“Too Good To Passover” Book-Signings and Talks

“Too Good To Passover” Cookbook
Talk, Signing and Haroset Tasting

WHEN:
Sunday, March 4
11:15 am-1 pm

WHERE:
Glen Rock Jewish Center
682 Harristown Road
Glen Rock, NJ

EVENT: 
$5 entrance fee for non-Sisterhood Members;
Food donations for the local shelter welcome.

Signed copies of my new cookbook
“Too Good To Passover:
Seder Menus & Memories from
Africa, Asia, and Europe”
will be on sale following the talk
(cash preferred;  payment by check
or Chase QuickPay also accepted)

The following 3 tastes will be served:
(KOSHER: Parve)

Moroccan Haroset
(Cinnamon Dusted Date-Raisin “Truffles”
with Walnuts, Rolled in Cinnamon

Syrian Haroset
(Apricot Spread with Pistachios,
and Orange Blossom Water)

Portuguese Haroset
(Raisin and Banana Spread with Pistachios,
Ginger, Allspice, and Sangria)

RSVP:
sisterhood@grjc.org

 

“Too Good To Passover” Cookbook
Talk & Signing

WHEN:
Sunday, March 11
2—4 pm

WHERE:
Kehila Kedosha Janina
280 Broome Street

EVENT: 
Entrance FREE!
Signed copies of my new cookbook
“Too Good To Passover:
Seder Menus & Memories from
Africa, Asia, and Europe”
will be on sale following the talk
(cash preferred; check and PayPal
also accepted)

Kosher refreshments will be served.

RSVP:
museum@kkjsm.org
516-456-9336

 

“Too Good To Passover” Sephardic Seder
Cooking Class
(Meat/NOT KOSHER)

Each student will receive a signed copy
of my new cookbook:
“Too Good To Passover:
Seder Menus & Memories
from Africa, Asia, and Europe!”

WHEN:
Monday, March 12
10 am-2:30 pm

WHERE:
ICE (the Institute of Culinary Education)
225 Liberty Street

MENU:
Syrian Haroset with Dried Apricots, Pistachios,
and Orange Blossom Water

Moroccan Haroset “Truffles” with Dates,
Raisins, and Walnuts

Iranian Chicken Soup with
Chickpea Dumplings

Moroccan Potato Pie
Stuffed with Spiced Beef

Algerian Fish Dumplings
with Tomatoes & Fresh Coriander

Moroccan Stewed Prunes with Onions,
Cinnamon, and Roasted Almonds

Persian Pistachio Cake
wtih Cardamom Syrup

Italian Macaroons with
Almonds and Pignoli Nuts

TO REGISTER:
recreational.ice.edu
800.522.4610

 

“Too Good To Passover” Cookbook
Talk, Signing and Haroset Tasting

WHEN:
Sunday, March 18
4—5:30 pm

WHERE:
SAJ (The Society for the Advancement of Judaism)
15 West 86th Street
(Between Central Park West & Columbus Avenues)

EVENT:
Entrance FREE!
(Donations welcome to support learning at
SAJ’s Makom and Pela family education programs.)
Signed copies of my new cookbook
“Too Good To Passover:
Seder Menus & Memories from
Africa, Asia, and Europe”
will be on sale following the talk
(cash preferred;  payment by check
or Chase QuickPay also accepted)

MENU: The following 3 tastes will be served:
(KOSHER STYLE: Parve/Non-dairy)

Moroccan Haroset
(Cinnamon Dusted Date-Raisin “Truffles”
with Walnuts, Rolled in Cinnamon

Syrian Haroset
(Apricot Spread with Pistachios,
and Orange Blossom Water)

Portuguese Haroset
(Raisin and Banana Spread with Pistachios,
Ginger, Allspice, and Sangria)

QUESTIONS:
thesaj.org

REGISTER:
SAJ Registration Page

 

Sephardic Vegetarian Seder
Cooking Class

(Kosher: Dairy/Vegetarian)

