Monday, April 10, 2006

The Chocolate Lady’s 2006 Vegetarian Peysekh Survival Guide

When I was in sixth grade, I knew a girl who could raise one eyebrow at a time. When I asked her how she had achieved this enviable skill, she told me that one year she had spent all of Peysekh practicing in front of a mirror. Naturally, I was very impressed, not just with my classmate’s remarkable diligence in her eyebrow-training program, but with the insight she provided about the nature of this wonderful and maddening holiday. Peysekh is a time when we do things that we do not do, and would not do, at any other time of year. Peysekh is time out of time. The insides and outsides of our homes are different, and so are the insides and outsides of our bodies and minds. It is a time of great excitement, but also no small bemusement. It was for this reason that I made the first Peysekh survival guide in 1995. Some elements have dropped out (I decided I was just not in the mood for spice-crusted potatoes during Passover) and others, such as the asparagus peeler, have been in every issue.

The Chocolate Lady’s 2006 Vegetarian Peysekh Survival Guide
Version 9.0 c. Spring 2006

The Stuff

I feel a real shiver of delight at that moment when the house is (finally!) ready and I begin to unpack my Peysekh keylim. Overwhelmingly vivid sensations of the different colors, shapes, and weights of the equipment burst out of the box. The whole apartment changes as it fits itself around a different set of cooking utensils.

Peysekh stuff is a time machine. It outlives its contemporaries (equipment bought or acquired at the same time) since we use it only one week a year. It is a reminder of fashions and choices of the past.

Last year, one of the things that delighted me for the Passover holiday was the discovery of disposable bamboo plates. I do not keep an entire set of Passover dishware, and depend on disposable dishes during Peysekh. This frees up storage space and washing time, but it is less than optimal in that paper or plastic plates are lacking in gorgeousity, and are environmentally unsound. Last year, I ordered disposable bamboo plates. They are gorgeous, and if their website is to be believed, they biodegrade completely within a few days. You can get them at Greenfeet.

Stocking up: While it is true that I rely on eggs and milkhiks at Peysekh, I insist that it is possible to be a vegan at peysekh as well. I even insist that you can do it without potatoes. I am always seeking more vegan, nightshade-free peysekh choices.

I use Schmerling’s bittersweet chocolate (also called Maestrani chocolate) for Peysekh. This year I also picked up some of their new 72% chocolate

Essential for soups. Tonic in any quantity. And then there’s this:

If you were to stand on a hill during any Sunday afternoon in winter and listen carefully you would hear a low, rustling, crunching sound. It is the entire English nation, eating celery.

--Adrian Bailey, quoting his father in The Cooking of the British Isles

Marlene Dietrich was a great believer in the tonic properties of artichokes. I love artichokes, which arew appearing at this time of year and are suited to many Passover preparations, but most appealing to me is the way the ceremonial is recapitulated in the culinary with the toyvling of each leaf.

During peysekh you are using much less kitchen equipment that usual, and probably finding that you can do more than you thought, but one thing you do need is an asparagus peeler. This is a ‘V’ shaped peeler that cradles the spear to peel without snapping. Peel your asparagus. Life is good.

A few years ago I tried a Japanese food called Konnyaku ( Amorphophaiius Konjac, aka devil's tongue) I had some at a Gobo, a vegan restaurant near here: It is similar in flavor and texture to very firm silken tofu. I will certainly try it again. I was thinking it would be a good peysekhdik tofu-substitute if the process could be supervised.
This site combines a Shakespeare database with enthusiastic konnyaku advocacy. This is a very charming site about health benefits of konnyaku.

Available green, yellow-brown, or black, these banana-like fruitoid things actually turn out to be a pretty decent and very nourishing potato-substitute for those on a nightshade-free diet. Use the green ones to grate for latkes (or combine them with grated taro, see below) and bake or boil the riper yellow or black ones. The peels do not slip off as easily as banana peels, so be prepared to use a knife--or use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer.

