Monday, April 14, 2014

Very Veggie Pesach 2014: Creme Brulee Matzah Brei

If you are a vegetarian for health reasons, you will want to skip this recipe, because it's made of butter and sugar. But if you are vegetarian for other reasons, you will definitely want to try this because it is made of AWESOME!

A few months ago, I was introduced to Crème Brulee French Toast, and it was so good that I went looking for a recipe. I noticed that most of the ingredients were things that are readily available for Passover, so I decided to try substituting matzah for bread in the recipe, along with a couple of other minor substitutions, making it similar to matzah brei. When I brought it in to the office for feedback, people tried a polite small piece... and then went back for more because it is very tasty! It's also incredibly easy to make, though it does require assembly several hours in advance.

This recipe is not vegan (includes butter, eggs and milk) and is not gluten-free (contains matzah).

This recipe needs to soak for about 12 hours. If you're planning to make it for breakfast or brunch, assemble the ingredients the night before and cook it in the morning.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Very Veggie Pesach 2012: Spinach-Cheese-Quinoa Fritatta

I recently found a great recipe for a fritatta with spinach, cheese and grits. Most of it was easily adapted for Passover: eggs, cheese and fresh vegetables. The only problem was the grits (they're a corn product), but it occurred to me that quinoa would make a good substitute for grits.  Of course, as I've said before, there is some dispute as to whether quinoa is kosher for Passover. If you don't accept quinoa, that's OK: a frittata is essentially an omlette casserole, and it doesn't really need the grits or quinoa. you can just add more eggs and cheese, or some other vegetable.

This recipe is not vegan (includes eggs and cheese), but it is gluten-free and non-gebrochts.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Very Veggie Pesach 2012: Mediterranean Medley

Yes, that time of year is coming up fast! Time to come up with some new Passover recipes for vegetarians.  I have one today, and I think there will be one or two more this week or next.

This recipe is based on one from The Healthy Jewish Cookbook, which my mother gave me last year.  It's a very simple recipe, well-suited for making after a long day at work: sliced zucchini and tomato over a layer of shredded mozzerella on a bed of sauteed onion and garlic. The original recipe uses fresh mozzerella, but I've never seen fresh mozzerella certified kosher for Passover, so I made some changes to make it work with shredded mozzerella.

This recipe is not vegan (contains cheese), but it is gluten-free and non-gebrochts (contains no matzah). I suppose you could make it vegan by substituting some chopped or ground nuts for the cheeses, but I haven't tried that, so I don't know hwo well it would work.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

There's No Such Thing as a Holiday Tree

A week ago, the governor of Rhode Island declared the 17-foot spruce in the State House rotunda to be a "holiday tree," not a Christmas tree. Governor Chafee is not Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, or any other religion that doesn't celebrate Christmas. He's Episcopalian. But for some reason, he seems to think that it is more inclusive to call it a holiday tree than to call it what it clearly is: a Christmas tree. Governor Chafee, I know you want to include us, but next time, include someone else.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflections on the Anniversary of 9/11

Like many others, I've been thinking a lot about 9/11 as the tenth anniversary approaches. It was a strange time in my life. The Jewish High Holidays were approaching -- Rosh Hashanah fell on September 18th that year. The software company I worked for was developing a new product and had most of the staff (including me) working from home. I thought I'd share my experiences from that time, much of which has some Jewish context.

Friday, April 01, 2011

A Very Veggie Pesach 2011: Butternut Squash-Cheddar "Risotto"

Last year, I offered a number of kosher-for-Passover vegetarian recipes.  Those posts went over very well, so I'll be providing a few new ones this year!
This recipe is based on one I got from Cabot Cheese, which makes an excellent kosher-for-Passover run of sharp cheddar cheese. Most of the ingredients were already vegetarian and kosher for Passover, with one key exception: Rice. "Risotto" is a rice dish, and rice isn't kosher for Passover (by Ashkenazic standards).  I initially thought of substituting matzah farfel, but I realized that quinoa would give it much more of a risotto look and feel. Of course, not everybody accepts quinoa as kosher for Passover (see my discussion from 2010), so you can try it with matzah farfel if necessary, and let us know how it goes in the comments!

I also made one other change that has nothing to do with Passover: I don't like mushrooms, so I substituted asparagus. My taste-testers, Rachel and Claire, gave this quinoa version two thumbs up, even though I made a few mistakes in my test batch! And yes, they liked the way the squash and asparagus went together.

This is not a particularly difficult recipe, but it is a time-consuming recipe, because the squash takes quite a while to roast.  Don't try to make this after you get home from work on a weekday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thoughts on Inclusiveness

Now that Chanukkah is over, it occurs to me that Chanukkah isn't a very inclusive holiday.  All those strange Hebrew and Yiddish names for things: menorahs, dreidels, gelt, latkes... that sort of terminology excludes gentiles.  From now on, I will be more inclusive!  No more menorahs; from now on, they will be called Holiday Candlesticks.  Dreidels will be called Holiday Tops.  Gelt will be called Holiday Chocolate Coins.  Latkes will be Holiday Hash Browns.

With this new terminology, these things won't be limited to Chanukkah.  They will represent all holidays: Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years, whatever!  After all, most of these things aren't religious anyway; they're just secular things that got tacked onto Chanukkah.  There's no reason why you can't celebrate Christmas by frying potato pancakes, or Kwanzaa by spinning a top and gambling for chocolate coins.  OK, the menorah -- excuse me, holiday candlestick -- is a religious symbol, but there's nothing about it that gentiles can't do.  Isn't this more inclusive?

If this sounds silly to you...