Passover is a yearly festival celebrated by people of the Jewish faith to mark remembrance of the story of the Exodus when the Israelites were freed from their Egyptian slavers. The date for passover is based on the Gregorian calendar and changes from year to year, falling on March 25 to April 2 this year. One of the most important observations during the Passover is that no leavened flour or grain can be consumed. For that reason, many recipes and food traditions have developed around recipes that are made this way. Whether you observe Passover every year or are new to Jewish traditions these adaptations on Passover favorites from local Chef Kate Cunning are sure to have you ready for the season.
Independent Chef/East Coast Wine Geeks
Kate Cunning completed her training as a pastry chef at Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. Since then, she has worked at Hyeholde and the Priory as well as consulting and catering for private events. You can see Cunning during one of her cultural food workshops at retail stores such as IKEA Pittsburgh and get her take on food and wine pairings on the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast.
“The Passover tradition is so closely connected with its food elements” says Cunning “there are so many foods that are traditionally served at Passover which are looked forward to all year by those who observe it”. Even if you do not observe Passover, these recipes are festive, delicious and can be enjoyed by everyone.
Matzah Brei With Cheese And Vegetables
This recipe uses traditional Matzo, a cracker made quickly in small batches so that the flour does not have a chance to leaven. Matzo is used in a variety of dishes in place of bread, crust or noodles during Passover. Matzah brei is a dish made with matzo and eggs and is enjoyed as a side dish or alone as a breakfast dish. This recipe serves four as a side dish.
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 4 sheets of matzo
- 2 cups Fontina (or your favorite) cheese, shredded
- 1 cup chopped red peppers
- 1 cup chopped asparagus
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
- Break the matzo up into bite size pieces and place in a strainer and soften by running under warm water and drain well
- Add matzo to beaten eggs and mix well
- In a large skillet , saute peppers, asparagus and mushrooms with two tablespoons of oil
- Add egg and matzo mixture, salt, pepper and parsley and cook until eggs are cooked through and matzo begins to brown
- Mix in cheese and stir until melted
While veal and beef in general are considered kosher foods (if slaughtered and inspected to certify it as kosher), some would prefer not to eat it because of possible inhumane practices in raising calves for veal. If preferred, stew beef can be substituted in this recipe and is just as delicious.
- 1 bouquet garni (bundle) of rosemary and thyme
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
- 1 cup white wne
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 lbs cubed veal stew meat
- 2 lbs mixed mushrooms
- 1 bag pearl onions (peeled)
- In the bottom of a large pot, coat veal meat corn or potato starch and brown in olive oil on all sides
- Add in onions, garlic and mushrooms and saute until tender
- Add the wine, chicken stock and bouquet of herbs
- Simmer until veal is tender and broth has reduced (about two to three hours)
- Serve over boiled, diced potatoes
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Desserts for Passover can be tricky without the use of flour or leavening agents. Flourless chocolate cake has a rich texture and will satisfy any sweet tooth.
- 10 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 separated eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- In a small sauce pan, melt butter and blend butter and chocolate chips
- Whisk yolks from the separated eggs together with the chocolate mixture
- Make a meringue with by beating the whites of the separated eggs and the sugar until stiff peaks form
- Add meringue mixture to the chocolate mixture a little at a time folding in with a rubber spatula
- Pour into a well greased 9 inch pan (use a spring form or silicone pan if you plan to take the cake out of the pan for serving)
- Bake at 275 degrees on the center rack for about 45 minutes (the sides of the cake will pull away from the pan and it will be set, but not still gooey in the center)
- Allow to cool and serve with fresh fruit such as raspberries
Related: Passover Recipe: Coconut Macaroons
Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.