Plantain chips
This year I found this wonderful recipe for plantain chips on Indira’s breathtaking blog Mahanandi. Two details in particular captured my interest. The first is that you scrape off the outer peel, but leave the inner peel on to make the chips—sounds just right. The second is that in Kerala, plantain chips are fried in coconut oil. If there is anything more orchidaceous than plantain chips, it is plantain chips fried in coconut oil. I don’t know if anyone makes klp coconut oil, though.

Last year I made this very comforting plantain kigl. It was especially welcome accompanied by the papaya salad below.

Kugela de platanos

3 ripe, black plantains
oil or butter
3 eggs
3 broken, wet matzos
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
8 ounces farmer cheese (or cottage cheese with pineapple if you want it sweeter)

Preheat oven to 350.
Slice the plantain into ¼ inch slices, and fry the slices on both sides in oil or butter, to golden brown. Allow to cool slightly. Beat the eggs and add the cheese and broken matzos. Add the plantains and season to taste. Scrape the batter into a baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until done.

Many people are disappointed by papayas. Their flowery scent and deep orange-pink color seem to promise mango-like tropical lushness and sweetness, but in fact, papayas are low in sugar and acid and not really fruity at all. Their flavor is more peppery and vegetal. Work with papaya as a salad vegetable.

Papaya salad

Avocados (so that there is about an equal volume of avocados and papaya)
A few very thin shavings of sweet onion, or regular onion (optional)
Watercress (optional)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Cut the papaya and avocado into slices or chunks. Add the onion if you are using it and toss the vegetables together. Drizzle with olive oil and add a few drops of vinegar and juice from the lime and salt to taste. Serve as is or on a bed of watercress.

Scrub Idaho or Russet potatoes vigorously. Do not prick or slash the skin. Do not wrap the potatoes in anything. Place them in a hot oven for about an hour. That's all.

Taro, Yuca, Yautia, and Cassava (Manioc)
These useful and very healthy tubers and corms are good for chips, French fries, and pancakes (I apologize here for my potato-centric view of the universe). Terra original exotic vegetable chips, containing taro, yucca, batata and parsnip chips are kosher for Passover and nightshade free.

I made Yautias a few years ago and they are very nice and chesnutty. If they are not piping hot, though, they do get a bit sticky.

Tapioca is the natural root starch from manioc or cassava. Until very recently, I had never tasted tapioca, and knew of it only as a punch line, but I bet it would be a great boon to Peysekh cooking if I could figure out what to do with it.

Jerusalem Artichokes (sunchokes)
These knobby crunchy tubers are at the height of their season right around now. They do not taste like potatoes, but they do stand in nicely in soups and gratins.

Fiddlehead ferns
Also in season. Steam and pass the vinaigrette

All hail Kale
Locinato kale (tuscan kale, dinosaur kale, cavolo nero)
This is kale that looks as if it was drawn by Dr Seuss. Remove the stems and steam in the water that clings to the leaves. Cut up the kale when it is cool enough to handle. Then heat some oil in a wide pan and sauté some garlic and diced celery. Add the kale and cook for a few minutes more. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar into the pan while it is still hot.

More Recipes

I made this for the first time last year. It is very satisfying.

Matzo mix

4 Matzos
1 cup raw nuts (your choice: Walnuts are good)
Olive oil
Cayenne and paprika

Heat oven to 350. Slightly moisten the matzos on each side with cold water. Be careful. Don’t get them wet enough to make matzo braa, just enough so that the oil will adhere to the surfaces. Break up the matzo and toss with nuts, oil, salt and spices. Spread the matzo chips on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, mix, another 20 minutes, mix again, and a final 20 minutes. They may seem a bit soft when you take them out of the oven, but they will crisp up as they cool.

