Category Archives: Passover Week Recipes

Almodrote: Turkish Shredded Zucchini Pie with Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Yogurt

Pie_ZucchiniCheese_Amodrote_blog

During my fall trip to Roosevelt Island (see post, “Roosevelt Island: My Trip To Instanbul), I visited Jale Turcihin and she taught me how to make Amodrote, which in Izmir is (apparently) known as Frittata (sounds Ladino, no?). While it does contain cheese, in Jale’s home it was the Passover tradition to serve a variety of Amodrotes (eggplant, leek, spinach) before the main dishes came out (even if they contained meat). The combination of the Kaseri — a sheep’s milk cheese — with the yogurt gives a special tartness that to me is particularly Mediterranean (and reminds me of my own Syrian Kusa b’Jibbin (Squash Cheese Pie). In Jale’s home it was served with a small glass pitcher of a sugar syrup on the side, which when drizzled on top would give a sweet and salty taste, something one often finds in Sephardic cooking. It’s a great type of dish to learn for any meal or time of year, especially when you are looking for vegetarian options. And if the “dairy-before-meat-in-the-same-meal” custom doesn’t work for you, then save it as a dish for one of those long Passover days when you simply don’t know what else to prepare for dinner! 

Almodrote: Turkish Shredded Zucchini Pie with Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Yogurt
(Yield: Serves 8 to 10)

For Almodrote:
9 medium zucchini (don’t get them too big or they will be too watery!)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups coarsely grated Kasseri / Kasheri cheese, or other hard, sharp sheep’s milk cheese
(about 1 pound total for pie itself and topping together)

4 large eggs (should be 1 cup total), lightly beaten
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt
¾ cup matzah meal

For Baking:
1 tablespoon pure olive oil or canola oil
2 tablespoons matzah meal
½ cup grated kasseri cheese

1. Peel the outside of each zucchini lengthwise so that you create dark green and light green ½-inch stripes, about ½ inch apart (the peeled part will be light green and the dark part will be the dark green skin, about ½ inches wide).

2. Coarsely grate each zucchini by hand or in the food processor and pour into a large colander. Lightly toss with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt with your hands, place colander in a baking pan or the sink, and drain for at least two hours in order to extract excess liquid.

3. Working one handful at a time, scoop out and squeeze the zucchini even further to discard any excess liquid before placing it into a separate mixing bowl  (you should have about 6 cups of grated zucchini once liquid has been drained and squeezed). Discard all drained liquid.

4.  Add 2 cups of the grated cheese (reserving remaining ½ cup for top), eggs, yogurt, and ¾ cup of the matzah meal to the zucchini, and squeeze mixture together with your hands until soft and fully blended.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.; coat just the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan with the 1 tablespoon of oil, then sprinkle the bottom evenly with the 2 tablespoons of matzah meal.

6. Pour the zucchini-cheese mixture into the pan and spread out evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle top with the remaining ½ cup of grated cheese and place on middle rack of the pre-heated oven to bake until top become a dark brown color, about 1 hour and 15 minutes (pie should be soft but solid enough that when you gently shake pan it doesn’t appear too watery in center).

7. Remove from oven and cool about 20 to 30 minutes to set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

©Jennifer Felicia Abadi:  www.TooGoodToPassover.com / jabadi@FistfulofLentils.com

 

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What about PASSGIVUKKAH?

SweetPotatoesThe last time that Thanksgiving and Chanukah collided it was about 125 years ago, and next week Jews from all over the United States will have a chance to celebrate what has been officially coined ThanksgivUkkah.My friends Lori and Joshua Plaut have written extensively on their blog, “A Kosher Christmas” about this phenomenon, and have even become experts on the topic. Perhaps you are all thinking: “Chanukah on Thanksgiving? I’ve heard of Chanukah being early, but this is ridiculous!” This got me to thinking. What if in another century or more Passover somehow “passed over” Thanksgiving AND Chanukah? How would we cope with this holy trinity, and more importantly, what would we serve? Well I have found the perfect recipe that embodies a little bit from each holiday:
A sweet & spicy sweet potato latke with cumin, curry, and cayenne, that is served with cranberry sauce and/or apple butter! Yes! Here is how it works for all you skeptics out there:

