Friday, April 21, 2006

What I Learned During Passover

Last night we celebrated the end of Passover with pizza. No more giant unsalted crackers, just wonderful, soft and tasty bread.

Jake had his soccer practice last night and it was my turn to run the car pool. Larry met me at the field so I could pick up some pizza on the way home and he would drive Jake and two of his team mates home.

Max, Rebecca and Nate were giddy over the prospect of real pizza. Matzo pizza is okay, but it is not the genuine article.

However, the excitement was not enough to keep Max awake on the ride home. When we finally pulled into the garage in the sunset’s lengthening shadows, Max was sound asleep. I tried rousing him in the car, but all I got was a sleepy form snuggled against my shoulder as I picked him out of his car seat. Once inside he awoke just enough to agree to sit at the table for dinner. But once he was seated he laid his head down and slept some more. The remaining two bounced about in anticipation of the pizza.

When I finally got them to settle down I gave them each (Max included) a slice of pizza. After a great deal of prodding I got Max to truly wake up. As he groggily surveyed his plate his first words were “Where is the matzo?” In his sleepy state he had forgotten that we were having real pizza. He was a little upset at first, but he got over it.

Any way this is what I learned the past eight days.

According to Rebecca “Matzo is stupid.”

Nate likes bringing charoset to school, but “Some of the kids at school think it looks like throw-up.”

Max found the lack of ice cream cones to be the most horrible thing in the world and caused him to say: “It makes me mad and I’m not happy with you mommy.”

Jake viewed all baked goods with a great deal of suspicion until I assured them that they really were kosher for Passover. This morning he told me that he was amazed at how much of our daily diet has some sort of chametz.

If I think the instructions for cooking the potato based pasta is wrong I should go with my instincts. The package said 10 minutes; I thought 3-5 was more probable. I cooked it for 9 minutes and got a disgusting gluey mess.

Pasta sauce can help a little with gluey messes, but not much.

We all know about me and macaroons.

Everybody likes matzo ball soup.

I make killer Passover brownies.

So on that note here is my recipe for Passover brownies. It is a modified version submitted by Judy Paschen in BETH Elegant Cooking, Temple Beth El Sisterhood Madison, WI.

1 cup shortening (Passover)*1
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp vanilla (orange or lemon juice may be used in place of vanilla)*2
¾ cup matzo cake meal
½ tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans*3

Melt shortening and chocolate. Add sugar and mix well. Add beaten eggs and vanilla, then cake meal and salt, stirring thoroughly with each addition. Remove from heat and add chopped nuts. Spread batter in a well greased 13 x 9 pan.*4 Bake at 400 for about 18 minutes. *5 Makes about 32 bars.

*1 I use butter, parve margarine would work too.
*2 All together now, 1 cup of chocolate chips.
*3 I like vanilla.
*4 I use a 9 x 9 pan. I like thick and gooey brownies.
*5 Unless I want to incinerate my much thicker brownies, 350 for 50 minutes is a much better bet.

Meryl got one yesterday and she thought it was pretty good.

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