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Cooking with David

For Passover

Copyright © 2007 by David E. Ross

The Jewish holiday of Passover is a time for feasting. But there are limits. Any baked item leavened with yeast — or any item that can be leavened by the use of yeast — is prohibited. On the other hand, foods associated with Passover (e.g., those using matzo) are permitted year round.

Here are recipes that anyone can enjoy, even if you are not Jewish and even if it's not during the springtime holiday of Passover.


During Passover, Jews are supposed to remember when they were slaves in Egypt. Their lives were embittered, so they eat bitter herbs (e.g., radishes). But then God freed them from slavery, a sweet event. During the time of slavery, the Jews had to construct buildings with brick and mortar. Charoses is a sweet reminder of both mortar and freedom.

Traditionally made with apples, I much prefer pears. This is a recipe where measurements are not really important.

2 ripe pears
wine that is kosher (clean) for Passover
raw, unsalted almonds
2-3 TBS honey
1-2 tsp cinnamon

Put a large handful of raisins, a large handful of almonds, the cinnamon, honey, and a large splash of wine into a food processor. Process until a medium paste forms. Wine might have to be added until the right consistency results.

Peel, quarter, and core the pears. Cut them into large chunks. Add to the processor and process until a lumpy sauce forms.

Let stand for about an hour at room temperature to let the flavors blend, or refrigerate over night.

During Passover, this is served on matzo (unleavened bread). It can also be served as a relish with various meats. We actually used charoses as one of the condiments on top of curried turkey.

The flavor of the almonds can be enhanced by lightly toasting them in an oven. My wife has a digestive problem that prevents her from eating nuts; so I use almond "flour", a finely ground meal of almonds.

In any recipe that calls for raisins, I substitute a mix of dried fruits: raisins, cherries, cranberries, and blueberries.

2 April 2007

Matzo Brei (Fried Matzo)

This is a breakfast dish that substitutes for French toast during Passover.

6-8 sheets of matzo
3 eggs
olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, break the matzo into pieces about the size of a quarter or half-dollar. Pour enough water into the bowl to cover all the matzo. Immediately drain the water away. I hold the matzo with an open hand while using the other hand to tip the bowl over the sink.

Break the eggs into the matzo. With your hands, thoroughly mix the eggs into the wet matzo pieces.

Over a medium fire, fry patties of the matzo and egg mixture in olive oil until lightly browned. Turn and fry the other side of each patty.

Serves two.

If you wish to serve more than two, add more matzo proportionally. Add only enough eggs, one at a time, to make a sticky mass.

Rather than making patties, some prefer to stir the mix as it fries. This scrambled matzo brei is in the form of loose nuggets.

Today, I added a small amount of finely chopped raw onion to the mix, which my wife liked very much.

8 April 2007

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