Signed copies of my new cookbook
“Too Good To Passover:
Seder Menus & Memories from
Africa, Asia, and Europe”
will be on sale following the talk
(cash preferred;  payment by check
or Chase QuickPay also accepted)

WHEN:
Monday, March 19th
7-9:30 pm

WHERE:
JCC Manhattan
(Jewish Community Center)
334 Amsterdam Ave @76th Street

MENU:
Greek Haroset with Black Raisins, Oranges,
Walnuts, and Apple Cider Vinegar

Turkish Matzah Spread with Feta Cheese,
Paprika, Garlic, and Mint

Italian Matzah “Lasagna” with Crushed Tomatoes,
Basil, and Pot Cheese

Sephardic Carrot Salad with Cumin,
Raisins and Saffron

Egyptian Macaroons with
Toasted Walnuts, Pecans, and Dates

TO REGISTER:
jccmanhattan.org
646. 505.5713

 

Egyptian Passover Food Demo Fundraiser
for the JDC (Jewish Joint Distribution Committee)


EVENT:
Suggested donation: $180/person
(fully tax deductible!)
—Your donation for this event will secure
your registration, while allowing the JDC to provide
lifesaving support and food for one of the poorest
Jews in the world for 8 months!

A signed copy of my new cookbook
“Too Good To Passover:
Seder Menus & Memories from
Africa, Asia, and Europe”
is included with your donation/registration!

WHEN:
Monday, March 26th
6-7:30 pm

WHERE:
JCC Manhattan
(Jewish Community Center)
334 Amsterdam Ave @76th Street
Kitchen in Lower Level 3

MENU: The following 3 tastes will be prepared
and served 
(KOSHER: Dairy/Vegetarian):

Traditional Sephardic Haroset with Dates,
Raisins, Wine, Almonds, Cinnamon and Cloves

Beignets de Fromage:
Matzah-Cheese Fritters with Honey & Silan

Walnut Ghribah:
Flourless Toasted Walnut Macaroons
with Pecans, Dates and Cinnamon

TO REGISTER:
Donate.JDC.org

TO REGISTER:
Please contact Tarang Jagota
tarang.jagota@jdc.org

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“Too Good To Passover” Cookbook Now Available!

Dear Friends,

Happy new year!

After 9 years of doing research, conducting interviews, and developing recipes, I am happy to announce that my new cookbook: Too Good To Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe is finally available!

I appreciate your support by following my blog these last few years.
Please help me to make this cookbook a success by ordering a copy on Amazon,
and spreading the word to your friends, colleagues, and family.
The more books I sell, the better ranking it will have!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

For those of you outside of the U.S. you can order my book and have it shipped directly from the local Amazon in the following countries:

CANADA
FRANCE
SPAIN
ITALY
GERMANY
U.K. & IRELAND
NETHERLANDS

I am now scheduling talks and book-signing events for the winter and early spring leading up to Passover. If any of you know any journalists I could send a review copy to, or have connections with any radio shows or TV networks for me to discuss my book, please let me know.

Thank you,

JenniferAbadi_small

Jennifer

About Too Good To Passover
Too Good To Passover is the first Passover cookbook specializing in traditional Sephardic, Judeo-Arabic, and Central Asian recipes and customs (covering both pre- and post-Passover rituals) appealing to Sephardic, Mizrahic, and Ashkenazic individuals who are interested in incorporating something traditional yet new into their Seders.

A compilation of more than 200 Passover recipes from 23 Jewish communities, this cookbook-memoir provides an anthropological as well as historical context to the ways in which the Jewish communities of North Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, and Middle East observe and enjoy this beloved ancient festival.

In addition to full Seder menus, Passover-week recipes, and at least one “break-fast” dish, each chapter opens up with the reflections of a few individuals from that region or territory. Readers can learn about the person’s memories of Passover as well as the varying customs regarding pre-Passover rituals, including cleaning the home of all hametz or “leavening,” Seder customs (such as reenacting the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt), or post-Passover celebrations, such as the Moroccan Mimouneh for marking the end of the week-long “bread fast.” These customs provide a more complete sense of the cultural variations of the holiday.

