Blintzes, Cupcakes and Pasta — Oh My!


 

Back in the day, Passover meant meat, matzah and potatoes for eight days of the Passover. But in the last decade, the market for special kosher for Passover food has exploded, and manufacturers and supermarkets are providing a variety of products to almost make you forget it’s even Passover. (Unless otherwise stated, all products listed have been certified by the Orthodox Union [OU].)

The Pasta/Pizza Craving

Many people like to at least simulate foods that contain chametz (leavened goods that contain either wheat, oats, barley, rye or spelt), even if they’re not allowed to eat the real thing on Passover. So for those with a hankering for noodles, Passover noodles made from matzah-meal cake are available from Kedem with the Savion label, while Gefen and Flaum Appetizing also have noodles, but made from potato starch.

Frankel’s has produced frozen potato starch noodles but has also branched out this year with a whole array of kosher for Passover frozen foods including blintzes, waffles and the all-important pizza.

Also selling frozen pizza for the first time this year is Maccabee Pizza, whose product is made from potato starch. Dayenu is also jumping on the frozen food bandwagon with pierogies, pizza ravioli and pizzaroggies made with matzah meal.

In the blintz department, Kineret blintzes made from potato starch will be available, and King Kold of Chicago will be selling blintzes, matzah balls and potato pancakes under the Ratner’s label. All are matzah-meal based. In addition, King Kold has also introduced frozen potato kugel batter, potato pancake batter and matzah ball batter. And Dr. Praeger’s is producing both frozen potato and vegetable pancakes.

Matzah, Matzah, Matzah

While the standard Manischewitz matzah has always been available, the Orthodox Union (OU) this year has certified Aviv, Osem, Yehuda and Rishon matzahs from Israel as long as the OU-P symbol appears on them. Yanovsky matzah, which is baked in Argentina, is also being made available this year.

In addition to its traditional egg matzah, Manischewitz will also make available matzah ashira made from flour and grape juice — for those Ashkenazim who are not permitted to eat regular matzah, and for Sephardim who are allowed to eat kitniyot (legumes).

New on the shmura matzah list (handmade matzah) are those from Gefen, Rokeach and Mishpacha.

Kedem is introducing a new matzah product called Matzah Sticks under the Savion label.

And because Passover begins this year when Shabbat ends, for the first timeHadar manufacturers will be producing an egg matzah under the Star-K label, so that people will be able to eat them with their Shabbat meal, as challah will not be able to be eaten.

For the Munchies

Savion is introducing cupcakes and cookies made with matzah meal. VIP will have macaroons and cookies available as bulk items that contain no matzah meal. Manischewitz is introducing a new sugar-free biscotti and sugar-free macaroons, as well as sugar-free cookies made from matzah meal. Mishpacha is introducing macaroons and kichel made without matzah meal. And Yehuda Passover marble cake, honey cake and chocolate cake made from potato starch will be available from Israel with an OU-P. Gefen will have a line of cake mixes all made without matzah meal. Similarly, the Le Tova OU-P line of baking mixes made from potato starch will be available. Savion will be selling cake mixes and muffin mixes made with matzah meal. And this year Manischewitz is expanding its potato chip line to potato sticks and sweet potato chips.

Dairy Cravings

This year the OU-P will appear on various Cholov Yisroel dairy products. These include milk from Ahava with the Best Moo label as well as yogurt from Ahava with the Slim U label. A new OU company, Dairy Delight, will be selling sour cream and yogurt under the Norman’s label. In addition, Norman’s will also sell Cholov Yisroel ready to eat puddings with the OU-P label. Cholov Yisroel OU-P hard cheese will appear for the first time this year under both the Norman’s label and the Kirkeby label. The Kirkeby cheeses are imported from Europe and also carry the London Beth Din hechsher.

Something Fishy

Manischewitz’s Season line has introduced a number of new sardine items in various sauces for Pesach. Bumble Bee has made a large OU-P production of tuna under its own label. Aside from this, tuna is available with an OU-P from Rokeach, Gefen and Mishpacha. And Dr. Praeger’s has breaded fish fillets and fish sticks made without matzah meal.

The Real Thing

Coca-Cola will again be available with an OU-P for Pesach. Look for the distinctive yellow cap in addition to the OU-P symbol to ensure that the regular corn syrup has been replaced with sugar. The secret Coke recipe, however, has still not been disclosed.

 

‘Homemade’ Mandelbrot Fit for a Seder


 

When I recently attended Kosher World at the L.A. Convention Center, I saw a wide selection of Passover foods. They presented many interesting new food products: sausages, nondairy ice cream, frozen pizza, burritos, pasta of all shapes and sizes, and large selection of kosher wines from all over the world.

One of the stands that caught my interest was Debbie & Sandy’s Homemade, stocked with well-designed bags of Mandel Bread, Sliced Almond Cookies and Granola. The two women that were handing out samples, Sandy Calin and Debbie Fischl, started this successful business only three years ago, and told me that the Passover Granola was their most popular item — a blend of almonds, pistachios, cranberries, raisins, honey and crunchy matzah farfel.

Calin and Fischl are both attorneys — they met in law school, became instant friends and still practice law. Both single parents, Fischl handles primarily appellate work and mediations, and Calin does litigation for several firms.

They soon discovered that they both shared a passion for cooking and baking, and they often cooked together for their family events.

These two busy women, who worked full time while raising a family, dreamed of opening their own catering company. Their homemade desserts became a favorite at the parties they catered, and everyone asked for the recipes. They talked about producing several commercial products made from their family recipes and thought that they could be sold successfully.

That’s when they finally decided to open their own specialty company, and of course, named it Debbie & Sandy’s Homemade. They could now sell their tasty treats directly to their catering clients as well as the public. All of their products are made kosher, and they make a special package for Passover.

When asked if I could include one of their recipes for this article, they did have some hesitation, saying that they were family secrets that had been handed down from generation to generation. But, after a long philosophical discussion they decided to share their recipe for the Passover Mandel Bread.

Passover Mandlebrot With Chocolate Chips

3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces sugar
4 fluid ounces cottonseed oil
7 ounces matzah cake meal
3/4 ounces potato starch
2 ounces sliced almonds
4 ounces chocolate chips
Sugar mixed with cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Add the oil and blend well. Add about 1/2 of the cake meal and potato starch. Mix well. Mix in almonds and chocolate chips. Add the remaining cake meal and potato starch and mix until incorporated.

Shape into loaves about 1/2 inch high and 3 inches wide. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch-wide pieces at an angle. Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes.

Makes about four dozen.

Their kosher-for-Passover products can be purchased locally and are available at www.debbiesandy.com or by calling (818) 224-2967.

Judy Zeidler is the author of “The Gourmet Jewish Cook” (Cookbooks, 1988) and “The 30-Minute Kosher Cook” (Morrow, 1999) Her Web site is members.aol.com/jzkitchen.

 

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