On All Other Nights…of Passover: Hol Hamoed Menus

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On All Other Nights…of Passover: Hol Hamoed Menus

Libby Barnea

The middle days of Passover are when cooking and menu planning become a challenge—when you’re not necessarily looking to impress large crowds and, more than likely, you are growing tired of simple roast chicken and potatoes. But some chefs love a challenge: One of the cookbooks I used to draft sample menus is Aviva Kanoff’s The No-Potato Passover, a challenge if ever there were one!

The recipes I have selected are more or less dinnertime fare, but more casual than what you might be expected to serve at the Seder table. And I found myself drawn to flavors that are somewhat exotic, ranging from Asian (Baby Bok Choy with Ginger & Garlic) and Provencal (Lavender Mint Roasted Chicken) to Mediterranean (Pan-Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes and Butternut Squash; Red Snapper with Warm Olives, Capers and Tomatoes) and Caribbean (Jamaican Jerk Chicken). However, for diehard Passover traditionalists I did include Cabbage Soup with Matza Meatballs, Spaghetti Squash Kugel and Matza Toffee Bar Crunch with almonds for dessert. Everything to eat for the middle days of Passover, from soup to nuts!

All recipes come from Susie Fishbein’s Kosher By Design: Cooking Coach (ArtScroll); Diane Morgan’s Roots: The Definitive Compendium (Chronicle); Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek’s Passover Made Easy: Favorite Triple-Tested Recipes (ArtScroll); and The No-Potato Passover by Aviva Kanoff (self published).

Cabbage Soup With Matza Meatballs
From The No-Potato Passover by Aviva Kanoff

1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
5 tablespoons safflower oil
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tomatoes, diced
1 large green cabbage, chopped
8 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups tomato sauce

Matza Meatballs:
1/2 cup matza meal
1/2 pound ground beef
3 eggs
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin

1. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until brown.
2. Add sugar and caramelize.
3. Add remaining soup ingredients and bring to a boil.
4. Let boil for 30 minutes and then simmer.
5. While the soup is boiling, mix all ingredients for the matza meatballs.
6. Form into balls, then add the matzo meatballs to the boiling soup. Cook for 20 minutes.

Baby Bok Choy with Garlic & Ginger
From The No-Potato Passover by Aviva Kanoff

3 heads of baby bok choy
1 teaspoon ground or fresh ginger (you can add more if desired)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons imitation soy sauce
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1. Trim greens from baby bok choy, then chop and rinse in a bowl of water.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and stir to avoid sticking, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the bok choy and soy sauce, then sauté until tender but still al dente. Remove from heat.

Parsnip Mash
From The No-Potato Passover by Aviva Kanoff.

6 medium parsnips
1 large onion, diced
6 mushrooms, diced
5 tablespoons safflower oil
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1. Boil parsnips in water until soft.
2. Sauté onions and mushrooms in oil until brown, and then set aside.
3. Strain parsnips and place in mixing bowl.
4. Mash parsnips and add butter, mushroom, and onions.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: Cheat if you must and substitute some of the parsnips with potatoes.

Spaghetti Squash Kugel
Serves 6. From Passover Made Easy: Favorite Triple-Tested Recipes by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek.

1 spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon oil
2 onions, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Wash spaghetti squash and place into a loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Raise oven heat to 400° F.
2. Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Using a fork, scrape the strands of squash into a large bowl.
3. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft, 5-7 minutes. Add onions to spaghetti squash. Add eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake until kugel is crispy on top, about 1 hour.

Pan-Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes and Butternut Squash
Serves 4 to 6. From Roots: The Definitive Compendium by Diane Morgan.

3 tablespoons neutral oil such as safflower
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, unpeeled, cut into slices 1/2-inch thick
1 butternut squash, about 1 3/4 pounds, halved lengthwise, seeded, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons imitation soy sauce
1/8 tsp Asian sesame oil (optional)
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
If you do not eat kitniyot during Passover, omit the sesame oil and sesame seeds.

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375° F.
2. In a large ovenproof sauté pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and squash and sauté, stirring frequently, until the edges are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the salt, transfer the pan to the oven, and roast the vegetables, uncovered, until fork-tender and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
3. Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat, remembering that the handle of the pan is very hot. Add the leek, maple syrup, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens to a glaze, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Garnish with the sesame seeds (optional) and serve immediately.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken
From The No-Potato Passover by Aviva Kanoff

6 jalapeño peppers, diced
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup imitation soy sauce
Juice of one lime
1 cup orange juice
1 cup white vinegar
3 pounds chicken leg quarters

1. Blend all ingredients besides chicken.
2. Marinate chicken in sauce overnight.
3. Bake chicken in the oven, covered, for 30 minutes at 400° F.
4. Remove chicken from the oven and finish cooking it on a barbeque or in the broiler, allowing the chicken to get crisp and brown. Make sure to keep the chicken moist by basting occasionally.

Lavender Mint Roasted Chicken
From The No-Potato Passover by Aviva Kanoff.

1, 3-pound whole chicken
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons mint
2 tablespoons lavender
1/4 cup white wine
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Place chicken in a large roasting tin on top of diced onions. Rub chicken with olive oil, wine, honey, spices, and herbs.
3. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Red Snapper with Warm Olives, Capers, and Tomato
Serves 6. From Kosher By Design: Cooking Coach by Susie Fishbein.

6 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets with skin, or lemon sole, skinless
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fine matza meal
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
15 Gaeta or kalamata olives, (1/3 cup) pitted, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed well, chopped
1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into ½-inch dice
8 fresh basil leaves, stemmed, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
Pine nuts, for garnish

1. Cut diagonal score marks in the skin side of the red snapper fillets. Skip this step if using lemon sole.
2. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Dust both sides with matza meal, shaking off excess.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large (12-14 inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the red snapper, skin-side-down, in a single layer; you will need to do this in batches. Cook 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip each fillet to finish on the other side. Remove to platter, cover with foil to keep warm. Cook remaining fillets.
4. Add the wine to the pan, allowing it to bubble. Add the olives, capers, tomato, basil, lemon juice, oregano, red pepper flakes, and spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Spoon this mixture over the fish. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve hot.

Matza Toffee Bar Crunch
Serves 18. From Passover Made Easy: Favorite Triple-Tested Recipes by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek.

6 sheets matza (or enough to cover baking sheet)
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
sea salt; slivered almonds, toasted (optional garnishes)

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cover with matza.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring margarine and brown sugar to a boil, stirring constantly as margarine melts. Add vanilla and boil 2-4 minutes. Pour over matza. Bake for 15 minutes.
3. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Wait 5 minutes as chocolate melts. Using a spatula, spread chocolate in an even layer. Sprinkle with optional garnish. Chill in freezer to set. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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