Friday, February 3rd | 12 Shevat 5783

April 22, 2016 10:11 am

Making Passover Memorable and Delicious — Without Too Much Fuss

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avatar by Elizabeth Kratz /

A Passover seder. Photo:

A Passover seder. Photo: – Everyone needs crowd-pleasing recipes we can turn to over and over again. This is important for every holiday, but especially for Passover, when ingredients are usually more limited. At the heart of every Jewish celebration is family or friends gathered around the table enjoying stories, conversation, tradition, and great dishes. I believe with all of my heart that these traditions, these meals, and these remarkable memories have held us together as a Jewish people for thousands of years.

The art and creation of an inspired (and delicious) Passover meal can be challenging. For some, making the same recipes each year represents tradition, comfort, and familiarity, and for others like me, trying new recipes makes me excited to come to the table and share new tastes with others. The effort and energy one extends to prepare for family on any holiday creates a connection and the memories for one’s family that will be cherished forever.

I am motivated to inspire people to taste new dishes, to broaden their palate, or mostly to enjoy the moments they spend in the kitchen preparing for Passover. My mission is to share fantastic recipes with my readers so they can make a fresh, fabulous, and easy meals that will be loved, wow guests, and be treasured for years to come.

Here are my tips and tricks to making Passover cooking easy and delicious from my kosher cookbook, CELEBRATE.

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Whenever possible, stick to recipes that are naturally kosher for Passover. Recipes that include great natural flavor enhancers, like lemon and other citrus, fresh garlic, onion, wine, fresh and dried herbs, toasted nuts, and the freshest vegetables and fruits. Stay away from lots of matzo meal and potato starch dishes. You will feel better and look better, too.

Make lists, lots of lists. Lists like: your menu, your grocery list, the ingredients that you were able to store from last year, favorite recipes each year, guests at each meal, how much you bought, what you need to replace before next year. Keep these lists to use from year to year.

Create a menu so you can be organized and generate new lists from your menu. Always add one or two new recipes to the menu but do not make a full menu of new recipes. Trust me, you will become overwhelmed and the cooking time could become burdensome.

Make ahead anything that can be stored in the freezer, like roasts, soups, dips, some kugels, and desserts. Especially recipes that are better prepared ahead of time, like stuffed cabbage, short ribs, roasts, briskets.

A few days ahead of time, prepare recipes that can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, like salad dressings, dips, desserts, kugel, and definitely chicken soup.

Follow these freezing tips: Let cool before freezing. Cover food with heavy duty aluminum foil for the freezer. Defrost most food in the refrigerator, then move to the counter before reheating. Recipes with sauces freeze well, as do soups, and roasts. Label the items in the freezer. Reheat fried foods like schnitzel, and starchy dishes, like potato kugel, directly from the freezer into a 250°F oven. Do not defrost first, it might get soggy.

CHEAT a little! Encourage guests to bring dishes to contribute to the meal, it makes them feel like a part of the event. Or buy something that looks great and makes life a little easier. Remember, you can dress up a flourless chocolate cake with some pureed berries and whipped cream and make it look almost homemade (wink wink).

If you are joining or hosting a Passover seder that is more traditional and plan on following a hagaddah completely, remember to serve your guests and children something before you start. I recommend a few meatballs with tomato sauce on baked potatoes. This way, everyone can enjoy the experience without hunger pains.

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