So there is good news and bad. Which one do you want to hear first?
Me? I always want to hear the bad news first. I need to get it over with.
So here goes. Purim 2013 is now something we can discuss in the past tense and that can only mean one thing.
The first is that we have all probably gained five pounds in the past week from tasting all those home baked treats that have mysteriously materialized on our kitchen tables. The second is that it is time to roll up our sleeves, get to work and start scrubbing dried gunk off our refrigerator shelves.
Now the good news.
While there is no way to magically deduct those extra Purim calories, not all your Pesach preparations have to involve manual labor and in fact, some of the pre-Pesach prep can actually be enjoyable. I’m talking meal planning of course, something far less stressful and labor intensive than kashering your kitchen. And while you may be scratching your head and wondering what kind of delicacies you can dream up to feed the hungry masses that perpetually pop up around your table, fear not. A dynamic duo of cooking queens has teamed up with an all new Pesach cookbook that is going to keep you smiling from ear to ear.
Passover Made Easy is what you get when you cross a cookbook author, who also happens to be the co-founder of a popular cooking website, with the managing editor of a weekly kosher food magazine. While Leah Schapira, author of the bestselling volume Fresh and Easy Kosher Cooking and co-founder of CookKosher.com and Victoria Dwek, managing editor of Whisk, published weekly by Ami Magazine, seem like an unlikely pair, the two combine their unique styles and diverse heritages and turn out a selection of recipes guaranteed to please.
It is clear from the very first page of this engaging, entertaining and informative volume that both Leah and Victoria are in touch with today’s busy women who want to serve meals that are creative, delicious and attractive yet are relatively fuss free, particularly when it comes to Pesach. In another nod to the realities of everyday life, while Passover Made Easy is a visually stunning book with recipes that just may leave you drooling, it is a soft-cover book attractively priced at $15.99 and is available both online and in stores.
“We wanted to have a book that is accessible to everyone,” Victoria told The Jewish Press. “Prices of cookbooks are often intimidating and we don’t want it to be like that.”
In fact, Passover Made Easy, which is distributed by Artscroll, is the start of a new series of lower priced cookbooks and the two are already hard at work on the next volume.
With sixty original recipes, a food and wine pairing guide, cooking tips, interesting tidbits and even a replacement index for those who observe some extra stringencies on Pesach, Passover Made is Easy is 124 pages of pure cooking goodness. (My favorite tip? Using a sealed bottle of soda as a stand in for a rolling pin. I usually use a can of cooking spray, but this works equally well.) The cookbook is broken down into six separate sections: Starters, Soups and Salads, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Brunch and Dairy and Desserts. A full color picture accompanies each recipe and plating and serving tips are interspersed throughout the book. Only four of the recipes use matzah meal, a bonus for people who don’t eat gebrokts on Pesach and for those who don’t use processed foods on Pesach, few if any are used in these recipes. Recipes for homemade mayonnaise, breadcrumbs and crepes, versatile items that can be used in many different ways, are featured prominently at the beginning of the book.
There were definitely more than a few recipes here that looked intriguing. Crispy Crackers made out of potato starch and ground almonds, with variations including paprika and basil flavored. A green salad featuring green apples, roasted butternut squash cubes, sugar and spice nuts and a shallot dressing. Russian Cole Slaw featuring not cabbage, but cucumbers. French Toast made out of a mixture of mashed bananas, eggs, sugar and potato starch which is then baked before it is dipped in eggs and fried. While I won’t be making the very intriguing Tortillas with Tomato-Mint Salsa and Guacamole because they are gebrokts, you can bet your bottom dollar that Pecan Pie with Cookie Crust is definitely going to be making on appearance on my dining room table.