Too Good To Passover is a versatile and inspiring reference cookbook, appealing to those who may want to do a different “theme” each Passover year, with possibly a Turkish Seder one year, or Moroccan one the next.

See inside my book! Sample Spreads:

TooGoodToPassover_InteriorSpread_Iraq_1

TooGoodToPassover_InteriorSpread_Iraq_2TooGoodToPassover_InteriorSpread_Iraq_3TooGoodToPassover_JAbadi_KINDLE_cover_AFRICA_blog_outlined

The following 3 e-booklets are
also available on Amazon
:

E-BOOKLET 1: Seder Menus and Memories from AFRICA
(Pages 1-223/Chapters 1-6:
Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia)

E-BOOKLET 2: Seder Menus and Memories from ASIA
(Pages 225-473/Chapters 7-13:
Afghanistan & Bukharia, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria & Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen)

E-BOOKLET 3: Seder Menus and Memories from EUROPE
(Pages 475-665/Chapters 14-18:
Bulgaria & Moldova, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar)

Jennifer_WritingRecipe_3BW

About Jennifer Abadi
Jennifer Abadi lives in New York City and is a researcher, developer, and preserver of Sephardic and Judeo-Arabic recipes and food customs. A culinary expert in the Jewish communities of the Middle East, Mediterranean, Central Asia, and North Africa, 
Jennifer teaches cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and at the Jewish Community Center Manhattan (JCC). She also offers private lessons and works for a variety of clients in the New York City area as a personal chef. In addition, Jennifer provides Jewish food and culture tours on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Her first cookbook-memoir, A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes From Grandma Fritzie’s Kitchen is a collection of recipe and stores from her family. Her second cookbook, Too Good To Passover is her second cookbook.

Passover: The True Jewish New Year?

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
‘This month shall be for you the beginning of months;
it shall be the first month of the year for you. 1
Exodus 12:1-2

I must admit I was surprised to learn that Rosh Hashanah — meaning, “Head of the Year” in Hebrew, does not actually take place at the beginning of the Jewish year. According to the lunar based Hebrew calendar, Rosh Hashanah is a festival that occurs on the first day of the “Seventh month” of Tishrei. While Passover, which begins on the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan (some time between mid-March and mid-April on the modern Gregorian calendar) is known as the “First Month” of the year according to the Torah.

While it is not entirely clear why Rosh Hashanah has become the accepted date for celebrating the new year culturally among Jews, it is possible that it has to do with ancient agricultural cycles, and the beginning of the fall harvest. As part of the Rosh Hashanah tradition, we choose to wear clothes that are white and new, and eat autumn foods that represent abundance, health, and happiness for the coming year. Similar to Passover, many Sephardim will arrange a special Seder plate including foods that symbolize overall good luck.

The Passover holiday takes place in the spring season — a period of change and renewal. The festival represents the redemption and rebirth of the Israelite people brought out of slavery to freedom, and their arduous journey to the “Promised Land” (then known as Canaan — an area that included modern day Israel) to ultimately become the Jewish nation. During Passover, we clean our home from top to bottom, buy new clothes, and prepare foods that include new green vegetables. A special Seder plate is arranged using foods that symbolize suffering, freedom, and thanks and devotion to God.

Whether spring or fall, both holidays represent new beginnings.
And the hope for a happier, healthier, and better time to come.

Shana Tova.

1 Exodus 12:1-2. Translation from the New Annotated Oxford Bible: With the Apocrypha.
Revised Standard Edition, Oxford University Press, New York, 1973, p. 80.

Spanish-Portuguese Congregation Mikvé Israel-Emanuel of Curaçao: Winner of the best haroset in 2011

The original Mikvé Israel congregation was created in the 1650s — a community formed by Iberian Jews from Holland, whose ancestors had once fled the Inquisitions of Spain and Portugal. After merging with the Sephardic Reform Temple Emanu-El in 1964,  the synagogue became known as “Mikvé Israel-Emanuel,” and affiliated itself with the Reconstructionist stream of Judaism. The building that stands today was built in 1730 by Spanish and Portuguese Jews from the Netherlands and Brazil, and is the oldest remaining synagogue in continuous use in the Americas. The Jewish population of Curaçao today is about 300 people out of 160,000 residents.

