This Seder, Relish the Freedom!



Kosher for Passover — that used to mean a very limited number of ingredients that could be used to prepare eight days of meals. Remembering my mother's super-brief ingredient list from our island home — matzahs, matzah meal and olive oil — and comparing it with my own contemporary list — where Passover items range from breakfast cereals to cotton candy — the difference is simply astounding.

This year, more than 400 brand-new kosher-for-Passover items have been introduced, and added to the 16,000 or so, many appearing in your local supermarket. The long list includes babaganoush, (grilled eggplant spread) and matbucha (Moroccan spicy tomato dip).

The best news is that almost any year-round dish may be adapted with the help of the enormous array of kosher-for-Passover ingredients.

Incorporate a convenience item, such as Homestyle Stuffing Mix, add farm-fresh ingredients and seasonings. Presto! You have a rave review dish that may well become a favorite any month of the year. For example, a carrot-cake mix becomes a new item, Chock Full of Fruit Muffins, with the addition of dried fruits and nuts. See the recipes below to start you off to a convenient, delicious holiday.


Plum Stuffing With Frizzled Leeks


  • 1 box (6 oz.) Passover Homestyle Stuffing Stove Top Mix (I prefer Manischewitz) 
    1 cup very hot chicken broth or water 
    4 Tbsps. margarine 
    4 Tbsps. olive oil, divided 
    1 medium leek washed and thinly sliced, divided 
    4 medium plums, diced 
    1 cup parsley sprigs, packed 
    1/2 tsp. chopped garlic 
    1 egg, lightly beaten 
    salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375°.

Spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Empty the stuffing crumbs into a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir the contents of the seasoning package into the chicken broth or water. Pour over the stuffing crumbs, stir and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the margarine and 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.

Add half the leeks and all the plums. Sauté 8 to 10 minutes, or until leek is soft. Add the garlic about 1 minute before end of cooking.

Pour leek mixture over the stuffing, add the parsley and mix. Cool slightly. Stir in the egg. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon into prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes.

While stuffing is baking or ahead of time, heat remaining oil in small skillet over high heat. Add the remaining leeks and sauté to a crisp-brown, about 1 minute. Do not burn. Scatter over the stuffing.

Serves 6 to 8.


'Bruschetta' With Tomato and Red-Onion Salsa


Store-bought potato pancakes make this a super-easy appetizer or snack.

  • 4 large potato pancakes, halved 
    olive oil 
    2 large tomatoes, chopped 
    1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped 
    2 Tbsps. chopped black olives 
    pinch dry red-pepper flakes 
    1/4 cup chopped parsley, packed 
    grated zest of 1/2 lemon 
    1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice 
    salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the broiler.

Brush the potato pancakes on both sides with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and broil 3 to 4 minutes, or until crisp, turning after 1 to 2 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon on top of the potato pancake halves and serve.

Makes 8.


Abu Gosh Potato Salad


I first tasted this spicy dish in a restaurant in Abu Gosh, a village outside Jerusalem. I have adapted the recipe with the help of matbucha, now kosher for Passover.

  • 4 cups (2 lbs.) red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed, diced in 3/4-inch cubes 
    1 cup shredded mint leaves, packed 
    1 small green onion, white and green parts, thinly sliced 
    1/2 dill pickle, chopped 
    2 Tbsps. fresh-squeezed lemon juice 
    2 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil 
    1/2 cup matbucha 
    salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, bring 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat.

Add the potatoes and return to a boil. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender but still firm. Do not overcook. Drain well. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Refrigerate to cool completely.

Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8.


Topsy-Turvy Pavlova


A Passover twist on an Australian treat.

  • 1 pareve chocolate pie crust 
    3 Tbsps. strawberry jam 
    1/2 cup fluffy marshmallow cream or nondairy whipped topping 
    1 pint strawberries, quartered 
    2 kiwi fruit, peeled and thinly sliced 
    1 cup blueberries or blackberries 
    1/4 cup grated pareve chocolate 
    3 egg whites 
    3/4 cup sugar

Spread the bottom of the pie crust with strawberry jam.

Top with marshmallow cream or whipped topping, then the strawberries, kiwi, and blackberries or blueberries. Sprinkle chocolate over top. Refrigerate.

Before serving, whip the egg whites until they peak softly. Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, whipping between each addition. Spoon over the fruit and chocolate, roughing up with a fork.

Place on middle rack of oven and broil 5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Watch the oven carefully to avoid scorching.

Serves 8.


Chestnut Parfaits


  • 1 package (5.2 oz.) roasted and peeled whole chestnuts 
    2 Tbsps. orange marmalade 
    31/2 cups nondairy whipped topping, divided 
    4 pareve chocolate truffles, chopped 
    1 can (14 oz.) mandarin-orange segments, drained 
    mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Place chestnuts and marmalade in the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add 1/2 cup whipped topping. Pulse to blend.

Transfer to a bowl. Fold in 21/2 cups whipped topping and the truffles.

Spoon into parfait or wine glasses, alternating with the orange segments. Top with a swirl of remaining topping.

Garnish with mint sprigs.

Serves 6.


Chock Full of Fruit 'Muffins'


  • 1 box (11 oz.) kosher-for-Passover carrot-cake mix 
    2 eggs 
    3/4 cup water 
    1/2 cup chopped dried apricots 
    1/2 cup dried cranberries 
    1/4 cup raisins 
    1/4 cup chopped nuts 
    1/2 apple, grated on coarse side of grater 
    1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest 
    1 Tbsp. grated ginger root

Preheat oven to 350°.

On a muffin tray, spray 9 or 10 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare the carrot-cake mix according to package directions.

Add remaining ingredients; mix well.

Spoon into muffin tins, filling about three-quarters full.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.


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