Let’s talk about this dish. Does it taste like actual french toast? Not any more than matzah tastes like bread. Is it possible to get soft, cakey insides? Well, no, not at all. So why make it? Because. Because buttery mashed potatoes sandwiched in crunchy matzah that gets dunked in eggs, browned in butter, and then dipped in sour cream is delicious. (As long as you like potatoes and butter. Still with me?)
If you have kids old enough to help, you can make a whole assembly line out of this. One kid wets and breaks the matzahs, the next sandwiches them with the designated filling… my toddler was only allowed to watch as I made a million of these, but in a few years, I’m totally putting him on matzah french toast duty.
When you’ve had your fill of yom tov leftovers, put up a pan of matzah french toast this chol hamoed. I know I’ll be doing it.
- One year ago: Pesach 2013 post-mortem
- Two years ago: Utterly perfect potato kugel (I could eat this every day)
Note: This is more of a method than a precise recipe. If you have leftover mashed potatoes and plenty of matzah and eggs on hand, you’re all set.
- Filling of your choice (see directions for suggestions)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Sour cream, for serving
1. Make the filling of your choice. I used mashed potatoes (boil potatoes, drain, and mash with butter and salt to taste), but you could also use things like sweet potato or butternut squash puree. Mashed fillings are optimal, since they’ll do a better job of sticking to the matzah.
2. Run a sheet of matzah under running water, just enough to gently wet it. You don’t want it to be so wet that it falls apart. Break it into several smaller pieces, keeping in mind that it’s impossible to break a sheet of matzah into even squares. They’ll be rustic! It’s all good. Sandwich a spoonful or two of filling between two matzah pieces of about the same size.
3. In a shallow dish, whisk a few eggs until they’re all broken up. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. (I like to do 3 eggs as a time, adding more as needed, but if you do a ton at once and end up with extra beaten egg, you could always just make an omelet.) Place your matzah “sandwiches” in the beaten eggs and let them sit for 1 minute per side. As you transfer them to the pan (see the next step), dunk the open sides in the eggs, too.
4. Heat a nonstick skillet and melt 1 Tbsp butter. Fry the matzah sandwiches over medium-low heat until golden brown on each side, adding butter to the skillet as needed. Serve hot with sour cream or your other favorite accompaniment.
Did you enter the giveaway to win a copy of Passover: A Kosher Collection? Contest closes Monday, March 31 at midnight IST! Also, make sure to stop by during the week. I’ve got a delicious Pesach recipe and (drumroll please) my Pesach roundup for 2014!
This recipe and story first appeared in the March 24, 2014 edition of “From Tali’s Kitchen,” my cooking column in Binah magazine.
It seems like I’m seeing warnings right and left these days: whatever you do, don’t do spring cleaning! Turning mattresses, dusting bookshelves, scrubbing windows — these are the things you do to your house when motivation and good weather align. But in any frum home, there’s plenty else to be done in these early weeks of spring. And if you pile on the spring cleaning projects along with the mammoth task of banishing the chametz, well, you’re asking for it.
But what if someone else wants to spring clean your house? You’d say “please” and “thank you,” right? That’s what I tend to say. When it comes to the division of labor in our home, my husband and I split it pretty much down the line. Cooking, baking, washing dishes: me. Cleaning: him. For what it’s worth, we both think we got the better end of the bargain.
In three years, I have washed our floors exactly two times — out of necessity, because he was away — and the number of times I’ve taken the garbage out is probably less than the number of fingers on both hands. Come to think of it, he also does a lot of laundry, probably even most of it. But I feed him well, or at least I really try, and our little home train keeps chugging along.
So much of my headspace is taken up by the tasks on my daily to-do lists (which aren’t written down, though that would be a good idea). My days are made up of distinct categories: Things to Do With the Baby (park, library, activity center, friends’ houses, play at home), Things to Do for My Work (meet daily quotas, answer emails, photograph recipes), and Things to Cook (muffins or granola if the breakfast stash is running low, something super healthy for the baby if his personal freezer stash is running low, and dinner, divided into several stages of prep).
By the time the day is done, there’s simply no mental or physical energy for non-urgent tasks. Sure, it would be nice to organize the closet that houses things like the shampoo my husband found on sale and a dozen extension cords in different sizes and enough floss for the next three generations. It would be great to wipe down those shelves and get rid of the millions of steel wool particles that have floated down from the monstrous bag on top. But when will I do these things? I can tell you right now: Never.