In a recent trip to Curaçao, my friend Katie Sanders and her family visited this synagogue shortly before Passover 2017. Katie was nice enough to send me the following photos of the synagogue:

CuracaoSynagogue_8

Katie_Evie.jpg

CuracaoSynagogue_1

As explained in the synagogue’s brochure, the sand floor of the synagogue symbolizes the following three things:

  • The Sinai desert that the Israelites wandered in for forty years
    when fleeing Egypt for the Holy Land
  • The sand that the Spanish and Portuguese Jews once poured on the floors
    of their secret prayer rooms in order to muffle the sounds of their services.
    (During the Inquisitions, a Converso or “Secret Jew” could face
    life imprisonment, loss of property, and even death if discovered.)
  • God’s promise to Abraham:
    I will multiply your seed of the seashore and the stars in the heavens.
    — Genesis 13:16

CuracaoSynagogue_3

IMG_3504.JPG

For more information, please go directly to the Mikvé-Israel Emanuel Website.

©2017 Photo by Myrna Moreno, Curator at the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum in Curacao. On Seder plate: Garosa/Haroset Ball, Lamb Shank Bone, Hardboiled Egg, Matzah, Celery, Radish

The following recipe — courtesy of Myrna Moreno and the Mikvé-Israel Emanuel Sisterhood — won Berlin’s 2011 “Milk & Honey Tour” for best haroset. Combining Sephardic and Caribbean ingredients, this haroset is rolled into balls, and is the most exotic I have ever seen or tasted!

GAROSA
(Sephardic Style Haroset Balls from “The Jewish Kitchens of Curacao”)
Yield: About 5 dozen balls

½ pound pitted dates
½ pound pitted prunes
½ pound raisins
½  pound figs
¼ cup lemon or orange peel
2 pounds unsalted peanuts
½ pound unsalted cashew nuts (optional)
1 pound dark brown sugar
½ cup honey
2 to 3 tablespoons cinnamon plus extra for coating
2 jiggers kosher wine
¼ cup orange and lime juice or watermelon and tamarind juice, if available.

  1. Grind fruits and nuts.
  2. Add the sugar, honey, cinnamon, wine and juices to form a moist but firm mixture.
  3. Roll into balls (about 1” to 1-1/2” in diameter) and coat with cinnamon.NOTE: These can be made ahead, wrapped individually in wax paper and placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator or frozen.

 

 

What does your Seder Plate say about you and your politics?

Beet

The Passover story of the ancient Israelites fleeing slavery in Egypt for freedom in their homeland of Jerusalem has become a metaphor for human suffering in the modern day. As a result, the Seder has turned into a stage for political discussion about civil and human rights. In addition to the traditional bitter herbs, charoset, spring vegetable, shank bone, salt water, and egg found on the Seder plate, new symbolic foods are being added to express our individual views about gender issues, animal rights, racism, bigotry, and war. In the early 1980s, Jewish feminist and scholar Susannah Heschel stirred things up by adding an orange to her Seder plate to represent the “inclusion for lesbians, gays, and others who are marginalized by the Jewish community.”1  In 2014, Rabbi Marcus added a big tomato to her Seder plate to bring attention to underpaid/overworked workers in the agriculture/tomato-picking industry.2  To acknowledge powerful female leaders, many households now include a second cup of wine alongside the Prophet Elijah’s to remember the Prophetess Miriam who helped her brother Moses lead the Israelites out of the desert. And for vegetarians, a red beet (similar in color to blood) takes the place of the shank bone to represent the Paschal Sacrifice made the eve of the first Passover, while olives or an olive branch is used to symbolize the hope for peace in the Middle East. 

For your Seder this year, will you add something new to your Seder plate and make a statement about one of the many issues our society is struggling with today?
Please send me your ideas!

