Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! It’s the final countdown until Passover begins and final decisions on what to serve for the Seders and beyond have now become top priority with my readers around the world. I was delighted to learn about an innovative eBook, Remaining Kosher, Volume One: A Cookbook for All with a Hechsher in Their Heart, by Lauren Stacy Berdy. Specifically designed for the iPad, Lauren’s comprehensive eBook is available on iTunes, and Volume Two is well on its way.
Lauren Stacy Berdy earned her professional diploma from Ecole de Cuisine, La Varenne Paris, France in 1978, then spent several years working in Europe before returning home. She spent more than three decades as a private chef-caterer. She now resides with her husband in Hollywood, Florida, where she wrote Remaining Kosher, Volume One: A Cookbook for All with a Hechsher in Their Heart. For a preview of her comprehensive, informative e-Book, go to www.laurenstacyberdy.com.
Lauren Berdy wrote Remaining Kosher as an invitation to look over her shoulder in the kitchen, to broaden and enlarge your path to Remaining Kosher. She loves to introduce new and different tasting notes, flavours, spices, and textures (long taken for granted during her career as a professional chef) to the traditional kosher palate. Lauren believes that the kosher kitchen can have the particular pleasure of sharing the road with many other foods that perhaps you just never thought possible.
Pictures, you want pictures? Look no further! Remaining Kosher contains 578 colour photos, including how-to photos of many prep and cooking steps, so that you can mirror them in your own kitchen!
Lauren’s culinary creations are creative and fabulous. She shares recipes for many of the spices and dishes of India, China, Hong Kong, Mexico and more, giving the reader explicit step-by-step instructions, through pictures and words, on how to create a dish and how to use unfamiliar ingredients. Her recipes come to life through the colourful, realistic photos on every page.
The following recipes, which are perfect for Passover, have been excerpted from Remaining Kosher Volume One: A Cookbook for All with a Hechsher in Their Heart by Lauren Stacy Berdy. Enjoy…
LAUREN’S CARAMEL CHOCOLATE FLAN
Magnificent! A chocolaty-caramel smooth custard—what a good idea after all those Pesach carbs! And this recipe feeds at least a Passover table of twelve. “How did you make that?” your guests will ask. It’s simple: the caramel was made in the microwave in a 2-cup Pyrex, you can answer. The custard base comes together FAST! Into the oven, inside a water bath. Even better, the flan is cooked and allowed to sit in the fridge for at least a day, then unmolds with ease.
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup water
Equipment: (1) 2-cup Pyrex and a microwave
8 oz Kosher for Passover chocolate bar, broken into smaller pieces or chocolate bits
4 cups almond milk
3/4 cup sugar
8 whole large eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Equipment: 9” x 2” cake pan, medium saucepan, whisk, large mixing bowl, rubber spatula, a bottom for the water bath (I used a roasting pan)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place the 9” x 2” round pan near the microwave.
Place sugar and water in the Pyrex measuring cup. Stir until water is distributed.
Microwave for 6 minutes. Everyone’s microwave is different. Mine is not very strong. What you are looking for is the color. The first signs of caramel happen when you see a change in color. Once the liquid starts to color, it is beginning to caramel. The color you want is honey-colored.
Use a glove or towel while handling the hot glass measuring cup. Immediately pour the caramel into the mold. Tilt the mold to coat the bottom until it is just beginning to swirl up sides. Set aside.
Prepare the custard: In a saucepan, stir the milk and the chocolate over low heat just until melted and smooth. Remove. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Scrape in the warm chocolate mixture, the 3/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon. Whisk together until blended.
Pour the custard into the mold.
Place the mold into a large shallow roasting pan on middle oven rack.
Fill the bottom pan with water to at least a depth of 1 inch.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Remove from the water bath. Cool slightly. Cover and chill for at least 6 to 24 hours.
To unmold: The serving platter should be larger than mold. Loosen edges with a knife. Slip the knifepoint down the sides of the mold to let air in. Invert the serving plate over the mold. Turn the plate and mold over together. Remove mold. Scrape clinging caramel onto serving platter.
Note: Molded flan can be baked and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.
