Passover Food

Let’s begin with the non-traditional dishes.

I took a cooking class with a friend on Moroccan Cooking, here in Oakland from a gal named Dara who has The Sage Table. (You can find her online at I think she might be Jewish.) When I looked at the recipes she had taught us every single one is kosher for Passover with one small easily modified exception. Lucky me. So this is the better part of my menu for second night seder.

Here’s the exception – barley is not kosher for Passover. Just substitute 2 cups of quinoa for the barley/quinoa mix.
Barley and Quinoa Pilaf with Mint
1/2 c. pearl barley
1 1/2 c. quinoa
2-3 Tbs olive oil
1/4 c. chopped fresh mint
1 bunch scallions sliced thinly
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs. honey
1/3 c. toasted almonds

Rinse the quinoa and toast it in a heavy skillet. When it smells nice and toasty and is popping add 4 c. vegetable or chicken broth and simmer until done and liquid is absorbed.

Combine all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour them over the grains. Mix well.

Chicken with Lemons & Olives, Moroccan-style
1 T. olive oil
6 chicken thighs (I’ve also used breasts since some people prefer white meat)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 T flour (I used matzo meal for the Passover dish)
1 1/2 to 3 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. dry white wine
2/3 c. green olives, pitted, then chopped or sliced
(Here the recipe as Dara made it uses preserved Meyer lemons, but Dara said you can substitute lemon zest. I have a Meyer’s lemon tree and I prefer zest)
8 pieces preserved Meyers Lemon or 4 tsp lemon zest

Choos a heavy pot that will easily fit all the chicken in one layer.

Pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 T of olive oil in the pot over moderately high heat until hot, then saute chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm, covered. (Alternately you can place the chicken thight on a baking sheet and roast for 40 to 60 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.)

Add remaining oil to skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cook onions, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add in garlic, cook a minute more, then add spices & flour, and cook, stirring, until very fragrant – about a minute. Stir in the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan. Add in the broth, olives and lemon. Stir well. Return chicken to the pot. Simmer on a low heat, covered, until the chicken is very tender- 12 to 25 minutes.

Aromatic Vegetable Tagine with Olives and Figs
Apparently you can add chick peas to this per Dara, but chick peas are only kosher if you are Sephardic. Dara also says fish can be laid on top and steamed over the cooking vegies with the pot lid on.

olive oil
4 – 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 28-oz can of chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
4 to 6 dried Mission figs (I used six), chopped in quarters
2 large carrots
2 medium zucchini
1 purple Globe eggplant

cilantro, optional

Cut the tops and end off the carrots and zucchini. Quarter lengthwise and cut in 2 inch chunks. Cut the eggplant in 2 inch chunks too. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute a minute. Add the spices and salt, stir for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, figs & olives, bring to a simmer. Add eggplant and carrots. Simmer until eggplant starts to break down, stir occasionally. When carrots are almost tender add the zucchini. If you don’t care if the zucchini gets squashy just add it with everything else, I did. I like the way it gets stewy.

Breakfast without Toast or Cereal

This is the challenging meal. My kids are used to eating cereal… or pancakes or waffles. But for Passover those dishes are out. But there is Matzah Brei!

Matzah Brei

4 or 5 sheets of Matzah or 2 cups of matzah farfel
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. vanilla

Mix everything together. Now I’m just making these amounts up to the best of my ability to estimate what is usually just eyeballed. If you like it drier, use less fluid. If you like it really eggy, use more eggs. My kids like it quite softened so I let it sit for a minute or two so the egg and milk soak into the crackers.

Then you fry it in a pan and serve it with syrup and jam.

Passover is a great time to fill up on fresh fruits. Bananas sliced on cottage cheese or yogurt. Crisp apples, firm pears, new strawberries. Go to the farmer’s market and load up.

Pizza for Passover?
Last night my seventeen year old son said, “I really want pizza! I’m sure Tali has a recips. Can’t you get it?” (Tali is the Israeli woman who leads the Teen trips that my son went on last summer. For more on the teen trip and an absolutely glorious way to send your darling teen away for a month so you can taste the sweetness of freedom, call Tali at 510-839-2900 x255. Any teen who is a sophmore in high school in the bay area can go.) Yes, indeed! She has a Passover Pizza recipe and I’ll share it here with you.

Passover Pizza Israeli-style

small can tomato paste
salt & pepper
mozzarella cheese
toppings – mushrooms, olives, onions

Wet a sheet of matzah and lay it on a clean towel. It will gradually become soft.
In a bowl combine the tomato paste and catsup. Mix until you have the consistency you like. Place the pliant sheet of matzah on a cookie sheet that you’ve sprayed with oil. Spread the sauce on the matzah, sprinkle it with the cheese and put on the toppings you like.
Put it in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.