Eggs Panagyurishte Style (Hot peppery eggs with cold garlicky yogurt)

2 eggs
2 teaspoons oil
1 cup yogurt
2 to 3 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

Fry eggs in oil sunny side up. Drain on paper towel and transfer to a plate filled with yogurt. Add paprika to the remaining hot oil, quickly stir, and then dribble a little over the eggs for color. Serves 1

The garlic can either be crushed into the yogurt or served on the side. This dish can also be made with poached eggs.

From Bulgarian Rhapsody by Linda Joyce Forristal, Bladensburg MD: Sunrise Pine Press, 1998.

Tea eggs

This recipe is not a staple of the peysekh repertoire, but I associate both tea and eggs with the season, and it is great fun.

Simmer eggs for seven minutes. Gently tap the eggs all over so that the shells are lightly cracked all over. Cook the eggs for another several minutes in strong, salted tea. Leave the eggs to cool in the water with the tea leaves. When you peel the eggs, they will have a lovely marble pattern on their whites.

Another version

Dr. Lucia Ruedenberg Wright told me that she recalled making a version of colored eggs in her family by laying delicately shaped leaves such as herbs on the eggshells and then wrapping the eggs in onion skins, tying them with twine and boiling. When you remove the skins, the silhouettes of the leaves remain.

Leaf Silhouettes

I have seen a few versions of this recipe floating around. I think one might not be able to attain the placid state of mind needed to prepare this recipe during Peysekh, but if you can, it would be very impressive. You slice paper-thin shaving of potato, and sandwich whole leaves of herbs between two slices and then fry the little potato-herb sandwiches so that the leaf is visible through the chips. As I said, this sounds pretty cool, but I have not tried it at home.

Matzo Balls and soup

Last year I made entirely whole wheat matzo balls for the first time. I really tried to keep track of quantities, but, well, you know. I used ten eggs, a cup of water (no seltzer in house) ¼ cup butter, and about 2/3 of a pound of whole wheat matzomeal. You need to let whole wheat matzo ball cook longer—about one hour does it.

One of the most urgent goals for vegetarians at Peysekh is the search for a matzo-ballogenic medium. This recipe is a work-in-progress meant more as a bit of inspiration than prescription.

My Matzo Ball Soup

In a large soup pot, make stock by cooking carrots, potatoes, celery, celeriac, onions, garlic, parsnip and parsley root in boiling salted water for 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Cover the bottom of a large pot with extra virgin olive oil. Add lots of thinly sliced onions and cook over low heat until they begin to turn soft and translucent. Add a couple of slivered carrots and celery and cook for a few minutes more. Add thinly sliced garlic and thinly sliced yellow peppers. I peel the peppers but you are allowed to skip this step. (I realize I am not being very helpful with the quantities here. I make a BIG pot of soup with about six medium onions, two carrots, four celeries, a whole head of garlic and six to eight peppers). Cook until the vegetables are relaxed and golden and fill the pot with the hot broth. Cook for a while and de-scum the surface. While the soup cooks, chop and add one bundle each parsley and dill. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and dried green herbs to taste. Before serving float a few “eyes” of olive oil on the surface. This soup is a very happy home for matzo balls.

Make lots of matzo balls. More than you think you will possibly need. You do not even need soup to enjoy matzo balls. Lora Brody suggests eating them cold with butter. I like them grilled. You may also cut them into cubes and use as a peysekhdik tofu-substitute.

Whole Wheat Matzo Balls

Break ten eggs into a bowl. Season lavishly with salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika. Add seltzer (about 1 cup) and ¼ cup olive oil or melted butter. Yes, butter! These will be best matzo balls you ever tasted. Beat the egg mixture and while beating gradually sprinkle in enough Streits whole wheat matzo meal to make a loose, muddy mixture. Just about two thirds of a pound. Refrigerate the mixture overnight.

Bring a large pot of wildly salted water to a boil, and reduce to a gentle simmer. Roll matzo-batter into balls the size of walnuts. Lower them gently into into the water and cook, covered, with n o p e e k i n g, for 40 minutes.