This is where my husband comes in. His days are no less full than mine, but see if you can guess who initiated the Grand Baby Clothing Organization Project of 2013, in which all of the clothes the baby has outgrown were sorted by size, folded, packed into bags, and labeled? (At least I did the folding.) And guess which one of us notices things like the fact that the toothbrush holder is beyond salvation and needs to be replaced — and then actually replaces it?
When it comes to Pesach, though, the job is too big for one person, even my master cleaner. The first Pesach we were married, we didn’t feel the need to draw a line between spring cleaning and Pesach cleaning. We were only two people, we had only been living in our apartment for five months, and we were going away for the Seder. It seemed like the perfect time to give our home a thorough cleaning. Good call? No. Very bad call.
My husband made steady progress on the bedrooms, bathroom, and living/dining room during the time he had off from his teaching job, and when I wasn’t putting in hours at my own job, we worked together to clean, shop, and kasher. But we didn’t get to most of the heavy cleaning — the kitchen — until the day of bedikat chametz, and by the time we arrived in Yerushalayim for the Seder at my aunt and uncle’s home, we were thoroughly worn out. Since then, we’ve learned to prioritize kitchen cleaning above all.
Now, our planning begins a week after Purim, when we map out the must-do cleaning jobs and a date by which the kitchen will be turned over, a good four or five days before yom tov. My husband adds a few spring cleaning-type projects that he’d like to do if time permits, and I pencil in a slot for menu planning and grocery-list-compiling, a task that easily swallows several hours. My shopping lists are nothing if not precise, though. Last year, I determined that we needed 19 zucchinis, 23 onions, 68 eggs, and 700 grams of butter, among other non-negotiable essentials. (And yes, those were the exact numbers. I checked the files.)
Ironically, last Pesach was our easiest yet. This was despite the fact that it was our first Pesach with a baby, our first time making the Seder, and we were hosting one of my sisters-in-law for four days. It really is all about the spring cleaning — leave it out, and you have a reasonable shot at sanity. You can always scrub the windows for Shavuos.
As you make your way through your own Pesach cleaning projects, it helps to take shortcuts with the daily dinner. Make a batch of these easy calzones, and you’ll have a crowd-pleasing, satisfying meal for your family without investing much time or effort. Plus, you’ll get rid of the puff pastry dough sitting in your freezer. And you know how it goes — there’s nothing like a quick calzone to recharge you for another round of cleaning.
Yield: 4 calzones
- 1 kilo (2 lbs) puff pastry dough
- 450 g (1 lb) frozen broccoli
- 165 g (6 oz) Bulgarian or feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Sesame seeds, to sprinkle on top
- Marinara sauce, for serving
1. Defrost the puff pastry dough in the refrigerator for 8 hours/overnight or on the counter until soft enough to unroll with ease.
2. Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Cut an 8″ x 8″ square of dough for each calzone. On one half of each square, leaving a 1-inch border, spread a quarter of the broccoli, Bulgarian cheese, and mozzarella. Dot with two crushed cloves of garlic. Repeat for the remaining three calzones.
4. Stretch the unfilled half of the dough up and over the filling. Press the edges together firmly to seal, crimping them if you like.
5. Place the calzones on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden. Serve with marinara sauce on the side.
Other than someone to do all your Pesach cleaning, what would make your yom tov prep easier and more fun? If you said a new cookbook, you’ve come to the right place. (Next year I’ll have to do a giveaway for a professional cleaning team’s services, though.) Passover: A Kosher Collection is Pam Reiss’s second cookbook, and the recipes inside cover everything from appetizers to desserts. She also includes several menu plans, including four seder menus and ideas for a Pesach brunch, party, or barbecue.
Type of book
Passover: A Kosher Collection has lots of Pesach staples, like matzah brei, charoset, and Pesach rolls, but there are also tons of recipes that could just as easily be served throughout the year, such as the fish dishes, salads, and spreads. (I assume the meat recipes also fit in this category, but that’s not exactly my area, so I’ll just keep going.) Oh, and did I say anything about the dessert chapter yet? The book devotes 50 of about 200 pages to the sweet stuff.
