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Archive for Passover

TIP OF THE DAY: Off-Season Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons Recipe

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroon Inside

Top: Chocolate-dipped macaroons (photo courtesy McCormick). Center: Plain coconut macaroons (photo courtesy Recchiuti Confections). Bottom: Up close (photo by Georgie Grd | Wikipedia).

 

If you like coconut, don’t wait until Passover* to make coconut macaroons. They’re a great treat year-round, and gluten-free. Bring them as house gifts: They travel well without breaking.

We adapted this recipe from one by Serena Rain of VanillaQueen.com, purveyor of top-quality vanilla beans, extracts, pastes, powders, sugars and salts.
 
RECIPE: COCONUT MACAROONS

You don’t need to add chocolate to macaroons; but if you want to, there are two options:

  • Dip the macaroons in a chocolate glaze.
  • Mix chocolate chips into the dough. This is an especially good option for warm-weather months.
  •  
    Ingredients For About 24 Cookies

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup almond meal†
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (for the dough)
  • Optional: 4 ounces quality chocolate bar (for a glaze)
  • Option: 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  •  
    Preparation

    You can incorporate the orange peel into the dough or the glaze. We like the “lift” it gives to the recipe.

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line baking pans with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well incorporated. Use a spoon to scoop tablespoon-sized mounds of the coconut “dough.” Shape into round balls and place on the parchment paper. Alternative: You can drop the dough as unshaped mounds. See the difference between the top photo (dropped) and the bottom photo (shaped).

    3. BAKE for about 20 minutes or until golden brown (aim for the color in the center photo). Let cool.

    4. MAKE the glaze. Place the chocolate in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and if necessary, heat for 30 more seconds until fully melted. Dip the bottoms of the cooled macaroons into the chocolate. Alternatively, place the cookies on a tray lined with parchment paper and drizzle the tops with chocolate; let cool until set. Some people prefer the glaze on top: a chocolate dome. Take your pick.

     
    THE HISTORY OF MACAROONS

    Macaroons appeared in the late 15th or early 16th century in Italy. The historical record isn’t clear, but they are believed to have been created by monks. There were thousands of monasteries in medieval Europe, and monks created different types of beers, brandies and liqueurs, cheeses, pretzels, sweets, wines and spirits.

    The first macaroons were almond meringue cookies similar to today’s amaretti cookies, with a crisp crust and a soft interior. They were made from egg whites and almond paste.

    Italian Jews adopted the cookie because it had no flour or leavening‡, so could be enjoyed during the eight-day observation of Passover. It was introduced to other European Jews and became popular as a year-round sweet. Over time, coconut was added to the ground almonds and, in some recipes, replaced them. Today in the U.S., coconut macaroons are the norm.

    Macaroons came to France in 1533 with the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, wife of France’s King Henri II. In France they evolved into delicate meringue cookie sandwiches filled with ganache or jam.

    Here’s more about the different types of macaroons.
     
    _____________________
    *During the week of Passover, in April, celebrants eat no leavened grains. Macaroons (all varieties) are grain free.

    †Almond meal, or almond flour, is ground from whole, blanched sweet almonds. The nuts are very low in carbohydrates and very nutritious.

    ‡Leavening is the agent that raises and lightens a baked good. Examples include yeast, baking powder and baking soda. Instead of these, macaroons (all types) are leavened with egg whites.
     
      

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    PASSOVER: Matzoh Strawberry “Shortcake” Recipe

    Matzoh Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

    Substitute matzoh for the biscuits or cake in this Passover Strawberry Shortcake recipe. Photo and recipe courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     

    In addition to Chocolate Matzoh Crunch and chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons, we’ve added anther Passover treat to our recommendations. It’s courtesy of Good Eggs in San Francisco.

    “Shortcake“ is a stretch as a substitute for biscuits or sponge cake, but this no-cook, no-bake Passover dessert is delicious and oh-so-easy to make.

    Speaking of sponge cake, our standard family Passover dessert is Strawberry Shortcake with sponge cake, strawberries and whipped cream. Since sponge cakes are not leavened with yeast, they can be eaten during Passover when made with matzoh meal instead of wheat flour.

