Ess, Ess/Eat, Eat

Jewish World Review April 17, 2000/12 Nissan, 5760

Quick-start Seder

By Ethel G. Hofman -- WITH THE EVER EXPANDING number of kosher for Passover products, it's no longer a chore to prepare a family Seder. According to Menachem Lubinsky, president of Integrated Marketing Communications, Inc. New York, there are 18,000 kosher for Passover items in the market place with 400 new items introduced for the year 2000. Many of these are convenience items like kugel and cake mixes, instant soups, frozen gefilte fish mixes and dessert pie shells.

This year the first Seder takes place on Wednesday evening, April 19. Items like charoses, roasted egg, and bitter herbs, even the salt water, may be prepared and refrigerated on the Sunday before. Every family has a favorite version of charoseth. The recipe below is adapted from a recipe from the Nissimov family who escaped from Chechnya to Israel in 1995. The original recipe which is cooked is published in my book Everyday Cooking for the Jewish Home: More Than 350 Delectable Recipes.

For a quick start, packaged mixes are invaluable but they benefit enormously by adding fresh vegetables. The food processor is in constant use making short shift of grating and chopping fresh produce and dried fruits and the addition of these items will also expand the number of servings. Make use of ready cooked items such as gefilte fish from a jar. Top with a dab of olive sprate (from Moshe &Ali's Peaceworks) and place on roasted red peppers for an almost instant appetiser. Grated zucchini, chopped leeks and red bell peppers add zest and texture to the recipe for Potato, Leek and Zucchini Kugel. Stuffing mixes are pretty well mundane in taste but stir in sliced mushrooms, grated carrots and pungent fresh herbs and a delightful new dish has been created.

These Kosher for Passover convenience products make it easy to plan a Seder for a crowd so that guests as well as family may join in this meaningful Jewish holiday .

Recipes may be doubled. All ingredients should be labelled kosher for Passover. Kinneret makes a non-dairy kosher for Passover creamer.




Place apricots, cherries, peaches, walnuts and mint in the food processor. Chop coarsely. Add the wine and honey. Process to a coarse paste. Cover and refrigerate until needed



Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery root. Saute for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add the chicken broth and tarragon. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley and heat through. Serve with matzo balls.



*check amounts of boiling water needed. This recipe was prepared with Mrs. Manischewitz homestyle stuffing mix.

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick vegetable spray. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms and carrots. Saute until onions are transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the stuffing mix and saute 2 to 3 minutes longer. Stir in boiling water and seasoning packet. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. Stir in the chopped mixed herbs. Divide into 6 portions and place on prepared baking sheet. Place a chicken breast on top of each. Dust with garlic powder and paprika. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp pointed knife in thickest part of chicken.



Note that eggs, water and oil amounts may vary according to the brand. Add as directed on the package. This recipe uses Manischewitz potato kugel mix.

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 10 or 12 inch gratin dish or a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with non-stick vegetable spray. In a large bowl, whisk 2 eggs with 1 and 3/4 cups lukewarm water. Stir in potato kugel mix and let stand 10 minutes to thicken. Cut zucchini, leek and red pepper into chunks. Coarsely chop in the food processor. Add to the kugel mix along oil, the matzo meal, salt and pepper and transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 1hour or until nicely browned and center is firm to the touch.



Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, mix the noodles with margarine, apple pie filling and fruit cocktail. Whisk together the non-dairy creamer, eggs and almond extract. Add to the noodle mixture and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until set and firm in center. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Banana Split Pie


In a medium bowl, whisk vanilla pudding and non-dairy creamer for 2 minutes. Set aside. Toss bananas with orange juice to prevent browning. Spread over the bottom of pie shell. Sprinkle with cherries and 5 crumbled macaroons. Pour the vanilla pudding over. Garnish with spoonfuls of whipped topping, remaining whole macaroons and toasted coconut.

JWR contributor Ethel G. Hofman is the former president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, whose members include the likes of Julia Child. She is the author, most recently, of Everyday Cooking for the Jewish Home: More Than 350 Delectable Recipes.


© 2000 Ethel G. Hofman