A great thing about Paula Shoyer’s newest cookbook is that it can inspire you and feed you year-round and not just during Passover.
Chef Paula Shoyer is the author of the popular THE HOLIDAY KOSHER BAKER and KOSHER BAKER cookbooks. She is the editor of two popular Kosher cookbooks: Kosher by Design Entertains and Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen.
She resides in the DC area with her husband and four children. The fans of her baking books would ask her about her Passover recipes even in the Summer, all around the country, so she decided to write a book to answer their Pesach recipe questions. In this book, she organizes the recipes and stories into eight menus: one for each of the eight nights of Passover. Lunch ideas are also given for each day of the Chag; and she provides page numbers of the mixed and matched recipes for your ease.
The eight menus are
(1) The Updated Ashkenazic Seder Menu (9 recipes);
(2) The International Seder Menu (8 recipes);
(3) The Shabbat Menu for Passover (5 recipes);
(4) The Yomtov Menu (8 recipes);
(5) The French Dairy Menu (4 recipes);
(6) The Italian Vegetarian Menu (4 recipes);
(7) A BBQ Dinner Menu (4 recipes);
(8) The Easy Chicken Menu (4 recipes) – but there is no complementary Hard Chicken Menu;
(9) The Passover Breakfast (5 recipes); and
(10) DESSERTS, of course (with 15 recipes).
In the Introduction, Shoyer discusses what many see as the Passover Food Oppression, and her mission to provide delicious, inspired, and elegant holiday meals within the dietary and culinary framework or spiritual restrictions of Passover.
Some of the standout recipes for me were:Banana Haroset, which is gluten free and makes enough for 25 portions. It uses 3 bananas, ground walnuts, apples, wine and more; and Shoyer’s gefilte fish gets ge’filled with salmon and served with a slaw of ginger, orange, mango, arugula, and avocado. Shoyer tried so many times to boil gefilte fish from scratch, and once it turned into a fish soup. So she writes, we should save time and stress and use a frozen fish loaf/roll and just enhance it with salmon filets. Her chicken soup adds in chicken meatballs and zucchini spaghetti, while her matzoh balls use ginger and cilantro. The Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde is based on a Peruvian recipe by her friend Betty Supo. She also has a recipe for Brisket Osso Buco (as in the style of veal that one finds in Italian cuisine) She recommends using 2nd cut of brisket, not first cut. Inspired by NYC’s kosher Tevere84 restaurant, she adds garlic gremolata to the brisket as a last step. Did I mention that her kugel is of asparagus and zucchini.
The International Seder Menu makes a Middle Eastern Haroset of dates, figs, ginger, zest, wine, fruit, nutmeg and more a la Limor Dector. There are recipes for Sephardic Poached Fish in Pepper Sauce; a Whole Chicken Stuffed with Dried Fruit; Moroccan Spiced Short Ribs; and Gingered Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Two of the four Shabbat Menu rcipes are for Caramelized Onion and Sweet Potato Soup and Smothered Chicken and Sage and Basil.
Kale leads the French inspired menu with a Kale Caesar Salad. Shoyer lived in Geneva for three Passovers so you can trust her French style recipes. She includes recipes for Southeastern French-style Gratin Dauphinois with Kosher for Passover Cheese; Ratatouille; and Seared Tuna with Olives and Capers. More about her French credentials? Paula is a pastry chef who owns and operates Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School. She received her pastry diploma from the Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise in Paris, France in 1996.
The Italian menu pays tribute to her father, Reuben Marcus, who served in Italy during WWII, as well as to her brother who did not serve in the Army, but he does like eggplant. It includes recipes for a vegetable antipasti; Eggplant Parm; and Pan Seared Zucchini with Garlic.
The BBQ menu leads with a Garlic Marinated Steak with Onion Jam.
Some of the Breakfast items are Passover Rolls; Waffles; and Crumb Cake Muffins. And the Dessert items – many of which are gluten free – include torts (three – count them – 3 of them); two pistachio based rolls; orange tea cake cupcakes; candy; cookies; biscotti; and a Passover Opera Cake (please, no Verdi Nabucco opera jokes… for those who like opera and Jewish opera cake references.)
In NYC on Mar 25, 2015? She will teach a Passover cooking class using the book at 7PM at the 92nd Street Y. She will teach on March 12 at Bethesda’s Temple Beth EL. Plus you get a copy of the book, So it is cheaper to go from NYC to DC for the Maryland class. Arbitrage Rules.
SAMPLE RECIPE (with some silly word additions by me)
Serves: 8-12 (or 6-10 in my family)
1 1/2 cups (180g) ground almonds
1 cup (120g) ground walnuts
1/2 cup (55g) ground hazelnuts (with or without skins)
1/2 cup (80g) potato starch
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup (1 stick; 113g) margarine
1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ [icing] sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 cup (240ml) raspberry, apricot, or your favorite Kosher for Passover jam
1 large egg white, beaten, for glazing
In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the margarine until soft, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula once or twice.
Add the almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts
Add in the potato starch and granulated sugar
Take a little more than half of the dough. Place it in the pie or tart pan. Best Practice: use an 8-inch (20-cm) round tart pan with removable bottom. Use your hands to press the dough into the bottom of the pan to cover it. Create a 1/3-inch-thick (8mm) crust on the sides. Place the pan in the freezer.
Like those that did not join the Hebrews during the Exodus, leave the the remaining dough in the bowl.
Add the confectioners’ sugar to the smaller piece of dough
Mix (with your hands)
Shape this remaining sugared dough into a ball and flatten it. Wrap the dough in plastic and place it in the freezer for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Remove the tart pan from the freezer and place it on top of a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust just starts to color.
Remove the pan from the oven, slide the parchment and tart pan off the cookie sheet, and let it cool for 5 minutes, or until 45 minutes have passed and the dough in the freezer is ready to be rolled out.
Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with some confectioners’ sugar. Place the chilled dough on top of the paper, sprinkle the dough with more sugar, and cover it with another piece of parchment paper. With a rolling pin (or wine bottle, if you don’t have a Kosher for Passover rolling pin), roll the parchment-covered dough into a 1/3-inch-thick (8mm) rectangle.
Use a knife or pastry wheel to cut the dough into eight 1-inch (2.5cm) strips. Slide the parchment onto a cookie sheet and freeze the strips for 10 minutes to firm them up.
Use a spatula to spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the crust.
Remove dough strips from the freezer and use a spatula or a large knife to lift and place the strips across the top of the jam-filled crust to create a lattice.
Do not bend the strips back to make a perfect “over-and-under” lattice.
Trim the ends of the dough and press them into the border of the bottom crust. Brush the strips with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the jam is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.