Sunday, March 21, 2010

Passover Time is Here

I love Passover time with family. As happens every year we spend some time reminiscing of Passovers past - and we have some good stories to tell. Like the year we went to Prague on the pretense of a package deal which included renting a totally Passover ready apartment and having all of our seders and meals at a local kosher restaurant. But three days before the trip my mother affirmed that the purveyor of this deal was a flake when seeking more information she finally called the restaurant who informed her they were closed for all of Passover.

So like the power trooper she is, my mom found a new place to rent, a kosher grocery delivery service and some Chabad Seders to hook up with. We arrived in Prague with half a day to turn a small rental kitchen over for Passover, buy a pot and a good knife and pick up some fresh produce. On two burners my mother churned out the most delicious Passover meals and by the end of the week we were hosting guests.

Our last pre-Passover beer was enjoyed on the airplane.

The provisions my mom brought from home.

Produce shopping.

The bags included some Israeli pomelos we found!

We visited Prague's famous Jewish cemeteries and synagogues that had been preserved by the Nazis who destroyed this Jewish community and others in hopes of serving as a museum to the lost race.

The Ungelt quarter where we stayed.

This year's Passover accommodations has afforded us more comfortable cooking quarters and I have been in charge of desserts (and some grilled veggies and quinoa).

I have already made up four batches of the Walnut Cookies (some were made with ground walnuts and some with ground almonds) and they have disappeared quickly.

For one of the batches I got adventurous and added some of the bananas that were sitting around our kitchen and some chocolate chips to delicious results! They taste very different from their predecessor - the bananas give them a soft and chewy texture, and they hardly tasted like a Passover cookie.

I also made two flourless chocolate cakes and tried a new recipe from my mom's friend Mindy for some very indulgent Matzah Brittle which everyone in our family enjoyed.

Banana Nut Cookies

2 eggs
2 cups sugar

3/4 cup of matzah meal

2 cups of finely ground walnuts or almonds
1/2 cup of chocolate chip cookies
3 ripe or over ripe bananas

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Beat eggs and sugar until very light. Then stir in walnuts and matzah meal. Mash in the three bananas. Drop from a rounded teaspoon two inches apart onto a silpat lined baking sheet. Top each cookie with a couple of chocolate chips. Bake for 20 minutes.

Matza Brittle
Mindy- thanks for sharing the recipe with us and for allowing me to share it with everyone else!

4 sheets of matza
1 stick of margarine
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of chocolate chips
1 cup of walnuts

Heat 350 degrees. Line a tray with a silpat or aluminum foil. Spread the matza out in a single layer. Melt butter and brown sugar in a small pot over medium heat and stir until it boils. Pour the mixture over the matza sheets and spread it around with a brush. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips and bake for 4 more minutes then remove from the oven immediately. Work quickly to smooth the chocolate over the matza evenly with a spatula. Roughly chop the walnuts and sprinkle them over the chocolate covered matzas. Chill in the freezer for up to two weeks and keep covered in tin foil.

Thanks to Ben for all the food pictures!

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