Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Passover 2011: Sephardic Seder, Matzo Pies (Minas), Gefilte Fish Cook-Off, and a Manischewitz Spritzer

A few months ago, my father, from his home in New York, happened to be talking to someone on the West Coast. "I told her that my daughter writes about Jewish food for The Oregonian!" he proudly told me. Really? I was about to correct his somewhat misdirected paternal pride, but then I thought, well, he's not quite wrong. While it's certainly not the first phrase I'd grab to describe my freelance career, at the same time, I can't really argue with it. As evidenced by this Passover season.

This past month I've been up to my matzo-covered elbows in a variety of Passover dishes. Last week I mentioned my Sephardic dinner party in Mix Magazine, featuring a feast full of warm North African spices, piles of punchy fresh herbs, and all sorts of tagines and artichokes and lemons. While someone with a citrus allergy might have problems with the menu, I think anyone looking for an extraordinary Seder meal would be pretty well pleased.

Oh, and then there's my feature on NPR's Kitchen Window about minas, the Sephardic matzo pie. I talk a bit about their history, then fill them with saffron-scented potatoes and artichokes; dilled spinach and feta; lemony leeks, asparagus, and fresh mint; and, thanks to the wonderful Jennifer Abadi, a Turkish lamb and beef filling, savory with onions and tomatoes, and brightened up by fresh herbs.

But there's more: today's Oregonian features a gefilte fish cook-off, with local chefs providing traditional and updated recipes from around the world to give a new spin on the oft-maligned Passover fish patty. Oh, and also a small mention of a Manischewitz spritzer, realizing the true destiny of the syrupy plonk as a the base of a sweet boozy soda.

So yeah, it's possible my dad was right. Happy Passover!


  1. I'd love to find a digital version of your piece on Faux Peeps from today's Oregonian FOODDAY.

  2. The recipe for faux peeps (or, as I believe we're legally obliged to call them, marshmallow critters), is up online here