matzosoupmarthastewartHere we are again. Midweek and mid-month, it is time for a roundup of Passover and Passover seder recipes that newspapers love to publish prior to the start of the festival.

This year, I was a tad disappointed in the Passover offerings.

The New York Times led with a Passover Letter From Paris by its former Paris Bureau Chief and expert on Iran and Iraq. Elaine Sciolino wrote on how she had ducks with green olives for a seder. She is a Roman Catholic of Sicilian heritage; her husband is Jewish (Attorney Plump). Unfortunately, the ducks turned out to be stuffed with pork. Oh those French butchers! Truly a faux pas. Elaine continues that French Jews and the media are discreet. You won’t find Passover recipes and ads in the mainstream media as you do in North America. And she concludes with her experiences at stores and bakeries in the Marias and on Rue des Ecouffes (catering to European Jewish cuisine) and Rue Richer (focused on the gastronomie of Sephardic and North African Jews).

Also in The New York Times, Melissa Clark reports on her seder-related salad. For it, she uses her perhaps decades old Manischewitz Concord grape wine at the back of her cabinet. Her article includes a video on how to prepare haroseth truffles.

NYTPOURkosherpOn the topic of Passover wine, Eric Asimov’s column, The Pour, reviews a dozen brands of kosher for passover wines (mostly distributed by Royal Wine). He especially enjoyed the sherry found in Gonzelez Byass Fino Tio Pepe.

The Boston Globe highlights a recipe for tomato-jalapeno matzo balls from Manhattan’s Rosa Mexicano restaurant group. Its CEO, Howard Greenstone, works with his chefs to create a different menu every year for Passover. The Boston Globe also presents an archive of about two dozen other recipes. As an added Passover bonus, and perhaps a nod to the children in the haggadah, The Boston Globe profiles Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom’s The Wise Sons Jewish Deli in San Francisco.

A new cookbook with holiday recipes

A new cookbook with holiday recipes

Heading a little North, The Montreal Gazette shares a recipe for spring vegetable soup with low-fat, high-flavour matzo balls. As with The NYTimes, the writer is not Jewish, but is cooking for her Jewish husband and family. The Montreal Gazette also shares some recipes for POACHED SALMON MOUSSE WITH CUCUMBER SALAD and NOT EXACTLY AUNT LIL’S MATZO BALL SOUP They adapt their recipes from The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes (St. Martin’s Press, $40), a delightful new cookbook by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray of the Equinox restaurant in Washington, D.C.

The Chicago Tribune also highlights recipes from The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes but also includes stories on vegan Chocolate Macaroons, and on a Mexican style seder menu. Pati (Irit) Jinich has her seder in Drummond, Maryland, and it reflects the story of Mexico’s 40,000 Jews. Pati is the host of the public television series “Pati’s Mexican Table” and author of a just-published cookbook, Pati’s Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking. Having been profiled for her Mexican Jewish cooking over the past few years in other publications, she shares her recipe for chicken in a tomatillo, chipotle and piloncillo sauce with The Chicago Tribune. It was created by her sister Karen, a restaurateur in Mexico City, and is both sour and tart to remember bitter times of slavery and sweet spice of our current lives.

The Chicago Tribune also includes a story on Moroccan Jewish seders and adapts a recipe from chef Ayelet Danino for Moroccan passover meatballs.

A few miles from Pati’s seder in Maryland is The Washington Post. This week, Vered Guttman and Bonnie Benwick announced a Washington Post contest for the five best uses of unused matzoh (for example, lasagna layers); and they also shared some seder recipes.

The Toronto Globe and Mail highlights gluten free desserts. The Globe and Mail has a recipe from the 1930’s: a roasted chicken with helzel matzo meal stuffing by way of the author’s grandmother who ran a kosher inn for sailors in Glasgow Scotland.

Further south in Baton Rouge, The Advocate profiles the authors of “Passover Made Easy” (Artscroll/Shaar Press) Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Among the recipes are Syrian charoset (the chopped fruit, nut and wine mixture on the Passover table), brisket egg rolls, eggplant-wrapped chicken, lime-infused pear salad, and yellow squash quiche. And further West in Sante Fe, the New Mexican chef Lois Ellen Frank recalls the rosemary and lemon infused chicken of her Brooklyn (Sephardic-Turkish) grandmother, Elizabeth Barazani Frank.

