Musings on Jewish Education and Jewish Living

Archive for April, 2014

Favorite Passover Recipes

I’ve had many requests for recipes of the various foods I’ve posted over the past several days.  Time is a precious commodity at all times, but especially at this time of year, so with apologies, rather than sending out recipes to each person who requested them, I’m including all of the requested ones here.  Enjoy!

Vegan Seven-Vegetable Soup with Matzah Balls

This soup is easy and fantastic, nutrient-rich and great on its own or served topped with matzah balls.  Makes 8-10 Servings.


  • 2 large onions
  • 6 large carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 russet potato
  • 2 small turnips
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Salt


  1. Start to peel and chop the vegetables to about the same size.
  2. Meanwhile, in a deep pot, sauté the onions in olive oil. As you finish chopping, gradually add the other vegetables, salting each layer.
  3. Cover vegetables with stock and water. Add as much dill and parsley as you like.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour. When it is done, turn the stove off and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Using an immersion blender (you can use a regular blender, but I would not do this with piping hot soup), blend just enough soup to get a creamy consistency but with enough vegetables left intact for texture.

Passover Chocolate Chiffon Cake


  • 8 eggs separated (bring eggs to room temperature first)
  • ¾ cup potato starch
  • ¼ cup cake meal — sift potato starch and cake meal together
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • 4 rounded teaspoons cocoa
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup sweet red wine
  • 10 walnuts coarsely chopped (optional)  


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat egg whites until stiff; gradually add half of the sugar.  Beat yolks with remaining sugar and salt; when yolks are think and light in color add the oil, only a little at a time.  Then add the wine and the cocoa, beating at a low level.  Gently fold the cake meal/starch mixture into the white, then fold in the yolk mixture, throwing the nuts in at the same time.  Bake in an ungreased tube pan for 50 minutes.  Turn over and hang from a two-liter bottle until cooled.

Veggie Quiche with Potato Crust


  • 1-2 russet potatoes, sliced very thin
  • ½ – 1 onion, diced
  • Whatever veggies you have in the house, sautéed in a little bit of olive oil (I always include either spinach or kale) – for a large casserole pan, you want to have 4-5 cups of veggies, more if you’re using kale or spinach because it loses a lot of volume when cooked.
  • Whatever fresh herbs you have handy.  Basil and dill make a good combination.  You can use dry herbs if fresh ones aren’t available.
  • 1 dozen eggs or an equivalent amount of Eggbeaters
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Coat a casserole dish or lasagna pan with cooking spray.
  3. Layer thin slices of potato all over the edges and bottom of pan, making sure to overlap them.  Spray with cooking spray and bake in the oven while sautéing the other vegetables, about 7-10 minutes.Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes before adding the kale/spinach.  Continue cooking 3-4 minutes, then add remaining vegetables and herbs.  Cook until all veggies are tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Layer the veggies and cheese several times over the potatoes so the veggies and cheese mix together when cooking.  Pour the eggs over the veggies and cheese and gently mix to make sure the egg goes all the way through.  If you wish, add another layer of cheese on top.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Be careful not to over- or undercook.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!



  • 1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small pot, combine chocolate, margarine and hot water over a low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs on high until thick. Beat in potato starch and chocolate until well blended. Spread even in a greased 8-inch springform pan. Bake 12-15 minutes. Cake will be soft in center but will firm up as it cools. Let stand until cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with fresh raspberries or raspberry sauce (Puree frozen raspberries with 1 teaspoon sugar).  Serves 10 – 12.



  • 2 lbs. ground meat (beef or turkey or mix)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 cup crushed matza
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 20 oz. tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice


Combine meat, onion, matza, salt, pepper, water, eggs and ½ cup tomato sauce.  Form meatballs and place in greased baking dish.  Combine remaining tomato sauce with lemon juice and sugar.  Pour sauce over meatballs.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1½  hours depending on desired crispness.  Baste frequently.  Serves 6 adults.

Moroccan Charoset  


  • Large bottle sweet kosher wine
  • Dried apricots
  • Figs
  • Dried cherries
  • Prunes
  • Slivered almonds
  • Craisins
  • Dates, chopped
  • Sesame seeds


Use fruits in proportion to your family’s taste buds.  A roughly equal amount of each makes for a nice mix. Cook on top of the stove for about one hour.  Stir often. This keeps for up to 6 months in freezer or fridge.

Vegan Mock Chopped Liver


  • 2 large onions
  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 5 to 7 minutes. Place lentils in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the lentils are tender. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet and carmelize the onions. Take your time to do this, leave on medium heat and stir occasionally to bring out the sweetness of the onions. Combine the onions, lentils, and walnuts in the bowl of food processor. Add salt and pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. Store in refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with matzah and carrots for an appetizer or serve with your main course.


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Passover Memories

Every year, I do something a little different with our family seder.  Some years it’s preparing meaningful questions to discuss or new songs to sing.  Other years, it’s toys and/or props.  Always there’s a new recipe or two.  

This year, one of the discussion cards asked the holder to share a most meaningful seder memory.  I have so many incredible seder memories, it’s no wonder Passover is my favorite holiday!  So, while not to diminish the beautiful memory shared at our seder table tonight, here are a few standouts of my own:

  • We used to travel to New York every year to have seder with my father’s parents. I have wonderful memories of helping my grandmother cook, setting the table, chasing and being chased by my cousins, and the very rare coming together of my maternal and paternal grandparents – who, truth be told, did not particularly like each other.  But my father’s parents were gracious enough to extend the invitation, and my mother’s parents were gracious enough to accept.  For me, having our entire tiny family together once a year was priceless.
  • My Bat Mitzvah was during Passover.  At that time in Boston, there were wonderful caterers who kashered for Passover.  It was a serious pain in the neck, but the food was all delicious (and it’s a GREAT Haftarah!).  I have vivid memories of the silverware and glasses floating in the bathtub for days – meaning, of course, that we couldn’t shower – so they could be kashered.  It was the only way my grandparents would come.  That was the first year we had separate Passover dishes, purchased for this special occasion.
  • My mother embodied the spirit of “Let all who are hungry, come and eat.”  There was always room for one more at the table.  Our friends were always welcome and embraced.  Maury and I have tried to pass that lesson on to our own children, even as we continue to open our home to new and old friends and those with no place to go for seder.
  • There was the year not long after my paternal grandfather had a stroke that affected his language ability.  He could no longer speak English at all, and his Hungarian wasn’t so hot, either.  My father was leading the seder.  My grandfather grew increasingly agitated as my father butchered the Hebrew until he finally took the Haggadah out of my father’s hands and proceeded to chant the remainder of the seder liturgy – all in Hebrew, from memory.
  • Finally, Passover during my sophomore year in college coincided with an unexpected blizzard.  Expecting to head to New York as usual, we had nothing with which to make our seder, but there was no way we were getting out of town.  So we pulled together what we could and did our best.  That night, we stayed up into the wee hours as my father shared stories of his family coming to the U.S. from Hungary, his parents’ struggle to find their place in their new home, and his relationship with his sister.  It was the first time I’d ever heard the stories, and I learned that night how powerful the stories of our parents and grandparents could be.

Wishing all who celebrate a zissen Pesach – a sweet, liberating Festival of Freedom!

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