This week’s Cooking With Beth Blog features special recipes for Passover with Chef Levana Kirschenbaum, cooking with Osem Products. While shopping the aisles for your Passover staples, note ingredients needed to make these four fabulous recipes, Chocolate Beet Coconut Cake With Chocolate Icing, Farfel With Onions and Mushrooms, Apple Raising Farfel, and Pecan Brownies….and don’t fret, the seders are just over three weeks away! Lots of time to prepare.

Chocolate Beet Coconut Cake With Chocolate Icing

It is unfortunate that in America, beets invariably conjure up loaded remarks about, uhmmm, never mind . . . I am always looking for ways to sneak them in, as in this cake, where they do their magic even while they totally escape detection: The result is this dense, moist, and deliciously funky cake. Thanks to the perfect Osem Matza cake meal, you will never know it is a Passover cake! Fancy enough to serve to your seder guests.-LK

Cake:

4 egg whites
Good pinch salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups natural canned beets, drained, juice reserved, mashed with a potato masher
2 cups Osem Matza Cake Meal
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup juice from the canned beets (add a little water to complete 1 cup if necessary)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups unsweetened grated coconut, packed

Icing:

1 cup real semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the cake: With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and salt at high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually and whip until stiff. Switch to low speed and, allowing only enough time to combine the ingredients, beat in one ingredient at a time, just a few seconds each time – the yolks, then the oil, etc., until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into a greased tube pan or a 10-inch round pan or 11-by-14-inch pan, and bake for 1 hour or until the point of a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make the icing: Melt the chocolate chips with the oil on a very low flame until melted (microwave OK). Drizzle slowly and steadily over the cake until the whole top of the cake is covered. Let the cake cool. Makes 16 ample servings.

Farfel With Onions and Mushrooms

Farfel is nothing more than matza cut up small and calibrated for quick cooking. I use the Osem whole wheat version, with wonderful results. You will love the robustness of the whole-grain flavor. No need to wait for Passover to make this treat! -LK

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, Portobello or domestic, diced
1 lb. box Osem Whole Wheat Farfel
5 cups hot water (tap water OK)
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. dry thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat half the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook on a medium flame, stirring occasionally, until nice and dark. Transfer to a bowl. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet, and sauté the mushrooms until all liquids evaporate. Transfer to another bowl. In the same skillet, stir the farfel with 2 wooden spoons for about 2 minutes on a medium flame until fragrant. Add the water and seasonings, stirring to combine. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Stir in the reserved onions and mushrooms. Will make 8 ample servings.

Apple Raising Farfel

This delicious and super-nutritious dish is sure to be equally at home as a side dish and as a breakfast or even dessert! Kind of a new-age Matza Brei but without the eggs. I created it years ago for my then-small daughter Bella, a cereal eater who at first asked “but Mommy, Cheerios don’t RISE, so why can’t we have them on Passover?” but stopped asking after she tasted this delightful treat, and instead asked for it! This is practically no work: It’s all about combining the right flavors!-LK

Breakfast:

3 cups milk
3 cups water
1/4 cup butter
2 green apples, unpeeled, diced small
1 cup dark or golden raisins
2 tbsp. cinnamon
Optional: only if you like it a little sweeter: sugar or honey to taste
Salt to taste
1 pound box Osem Whole Wheat Farfel

Bring all but last ingredient to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the flame to medium, and stir in the farfel. Cook covered about 5 minutes. If you like it thinner, thin with a little water or milk. Serve hot

Side dish: Pareve

Use all water (6 cups total) or half natural apple juice and half water, and use olive oil instead of butter. Proceed just as above.

Muffins:

For a more dramatic presentation: Let either of the above mixtures cool, and pour it into greased muffin molds: serve cold as muffins, or reheat and serve warm as a side dish.

Pecan Brownies

The Passover version of this timeless classic is virtually identical to the year-round one: Osem Matza cake meal is that good! Secret of delicious brownies, beside of course delicious chocolate: Do not be tempted to bake a minute more or they will harden. -LK

8 ounces best-quality dark chocolate, chopped, or 2 cups best-quality semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup margarine (try your best for a good natural brand)
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Osem Matza Cake Meal
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (12 to 15 minutes in a preheated 325 degree oven)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt the chocolate and margarine in a small saucepan over very low heat or in a microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. In a food processor or with an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and mix. Add the matza cake meal and vanilla and mix, pulsing until just combined. Pour the batter into a greased 12-inch square pan (or any pan of a comparable size) and bake for 35 minutes until the top is barely firm. It will set completely with the residual heat sticking to the pan. Chill before cutting, so you can cut them neatly. Store refrigerated in a sealed container. Makes about 3 dozen.