It contains pure cane sugar, is chametz-free, may taste better than the year-round beverage — and is effectively off-limits in the state of California.
Jewish holidays are full of symbolic foodstuffs: We are people of the mouth and stomach at least as much as the people of the book. Passover provides perhaps the best example of this — not only does almost everything on the table have a story, the ritual of the holiday involves telling those stories at length. Everything from the parsley we dip to the wine drink has a narrative attached to it.
It’s late afternoon and the staff at Got Kosher? Café is under the impression that the kitchen isn’t yet able to prepare brik until dinner service begins. “So, you want brik?” owner Alain Cohen asks. Dressed in all black, with a professorial air and solid build, Cohen’s question implies that brik will be in my future, despite the lunch shift’s initial claim. When Cohen sits down at the front corner table in his restaurant, a half-moon shaped, flash-fried brik arrives, with a diminutive, custom-sized portion for himself.
Passover, the Festival of Freedom — also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread — is celebrated for eight days. Over the centuries, Jewish cooks have produced a rich array of foods for the Passover holiday, and desserts are an especially important course of the meal.
For the many who feel overwhelmed by Passover because of the demands of cooking without leaven, a word or two: That should not be an obstacle.
Passover may be the mother of all kitchen yontifs — but stay cool, and don’t stress. Here are some of my favorite recipes from last Passover that you will love this Passover and all year.
A few weeks before Passover, there was a moment when Shirley Friedman looked worried that there might not be enough food for everybody. Friedman, who calls herself “a full-time grandmother,” is expecting to feed three dozen people over the first two nights of Passover at her table at home — but on that Thursday morning, she wasn’t worrying about a problem that could be solved by another trip to the supermarket.
Here’s the first thing you notice about Michal Ansky: She’s beautiful. Tall, with long black hair and a strong, lean Israeli build. In the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, where we meet, people do double takes. She’s not quite famous here yet, though Fox TV selected Ansky from among all the cooking experts in the world to be one of three judges on its hit program, “MasterChef.” Padma Lakshmi, watch your back.
I have always enjoyed researching and developing new dishes to serve during Passover, but have you ever heard of Mock Gefilte Fish? Because everyone loves chicken, I am constantly looking for new and different chicken dishes to prepare, and I find that each recipe has a story all its own.
At Passover, because tradition rules, I’m willing to bet that, at most seder tables, undistinguished sponge and honey cake, coconut macaroons and probably some dried fruits cooked into a compote are trotted out at meal’s end, met with no discernable oohs and aahs of rapture from those at the table. Why not bend tradition a bit in the name of making the last course as delectable as the dishes that precede it? Adhering to the albeit fluid rules that proscribe chemical leavening, and flour- and corn-based products, there’s still a whole world of modern and delicious desserts that can grace the Passover table.
Some of Jewish Journal Writers’ Favorite Recipes