Passover Cooking at the Central Synagogue

A few weeks ago I attended a Passover cooking class at the Central Synagogue which was led by Chef Sindi Kaplan. Since the only Passover recipes I’ve made were macaroons and apple cake I decided it was time to expand my Passover horizons.

Sindi planned a tremendous class that involved each group cooking one of the recipes she provided and then enjoying them over an early Passover dinner. Unfortunately I was a bit too slow in the recipe choosing process and my group was tasked with making the Rhubarb and Carrot Tzimmes. Don’t get me wrong, Tzimmes are delicious, I just really had my eyes on the flourless chocolate cake!

Though I’d never made Tzimmes before, I’d certainly eaten the traditional pairing (carrots sweetened with honey, orange juice, and cinammon) many of times and figured that it would be a cinch to make. But after multiple Winkle Cocktails, which was another wonderful recipe Sindi provided us, my friend Justin and I seemed to have forgotten all about our boiling pot of Rhubarb and Carrot Tzimmes. Luckily Sindi was watching over us and made sure that our Tzimmes came out just right.

After everyone had finished making their respective dishes, we all gathered around the dinner table to enjoy our delicious  Passover-inspired meal. Thanks to the Central Synagogue and Sindi Kaplan, we were all able to learn a few new recipes just in time for the holiday!

For additional cooking classes led by Chef Sindi at the Central Synagogue you can visit the CenSyn Facebook Page.  Upcoming classes include:

  • April 23 – Light Spring Fare
  • May 21 – Entertaining
  • June 18 – BBQ/Picnic

Hope to see some of you there! And please check out the fabulous WINKLE COCKTAIL below:


  • 3 Sage Leaves (or Mint)
  • 3 Strawberries or Raspberries
  • 3/4 oz Agave Nectar
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • Ice
  • 2 oz Gin (or k for p Vodka)
  • Cocktail Shaker


  1. Muddle sage, berries, agave nectar and lime juice in a cocktail shaker
  2. Add ice and gin (k for p vodka)
  3. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass
  4. Garnish with a berry or sage leave
  5. Devour!

Why is this night different than all other nights?

Believe it or not, Passover happens to be one of my favorite Jewish holidays despite that we are forbidden from eating bread, among a few other random things like peanuts and corn syrup. Though one of the reasons I enjoy Passover is not because I no longer have to recite the four questions, but because I actually know the story of Passover. And though it’s not a happy story per se, like most things in life it’s an important stepping stone in how we (the Jews) survived persecution (feel free swap in your latest stressor here).

But in food terms, it gives most cooks a reason to experiment in the kitchen, and that’s really all the motivation I need to get cooking. So I figured that I’d leave you with a few choice recipes to help brighten your holiday meal, since this night really IS different than any other night…

I know it becomes difficult year after year to spice up your seder but Gourmet Magazine in particular has dozens of recipes in their online archives just waiting for some eager Jewish cook. Luckily, I’ve selected what I believe to be the most delicious recipes of the bunch and hope that after trying them for yourself, you’ll agree.

I’m planning on making the Matzoh Baklava and the Flourless Chocolate Cake, with hazelnuts. The only recipe I can vouch for is Chef Hung’s Herbed-Up Chicken. He was nice enough to share some of his Passover-friendly dishes at a Passover demo last weekend at the JEC. And I must admit, that it was not only easy to replicate, but was incredibly delicious. So stay tuned for the recipe… 


Matzoh Baklava

Top Chef Hung’s Herbed-Up Chicken

Sindi’s Flourless Chocolate Cake (with hazelnuts)

Roast Leg of Lamb

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Eggplant Salad with Dill & Garlic

Braised Short Ribs

Cauliflower-Leek Kugel with Almond-Herb  Crust