I love Pesach because it offers you a new scope of creativity in your cooking and baking. In my mind, the change in ingredients over Passover pushes you to even greater creativity in the kitchen and on the dinner table. Having done Pesach in the UAE for the past 10 years, where kosher for Passover ingredients have been generally unavailable, I have really had to put my creativity to the test. These are cooking principles I stick to for Passover:
- Keep it simple and natural. For example, there is an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and fish, and nowadays you can get kosher for Passover meats and cheeses in the UAE too. That is an excellent foundation to create a Passover pantry. This is also a great way that you can maintain a healthy diet for you and your family over Passover.
- Make your own – create your own sauces, flavored oils and spices and grind your own almonds for baking. This is where you can have fun!
- Use what you have available and be versatile with the ingredients. – for example, you are likely to have too much matzah in your home. Matzah can be used in so many ways: in soup (e.g. matzo ball soup), for frying (schnitzels), and baking (in sweet an savory dishes). Give it a try. I always avoid baking with starches (potato starch and tapioca starch) and prefer to use ground almonds.
For seders, my kids and I enjoy making our own Charoset (recipe) below. Of course, we can never have Pesach without matzo ball soup. My husband’s family introduced me to an endearing addition to matzo balls. My favorite dessert is poached pears and matzah ice box cake (recipe below). At this time of year, another favorite is making homemade sorbet.