The Lady’s Chocolate Mousse
With the exception of years when I was utterly disabled, I have made this mousse for every seder since high school. It made its TCLVPSG debut in 2003.

6 bars (21 ounces) Maestrani Noblesse chocolate, broken up
12 eggs, separated
6 ounces hot water
3 ounces Montaigne cognac or very strong black tea
4 tablespoons sugar

Melt the chocolate over simmering water. Stir in the hot water. Beat the yolks with three tablespoons of the sugar and cognac over simmering water until quite hot and foamy. Next, stir the yolks into the chocolate. Dissolve the remaining tablespoon of sugar in the whites over simmering water stirring rapidly and beat the whites to snow. Stir one quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten, and then gently fold in the remaining whites. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl or individual serving cups or glasses. Chill until set.
Makes about 15 servings

The Lady’s Chocolate Coconut Cake

Preheat oven to 325
7 ounces (2 bars) Maestrani noblesse bittersweet chocolate, broken up
6 or 7 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut (since the packages are most often 6 ounces, let it be 6 ounces. I know I should be shredding my own coconut. Maybe next year)
7 ounces sugar
7 egg whites

Grind the chocolate, coconut and sugar in a grinder or food processor. Place the mixture in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the whites to snow. Fold the whites into the chocolate coconut mix. Pour into a 9 or 10 inch baking pan and bake until firm, about 45 minutes.

This is a wonderful cake. I decided to change the quantities this year to make measuring the chocolate easier. I am a little embarrassed to reveal how easy it is.

8 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
One scant cup Montaigne cognac, cream sherry, or very strong black tea
(for traditional Zabaione, use Marsala)

Place all ingredients in a steel bowl and beat over simmering water until doubled in volume and very foamy.

Khreyn infused vodka
Scrub and peel a four-inch piece of fresh horseradish root. Pour two liters of kosher for Passover vodka into a glass bowl or ice bucket. Add the horseradish and allow to sit at room temperature for about twenty-four hours. Pour the vodka back into the bottles and chill. Oh baby.

And of course, you will be wanting to make a tsimes.


The Book of Jewish food by Claudia Roden

Last year I made a wonderful orange cake recipe from this book. It falls into a particular subgenre of recipes for which I have a special affection. These are the recipes that employ techniques so utterly different from those with which I am familiar, that I am sure they must be the result of typographical errors. In this particular recipe, you take two oranges, and you put them on a pot of boiling water, and you boil them for over an hour and a half. You don’t peel them or cut them or anything. Just throw two big old whole oranges in the boiling water. Damned if it doesn’t work! Then, when the oranges are quite soft, remove the seeds, mash or purée them, and mix them with ground almonds beaten eggs and sugar, and bake in a moderate oven. This is very easy and makes a lovely cake. See Roden’s book for this recipe and several other wonderful peysekh cakes

Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey by Najmieh Batmanglij

If I could find organic roses, I would love to try the Persian omelet with saffron and rose water on page 121.

World of the East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

Last year, instead of making the clear broth I described above, I served matzo balls in Caldo Verde, a spicy kale and potato soup. It is as matzo-ballogenic as the day is long. I am hoping to try the cassava cakes this year.

The Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Temple de Hirsch Famous Cookbook

Many readers of Mary McCarthy’s Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood have been intrigued by McCarthy’s description of the Jewish cookbook in her grandmother’s kitchen. I wrote about this cookbook, a copy of which I purchased from the intrepid Bonnie Slotnick, here; A recipe for a peysekhdik carrot cake is down towards the bottom of the article. If I make it again I will double the carrots and reduce the sugar (and I like sugar).

The Unplugged Kitchen by Viana La Place

I am afraid I am going to have to insist that you buy this book. When I first read it, I was so impressed that I went around for weeks accosting perfect strangers on the street to tell them they needed The Unplugged Kitchen. I was nearly arrested on two occasions. This should begin to give you some idea of what a valuable outlet blogging has been for me.

