Passover Feature: Seder Recipes Recall Joys and Sorrows of Jews in Egypt
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Passover Feature: Seder Recipes Recall Joys and Sorrows of Jews in Egypt

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The weeklong celebration of Passover begins April 3, when Jewish families around the world will take part in the seder.

Proper observance of this holiday involves a complete change in foods and in their preparation and use.

The key aspect of all Passover preparation is the removal of leavening of all kinds from the home. The ban on leavening stems from the haste with which the children of Israel fled from Egypt. They had no time to allow their dough to rise and baked it flat, eating unleavened bread in their flight.

Besides the traditional gefilte fish and matzah ball soup served at the seders, tzimmes is served as a side dish. “Tzimmes” means a fuss or excitement in Yiddish, but in Middle Eastern Jewish cooking, it means a delicious concoction of meat, vegetables and fruit. When served with a salad, spring vegetables such as asparagus, and dessert, tzimmes also is an excellent second seder entree.

Charoset is a symbolic food served at that seder and during the week of Passover. It is a mixture that symbolizes the mortar used by the Jewish slaves in Egypt.

The sweetness in it symbolizes the joy of freedom.

Charoset is made with fresh or dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, sugar and red wine. You can use any kind of fruit or nuts. Just mix everything together, season to taste and add the wine. Each person spreads some on matzah. Basic Charoset Mixture 2 apples, finely chopped 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 2 Tbsp. grated lemon rind 2 tsp. cinnamon sugar or sweetener to taste red wine (enough to bind mixture together)

If desired, add or substitute the following: chopped dates, figs, apricots, raisins, orange juice, other kinds of nuts, ground nutmeg, freshly grated ginger, honey. Makes 2-3 cups. 2 lbs. boneless, skinless turkey breasts or thighs cut into 1-inch cubes 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 lb. baby carrots or 5- 6 large carrots cut into 1-inch slices 2 cups water 2 large potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks 2-3 large yams or sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1- inch chunks 1/3 cup honey 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 8 ozs. pitted prunes

In a heavy pot over medium heat, brown turkey in oil. Drain drippings. Add carrots and water and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add potatoes, honey and cinnamon and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add prunes. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes more, until turkey is tender, stirring occasionally. Can be reheated in the oven before serving. Makes 8 servings. Kishke 1/2 cup carrots, grated 1/2 cup finely chopped celery 1 onion, grated 3 cups egg matzah, finely crushed 1/4 cup margarine, melted 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to blend. Shape mixture into 1/ 16-inch very compact roll and place on a nonstick sprayed cookie sheet. Bake in a 350-degree over for 1 hour. Cut while hot into 1/2 – to 1-inch slices.

Chocolate Torte 1 large baked sponge cake, sliced 1 lb. semisweet chocolate 6 Tbsp. sugar 6 Tbsp. water 8 eggs, separated whipped topping

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Add sugar and water. Remove from heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. In a separate bowl, beat eggs yolks.

Stir into chocolate mixture and blend well. Cool. With a clean mixer and bowl, whip egg whites until stiff. Fold into chocolate mixture. Line sides and bottom of a 9 – to 10-inch springform pan with slices of sponge cake. Pour half of chocolate mixture into pan. Add a layer of remaining sponge cake slices and top with remaining chocolate mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of springform, and frost torte with whipped topping. Makes 10-12 servings. Apricot Squares 1/2 lb. margarine or butter 1 cup sugar 1 tsp. lemon juice 2 egg yolks 2 cups matzah meal Filling: 1 lb. jar apricot preserves 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/ 2 cup chopped nuts

Cream margarine and sugar. Add lemon juice, 2 egg yolks and matzah meal. Mix into a ball. Take one-quarter of the dough, wrap in plastic and freeze. Pat remaining dough into a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan and pat dough up the sides about 1 inch. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Mix filling ingredients and while crust is hot, spread filling over dough.

Thinly grate frozen dough over filling to cover completely, working quickly. Return to over for another 30 minutes or until golden brown. Place on rack to cool. Cut into squares.

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