Jewish Food Experience: Passover recipes


The following recipes were prepared by the Jewish Food Experience, a project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Aviva Goldfarb’s Creamy Potato Leek Soup


One of the subscribers to my website, The Six O-Clock Scramble, Ilana Knab says she grew up eating soup nearly every day of the year, and it was one of her warmest (literally and figuratively) memories of childhood. She shared her family’s recipe for classic potato leek soup, which is smooth and creamy, while low in fat and high in vitamins and fiber. It’s also a perfect option for Passover, given that leeks are one of the traditional foods eaten for the holiday.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings,
1½ cups each
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
2 leeks, white and tender green parts only, chopped and thoroughly soaked and rinsed to remove dirt
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and diced
32 ounces reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup chives or scallions, minced (optional)
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

In a large stockpot, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the garlic and sautee for about 30 seconds until it is fragrant. Add the leeks, potatoes, broth and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Using an immersion or standing blender, blend the soup until it is smooth. Serve immediately, topped with the chives and/or a squeeze of lemon. For a flavor booster, sprinkle the soup with freshly ground black pepper and/or Old Bay or Cajun seasoning or Goya brand seasoning mix (found in the Latino section of many supermarkets). Soup may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Aviva Goldfarb is founder and CEO of the Six O’Clock Scramble, which encourages family mealtime, promotes healthy meals for children and supports local.

Susan Barocas’ Leek and Potato Quajado


Quajado is most often prepared by Sephardic Jews for Passover, although it’s an easy, healthy dish all year round. The name comes from asquajado, which means “coagulated” in Ladino, the Spanish-based language of the Sephardim. When you think of quajado, picture a crustless quiche or a frittata, but with less egg and more vegetables. Quajado is versatile. My version uses leeks, popular in Sephardic cooking and traditional among Sephardim for Passover, but you can mix and match vegetables such as shredded zucchini or carrots, chopped spinach, sauteed diced onions or roasted, mashed eggplant. Served warm or at room temperature, quajado makes a satisfying lunch or a light supper with a salad. It can also be a veggie side dish or an appetizer, cut into smaller pieces. And during Passover, leftover quajado is a welcome choice for breakfast!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45-50 minutes
Yield: 8-12 servings
4 large or 6-7 medium potatoes (3½ pounds)
8-10 leeks, white part only, sliced and washed well*
3 eggs plus 1 egg white, beaten
Salt to taste (less if using feta or another salty cheese)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta or shredded hard cheese such as parmesan, cheddar or kashkaval (optional)
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Peel and cut potatoes into even chunks. Place in the boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Drain potatoes and set aside to cool.

Place the leeks in a steamer set into a pot with a few inches of boiling water that does not reach the bottom of the steamer. Cover the pot, turn the heat to medium and let the leeks cook about 10 to 15 minutes until softened.

Take out the leeks, put in a colander or strainer and force out as much liquid as possible with the back of a spoon. (By steaming, you eliminate a lot of the moisture the leeks get from boiling.) Mash together leeks and potatoes. Add eggs, salt, pepper and, if using, cheese, and stir to combine well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For a thicker quajado, use a 9 x 9-inch baking dish. For a thinner version (with more crispy surface), use a 9 x 13-inch pan. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of the baking dish and swirl to cover the bottom and sides. Place the dish in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 minutes, which will help create a crisp crust on the bottom of the quajado. Put the leek-potato mixture into the hot pan, spreading it evenly. Gently brush the remaining olive oil over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Serve immediately or cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 3 to 4 days or freeze. To reheat, defrost and reheat in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through with a nice crust again.

Other vegetables can be used in various combinations totaling 3 to 4 cups including shredded zucchini or blanched chopped spinach (both need to be drained, with liquid squeezed out as much as possible), shredded carrots or roasted and mashed eggplant.

To clean the leeks: Cut off the dark green tops of the leeks and save for flavoring soup stock. Cut off and discard the rooted ends. Split the leeks lengthwise and then cut into approximately ¼-inch pieces. Place the leeks in a large colander or strainer that will fit into an even larger bowl.

Rinse the leeks with cold water, then place the colander in the bowl and fill with cold water. Let soak a few minutes, then swish the leeks around the bowl a few moments to remove dirt. When you stop, allow the grit to fall to the bottom of the bowl, then take out the colander and rinse the leeks again with cold water and let drain. Alternately, you can put the leeks in large bowl of cold water, let soak a few minutes and then swish around the bowl to remove the dirt. Let the dirt fall to the bottom and carefully scoop out the leeks with a slotted spoon. Rinse the bowl well and repeat the washing process at least one more time.