The recipes are introduced quickly, with no more than a few short sentences, and the instructions themselves are also direct. In general, they’re easy to follow, though I prefer numbered directions to help keep my place as I cook. The ingredient lists are very clear; Pam gives measurements in several ways. For example, the vegetable moussaka lists 6 oz. onions and then tells you that’s equal to 170 grams, which you should get from 1 small onion.
There are a handful of photo pages clustered together throughout the book, sometimes one dish per page and sometimes several on the same page (and even in the same photo). The photos aren’t the glamour shots that many of us have come to expect in cookbooks, but they add color and help bring the recipes to life.
Recipes I’ve tried from this book:
Some recipes I can’t wait to try:
- Potato gnocchi with mushroom and spinach sauce
- Root vegetable chips
- Chocolate tart
Who would enjoy this book?
If you’re in your early years of making Pesach, a book like this is a real lifesaver. Of course, new recipes also come in handy for super experienced cooks, and there’s plenty here for both the traditional and modern palate. And if you won’t be home for Pesach for the next 10 years? I’m willing to bet you’ll find lots of material for year-round use.
As a vegetarian, I noticed that there are a fair number of meat recipes in the book, but there was so much else that I didn’t feel at all limited. I haven’t finished my Pesach menu quite yet, but I’ll definitely be making a couple of dishes from Passover: A Kosher Collection.
* You can buy a copy of Passover: A Kosher Collection right here on Amazon. If you buy it through a link in this post, a (very) small portion of your purchase supports More Quiche, Please. Thank you!
Win a copy of Passover: A Kosher Collection!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post that answers this question: What is one dish you’ll be cooking this Pesach? (Please note that this is not an optional entry!) ** Limit 1 entry per person. **
Bonus (optional) entry: Subscribe to More Quiche, Please and then leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you did. To subscribe, just click the link under the words “subscribe to More Quiche, Please” that can be found on the right-hand side of any page on the blog (and then follow the directions that come up on the screen). If you already subscribe, just leave a separate comment to let me know. ** Limit 1 entry per person. **
The giveaway ends at midnight IST on Monday, March 31. One winner will be chosen via random.org and notified by email. Please note that the cookbook prize can only be sent to an Israeli address.
Disclaimer: The giveaway is sponsored by Pam Reiss, but the opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
This is the second recipe I’m testing and reviewing from Pam Reiss’s Passover: A Kosher Collection (you can catch up on the first one here). Follow her at Pam’s Kitchen, and stay tuned for the giveaway later this week!
Growing up, whatever desserts we had in the house were healthy ones. There was usually soy ice cream in the freezer, organic chocolate chips in the kitchen closet, and if there was a box of cookies somewhere, they were bound to be sweetened with evaporated cane juice or something like that.
But everything changed on Pesach. Our black Pesach food shelf was always stocked with bags and bags of “normal” potato chips from the “normal” grocery, non-organic chocolate chips, and a tin or two of macaroons. I always loved those coconut guys. And guess what? Turns out they’re really simple to make yourself.
If you’re a coconut fan or if there are a few in your family, you should definitely make a batch of these chocolate macaroons for Pesach. No special technique, no special equipment, and pretty much no chance of messing them up. They’re quick, easy, sweet little coconut bites with a subtle chocolate flavor. And they totally taste like nostalgia.
Recipe at a glance:
Accessible ingredients? Yes, and all readily available for Pesach.
Multiple steps required? No. Just stir everything up, pack into balls, and bake.
Left with lots of dirty dishes? No sir.
Taste worth the effort? Definitely. Good taste, minimal effort.
Make again? Yes, I can see these happening here on Pesach.
Barely tweaked from Passover: A Kosher Collection
Yield: About 20 macaroons
- 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla or coconut extract
- 4 egg whites
1. Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the coconut, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the vanilla/coconut extract and egg whites, stirring until fully combined.
3. Taking 2-3 Tbsp of the mixture at a time, pack it together firmly with your hands and roll into balls. Place them on the prepared sheet and bake 20 minutes, or until the tops are just starting to look lightly toasted. Cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Do ahead: Pam says they’ll stay fresh up to one week; ours were finished by day three so I can’t comment further than that.
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something — anything — on Amazon through these links, a (very) small portion of your purchase helps support More, Quiche Please. Thank you!