The primary newspaper of Memphis Tennessee shares COOKIE recipes for Passover. The recipes are from Paul and Terri Burson who take out their Passover notebook which is filled with special recipes for desserts and other Passover dishes handed down from family members. They cherish the stained index cards and papers handwritten by mothers, grandmothers, aunt and cousins who, though no longer alive to share in the holiday, are remembered through their culinary legacies. They bake and freeze the farfel cookies made with nuts, and the late Pearl Katz’s raisins and farfel (matzoh broken into pieces about the size of almonds).

Stop the online presses. The Huffington Post published Challah Recipes for Passover. Challah? Holler? Yes, they admit it is weird, but they mean to say that if you need to get rid of your chametz flour, you can make a lot of challah this week and eat if before Pesach. Almost as good as the Cary North Carolina Citizen which tell you how to make matzo ball soup. How? Buy a mix in the supermarket and follow the directions

I am fleeing to Florida after the paragraph above.

The Palm Beach Post shares Jeanie’s Stuffed Cabbage (not extremely kosher of passover since it uses Hunt’s Tomato Paste which does not have a heksher. They also have a complicated recipe for a chocolate mousse. I think I will flee a little more south.

To Miami.

The Miami Herald focuses on recipes from chef David Bracha: soup, matza balls, and charoset. Bracha, the chef-owner of Miami’s River Seafood & OYSTER Bar and Oak Tavern grew up in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn and now lives in Buena Vista. But his mother from Delray Beach (and Berno Czechoslovakia) does the Passover cooking. The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdalehas a FAUX-TATO KUGEL made of cauliflower. Funny though, the ads running with the Passover recipes are for Panera Bread. The Chew has a video for their buttered chicken for passover. Butter on chicken? I think I will pass on that one.

Martha Stewart’s April 2013 issue highlights Haroset Braised Short Ribs, Wilted Dandelion Greens with Toasted Matzo Crumbles, Meyer Lemon Brisket with Pomegranate Gremolata, vegetarian matzo ball soup, Passover Popovers, and Potato Kugel Gratin.

Thinking Light? Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch recommends fish. Their Roasted Fish With Tarragon-Chive Oil and it isnt a gefilte. Also light is Vered Guttman in Haaretz (two timing on the Washington Post?). Her Spring Lamb with vegetables is a fresh change from brisket. In The BOston Herald, health coach Nina Manolson,uses the chag to promote less matzah, more mindfulness (kavanah), and better nutrition. Her program is called “Matzah to Mindfulness.”

And what about the Los Angeles Times? Yes! What about it? Nada. Bupkis. A silly story about asparagus. It is trulty an unleavened year for the LATimes. If an emergency , we can re-read their Mexican style Passover story from last year which featured Passover tacos a la Rosa Mexicano in NYC and LA.

Why buy chocolate matza, when you can make it for less? New York Jewish Week explains how to make a chocolate afikoman here

If I forget thee, Oh, Texas, let my beef be not lean.

The Austin Statesman newspaper offers tips on how to love matzah (via and Associated Press) along with a story by a local Austin Rabbi (and Penn Attorney), Alan Freedman, JD. One Dallas TX family uses a BBQ to fee twenty for passover. It is mentioned in passing in this BBQ story in the Dallas Morning News. The Ft Worth Star Telegram also picked up the AP story on loving matzah, and includes a story on Capernaum, a “recreated Holy Land village” known for its awe-inspiring performance of the Star of Bethlehem Experience. It is located about 10 miles north of Weatherford, TX near Peaster, and will have 80 actors perform a “Passover Experience” for visitors. While The Houston Chronicle share no recipes with readers this year, it does have a very cool story on preparing for Passover in a local pre-school, including a Moses and Pharaoh (Alana Shepetofsky, the pre school’s curriculum coordinator portrays Moses). While the Texas Jewish News did not have any Passover recipes, it did have a picture of the winners of last week’s Texas kosher chili cook-off at Tiferet Israel. It was Moishe House.