Footnotes:
1 Cohen, Tamara. “An Orange on the Seder Plate,” MyJewishLearning.com.
[Source URL (retrieved on 3/13/2017):
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/an-orange-on-the-seder-plate].

2 Lipman, Steve. “The Tomato Finds Its Place on the Seder Plate,” JewishWeek.TimesofIsrael.com, 3/27/12 [Source URL (retrieved on 3/13/17): http://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/the-tomato-finds-its-place-on-the-seder-plate].

Is the American Passover Macaroon a Descendant of the Alsatian Macaron?

Last summer I visited Colmar, a town in the northeastern region of Alsace bordering Germany, that looked like it was right out of a Disney fairly tale. Since the 17th century, Alsace moved back and forth under German and French control, and walking through Colmar I could easily see the influence of both in its architecture as well as its food. The Jewish community of Alsace is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to the 11th century, and at its peak in 1870 came to about 35,000.1 In doing a little research online, I came across a paper by the sociologist Anny Bloch-Raymond noting that the first major influx of Jews from the Alsace-Lorraine region and Germany to America was from 1820 to 1860 (with the majority settling in New York from 1830-1850  2) for economic reasons, while the later wave of immigration from 1872-1918 was because of cultural and political reasons.3

Macaroons_Alsace_4

While meandering along Colmar’s winding streets, I noticed a local bakery that sold unique Alsatian pastries. When I got close enough to take a better look, I discovered small parcel-shaped cakes called macarons that looked exactly like the Passover macaroons I had grown up with in New York!

Macaroons_Alsace_3

I eagerly purchased a variety of flavors ranging from orange, passion fruit, and rum raisin, to almond, pistachio, and chocolate. When I tasted them, the texture was similar to the American-Jewish coconut-based macaroon, but the flavor was richer (and well, better). I went back to ask the woman working in the store if these macarons had any flour in them, and she explained that while it was mostly made of dried ground coconut, or contained ground nuts (such as pistachios or almonds), there was indeed some kind of regular flour mixed in (which explained the difference in texture).

Macaroons_Alsace_1

It appears to me that the Alsatian-German macaron that I tasted in Colmar is directly related to the Jewish-American Passover macaroon, brought over by German and Alsatian Jewish immigrants who settled in New York and other northeastern cities in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The macaron (made with dried coconut and/or nuts, flour, egg whites, and sugar) likely evolved into the macaroon (made with the same ingredients, minus the flour), which made it perfect for serving during Passover when flour is avoided.

FOOTNOTES:

1 Dreyfus, Jean-Marc. “Histoire et mémoire des Juifs d’Alsace : recherches actuelles.” Seminar November -June, 2006-2007.

2 Bloch-Raymond, Anny. “Enemies abroad, Friends in the United States: Jewish Diaspora from Alsace-Lorraine vs. Jewish Diaspora From Germany, 19th century-20th century.” CNRS November 16, 17, 2002, Dickinson College, published by the Clarke Center, Contemporary Issue series, nov. 2004, p. 8.

3 Bloch-Raymond, Anny. 1995. “A la merci de courants violents, les émigrés juifs de l’Est de la France aux Etats-Unis. In Revue des sciences sociales de la France de l’Est,” (22) 110-121.

In Honor of Women’s History Month: The Ma’yan Passover Haggadah

Ma'ayanHaggadah_Outline_72dpi

©Cover Illustration by Jennifer Abadi

While doing my spring/Passover cleaning, I came across this women’s haggadah that I had once illustrated for Ma’yan, the Jewish Women’s Program at the JCC. In the mid ’90s, Ma’yan held their first annual feminist Passover Seder in New York City, which became a tradition that continued for many years. Since then feminist Seders have been held throughout the United States to call attention to the roles that Jewish women have played in our history, as well as to encourage female leadership in the future. In honor of Women’s History Month, commemorate Miriam — the sister of Moses — who helped the Israelite women while fleeing Egypt. Take a moment to reflect upon strong and positive female role models who strive to make a positive impact on women in modern society. As we approach the Passover holiday, think about what you can add to your Seder ceremony to make the Passover experience more meaningful and inclusive.

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