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Passover and Other Jewish Celebrations
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:09 am    Post subject: Passover and Other Jewish Celebrations Reply with quote

Just thought a little corner of the forums for Jewish celebrations would help us learn more about the delicious-sounding foods associated with them.

Simona has mentioned coconut cookies, gefilte fish ( carp fish balls) , chicken soup of course, zimmes - glazed carrots with dried fruit and many other special treats at Passover and Lexi has written about matzo ball soup on passover, apples in honey on Rosh Hashana, Matzo Brai or Geshmirta matzo on passover.

Please, please share your recipes, stories and food favourites with us all!
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:38 pm    Post subject: passover Reply with quote

Thanks Judy por posting this topic. I wasn't really sure people would be interested in it. First, I'll satisfy my personal penchant for history, and then, on course, to the main interst: food.
Passover means literally - Pass-Over ( in Hebrew, Pesah ). It originated in the days the people of Israel was in egypt, Moses wanted them to be freed ( Let my people go..), bad Pharaon was reluctand and Moses brought the scourges on Egypt, including the death of the first born. The hebrew children were spared by death (illness), literally - the death passed-over. There was a special sign on the Hebrew's doors ( they were not yet jews, it's before Moses received from God the ten commandments), so death passed-over their homes. This sign evolved in what we call "Mezuzze" - a special sign put on each door in Jewish houses, today as well.
Now , after this introduction , I feel everybody deserves a real good chocolate cake, which though Kosher for Pesach ( no flour added) is wonderful for all seasons.
Chocolate Walnut cake Thea ( my mother's best friend-86 years old):
7 eggs, separated
200 g dark good quality chocolate
1/3 cup water
200 g butter
200 g sugar
200 g powdered walnuts
2-3 Tbls of a liqueur of your choice ( Kahlua is fine, walnut liquer too)

For the glaze:
250 g whipping cream
350 g Dark chocolate
1 spoon vegetable oil

melt the chocolate with the water ,
add softened butter, sugar, walnuts until well blended
add the liqueur and the 7 yolks, Stir well.
Whip the whiteggs until stiff.
Fold the chocolate mixture caefully until everything is well blended
Put in a Springform ( 26cm round)
Bake for 10-15 minutes on high temperature ( 220-230C)
Lower the temperature to 100C . Bake for another 50 minutes.
Let it cool outside the oven.
It will be moist in the middle ( brownie like texture)

For the Glazing: Melt cream and chocolate. Mix well to have a vevety texture. Ad the Oil ( for the shining) . Pour it over the cold cake.

I personally dont add the glazing, it's a heavy cake . I sprinkle powdered sugar. Serve it with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.
For those of our Jewish friends who don't mix meat and dairy, butter can be substituded by Margarine and whipped cream and glazing skipped, serving it instead with a sorbet or a parve chocolate syrup.

Lexi, please enlighten me, what is Geshmirte?. I understand the Iddish meaning of the word,- spreading - but what do you shmir on your Matzo? I shmir (spread) nearly everything on mine, butter and hard yellow cheese being my favourite.
Happy Passover,

No more war, more matzo ( good fluffy ones)balls!
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the history simona--and the calorie free recipe!!
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Lexi



Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:29 pm    Post subject: yummy matzo recipes... Reply with quote

Well, thanks Judy for starting this forum... it's great to pass around all our traditional Jewish recipes around this time when we are gearing up to remove our Chumetz (traces of bread or yeast products that are not allowed in the house)... For those who are unfamiliar with this Jewish holiday, depending on how observant one is, one will "sell" the chometz to a gentile for some amount of money and then kind of buy it back after passover...it sounds odd but nowadays synagogues organize for people to get rid of their chometz in a way similar to this old buy/sell tradition...also, some people use a separate kitchen/utensils just for passover so as not to contaminate the kosher for pesach food and plates....

anyway, my family is not nearly this strict and we don't go through all the rituals of using a feather to search for crumbs (an old jewish law)...but we do try to hide/lock away any chometz and do our best not to eat any chometz when we eat out or cook foods...

On pesach my family tends to stcok up on whole wheat matzos and egg matzos ( slightly sweeter and tastier than traditional cardboard tasting matzo)...and we manage to buy chocolate covered matzo too which is delish!!! But I LOOOOOOOOOOVE cheesecake with a passion and my Geshirte matzo bake is a great subsitute for that..I'll have to search a bit for the exact recipe but mor or less it is matzo that is dipped in a beaten egg mixture and you layer a feww pieces in a casserole-type dish...
Next, a mixture that is a combo of eggs, sugar, creqam cheese, vanilla extract, and possibly some sour cream ( i think?? i gues you can use cottage cheese if oyu want) is "shmeared" over the matzo layer..haha..it's actually too runny to literall "shmear" like butter...but it is poured over...
then you continue with this layering process until you reach the top of the dish and pour the last layer of cheese mixture over the top... As well, between the layers I sprinkle cinnamon and a touch of sugar and top with cinnamon sugar as well....

the whole thing is then baked in the oven until bubbly and melty and everything sort of soaks together...
then you slice it and serve!!!

it is so delish you wouldnt believe!!!!

another thing I do is make matzo brai whichc is basically french toast with matzo= egg mixture, soak strips of broken up matzo, toss in a pan with a touch of butter or (trans-fat free) marg....and then serve with syrup or cinnamon sugar on top1!!
YUM!!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simona, The cake sounds WONDERFUL!!! My husband will be 28 in a week, maybe I will have to try it out!

