Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Chocolate Lady’s 2020 Vegetarian Peysekh Survival Guide

"Preparedness" A common theme in the Yiddish press in 1916.  Frequently Uncle Sam and doughboys are seen taking up arms against the enemy.  Here Jewish women and girls arm themselves against khomets.

Oh, my beautiful ones, how do I even send a document with the word "survival" in it? Survive.  Make whatever you want.  When I started this guide in 1995, it was my intention to share ideas for meals my friends would be able to make easily with minimal ingredients and equipment, but somehow over the intervening years, as my experience and batterie de cuisine have grown, it got to the point where I was telling you to make corn-free cornflakes with plantain flour. Now folks who have never baked a potato find themselves staring into the bumpy, russet abyss.  Take my hand.

How to Bake a Potato


Scrub potatoes thoroughly.  If you wish, you may coat them lightly with butter or oil.  Place in an oven heated to 450F.  If you have something in the oven baking at 400F or even 350F that is fine.   Bake for an hour or slightly longer.
You need not pierce the potato, and you may not wrap it in aluminum foil (all right, just this year, because of extraordinary  circumstances I will allow you to wrap your potatoes, I will even allow you not to peel your asparagus, just don't get used to it). 

Here is my recipe for Unplugged Ajvar, and links to sixteen fabulous recipe videos.
Here is the delicious Melitsana Matzo Pita that has been the star of the final nights of Peysekh Chez Chocolat for many years.

Here in the most wonderful vegan spinach thing ever.

Some valuable paraliturgy has emerged.  I have found these helpful.

Tkhine for a plague from 1916

Prayer to stop the plague in Bombay 1896. Deliverance was brought by Dr. Waldemar Mordecai Hafkine.

Minimalist guide to Passover  

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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

סאַלאַט פֿון פֿעפֿערס און פּאַטלעזשאַנעס Unplugged Ajvar (Peppers and Eggplant)

Like many of you, I had ajvar for the first time at the Golden Festival I had been thinking for many years that ajvar would be an ideal companion for matzo if I ever made it myself.  This year, for our Simple Yiddish with Elena class here at UM, I finally did.  Most recipes will call for blending the ingredients in a processor, but I have none here, so I pounded them in a molcajete, and the results are pretty wonderful.

Unplugged Ajvar

1 medium eggplant
3-5 large red peppers (so that you have about twice as much pepper pulp as eggplant pulp)
3-7 garlic cloves (optional)
1 ancho chile or other chile (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon wine vinegar or other vinegar

Broil the Eggplants and peppers as if preparing Melitsano Matzo Pita.  Peel the vegetables and chop fine. 
If using an ancho, toast it until puffed, and remove the stem and seeds. Tear into small pieces, place the pieces in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
Peel the garlic cloves, if using, and pound them in the mortar with a little salt (Or blend in the machine of your choice).  Drain the ancho, if using, and pound or blend with the garlic.  Add the eggplant and peppers, and blend or pound well.  Add vinegar and oil and adjust seasoning to taste.

Now you can use the ajvar as is, but it is even better if you transfer it to a saucepan and simmer for about half an hour on low heat to concentrate the flavors.

Rukhl and I have made a lots of things that would be quite at home spread onto a little matzo, and not half bad with raw celery, carrots, pepper strips, radish or turnip slices.
You will never tire of matzo as long as you have  . . .

Shifra Lehrer's zt"l's vegetarian chopped liver:

Romanian Eggplant (with raw onions)

Armenian Eggplant (with caramelized onions)

Drink Tea!  Tea and psalms can't hurt.

Almond Chremslekh:  I say in this video that Chremslekh are mentioned by Rashi.  That is incorrect.  It was Rabbeinu Tam.

Cheese Latkes with Cranberry Syrup

Two kinds of Tsimes CW: meat

Matzo Braa and Spinach Fritatta

In this episode Ruklhl and I ponder the eternal question, are we thinking more about the holiday treats that we do get to eat, or all the khomets that we must do without?

A Tour of Yiddish Farm
White Beets and Spinach.  We did not intentionally make this episode for Peysekh, but it is Peysekhdik.

Borsht!  We make our year-round borsht with caraway, but just leave it out during Peysekh.  We also add lemon, which according to some traditions is just as problematic, because the Satmarer hoyf was once thrown into a panic by lemon seeds in the borsht.  The lesson is that traditional recipes must never be changed.

Shtshav (Schav) and Khremslekh

Gluten-Free Nut Kneydlekh (Matzo-Free Matzo Balls)
CW: Chicken Soup

Vegetarian Gefilte Fish

Non-Vegetarian Gefilte Fish
CW: Fish

I think you can easily adapt the cheesecake for Peysekh