Passover Sangria

If you are going to drink 4 cups of wine, let it be this! Passover wine, be it Manischewitz or Mogen David, is already sweet, and macerating fruit in it seems like a natural choice. This goes down easy, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Enjoy! And Happy Passover!

Passover Sangria

Serves 1…um, I mean 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Passover wine (I used Blackberry Mogen David)
  • 2 tablespoon triple sec, or other orange flavored liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • ¼ of an orange, sliced
  • ¼ of an apple, sliced
  • 5 grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup lemon-lime soda, sparkling wine, or sparkling water, for topping
  • Ice

Directions:

  1. Put the wine, triple sec, brandy, and fruit in a small pitcher and let sit for one hour, and up to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to serve, pour over ice and top with sparkling beverage of your choice.

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For 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 750 ml bottle Passover wine
  • 3 cups fruit of your choice (apples, oranges, peaches, nectarines, grapes, plums, cherries), sliced or chopped
  • ¼ – ½ cup booze of your choice, or a mix (triple sec, vodka, brandy, rum)
  • 1 ½-2 cups lemon-lime soda, sparkling water or sparkling wine

Directions:

  1. Slice or chop fruit into small pieces and put into a large pitcher.
  2. Cover fruit with Passover wine and the booze of your choice.
  3. Let sit in fridge 1-24 hours.
  4. Immediately before serving, add sparkling beverage of your choice, and serve over ice.

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Passover Lemon Cake Balls

Passover Lemon Cake Balls

The popularity of my Passover Heavenly Chocolate Ganache Cake balls has skyrocketed over the years. The winning combination of convenience and novelty cannot be denied. Plus they are over-the-top delicious. This year, I set out to make an even simpler version for a cooking class I taught a few weeks ago. These Passover Lemon Cake Balls are the happy result. Enjoy!

Passover Lemon Cake Balls

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Passover Cake
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd
  • 10-12 ounces vanilla candy coating (I like Ghiradelli Vanilla Melting Wafers
  • Sprinkles, poppy seeds, or another embellishments for decorating that you’d like

Directions:

  1. Crumble the cake into a bowl.
  2. Add the lemon curd and mix well to combine.
  3. Roll mixture into balls using a cookie scoop and place on a baking tray.
  4. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  5. Melt the vanilla candy coating according to package directions and let cool slightly.
  6. Dip each ball in the melted candy coating using 2 forks and give each a gentle shake to remove excess coating.
  7. Place on wax paper and let the coating harden at room temperature or stick them in the freezer to speed things up. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

Notes:

*A small cookie scooper will make 24 1-inch truffle-sized cake balls, and a medium one will make 12-2 ½ inch cake balls. It is quicker to make the balls larger, but it is cuter to make them smaller. It’s your choice, and may it be the toughest decision you’ll make all day.

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Roasted Salmon with Matzah Gremolata

Every Passover I try to come up with a new spin on traditional dishes. Here is one I came up with for a cooking class that I taught a few weeks ago. I wanted an entree that screamed Spring, but whispered Passover, and this was the perfect thing.

Roasted Salmon with Matzah Gremolata

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds salmon (Norwegian, Faroe Island, or Atlantic)*
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons mustard (Dijon, deli-style, or whole grain)**
  • ½ cup matzah meal or 2 finely crumbled matzahs
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons green onions or chives, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup olive oil, or more if necessary

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425℉***. Line a baking tray with foil. If the salmon doesn’t have skin, spray foil with cooking spray, but if it does, then don’t.
  2. Place salmon on baking tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Add dollops of mustard and spread evenly over the salmon.
  4. On a cutting board, place the herbs, garlic and lemon zest and finely mince.
  5. In a bowl, mix the chopped herbs, garlic, lemon, zest, and matzah crumbs. Add the lemon juice olive oil and stir well. Spread the mixture on top of the salmon and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Notes:

*You can use chicken breast instead of salmon. Bake at 400℉ for 30 minutes.