LAUREN’S VEAL BRISKET STUDDED WITH PISTACHIOS
Have you ever cooked a veal brisket? No, not a veal breast—I am talking of its meatier cousin the brisket. The meat is succulent, rich, and has its own cachet. After all, it is veal, and veal brisket just has a different pedigree. I enliven the meat even more by studding the raw brisket with shelled pistachios. Tucked in and embedded, each slice comes with the nut’s own green buttery charm.
This recipe is perfect for the Passover holiday table. Once made, the braised meat can be sliced, placed in its serving dish and later reheated with ease. Unlike a beef brisket, this veal is rolled and ready to be portioned into medallions. The meat sits pretty on the dinner plate, shoulders above the other foods.
Speaking of height, try serving the veal sitting atop a sturdy, thick slice of Wild Mushroom Pudding (recipe below) that is made with matzo farfel. This pudding and the veal are made for one another.
As in any braise, the sauce practically happens almost by itself and adds its wonderful luster.
You have fed the cooking pot all the necessary ingredients. Now walk away and do something else during the 2 – 2 1/2 hours of seasoning and cooking.
Yield: 6-8 servings (depending on the veal brisket size)
Special Equipment: small paring knife, meat cutting board, butchers string, scissor, braising pot, kitchen spoon and fork
Veal Brisket Ingredients:
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon fresh thyme: washed, checked then “picked”
2 large unpeeled garlic cloves
1 veal brisket (not veal breast!): about 3-4 pounds
fresh ground pepper
1 bunch parsley: washed and checked
10 stems fresh thyme: washed and checked
2 fragrant bay leaves
1/4 cup potato starch
1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
1 cup onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup celery: washed and checked
1/4 cup celery leaves: washed and checked
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock/water
Wedge of lemon
Basil leaves: washed, checked and dried
Place the pistachios into a small dish. Place the veal brisket fleshier side up in front of you on the cutting board.
With the tip of a paring knife, make a 1/4” incision into the meat. Lodge a pistachio into the incision. Repeat until you have inserted about 30 pistachios evenly over the surface of the meat.
Scatter the fresh thyme leaves over the surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Begin to roll the meat up. Starting at the narrowest point, roll the meat into a tight jellyroll, seam-side down on the cutting board.
Cut 7 pieces of butcher’s string about 8” each.
Place the meat in front of you, perpendicular to the cutting board. Using both hands, place the first string under the beginning of the roll and tie so that it touches the meat and feels snug.
Repeat until the meat is neatly packaged.
Make a large seasoning bundle (bouquet garni) with the fresh thyme, parsley, and bay leaves and tightly wind another piece of butcher string around at least three times. Cut and tie.
Sprinkle the surface of the meat with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on an even coat of potato starch.
Over medium-high heat, pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil and two garlic cloves into braising pot and brown the veal on both sides (about 6 minutes a side). Remove the veal.
Add in the carrots, onions, celery and celery leaves. Cook for two minutes.
Pour the wine into the braising pot. Reduce wine by half. Scrape the bottom of the pan as the wine reduces.
Add the tomato paste, chicken stock (or water) and stir.
Bring to a low simmer. Return the veal to the pot. Place the seasoning bundle (bouquet garni) into the pot. Place a piece of foil over the pot rim. Place a lid over foil and cook on low about 2 hours. The meat should be knife tender. Cook more if necessary.
Save the sauce separately if serving later.
Remove the veal from pan and let cool. Cut all the strings and discard.
On high, cook the sauce about 5 minutes to thicken it a bit. Add a few drops of lemon. Taste for salt and pepper.
Slice the veal into 2” portions and moisten with sauce. Pass additional sauce on the side.
Or, refrigerate the veal and sauce separately overnight, then reheat the next day.
If serving with Wild Mushroom Pudding: Follow the recipe directions, but place each veal medallion atop the warm, sliced Wild Mushroom Pudding. Add sauce and basil leaves.
LAUREN’S VEGETABLE TRIFLE
Here is a main course salad recipe born from the play of intuition. What else to do with too much matzah? A vegetable trifle was born! A real crowd pleaser. This is a suggestive recipe—the imagination is what is essential here. There are few, if any rules. Free verse is welcomed. Do you have leftover vegetables? Cook, season, and by all means, reimagine them! Each stage can be premade and assembled at your leisure.
