Pass the Matzah, please

Pass over the matzah? Heaven forbid.

Hardly the bread of affliction, as we well know from fond memories of childhood and our most enduring family recipes, matzah makes the Passover meal. From that first bite into a Hillel sandwich and from soup-to-nuts for the rest of the week, we feast on matzah, love it or leave it: schmeared, dipped, dunked, peanut-buttered, salted, sugared, horseradished, cream cheese-slathered, chocolate-coated, toffee-topped, caramelized, fried (brei’d), crumbled, fruited, avocado-smashed. Or just plain.

So break out the matzah with gusto. Think out-of-the-box to make those delectable recipes for Passover, which begins as it does every year, “as it is written” on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nisan (first Seder, Monday evening, March 25, 2013).

A Federation favorite Matzah Brei (rhymes with fry)

Essentially this is Jewish French toast, per Mark Bittman, the New York Times Minimalist Cook. No recipe needed. Take one egg, per sheet of matzah (or two if you prefer more scramble than crisp). Crumble matzah and run it under cold water until it softens, but not too much. Fry matzah in (plenty of) butter, then scramble in the eggs, keeping them soft. Plenty of salt and pepper; sugar is optional, but sometimes irresistible.

Matzah Crunch

A “NEXTGen” Matzah crack (as in crackers)

Yes, crack!  As in crackly like toffee, and highly addictive chocolate caramel nut crackers, adapted from Deb Perlman’s genius Smitten Kitchen, a recipe she modified from David Lebovitz Matzah Crunch who handed it down like Moses at Sinai from Marcy Goldman’s original Trademark, Most Requested, Absolutely Magnificent Caramel Matzoh Crunch. A super easy Passover confection and a snap to make.

4  to 6 sheets matzah

1 cup unsalted butter or Passover margarine

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips

1 cup toasted chopped nuts of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with foil, then cover with parchment paper.

Spread matzah evenly over the surface of the cookie sheet. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to bubble for and thicken. Remove from heat, add salt and vanilla, and then quickly pour it over the matzah and spread evenly. Top with nuts.

Bake the caramel-covered crackers for 15 minutes, careful not to burn. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand, until chips melt, then spread them evenly across the caramel. Let cool, break toffee pieces apart and yum.

A healthy alternative Pesach granola (thanks, Marcy Feldman!)

For breakfast and snacks –  a kosher-for-Passover trail mix, who says you can’t have it all?

2 1/2  cups matzah farfel

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup coarsely chopped blanched almonds

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325°. Combine farfel, coconut, nuts in bowl. Spread on lightly greased aluminum lined cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, tossing several times until lightly toasted.

Meanwhile combine margarine, sugar, honey and salt in saucepan and simmer a few minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat – add farfel mix to syrup mix. Mix well.

Spread coated granola on cookie sheet again. Bake at 350° for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to bowl. Stir in raisins, dates, then break-up with spatula. Cool then store in an air-tight containers.


A Matzah carrot ring (thanks, Barbara Kappy!)

This one is kugel in a bundt pan, simple as pie.  Eat your vegetables and enjoy.

4 cups cooked carrots

2 t. baking powder

4 eggs

1 stick margarine

1 cup flour (cake meal for Passover)

¾ cup brown/white sugar-combined

1 t. salt

1 T. hot water

Combine ingredients with a mixer. Put in VERY greased bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Double the recipe to fill the bundt pan.

 Speaking of memories and food. . .

June Hersh

Join Federation’s Women’s Department for an evening to remember, with June Hersh, food archivist and author of Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Holocaust Memorial Center,  28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Dessert reception featuring recipes from the book following program. Dietary laws observed. Covert: $18 to cover the cost of the program. RSVP by March 1.

June Hersh is a passionate food archivist, activist, blogger and author who writes cookbooks with a charitable flavor. Her first book, Recipes Remembered, A Celebration of Survival, was written in association with the Museum of Jewish Heritage who benefits from all of her proceeds. Now in its fourth printing, it features the remarkable stories and cherished recipes of Holocaust survivors.

The event, sponsored by the Women’s Department of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is a special thank you to women who make a contribution to Federation’s Annual Campaign in their own name at a minimum of $365 (a dollar a day).  There will be an opportunity to make your 2013 commitment at the event.

» Click here to register.