Spring Recipes

It’s never too early to start planning your menus for Passover and Easter. Here are some recipes from new books that will add easy, delicious dishes to your holiday table.

Artichoke and Lemon Spread

Another delight from Carol Dearth, well known cooking teacher and author.

1 small clove garlic

1 (6.5 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained

Freshly grated zest of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

Drop garlic through the feed tube with food processor running and mince. Add artichoke hearts and pulse/process to chop. Add zest, juice, thyme and cream cheese, and process to blend.  Adjust seasonings if needed. If you don’t have a food processor, and need to do it by hand, finely mince garlic and artichokes. Add zest and juice, thyme and cheese, and mix together in a bowl, blending well.

Serve in two 6-ounce crocks and smooth the tops. Cover tightly and chill. Make ahead, and refrigerate up to one week or freeze for two months. Let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving to soften. Serve with crackers or pipe rosettes of cheese spread onto crackers for a more elegant presentation. Sprinkle with freshly chopped chives.

Each crock serves 4.

Spaghetti Squash Kugel

Looking for new, creative recipes that are user friendly, quick and easy, have great tips and hints, delightful color photos, and suggestions for wine pairings? Look no further than the new book Passover Made Easy by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek (Artscroll/Shaar Press).

1 spaghetti squash

1 tablespoon oil

9 onions, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Wash squash and place in a loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool.  Raise oven temperature to 400˚ F. Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Using a fork, scrape the strands of squash into a large bowl. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, add onions and garlic, and sauté until onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add mixture to squash. When mixture cools a little, add eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well and pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake until kugel is crispy on top, about 1 hour.

Serves 6.

Mango, Pineapple and Pomegranate Salad

This light, clean, refreshing dessert, is especially lovely for brunch or as a dessert after a big meal, and perfect for Passover. From The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray with David Hagedorn (St. Martin’s Press, March 2013). When Chef Todd Gray, who grew up Episcopalian, married his Jewish wife, their union brought about his initiation into the world of Jewish cooking.

Todd and Ellen talk about the food they grew up with, their life together, and how rewarding the sharing of two people’s traditions — and meals — can be. In 1999, Todd Gray combined his love for farm-to-table ingredients with his passion for Jewish cuisine, opening the acclaimed Equinox Restaurant in Washington, D.C.

The New Jewish Table has more than 125 recipes that reinvent traditional Jewish cooking with fresh seasonal ingredients and innovative approaches to traditional Jewish dishes, for example, Not Exactly Aunt Lil’s Matzo Ball Soup, BBQ Wild King Salmon with Sweet Corn, Matzo-Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, Fig and Port Wine Blintzes, Chocolate Hazelnut Rugelach. Gorgeous design, appetizing full-color photos, The New Jewish Table is sure to please everyone from traditional Kosher cooks to high-holiday hosts.

1 small golden pineapple

2 medium mangos

1 pomegranate

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup passion fruit juice

6 mint leaves, finely chopped

Using a strong sharp knife, remove the peel from the pineapple. Remove top first, then stand the fruit upright and slice down the sides, removing any eyes. Slice it horizontally into rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Use a paring knife or a small round cutter to remove the core from each round.  Cut the slices into 1/2-inch cubes, and place in a large bowl. Peel and pit the mangoes, and cut the flesh into dice; add to the pineapple, mix well.

Mix the salad. Cut the pomegranate in half, and remove enough seeds to equal
1/2 cup (discard membrane that divides interior of the fruit). Whisk together the sugar and juice in a small bowl. Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit; stir to mix well. Stir in the pomegranate seeds and mint.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to meld the flavors.

Serves 6.

Moroccan Chicken

This tender, exotic, delicious recipe is a perfect example of how your spice cabinet can be your ticket around the culinary world. Kosher by Design Cooking Coach: Recipes, Tips & Techniques to Make Anyone a Better Cook by Susie Fishbein is where Susie shares her best-kept secrets for success in the kitchen. There are more than 120 brand new recipes and 400 full color photos. Each major section in the book is preceded by a practicum on techniques that cover a wide range of kitchen knowledge.

12 dried apricots

10 dried pitted dates

1 red onion, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces

1/2 cup pitted, sliced Spanish olives, without pimento

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper

1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 whole (3-4 pound) chicken, legs tied

3⁄4 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss the apricots, dates, onion, olives and oil into a 9-by-13-inch pan or casserole dish, mounding in the center of the pan. In a small bowl mix the coriander, turmeric, salt, cumin, ginger, pepper and cinnamon. Rub all over the chicken. Place the chicken in the pan, breast-side-up, on the fruit mound. Tuck as much of the fruit under the chicken as possible. Pour the white wine and broth around the chicken in the pan. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Baste with pan juices and bake for an additional 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Serves 4 to 6.

For more recipes or details about Sheilah Kaufman, visit www.cookingwithsheilah.com.