Special Equipment: pastry brush, baking sheet, roasting pan, parchment, foil, saucepan, steamer, (disposable aluminum pie plate, if needed), potato masher, bowls, frying pan, serving bowl (glass is nice!)
5 pieces matzah (for Passover)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Trifle Seasoning Blend Ingredients: (entire recipe)
3 tablespoons sumac
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 large seasonal firm “Italian” eggplant or 3 medium, peeled or 4 Japanese (long) eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Grape Tomatoes Mixture Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 container grape tomatoes
1 can (1 lb 13 oz /29 fl oz) canned chickpeas
Onion Jam Ingredients:
1 large lemon, lightly peeled with a vegetable peeler
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large (or 3 medium) red or white onions, sliced
2 overflowing tablespoons honey
1 large fennel bulb: thinly sliced, washed, checked and drained
1 1/2 cup dried currants, soaked in hot water
12 oz container Greek yogurt, optional (dairy)
1/4 cup date syrup or honey for drizzling
“Rocky Road:” 1/4 cup crushed matzah, 1/4 cup dried currants, and remaining sumac seasoning
Preheat oven (convection if available) to 350ºF.
Prime the ingredients:
Brush matzah with olive oil on both sides. Toast on baking sheet till golden brown. Make sure they are crunchy!
Combine the sumac, salt, sugar and black pepper in a bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons for the entire trifle. Set aside.
To cook the eggplant: peel the Italian eggplant (not necessary to peel the Japanese eggplant). Slice into 1/2-inch rounds.
Tear off an arms-length of foil and an arms-length of parchment.
Brush the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil. Put one layer of eggplant into the roasting pan.
Brush each eggplant piece with olive oil. Sprinkle the surface of the eggplant slices with remaining spice mixture. Top with another layer and repeat.
Lay in a piece of parchment, covering the eggplant. Then seal the roasting pan tightly with foil.
Cook for 1 hour in the 350 ºF oven. The eggplant will be velvety soft.
Carefully open package (steam!). Set aside to cool.
Toss the grape tomatoes into a bowl with the olive oil and a teaspoon of spice mixture, roll them about in the spice. Tear off an arms-length piece of foil. Wrap and seal the grape tomatoes.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool. Open.
Add to the drained chickpeas. Gently mix. Set aside.
Put the peeled lemon zest into a small saucepan. Cover with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil.
Drain, repeat this twice. This takes away the lemon peel’s bitterness.
Roughly chop the lemon peel.
Pour in 1/4 cup of olive oil into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the blanched, chopped lemon peel and bay leaf. Heat the lemon peel and bay leaf in the oil for 30 seconds.
Add in the sliced white or red onions. Stir and cover. The onions should make noise when hitting the oil. Cook the onions over medium heat until they soften and begin to color. Stir occasionally.
Cook about 10 minutes, then take the cover off. Add two overflowing tablespoons of honey and 1/4 cup cider vinegar. Stir.
Cook until the onions are well caramelized- about five minutes. The onions will look thick and “jammy.”
Add in 2 teaspoons of the sumac blend, stir. Scrape the onions into a bowl. Take out the bay leaf. Set aside.
Slice off fennel “stalks.” Remove the hard first layer of the fennel bulb: both are great for flavoring soup broth.
Hold the fennel so that the fat part of the bulb is directly in front of you. Cut the bulb in half. Place each half cut-side down. Slice off the root bottom of each half (discard).
Slice each half into 1/4” slices: wash, check, drain. Place in a steamer and cook for 1/2 hour.
Place the dried currants in a bowl. Cover the currants with hot water. Set aside.
Break up toasted matzo and place into the food processor. Process for about 15 seconds. Some matzo pieces might be bigger than others. You are looking for smashed, not crumbs. Repeat until all the matzo has been processes. Or: Place the matzah into a bag and bang it with a pan until it crumbles.
Have all the primed ingredients at arms-length: broken matzo, sumac seasoning, cooked eggplant, chickpeas and cooked tomatoes, steamed fennel, drained currants and the Onion Jam.
Drain the dried currants. Set aside.
Place 1/4 of the matzah at the bottom of the serving bowl. Sprinkle with a good pinch of sumac seasoning.
