Passover

flourlesschocolatecakeMost everyone loves chocolate cake. It's just one of those classic desserts that no one can refuse. A good chocolate cake is moist and tender, sweet but not saccharine, and very chocolaty, of course. Melted chocolate—not cocoa powder—separates an excellent chocolate cake from a mediocre one. The best quality chocolate will always yield excellent results. But what about a chocolate cake made without flour? You would think it would be horrible. But it actually works, with just two ingredients: chocolate and eggs.

The best way to describe it would be to call it a baked mousse, because basically that's what it is. Melted chocolate is first combined with a mixture of beaten egg yolks and sugar, then egg whites are folded in. I choose to flavor this cake with instant espresso powder and vanilla, both of which help heighten the chocolate flavor. The final product is a dense yet moist and tender cake just right for chocolate lovers. It also makes a great dessert for Passover since there's no flour at all.

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matzoballsoup.jpgMaking Passover dinner takes a bit of planning, but it doesn't have to be a chore. If you're cooking for a big group, hand out assignments so you don't do all the work. If your kitchen is large enough, invite people over to help. Cooking the dinner with friends and family can be as much a part of a celebration as the meal itself.

Everyone wants to save money these days. But keeping an eye on food costs shouldn't mean cutting corners on quality and flavor. Avoid buying packaged or frozen meals and you'll be way ahead of the game. Besides saving money, you'll be eating healthier food.

On Passover, I practice what I preach by using one chicken to make three dishes. My Jewish mother would be very proud.

For me it's not Passover without matzo ball soup. But soup is only as good as the stock. Canned and packaged chicken broth are very high in salt content and, in my opinion, have an unpleasant flavor. It's much better to make your own.

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sorbetdonutsAs a kid I always loved eating chocolate-covered jelly rings by the handful. I eagerly looked forward to that time of year when the grocery stores stacked towering boxes of them in the Passover aisle. I still love eating them, but now am glad that I can only find them once a year, otherwise I'd eat them all the time.

Last spring my friend Caroline introduced me to Uncle Louie G's Italian ices and ice cream shop in Brooklyn. Their many flavors are astounding, but what caught my eye that first visit was the chocolate jelly ring Italian ice. I knew right away that I would love it and there was no doubt that I would order it. As Passover rolled around this year I saw those towering boxes of jelly rings in the supermarket and the first thing that popped into my mind was that I had to make a dessert with them.

Here is my kosher for passover dessert, a rich chocolate sorbet made with high-quality melted chocolate and an entire box of chopped jelly rings stirred in. It's a bit different, and some of my Jewish friends may have thought I was crazy for doing it, but once you have a taste, you will surely understand my obsession.

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darya_painting_lg.jpgIt is 1979, my first night of Seder in America since I fled Iran eight months before.  My husband remains back in Iran, hoping to salvage a small part of our valuable properties, our home and business, a chewing gum factory that remains the largest in the Middle East.  “Come with us,” I insisted, “It’s too dangerous, especially for Jews.” 

He would not hear of it.  I was "being an alarmist", as always, he will join us "in a few weeks", a couple of months at most. 

Now, in hindsight, I realize that we were blinded by a certain naiveté and senseless hope that is common with having lived in comfort—this could not be the end of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who had, with enormous pomp, crowned himself King of Kings in 1967. 

We were wrong of course.  Once we landed in LAX, I learned that the Air France Plane that carried me and my daughters, age two and ten, to safety was the last allowed out of Iran before Mehrabad Airport was shut down by the Islamic Revolutionaries.  It would take another three years before my husband would be allowed to leave the country.

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strawberryPassoverDessert135xI know this looks like ice cream.  But IT’S NOT.  It’s Strawberry Mousse.  And it has all the creamy mouthfeel that ice cream exudes.  Best of all it’s quick and easy to put together.  What could be better than that?

Oy Vey, I am not Jewish, however, the Wild Boar is.  So when there is a Jewish Holiday (however it seems as though lots of non-Jews, goyim, are celebrating Passover these days), I like to take on my “perfect goy wife” role and put something together, a traditional treat during the holiday period.  I know, I know, I’m good.

The Wild Boar does not follow Jewish dietary laws (he eats everything) but like I said, it’s fun to make traditional things.  If there is a holiday, I’ll join in and do what I need to do for a celebration.  I love parties.

This mousse is considered perfect for Passover because it is non-dairy with no leavening, an important consideration for Jews following traditional dietary laws with a meal where meat is usually present.

But the truth is, I make this on a whim because it is so darn yummy and simple to throw together.  It’s light, fluffy and refreshing.  You’ll be saying Mazel Tov before you know it.  I know you will.

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