Back to the Kitchen: Passover meets Easter 2013

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Last night was the first night of  Passover. It is observed for eight days here in the United States.  Easter is coming up this Sunday, so I thought to offer recipes for both holidays. I am ready for Spring, but not really ready for the same old ham and dry brisket! Egg prices have gone up so make sure to utilize them in you buffet after the hunt is over. You can follow the basic deviled egg recipe or add dill, caviar, sour cream, bacon, and cheddar cheese. The choices as limitless as your imagination. The mint pesto in the lamb is a fresh twist on the stick sweet mint jelly. I have gotten marriage proposals from my brisket and told that I channel a Jewish Grandmother when making my matzo ball soup. Adding a little curry to the sweet potato latkes gives them a unique and lively kick! Everyone enjoys a really great carrot cake and if you are using a kosher dairy menu the mousse cake is heavenly! Regardless of how you celebrate the season, these are fun spring recipes that make any meal fresh and special.

(Recipes serve six)



Deviled Eggs

12 hard-boiled eggs

1/2-cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons Dijon

3 tablespoons dill pickles, minced

Splash vinegar

Pinch cayenne pepper

Pinch salt

Peel eggs and very carefully slice eggs in half trying to keep the whites in tact. Place whites on tray holes up. Drop yolks into a small mixing bowl and smooch with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix with fork until smooth. You can fill the egg whites by using a small spoon or a pastry bag. Sprinkle with paprika or chopped chives for a little color and serve or refrigerate.

Leg of Lamb with Mint Pesto

1-cup pine nuts

6 large garlic cloves

2 cups fresh mint leaves

1-cup fresh basil leaves

1/2-cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Juice of one lemon

1 5- to 6-pound leg of lamb

2 pounds baby new potatoes

12 ounces baby carrots, trimmed, peeled

Fresh mint sprigs

Finely chop pine nuts and garlic in processor. Add 2 cups mint leaves and basil and chop finely. Add oil lemon and Dijon and blend until pesto is smooth. Cut excess fat from lamb, leaving thin layer. Set lamb in large roasting pan. Make several slits in lamb with tip of small sharp knife. Reserve 1/2 cup pesto for vegetables. Spoon some pesto into each slit; rub remainder into lamb. Sprinkle lamb generously with salt and pepper. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature or cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast lamb 45 minutes. Add potatoes to pan and turn to coat in pan juices. Roast 30 minutes. Add carrots and reserved 1/2-cup pesto and turn to coat carrots and potatoes in pesto and pan juices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 140°F. for medium-rare, about 45 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes.

Carve lamb into thin slices. Arrange on plates with potatoes and carrots. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Asparagus Risotto

1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths

5 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 stick butter

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Blanch asparagus pieces in large pot of boiling, salted water 2 minutes. Drain. Rinse asparagus under cold water. Drain asparagus well. Bring chicken stock to simmer in small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep broth hot. Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir 3 minutes. Add white wine and cook until liquid evaporates. Continue cooking until rice is tender but still slightly firm in center and mixture is creamy, adding chicken stock 1 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, about 20 minutes. Add blanched asparagus pieces and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until incorporated. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper.

24-Karat Cake

2 cups sifted flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 cups sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups cooking oil

2 cups grated carrot

8 1/2-oz. crushed pineapple, drained

1 1/2 cup chopped nuts

To flour, add salt, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon. Mix. Add eggs and cooking oil and mix well. Add carrot, pineapple and nuts. Put in 9×13 greased and floured pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.


Beat the following ingredients until smooth:

1/2 cup butter

8oz cream cheese

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 pound powder sugar


12 oz. 60% chocolate

2 cups heavy or manufacturers cream

1-cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Melt chocolate in microwave for 2 minutes on defrost. Beat cream and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually stir in chocolate and vanilla. . Pour batter into 9″ spring form pan. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Remove from pan and smooth out the sides with a knife. Shave chocolate, sprinkle with berries



Matzo Ball Soup

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat or Crisco

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

14 tablespoons matzo meal

10 cups chicken stock

3 carrots, sliced

2 medium parsnips, sliced

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and chicken fat until combined. Whisk in 1/2-cup water and salt. Add matzo meal, and whisk until combined. Cover and refrigerate batter until firm, 2 to 4 hours. Line a baking pan with parchment. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large wide saucepan, and reduce heat to a simmer. Slightly dampen your fingertips, and form 2 heaping tablespoons of batter into a 1 1/2-inch ball, being careful not to compress the mixture too much. Place balls on the prepared pan. Repeat process with remaining batter. Using a large spoon, slide the matzo balls into the simmering stock. Once all the balls have been added, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips, cover, and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the matzo balls are cooked through. Garnish with fresh dill, and serve immediately.

Beef Brisket

5 pound beef brisket

6 onions cut into 1/4-inch rings

5 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 teaspoon crushed pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil

1-teaspoon thyme

1-teaspoon oregano

3 cups beef stock

Sprinkle brisket with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano. In a large heavy skillet heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Brown brisket about 5 minutes per side. Remove brisket and place in a heavy roasting pan. Add remaining oil to skillet and add onions, garlic r and crushed pepper. Sauté until golden over moderate heat stirring occasionally about 20 minutes. Stir in beef stock and bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 350. Pour onion mixture over brisket and cover with foil. Cook for 5 hours checking occasionally and adding more water or stock if necessary. Brisket should be very tender. Transfer brisket to a cutting board cover with foil and let rest. Discard fat from onion mixture and spoon into a saucepan. Add beef stock and bring to a boil. Using an emulsion blender, puree until smooth. Slice across the grain into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.

Curried Sweet Potato Latkes

2 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams

1 apple

1/4 cup half and half

1/3-cup matzo meal

3 eggs

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. curry

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/2-inch ginger

3 cloves garlic

Peanut or coconut oil

Grate sweet potatoes and apple. Remove any excess moisture. Separate the eggs. Whisk egg yellows and add one at a time, mixing well Add half and half. Add matzoth meal and baking powder. Add spices and mix well. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold into the mixture.

In a large skillet Heat oil until hot and put a large spoonful for each pancake. Cook until golden brown on one side, flip and cook until golden brown.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies.  Check out her websites and  Her Sweet and Savory Cookbook is available through AMAZON 

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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