La Place’s recipes are exquisite and many are particularly suited to Peysekh, even though it is not specifically a Peysekh cookbook. TUK is devoted to recipes that can be made by hand, which I also find especially helpful during Peysekh, when I am working with a much more limited batterie de cuisine. Try the layered saffron potatoes on page 222 (oh, this is so good), the artichokes and potatoes on pages 199 and 201 and the wonderful Persian herb pie on page 83. The celery stew with almonds is also lovely and it is a good austere dish to make when you are recovering from lots of festive food. This year I might try the romaine soup, without the bread of course, the beet and lemon broth, and maybe the beet and pepper salad.

While I am on the subject, I also recommend all of La Place’s books. Verdura is sensuous and thrilling, and Cucina Fresca, written with Evan Kleinman, is a collection of dishes that can be prepared in advance and served at room temperature, which is very helpful for shabes and sikes.

The Haimishe Kitchen Pesach Cookbook
This is a community cookbook put together by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Nitra, and this is what people are REALLY cooking for Peysekh. I have always been intrigued by the recipe for French Fries Kugel on page 86, but so far have not dared try it. Maybe this year I will. Regrettably, the newer editions of this cookbook do not include French Fries Kugel

The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison and Edward Espe Brown
A recipe I love at any time of year is The Greens’ Potatoes and Chanterelles baked in cream (page 210).

The Savory Way by Deborah Madison
Has many interesting variations on fried potatoes.

Bitter Almonds by Maria Grammatico and Mary Taylor Simeti
You wouldn’t guess that a book about growing up in a convent would turn out to be such an important Passover resource, but many of the pastries herein are based on almond dough and ideal for peysekh. A few years ago I made the dolcetti al liquore, spirit-soaked grapes in marzipan tartlets dipped in dark chocolate. Bitter Almonds also has a few recipes that use citron (esrik) preserves, for which a recipe is also provided, making it handy for sikes as well.

A Fresh Taste of Italy by Michele Scicolone
Until last year I never reached for this book during peysekh, because of that gorgeous photo of spaghettini and beets on the cover, but I noticed two recipes that I tried last year: The spiced eggplant (page 59) makes a wonderful topping for matzo (the secret ingredient is chocolate), and the potato and watercress salad with horseradish dressing (page 300) is bright, delicious and very comforting. Solaniphobes could try this with turnips instead of potatoes. I cover this book with a plain brown wrapper for the duration.

This year I got all sorts of kosher cheeses from Zabar’s. I don’t think I’d ever seen many of these before. They have a Roquefort, a brie, a camembert, and even a fontina. I had been hoping someone would make a kosher fontina one of these days. Most of the cheeses are available only to local customers, but they can ship the Parmegiano Reggiano. Kosher Parmegiano Reggiano! First flowering of redemption. For wine I usually call Skyview in the Bronx. They deliver. (5681 Riverdale Avenue (at 259th Street), Bronx, NY (718) 601-8222 Fax: (718) 548-3230).

I go to Semel’s on 13th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in Brooklyn for staples such as oils, vinegars, Maestrani chocolate, foils, paper products and things like that. The Peppermill on 16th Avenue between 50th and 51st has many nifty gadgets. Don’t forget that asparagus peeler.

What, No Beans?

Jill Dolan's landmark article about women in Burlesque theater, "What, No Beans?", describes a popular "bit" in which a wife who has prepared an otherwise lavish meal is shot by her husband because the menu did not include beans (Burlesque seems to have been much more violent than I had imagined). There are times when I fear that the daunting array of dietary restrictions associated with the joyous holiday which is once again at our throats provokes many of us to become as unreasonable, but not, heaven forbid, as murderous, as the husband in this bit. I offer my modest efforts with the hope that a bean-free week will seem no hardship at all when so much deliciousness abounds.


Hey, wait a minute! Now I want that spice-crusted potato recipe!

