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Passover: From soup to...

04/07/2020 01:08:53 PM


Aileen Grossberg, Librarian

Hi, all,

You know me as the Oheb Shalom librarian. But, I also wear a chef’s hat at my synagogue where I am in charge of our weekly kiddush lunches and write an eclectic food/recipe column.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and future ones, too.

Passover is just around the corner. This year, of course, the question of “why is this night different from all other nights?” takes on a new meaning.

One thing I’ve found is that there is more cooking going on. People are creating foods from scratch especially baked goods and soups.

The following recipes are good for Passover and some are great during the rest of the year, too.

I usually serve chicken soup on the first night of the seder. But on the second I go for a lighter soup, often vegetable-based. I love this creamy celery soup substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth. (

But my new favorite is potato soup​​​​:

Egyptian Golden Potato Soup


  • olive oil, as needed
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic,  minced or more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 3 lbs (6-7 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • 8 cups water, chicken stock, a mix of water and vegetarian bouillon cubes
  • Juice of 1 are lemon, about 1/4 cup, or to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Saute until very soft and onions are translucent about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Add garlic; saute for 2-3 minutes or until garlic is soft, but not brown.
  3. Add turmeric and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Saute for an additional minute or until everything is coated with the turmeric.
  4. Add the potatoes, liquids and bouillon cubes if using.
  5. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes until potatoes are fully cooked.
  6. Remove soup from heat. Let cool slightly and puree soup with an immersion blender or blender.
  7. Add lemon juice. Stir and taste. Add more lemon juice, salt and /or pepper to your taste.


Hints: This freezes well. Serve with farfel or soup nuts for Passover; croutons otherwise. Put a few arugula leaves on top make a nice garnish, too. Beware that the turmeric will discolor plastic and wood. The soup thickens as it cools. To attain the texture you want, simply add some broth or powdered soup base and water, stir well and heat.

What to do with all the extra farfel that never got into the soup or the kugel? Here’s a Passover twist on mac and cheese.

Farfel and Cheese   (makes enough for an 8x8 pan)


  • 3 cups farfel
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2c nonfat (plain) yogurt
  • salt and pepper
  • butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk one egg and the egg whites with a fork.
  3. Fold in the farfel, stirring until the mixture is fully combined and there are no dry spots of farfel. Stir in the scallion.
  4. Grease an 8x8 casserole dish. Fill the pan with an even layer of the farfel.
  5. Using the same bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, remaining egg and about a teaspoon of salt and a large pinch of ground pepper.
  6. Cover the farfel mixture with the shredded cheese in one even layer.
  7. Gently pour the liquid ingredients over the cheese. Use a spatula to make sure there are no bare spots.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil and bake uncovered until the top is golden brown 20-30 minutes more.
  10. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes and serve warm.


Hints: Reheats well. You may substitute sour cream for yogurt.

Everyone loves dessert. But after a heavy meal something light is just right. Deborah Kollin, a home cook from Los Angeles, serves this frozen dessert every year. Her family loves it.

Strawberry Fluff    (serves 6)

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg white at room temperature


  1. Put everything into a large bowl.
  2. Start beating slowly to incorporate the ingredients. Beat on high speed for 10—15 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Pour into a bowl or pan and freeze until firm.
  4. To serve, put scoops of fluff into small bowls. Top with macerated sliced strawberries.


Hints: Other berries will work but strawberries are best. To macerate strawberries: slice; then mix with a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Let sit until they release some juice and soften a bit.

Who doesn’t like chocolate?  This Chocolate Olive Oil Cake ( is a standout.

But for a change of pace try these cookies ( from Chris Kimball of Milk Street) as an accompaniment to the strawberry fluff.

They are perfect for those who do not like coconut based macaroons. They are also gluten-free.

Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies    (yields 24 cookies)

  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 c (54 grams) + 1 1/2 cups (285 grams) white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (250 grams) blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup (26 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla ( use real, not imitation, if you can)
  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put racks in upper and middle positions.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl stir together spices.
  4. Measure 1/4 tsp of spice mixture into another small bowl.  Stir in 1/4 cup sugar. Set aside.
  5. In a 12” skillet over medium heat combine almond flour and remaining spice mixture.
  6. Cook stirring and breaking up any lumps until fragrant and light browned, 5-7 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until barely warm to the touch, 15-20 minutes.
  8. Whisk remaining sugar, cocoa and salt into the almond flour mixture.
  9. Using a spatula, stir in egg whites and vanilla until evenly moistened.
  10. Stir in chocolate. The dough will be sticky.
  11. Drop 2 tablespoon portions of dough into spiced sugar and roll to coat evenly.
  12. Arrange balls on baking sheets about 2” apart.
  13. Bake until cookies have cracks in their surfaces and a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs, 12-15 minutes. Switch and rotate sheets halfway through for best results.
  14. Cool for five minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


Hints: Use a small ice cream scoop or cookie scoop for evenly sized cookies. Make sure to cool flour mixture so that egg whites don’t cook when added to flour. These cookies are related to a Swiss holiday cookie called Basler brunsli, but they are rolled into balls rather than rolled and cut into shapes.

And more chocolate. When you get tired of macaroons but want a quick Passover dessert-almost as fast as opening a package—try this from Margaux Laskey of the New York Times. My husband, who is not a big dessert eater, finished the entire cake. This cake would also work at any time of the year. It’s truly magical and should take no more than 5 minutes from start to finish.

Chocolate Mug Cake        (1 serving)


  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • a few drops of vanilla
  • 3-4 Tablespoons, white sugar, to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • Confectioner’s sugar, fresh berries, whipped cream or ice cream (optional)


  1. Microwave the butter in a microwave-safe mug until melted, 20-30 seconds.
  2. Crack the egg into a small bowl; add vanilla and whisk until frothy.
  3. Pour egg mixture into the mug over the butter and whisk well.
  4. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk until almost smooth. A few small lumps are OK.
  5. Scrape down the sides.
  6. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if using.
  7. Cook in microwave on high for 1-1 1/2 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out mostly clean.
  8. Top with confectioner’s sugar, fresh berries, whipped cream or ice cream.


Hints: Add a little more butter for a moister cake. Change the flavor with some coffee powder; mix well to ensure that you don’t make scrambled chocolate eggs. If baking two cakes, add 30-60 seconds to cook time. The batter can be prepared before dinner and baked just before dinner is over.

B’tayavon and  a Zissen Pesach!

Fri, March 1 2024 21 Adar I 5784