• Fried pancake (oil and therefore fried foods, symbolic of Chanukah)
• Sweet potatoes (traditional food for Thanksgiving)

• Cranberry sauce or relish (traditional food for Thanksgiving, while sweet-and-sour flavor also
represents bitterness of slavery with sweetness of freedom in Passover)

• Apple sauce or apple butter (resembles sweetness/mortar of Charoset for Passover)
• Cayenne, curry, and cumin (the spiciness or bitterness of slavery in Passover)

SWEET POTATO CUMIN-CURRY-CAYENNE LATKES WITH CRANBERRY RELISH
(Yield: Serves 8 to 10 / Makes About 3 ½ Dozen Three-inch Latkes)

INGREDIENTS:
For Latkes:
1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
½ cup all-purpose flour or matzah cake flour
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash cayenne pepper
2½ teaspoons curry powder
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water

For Frying:
½ to ¾ cup canola, coconut, or grape seed oil (for frying)

For Serving:
Cranberry sauce or relish
Apple sauce or apple butter
Greek yogurt, Middle Eastern labne, or all-American sour cream (optional)
Ground cinnamon

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour (or matzah cake flour), sugar, baking powder, cayenne pepper, curry powder, cumin, salt and black pepper.

2. Add three eggs and water to the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter. Add the potatoes and mix
(the batter should be moist but not runny; if too stiff, add a little more water and an extra egg.)

3. Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet for about 1 to 2 minutes. Drop 1 tablespoon of the batter into the hot skillet (if the mixture does not sizzle immediately then allow the oil to get a little hotter before adding more). Continue in this manner so that you are frying 4 to 6 latkes at a time (depending upon the size of your skillet). Continue to cook over medium-high heat for several minutes until all of the latkes are a dark brown on each side. Place fried latke onto a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

4. Serve hot sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon and your choice(s) of topping on the side.

©Jennifer Felicia Abadi:  www.TooGoodToPassover.com / jabadi@FistfulofLentils.com

HAPPY PASS-GIV-UKKAH!

Bukharian Egg & Matzah Soup with Sour Golden Plums

Soup_Matzah13This recipe is adapted from the one that I learned from Amnun Kimyagarov and his wife Zoya during my trip to Rego Park in late August of 2013 (see previous post from September 15, 2013). You can also find this recipe (called, “Oshi Masozgoshak“) in Amnun’s cookbook: “Classic Central Asian (Bukharian) Jewish Cuisine and Customs.”

The original recipe uses unripe green apricots, but dried yellow or golden plums are substituted here in the U.S. The trick is to add a slight tart flavor to the soup. Dried apricots can be used if you cannot find the dried yellow or golden plums in a Russian, Eastern European, or Asian grocery store, but keep in mind that the flavor should be more tart than sweet. Zoya used imported dried Olucha which are dried yellow plums that resemble giant golden raisins. According to Amnun’s Bukharian/Russian/English dictionary this translated to “Cornelian Cherry” and looked like this (see below):

YellowPlums_DriedWhen I went looking in a Russian grocery in Queens (right after my visit with Amnun and Zoya) I couldn’t find the same dried yellow plums that they had used, so instead I got a box of something that looked similar called Uzbek Apricot Kondak, which on the container were translated as “Small Size Apricots with Pits” (photo below). The Apricot Kondak were much more sweet than the Olucha that Zoya had used but looked pretty in the soup (make sure to warn guests about the big pits!). Perhaps the next time I would try to use a more sour apricot like the California variety. After emailing Amnun about this he told me that the taste of the soup should have a slightly sour flavor, so if you cannot find the dried sour plums you should add a few tablespoons of lemon juice instead.

Apricot_Kondak1Oshi Masozgoshak
(Yield: Serves 8 to 10
/Makes about 15 cups)

For Soup:
3 tablespoons vegetable, safflower, or canola oil

2 cups coarsely chopped onions (about 1 large)

1¼ pounds veal stew, beef stew, or chicken thighs cut into ¼-inch pieces

12 cups homemade plain veal, beef, or chicken broth or water

Meat bone (can be 2 reserved bones from chicken thighs, or 1 from veal or beef)

2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 to 4 generous grindings of fresh black pepper
¾ pound carrots, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups cubed)
¾ pound white potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups cubed)
1½ cups dried golden or yellow plums, or Persian dried sour plums*
2 cups finely chopped sorrel leaves or loosely packed coriander leaves (stems discarded)

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

*If you cannot find these from an Asian, Persian, Central Asian/Russian, or Middle Eastern
specialty grocery store then substitute with dried California apricots and several tablespoons of
freshly squeezed lemon juice until you have reached desired tartness.

