Passover is one of my favorite holidays because of the incredible food and family traditions it inspires. As a convert to Judaism and a food lover, I was immediately drawn to the Seder meal—the symbolic food restrictions, the storytelling, the singing, the traditions, and of course the delicious Passover dishes we’ve come to expect during the holidays! One of my favorite things about food is that it breaks down all boundaries—a yummy meal is something we can all agree on, no matter where we come from or what our background is. Passover is a truly food-oriented holiday, which makes it a great opportunity to bring people together.
This year, I am celebrating the holiday on my blog, TheShiksa.com, with a unique annual event called The Shiksa’s Passover Potluck. I’ve invited my friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to share recipes that are kosher for Passover. We’ve put together an amazing lineup of foodies. Some you may be familiar with (like Alessandra Rovati, a regular contributor to The Jewish Voice), while others will likely be new to you. All of them have contributed recipes that are kosher for Passover. My goals are simple– to foster mutual understanding between different cultures, to introduce you to my foodie friends, and to share yummy recipes and cooking ideas for the holiday!
To check out the Passover Potluck recipe contributions that have posted so far, please visit The Shiksa in the Kitchen website: www.theshiksa.com. On the home page, you will see a badge for The Shiksa’s Passover Potluck. Click it, and you will be taken to a list of recipes and participating food sites. New recipes and holiday craft ideas will post every day, now through the end of Passover. I’m sharing two recipes here today—one is my recipe, Sephardic Charoset Truffles—the other, a contribution to the potluck from my friend Lori Lynn, a delicious recipe for Saffron Matzo Balls.
SEPHARDIC CHAROSET TRUFFLES
This is one of my personal contributions to the Passover Potluck. Ashkenazi charoset, which is the charoset most American Jews are familiar with, is usually made as a chunky, sticky mixture of apples, walnuts and sweet kosher wine. Sephardic Jews in the Middle East and Mediterranean make charoset somewhat differently, using dates and a variety of nuts in the mix (almonds, pine nuts, pistachios). Sephardic charoset may or may not include apples or wine. One of the more interesting ways charoset is served in the Middle East is in a ball or truffle form. Moroccan Seders will often serve these charoset truffles rather than the spreadable charoset we are more familiar with here in America.
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 1/2 cups dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup shelled pistachios
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
You will also need: Food processor with blade attachment
Servings: About 25 truffles
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover
Place dates, apricots, raisins, pistachios and honey and place in a food processor. Pulse for about 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth but still has texture. You may need to break up the sticky mixture a few times if it collects in a ball in the processor. In a bowl, mix together the sugar and the cinnamon. Form date mixture into balls that are about ¾ inch in diameter. The balls will be sticky and soft. It will be easier to shape them if you wet your hands slightly. Dry your hands. Dip the balls in the cinnamon sugar and coat thoroughly, and re-roll between your palms to smooth out any rough edges. Serve at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator; let them come back to room temperature before serving. If you make ahead, you may need to reroll the truffles in cinnamon sugar before serving; they tend to get sticky over time.
SAFFRON MATZO BALLS
Food photos are part of what draw you in to a culinary website– they catch your interest and make you hungry for more. Good photos do more than just showcase food, they tell a story. That’s why I was immediately drawn to Lori Lynn’s blog, www.TasteWithTheEyes.com. Lori Lynn is a master of telling stories through her images. For our Passover Potluck, she shared her delicious recipe for Saffron Matzo Balls, an exotic twist on an old favorite.
0.02 oz saffron threads
2 large eggs
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 packet (2 1/2 oz) matzo ball mix
Carrot slices and chopped parsley, for garnish
You will also need: Spice mortar and pestle
Servings: 8 matzo balls
Kosher Key: Meat when served with chicken soup
Grind 0.02 oz. saffron threads using a mortar and pestle. Blend 2 large eggs with 2 T. good olive oil. Stir in saffron. Let saffron infuse the egg/oil mixture for about 10 minutes. Stir again. Add one packet (2 1/2 oz.) matzoh ball mix. Mix well. Place matzoh ball mixture in refrigerator for 15 minutes. In the meantime bring a large pot of water to a boil. Roll chilled matzoh ball mixture into eight balls. Drop balls into boiling water. Cover. Lower the heat to medium low (not simmer). Cook for 30 minutes, do not lift lid while cooking (no peeking)! Place carrots and chopped parsley in a shallow bowl. Add matzoh ball then ladle hot chicken soup into the bowl.
For more recipes, food photographs and step-by-step instructions, please visit TheShiksa.com.
Tori Avey is the food blogger behind the popular blog, “The Shiksa in the Kitchen.” A culinary anthropologist and convert to Judaism, her blog explores the history of Jewish cuisine and other historical culinary topics. Tori has a considerable following on Facebook and Twitter, and she also contributes recipes to Zabar’s, the landmark New York City gourmet market.