This past weekend, our synagogue hosted a “Pesach University”: A community-wide day of Passover workshops, on everything from the anthropological roots of the seder, to how to “green” your Pesach.
But the true highlight of the event was a live Passover cooking demonstration by none other than Ellie Krieger – an adjunct professor in the New York University Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, and star of the Food Network’s hit show, Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger. (She also happens to be the sister of one of our Tuv Ha’aretz CSA’s core group members, and a genuinely warm and funny person to boot.)
In honor of the occasion, Ellie chose to focus on two themes of the seder: dipping, and the tension between bitter and sweet in the story, and the food that accompanies it. Ellie made two delicious recipes, adapted from her new cookbook The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, which she has graciously allowed me to share, after the jump:
Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)
Here’s the best tip for keeping people sated enough at the seder table to be able to explore the haggadah at your leisure, without running the risk of mutinous (and famished) guests: When it’s time to dip the parsley into the salt water, pass around other dips as well! It’s amazing how far a few tam-tams (if you can find them!), some crudite, and a few interesting dips will go to stave off a case of the “haggadah hangrys.” Here’s an amazing, Middle-Eastern dip that Ellie made for us, which is also very high in vitamins A, C, and omega 3′s (courtesy of the walnuts).
3/4 cup pomegranate juice or 4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup walnuts
3 tbs. matzah meal (whole grain, if possible)
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
One 16-once jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp. ground cumin, plus more for garnish
1 tbs. olive oil, plus 1 tsp. for garnish
Salt to taste
Put the pomegranate juice, if using, into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the juice is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool and thicken. If you’re using pomegranate molasses, this step isn’t necessary.
Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool. Put the walnuts and matzah meal in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the reduced pomegranate juice or pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, red peppers, cayenne, and cumin and process until smooth.
With the processor running, add 1 tablespoon of the oil through the feed tube in a thin stream. Season with salt. This will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with cumin and the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and serve with pieces of whole-grain matzah, or endive for dipping.
Orange, Radish and Mint Salad
The tension between bitter and sweet is most clearly tasted when we eat charoset, which represents the mortar used during our bitter servitude, yet is most likely the sweetest thing at your seder table. Here’s a wonderful salad that Ellie created which plays off this tension in new and unexpected ways:
4 navel oranges
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
8 radishes, cut in half, then thinly sliced into half-moons
1/4 c. torn fresh mint leaves
2 tbs. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cut the top and bottom off each orange. Stand the orange on one end on a cutting board and, following the curve of the fruit, cut away the skin and woolly white pith of the orange. Cut each orange section away from the membrane.In a medium bowl, toss together the orange sections, onion, radishes, and mint. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. This salad will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about a day.