    RECIPE: MATZOH STRAWBERRY “SHORTCAKES”

    Prep time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 boards matzoh
  • Optional garnish: mint sprigs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the strawberries and let them macerate in the orange juice, reserving one tablespoon. Mix the mascarpone with the powdered sugar, half of the zest and the reserved tablespoon of orange juice.

    2. MELT the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the matzoh and fry until crispy and golden-brown, about 1 minute on each side.

    3. ASSEMBLE the shortcakes: spread a generous layer of mascarpone on each piece of fried matzo, then top with sliced strawberries and mint. Dust powdered sugar over the top for an extra touch of sweetness!

     
      

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    BOOK: The Macaroon Bible

    the-macaroon-bible-230

    A gift for cookie lovers, gluten free observers and Passover hosts. Photo courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

     

    Before there were macarons, French meringue oookie sandwiches, there were macaroons.

    The soft, gluten-free coconut cookies are a delight year-round, but especially appreciated by Passover observers. Made of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and egg whites—without the flour or leavening that are verboten during this holiday—they happily replace other baked sweets.

    Dan Cohen of Danny’s Macaroons and author of The Macaroon Bible, is a great macaroon baker. Starting with his grandmother’s plain and chocolate dipped recipes, he’s brought macaroons into the new flavor age. You can order them online at (the cookies are made with kosher ingredients, but are not certified kosher for Passover). We’re big fans.
     
    RECIPES IN THE BOOK
    Amarena Cherry, topped with an semi-candied cherry
    Baileys McRoons Macaroons
    Bourbon Macaroons
    Black Chocolate Stout Macaroons
    Chocolate Almond Macaroons
    Chocolate Banana Nut Macaroons
    Chocolate Caramel Macaroons
    Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
    Chocolate Malted Macaroons
    Guava Macaroons
    Jamstand Surprise Macaroons (with spicy raspberry jalapeño jam)
    Maple Pecan Pie Macaroons
    Peanut Butter & Jelly Macaroons
    Plain Coconut Macaroons
    Red Velvet Macaroons
    Rice Pudding Macaroons
    Spiced Pumpkin Macaroons
    Stoopid Macaroons (coconut macaroons filled with potato chips, pretzels and Butterfinger, then drizzled with dark chocolate)

    Get the book at Amazon.com.

    And take a look at the history of macaroons and macarons.

      

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    PASSOVER: Delicious Nut Flours You Can Eat

    almond-flour-bobs2-230

    Gluten-free almond flour. Photo courtesy
    Bob’s Red Mill.

     

    Gluten free pioneer and whole grains leader, Bob’s Red Mill, offers delicious recipes for Passover using the company’s gluten-free Natural Almond Meal and Natural Coconut Flour.

    Nut flours have long been a gluten-free salvation as well as a Passover alternative, and these organic flours will also be welcomed by those looking for lower-carb or Paleo Diet alternatives.

    ALMOND MEAL/ALMOND FLOUR

    Almond meal is ground from whole, blanched sweet almonds. The nuts are also very low in carbohydrates and very nutritious. Bob’s suggests that you harness the nutrition by replacing 25% of the flour in your conventional baking recipes with almond meal. It will add wonderful texture and flavor while reducing the total carbohydrates. Here’s more information.

    COCONUT FLOUR

    Coconut flour is another delicious, healthful alternative to wheat and other grain flours. Ground from dried, defatted coconut meat, the unsweetened flour is high in fiber and low in digestible carbohydrates.

     
    The light coconut flavor blends seamlessly into sweet or savory baked goods. Use it instead of cornmeal to coat chicken, fish or other proteins. Here’s more information.

    Check out Bob’s organic nut flours, including hazelnut flour, at BobsRedMill.com. All are produced in a gluten-free facility. (Note that they are not certified kosher for Passover.)

