Cooking For Passover
New Ideas For a Joyous Meal
I've attended many Passover Seders but I've never cooked for one. I enjoy a Seder for its narrative and I bring an outsider's fascination with its rituals. Like the platter holding a symbolic roasted shank bone and pieces of bitter parsley. The drops of wine tossed on a plate to remember the plagues. And the hiding of the Afikomen and Elijah's empty chair.
But I come to this joyous meal with no family traditions or childhood memories. Thus I am not the best to offer advice for this notably culinary holiday.
But Arthur Schwartz is. This cookbook author and culinary wise man is as helpful a Passover adviser as you could possibly find. In his new and splendid Jewish Home Cooking, Mr. Schwartz can guide you in making a Passover meal that is both nostalgic and appetizing. In the second of our two-part interview with him, Mr. Schwartz has much to say about what makes a successful Passover dinner. You can listen to the podcast of our interview with him at The City Cook or download it from iTunes (our complete archive is in their podcast food section).
Besides getting guidance from Mr. Schwartz, you may be looking for some fresh ideas for this year's Passover and many of the major cooking and recipe databases have very appealing ideas. Maybe this is the year when you should try something new.
- Epicurious.com's "Holiday & Celebrations" section has a Passover category that's particularly good for desserts and updated recipes for braised meats.
- MarthaStewart.com has more than recipes, with articles about entertaining during Passover, setting the table with the Haggadah, and the Seder ritual. Just type in "Passover" into the site's search engine and you'll get many results.
- The April 2008 issue of Gourmet offers recipes for Passover as a celebration of spring. The menu includes Passover Pasta Primavera (with a recipe for fresh pasta made with matzo cake meal), Spiced Matzo-Stuffed Chicken Breasts seasoned with Middle East spices, Passover Lemon Cheesecake, Roasted Rhubarb with Rose Water and Strawberry Sorbet, and a way to make Passover Powdered Sugar that substitutes potato starch for the usual cornstarch.
- Food & Wine's April issue has an article by Manhattan BBQ chef Adam Lang called "Passover Reformed" with a very appealing Slow-Braised Short Ribs with Spinach, which is a variation of the traditional cholent, and Potato Kugel with Fried Shallots. With spring mangoes arriving in our local markets, his Seder dessert of Tropical Fruit Cobbler with Coconut Macaroon Topping is both modern and in-season.
As the Matzo Crumbles…
It was recently announced that Streit's, a kosher food company that's been making matzo on Rivington Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side since 1925, has succumbed to the lure of New York real estate trends and is selling its building. The factory will soon close, and if they don't re-open somewhere else (New Jersey was suggested but not promised), it will leave Manischewitz as the sole mass producer of matzo. If you're a fan of Streit's, this could be your last Passover with their matzo on your Seder table.
Shmura Matzo for Passover
If you're interested in buying Shmura matzo for Passover, place your orders as soon as possible. We've published a list of Brooklyn Shmura matzo bakeries. Zabar's has a supply from both Israel and Brooklyn but it can sell out quickly so plan and buy ahead.
May your Passover table be bountiful, happy and delicious.