Helping prepare for the seder … and beyond

Helping prepare for the seder … and beyond

New cookbooks for Passover

“Passover Made Easy: Favorite Triple-Tested Recipes” (Artscroll/Shaar Press) by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek was released in February.

The co-authors, both from New Jersey, are popular food writers: Schapira (“Fresh & Easy Cooking” and co-founder of and Dwek (managing editor of Whisk Magazine, a kosher publication by Ami Magazine). There are 60 triple-tested recipes, most of them gluten-free (non-gebrokts), in the 128-page soft-cover book. They are creative and original, easy to prepare, and good to eat. Each recipe includes a full-color photo, step-by-step plating instructions, and a wine pairing and seder wine guide. The book costs $15.99.

This promises to be the first in a series of “Made Easy” cookbooks by the two women.

Although there are many recipes that can be adapted for a seder, the book offers creative dishes for the entire holiday week. For example, the cover photo of Barbecue Rib Steak with Honey-Horseradish Glaze, paired with Schnitzel Onion Rings, would make a yummy family meal – if a bit extravagant for the seder.

Here is a nice recipe for squash kugel. As the authors note, it looks a lot like noodle kugel, but it is actually very low in calories. It can be made even lighter by replacing some of the yolks with whites.

Spaghetti squash kugel


1 spaghetti squash

1 tablespoon oil

2 onions, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash spaghetti squash and place into a loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Raise oven heat to 400°F. (Or just nuke it! For quicker preparation, microwave the whole squash for 1 minute to soften. Slice in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down in a dish with 1/2 inch water. Microwave for 8-10 minutes.)

2. Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Using a fork, scrape the strands of squash into a large bowl.

3. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft, 5-7 minutes. Add onions to spaghetti squash. Add eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake until kugel is crispy on top, about 1 hour. 6 servings

Simply Scrumtious

And from our local area comes “Simply Scrumptious Cookies & Desserts for Passover,” written and illustrated by Susan Sinek of Fort Lee. This adorable spiral-bound book is a compilation of recipes that Sinek, who has lived all over the world, has collected.

The recipes are written in standard measurements, but the book includes a metric conversion chart should you choose to send a copy overseas. Each recipe includes a pastel sketch depicting the baked goods.

The author writes lovingly of her family and her Hungarian background. She includes a recipe for Bajai Torte, handed down for four generations and baked at family events for 60 years. I’ll leave it up to readers to make that delicious-sounding recipe on their own when they buy the book and then report to me. I will make one myself.

The book costs $13. To order, call (201) 969-8181 or email

Next is a recipe on page 32 for carrot cake. It was hard to choose one to print.

Carrot cake

Line a 9-inch spring form cake pan with parchment paper and dust with potato flour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


5 eggs, separated

1/2 cup superfine sugar

1/2 pound carrots, peeled and finely grated

1 cup ground almonds

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 heaping tablespoon fine matzah meal

2 teaspoons baking powder

potato flour for dusting


1. Mix the egg yolks and sugar until white and foamy.

2. Add the carrots, ground almonds, lemon zest and juice, matzah meal, and baking powder.

3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and shiny.

4. Fold carefully into the cake mixture.

5. Spoon the mixture into the pan.

6. Bake for about 45 minutes. Top should feel dry and soft, not firm.

7. Allow to stand 10 minutes to cool, loosen, turn out of pan onto a wire rack.