Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Sonoma Passover -- Guest Post by Leslie Katz

30 Day Mediterranean Challenge

Leslie Katz is ASHA's Brand Marketing Director. She accepted our 30 Day Challenge and found herself thinking about how she would make it work during Passover. She shares her thoughts with us in this post. The recipes Leslie included sound simply delicious. 

Image from Photo by Mike Davis.
The Jewish holiday, Passover, is quickly approaching. For the past few years, the most I have celebrated Passover is by buying a box of Matzo since I am already at the grocery store, and since I am, after all, a Jew. After my children paid their dues at Hebrew school, and after I paid my dues making it through two b’nai mitzvahs, I must admit that I have become less observant. I came to this realization only recently, for I have been more observant during the first 10 days of the Sonoma diet, than I have been with the 8 days of Passover for a number of years. In fact, this is the most religious I have felt in a while. But perhaps participating in the Sonoma Diet is really just my hidden calling to pay more attention to at least one of the many Jewish holidays that I have ‘passed over’ in recent years.

It’s true that I have been dutiful throughout Wave 1 of Sonoma, the most challenging part of the diet. No processed food. No sugar. No wine to wash down the incredible intake of quinoa my body has been put through. I am now a certified chickpea chick. I tell myself Wave 2 will be a breeze, until I remember that Wave 2 and Passover coincide. Suddenly, I am concerned about whether or not I will be able to observe Passover while observing Sonoma, and to reiterate, this is not a sensation I have felt in a while.

Passover is known for its strict dietary rules about what you can and can’t eat. Surely, I think, I will have to take a break from Sonoma, if I want to observe Passover. Leavened whole wheat bread is out of the question and matzo is the staple. Legumes-beans, rice, corn, and peas-a big part of Sonoma, are prohibited during Passover.

My fears are silenced when I remember that Whole Wheat Matzo, the kind that no one buys, actually exists, which is important, because matzo sums up about almost all Passover food. And since Sephardic Jews hail from Spain and Portugal, recipes with olive oil, fresh vegetables, and fish and chicken abound. Even quinoa, my new lifeline, is kosher for Passover. And wine? There’s lots of it, especially during the Seder-4 cups.

I found lots of Mediterranean menus for the holiday featuring delicious-sounding recipes that I could make any day of the year.

My liberation from Wave One’s ten-day wine fast meets up with the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  Not quite the same triumph, but almost. I guess I’ll be keeping the Sonoma diet during Passover after all. And it just may be the most memorable, delicious eight days of Passover I’ve ever celebrated.

Roasted Chicken with Oranges, Lemons, and Ginger
Makes 4 to 6 servings

An overnight marinade in lemon and orange juices ensures every bite of this slow-roasted chicken is permeated in bright, pleasantly bitter citrusy flavor and has a downright luscious, juicy texture.

• 1 lemon
• 2 oranges
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
• 1 (5-pound) roasting chicken
• 3 tablespoons honey

Zest and juice the lemon and oranges, saving the rinds. In a small bowl, combine the zest, a few tablespoons of the juice, the ginger and salt. Rub one-third of this paste inside the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the leftover citrus rinds, and cover the bird with a heavy sprinkling of salt. Place the chicken in a covered container or zip-top bag. Add the remaining citrus juice and the honey to what's left of the paste, and pour this marinade over the chicken. Cover or seal the bag and allow to marinate in the refrigerator, overnight, turning a few times to evenly distribute the mixture.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place the chicken breast-side up in a covered Dutch oven, casserole dish or tagine. Place the marinade in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for about 1 minute, then set aside. Roast chicken, covered, for 2 to 3 hours until nearly done (155 degrees at the thigh), basting every 30 minutes with the marinade. When nearly done, remove the cover and increase the heat to 350 degrees. Continue roasting until the skin is brown and the chicken is 160 degrees at the thigh. (The sugars in the marinade might cause the tips of the wings and legs to brown too quickly. If so, cover them in foil.) Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.

-- Adapted from "Cucina Ebraica" by Joyce Goldstein (Chronicle Books, 2005)

Moroccan Roasted Carrot Salad with Chard and Parsley
Makes 8 servings

This warm salad offers a delicious interplay of sweet roasted carrots, warm spices, bright lemony dressing and grassy parsley and chard.

• 3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch chunks
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• Salt
• 1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
• 2 bunches Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
• 1 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, washed and roughly chopped
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
• 1 teaspoon honey
• Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with cumin, paprika, a generous pinch of salt and 1/4 cup of the olive oil (add more if necessary to coat the carrots well). Toss to coat. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are soft and caramelizing on the edges (about 30 minutes). Remove from the oven and place the carrots on a serving dish.

While the carrots are roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Place a large bowl of ice water in the sink. Add the chard to the boiling water and cook until tender but still bright green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chard to the ice water to stop the cooking (this step is optional, but locks in the bright green color).

Drain the chard and pile it on top of the carrots. Top with the parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic and honey. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, toss to coat, and let sit at room temperature for a few hours to allow flavors to integrate before serving.

Mediterranean Quinoa with Kalamata olives and dried apricots 
(will be a new and interesting side dish)
Serves 6

 1 ½ cup quinoa

 2 cups pareve or regular chicken stock

 4 ounces dried apricots, about 12, finely diced
 Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

 ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped (or other type)

 ½ red pepper, chopped

 3 scallions, thinly sliced

Wash the quinoa in cold water. Put the stock in a saucepan, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes. About 6 minutes into cooking, add the apricots and return the cover to the pan. Let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes after cooking. Add the olives, pepper, and scallions.

To serve, season the quinoa with salt and pepper and fluff with a fork. Serve warm or at room temperature.

-Deena Prichep

Flourless Orange-Almond Cake With Ginger 
(the dessert won’t pass the Sonoma test, but there are almonds in the recipe)
Makes 8 to 10 servings

This moist, dense, citrusy cake, adapted from several old recipes, will keep (unfrosted) for days -- perfect for getting a jump-start on a dinner party. If you're avoiding dairy, the cake is delicious with just the marmalade, or on its own. If you don't want to frost the whole cake, just serve slices with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche and a generous spoonful of marmalade on the side.

• 2 large oranges (or 3 smallish oranges)
• 2 cups almond meal
• 1/4 cup candied ginger, minced
• 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons (divided)
• 6 large eggs
• 1 cup heavy cream
• Dash vanilla extract (optional)
• 1 cup orange marmalade

Place the oranges in a pot, and cover with water by a few inches (the oranges will bob around, but that's OK). Simmer until the oranges are totally soft, about 1 hour, turning them occasionally so that all sides are simmered (this will not smell as lovely as you'd think it would). Drain, and let cool.

While the oranges are cooling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

Chop the boiled oranges into large pieces, discarding any seeds. Place the oranges, skin and all, into a food processor, and process until the oranges are finely minced. Add the almond meal, candied ginger and 1/2 cup of the sugar; process until combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and 1/2 cup of the sugar on high speed until light and thick enough to form a ribbon when the mixture falls from the beater (this can take up to 10 minutes). Gently fold in the orange mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake until a tester comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before removing the ring.

Before serving, whip the cream, vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar to medium-soft peaks. Spread the cream over the top of the cake. Stir the marmalade to loosen it up, then spread it over the cream.

-- Deena Prichep

For more ideas see: A Passover Dinner Gets a Mediterranean Makeover.

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