Recipes that focus on what you can eat rather than what you can't.
For those who feel that Passover cooking can be as restrictive as their ancestors’ enslavement in Egypt, pastry chef and author Paula Shoyer says her new book “has arrived to set you free.”
A former practicing attorney, Shoyer has appeared on the Food Network and Martha Stewart Living Radio and works as a consultant to kosher bakeries. Her latest undertaking is the just-released The New Passover Menu.
The recipes offered in the book, Shoyer says she hopes, will change that feeling. Bread, rice, corn, oats, rye, spelt, barley, legumes and pasta all fall under the category of chametz — foods that are forbidden on Passover. But rather than dwelling on prohibited items, Shoyer suggests focusing on what you can eat on Passover.
Known for her desserts, Shoyer’s book includes triple-chocolate biscotti, pistachio and strawberry roll, and meringue fruit tarts.
The New Passover Menu also features an updated Ashkenazic seder menu (with items like fresh salmon gefilte fish loaf with arugula; brisket osso bucco; and asparagus, zucchini, and leek kugel); an international seder menu (including Middle Eastern charoset, whole chicken with dried fruit stuffing, and Moroccan spiced short ribs); a Shabbat menu; a Yom Tov menu; a French dairy menu; and more desserts.
Shoyer has traveled globally and spent significant time in Switzerland and Paris, where she graduated from the Ritz Escoffier pastry program in 1996. Fittingly, her book has an international flair.
Shoyer teaches classes on French pastry-making and Jewish cooking in the Washington, D.C., area, and holds demonstrations around the world. Her goal is to make traditional Jewish desserts more contemporary, more interesting and healthier. Many of her desserts are dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan.
Below are sample recipes reprinted courtesy of Shoyer’s The New Passover Menu.
Asparagus, Zucchini and Leek Kugel
3 Tbsps. vegetable oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices
2 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 lb. asparagus (thicker stalks), trimmed, halved the long way and cut into thirds
1 medium zucchini, not peeled, shredded on the holes of a box grater (about 2 cups)
1 cup spinach leaves, stacked and sliced into 1⁄3-inch ribbons
2 scallions, cut into 1⁄4-inch thick slices
1 Tbsps. slivered fresh basil leaves
3 large eggs, beaten
1⁄4 cup matzah meal
1⁄4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375˚.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the leek and onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and asparagus and cook for another 4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the shredded zucchini, spinach and scallions. Stir to combine. Scoop into a large bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.
Add the basil, eggs, matzah meal, salt and pepper to taste to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Scoop the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, or until browned on top.
Serves 12 to 15.
Peruvian Roasted Chicken With Salsa Verde
1 large whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4 tsps. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsps. garlic powder
1⁄4 tsp. salt, plus more as needed
1⁄4 tsp. black pepper, plus more as needed
3 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, separated, not peeled
Salsa Verde Ingredients:
2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, halved (remove seeds for more a mild flavor; keep seeds for more heat)
leaves from 1 large bunch of fresh cilantro
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400˚.
Place the chicken pieces in a large roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over the chicken and rub to coat. Shake the spice mixture onto the chicken and rub all over.
Place the garlic cloves in a small bowl and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Scatter the garlic cloves and drizzle the oil over the chicken pieces. Bake,uncovered, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until well- browned and the juices run clear.
To make the salsa verde, heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or just until soft. Add the jalapeno halves, open side down, and cook for 1 minute. Turn over and cook for another 4 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the jalapenos are fork-tender.
Let cool for 20 minutes. Place the jalapeno mixture in a food processor, add the cilantro leaves, water and salt. Process until pureed and smooth. Serve the chicken on a platter and the salsa verde in a bowl alongside.
Serves 4 to 6.
Pistachio and Strawberry Roll
Strawberry Mousse Ingredients:
1 lb. strawberries, trimmed and halved
juice of 1 lemon
6 Tbsps. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. plain unflavored kosher gelatin powder
1⁄2 cup whipping cream
For the Sponge Cake:
6 large eggs, separated
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1 tst. vanilla (optional)
1⁄3 cup potato starch
1⁄2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1⁄3 cup ground pistachio nuts
2 Tbsps. confectioner’s sugar
Prepare the mousse first in order to give it time to chill. Place the strawberries in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree the strawberries completely, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula so that all the strawberry pieces are pureed.
Place the strawberry puree in a small saucepan and stir in the lemon juice and sugar. Cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts. Whisk in the gelatin, and then remove the pan from the heat. Strain the strawberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing hard to get as much strawberry puree as possible through the sieve. Cover and place in the fridge for 20 minutes, whisking twice during that time.
Whip the cream until stiff. Remove the strawberry puree from the fridge and fold in the whipped cream in four parts. Chill the mousse in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 375˚.
Trim a piece of parchment paper to fit perfectly into the bottom of a Xanadu jelly roll pan. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla, if using, and potato starch and whisk well.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until foamy. Add the lemon juice, increase the speed to high, and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold 1⁄3 of the whites into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Add this mixture to the remaining egg whites and mix on low speed until combined. Add the ground pistachio nuts and mix in gently.
Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan and use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the cake springs back when pressed gently. While the cake is baking, use a sieve to dust a clean dish towel with confectioner’s sugar.
When the cake is baked. remove it from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the cake, cover with a cooling tack, and flip the cake over onto the parchment paper. Peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake. Lift the cake with the parchment paper underneath and turn the cake over onto the sugar-dusted towel. Remove the parchment. Lift up the towel under the cake on the short side of the cake and roll the cake up tightly with the towel inside. Make sure the seam of the cake roll is on the bottom when you are done rolling; let cool for 20 minutes, or until cool to the touch.
When you are ready to assemble the cake, unroll the cake. Remove the mousse from the fridge and stir to soften. Use an offset spatula to spread the mousse all over the cake to the edges. Starting from where you rolled before, roll up the cake with the mousse inside. With the seam on the bottom, lift the roll and place on top of a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze for 5 hours or overnight.
To serve, remove the roll from the freezer and cut a thick slice off both ends and eat them. Cut the roll into 1-inch slices and plate them. Allow the slices to thaw before serving, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Serves 8 to 10.