A challenge every Jewish cook faces during the eight days of
What's on that list varies according to what custom people follow. Ashkenazi Jews (of eastern and central European origin) abstain from eating all grains and legumes, while people of Sephardic extraction (Mediterranean and Middle Eastern) include certain ones. Jews from
What's permitted depends also on people's degree of observance. The longest list of forbidden foods appears in households of fervently religious Ashkenazi Jews and might include other foods related to legumes and grains such as green beans, fresh peas, soybean oil and corn oil. Conservative and Reform Jews observe fewer restrictions than Orthodox ones.
In families of mixed origins, these differences can lead to culture clashes, like the first time my Polish-born mother noticed a platter of rice at the Seder prepared by my Indian sister in law. A
Even without grains and legumes,
One of the best ways to make holiday meals substantial is to include generous helpings of cooked vegetables. Featuring an array of vegetables at the Seder highlights
Springtime vegetables such as asparagus, artichokes or new potatoes will please most diners, and so will filling root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and beets. Leeks and onions sauteed in fruity extra virgin olive oil do wonders to make boiled vegetables enticing, as in the recipe for Carrots and Asparagus with Spicy Onion Dressing. Nuts are a prized
Vegetable stews are another holiday favorite. When I lived in Paris I savored a Tunisian
MOROCCAN VEGETABLE CASSEROLE
Flavored with well-browned onions, this casserole makes a satisfying side dish or meatless entree. If your family does not serve peas for
Makes 6 to 8 servings as part of a multi-course menu.
2 pounds white potatoes, scrubbed, whole
1 carrot, peeled, halved crosswise
About 1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh shelled or frozen peas; or 1/2 cup peeled diced celery and 1/2 cup diced zucchini
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large onions (1 pound total), chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
6 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon turmeric or ground saffron
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 350 F. Put potatoes and carrot in a saucepan, cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook about 20 minutes or until carrots are tender. Remove them with a slotted spoon. Cook potatoes for 10 more minutes or until tender. Remove from pan.
Add peas or mixture of celery and zucchini to liquid; boil frozen peas 1 minute, and fresh peas or zucchini-celery mixture for 2 to 5 minutes, or until barely tender. Rinse peas or zucchini mixture with cold water and drain. Dice carrots.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions and saute until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Off heat, stir in garlic, if using.
Peel potatoes and finely mash with potato masher. Add eggs to potatoes one by one; beat well after adding each. Stir in turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, parsley and onions with their oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Fold in carrots and peas or zucchini mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 2-quart casserole in oven for 2 minutes or until hot. Remove with pot holders and swirl casserole carefully so oil coats sides. Carefully add potato mixture; do not mix in oil from sides of pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of casserole comes out dry. Serve hot or at room temperature.
CARROTS AND ASPARAGUS IN SPICY ONION DRESSING
Serve this colorful, peppery vegetable duo as an appetizer, an accompaniment or an entree with potatoes or
Makes 8 appetizer servings.
2 pounds medium carrots (about 10), peeled
Salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds medium-width asparagus, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Cut carrots in 2-inch lengths and quarter the pieces. Halve any pieces that are wider than the others. In a saucepan cover carrots with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or until just tender. Remove with slotted spoon. Add asparagus to cooking liquid and boil uncovered for 3 to 4 minutes or until just tender. Remove asparagus, reserving cooking liquid. Rinse asparagus with cold water; drain well.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions and saute for 10 minutes or until tender. Add 1/3 cup vegetable cooking liquid, pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, if using, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to low.
Add carrots. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until sauce is reduced and coats carrots thoroughly. Add asparagus and mix gently. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Add lemon juice just before serving, and more salt and cayenne to taste.
BEET, JICAMA AND WALNUT-STUDDED GREEN SALAD
For a meatless kosher meal, you might like to add a little cheese to the garnish. A creamy feta-type cheese is perfect with the salad.
Makes 4 servings.
2 large beets
1/2 cup thin slices of a quartered sweet onion or red onion
2 quarts mixed baby lettuces
3 cups peeled diced jicama
1 1/2 cups diced cucumbers
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
2 to 4 tablespoons walnut oil, extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
Rinse beets, taking care not to pierce their skins. Put in a pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat 40 to 50 minutes or until tender. Let cool. Run beets under cold water and slip off the skins. Cut beets in thin wedges or quarter slices.
Separate each onion quarter-slice into slivers. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, jicama, onion and cucumbers, and toss. In a small bowl whisk lime or lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper until blended. Add to salad mixture and toss thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve salad topped with beets and sprinkled with walnuts.
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Passover Recipes - Showcase Spring Vegetables in Seder Side Dishes - Faye Levy Recipes
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