The recipe is in An Invitation to Indian Cooking. It contains mustard seeds, which some consider to be kitnioth.

If you don’t poke the potatoes, won’t they explode in the oven?

Almost never. Until this year I would have said never, but then this year I had my first potato explosion. The oven, for some reason I no longer recall, was set at the highest temperature. It was not a terrible explosion at all, just a *thok* and one small hole in one potato. If the oven is set somewhere around 400 F, I think you need not fear.

Were you really arrested for overzealous cookbook advocacy?

No. I merely put that bit in to add corroborative detail to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

How can I prevent my matzo balls from falling apart?

Let the batter rest overnight in the refrigerator to give it a good chance to absorb the egg. Lower the matzo balls into gently simmering, but not rapidly boiling water.

Thanks for the guide, but what about all the other weeks of the year?

It is in response to this question that I began writing In Mol Araan this year. Thanks so much for asking! Look In Mol Araan and watch your soup-angst evaporate!

Do I really have to de-stringify my celery?

No, but it’s nice.

Do I really have to peel my asparagus?


On your marching orders I bought an asparagus peeler. How do I use it?

Place the peeler in your dominant hand so that the longer, pointier leg is toward your thumb and the shorter, curvier leg is toward your fingers. Hold the asparagus spear in your other hand

Why no peeking at the matzo balls?

They will deflate if disturbed.

What can I do with my microwave?

If you take your microwave down to the basement of your building, your super will get rid of it for you.

What about that new peysekhdik pancake mix?

Read the ingredient list. Make potato (or plantain) pancakes.

Blah, blah, blah

"The Chocolate Lady’s Vegetarian Peysekh Survival Guide" is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. You may share it with folks if you like, but only in its entirety including this notice. Any other form of republication, unless with prior written permission of the author, is strictly prohibited. Copyright (c) 2006 by Eve Jochnowitz.

Questions? Comments? ASK THE CHOCOLATE LADY!

Artusi, Pellegrino, Murtha Baca, and Stephen Sartarelli. Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, The Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.

Batmanglij, Najmieh. Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey. Washington, D.C.: Mage Publishers, 2002.

Dolan, Jill. "What, No Beans?" Journal of Popular Culture 18, no. 3 (1984): 37-47.

Forristal, Linda Joyce. Mother Linda's Bulgarian Rhapsody : The Best of Balkan Cuisine. Bladensburg, MD: Sunrise Pine Press, 1998.

Grammatico, Maria, and Mary Taylor Simeti. Bitter Almonds: Recollections & Recipes from a Sicilian Girlhood. 1st ed. New York: W. Morrow, 1994.

La Place, Viana. Unplugged Kitchen: A Return to the Simple, Authentic Joys of Cooking. 1st ed. New York: Morrow, 1996.

———. Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style. 1st ed. New York: Morrow, 1991.

La Place, Viana, and Evan Kleiman. Cucina Fresca. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

Ladies' Auxilliary to the Temple De Hirsch Famous Cook Book. Seattle, 1925.

Madison, Deborah. The Savory Way. New York: Bantam Books, 1990.

Madison, Deborah, and Edward Espe Brown. The Greens Cook Book: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant. Toronto ; New York: Bantam Books, 1987.

Nitra, Ladies' Auxiliary of. The Haimishe Kitchen. 5 ed. Vol. I. Mt Kisco: Ladies' Auxiliary of Nitra, 1977, 78, 79, 85.

Roden, Claudia. The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York. 1st ed. New York: Knopf: Distrubuted by Random House, 1996.

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Blogger Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

Very Intersting! Lots of great stuff in this post, and not just for Passover.

I am the shiksah (?sp) in my husband's family, but am becoming a good Jewish cook thanks to my mother-in-law Irene. Her brisket and Kugel are legendary. (And since I now make brisket for my friend's Seder every year, I am getting known for it as well. I have also become the Horoses maker for my husband's family, so you can say I am now integrated.

