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Festive food for small seders

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Keto biscuits (Barbara Silverstein photo)

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Samayach! The pandemic has certainly taken a toll on Passover 2020. Since social distancing is a health necessity, our seders this year will be pared down and quiet affairs.

Some people will mark the first nights of the holiday alone or at seders with two or three people, while others may participate in virtual seders with family and friends.

Hopefully Zoom seders will be a fleeting Passover trend, and we will all survive COVID-19 with our health and the health of our families and friends intact.

The seders I usually attend are warm, multi-generational get-togethers with wonderful food. For the second night, my sister makes the brisket (among many other things) and I cook the chicken soup.

I usually quadruple my late mother’s recipe, but I’m not sure I’ll even be able to make a single pot for my husband. Chicken seems to be in short supply at our supermarket these days.

My backup plan is to make Broccoli and Red Pepper Soup, a recipe I found in The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory, by the late Norene Gilletz and Ed Wein.

Instagrammer and cookbook author, Amy Stopnicki (@amyskoshertaste) was kind enough to share her recipe for Potato Schnitzel from her cookbook, Kosher Taste: Plan Prepare Plate.

Stopnicki says this dish is perfect for Passover. “Serve on Pesach and your family won’t even know it’s not chametz!”

A few weeks ago I was talking to a good friend about Passover food. At the time, she had been planning a seder for 25 people. One of the desserts she had been considering was a cake made from oranges, ground almonds and chocolate that her late mother, Minca Rand, used to make on Passover.

I happened to find the recipe while flipping through Bonnie Stern’s book, Friday Night Dinners. I was looking for a side dish, when I noticed her recipe for Clementine Cake with Chocolate Glaze.

The recipe calls for oranges or clementine that are cooked, cooled and then processed in a food processor. I actually prepared the fruit a day ahead. I used the processor method to combine the ingredients and the microwave to prepare the glaze. It’s a very delicious and moist cake.

For everyday Passover meals, I found a recipe for Keto Biscuits in a most unusual place – Woman’s World, my guilty little reading pleasure. Last week the magazine (March 30 edition) featured a Keto Comfort Food story.

The recipe for biscuits – it was developed by celebrity chef, Rocco DiSpirito – is made with sour cream, eggs and almond flour. The biscuits are lovely for breakfast or an afternoon snack and they freeze well.

This spring let us all make the best of social distancing so that we can all enjoy family celebrations and get-togethers in years to come.

 

BROCCOLI AND RED PEPPER SOUP (Norene Gilletz)

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic (about 10 ml or 2 tsp) minced

2 carrots, coarsely chopped (or 12 baby carrots)

**1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 1 L or 4 cups)

1.5 L (6 cups) vegetable broth (preferably low-sodium or no-salt-added)

5–10 ml (1–2 tsp) salt or to taste

2 ml (1½ tsp) freshly ground black pepper

15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh basil

45 ml (3 tbsp )chopped fresh dill )

**Option: frozen broccoli can be substituted for fresh broccoli

 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, and garlic; sauté 3 – 4 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the carrots and broccoli and mix well.

Add the broth, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, until the broccoli is tender. Stir in the basil and dill. Remove the soup from the heat and cool slightly.

Using an immersion blender, purée the soup right in the pot, or purée in batches in a blender or food processor. Adjust seasonings to taste. Makes 8 cups.

 

Schnitzel (Photo Credit: Michelle Manzoni)

POTATO SCHNITZEL  (Amy Stopnicki)

1 K (2 lbs) boneless chicken breast, approximately 8 chicken breasts

30 ml (2 tbsp) dried parsley flakes

2 ml (½ tsp) paprika

2 ml (½ tsp) garlic powder

375- 500 ml (1½-2 cups) dry potato pancake mix

Salt and pepper to taste

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Canola oil for frying

 

Place the chicken between 2 sheets of heavy plastic (re-sealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound with a meat mallet to a thickness of ½ cm (1⁄4-inch).

​On a large plate or in a shallow bowl, combine parsley flakes, paprika, garlic powder, potato pancake mix, salt and pepper. Pour eggs into another large plate or shallow bowl.

​In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, dip the chicken into the egg, then the potato flake mixture.

Cook the chicken in the heated oil, turning once or until both sides are golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

Clementine cake with chocolate glaze (Barbara Silverstein photo)

CLEMENTINE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZE  (Bonnie Stern)

500 g (1 lb) whole clementines (about 4 or 2 oranges)

6 eggs

250 ml (1 cup)granulated sugar

500 ml (2 cups) ground roasted almonds

5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder (optional)

Chocolate Glaze

175 g (6 oz semi or bittersweet chocolate

50 ml (1/4 cup) butter

 

Place the whole clementines in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 hours, adding water if necessary to keep the fruit covered. (Place a plate on top of the clementines to hold them down). Cool and cut the clementines into pieces and remove the seeds. Place everything (peel, pith and pulp) in a food processor and process until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until very light. In a separate bowl, combine the almonds and baking powder, if using. Add the clementine purée. (Or mix the whole thing in the food processor by adding the eggs 2 at a time to the purée. Combine the sugar with the nuts and baking powder in a bowl and add this mixture to the eggs and clementines. Process until all the ingredients are well combined.)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Transfer the batter to a 23 cm (9-inch) springform pan that has been oiled and lined with parchment paper and oiled again. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. If the cake starts to brown, cover it loosely with foil during baking.

Cool the cake before removing it from the pan.

Glaze: Combine the chocolate with the butter in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over the cake. Makes 10 –12 servings.

 

Keto biscuits with jam (Barbara Silverstein photo)

KETO BISCUITS  (Rocco DiSpirito)

210 ml (3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) almond flower

7 ml (1½ tsp) baking powder

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

1 ml (1/4 tsp) pepper

30 ml (2 tbsp) unsalted butter

1 large egg beaten

60 ml (1/4 cup) sour cream

 

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add the butter and pinch the batter with your fingers until pea-sized pieces form. Add the egg and sour cream.

Refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F)

Dollop the mixture (6 dollops) onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, about 10 –12 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

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