Friday, April 4, 2008

Turning up the heat - Passover Recipes

The Jewish holiday of Passover is right around the corner and with it all its difficult and annoying unique and special dietary requirements. (For those who don't know, thoughout the week of Passover, also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jews are required to eat matza and avoid "leavened" products, known as "chametz". This includes anything made with yeast, anything that rises, all regular flours, rice, beans, corn and a whole host of other restrictions.)

The next edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival, hosted this month by A Mother In Israel, is devoted to Passover - Passover recipes, recipes for getting rid of all that leftover chametz before the holiday, and all sorts of other Passover preparations.

For my contribution I've got a recipe that may actually compete with my matza balls in the not exactly health food competition (quick MII, you may need to hide your eyes). As I said then, I'm happy to cook fairly healthy, vitamin-laden food all year long but holidays in my house are for tradition, arteries be damned...

Yam Souffle

2 very large yams (those of you in the US can use 1 large can, I've never seen canned yams here in Israel)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Handful of raisins
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
170g (1½ sticks) butter/margarine

  1. Peel and cube yams. Boil until very soft. Cool slightly. (Skip these steps if using canned yams.)
  2. Mix yams, eggs, butter (margarine), sugar, vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon in the food processor until smooth.
  3. Transfer to mixing bowl.
  4. Mix in coconut, raisins and chopped walnuts.
  5. Bake in greased dish for 45 minutes at 350 degrees (180 celsius).

This dish can easily be made ahead of time and reheated. Keeps well.

This is a VERY rich dish, a little goes a long way. If it sounds suspiciously Southern, that's because it is – my grandmother got this recipe, known in our family as Margie's yams, from her Georgia-born and raised housekeeper at least fifty years ago. Since then it's become a well-entrenched holiday staple in all the children's and grandchildren's families, and has now become a tradition in its own right for the Anglo friends we celebrate all our holidays with here in Israel.

Switching gears to a more traditionally Jewish dish, here's an easy no-bake dessert:

Coconut-Apricot Bars

1/2 cup thin-sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried apricots (chopped)
1/2 cup toasted coconut
3 Tbl oil
3 Tbl honey
6-8 oz good quality chocolate chips


Mix oil and honey together until thick. Mix all ingredients together except chocolate. (Note: you can either finely chop the apricots or you can throw them into a food processor for a smoother consistency (I go with this option - it's much faster). Press firmly onto shallow dish, making a thin layer. Melt the chocolate chips and spread on top of the apricot layer. Chill and then cover in foil. Refrigerate. Cut into squares and serve.

And as an extra, this devastatingly good (dairy) flourless chocolate cake is great for Passover, but don't let that stop you from making it all year round! (Oh, and I skip the glaze on top. It's quite rich enough on its own. A few fresh berries are nice as a decoration though.)


mother in israel said...

LOL. When you told me you were going to submit something I was a little worried that the mb recipe was going to resurface--no pun intended. :)

Robin said...

I'm guessing you haven't given up your own recipe for that one LOL... (Because if you had, you might never go back to healthy matza balls again ;-).)

Anonymous said...

i've always wondered about matza balls...they sound tasty! :) good luck with all the cooking!

josie2shoes said...

Oooh, now you've made me really hungry and I want to go try all of these!

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I agree about holiday recipes being about tradition and yumminess over healthiness. One day isn't going to undo a year of watching your diet.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I love the little at-ti-tude up front ;-).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the Apricot bar recipe.

My mom attended a Sedar,that one of her very close friends invited her too. It is all so fascinating to me.

Hope your foot is feeling better.

Shannon said...

Yummy, yummy! I am with you, holidays are for indulging in food that is not at all healthy but lovely and tasty! I want to try these for sure!

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

Robin, these are so good even to read. Call me Pavlov's dog! Which one should I make first? Maybe I should indulge and make all of them.

Anonymous said...

That yam thing sounds yummy. I think yams are sweet potatoes but I need to look that up. I lurve sweet potatoes!

Thanks for the recipe, just what I was looking for today!

Robin said...

Yes, yams are sweet potatoes. Well technically they're not, but the terms are used interchangeably in the States and refers to what is in fact a sweet potato. Real yams are apparently much longer and skinnier with whiter insides, but they're very rare outside of Africa.

mother in israel said...

By the way, you don't have to be Jewish to submit a recipe to the Kosher Cooking Carnival. For example, strictly vegetarian recipes are always kosher.

Phyllis Sommer said...

ooh yum. sounds so good...can't wait to try;-)

karengreeners said...

the coconut-apricot bars look yummy - i'm volunteering myself to make them for the seder. wish me luck!
p.s. i lived on a kibbutz for most of 1998. haven't been back since - i miss israel!