**You can use Manischewitz Creamy Horseradish Sauce or combo of mustard and mayo.

***If using wild salmon, reduce cooking time.

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Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart with Almond Macaroon Crust

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart with Almond Macaroon Crust

For the crust:

  • 2 cups almond meal ( I get it at Trader Joe’s but you can grind your own)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white

For the caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the chocolate:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top 

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Generously butter a 9-inch tart pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the almond meal, sugar, vanilla, and egg white.
  3. Spoon it into the prepared pan and gently press it into the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on a rack. While crust is cooling, make the caramel.

To make the caramel:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the sugar on medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a heat-proof rubber spatula until the sugar melts. Caution: melted sugar is very hot! Once you have started to melt the sugar do not stick your finger in or lick the spoon to taste—you will get burned!
  2. Heat the sugar until it turns a golden caramel color. If you have an insta-read or candy thermometer it will be ready at 350F. If you don’t have one, just go by the color. But be careful—the caramel will go past that point very quickly and burn fast. Remove it from the heat as soon as it turns to caramel—it will continue to cook even after removed from the heat.
  3. Add the butter and whisk until butter is fully incorporated. The caramel may bubble up as you to do this.
  4. Add the cream and whisk until the caramel becomes smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk again.
  5. Let cool slightly and pour into the macaroon crust to completely coat the bottom. Now you are ready to make the chocolate glaze.

To make the chocolate glaze:

  1. Put all chocolate glaze ingredients into a bowl and microwave for one minute. Let stand for a minute or two and then stir until smooth.
  2. Pour the chocolate glaze over the caramel filling and lightly sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let chill in the fridge until firm about two hours, but take out and leave at room temperature after that.

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Matzah Ball Soup with Herbes de Provence Mini-Matzah Balls

“Of soup and love, the first is best.” ~Old Spanish proverb

I have to confess, I don’t have a family recipe for chicken soup. Nothing has been handed down from generation to generation. No one carried a recipe over to Ellis Island sown into the lining of their coat.

Not my actual family

Not my actual family

There wasn’t a magic formula with my name on it either. Until now.

Matzah ball soup with the works

Matzah ball soup with the works

I did have my grandma Esther’s knedelaich recipe, in her handwriting too! But one day I was reading the recipe and measuring the matzah meal from the box, and noticed that her recipe was THE SAME EXACT ONE AS ON THE BOX!!! Well, either she was a trendsetter, or she got it from there as well. So much for my family recipe!

Grandma's recipe on the back

Grandma’s recipe on the back

There are many different permutations for matzah balls, light and fluffy, egg white only, ginger and almond, baking soda and seltzer. Well my friends, you could use ol’reliable on the side of the box of matzah meal, or you can use this recipe for matzah balls seasoned with Herbes de Provence which I make for special occasions. If you aren’t keen on something so adventurous (it is pretty subtle, really), then just leave out the herbs and you will have a light yolk-free matzah ball.

Herbs de Provence

Herbs de Provence

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Keen on Quinoa

Before quinoa became popular, my mother had it in her pantry when I was growing up. Back in the ‘70’s, it was hippie dippy health food and had a picture of a Native American on the box to show how natural it was. I am sure my mother made it once, and it was either tolerated at one weeknight dinner, or rejected entirely, and then left for dead on the shelf, in memory of mom’s attempt to try something new.

But now it has made a re-appearance in grocery stores, and healthful minded people are turning to it for a low-carb, gluten-free substitute for other grains. Understanding what it is and how to cook it can keep its popularity stats up at your dinner table.

First thing you should know is that it is not a grain, although it looks a lot like couscous.

Uncooked quinoa

Uncooked quinoa

My husband thinks it looks a lot like bird seed and jokes that we are sharing dinner with our pet parakeet.

Bird seed

Bird seed

Our parakeet, Happy Love

Our parakeet, Happy Love

Quinoa is related to beets and spinach and is high in protein and iron. It is the seed of its plant, and, if you look closely at it after it is cooked, has a lot of personality—it is curly, just like me!

Curly when cooked!

Curly when cooked!

It is also accepted as kosher for Passover—just think, it is the only kosher food that has a curly tail!