Susan Barocas is project director at Jewish Food Experience.

p1-Leah-Hadad---quinoa-salaLeah Hadad’s Festive Almond Cherry Quinoa

The Incas’ “mother of all grains,” quinoa, is the new addition to the Passover pantry after the Orthodox Union certified it kosher for Passover in December 2013. Cook a large pot and substitute quinoa for the rice or grain in any recipe to make it Passover-friendly. Quinoa is delicious and provides plenty of essential nutrients and vegetable-derived complete proteins.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
2 cups kosher for Passover quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cherries
? cup Kirschwasser or dry sherry
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted in 350-degree oven for 6-8 minutes or until golden
? cup fresh parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
? teaspoon honey or agave nectar

If the quinoa is not pre-rinsed, place it in a fine-mesh sieve and lower the sieve into a bowl with water. With your palms or fingers rub the seeds in the water for about 30 seconds and then rinse. Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute the quinoa for about 5 minutes, to dry. Add stock and water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Let rest for 5 minutes uncovered and fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, place the cherries and Kirschwasser in a sautee pan, bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and stir in the cherries, parsley and dressing. You may prepare this recipe a day ahead, refrigerate and warm the quinoa before the meal. Just before serving sprinkle the almonds on top and add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.

Leah Hadad is founder of Tribes-a-Dozen.

Todd Grey’s Salad of Roasted Heirloom Beets with Capers and Pistachio

I just love the combination of red and golden yellow beets in salads, but you have to be careful to bake the two separately so the former don’t bleed into the latter. It doesn’t affect the taste if they do, just the appearance, so try not to let the salad sit very long after you’ve added the dressing.

For a bigger salad, you can mix this with baby salad greens or serve over quinoa and top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Reprinted with permission from The New Jewish Table by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray, © 2013, St Martin’s Press. Photo courtesy of Renee Comet.

Prep time: 60-75 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 servings
2 medium red beets
2 medium golden beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup golden raisins
½ cup toasted pistachios, chopped
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained (omit if you can’t find kosher for Passover capers)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 small bunch fresh chives, cut into ½-inch pieces

Lemon Vinaigrette
1/3 cup lemon juice (from about 2 medium lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Rub the olive oil over the beets and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Loosely wrap each type in a separate aluminum foil packet. Place them in the oven and roast until the beets are tender and can be easily pierced with a sharp knife – about 1 hour. Transfer the packets to a wire rack, unfold the foil and let the beets cool. Peel the beets (use rubber gloves to keep your hands from staining) and cut them into bite-size chunks; place in a large bowl.

While the beets are roasting, place the raisins in a small bowl. Add hot water to cover and set aside to soak for 1 hour. Drain the raisins in a mesh strainer before using. For the vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients until combined. To make the salad, add the pistachios, capers, raisins and onions to the bowl with the beets. Pour in ½ cup of the lemon vinaigrette and toss to mix. Taste the salad and add more salt or pepper if you wish.

Todd Grey and Ellen Kassoff Gray are co-owners of Equinox Restaurant and Harvest Moon Hospitality Group, which includes three other restaurants and two catering companies. They are co-authors of The New Jewish Table.

Vered Guttman’s Dandelion and Potato Maakouda


Maakouda is a Moroccan potato dish, served either as pie or as fritters, which became a traditional Passover weekday dish for many Moroccan Jews. Similar to the Ashkenazi potato kugel, maakouda is a simple pie of potatoes and eggs, the staples of Passover in so many Jewish communities around the Diaspora. As a Moroccan street food, maakouda is fried in individual portions, but most of the homemade versions are baked in the oven. Maakouda is ideal for Passover, though in many Jewish Moroccan homes it is served year round. To make it a bit more interesting, healthy and fun, I added a bunch of chopped fresh dandelion greens to the original recipe and loved the results. You can experiment with the greens of your choice, from herbs to kale, spinach or Swiss chard.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 60-75 minutes
Yield: one 9-inch round pie, about 10-12 servings
2 pounds golden potatoes, skin on, scrubbed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 yellow onion, chopped
½ pound dandelion greens, chopped
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
5 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with oil and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil at the bottom. Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil over high heat, cover, lower the heat and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Mash the potatoes in their skins with a fork, leaving small chunks.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat remaining olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and sautee the onion until golden. Add the chopped dandelion and sautee about 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Add the dandelion mixture to the bowl with the mashed potatoes and mix. Add salt, turmeric, black pepper and egg yolks and mix again.

Whip egg whites to form soft peaks and then fold into potato mixture. Transfer to the pan and drizzle a little olive oil on top. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until the top is golden and the pie is firm. Let sit for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Vered Guttman writes the Modern Manna food blog for Israel’s daily newspaper, Haaretz, and is chef and owner of Cardamom & Mint, a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern catering company in Washington, D.C.