Use 1/3 of eggplant and make a tight, even layer. Use the potato masher and gently press the eggplant into the matzo. Use 1/3 of the chickpeas and grape tomatoes over the eggplant.
Next, place 1/3 of the fennel covering the chickpeas and grape tomatoes. Scatter a 1/4 cup of currants. Then evenly cover with a third of onions.
Repeat, starting with the matzah. Scatter 1/4 of the matzah over the surface. Repeat as necessary.
The trifle is best when allowed to sit for at least a couple of hours after being assembled. The trifle can also sit for a day in the refrigerator.
A couple hours before serving: Drizzle with 1/2 cup date syrup or honey. If going dairy, spread a thick layer of yogurt on the surface of the last layer of eggplant.
Either way: Make a “rocky road” by sprinkling with the last 1/4 of matzo and 1/4 of currants. Sprinkle with the remaining sumac seasoning.
Serve generous portions into bowls at the table. Use a large spoon and go deep.
Note: If used in a buffet, set out a large serving spoon—dairy or meat as appropriate.
LAUREN’S WILD MUSHROOM PUDDING
Don’t attempt to pigeonhole starches. They are unsystematic in their flexibility. Starches also fill us with admiration. I cook and eat all of them (at least the ones I know about— there are many to still discover).
This simple savory pudding was birthed into being from leftovers. It has a natural correspondence to what the Italians have probably done for centuries—but theirs has a factor of cheese. This recipe has a factor of potatoes.
A few basic ingredients form a poetic companionship and take an unexpected direction. The ingredients get formed into a log and sealed, then poached in water. This process makes a stable, variegated, card-carrying carbohydrate that has much in in common with a very good stuffing. And who doesn’t like stuffing?
This is a playful recipe that can also animate a plate. I enjoy placing it under a formed medallion of veal brisket- the additional height gives the plate more theater. These little starches can be dramatized with a turn in olive oil. Like all good stuffings, they crust up beautifully. There’s a perfect naturalness to it all. These simple, almost primitive ingredients have a magnetic attraction for each other. They also speak with candor: starches are innocent and honest eating.
Yield: 8 (with leftovers)
Special Equipment: small frying pan, lid, plastic wrap, aluminum foil
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms: soaked in 2 cups of water for an hour
3 cups matzo farfel
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek: cleaned, checked and diced
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, stemmed or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large Idaho potato: peeled and shredded
2 eggs: checked and beaten
Have all the ingredients primed.
Place the soaked mushrooms in a colander over a bowl. Add the matzo farfel to the mushroom water, pressing it down to soak in all the liquids. Set aside.
Chop the mushrooms into small pieces.
Pour the olive oil into the pan. Over low heat, add in the chopped leeks, mushrooms, fresh (or dried) thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir.
Cover and sweat (but not color) the leeks. Cook for about 6-8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Drain the matzo farfel. Discard any liquid. Put the farfel back into its bowl.
Shred the potato directly into the soaked matzo farfel and stir.
Add in the beaten eggs. Stir. Add in the cooled, seasoned cooked mushrooms. Stir to combine.
Place the box of plastic wrap at the top of the cutting board. Tear off a sheet of plastic wrap, at least 12” x 15”. Promptly lay it down flat onto the board.
Place 1 1/2 – 2 cups of pudding spread evenly about an inch from the longer edge.
Fold the edge over the filling and keep rolling, using the ends to tighten the filling as you go, forming a log. Repeat, using up the filling.
Wrap each roll in aluminum foil. Twist and tighten the ends, tailoring the filling. Curl the ends so the roll fit into the cooking pot.
Place the filled logs into an empty pot and fill with water. Place a plate over the logs to insure they stay submerged.
Bring the water to a simmer and cook for 1/2 hour. Place the cooked, enclosed logs on paper towels. Cool.
Use scissors to cut both ends off and unwrap the entire log.
The Wild Mushroom Pudding can now be used as a side dish. Cut it into 2” portions and place in an oiled casserole. Reheat covered in foil. Or: Crisp and brown in a non-stick skillet in a light film of olive oil. Don’t crowd the pan. Serve with roasted chicken or your favorite brisket. They like a sauce!
Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of twelve cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at www.gourmania.com or email her at email@example.com