The first thing we should before we begin preparing for Pesach is check out our regular food cabinets/pantries to see what we have that is marked Kosher for Pesach – closed cans, some drinks and chocolates. Set them aside.
As an aside thought, over the next couple of weeks, plan to use the many half-full boxes of food you find while going through the cabinets, rather then throw them out the week before Yom Tov.
When cooking early for Pesach I always start with foods that require patience and attention, which we have in short supply as Yom Tov gets closer.
Here are some examples:
3 cups blanched roasted almonds, unsalted
1 ½ cups sugar
4 egg whites
Pre-heat oven to 350°
Put all ingredients in food processor.
Drop teaspoon size batter on a greased cookie sheet bake and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.
Be careful to not over bake.
If you never made blintzes before, Pesach is a great time to try. I’ve tried to be as precise as possible; blintzes are so versatile, elegant and delicious that it’s worth putting in the effort to master the technique.
Pesach blintzes can be used in two ways, so be prepared to make a double batch. One is as noodles in the soup and the other is to fill with chicken, meat, liver or potatoes.
3 cups potato starch
3 ½ cups of water
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Mix all ingredients besides the oil with a whisk until no lumps are visible.
Heat the pan and then add a small amount of oil, which you will then spread with a paper towel. Pour a ladleful of batter in each one. Make sure the bottom of each pan is covered with batter. Rotate pan as needed to be sure the blintz is as thin as possible in the middle. As soon as one side looks dry turn the blintz. Remove it as soon as the second side dries. Have a plate ready and slide the blintz on to it.
Yields about 20-25 blintzes depending on the size of the pan.
Tips: Pesach blintzes need to be put away or eaten as soon as possible (If you leave them in the fridge overnight they will become brittle and you will not be able to roll them.)
To make noodles: Stack 10 one on top of the other, roll them up, cover well with silver foil or plastic wrap and store in the freezer. When ready to use take out, making sure there is enough time for them to defrost completely. Cut very thin slices and add to the hot clear chicken soup.
To fill: Prepare mashed potatoes; diced chicken with fried onions, salt and pepper or the filling of your choice. Place a tablespoon in each blintz and fold. Blintzes freeze beautifully.
To prepare a sauce: Boil four cups of water in a pot. Combine four tablespoons of mushroom soup mix with a ½ cup of cold water and stir well. When mixture is smooth, pour into the boiling water, mixing occasionally until it thickens.
Arrange the filled blintzes in a pan, pour the gravy over and freeze.
When you take them out of the freezer, put straight into a 350° oven for about an hour.
The problem with Pesach stuffed cabbage is that it is watery; in the chometz version the liquid in the filling is absorbed by the rice. For those who eat rice on Pesach, this is obviously not an issue. However, even watery they are delicious.
A week before you are ready to cook, place the checked cabbage in the freezer. Every head of cabbage yields about 20 stuffed pieces. Defrost the cabbage in the sink for 2 days. Using a sharp knife cut around the big stem in the middle of the cabbage. Peel off most leaves and cut off the large vain in the middle of the leaf by running a sharp knife parallel to the leaf. Set the leaves aside and prepare the filling
The ingredients here are suggestions. Feel free to mix and match other combinations. The most important ones are meat, potato flakes to absorb the liquids and tomato sauce.
2 lb. ground meat
1 cup mashed potato
1 cup cooked mashed carrots
1 cup drained fried onions
3 cloves chopped fresh garlic (optional)
1 cup mashed potato flakes
1 small can of tomato paste
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
4 tablespoons sugar
Mix all ingredients together, if batter is too wet, add more potato flakes. Put about ½ cup of meat mixture on a leaf, fold the two sides of the leaf over the filling and roll tightly. Use all the large and medium size leaves. In a large pot, place thinly sliced onions; arrange cabbage on top of onions. Make sure the cabbages are tight. You may add another row on top of the first one but not more.
Thinly slice the leftover cabbage leaves and some more onions (optional), then add to the pot. Add about 3 tablespoons sauerkraut with liquid. Add two large cans of tomato sauce and water to cover. Then add 5 tablespoons sugar and 3-4 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.
When the cabbage has cooled, arrange in an aluminum pan and cover with a layer of parchment paper and then foil.
When freezing, put the liquid into a container which can be used as a tomato soup or as a sauce for the stuffed cabbage (thicken it with some sugar and tomato paste).
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