Sunday, April 13, 2003

Book helps families feast at Passover

Holiday cooking

The Associated Press

Here's encouragement for anyone who fears that Jewish ritual and tradition leave no room for variation. The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook (Hugh Lauter Levin Associates; $29.95) pulls together enough versions of familiar recipes, often updated, to keep everyone well fed and dinner tables set with plentiful variety.

Edited by Joan Schwartz Michel, the book offers ideas for an abundance of family feasts for Passover (which begins at sundown Wednesday) and other holidays.

The book has both Ashkenazic and Sephardic dishes, with personal flavors. They have been contributed by a wide range of American cooks, Hadassah members who have been influenced by their own family history, as well as by the many regions of the United States in which they have laid down roots.

This is a handsome, large-format book, with color photo illustrations that include reproductions of art works and antique kitchenware, as well as the dishes described in about 250 recipes featured.

Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, describes itself as a volunteer women's organization, motivated to strengthen partnership with Israel. There, as in the United States, Hadassah activities include education and health programs.

• This Passover meatball dish is originally from Romania.


11/2 pounds ground beef (or ground veal or turkey)

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Matzo meal for rolling

Oil for browning

32-ounce jar borscht, beets removed and reserved for another use

Oregano or parsley sprigs for garnish

Season ground beef to taste and roll into small meatballs. Dip each meatball into beaten egg, then matzo meal, then egg again, and matzo meal. Spoon oil into skillet and heat. Brown meatballs in heated oil on all sides, then drain on paper towels. Transfer meatballs to 3-quart saucepan and pour in borscht. Cover and simmer slowly about 1 hour. Serve meatballs with pot juices, garnished with herb sprigs, as a delicious appetizer. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

• This carrot-apple kugel is perfect for overnight baking for Shabbat.

Shabbat Carrot-Apple Kugel

8 carrots, peeled and grated

3 apples, peeled, cored and grated

1 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup pistachio nuts

1/4 cup grated orange zest

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup matzo cake meal

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans. Combine all ingredients and divide evenly between the pans. Cover tightly with foil and bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to lowest possible setting and bake overnight, or at least 8 hours. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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Book helps families feast at Passover