Passover and Easter Eats

This year Passover and Easter fall back to back.  In my house we used to celebrate both holidays which would make this a grand weekend for family feasts.  There are many traditional foods associated with each holiday to look forward to.  For Passover matzoh is a must!  A brisket or pot roast is often served.  Matzo ball soup is a classic and all time favorite!  One of my favorite Jewish cookbooks is called Mama Leah’s.  She used to have a fabulous home cooking style restaurant on the upper west side, which always hit the spot.  Jewish cooking is always about comfort and tradition.

The rule of Passover is you just don’t want to serve any leavened bread.  The story of Passover is about the exodus of Jews from slavery-and refers to there being  no time to wait for the bread to rise. Jewish households were “passed over” and first born sons were spared from demise.  This is why Passover is an important and festive  holiday for Jewish people.  The traditional Passover dinner is called a Seder.

Easter is a time to celebrate rebirth.  My family always serves lamb which is traditional and easier to make than you may think..  My favorite lamb dish is rack of lamb.  I recommend Mark Bittman‘s recipe who is the the food columnist  of the New York Times Magazine, and author of the acclaimed and classic cook book How to Cook Everything.  Another holiday recipe you might consider is my famous stuffed artichokes which would be the perfect spring vegetable to compliment this Easter feast.  How about some of Sal’s spinach stuffed phyllo dough triangles for an appetizer dipped in some sour cream.  Joanna’s vegetarian asparagus soup adds some spring time freshness to any meal.

Sally’s family serves a ham at Easter time traditionally. Scalloped potatoes Julia Child style go well with ham or lamb.

Don’t fprget Easter is all about eggs.  Simpson’s vege quiche would be a welcome Easter morning treat.

Whatever you do find the time to eat something chocolate for Easter!

Here is Mark Bittman’s recipe for rack of lamb.  Happy Easter and Happy Passover! Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 1 rack of lamb (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
  • 1 medium slice rye bread, broken into pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preparation

1. Heat the oven to 450° F. Trim the lamb of excess fat, but leave a layer of fat over the meat. Cut about halfway down the bones between the chops; this allows the meat between them to become crisp.

2. Put the oil, garlic, paprika and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a food processor and purée; add the bread and pulse a few times to make rough crumbs. Rub this mixture over the meat side of the rack and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Put it in a roasting pan and put in the oven; roast for 18 to 20 minutes and insert an instant-read meat thermometer straight in from one end into the meatiest part. If it reads 125° F or more, remove the lamb immediately. If it reads less, put the lamb back for 5 minutes, no more. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve, separating the ribs by cutting down straight through them.

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