In the quest for creativity in the Passover menu, the AJT offers these options from some of the pros: Paula Shoyer from her “New Passover Menu” (Sterling Publishing, $24.95); Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart from their “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” (Gibbs Smith, $25); and Belinda Ossip, a holistic health practitioner for Jewish Family & Career Services’ Health Power Initiative.
Please be aware when planning your seder that several of these recipes use dairy or meat. Look for more recipes to get you through the holiday in our Passover issue April 22.
Quinoa and Avocado Tabbouli Salad
From Belinda Ossip; serves 4
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or stock
Seasonings to taste (salt and pepper)
Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa with cool water until the water runs clear. Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook covered for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand covered 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season.
2 cucumbers, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, finely chopped
Juice of 3 lemons, freshly squeezed
1 ripe avocado, sliced
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups quinoa, cooked
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 bunch fresh flat-leave parsley, finely chopped
1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
Combine the parsley, mint, cucumber and tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place into a separate large salad bowl. Pour the fresh lemon juice over the salad mixture. Add olive oil, black pepper and salt. Mix well. Place the salad over the cool quinoa and mix well. Top with the sliced avocado and serve.
Ribboned Carrots and Zucchini
From Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart; serves 2 to 3
Ribboned vegetables are paper-thin strips of firm vegetables such as beets, carrots, zucchini, turnips and potatoes. One of their many virtues is that ribbons cook faster than almost any other shape of cut vegetables, except finely chopped. They may be cooked ahead and even used for a salad. This technique is particularly useful when there are stray vegetables in the bin. Vegetables may be ribboned in advance and kept refrigerated for several days until ready to cook.
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, rosemary or other favorite herb, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Ribbon the vegetables with a potato peeler. Reserve one long exterior strip of zucchini for each serving. Add the ribbons to the hot pan. Cover with a lid and cook 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid and season to taste with herbs, salt and pepper. Take the reserved zucchini strips and form them into individual rings. Divide the cooked ribbons equally between the rings, piling them inside the rings. Can be cooled and reheated later.
Variation: Add sliced mushrooms and ribboned turnips, potatoes, fennel, beets and/or rutabagas.
Variation: Substitute broccoli for all or some of the carrots.
Cauliflower Slabs With Basil Pesto
From Paula Shoyer; serves 6 to 8
Prep time: 10 minutes; cook time: 40 to 45 minutes
May be made 2 days in advance
Every year my mother, Toby Marcus, fries cauliflower dipped in egg and matzah meal to create a crunchy side dish. This recipe is lighter and healthier, although I always hope that my mother will make the fried version for me. The idea here is to cut large slices of the cauliflower head and use any crumbs that fall off in the pesto topping.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large head (or 2 small ones) cauliflower
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, or use a large, shallow roasting pan. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil onto the pan and spread it around to cover the bottom.
Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower. Rinse well and trim off any dirty spots. Using a long, sharp knife, slice the head in half from the stem to the top of the head. Cut ¾-inch-thick slices, from the top of the head to the stem end, and place them on the pan, one at a time. Some of the pieces that fall onto the cutting board will stay intact, but the smaller pieces may crumble. Place any pieces that are 1 inch or larger on the pan with the cauliflower slices. Pick out the smaller cauliflower pieces (you should have about 1 cup) and place them in the bowl of a food processor.
Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the cauliflower on the pan. Sprinkle with the salt and season with pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes.
1 cup cauliflower “crumbs,” collected after slicing the head
12 large basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Add the basil, garlic, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper to the cauliflower pieces in the processor bowl. Process until the cauliflower and basil are finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly pour the olive oil into the processor bowl. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down any pieces that are stuck to the sides of the bowl.
After the cauliflower has cooked for 15 minutes and is a little browned, spread the pesto on top of the slabs. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until fork-tender.
Fully Loaded Cookie Bars
From Paula Shoyer; makes 24 2-inch squares or 49 1-by-3-inch bars
Prep time: 15 minutes; bake time: 30 to 35 minutes
May be made 5 days in advance or frozen
I am declaring this the official snack bar of the Passover holiday because these gluten-free bars make everyone happy. First, the ends are crunchy if you like crisp cookies to dunk in milk, and the middle is chewy if you like a gooey cookie. Next, you can vary these cookie bars in so many ways. Don’t like coconut or raisins? Leave them out. Love chocolate? Reduce the chopped nuts and substitute some more chocolate chips. Start with the base recipe the first time you make them and then vary the add-ins as you like. In any case, you will want to make these cookie bars more than once over the holiday.
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing pan
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
3¼ cups ground almonds
¼ cup potato starch
1 cup mini chocolate chips or 1 bag (10 ounces) chocolate chips
1/3 cup pecans, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1/3 cup dried, shredded coconut
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with oil, and press in a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom and sides. Grease the top and sides of the parchment.
In a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed, or mix well with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the ground almonds and potato starch and mix well. Add the chocolate chips, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, coconut, raisins and cranberries and mix to distribute.
Scoop the dough into the prepared pan, and use a spatula to spread it evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges are brown and a toothpick inserted into the center has just a few crumbs on it when withdrawn. Let cool. Lift out the parchment, then cut into squares or bars.
From Belinda Ossip
2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds), tough ends snapped off, stalks peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 leeks, white part only, chopped
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more if needed
Set the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the asparagus tips and put the stalks and tips on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Toss evenly to coat. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until tender. Remove the asparagus tips from the baking sheet and reserve them for garnishing the soup.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 4 minutes, then add the potatoes and a generous pinch of salt. Stir occasionally to allow the potatoes to soften and the onion to turn golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Pour in 1 cup of the broth, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot. Add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender, adding the broth first, then the vegetables and asparagus. Blend until velvety smooth, about 2 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more broth ¼ cup at a time.
Return the soup to the pot and gently reheat. Taste the soup to check whether to add an extra pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon to bring out the flavor. Garnish with a spoon of Greek yogurt and a few asparagus tips, or sprinkle with toasted almonds.