March 27, 2003
Delicious dishes from chicken to chocolate.
Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, and although cooking for Passover requires a lot of preparation, I look forward to it each year. It is a time when our family and close friends join together to share thoughts and exchange ideas as we participate in the seder.
I have a regular routine that begins my preparation for the Passover holiday. The first thing I do is check last year's guest list with my husband, so we won't leave anyone out, and then we add friends who will be alone during the holiday. Next, I review my files that are filled with Passover recipes and select the dishes I want to prepare for our seders.
Over the years, we have added Passover food traditions from other cultures that are different then what we normally serve, and they have become an important part of our seder menu.
In the past, we traditionally dipped sliced spring onions in salt water as the first vegetable of the season, and now we also serve steamed new potatoes dipped in salt.
The children love the idea of including scallions, a symbolic food that the Sephardic Jews use during their seder. They represent the whips used to beat the Jews when they were slaves in Egypt. The children re-enact this event during the seder by going around the table and gently hitting the participants with the raw scallions.
The charoset, bitter herbs and matzah are part of the Passover meal, and during our seder we taste several types of charoset from around the world. Each guest is served a plate with six different kinds of charoset, and we identify the country that each represents. Oh yes, the next day I roll the leftover charoset into balls and dip them in chocolate to serve as a special treat during the remaining days of Passover.
Dinner usually begins with homemade gefilte fish, but this year I plan on making a Gefilte Fish Terrine.
It is not as time-consuming to make, and the taste is the same. It is baked in the oven, in a mold, and does not require poaching in a fish stock.
This is followed by an intensely flavored chicken soup with matzah balls, and it is the one dish I cannot change because it is everyone's favorite.
Roast turkey is the main course, as well as chicken breasts that are filled with Grandma Molly's Vegetable Stuffing, rolled and baked. The combination of sautéed vegetables, matzah meal and sweet raisins is delicious, and I always double the recipe, and bake the remainder of the stuffing in a casserole, because there is never enough to satisfy everyone. The glazed apple slices are easy to make and are a perfect accompaniment to serve with the chicken and turkey.
Dinner is always served buffet style, and everyone helps themselves to their favorite Passover dishes.
For dessert, the table is set with an assortment of sponge cakes, cookies and chocolate-covered nuts and fruit. The walnut torte sponge cake looks extra-special by simply layering it with a preserve filling and then spooning a chocolate glaze on top.
Wine is an important part of the seder. In the past, sweet Concord grape wine was always served during Passover, but today, dry Passover wines have gained in popularity, and the availability and varieties are remarkable. These wines come from California, France, Italy and Israel, and, at our seder, we provide both sweet and dry wines, as well as grape juice, to satisfy everyone's taste.
Gefilte Fish Terrine With Horseradish
4 sole filets, skinned and cut in halves
2 medium onions, cut into eighths
4 small carrots, peeled and sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
1 pound ling cod or other white-flesh fish filet, cut in 1-inchÂ cubes
1 pound halibut or white-fleshed filets, cut in 1-inch cubes
112 cup cold water
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound salmon filet, cut into 112-inch chunks
Soak the sole filets in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Place them between sheets of waxed paper and flatten lightly with a mallet or the side of a knife. With a sharp knife, make several slashes on the skin side of each filet. Lightly oil a two-quart glass baking dish and line it with waxed paper. Oil the paper. Line the entire baking dish with the sole filets, placing them skin side down and slightly overlapping. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Place the onions, carrots and celery in a processor or grinder. Process or grind until finely minced. Add the cod and halibut and process until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with the water. Blend well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the ground mixture to a large bowl. Gently fold in the salmon chunks. Spoon the fish mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with oiled waxed paper and a double layer of foil.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the terrine in a large baking pan and pour in hot water to come halfway up the sides. Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack 10 minutes. Loosen foil and pour out excess liquid. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
To serve, invert the terrine on a platter and slice. Serve on lettuce leaves on individual serving plates with horseradish.
Rolled Chicken Breasts With Grandma Molly's Passover Vegetable Stuffing
8 chicken breasts (4 whole, boned and cut in half)
114 cup oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock
114 cup dry white wine
Prepare Grandma Molly's Vegetable Stuffing and cool.
Place a chicken breast, skin side down, on a sheet of wax paper, cover with another sheet of wax paper and using a mallet or tenderizer, gently pound the breast until desired thickness.
Spoon stuffing in the center and roll up the chicken breast, encasing the stuffing and tie with string. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
Line a baking pan with foil, brush with oil and arrange onions and carrots on top. Place stuffed chicken breasts on top, brush with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Add stock and wine and bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, increase the heat to 425 F, and bake about five minutes more, or until chicken is tender and crisp. Transfer to a cutting board and slice on the bias.
To serve, arrange sliced chicken breasts on plates and spoon any juices from pan that remain.Â Serves eight.
Grandma Molly's Passover Vegetable Stuffing
112 cup raisins, plumped in 1 cup Passover Concord grape wine
114 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 stalks celery, finely diced
6 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 parsnip, peeled and grated
2 medium zucchini, unpeeled and grated
112 cup minced fresh parsley
2-3 tablespoons matzah meal
2-3 tablespoons matzah cake meal
2-3 tablespoons Passover cereal or potato starch
114 cup dry red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic until soft, about three minutes. Add the celery, carrots, parsnip, and zucchini, and toss well. Cook for five minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Drain the raisins and add them to the vegetables with the parsley. Stir in one tablespoon each of the matzah meal, matzah cake meal and potato starch. Add the red wine and mix well. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients, a little at a time, until the stuffing is moist and soft but firm in texture. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.
Makes about 12 cups.
Glazed Apple Slices
This is versatile recipe, the translucent apple slices can also be used as a pie filling, or in open-faced tarts, using a matzah meal crust.
112Â cup sugar
112 cup orange marmalade
112 cup orange juice
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
6 large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
In a large, heavy skillet, combine the sugar, marmalade and orange juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar and marmalade have dissolved. Bring this syrup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer three to four minutes, just until it begins to thicken.
Place the apple slices in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice to prevent them from discoloring. Add the apples and lemon juice to the syrup in the skillet and toss to coat the apples. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the apples are soft. Transfer them to a glass bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
Layered Walnut Torte With Chocolate Glaze
7 eggs, separated
1113 cup sugar
114 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon each grated lemon and
112 cup matzah cake meal
112 cup potato starch
1 cup toasted ground walnuts
1114Â teaspoon salt
1 cup orange marmalade or raspberry preserves
Preheat the oven to 325 F.Â
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light in color and texture, at least five minutes. While mixing, slowly add the orange juice, lemon juice, grated lemon and orange zest and blend well. Gradually blend in the matzah cake meal, potato starch and walnuts. Beat the egg whites and salt until stiff enough to hold a peak. Gently fold them into the yolk mixture.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out dry.
Remove the cake from the oven; immediately invert the pan and let it cool. Loosen the sides and center of the cake with a sharp knife and unmold it onto a cake plate. Cool.Â Slice cake in half, crosswise and remove the top half. Spread the bottom half with marmalade or preserves, cover with the top half. Pour the chocolate glaze over the top and spread it evenly allowing the glaze to run down the sides of the cake.
8-ounces semisweet chocolate
114 cup strained orange marmalade or raspberry preserves
114 cup espresso coffee
In the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave, blend chocolate, marmalade and espresso. Beat with wire whisk until smooth. Add additional espresso if the glaze is too thick.