For Serving:
4 squares matzah, broken into 2-inch pieces

STEPS:
1. Pour oil into a large 4- to 6-quart pot or saucepan and warm over high heat for 1 minute.

Reduce to a medium-high heat and mix in onions. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until very soft
but not browned.

2. Add meat and mix well. Cook meat, stirring often, until it becomes a greyish-brown color,
about 5 minutes.

3. Pour in broth (or water), and add bone(s), salt, and pepper and bring to boil over high heat.
Reduce to a medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.

4. Add the whole dried plums or apricots, mix well, and continue to simmer an additional
15 minutes uncovered.

5. Add the carrot and potato pieces, and chopped sorrel (or coriander leaves) and mix well.
Cook 10 minutes over medium heat, just until potatoes become soft but not mushy.

6. Slowly add the beaten eggs while stirring until eggs become long strands like egg drop soup,
about 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately into individual soup bowls with
about ½ a square matzah broken up into each bowl.

©Jennifer Felicia Abadi:  www.TooGoodToPassover.com / jabadi@FistfulofLentils.com

Koula’s Greek Matzah Meal Spinach and Dill Pie

KoulaKofinas_SpinPie_BlogSeveral years ago I was invited down to a Passover demo at Kehila Kedosha Janina, a Romaniote synagogue (built in 1927 by Jews from Janina, Greece) on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. I was warmly greeted by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos (the synagogue’s museum director) who introduced me to the community. I was touched by how welcoming the members were, and through this event I gathered many contacts (who I later interviewed) for my Passover cookbook research.

Below is a recipe that was demonstrated by Koula, and adapted by me later on. It is not only delicious, but a dish that is great to serve with either a meat or dairy meal because it is parve.

Koula’s Greek Matzah Meal Spinach and Dill Pie
(Yield: Serves 6 to 8 / Makes Nine 3-Inch Squares)

For Filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1½ cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
Three 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach leaves, defrosted and well drained
½ to ¾ cup finely chopped fresh dill leaves
1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
1 to 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons matzah meal

For Dough:
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
1½ to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups matzah meal

Prepare the Filling:
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Add the chopped onions and mix well.
Cook until soft and transparent, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the defrosted spinach leaves and mix well to coat with the oil and onions. Cover with a lid and cook, over medium heat, until the spinach becomes very soft and the water has cooked off or been absorbed, about 30 minutes.

3. Throw in the chopped dill, parsley, salt, and pepper and mix well, and remove from heat.
Pour spinach mixture into a large mixing bowl and cool until slightly warm or to room temperature.

4. Mix in the beaten eggs and matzah meal. Set aside to prepare the dough.

Prepare the Dough:
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.; Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with oil.

6. In separate large mixing bowl, pour in the oil, water, and salt and mix briefly. Slowly pour in the matzah meal and mix until a soft dough is formed. Using your hands, scoop up the dough and pat into
a smooth ball. Divide dough into two even balls.

Assemble the Pie:
7. Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, flatten one ball of dough evenly along the bottom f the pan, making sure to reach all of the corners (do not press dough up along the sides).

8. Pour the spinach filling over the bottom layer of dough and spread out evenly with a butter knife
or rubber spatula.

9. To cover the filling with the remaining dough, sprinkle the dough evenly over the top like you would
a fruit crumble, then dip your palms briefly in cold water and gently press down to make the top
more compact.

10. Pierce the surface of the dough 5 or 6 times in several places with a fork or small knife to create air holes. Bake on middle rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown on top and along the sides. Cool to room temperature before cutting into 6 rectangles or 9 squares for serving. (You can also try to flip the pie completely out of the pan by placing a large square platter over the top of the pan and carefully and quickly flipping it over so that the bottom crust becomes the top.)

©Jennifer Felicia Abadi:  www.TooGoodToPassover.com / jabadi@FistfulofLentils.com

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