Charoset Two Ways
Spiced Pear Charoset
Makes about 4 cups
6 pears, peeled, cored, and finely diced
1 cup sweet red wine
1 TB ground cinnamon
2 tsp packed brown sugar
In large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Store, covered, at room temperature until ready to serve.
Apricot & Pistachio Charoset
Makes about 4 cups
2 cups dried apricots, minced
2 cups unsalted shelled pistachios, chopped and lightly toasted
2/3 cup sweet white wine such as reisling
3 TB fresh lemon juice
2 TB fresh mint, finely chopped
In large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Wait approximately 20 minutes before serving to allow apricots to absorb liquid.
Not Your Mother’s Matzo Ball Soup
For the matzo balls (makes about 36)
4 large eggs
5 TB margarine, melted
¾ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
½ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 TB lemon zest
1 ¼ cups matzo meal
½ cup club soda
For the soup:
5 quarts (20 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
10 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, chopped
4 TB (about 2 lemons) fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Whisk eggs in medium bowl until frothy.
Whisk in melted margarine, salt, and pepper, then herbs and zest.
Gradually mix in matzo meal.
Stir in club soda.
Cover and chill batter until cold and firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Line baking sheet with plastic wrap.
Using wet hands and 1 heaping teaspoonful for each, shape batter into matzo balls.
Arrange on prepared sheet. Drop matzo balls into large pot of boiling salted water.
Cover partially and reduce heat to medium.
Simmer until matzo balls are tender, about 1 hour.
Using slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to clean baking sheet. (Can be made ahead. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours or cover and chill up to 1 day. Re-warm in soup before serving.) Bring stock to simmer in heavy large pot.
Add parsley to soup; simmer 3 minutes.
Add matzo balls to soup and re-warm over medium heat.
Add lemon juice and season to taste with salt, and pepper.
Ladle into bowls and add few matzo balls to each.
Spiced Lamb Shank Braised in Pomegranate
4 lamb shanks, visible fat trimmed off
2 TB olive oil
1/2 small onion, sliced thinly
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole clove
1 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 TB agave
½ cup water
2 tablespoons quince paste
1/2 lemon, juiced
In a large heavy pan, brown the shanks on all sides, turning them after 5-8 minutes on each side. You’ll be able to brown the short sides if you help prop one shank with the other. If you have the room, you can brown them all in the same pan. Set aside.
Pour off all the lamb fat from the pan. Add olive oil and cut onions into the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes until golden.
Put the shanks back in the pan and add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, salt, pomegranate juice, agave and water.
Cover and cook on low for 1 ½ hours.
Check the pan once in a while to check on the liquid; it should be halfway up the side of the lamb.
If necessary, add pomegranate juice and water at a 2:1 ratio. Once cooked, the meat will be tender and falling off the bone. Remove the shanks and set aside.
To the sauce, add quince paste and simmer until reduced by half.
If the sauce becomes too sweet, adjust with fresh lemon juice to bring back some of the tang.
Pour some of the sauce over the shanks before serving just to give them some shine and set the rest of the pomegranate sauce at the table.
Spice-Roasted Eggplant with Herbed Quinoa Stuffing
4 medium eggplants
6 TB olive oil1
½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ TB sweet paprika
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 lb (16 oz) quinoa
¼ cup pine nuts
2 TB flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 TB tomato paste
3 tsp agave
juice of 1 lemon, divided
2/3 cup water
salt and freshly ground pepper
pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425.
Place the eggplant halves, skin side down, in a roasting pan large enough to hold them snugly.
Brush the flesh with 4 TB of the oil and season with salt and black pepper.
Combine cumin, paprika and cinnamon and sprinkle 1/3 of the mixture over eggplant.
Roast for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
While the eggplants are cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and another 1/3 spice mix and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring often.
Add the cooked quinoa, pine nuts, parsley, tomato paste, 1 tsp agave, 1 tsp salt, and some black pepper.
Continue to cook until heated through, then add half of the lemon juice.
In a bowl, combine water, the remaining spice mix and half of the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tsp of agave and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix well.
Reduce the oven to 375.
Pour the spice mixture into the bottom of the eggplant roasting pan.
Spoon the quinoa mixture on top of each eggplant.
Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, return to the oven and roast for 1 ½ hours, until soft.
Twice during cooking, remove the foil and baste the eggplants with the sauce. Add some water if the sauce dries out.
Before serving, sprinkle the eggplants with some chopped parsley and the pomegranate seeds.