Thursday, April 21, 2011

Celebrating Passover, Freedom, Matzoh Ball Soup, and More

We’re in the midst of celebrating Passover. For all of us celebrating, it is a commemoration of the Jews’ redemption from slavery as they fled Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. As we read the Haggadah retelling the story each year, we are reminded to continue to work for justice in our own time. Now when so much still needs to be done, this holiday comes at a most opportune moment.

For many of us, Passover also evokes memories of foods. We all eat matzohs and some other foods that go with them. Maybe they should all be quick foods like my other recipes. After all, the ancient Jews didn’t have time to wait for the bread to rise and probably didn’t have time to do much elaborate cooking either. They were too busy getting through the desert.

The majority of American Jews have Eastern European origins so our food memories are similar – matzoh ball soup, matzoh farfel stuffing, baked chicken, gefilte fish. Each year we look forward to eating them, but by the time the fifth or sixth of the eight days rolls around, a lot of us have had enough of them.

There must be something else to eat, we think, and actually there is. There are Jews from many corners of the world and they don’t all eat matzoh ball soup. I’m reminded of my East Indian neighbor in Israel who was so surprised to meet me. “You’re from America and you’re Jewish? Really?” You could have knocked her over with a feather she was so surprised to meet me. 

At this point of Passover, I like to get out the Sephardic (Jews from Spain and other Mediterranean countries)recipes and make something else. One of my favorites is feta cheese and spinach frittata. I got this recipe from my mother’s friend whose husband’s family came from Turkey. Preparation time is about 10 minutes. It is good for 4 to 8 people depending on whether you’re using it as a main dish or side dish.
                                                 Spinach and Feta Cheese Frittata

3 matzohs rinsed in cold water and crumbled
4 eggs
1 box frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
8 ounces of feta cheese crumbled
salt, pepper, and oregano to taste
matzoh meal

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease the bottom of a casserole dish and sprinkle with matzoh meal.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and then pour into the casserole dish.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.

Happy Passover or Easter whichever you’re celebrating. We like this recipe so much that we often eat it even when it’s not Passover. It goes good with a salad or just some sliced tomatoes and olives.

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