Jewish style Easter

In less than 2 weeks, our vegetarian ONE year mark will come.  Dear people, I think I will take the liberty and end this vegetarian journey today.  Don’t misunderstand me, I think we will still eat mostly vegetarian, however, without guilt, I can now post photos and recipes of meat!  I also changed the blog name to “Selfish Cooking” – well, you can read the description underneath the blog name for the reason.  So, if you have been following in our vegetarian journey for the last year or so, thank you very much.  I hope you still drop in occasionally to see what I’m cooking!!
Let’s talk about holidays – I don’t know about you, but I get a bit bored having the same type of dishes every Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Easter.  For about 5 years, we didn’t eat turkey for Thanksgiving – we had rib roast one year, assortments of sashimi the other, and I forgot what else we did the other times.  For this Easter, to get back to our Jewish heritage (hey, weren’t the first Christians Jewish, and wasn’t Jesus a Jew also?!), I made matzo ball soup, potato kugel, and charoset.  I know we weren’t supposed to have leavened breads, but we had to get bagels, lox and cream cheese, and white fish spread!  These are just photos for today.  I will get the recipes in once I have some time. 

potato kugel
Potato Kugel : Serves 12
6 large Idaho potatoes, peeled
2 large onions, 1 diced and 1 quartered
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 Tablespoons oil
2-3 teaspoons salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup matzo meal
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 500F.  Sauté diced onion until nicely caramelized and golden.  While onion is caramelizing, grate potatoes using the fine (smallest holes) disc in the food processor.  Squeeze out liquid and place in a large mixing bowl. 
Process quartered onions (don’t change the blade) and pour the onion pulp and juices into the bowl with potatoes.  Stir in eggs, 5 Tablespoons oil, salt, pepper and caramelized onions.  Sprinkle matzo meal on top and pour boiling water over the meal and stir thoroughly. 
Pour 1/4 cup of oil into a 9×13 baking pan and heat in oven for about a minute.  Do not allow oil to burn.  Carefully pour mixture into pan and bake for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, reduce heat to 400F and bake for 40 minutes or until the top is a deep golden brown. 
My opinion: Instead of using the 9×13 pan, I used 2 deep pie dish.  This is like the baked version of latkes (Jewish potato pancake fritters) – very kid friendly (they loved it). 

matzo ball soup
Matzo Ball Soup: serves 8-10
** You can make the vegetable stock from scratch, but I used organic vegetable broth to save some time
8 cups vegetable broth
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
salt to taste
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
4 Tablespoons seltzer water
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons matzo meal

Bring the vegetable stock to a boil on medium high heat, and turn it down to medium low and add the onions, carrots and parsnips.  Cook the soup on medium low with a lid slightly on for about 30 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, in a medium size bowl, add the matzo meal, veg. oil, seltzer water, dill, parsley, and eggs.  Whisk together, cover and chill the mixture for 15 minutes.
Bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil.  With wet hands, form matzo mixture into 1 inch balls.  Reduce heat to medium; drop in balls.  Cook covered for 15 minutes.  Stir balls gently and simmer, covered, until fluffy, 10-12 minutes more. 
When the soup is done, transfer the matzo balls into the soup.  Serve soup garnished with either chopped parsley or chives. 

My opinion: I always wanted to make matzo ball soup.  This vegetarian version is very light and refreshing.  The traditional matzo ball soup is made in chicken stock which will give you richer taste.  I made the matzo balls the night before, but I think the best thing is to make it right before you add them in the soup.  In that way, the matzo balls are still soft and fluffy.  I think it still tasted very delicious, but you know how it is, you are the biggest critic of yourself!

5 Fuji apples, skin removed
1-1/4 cups chopped walnuts or almonds
5 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup red wine
2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a food processor, chop apples.  Put chopped apples in a large bowl, add chopped nuts, sugar, wine and cinnamon.  Mix well. 

My opinion: Yuuuuum!!  Refreshing taste, and went really well with broiled lamb and chicken!! 

broccoli, radish, red cabbage and apple slaw
With this slaw, I just shredded 1 small head of red cabbage, 1 carrot, 6 radishes and 1 large Fuji apple.  In a large bowl, mix about 1/4 cup plum vinegar (umeboshi vinegar), but red wine vinegar can be used, 1/4 cup mayonnaise (add more or less), salt and pepper.  Whisk the dressing well and add the vegetables.  Mix well, and keep it in the frig for few hours or overnight. 
I personally love this slaw, at times I would add raw shredded beets.  I also play around with dressing by adding masala spices or different types of vinegar. 

can’t see here, but at the left corner is the broiled lamb and chicken
I forgot the take photos of the meat, but I marinated lamp chops and chicken breasts in olive oil, chopped garlic, rosemary and thyme overnight in the frig.  Well, it’s scientifically proven that you only need about 2 hours of marinating – but what can I say, I like to have my meat in their longer! 


2 thoughts on “Jewish style Easter

  1. Congratulations with the new name and lay-out! looks very refreshing! and also congrats on your one year veggie journey, see how quickly it all went! remember you talking about it then…love the idea of the Jewish Easter feast, can t wait for the recipes, especially the potato kugel 😉 tanoshimi!

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