    RECIPE: GLUTEN-FREE ALMOND PANCAKES

    Ingredients For 10 Pancakes

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (from approximately 2 medium bananas)
  • 3 eggs
  • Garnish: maple syrup, sliced bananas
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a skillet to medium heat (350°F). In a small bowl, combine almond meal, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

    2. WHISK together the mashed bananas and eggs in a separate large bowl, until thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

    3. LADLE 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake onto the preheated skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes and then flip, cooking an additional 4-5 minutes until no longer wet in the center. Serve immediately with maple syrup and sliced bananas.

     

    RECIPE: GLUTEN-FREE ALMOND CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    Ingredients For 25-30 Cookies

  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda/li>
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup voconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds*
  •  

    coconut-flour-bobsredmill-230

    Gluten-free coconut flour. Photo courtesy Bob’s Red Mill.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the almond meal, baking soda and salt and set aside.

    2. MIX the coconut oil and maple syrup in a mixer or by hand until creamy but not fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the whole egg, egg whites and extracts and mix for 2 additional minutes. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix briefly.

    3. ADD the chocolate chips and toasted almonds and mix until well combined. Place large rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Flatten slightly, to approximately 1-inch thickness. Bake until set and golden, about 15 minutes.
     
    *To toast the almonds, spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 375°F oven for 7-10 minutes, stirring at least twice during baking for even browning.

     
    DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALMOND FLOUR & ALMOND MEAL

    Ground almonds—also known as almond meal or almond flour, are commonly used in baked goods and in breading of proteins, in place of, or in addition to, bread crumbs. Sometimes “almond meal” is called for, sometimes “almond flour.” What’s the difference?

    Both consist of finely ground almonds, and there is no official difference between them. The terms are used interchangeably.

    However, be aware of these differences, depending on the manufacturer:

  • Almond flour is often much more finely ground than almond meal; the flour also has a more uniform consistency.
  • Almond meal can be blanched (skins removed) or unblanched, while most products labeled almond flour are blanched.
  •  
    For most recipes you can use either. However, some recipes, such as French macarons, require the finest almond flour to get the smoothest finish on the cookies. For breading, almond meal provides a bit more texture.
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Matzoh Crunch (Bark) For Passover

    Passover begins on the evening of Monday, April 14th and ends on the evening of Tuesday, April 22nd. During that week, observant Jews refrain from bread and other food made with leavened grain.

    Matzoh replaces conventional bread.

    Passover is the story of the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Bible relates that the Israelites left Egypt in such haste that they could not wait for their bread dough to rise; the result, when baked, was matzoh (Exodus 12:39).

    We can argue over how to spell matzoh: matza, matzah and matzo are common variations (not to mention the plural forms, beginning with matzoth). But we won’t argue about how good chocolate-covered matzoh is, turning the humble unleaved bread into a crunchy chocolate confection.

    You can buy chocolate-covered matzoh, or you can make your own. Here’s a recipe from Golden Blossom, which makes honey that is kosher for Passover.

    You can make the recipe with dark, milk or white chocolate, and with different nuts (we like pistachios).

     

    matzoh-crunch-goldenblossomhoney-230sq

    Matzoh crunch, chocolate “bark” made with crunchy matzoh. Photo courtesy Golden Blossom Honey.

     

    The recipe has a variety of names; among others, chocolate matzoh, matzoh bark, matzoh buttercrunch, matzoh cookie, matzoh crunch, matzoh toffee, and even the questionable matzoh crack.

    Here’s a second “recipe from Marcy Goldman, who calls it “matzo toffee.”

     

    chocolate-matzoh-burdick-230

    Burdick Chocolate and others dip whole
    boards of matzoh in chocolate, and scatter
    nuts, dried fruits or other ingredients on top.
    It is available from BurdickChocolate.com from
    April 7th through April 22nd, and is not
    kosher for Passover.

     

    RECIPE: HONEY ALMOND MATZOH CRUNCH
    (A.K.A. MATZO BARK)

    Active preparation time is 20 minutes; total time is 2 hours. Note that the recipe below produces “just” two boards of matzoh. The 16 pieces won’t last very long!

    Ingredients For About 16 Pieces

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 matzohs, coarsely crumbled (about 1 cup
    crumbled)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Large flake sea salt (such as Maldon), for sprinkling
  • Optional: dried cherries or cranberries, dessicated or flaked coconut
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LINE an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. If using foil, generously butter the foil (parchment paper is naturally nonstick). Set aside.

