Matzoh Pies, The Latest In New Israeli Food

matzohpieMatzoh Pies… yes, I did say Matzoh Pies. Yesterday’s kugel is today’s pie according to well, me and probably Janna Gur author of “The Book of New Israeli Food” and the chef behind this immaculate Passover masterpiece.

It is possible that I tend to appreciate food more than others but I was taken aback by the beauty of this Mina del Pesach (Passover Matzoh Pie). Though this Passover Matzoh Pie is a variation of a Shepard’s Pie, it obviously took time to mold each piece of Matzoh to appear as if it were an actual pie. A work of genius, I’m telling you!

And I can assure you that Passover Matzoh Pie is not the only thing we’ll be seeing from Janna Gur.  In “New Israeli Food,” Gur discusses diverse Jewish cultures – Sephardic, Ashkenazic – and other influences that make up Israeli cooking today. Gur claims that most of the upscale restaurants in Israel are a mix between Israeli and Mediterannean cuisines, so why shouldn’t we be reflecting that blending here in America?

The Boston Globe article portrays Gur as an incredibly interesting woman and a true culinary innovator. I look forward to uncovering additional recipes in “The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey” and trying out Gur’s Passover Matzoh Pie (with all of my leftover matzoh).

To replicate Gur’s Passover Matzoh Pie yourself visit the Boston Globe website here.

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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… 

PASSOVER’s GREATEST RECIPES

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