Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brisket & Brei

I might miss a lot during Passover like  pasta, beans, rice, pizza, but there are lots of Passover goodies that stand out.  This year I made the Passover dinner for my parents & grandma.  It was a small & relaxed dinner, but just like any good Jew I made enough food for a small army.

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite vacation ever was to France and I LOVE anything French, so it is no surprise I Frenched up my brisket this year.  Schlepping my cast iron dutch oven to New Jersey to make le Daube Provençal De Boeuf Brisket as part of the dinner was worth it!  I loved the way this came out & come colder weather this well reappear on my list of fave comfort foods.  Imagine using a beautiful piece of brisket to make a beef stew.  Browning the brisket first.  Cooking the carrots, onions, & garlic with tomato paste, and then stirring in a whole bottle of bold red wine.  Nestling the brisket back into the pot below the rich wine.  Before popping the whole thing in the oven to cook for the next 3 hours add the very French flavors of thyme, bay leaves, Niçoise olives, & thinly sliced orange rind.  I made a couple of adjustments for Passover - no flour & no salt pork - but it didn't suffer for it.  The brisket was tender and flavorful.  I served it over the Passover Gnocchi, but it really over powered the delicate pillows of goodness.  They really are best left to simple sauces that let them shine.

I also made coriander ginger orange braised chicken - one of my fave chicken dishes.  Side dishes green & white roasted asparagus & stuff derma.  My chicken soup & matzoh balls came out yummy - using a recipe from an Italian Jewish cookbook making matzoh balls with olive oil & some of the chicken from the soup.  We did have to scrounge a bit to come up with enough (4) bowls for all of us... mom & dad have been packing everything away in anticipation of moving soon (hopefully).  I did away with the traditional gefilte fish and made a poached tuna in endive cups with a homemade horseradish aioli... everyone but dad liked that.

After many failed attempts as French macarons, mom & I decided to make a simple dessert of cut fruit and chocolate dip.  Grandma brought a small packaged apple kugel that was great.  Heated up in the microwave, it tasted very strudel like - only missing some of the sweet white icing drizzled over it.

It was a successful dinner, except that I am messy.  Things were going well, it seemed to stay under control while I was home by myself, but towards the end there I seemed to lose control and the kitchen turned to a mess.  Luckily since I cooked, dad did most of the clean up while mom & I took grandma home.  I forgot to mention that the bottom of my dutch oven is forever stained - he scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed.

The next morning before dad took me home I smelt my favorite Passover tradition (well besides that whole "you have to drink 4 cups of wine thru dinner" thing), Matzoh Brei.  For those not in the know, Matzoh Brei is matzoh that has been broken up, soaked in hot water till it becomes just soft enough, mixed with a beaten egg or two, & then fried in a pan.  Ok, you may be thinking, soft matzoh & egg whatever... but when it is done right it is great.  The real trick is the whole water part - not enough and it's not soft enough, too much and its soggy and gross... it is a fine line.  My dad's has always been the best & he had made a bunch for mom & me in the morning.  YUM!

How was your Passover Seder?


  1. Wow! That was some posting! Gonna read up on the rest of your blog.. looks good so far. You seem to be a really good cook!!

  2. I only tried to make macarons once. I didn't follow the instructions 100% so they didn't turn out perfect. Still made a good cookie. I recoomend making a pavlova instead (there's a recipe on my blog). They were a huge hit in the passover I attended.