Passover Recipes that Will Make Your Mama Say Oy!

Passover is one of those Jewish holidays that I absolutely love in theory yet totally hate in practice. On one hand, you get to eat delicious food with close friends and family while re-telling the story of the Jewish peoples epic flight for freedom in ancient Egypt. And there’s wine, a lot of wine. Four full glasses of wine to be exact that have to be fully drained before moving on to the next one. And when you are using an abridged Haggadah like I did, the gaps of time between each glass is infinitely shorter than they probably should be. On the other, you can’t anything made with flour which seriously limits your daily food intake. But hey, I get to drink four glasses of wine in one go. Can’t really complain with that.

However, Passover is more about drinking until we are too merry to realize that we are slathering our matzoh with horseradish and not butter. Its about celebrating our freedom from slavery. WOOT! Of course there is a whole lot more to the story than just that but I won’t bore you with the details. What you should do is go out and either watch the film, The Prince of Egypt (which is kick-ass) or that episode of the Rugrats. Both do an excellent job of re-telling the story of Passover in a fun and colorful, but also represent an awesome time in 1990s animation.

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The Prince of Egypt currently available on Netflix so do take advantage of the fact that it is out there for easy viewing. Just do not watch Dreamwork’s follow up film, Joseph, the King of Dreams. A cinematic master piece it is not!

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Also, I had a professor who was used as a historic consultant in the movie which only makes the film more awesome!

Now that I’ve skirted around the topic of explaining what Passover really is, I can get to the fun part of this post: THE FOOD!

Believe it or not, Passover is not all about stuffing our faces with matzoh for eight days. Personally, I like to think of Passover as one big epic food challenge. How many dishes can you come up with that do not include any leavening agents? As it turns out, not every Passover recipe has to be a matzoh sandwich with cheese. There are other options out there.

This year for Passover, I decided to try my hand at making something new, haroset. What’s that? It’s an apple based spread that we eat with matzoh. Most commonly, people make a sandwich of matzoh, haroset, and horseradish. At the same time, I absolutely needed to make my mom’s Passover friendly macaroons, a recipe that my sister freaked when she heard I had it memorized. Seriously, they are that good.

Hope you enjoy and happy Passover!

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Passover Macaroons

(Adapted from the always useful, The Joy of Cooking)

One 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg white

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

A pinch of salt

One bag of shredded, sweetened coconut

1 bag of chocolate chips, either normal size or mini.

Preheat oven to 325. Mix everything together in a large bowl until 100% combined.

Break out the cookie sheets and line with parchment paper. Scoop tablespoon sized portions of the mixture onto the cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the coconut has toasted on top and the sides have browned.

My Own Haroset Recipe

3 Fuji apples, peeled and sliced

1 cup of chopped walnuts

1 cup of golden raisins

3 tablespoons of honey

1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (or however much you think is needed)

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 cup of either grape juice or a sweet red wine

Combine all together in a big bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Recipe Write Up: Coffee Cupcakes

Recall how last week I mentioned that I was taking a cake decorating class. Well, for my most recent class, we were instructed to bring in six cupcakes so we could decorate them. They either could be baked or purchased at a supermarket so long as they were regular size, flavor certainly didn’t really matter. Considering how well received my cake from a previous class was, I was understandably hesitant to tell my parents. By the way, Mr. Cake has officially be evicted from our fridge and now resides at the top of some trash heap. Remarkably, my mom took the news well. But then, she threw me a curve ball. Instead of buying my cupcakes, she insisted I bake mine from scratch. “After all”, she said nonchalantly, “cupcakes are your specialty.” Just a few days before she was lamenting about the limited space in our fridge and the fact that neither she or my dad really eat baked goods. Yet, here she is challenging me to make something she knows I can’t resist. Talk about mixed signals

She isn’t wrong though, cupcakes are indeed my favorite thing to make. They can be simplistic or complex. Truly, with a cupcake, the possibilities are relatively endless. And, as always, every time an occasion arises that calls for cupcakes, I always strive to make something new, to challenge my baking skills. After going through a few of the food blogs that I read religiously occasionally, I finally settled on one. Coffee flavored cupcakes with a beautiful vanilla butter cream frosting. Combined together, the taste would be something reminiscent of a vanilla latte. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be getting the full latte effect. Confession time: I leave out the frosting when I bake cupcakes at home. Why? Well, let’s just call it the parent factor. As I learned years ago, none of my parents really like frosting and when frosted, you are basically giving your cupcakes an expiration date. Freezing them really isn’t an option. Trust me, if it wasn’t for the parent factor, I’d be making frosting whenever I could. However, even without the vanilla butter cream, these cupcakes tasted fine, especially when eaten while drinking my favorite tea, vanilla chai. PicsArt_1371485867733

Then again, I never doubted the taste; I kind of helped myself to the batter left in the bowl. Ok, I helped my self to a  lot of the batter that was left in the bowl. Since I don’t actually drink any kind of caffeinated beverages (with the exception of the occasional mocha and latte), I am, according to my dad, constantly caffeine deficient. Since the batter has both espresso powder and brewed coffee in it, my normally yawning and exhaustive self suddenly was moving like the Energizer Bunny.

Oh, and ironies of ironies. We never got to the actual decorating part in my cake decorating class. We ran out of time. At the end of the two hour class, all I had to show for my hard work was one frosted cupcake out of the six I brought. In all honesty, I think it’s better this way. I know my mom wouldn’t have been happy if I had brought back six fully decorated cupcakes. It doesn’t matter anyway. Next week is my final class and I HAVE to either fully decorate a cake or cupcakes. Let’s see how my mom tries to get around this one.

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Coffee Cupcakes

Adapted from a recipe found on annies-eats.com

Makes about 18 cupcakes

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. espresso powder
½ cup strong brewed coffee
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. additional buttermilk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder.  Whisk to blend.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the coffee and buttermilk.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients alternating with the liquids, mixing each addition just until incorporated and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients

    Trying to improve my photo skills!

    I’m making an active effort to improve my photography skills. My day’s of snapping pics my with phone are OVER

  2. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

*Next time I’m going to put chocolate chips in the batter so I can have a mocha cupcake. Mhmmm, I love me a good mocha.

Before I sign off I just want to say that History of Cookbooks will be back soon with another installment! Sorry for the wait, but life has been a bit distracting lately.

Till next time,

Litbaker