Mary Anne here. Celebrating the holidays without blowing your grocery budget is truly a challenge. This week we have a two-fer with Passover starting at sundown on Wednesday and ending with Easter on Sunday. Tonight, I’m focusing on Passover and will offer some Easter favorites in a day or two.
My family was blessed when my mother, a southern Presbyterian, married my stepfather, George. George was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to parents of Russian descent. His was a family deeply entrenched in the Orthodox Jewish faith. By the time he met my mother, he had embraced Reform Judaism (lucky for us or he would never have married Mom!). George was active in his Temple until he passed away.
Our family celebrated all of the holidays, both Jewish and Christian, once George came into our lives, and none was more beloved then the Passover Seder. My mother converted to Judaism and remains active in her adopted faith. As she embraced her newfound religion, she translated and adapted her amazing culinary skills. The former southern Presbyterian is now famous for her Passover No-Bake Seven Layer Chocolate Matzo Cake and Matzo Ball Soup. Both can be made ahead of time, and if you’ve already planned your Seder menu for this year, definitely consider stashing these recipes for next year. Shalom!
Liz’s Matzo Ball Soup
Serves 8 to 10
I am transcribing these recipes exactly as my mother, Liz, wrote them for me 9 years ago.
Ingredients for the Soup Stock:
One 3 lb. chicken, cut up – $4.47
12 cups water
1 Tablespoon salt – from stock
1 big onion, peeled – $0.99
2 big carrots, peeled – $0.25
½ celery root, peeled and cleaned well – $1.49
10 parsley sprigs – $0.99
Directions for Soup Stock:
1. Clean and cut the chicken into four parts. Put together with all the vegetables and water in a big soup pot. Add salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. The soup should simmer, partially covered, on low for about two and a half hours.
2. When the chicken is tender and the soup ready, strain the soup into a clean dish so you have a clear broth. The chicken can be served at a meal the day after the Seder, hot or cold. (My mom and her best friend, Carol, always made chicken salad and served it for lunch the next day.)
Ingredients for Matzo Balls:
3 eggs – from stock
1 cup Matzo Meal – $3.49
1 teaspoon salt – from stock
½ cup chicken stock – from the soup stock you just prepared (above)
3 Tablespoons chicken fat (you can use butter) – from stock
1 teaspoon dehydrated onion (I use a little finely chopped onion if I don’t have dehydrated)
Grand Total assuming stocked pantry: $11.68
Cost per Serving: $1.17
Directions for Matzo Balls:
1. Mix all ingredients well. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours. (During that time the mixture will set and manageable after liquids are absorbed.)
2. Bring a big pot of salt water to boil. Moisten your hands with water and make small balls (about the size of a golf ball).
3. Drop into the boiling water and cook for about thirty minutes. Drain.
4. Serve in very hot soup. Make soup and Matzo Balls the day before and heat the balls in the soup when you are ready to have dinner.
My mom added at the end of her recipe, “Giving you these recipes makes me so hungry for a good Seder! I always triple the Matzo Ball recipe …have even made two pots of soup…it all depends on how many people are going to be there. And of course, it’s always good the next day, and the next. If Carol ran out of Matzo Balls the next day or so, she put in fine, cooked noodles in the soup…very good!”
Liz’s No-Bake Seven Layer Chocolate Matzo Cake
Serves 8 to 10
Again, as Mom wrote it:
“Ok, here goes. Since I can’t underline words for some reason on Web tv I will capitalize words that are important.”
3½ oz. semi-sweet chocolate – $3.39
¼ cup butter (softened) – from stock
1 cup FINE sugar (pulse regular sugar in a blender for a few seconds) – from stock
3 eggs, separated – from stock
7 whole pieces EGG matzo (no other kind will do!) – $3.79
Sweet Grape Kosher wine (I buy the smallest bottle) – $4.99
½ cup finely chopped walnuts – $1.59
Grand Total assuming stocked pantry: $13.76
Cost per Serving: $1.38
1. Melt chocolate over warm water (or microwave on defrost, about 3 or 4 minutes). Allow the chocolate to cool.
2. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and sugar is dissolved. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. With immaculately clean beaters and small bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. **(see Egg Tips for the best ways to beat an egg).
4. Fold cooled chocolate into butter/egg yolk mixture and then fold in egg whites.
4. Dip a piece of Matzo, BRIEFLY, into wine to cover – I put wine in a 9” square baking pan.
5. Lift out and carefully place on serving plate. (If it breaks in half, or a corner breaks off, use it anyway, as you can put it together on the plate and the icing will keep it together.)
6. Cover the piece with about 2 Tablespoons of icing and repeat this until all 7 Matzos have been used. Complete by icing the top and sides and sprinkle chopped nuts on top.
7. I refrigerate just long enough for the icing to get cold, then cover the cake with Saran Wrap and refrigerate 24 hours so it will mellow.