The Seattle Times has no recipes for 2013, but it does give a mention to THE WHIPPING MAN, the stage play by Matthew Lopez which will open on the third night of Passover. The play, which has been staged for several years around the U.S. is the story of a Jewish Confederate soldier who returns from the war to spend a momentous Passover with two of his now-liberated slaves, whom he raised as Jews. The seder takes on a whole new meaning. Thankfully, in Seattle, Leah Cooks Kosher, an Orthodox caterer, has posted several recipes including ones for Farro with Roasted Cauliflower and Pistachios (should you eat FARRO during a seder about Pharaoh?) Leah’s Famous Coconut Macaroons, Chocolate Dipped; Chocolate Nut Cake – Passover – non-gebrokts; and Chocolate Mousse Pie (non-gebrokts, gluten-free).

Down from Seattle in Portland Oregon, Bon Appetit writer Deena Prichep makes a very small error in her Passover recipe for Soviet style Gefilte fish. It calls for 3 rolls of bread. It is the recipe of Belarus-born Vitaly Paley – best known as a James Beard Award-winning, Iron Chef-trouncing giant of Pacific Northwest cuisine, which he serves up at Imperial, Penny Diner, and his flagship Paley’s Place. Yes, they admit that the recipe is “not technically Kosher of Passover” (really?), they list it as their Passover highlight. Okay, merci, bon appetit.

It would not be proper to leave out the San Jose Mercury News, which is read by all the Jewish people developing cutting edge technologies in the Bay Area, as well as Larry Ellison, my unleavened role model. In it, Jackie Burrell writes about a modernist kosher cookbook that offers flavor and spectacle for holidays. She is talking about Kim Kushner’s THE MODERN MENU. Kim is a Moroccan-Canadian-New Yorker and her recipes include lemon grass halibut with nuts and cilantro. For Pesaj, her family would prepare lamb with truffles. San Jose’s other recipes were from The Washington Post, though they did break the story that coca cola in California will NOT be Kosher for Passover this year. Coca Cola made good progress in developing kosher for Passover drinks in California but the shelf stability is still not where it needs to be to assure cola quality.

Speaking of Coca Cola, The Atlanta Journal Constitution is always good for a couple, two, three Dixie recipes. CW Cameron interviews renowned kosher cook Faye Levy and discusses the importance of matzo Also interviewed are Sandra Bank and Emily Jane Phillips of Added Touch Catering, which operates out of the Jewish Federation Building. Recipes includes those for Passover Rolls; Chicken-Asparagus Soup with Almond Matzo Balls; and a Herb-Roasted Chicken with Savory Matzo Stuffing. Atlanta’s own Laurel Snyder is profiled about her children’s Passover book: “The Longest Night: A Passover Story” (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99). A grad of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, who likes to write poems about the plagues, Snyder’s story is about the exodus from the viewpoint of a young slave. the book was tested on her husband, who was raised Catholic, and their children, Moses and Lewis, as well as the kids at their Congregation Bet Haverim Hebrew school.

Naomi Kaufman Price of Portland, writing for The Oregonian saves face for Oregon with her Passover brunch menu. It calls for Poached Salmon Mousse With Cucumber Salad, a Frittata of Wild Mushrooms, and Fruit Nuggets. Truth be told, Deena restored my faith in her and Portland with her story on gluten-free matza in The Oregonian. It includes a reference to certified kosher MOCK-ZA BALL which is made by Eena Kadeena using potato and quinoa bases. (as in Eena Kadeena, half a peach, half a plu, half a stick of chewing gum).

For me, it just is not Pesach without Joan Nathan. I tore my New York Times apart looking for her annual story or recipe. But it was not to be found. I found her soup over at Tablet Magazine. You can read Joan Nathan’s recipes here. And you can view her video below: (Oh, to be a parsnip in her kitchen) (How often do you hear the word “Scum”, not once but twice, in a cooking video.) (Why on this night do we say scum twice and not just once)

Sadly, no recipes truly excited me this year, or seized my imagination, though the Glasgow chicken came close.

Haroses from Phoenix New Times

Haroses from Phoenix New Times

But wait, I typed that too fast. I should have looked to Phoenix, yes, a Phoenix blog had my favorite 2013 recipe. It was for a haroset in a lovely design. The Phoenix New Times makes haroses like chutney. It blends almonds, pistachios, and pecans, with apples and dried cranberries, apricots, dates, figs, and raisins.

malasianmatzoballchickencurryAnd I give an honorable mention and kol hakavod to the ShanghaiShiok which writes on wok made Malaysian Jewish passover fusion with its matzo ball chicken curry

Jag Sameaj

Bonus Treat: Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aged ask some residents to rate soups and matzah balls (and then ask for a contribution)

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