    2. COMBINE honey and butter in a 2-3 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil. Insert a candy thermometer into the bubbling mixture and continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to prevent scorching, until it is deep amber in color and measures 275°-285ºF, about 8 minutes.

    3. REMOVE from heat and add vanilla extract (be careful as it will spatter). Stir in crumbled matzo pieces, slivered almonds and optional dried cherries until evenly coated. Pour into prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer.

    4. SPRINKLE chocolate chips evenly over top of hot candy. Let sit for 5 minutes, then spread into an even layer using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool for 1 to 2 hours or until set, then cut or break into bite size pieces to serve. Store in an airtight container.

      

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    PASSOVER: Danny Macaroons

    Passover is around the corner, and macaroons are on the menu. The soft, coconut cookies are a delight year-round, but especially appreciated by Passover observers. Made of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and egg whites—without the flour or leavening that are verboten during this holiday—they happily replace other baked sweets. (They’re gluten-free, too.)

    Dan Cohen of Danny’s Macaroons and author of The Macaroon Bible, is one of the country’s—and probably the world’s—great macaroon makers. Beyond his grandmother’s plain and chocolate dipped, he’s brought macaroons into the new flavor age.

    The cookies are made with kosher ingredients, but are not kosher for Passover. Still, those who observe the spirit of the law if not the letter of it, will enjoy every bite.

    DANNY MACAROON FLAVORS

    Just take a look at these choices:

     

    the-macaroon-bible-230

    Get the book and bake your own! Photo courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

  • Amarena Cherry, topped with an semi-candied cherry
  • Baileys McRoons
  • Bourbon
  • Black Chocolate Stout
  • Chocolate Almond
  • Chocolate Banana Nut
  • Chocolate Caramel
  • Chocolate Dipped
  • Chocolate Malted
  • Guava
  • Jamstand Surprise with spicy raspberry jalapeño jam
  • Maple Pecan Pie
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Plain Coconut
  • Red Velvet
  • Rice Pudding
  • Spiced Pumpkin
  • Stoopid, coconut macaroons are filled with potato chips, pretzels and pieces of Butterfinger, then drizzled with dark chocolate (how this relates to stupid, we can’t say)
  •  
    Get yours at DannyMacaroons.com.

     

    box-danny-macaroons-southportgrocery-230

    How many flavors do we want? All of them!
    Photo courtesy Southport Grocery.

     

    THE HISTORY OF MACAROONS

    “Macaroon” means different things to different people. To some, it’s a big ball of coconut, to others, a delicate, airy meringue. Both are delicious and neither is made with flour, making them options for gluten-free observers and for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

    The first macaroons were almond meringue cookies similar to today’s Amaretti di Saronno, with a crisp crust and a soft interior. They were made from egg whites and almond paste.

    Macaroons traveled to France in 1533 with the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henri II. Two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth, seeking asylum in the town of Nancy during the French Revolution (1789-1799), paid for their housing by baking and selling the macaroon cookies, and thus became known as the “Macaroon Sisters” (the French word is macaron, pronounced mah-kah-RONE).

    Italian Jews adopted the cookie because it has no flour or leavening, the agent that raises and lightens a baked good, such as baking powder and baking soda (instead, macaroons are leavened by egg whites).

     

    The recipe was introduced to other European Jews and became popular for Passover as well as a year-round sweet.Over time, coconut was added to the ground almonds in Jewish macaroons, and, in certain recipes, completely replaced them.

    Coconut macaroons are more prevalent in the U.S. and the U.K.—and they’re a lot easier to make and transport than the fragile almond meringues that became the norm in France.

    Here’s more macaroon history.

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER: Flourless Persian Pistachio Cake

    This recipe comes via Chef Jennifer Abadi and Zabar’s. The aromatic, citrus notes of cardamom add flair to a simple cake.

    Preparation time is one hour; the cake yields eight to ten servings.