But Irene's chicken soup - oh my god, it is the best. She also makes a killer hazlenut strawberry shortcake that we have at seder every year. One of these days I will post these recipes. Come to think of it, I think I will do a Passover dinner post.

Of course, since my husband and his parents are Jewish atheists, we have seder on the nearest weekend to Passover, when everyone can get into town easily. I like to call it the "Passover of Convenience". Other than that, it's a pretty traditional meal and ceremony, though they skip the after dinner stuff.

In the meantime, good Pesach!

5:52 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

Thank you so much for this guide. I was anticipating it eagerly.

Just a few questions:

-What's the problem with nightshades? Are there some people who still fear them as in the days of old?

-If you peel asparagus (which I always do for very thick spears) do you still snap off the bottoms?

-What's on your seder plate?

9:52 PM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Thanks TBTAM, Have a wonderful holiday.

And thanks MZN,

-There are still people who fear nightshades, especially folks who suffer from osteo-arthritis. I am not weighing in with a decision on whether there is a good reason to avoid nightshades, but as long as people are avoiding them, I want to offer alternatives.

--Yes, snap the asparagus and peel the stems.

--On the plate: an egg, romaine lettuce, horseradish, kharoyses (haroset) made with apples, red wine, and walnuts but no cinnamon (yeesh!),a bunch of parsley, root attached,and a parsnip core to represent the bone

2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this excellent gift. I really enjoyed reading it. Sadly, I will need to purchase numerous additional cookbooks. And I don't even do the holiday, and am not a vegetarian. Also, I am already tripping over the cookbooks here.

Everything you say is very wise. I have one puzzlement however. Why do you think the asparagus peeler is superior to a regular, sharp swivel peeler for this task? Someone gave me one. I still have it, but don't see the benefit. Perhaps my technique is flawed?

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful with the Swiss chocolate. I'm sure you're already familiar, as the Chocolate Lady, but I just recently noticed that most all Swiss chocolate is made with hazelnuts. As such, I stick with the Israeli (no-nut) stuff at Passover to avoid allergy issues in my family.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to the arthritis, there are also people who avoid nightshades for various digestive ailments (ulcerative colitis and crohn's); for some people they bring on migranes; and i know of one person who can't eat them as part of a whole huge list of foods that exacerbate extreeme excema.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Bread and Roses said...

I once found a Pesach product made of tapioca which was vaguely like a slightly crunchier and slightly less tasty rice cake. Haven't seen it lately though.

8:10 PM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Thanks, Countrymouse, and BLueenclave.

Bread and Roses, How very interesting. I have never heard of tapioca pearls being toasted like rice. I will be interested in trying these, even if they are less tasty than rice cakes. heh heh. Have you got a temporary Peysekh handle? Parsnips and Roses?
Hey, wait a minute; there might be a recipe here.

8:47 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

I made matzo balls with butter and they were the best. Butter has an additional advantage over oil or shmaltz. Being solid at room temperature, butter makes the mix much easier to handle.

Still haven't tried seltzer, mind you. There's always another way.

9:12 PM  
Blogger torahumaddachic said...

hmmm... lovely and thorough guide. I am sefardi and i think if i ever would make a vegetarian pesah, being able to use kitniyot would be the convenience i would most like to have...

1:52 AM  
Blogger FJKramer said...

Dear Chocolate Lady
What an amazing guide
You are a wonderful resource. I'll be sure to refer to it next year. I have a savory herb matzoh brei recipe to share with you. I'll let you know when I post it.
(I believe matzoh brei is good all year around!)

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how to make delicious chocolate covered strawberries. First of all ensure that the strawberries you are intending to use are dry, then allow them to be room temperature warm prior to making them. After the strawberries have been covered in chocolate, put them in your refrigerator to cool, but do not store them in the fridge. Consume within 1-2 days.

3:05 PM  
Blogger said...

How can I get the recipe for the French Fries Kugel? I would love to make it.

6:15 PM  

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