut of meat that does well when cooked low and slow.

Plan Ahead: This meat freezes well in the sauce, wrapped and airtight. Reheat, covered, until warmed through.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

What started out as a fridge full of produce that had to be used up has morphed into one of my all-time favorite soups. Roasting the vegetables brings out their flavors, resulting in a healthy soup that’s packed with flavor and so filling! Feel free to customize your soup based on whichever veggies you happen to have on hand.  This soup can be prepared ahead and frozen in an airtight container.

Yield 6-8 servings

Roasted Vegetables
2 large zucchini, diced
3 medium yellow squash, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 onions, diced
1 pound frozen cauliflower florets, defrosted
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Soup
4 cups vegetable broth
about 6 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Prepare the roasted vegetables: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place vegetables, oil, salt and pepper into a bowl. Toss to combine. Divide between prepared baking sheets. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until vegetables are starting to brown. Prepare the soup: Place roasted vegetables, along with any juices, into a large soup pot. Add soup ingredients; bring to a boil.
Simmer for about 1 hour. Discard bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, blend soup well, for about 3 minutes, until fully smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Passover Carrot Souffle

This recipe from cooking teacher Beth Smith is an old favorite and fits Miriam’s criteria for a simple and delicious recipe.

2 lb fresh carrots, boiled until soft
6 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons matzo meal
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 sticks butter, melted
dash of cinnamon

Topping (mix together):

6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a 9-by-13-inch Pyrex baking pan.

Place carrots and eggs into food processor and puree. Add sugar, matzo meal, vanilla, melted butter, and cinnamon, and process until smooth. Bake in the prepared pan for 40 minutes. Add topping and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.

This can be made a day in advance.

Editor’s note: Find more of Sheilah’s culinary treats at www.cookingwithsheilah.com.

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