PASSOVER FEATURE (1) Broad range of good eating despite holiday restrictions
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PASSOVER FEATURE (1) Broad range of good eating despite holiday restrictions

BAYSIDE, Wis., March 9 (JTA) — Passover commemorates the exodus of Jews from slavery in Egypt 3,000 years ago. Because of their hasty departure, they could not take the time to let their breads rise before baking. As a result, during this eight-day holiday, there are strict restrictions against foods with leavening or yeast. Legumes and grains also are not used. Matzah, matzah meal, matzah cake meal and potato starch replace the usual staples. Despite the limitations, there are plenty of ingredients available so that one can enjoy a balanced mix of traditional and contemporary dishes.

Orange Turkey Breast

1 turkey breast; if frozen, thaw, rinse and dry well
garlic powder, pepper, ground ginger to taste
1 cup orange marmalade
1 6-ounce can orange juice concentrate, thawed
6 ounces dried apricots
3/4 cup golden and dark raisins (mixed)
2 onions, sliced
3 carrots, cut diagonally
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
Sprinkle seasonings on the inside of the turkey breast. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Spread top of turkey with marmalade, and pour the orange concentrate over the turkey. Place the apricots, raisins, onions and carrots around the turkey. Add the wine to the pan. Roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours in a 350-degree oven, basting every 30 minutes. It is a good idea to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. Cook breast until it has an internal temperature of 185 degrees. If the top gets too brown before it is done, cover loosely with greased foil. Make sure that there is liquid on the bottom of the pan, adding more wine if needed. Let the turkey stand about 20 minutes before slicing. To serve, place the sliced meat over the vegetables and sauce, or serve the sauce separately. Note: A 5 1/2-pound turkey breast serves 6 to 8 people.

Vegetable Kugel

6 cups coarsely grated zucchini
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups grated carrot
3 eggs or egg substitute
1 1/2 cups matzah meal
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
vegetable oil for baking pan
sour cream or yogurt (optional)
Place the grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let stand for 15 minutes. Squeeze out all excess moisture and set aside. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute about 10 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. In a bowl, mix together zucchini, sauteed onion and grated carrot. Beat in eggs and matzah meal. Add some pepper and mix well. Oil a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan. Spoon in batter, spread and bake in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour or until firm. Cut into squares and serve with sour cream or yogurt, if desired.

Passover Pizza

1 pound matzah, broken up
salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (8 ounce) tomato paste
2 cans full of water
1 teaspoon crushed basil
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
vegetable additions as desired: sliced mushrooms, olives, red pepper, zucchini, broccoli
Soak matzah for 10 minutes in warm water. Squeeze out well. Add eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and oil. Press the mixture onto a pressed pizza pan, leaving a little edge on the sides. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Note: Crust can be baked ahead and frozen. Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add tomato paste and the water; season with basil, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes. Pour over the crust. Add vegetable options as desired and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Fudgy Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup margarine (pareve)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup matzah cake meal
1 tablespoon Passover brandy
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In a saucepan, melt chocolate and margarine over low heat. In a mixing bowl, stir together slightly cooled chocolate mixture and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, with an electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in matzah meal, brandy and salt. Stir in nuts. Pour into a greased 9-inch x 9-inch x 2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool. Cut into 16 bars.

Pear Crisp (cholesterol-free)

4 1/2 cups peeled, cored, thinly sliced pears (or other fruit)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2-4 tablespoons sugar, as desired (or sugar substitute)
1 tablespoon potato starch
dash of cinnamon (optional)

1 1/4 cups matzah meal
1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon potato starch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons melted margarine
In a bowl, combine the pears, lemon juice and rind. Combine sugar, potato starch and cinnamon, and add to the pear mixture. Spoon mixture into a non-stick sprayed 8-inch square pan. In another bowl, combine the matzah meal, sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Cut in the margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the pear mixture. Bake the pear crisp in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

Cholesterol-Free Cookies

1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 cup matzah meal
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup matzah farfel
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick vegetable spray. Place raisins and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly. In a large bowl, beat egg substitute with oil. In another bowl, combine matzah meal, sugar and cinnamon. Blend well. Combine with egg mixture. Add farfel, nuts and raisins. Place rounded teaspoons on cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 36 small cookies.

Better Than Macaroons

1 egg white
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat in sugar. Stir in almonds and cinnamon. With wet hands, form into 16 balls and place on a non-stick (vegetable) sprayed cookie sheet. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool on rack. Store in an airtight container for 1 week or in the freezer for a few months.

Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
5 large eggs, separated
dash of salt
2/3 cup sugar
whipped topping and/or raspberry sauce to garnish

Raspberry Sauce:
2 10-ounce packages frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Puree all ingredients in a blender or processor and chill.
Using a non-stick vegetable spray or butter, grease and lightly dust with potato starch a 10-inch round cake pan. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave, stirring occasionally. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, salt and all but three tablespoons of the sugar. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture. With an electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 3 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Stir 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in a 325-degree oven 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Immediately turn cake out onto a rack. As cake cools, the center will sink and crack. Serve with whipped topping and/or raspberry sauce.
__________ Naomi Arbit, a syndicated food writer, is the co-author of seven cookbooks, a former cooking instructor and a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals. She lives in Bayside, Wis.