Passover

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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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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As a secular Jew married to a Catholic, I guess you could say that religion for me has always been a spectator sport. I do know that Easter is upon us,  so my catholic friends (yes, I mean those who embrace all things) celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a holiday, whose name is derived from the name of a goddess associated with spring, hence all the chocolate fertility symbols (a patriarchal holiday with something for everyone). And this Christian holiday normally coincides with Passover because the Last Supper was a Passover meal, and we all know how that went.

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sedertable.jpgMy husband is Jewish, my stepchildren are Jewish, even my son is Jewish.  And yet, I, myself, am merely Jew-ish, which is to say that I go to temple with my family, participate in our Jewish life, but have yet to officially convert.  Why?  I don’t know exactly.  I believe that it’s either in your heart or it isn’t, and it is in mine, and no amount of mikvehs will make it more so.

My first seder was easily a decade ago.  I slaved (no pun intended), I sweated, I researched.   I even figured out how to get a lamb shank bone for my seder plate.  And for dinner, I made a fine lamb roast.  We invited my husband’s best friend since high school, and his family.  Turns out, they don’t eat lamb.  That was awkward.   But it had nothing to do with Passover.  (I had no idea that there were people who felt funny about lamb. Now I ask, every single time, and there’s only been one other occasion where someone categorically turned their back on it.) 

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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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