Pass-more-over

3 04 2010

I might as well apologize up front for the lack of photos of our Passover meal.  Let me assure you that our makeshift Passover plate was filled with the requisite items — egg, bitter herb, celery and salt water, etc. — and the table was otherwise groaning with various foodstuffs.  Unfortunately, Masher was also throwing an immense fit on the floor, having decided earlier in the day that he didn’t feel like taking a nap, and photos really weren’t the number one priority …  How do other other mom food bloggers handle such situations?

Anyway, several of the Sephardic Jewish dishes we tried out in our kitchen were worth a mention, credit going to the creators of these recipes, of course.  I thought it was interesting that Ashkenazi Jews would probably not have lamb for Passover whereas it’s a usual custom for Sephardic Jews to eat lamb.  I love lamb, so when I saw this recipe for lamb with artichokes and zucchini, I figured we should definitely go the Sephardic route!  I don’t know much about this type of cuisine, but the aroma of the lamb with turmeric and cilantro was so deliciously familiar to me, I felt like I had definitely had a similar sauce, maybe in an Indian restaurant.  This recipe was a keeper.  I can’t wait to make it again.  Masher, on the other hand, refused even to try a piece of lamb from the pot, although the plain rice I served the dish over was acceptable … but he’s going through his own special two-year-old thing this week, so I can’t really take him too seriously.

We enjoyed some fresh peas and broiled asparagus alongside the stew, as well as this spinach matzah pie made with whole-wheat matzah.  Josh called the pie a more portable form of matzah-brei, his mother’s typical use of leftover matzah that involves more scrambled egg.

Finally, for dessert I made a nut cake with “soaking syrup” that was beyond delicious.  The recipe is from Jewish IMAGE magazine:

Honey Nut Cake in Soaking Syrup
Cake:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon finely minced orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 1/2 teaspoon for a more pronounced cinnamon flavor)
1/2 cup matzah cake meal
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Soaking Syrup:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 7-inch round layer cake pan.

For the cake: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, using a wire whisk, beat the granulated and brown sugars with the oil and eggs until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Stir in the remaining batter ingredients. Turn the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is light brown and set. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the soaking syrup.
For the soaking syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients. Heat to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes syrupy. Cool well.
Pour the cooled syrup over the cooled cake, poking holes in the cake with a fork, to permit the syrup to penetrate. Allow it to stand for 2 to 4 hours to absorb the syrup. Chilling the cake offsets its sweetness and makes it easier to cut.

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