Tag Archives: Passover

Tradition, Tradition… or Not?


We’re just days away from two major holidays, Passover and Easter.  I grew up celebrating Passover and Mark’s family celebrates Easter and together we practice our family’s traditions and have created some new ones that are now all our own.

For us, the root of our traditions centers on our love of food.  Food brings people together, it sparks conversation, and it inspires people to learn more, share more, and love more.

This year for Passover, we’ll be doing a quiet Seder at home and we’ll be hosting a spring brunch on Sunday that will feature elements of both traditions.

As I do my menu planning, I continue to debate (with myself) what to make.  The trouble with tradition, or perhaps the reason for tradition, is that so many of the “traditional” foods are no longer part of our regular diet – dishes like low and slow cooked brisket, oversized matzo ball soup, kugels, honey cakes, are once, twice, maybe three times a year specialties.   But, that is what makes them special – heavy too – but always special.

Does a departure from the traditional Ashkenazi (Eastern European) menu in favor of a Latin/Asian/Sephardic (North African) inspired meal mean I am losing my traditions?  What would Tevye say?  Or is it a fun and inspired way to add new culinary skills to a millienia old meal?

These oil laden dishes are really most worth savoring because of the stories of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents that made the same dishes in their own kitchens once upon a time.

In the end I think I will continue to slowly and very subtly make adjustments to our menu, but one thing is for sure, we’ll eat lots and lots of matzo.

If you’re invited to a Seder or just want to have a sweet Passover friendly treat try this recipe out:

For Matzo Toffee – or Matzo Crack, depends on who you ask!
4 to 5 pieces of matzo*
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Toppings, as desired
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and/or parchment paper.
  • Place the matzo in one layer on the baking sheet, breaking it when necessary to fill the pan completely. Set aside.
  • In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for an additional three minutes, still stirring, until thickened and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and pour over the matzo, spreading an even layer with a heat-proof spatula.  Be super careful, this is a great way to burn a finger or a hand.
  • Put the pan in the oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it looks like it is starting to burn, turn heat down to 325.
  • After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate over the pan. Let sit for five minutes, then spread the now-melted chocolate evenly with a spatula.
  • You can leave it just as is, enjoying the simplicity. Or add your favorite toppings while the chocolate is still melted.   I like to add dried unsweetened fruit or blanched almonds or pistachios, steer clear of the peanuts, they are not kosher for Passover.

Welcome Back!


Hopefully you’re still here, and haven’t wandered off.  The last time we spoke we were talking matzah, and soups, and brisket (and man, they were delicious!) and then Mark and I were jetting off to LAX for a week of fun and adventure.

Our Passover Table
We flew into LAX (Los Angeles) and over the course of a week we snaked up Highway 1 to San Francisco.  We stopped in 11 little towns, met up with old friends and made new friends and ate delicious food throughout.  We also took some time to enjoy the view.

Santa Barbara
I will regale you with a full review and recipes from our amazing trip, and share more daily posts on recipes, fashion, and life!

Easy Passover Desserts


Oh, did you forget tonight was Passover?  You forgot you were supposed to bring a dessert to your friend’s/coworker’s/cousin’s/mother-in-law’s house?  Oh you’re supposed to bring a dessert and you don’t have like an extra 6,000 eggs lying around, and matzah cake meal?

Do not worry.  Walk away from the bakery counter.  Matzah Toffee to the rescue!

The ingredients are simple, and because its basically sugar, butter and chocolate (and your creativity) it is hard to go wrong.  And you can get ready at the same time!

Ingredients:
5 sheets of matzah
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Cover a cookie sheet in tin foil, and lay out the matzah.  

In a medium size sauce pot, over low heat, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar.  While stirring constantly, watch for the sugar to melt into the butter.  When it starts to bubble remove from the heat.  Off the stove add the vanilla, or other extract that you might like – or none at all, and the salt, and continue to stir.

With a heat-proof spatula spread the toffee mixture on top of the matzah getting as close to all four corners as possible.  

Put the entire tray into a warm oven of 250 degrees for 10-15 minutes. (Take a shower).

Out of the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips onto the hot toffee’d matzah and then tent the entire tray with tin foil and let it sit for 15 minutes.  When tented the heat will melt the chocolate and you’re free to do other things.  (Go do your make up).
Come back to the matzah and spread the chocolate with a knife or spatula and then be creative, sprinkle with a little sea salt, some chopped pistachios or almonds, or candied ginger.

Put the tray in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or longer.  (Dry your hair). When you’re ready to go, break into candy bar sized pieces.

Enjoy with family and friends – this sweet treat is perfect as a Passover dessert, hosting gift, or a quick snack.

Happy Passover!

Passover Humor


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I’ve got Passover on the brain; I am menu planning, I am planning to clean, and I am writing/revising a Haggadah (the book that is read during the Passover meal).  Least of my worries is what to wear for Passover.

Which is why I got a good laugh when my friend forwarded me this email from Rent the Runway:
Friends, there are few guarantees in life, but of this I can be sure.  I will not be wearing the Diane Von Furstenberg Taste of Elegance Dress for my taste of matzah.  It’s a beauty but you’d probably be better off wearing it to the next J-Date “Matzah Madness” Happy Hour.

For more Passover humor, with a techie twist, please watch this, laugh, and talk amongst yourself (in the comments!).