Book Review by Norene Gilletz
Excerpted from The Canadian Jewish News, April 2001
Joan Kekst’s Passover Cookery contains an excellent collection of traditional and contemporary recipes, with many low-fat, low-cholesterol dishes, Passover substitutions, plus color photos. She offers a valuable six week countdown to Passover and explanations of its customs and symbolic foods.
Did you know that the custom of using a white tablecloth represents the desert sands the Jews wandered for 40 years? Miriam’s Cup of water recalls how the prophetess led the women to rejoice after crossing the Sea.
In a recent telephone interview, she said “No one should be alone for Passover. I invite my family, all of their extended families, my children’s friends – everyone is welcome!” Enjoy!
SPINACH MOUSSAKA (Pareve or Dairy)
4 matzo slices
1 1/4 lb. fresh spinach, stems removed (or 2 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen spinach)
1 medium onion, and 2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. chopped mushrooms
2 tbsp. almonds, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. dill leaves, minced
2 tbsp. matzo meal
2 eggs plus 1 egg white
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 9″ square pan with 1 tbsp. oil.
Briefly dip matzo slices in water to soften. Drain on paper towels. Fit 2 matzo slices on bottom of pan. Thoroughly drain frozen spinach. Wash fresh spinach; remove stems and cook in salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and chop.
Saute onion and garlic in 2 tbsp. oil until golden; add mushrooms. Cook until mushroom juices evaporate. Season with salt and pepper, add spinach, lemon juice and almonds; remove from heat. Cool. Lightly beat 2 eggs with a pinch of salt, stir into spinach mixture. Adjust flavour and add dill and a bit of matzo meal if needed.
Brush matzo in pan with oil; spread with potatoes. Top with spinach mixture, cover with remaining matzo and brush with oil. Beat egg white with 1 tbsp. oil; add nutmeg and brush on matzo. Bake 50 minutes, baste with remaining egg white and grated nutmeg several times. Bake until top is lightly browned.
Serves 6 as a main course.
Note: Add 1 cup Ricotta cheese to spinach mixture for a hearty Passover dairy meal.
by Joan Kekst
Five Star Publications