Passover Snack Time!

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Annabel Cohen
Food Columnist

My favorite Passover treat is matzah brie. I make it sweet for breakfast (soak matzah in a mixture of whisked eggs and milk — 1 egg and ½ cup of milk for every matzah sheet — and fried in butter or oil with lots of cinnamon and sugar). I make it savory at night — nix the sweetness and add fresh or frozen (thawed) spinach, cottage cheese, feta cheese the mix and fry slowly in olive oil.

And you can never go wrong with cookbook author Marcy Goldman’s famous “My Trademark, Most Requested, Absolutely Magnificent Caramel Matzah Crunch” (recipe below).

Of course, there are modern snacks, such as S’mores (toast matzah Tams or small pieces of matzah in a 325℉ oven and top with a small piece of chocolate and fire-toasted Passover marshmallows).

But beside these classics, there is a whole week of eating and snacks and light meals can get pretty boring, especially when there are often so many seder leftovers that you simply cannot stuff another bite of “brisket on matzah” in your mouth.

So read on for some of my preferred go-to eats during Passover, and use these ideas as thought-starters. Riff on the basic ingredients and prepare them all week long to keep the holiday noshing fresh and original. You might even miss these delicious foods once Passover’s over.

MY TRADEMARK, MOST REQUESTED, ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT CARAMEL MATZAH CRUNCH

Matzah Crunch

Marcy Goldman’s famous recipe:
4-6 unsalted matzahhs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or unsalted Passover    margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large (or two smaller) cookie sheet completely with foil. Cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment — on top of the foil. This is very important since the mixture becomes sticky during baking.

Line the bottom of the cookie sheet evenly with the matzahs, cutting extra pieces, as required, to fit any spaces.

In a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (2 to 4 minutes). Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pour over the matzah, covering completely.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove the pan from the oven, lower the heat to 325° and replace the pan).

Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chopped chocolate or chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzah. While still warm, break into squares or odd shapes. Chill, still in the pan, in the freezer until set.

MATZAH PIZZA MARGHERITA

If you like your pizza with red sauce, use a bit (not too much) marinara sauce under the cheese.

For Two Pizzas:
2 sheets of matzah, your favorite flavor
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (or a combination of your favorite cheeses)
1-2 small plum tomatoes, sliced thin
Kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
8-12 fresh basil leaves or more to (taste)
Extra-virgin olive oil, drizzle

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place matzah on a large baking sheet. Top with cheese slices then the plum tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted (you may want to broil for a minute or so if you like the cheese browned). Top with basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot.

PASSOVER “McMUFFINS” WITH SMOKED SALMON

Muffins:
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 to 2 cups matzah meal
8 egg whites
1 large egg

Filling:
Olive oil or butter for frying eggs
6 large eggs
6 slices cheese (Cheddar or another favorite slice)
6 slices (or more) thin-sliced smoked salmon or lox

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

In a large saucepan, 1 cup water, the oil, sugar and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in one cup of matzah meal. Stir in the egg until uniform. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, stirring until the mixture is uniform.

Spoon 2 Tbsp. of mixture onto the prepare baking sheet (use the spoon to form the rolls as round as possible). Bake the rolls until puffed and golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. This will make more muffins than you need — save for another use. Split the muffins in half horizontally and toast (in a toaster or in a 350°F. oven to your liking).

Prepare the fried eggs: Warm a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil or butter (melt the butter). Swirl the pan to distribute the oil or butter.

Add the eggs: Crack one egg into a small dish and gently tip it into the skillet. Add other eggs (without crowding the pan). Cook for a few minutes without touching the eggs (the whites will start to set after a minute or two — to be sure the whites are totally set on a sunny-side-up egg, you can cover the pan halfway through cooking). You can also flip the egg over with a turner and cook for a minute on the other side. When the whites are set and the yolk is done to your liking, remove the pan from heat. Gently slide the spatula under the egg and transfer it to a plate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Working quickly, when all 6 muffins are toasted and the 6 eggs cooked, top the muffins with a slice of cheese, the egg and smoked salmon. Top the sandwich. Serve immediately (if you like you sandwich hot, microwave for 10 seconds on high).

QUINOA FARFEL GRANOLA

Eat with Greek yogurt or milk.

1 cup matzah farfel
½ cup quinoa
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 cups slivered almonds

Syrup:
¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
¼ cup syrup or honey
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon

Mix ins: Add 2 cups of your favorite ingredients — toasted coconut, dried fruits, etc.

Preheat oven to 350. Add oats, quinoa, almonds, coconut sugar and salt to a large mixing bowl — stir to combine.

To a small saucepan, add coconut oil and maple syrup. Warm over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently until the two are totally combined and there is no visible separation.

Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and stir to combine until all oats and nuts are thoroughly coated. Arrange on a large baking sheet and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove from oven and stir/toss the granola. Turn the pan around so the other end goes into the oven first (so it bakes evenly) and bake 5-10 minutes more. Watch carefully so as not to burn. You’ll know it’s done when the granola is deep golden brown and very fragrant.

Let cool completely before enjoying. Store leftovers in a sealed bag or container at room temperature for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

CHOCOLATE-CRANBERRY-ORANGE AND WALNUT NO-BAKE COOKIES

1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup very hot orange juice
¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. Fresh grated orange zest
2 cups crumbled matzah
½ cup chopped walnuts

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Place cranberries in a heat-proof bowl and add orange juice. Set aside to soak.

Combine butter and chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl and cook for 2 minutes on high. Use a tablespoon to stir until smooth. Stir in the salt and orange zest.

Drain the cranberries well and stir them into the chocolate. Stir in the matzah crumbs and walnuts.

Use a small “portion scoop” to scoop out portions of the “cookies” and place on the prepared baking sheet or spoon them onto the baking sheet (you may need to form them with your hands to make attractive cookies). Chill for 15 minutes or more. Makes 20-36 cookies, depending on size.

FLUFFY MATZAH-MEAL PANCAKES

There are numerous recipes for matzah meal pancakes. Some call for eggs that aren’t separated, some call for adding cottage cheese or any number of ingredients, such as nuts and fresh berries. Feel free to add toasted chopped nuts, blueberries or even a bit of charoset to this recipe, which produces a fluffier, less-filling pancake. Or serve as is with maple syrup or a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon.

Pesach/Passover pancakes

3 large eggs, separated
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ cup milk, water or orange Juice
¾ cup matzah meal
Vegetable oil for frying

Place egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk well. Add salt, sugar and milk or juice and whisk well. Use a spoon to stir in the matzah meal. Let the batter sit for 20 minutes before beginning the next step.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, and use a rubber spatula to fold into the matzah mixture.

Heat about ¼ of oil (or less if your skillet is small or very good nonstick) in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Make a test pancake by dropping a tablespoonful of the mixture into the hot oil, using the back of the spoon to shape into a circle. Repeat until you fill the pan. Cook until lightly browned and turn over to cook on the other side. Repeat with all the batter. Serve hot with syrup, jam, powdered sugar, or cinnamon and sugar. Makes 4 servings.

All recipes ©Annabel Cohen 2017; annabelonthemenu@gmail.com

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