I love the addition of history when learning about foods, it adds more depth to what and why you make. Some of my are specialties is Indian and Sri Lankan foods and the reason I love them is the history.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never heard of whole wheat matzos. Odd. LA being so health conscious, I'd think we'd have it for sure...
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:31 pm    Post subject: passover Reply with quote

David, If you ever need a religion (??!!), this cake should be on your priority list .
Lexi, your gesmiertes sounds something I could try this coming Pesah.
Erin, thanks, I hope your husband and you will like the cake. And a very very happy birthday to your husband. 28!! My God are you young!!
So , as to continue Lexi's story, after we ged rid of the unwanted rest of flour and yeast products ( I personally am not at all religious, so we eat mazos,but bread stays in the fridge), we gather around the Seder table. That's the time we read all the Hagaddah ( story, legend) of the flight from Egypt. Because it's very long, we stop to eat in the middle and then forget to finish the story and continue with traditional songs only. But the nicest part is the search for the Aficoman. This is a piece of Matzo, well hidden somewhere for the kids to find it. The one who finds is allowed to ask for something in order to return the lost piece. Parents and grandprents argue, and the children allways win.
Now, there are as many traditions to celebrate Pesach as there are diasporas. Most of the jewish dishes known , eapecially in the US, are from Ashkenazy jewish origin, meaning from Eastern European Jewish tradition , so Lexi and me seem to have common traditional dishes.
The Sephardic jews, those originary from North Africa or Arab countries , have different tradition, very different food and a different intonation when reading the Hagaddah. No matzo balls, no gefilte fish or Matzobrei.
But a lot of wonderfully spiced meats and fish. Anybody there to enlighten us about it?

No more war.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This Jewish food and tradition is interesting for me to read. I've got no Jewish background, so it is all new for me. I do see great similarities between how you Jews are approaching food and religion with my Roman-Catholic roots. Though it appears the Jewish tradition is much more rigorous.

I think I'll let a Jewish family adopt me since I think I'd enjoy all these foods and this tradition. Very Happy
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a thought: does all of this Jewish planning and tradition add to the eating experience when it comes time to sit at table? I would think that's a part of the experience and it would all add to the food and the enjoyment.

Maybe we should all adopt some rituals -- if it makes the food more enjoyable, why not?
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Lexi



Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 10:46 pm    Post subject: religious and cultural meals Reply with quote

Well, interestingly Sarape, it's a sort of old Jewish joke that Jews always mention..wherever there are Jews there is bound to be food!!! And in most households, there's bound to be an abundance of it (I think Jewish mothers tend to overcater...but anyway...)

I think that sociologically, most cultures and religions are centred around traditional celebrations and holidays that often integrate or revolve around food or some sort of feasts...so to say that Jews only exhibit this is probably a misconception...I mean, I think of many cultures and religions and how they express their unique history and evolution through food...As far as I hear, an Indian celebration will alaways be full of an abundance of curries and rhotis and all of the women and mothers get involved in the cooking...all over the world this happens, Italians are notorious for having their "mammas" who cook to no end and pass on recipes, Greeks seem to be no different ( and Jewish "bubbies" are the equivalent ot the mamma/nonna/ whatever you call your grandmother..)
....even in Xianity, there's Easter and Xmas and both holidays focus on having some sort of fmaily feast

In terms of Judaism, the food definitely ties us all together i think...I mean, there's a joke amongst my family and our close friends regarding a teiglach recipe ( a crunchy and syrupy sweet concoction) that one grandmother refuses to share with ANYONE and she makes the teiglach every year around Rosh hashana with her daugher-in-law....
- there was aso the time my aunt made matzo balls that were SO hard that when people tried to dig into them with soup spoons, a few matzo balls practically went flying! they were ike golf balls, but everyone was still commenting with their "mmmss" and comments of " hard... um..but they taste really good!!

i could go on and on..but that's my take on it for now!!
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.... an abundance of food, overcatering.... I must have been Jewish in a previous life. Maybe even more than one.

Thanks everyone for sharing your tales and recipes, it's fantastic to learn more about your religion. We were invited to a young friend's Bat Mitzvah last year but couldn't attend as it was in Melbourne, a 9 hour drive from here.

I do hope I won't offend anyone with sharing this little anecdote from the girl's grandfather.....
He used to say that he didn't mind eating pork, so long as it was from circumcised pigs!

Please keep sharing, and one question: what is 'matzo'?
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 2:47 am    Post subject: Re: religious and cultural meals Reply with quote

Lexi wrote:
I think that sociologically, most cultures and religions are centred around traditional celebrations and holidays that often integrate or revolve around food or some sort of feasts...


Lexi-

I completely agree and that's why I originally asked for a special topic especially for holiday celebrations. I think we'd learn a lot about what makes us unique and what makes us universal.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simona- one question about that gorgeous cake recipe--it calls for 200 gms powdered walnuts--now is this an actual product or can you just whiz up 200 grams of walnuts in a food processor to a powdered consistency??
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:49 pm    Post subject: passover etc. Reply with quote

Hello david, how are you , how does Maggie develop?
About the walnuts: I usually have them finely grinded ( powdered) in the shop where I buy them, as we have many special shops specializing in the various kinds of nuts and spices. But yes, you can powder them in a food processor, but take care of not over processing them, otherwise you'll get a "walnut paste" as for in Gianduia.
Use the "pulse" button, so as to control the grinding.
Hope you'll like the cake.
Have a chocolately weekend.

No more war, more chocolate!
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the clarification and the warning. I will make this cake in a while. My first chocolate cake will be the recipe I got from Erin and am awaiting a special occasion. (maybe next weekend for the son's birthday, his wife doesn't like chocolate but she'll have to put up with it if it's hubby's birthday)

Maggie is having a ball playing with Mouse and Whisper.
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