Resources and recipes for Passover prepping and cooking.
A lot of people are stressing out about what Passover this year, during the time of COVID-19, is going to look and feel like. Will families be able to gather? Will you be able to buy everything on your list? I am no doctor and I am far from a health and safety expert, but I say this with love and compassion: Please brace yourself for the fact that Passover is going to look, feel, and maybe taste different this year. You probably won’t be able to gather with your extended family (and shouldn’t), and you may not be able to prepare all the same dishes as usual. But take a deep breath, it’s going to be OK.
Passover observance under the best and most normal circumstances means different things to each person and family. Some take kosher laws to the strictest levels, while others just enjoy a seder with their family or friends and go about their regular business for the rest of the week, and others still enjoy matzah pizza topped with pepperoni all week. This year is no different, and in fact, I think it requires us to demonstrate greater flexibility with ourselves and certainly with others in how we all observe the holiday. (So, save your judgment for another year. Or maybe never.)
While food is a significant part of this holiday, even more than other Jewish holidays, the true importance of Passover is not really about the food. Passover is about our history and how we translate the lessons of our exodus and freedom for the world today. If you can, focus less on food and more about the meaning, at least just for this year — I think it will be less stressful and more purposeful. Next year you can go back to being nutty about all the food stuff.
Now that I got all that off my chest, I did put together some ideas, resources, and recipes to use for Passover under quarantine.
Focus on fresh
Quarantine or not, I am always a believer in focusing on simple, fresh fruits and vegetables, good dairy products, fish, and meat during Passover. If you can’t get those Passover cake mixes or turkey bacon or Temptee cream cheese, buy whatever fresh ingredients you can. On the other hand, if you’re having trouble finding fresh produce, canned or frozen veggies can be great in a pinch. Frozen broccoli or spinach is my go-to for quiches and egg dishes. Frozen butternut squash is great for making soup. Frozen peas and carrots are great to add to quinoa or rice. Canned corn and beans are an easy side dish. You can even find zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice in frozen sections of many supermarkets.
Does your recipe call for fresh garlic but you don’t have any? Try jarred garlic or garlic powder. Don’t have turnips for the soup? Leave them out. You may have had a menu all planned, or had recipes in mind that you wanted to make this year. But you will probably need to make adjustments and so, as a general rule to keep in mind: be flexible.
Your freezer is your new BFF
There are a couple of ways you need to use your freezer right now. Keeping it stocked with your staples is, of course, important. And buying extra frozen veggies and fruit is also a good idea.
I know a lot of families are just accustomed to cooking up big batches during the holidays, especially if you’re hosting the whole extended family, and you might feel that you don’t know how to cook smaller portions for a smaller seder. So don’t. One of our favorite writers, Ronnie Fein, says she is cooking all her usual dishes and portions, but freezing whatever her and her husband don’t eat to save later to share with her family when they can see one another again. Emotionally, this may also be helpful — you are just postponing being together, food included. You could also try making big batches of meatballs, kugel, soup, or brisket, and break them into portions so you can enjoy them later and worry less about cooking. So don’t stress about Passover cooking for two people, or four people, when you are used to cooking for 10. Save the food for later if that’s easier.
It may be hard to get out to the supermarkets in the coming weeks, and even if you can, they may not have everything you are looking for (although so far, no one seems to be touching the boxes of matzah or gefilte fish from what I have seen). So ordering online may be a great solution to getting what you need right now. From what I have been told, people are already placing orders like crazy, so get cracking because the ingredients you want may not be available if you wait too long. Here are some places to try delivery from:
AviGlatt.com (check their available delivery dates)
Grow & Behold
The Pickle Guys
Need some help with recipe planning? Here’s a rundown of some useful links and food ideas for Passover.
If you have matzah:
- Matzah brei
- Matzah mac & cheese
- Matzah tuna melt
- Matzah pizza
- Matzah lasagna
- Matzah nachos
- Matzah s’mores
- Matzah toffee
If you have matzah meal:
If you have potatoes:
- Potatoes au gratin
- Latkes (use matzah meal as binder)
- Baked potatoes with toppings: sour cream and butter, broccoli and cheddar, or even meat sauce
- Potato kugel
- Mashed potatoes
- Potato and carrot gratin
If you have eggs:
If you have canned tomatoes:
- Sweet & sour meatballs (use matzah meal instead of bread crumbs)
- Stuffed cabbage
- Bolognese sauce — serve it with zucchini noodles or over baked potatoes
If you have cauliflower:
- Cauliflower bialys
- Cauliflower pizza
- Cauliflower kugel
- Cauliflower steaks
- Cauliflower hummus
- Whole roasted cauliflower with garlic and herbs
Still looking for more ideas? My friend Anna from Grow & Behold put together this planning guide for Passover with great recipes and menu ideas. You can also check out all of the Nosher’s Passover recipes here.