    RECIPE: FLOURLESS PERSIAN PISTACHIO CAKE
    WITH CARDAMOM SYRUP

    Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  •  
    Wet Ingredients

  • 3 extra large eggs (or 4 large eggs), lightly beaten
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup water
  •  

    flourlesss-persian-pistachio-cake-jenniferAbadi-zabars-230

    Ground nuts replace flour in cakes for Passover. Photo courtesy Zabar’s.

     
    For Decoration

  • 3 tablespoons shelled, unsalted pistachios, as decoration
  •  

    cardamom-pods-farmgirlgourmet-230

    Cardamom pods. Photo courtesy Heather
    Scholten | Farmgirl Gourmet.

      For Cardamom-Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Few pinches black pepper
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 crushed cardamom pods
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. POUR pistachios into a food processor and pulse until they become a fine meal-like consistency, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the matzoh meal and pulse together an additional minute.

    3. POUR ground pistachio mixture into a medium size bowl and combine with remaining dry ingredients.

    4. ADD the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

     

    5. POUR the batter into a greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan and sprinkle with whole pistachios. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and center of cake is soft but not wet (cake should still be fairly moist). Meanwhile, prepare the syrup.

    6. COMBINE the sugar, salt, pepper, and water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a bubbling simmer over medium heat. Add the ground cardamom and cardamom pods, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (the liquid will thicken slightly). Remove from heat.

    7. REMOVE cake from oven and cool 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve at room temperature sprinkled with the cardamom-sugar syrup.

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER RECIPE: Charoset, An Apple Chutney

    Charoset, an apple chutney that’s a
    traditional Passover dish. Photo courtesy
    BeeRaw.com.

     

    Passover, the holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Jews from bondage in ancient Egypt more than 3,300 years ago, begins this evening. One of the symbolic foods on the Passover seder plate is charoset (also spelled charoseth, charoses or haroseth), a name that comes from the Hebrew word for clay.

    Why clay? It represents the mortar that Israelites used while enslaved as builders by the Egyptians.

    A kind of apple chutney of sorts, charoset is eaten during the seder with matzoh and fresh-grated horseradish. It is delightful as an accompaniment to roasted meats at any time; we enjoy it year-round on matzoh or toast.

    This recipe, which you can whip up in 15 minutes, is courtesy of Bee Raw Honey, a purveyor of artisan honeys. They recommend their orange blossom honey in this recipe; but you can use what you have on hand.

     

    You can enjoy the charoset immediately, but ideally let it rest in the fridge for an hour or longer to allow the flavors to meld. The yield is approximately 4 cups.

    CHAROSET RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup oange blossom honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 crisp apples, roughly chopped into bite-size pieces
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Toss occasionally and watch carefully; remove the walnuts when they are fragrant. Let cool, then roughly chop.

    2. COMBINE the lemon juice, wine, honey, lemon zest, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt.

    3. MIX the apples and walnuts with the liquid mixture in a large bowl; toss to combine. Chill until ready to serve.

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER: Start New Traditions With These Recipes

    Passover begins at sunset on Monday, March 25th and continues for seven days. Observant Jews celebrate the first two nights with seders, featuring recipes that have been in their families for generations.

    But how about some 21st-century Passover recipes—if not for a seder, then for the other five days? There are more than 60 modern, creative Passover recipes in a new cookbook, Passover Made Easy. Some of the recipes that are calling out to us:

  • Brisket Eggrolls
  • Citrus Beet Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Eggplant-Wrapped Chicken
  • Espresso Macarons with Chocolate-Hazelnut Cream
  • French Roast with Fresh Spice Rub
  • Frozen Lemon Wafer Cake
  • Jalapeño Lime and Ginger Salmon
  • Pecan Pie with Cookie Crust
  • Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup
  • Schnitzel Nuggets with Apricot Dipping Sauce
  • Spaghetti Squash Kugel
  • Tortillas with Tomato-Mint Salsa and Guacamole
  • Vegetable Lo Mein
  •  

    There’s plenty of time to pick up a copy and plan for Passover. Photo courtesy Passover Made Easy.

