Friday, September 21, 2018
Cooking

Party like you’re a kid on Passover with these recipes

This Passover, celebrate the holiday by reading these four timeless picture books, which can help little ones understand the meaning of the holiday. Kids will love to help you make the accompanying recipes: Matzo Bread, Matzo Brei, Matzo Balls for Chicken Soup and Passover Toffee, dishes with traditional Jewish ingredients that children and adults alike can make to celebrate the holiday that begins Friday and ends April 7.

Emily Young, Times correspondent

Matzo Bread

From The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Paul Meisel

We all know how the story of the Little Red Hen ends. It’s a tale of yeasty revenge, as the industrious Little Red Hen gobbles up her homemade bread and leaves nothing for her lazy friends. Kids familiar with the folktale will expect the same ending to The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah, which is why this book’s twist is even more heartwarming. (Note: "Matzo" is sometimes spelled "matzah," or even "matzoh.") In this retelling, the Little Red Hen tries to enlist her friends (Dog, Sheep and Horse) to help her make a seder dinner. As usual, they’re too self-involved to lend a hand (or a paw, or a hoof). But when the meal is finally ready, they beg to eat it. "What chutzpah!" the Little Red Hen exclaims. Does she invite them inside? You’ll have to read the book to find out. For those unfamiliar with the holiday, a glossary helpfully explains Passover foods like gefilte fish, or fish patties. Kids will love the humorous repetition and the lovable illustrations of the animals. Even better, the book includes a kid-friendly recipe for how to make your own matzo bread.

Matzo Brei

From A Sweet Passover by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by David Slonim

Miriam is sick of eating matzo: "plain matzo, egg matzo, whole wheat matzo, and chocolate-covered matzo." On the last day of Passover, she crosses her arms and refuses to swallow another bite. That’s when her grandfather teaches her how to make Passover French Toast, or Matzo Brei. He combines eggs and milk with softened matzo, fries it in sizzling butter and serves it with a choice of sweet or savory toppings: maple syrup, sugar and cinnamon, sour cream. Along the way, she learns that "even the plainest food eaten in freedom tastes sweeter than the fanciest food eaten in slavery." David Slonim’s illustrations, done in acrylic and charcoal, depict the characters with warmth and humor. By the end, you and your kids will be drooling for a bite of matzo brei. The good news? Lesléa Newman has included her father’s recipe in the back, so you can make it yourself.

Matzo Balls for Chicken Soup

From Hooray! It’s Passover! by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by John Himmelman

Told from the perspective of a young girl, this picture book depicts the rituals of a family’s seder dinner. The colorful illustrations are half the fun. Try counting how many striped orange cats sneak onto each page: dashing under the piano, trying to swipe a bite of matzo and eyeing the gefilte fish. The story itself is told in simple, easy-to-read language, appropriate for very young children (3 to 6 years old) who are just learning about the holiday. To re-create the chicken soup and matzo balls the family enjoys, try this recipe for matzo balls from the New York Times. You can prepare the matzo balls in advance and freeze them, then add to your favorite soup recipe.

Passover Toffee

From Celebrate Passover by Deborah Heiligman

This National Geographic book is an excellent introduction to the traditions of Passover. Kids will appreciate the glossy, full-color photographs, which depict how children celebrate the holiday around the world. It’s written in conversational language, as if the children in the photographs are explaining the holiday to their new friends. Your mouth will water after reading the detailed list of Passover foods: "chicken soup with matzo balls, brisket, turkey with matzo stuffing, roast lamb, gefilte fish, caper-sauce fish, eggplant stew, leek soup, stewed prunes, sweet carrot tzimmes, and haroset." After reading, make sure to try the recipe for Passover Toffee, included near the end of the book.

     
Comments
Five ideas for date-night dinners at home

Five ideas for date-night dinners at home

For your next date night with your significant other, try staying in and cooking together. Meals eaten with your loved one are always sweeter. Literally."When we are in love … food tastes better," said Rachel Herz, an adjunct professor of psychiatry ...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/21/18
Pumpkin spice haters, back off: It’s okay to crave the seasonal flavor

Pumpkin spice haters, back off: It’s okay to crave the seasonal flavor

All right, okay, enough, I get it: You all hate pumpkin spice. But I’ve got one request as we head into fall: Can you just let us have this? There are many things on which to heap anger and despair right now, but please, that thing does not n...
Published: 09/18/18
A brown rice salad with asparagus that’s a hearty side dish

A brown rice salad with asparagus that’s a hearty side dish

This fresh, hearty side dish will stand out among its richer, creamier counterparts when the holidays roll around. We achieved perfectly cooked brown rice by boiling it in abundant water. Sprinkling the rice with bright lemon juice while it was still...
Published: 09/18/18
Taste test: Frozen Italian meatballs

Taste test: Frozen Italian meatballs

In keeping with our objective of trying to make family meals a little easier this back-to-school season, our judges figured premade meatballs could serve as a basis for a variety of meals. This week, we sampled 10 brands of frozen Italian meatballs f...
Published: 09/17/18
How to be a good host: 7 tips to follow for casual and fancy dinners alike

How to be a good host: 7 tips to follow for casual and fancy dinners alike

A couple of hours into my first time hosting a full-fledged family Thanksgiving, I completely lost it. Elbows deep in the oven, I was trying to rescue a sheet pan that had fallen off the back of the rack and threatened to ruin the entire meal. There ...
Published: 09/13/18
From the food editor: This citrus chopped salad needs a good, homemade vinaigrette

From the food editor: This citrus chopped salad needs a good, homemade vinaigrette

The emulsion was almost complete. Rice wine vinegar, check. A couple of glugs of nutty olive oil, check. Some honey, a dash of soy sauce, salt and pepper. Just one ingredient left to go, and it was a crucial one. Sesame oil. It would offer the unique...
Published: 09/11/18
Pan-fried sole is a light, delicate dish when paired with lemon-caper pan sauce

Pan-fried sole is a light, delicate dish when paired with lemon-caper pan sauce

By AMERICA’S TEST KITCHENSole piccata, a light and delicate dish that consists of lightly browned sole fillets bathed in a lemon, caper and white wine-laced pan sauce, is a classic for a reason: The fresh, bright acidity of the sauce wakes up the fla...
Published: 09/11/18
Taste test: New peanut butter snacks

Taste test: New peanut butter snacks

Since many of us are reaching for portable snacks to pack in school lunch boxes, our tasters thought this would be a good week to give some of the new snacks a try. We picked four peanut butter-flavored snacks, figuring parents and teachers would hav...
Published: 09/10/18
From the food editor: These Orange Ricotta Bars make for a light, easy dessert

From the food editor: These Orange Ricotta Bars make for a light, easy dessert

It was one of those serene kitchen days when everything just kind of works out. My husband and I were home on a Sunday, tending to our new puppy (!) as storm clouds gathered outside, and I set out to prep for dinner. Two of our friends were coming o...
Updated one month ago
Want to make sushi at home? Tips and recipes for beginners

Want to make sushi at home? Tips and recipes for beginners

Sushi was introduced to the United States through Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo in 1966. A classic staple in Japanese households, sashimi (raw fish), sushi (raw fish with sticky rice) and sushi maki (sushi rolls) took off in America. You’d be surprised h...
Updated one month ago