Curly close-up

Curly close-up

During Passover I leave a big bowl of it in the fridge, and it will save me from sobbing into my matzah on day 3 of the holiday because I can’t go one more day without my beloved couscous, rice, or pasta (carboholic in the house, yo).

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Hard-Boiled Eggs: You’re Doing it Wrong

I like to help (queue theme from Superman). And I’m here to save you. 🙂

I’m guessing that 9 out of 10 of you have never had a properly hard -boiled egg. I know this is true because until recently, neither had I.

I thought I had, but then as I was watching Food Network, I noticed that Nigella’s eggs did not look like mine. Her yolks were gloriously golden. Mine were yellow. And I thought that was what they were supposed to be.

Wrong.

With Passover and Easter right around the corner, now is the time to set things straight this Spring, as they are officially the “hard-boiled holidays.”

If you find yourself choking down chalky green-tinged egg yolks and rubbery whites, or cursing out loud in front of the kids as you struggle to peel a hard-boiled egg and gouge out chunks of it as you go, or you are just unsure of when your eggs are done, then keep reading folks!

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Heavenly Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls for Passover

Here it is folks, up to the minute breaking news from right here in Aura’s Test Kitchen and pomegranatesandhoney.com! I’ve been in the kitchen trying to reinvent Passover. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it can be done. No more matzo flavored chocolate cake. No more weird tasting egg-puffed chiffon cakes. No more getting dessert out of a can.

We are free, so let’s eat like it! No need to be enslaved to your grandmother’s fruit compote recipe forever.
Every year I consider it my personal mission to come up with one or two never seen before Passover recipes. I have fond memories of my mom’s Passover desserts from childhood. But let’s face it, Passover desserts taste odd. Maybe some of you look forward to that matzah cake meal flavor, but I say let’s leave matzah where it belongs—on the seder table. On your dessert table, put these, because, well, why not?
I bring to you my latest creation…
Heavenly Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls
·          One and half 8 ounce packages pre-made Passover cake, such as Osem marble cake or pound cake (12 ounces total)
·         ¼ cup cream (dairy-free creamer is ok too)
·         ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
·         ½ teaspoon almond extract
·         10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate  plus 1/2 cup cream for the coating, or if you want a hard chocolate shell use 10 ounces of chocolate almond bark candy coating
·         1 ½  tablespoon finely chopped almonds
1.      Crumble the cake into a large bowl. You will get about 4 cups of cake crumbs.
2.      Put the cream and chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and cook for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Add almond extract and stir again.
3.      Pour the chocolate mixture into the cake crumbs and stir until well combined.
4.      Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop (will make 36 truffle sized balls) or a medium cookie scoop (will make 18-2 ½ inch cake balls) scoop out the batter and roll into balls. Place on tray and place tray into freezer. Note: it is quicker to make the balls larger, but it is cuter to make them smaller. It’s your choice, and may it be the toughest decision you’ll make all day.
5.      Melt the 10 ounces of chocolate and the half cup cream in a dish in the microwave; let stand for a few minutes then whisk together until smooth, or for a hard chocolate shell melt 10 ounces of chocolate almond bark or chocolate candy coating.
6.      Dip each ball in the melted chocolate using 2 forks, and give them a gentle shake before removing from the bowl to remove excess chocolate.
7.      Place on wax paper and sprinkle each with a pinch of chopped almonds as you go along, so the almonds stick to the still-wet chocolate. If you wait too long the chocolate will harden and the almonds won’t stick.
8.      Let the chocolate harden or stick them in the freezer and remove 30 minutes before serving. Feel free to double the recipe—I would if I were you. These are over-the-top delicious and you won’t taste any matzo in this dessert.

Notes:
*A small cookie scooper will make 36 truffle sized cake balls, and a medium one will make 18-2 ½ inch cake balls. It is quicker to make the balls larger, but it is cuter to make them smaller. It’s your choice, and may it be the toughest decision you’ll make all day.
**If you wait too long the chocolate will harden and the almonds or sprinkles won’t stick.

Aaaaahhh, heaven!!!