Tag: jewish customs

Passover Made Easy Cookbook Review & Giveaway

There is so much I love about this cookbook that I don’t quite know where to start! So I’ll start at the beginning.

When you first set your eyes on Passover Made Easy, you’ll be struck by it’s beautiful design and styling. Rachel Adler did an impressive job laying out this cookbook with brilliant coloring, masterful layout, and gorgeous typography. I am literally blown away.

Aside from the graphics, the photographs and styling are also impeccable. As a blogger who photographs and styles her dishes, I can tell you firsthand that many, if not most, of the dishes in this cookbook are extremely difficult to photograph. And so many Pesach recipes lack eye-appeal. But not only have the dishes been masterfully plated, the authors also include many step-by-step plating guides to help you serve the dishes as beautifully as they are pictured.

Passover Made Easy is the brainchild of an unlikely pairing – Leah Schapira, the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking and co-founder of CookKosher.com, as well as Victoria Dwek, the managing editor of Whisk Magazine. Leah is Ashkenazi, with Hungarian roots, while Victoria is Sephardi, with Syrian roots. How an Ashkenazi and a Sephardi came together to write a successful Passover cookbook is nothing short of a Pesach miracle. Leah and Victoria each offer their own unique perspective, striking the perfect balance of grebroks and non-gebroks recipes. The authors guide you along page after page in a playful and friendly manner. You almost feel as if you’re hanging out with them in the kitchen. Victoria shares her recipes for Syrian Charoset, tortillas, Matzaroni and Cheese, as well as many non-grebroks dishes. Leah offers up unique and tasty dishes like Meatballs in Blueberry Sauce, Roasted Tomato & Eggplant Soup, Apple-Jam Chicken Drumettes, and so much more.

Some of the other features that I enjoyed from this cookbook are the wine pairings and building block recipes like mayo, crepes, and Passover crumbs. There is also a nifty replacement index that helps guide those who avoid using processed ingredients and peels on Pesach. While the guide is helpful, I wish there were a few more recipes suited for the more stringent among us (me included!)

While I am unable to make most of these recipes on Passover, I look forward to trying many recipes throughout the year including the Mock Techineh (for my brother who is allergic to sesame seeds!), Butternut Squash Salad with Sugar ‘n Spice Nuts, Braised Short Ribs, Jalapeno-Lime & Ginger Salmon, Stuffed Onions, Vegetable Lo Mein (for my dieting days!), Espresso Macaroons with Chocolate-Hazelnut Cream, and Truffled Grapes.

Busy In Brooklyn is giving a copy of Passover Made Easy! To enter the giveaway, you must:

1. Share you favorite Passover memory in the comments below.
2. Like Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook.

Winner will be chosen at random on Monday, March 18th, 9:00 AM.




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UnEGGSpected Egg Salad

If this week has made me realize anything, it’s that life is unexpected. When I wrote my last blog post, I never imagined that Hurricane Sandy would reach such catastrophic proportions. Even with all the warnings and precautions that were being taken, I thought they were overdoing it.

At first, the destruction and devastation didn’t sink in. I was busy with my kids, trying to keep house and home without my cleaning help and dealing with a strep-ridden toddler. Still, I couldn’t ignore the pictures, the posts and the pain all around me. The unfathomable loss and despair in the aftermath of the storm was inescapable.

As the stories of pain and loss began to emerge, I couldn’t imagine putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and writing a blog post. How could I be so trivial at such a desperate time? How could I go on blogging about recipes when people were without power, and many had lost their homes?

“Food makes people feel good,” I reasoned to myself. “It’ll take their mind off of things,” I rationalized. “I’d better dream up some real comfort food,” I challenged myself. Instead, here I am talking about eggs.

In Judaism, so much of what we do revolves around symbolism. Even the foods that we eat. On Rosh Hashanah, we dip apples in honey for a sweet new year and eat pomegranates so that our merits should be abundant like their seeds. On Chanukah we eat fried foods like donuts and latkes, reminiscent of the miracle of the oil. Purim is notorious for hamantaschen, a reminder of Haman’s 3-cornered hat. You get the idea.

What am I getting at? Well, when a Jew sits shiva, (seven days of formal mourning for the dead), it is customary to eat foods that are round like eggs, bread and lentils. They symbolize the cyclical nature of life – death and birth. On a deeper level, the circular foods are meant to impress upon the mourner that although things seem at their worst, life has it’s cycle. Just as there is loss and pain, there is also joy and happiness, and there will be again. Eggs are also eaten to symbolize that just as they are round without a “mouth”, we are also without words at a time of loss.

The unexpected horrors that occurred this week are truly beyond words. Seeing houses sink under rising flood waters, watching neighborhoods go dark without power, cars crushed under fallen trees, chaos at every gas station in town. It almost feels as if life was turned on it’s head. And yet, just like the round egg, life edges forward. We pick ourselves up, we soldier on, and we rebuild. Such is the power of the human spirit.

And so, without further adieu, I present my UnEGGSpected Egg Salad, a delicious recipe with an unEGGSpected ingredient. Make some for your family, or better yet, prepare sandwiches for a friend who is stranded without power, a relative who has lost their home, or the volunteers at your local firehouse.

If you’d like to volunteer in the relief effort for Hurricane Sandy Victims, visit the UJA site or Occupy Sandy website for opportunities. You can also donate to synagogues, Chabad houses and other organizations that are helping with the relief effort.

1 year ago: persimmon yogurt smoothie

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