Marbled-Choco-Chunk-meringuPaula Shoyer’s Marble Chocolate Chunk and Cinnamon Meringues

Growing up, I was never a fan of meringues because they were always just plain meringues. When I went to pastry school in Paris, I learned to use meringues as the basis of cakes and other desserts and realized how much I liked meringues as long as they were paired with something creamy or chewy. I created these meringues after trying similar ones in London. I was amazed that you could make a meringue that has its own chewy center. Make sure to keep the white and chocolate parts from completely merging into each other. It is the contrast that makes these so pretty. Now I have a meringue to make every Passover.

Prep time: 30-40 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Yield: 8-10 large meringues

4 large egg whites, at room temperature for at least 2 hours
⅔ cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅔ cup confectioner’s sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into ¼-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 230 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff. Reduce speed to low and add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until mixed in. Raise the speed to high and beat for 10 full minutes, until thick and glossy. Sift the cocoa, cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar together into a small bowl. When the egg whites are ready, spoon out about half of the whites into a separate bowl and set aside. Add the cocoa and sugar mixture to the remaining whites in the mixing bowl, along with three-quarters of the chopped chocolate, and mix on low speed to combine. Add the reserved whites back into the bowl and use a silicone spatula to mix very gently, not completely, to create a marbled effect. Using two large spoons, scoop up the meringue batter and place dollops on the prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Chop the remaining chocolate into smaller pieces and sprinkle on top and around the sides of the meringue clumps. Bake for 2 hours. Let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Paula Shoyer is author of The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy and The Holiday Kosher Baker.

 Pati Jinich’s Flourless Almond and Port Cake


This cake is a treat. What’s more, being flourless, it is perfect for Passover and for gluten-free eaters. This cake feels like a fluffy, smooth, tasty piece of marzipan that has turned into a cake to become a bigger, lighter and longer-lasting version of itself. It can be served as a dessert, with some whipped cream on top. If you are lucky to have some left over, it makes for a decadent breakfast with a side of berries and some hot coffee or tea.

Interestingly, the recipe dates to the late 1600s. The Spanish nuns who came to Mexico to help establish different convents had an indomitable sweet tooth, which, paired with Mexico’s exotic ingredients, made for some of the country’s dearest and sweetest desserts. Centuries later, these desserts have become staples in Mexican kitchens. There are many kinds of nut cakes or tortes in Mexican cooking, some with pine nuts, pecans or hazelnuts. They can be sweetened with sugar, or in some cases even with sweetened condensed milk. This cake calls for almonds and just a few other ingredients. It is a snap to make in the food processor or blender.

This recipe adapted from the Convent of San Jeronimo.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 12-15 servings
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups slivered almonds
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon Port wine, or more to
taste (optional)
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a round 9- to 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Place the almonds and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Crack the eggs on top of the mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract and Port, if using. Drop in the butter chunks, and process until smooth and thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the mold. Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The top will be nicely golden, the cake will feel springy to the touch and a toothpick should come out clean if inserted in the cake.

Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Unmold the cake, invert onto a platter and remove the parchment paper. Invert the cake again onto another platter so the top of the cake is right side-up.

In a small saucepan, mix apricot jam with the lime juice. Set over medium heat and simmer for a few minutes. With a brush, spread the apricot glaze along the outer edge of the top of the cake, about 1 to 2 inches wide. Sprinkle the glazed area with the toasted sliced almonds. Serve the cake with whipped cream on the side, or on the top of the cake.

Pati Jinich is official chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in the District.

Debi Minkoff Miller’s Cocoa-Dusted Dark Chocolate Truffles


These truffles are the perfect punctuation to end your Passover seder. They are completely dairy-free and vegan, so they can accompany any meal. Passover can be a difficult holiday for a vegan, but we strive to keep it cruelty-free, and dessert is a great place to start. If you are not familiar with agar, it is a sea vegetable that is used as a setting agent in place of gelatin. You can find it at health-food stores and other specialty markets in the Asian food aisle. This recipe is adapted from renowned vegan, macrobiotic chef, and friend, Eric Lechasseur.

Prep time: 20-25 minutes + 1 hour refrigeration
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Yield: 18-20 truffles
1 cup soy milk, almond milk or other nondairy milk
18 ounces dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons agar flakes, ground in a coffee grinder for about 1 minute
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for coating
Toasted shredded coconut or ground nuts for coating (optional)

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring soy milk and agar to a simmer until agar is mostly dissolved. Add the chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Stir well until melted. Remove from heat, and transfer mixture to a baking pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Spread to evenly cover entire pan. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Using a melon baller, mini ice cream scoop or small spoon, scoop about 1 ounce of mixture and roll between your hands to form a small ball. Continue with remaining mixture. Roll each ball in cocoa powder or coconut or nuts, if using. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. In honor of Passover, you can stack the balls in a pyramid shape to serve.

Debbi Minkoff Miller is founder, Banana Love Muffins

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  1. Soy mllk is kitniyot and forbidden to Ashkenazim on Pessah. Perhaps that should be stated in the recipe for truffles.


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