     

    The easy to prepare, sure to please original recipes were developed and tested by best-selling cookbook author Leah Schapira (Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking) and co-founder of CookKosher.com, an online kosher recipe exchange; with Victoria Dwek, managing editor of Whisk, a kosher food magazine.

    Pick up a copy for yourself or as a gift: it’s just $10.87 on Amazon.com. There are fascinating culinary tidbits, useful preparation tips, full-color photos for each dish, step-by-step plating and food styling secrets, and a wine pairings and Seder wine guide.

    As a bonus, all but four of the 60 recipes in the book are gluten-free. And of course, the recipes can be enjoyed all year long. Here’s one recipes from Passover Made Easy to start you off; next week, we’ll publish Matzaroni, the mac-and-cheese alternative:

     

    Eggplant-wrapped chicken, one of the
    modern recipe alternatives. Photo courtesy
    Passover Made Easy.

     

    RECIPE: EGGPLANT WRAPPED CHICKEN

    Ingredients

    Eggplant

  • 1 tall eggplant
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch coarse black pepper
  •  
    Meat Mixture

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ pound ground meat of choice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  •  
    Chiken

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch course black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to broil. Grease a baking sheet. Cut eggplant lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick, to get 6 or 7 slices. Reserve remaining eggplant scraps. Place eggplant slices on prepared baking sheet. Brush slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 5 minutes per side, until second side is beginning to brown. The slices should appear as if they were fried. Remove and set aside.

    2. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Peel and finely dice remaining eggplant to obtain ½ cup diced eggplant. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and diced eggplant and sauté until soft, about 5-7 minutes.

    3. COMBINE onion mixture with ground meat in a small bowl. Season with salt and garlic powder.

    4. SEASON chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture into each thigh and roll up to close. Roll an eggplant slice around each stuffed chicken thigh. Place, seam side down and close together, in a baking pan. Cover and bake for 2½ hours.

    Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite Passover-approved grain,* and your favorite green vegetable, steamed or sauteed lightly with garlic.

    *Grains forbidden during passover include barley and all types of wheat. Grains such as quinoa and rice were not known during biblical times so are not forbidden. Extremely religious people will avoid any grain.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE GIFT: Danny Macaroons

    Danny’s Macaroons update the classic
    coconut macaroon to 21st century flavors.
    Photo courtesy Danny Macaroons.

     

    We grew up loving Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars, but as our palate for better chocolate grew, we switched to chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons made by artisan bakers. Ah, sweet addiction!

    A brief history of macaroons: Coconut macaroons exist mostly because of Passover, the Jewish holiday that proscribes leavened baked goods, among other foods.

    The original macaroons were almond meringue cookies similar to today’s amaretti, with a crisp crust and a soft interior, made from egg whites and almond paste. While details are unclear, some historians believe they were first made by Italian monks in the late 15th century.

    Benedictine nuns brought the recipe to France in 1533, where the baked treat later evolved into the ganache-filled sandwich cookies—macarons—that we know and love today.

    Meanwhile, back in Italy, Jews adopted the cookie because it had no flour or leavening and could be enjoyed during the eight-day observation of Passover. The recipe was introduced to other European Jews and became popular as a year-round sweet. Over time, coconut was added to the ground almonds and, in certain recipes, replaced them.

     

    Coconut macaroons have remained popular in the U.S. and the U.K., where they appear on cookie platters year-round. Here’s the full history of macaroons and macarons.

    Dan Cohen, the founder of Danny Macaroons, learned his craft 10 years ago, baking macaroons for Passover and tweaking his recipe over time. Unlike commercial varieties, the centers of Danny Macaroons are soft and moist, while the exteriors are appropriately crisp.

    Following the flavor zeitgeist, Danny developed 45 different flavors, which are available in rotation. Currently on the menu: plain macaroons plus Black Chocolate Stout, Baileys McRoons, Bourbon, Chocolate Almond, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Dipped, Guava, Maple Pecan Pie, Red Velvet and Salted Caramel.

    Buy them online at DannyMacaroons.com. The macaroons cost from $12 to $18 per half dozen, depending on flavor.

    Are they an appropriate Valentine gift? Absolutely!

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COOKIES AND COOKIE RECIPES.

      

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