Sing along with me!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Pesach.
Every where you go;
Take a look in the markets, where full shelves harken
with matzo and matzo farfel boxes aglow.
For cultural Jews like me, Passover is the Jewish Thanksgiving: a time to gather friends and family at the table and feast on special Passover-only foods like matzo kugel, rich nut cakes and coconut macaroons.* Making the meal, and keeping “kosher for Passover” (not eating any leavened foods) for eight days can challenge even the most inspired cook’s creativity. (I’m fairly certain that is why, whenever I offer it, my Do-Ahead Passover class at Institute of Culinary Education sells out quickly).
Here are a links to a few of my favorite recipes that are perfect for the seder: they conform to the dietary laws of Passover, of course, but also, they can be made ahead and kept warm or re-warmed quickly. After the links, you will find my new recipe for Matzo Granola. You may end up making a few batches to get through the holiday. It’s great in yogurt, of course, or over ice cream or pudding; sprinkled on poached fruit; with milk for a breakfast cereal, or as a gorp-like lunchbox snack. And, by the way– there is no rule that says you can only make this granola and eat it on Passover. (Note the relatively low calories!)
Here are a few Passover-friendly recipes:
I make my granola with several dried fruits, including dried persimmons (which I also love to snack on right out of the bag). I get them at Trader Joe’s or on Amazon, here. I also use dried cherries and figs, or any combination of chopped dried fruit, including apricots, strawberries, dates…whatever I’ve got on hand or happens to grab my attention at the store.
You can also use any combination of nuts to make up 3/4 of a cup– or just one kind of nut, such as walnuts.
1 cup chopped dried fruit
2/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons walnut oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
7 matzo, crumbled in 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used 1/4 cup each pistachio, pumpkin seeds and walnuts)
1/4 cup (or more to taste) brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Coat a large shallow baking sheet pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine the dried fruit in a small bowl and add enough hot water to cover the fruit. Set it aside.
3. Whisk the orange juice, walnut oil, honey, vanilla and almond extracts, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom in a large bowl until the honey is dissolved. Add the matzo and toss until it is evenly coated in the mixture. Stir in the nuts and spread the mixture out in an even layer in the baking pan.
4. Bake, tossing at 15 minute intervals, until the mixture is dry and crisp, about 35-40 minutes.
5. Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the liquid over the granola, add the brown sugar and toss well. Bake 5 minutes; toss and bake until the granola is once again dry and crisp, about another 5-6 minutes. Taste and add more salt and sugar if desired. Immediately toss in the fruit and allow to cool in the pan.
Makes about 16 servings
Nutrition for each serving: 161 calories, 3 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 137 mg sodium
* And those devilish holiday marshmallows coated in toasted coconut that I can scarf down by the pound.