I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Oh Crumbs!

For me, Passover is the most torturous of all the Jewish holidays. My carb-addicted self is left with a holiday which is bereft of all decent things bread-like, and awash with a whole lot of things which both taste and look like dust on a plate. Passover baking, in particular, is a fraught activity since you can't use baking soda or baking powder, or any other 'leavener' which might help a cake get beyond 1 cm off the plate. As a result you're stuck with a whole host of crappy cakes and cookies and the 'if I close my eyes I can pretend it's edible' baked goods. I'm here to tell you that Passover pastries (and - *shudder* - Passover "bagels") are downright disgusting. Mr. Manishevitz, your coconut macaroons are horrible, grainy, too sweet, sticky balls of, well, macaroon hell. Even the chocolate ones. Please, please, stop inflicting that culinary sin on the people of the world. (Especially Australians who pay twice as much to import the damn things.) If life as we know it was eradicated, the next sentient beings to inhabit the joint would probably still find an orange and green can of Mr Manishevitz's macaroons. God help them, too.

How does one cope with a holiday like this? It's some sort of special torture, to be a pastry chef and yet not able to eat or make any decent pastries in this 8 day period. We won't talk about the bread. (I might weep...or at the least start pounding on the door of my nearest bakery screaming, "It's not FAIR! It's just not FAIR!") I deal with it by making things which I would eat all year round - regardless of this *snort* "holiday." At my Passover table this year we had flourless brownies (to die for, seriously), a 'Passover Pavlova', meringue mushrooms, the anti-coconut almond macaroons...and a recent addition of a cake found in this weeks' Epicure - sand cake. Nothing which looks, tastes, or feels like a Passover pastry - just things which taste fab-u-lous, ALL year round. Revolt, people, revolt! We are the chosen ones - so let us choose not to support the coconut you-kn0w-whats in a can, the angel food cakes, the endless array of 'nut torte' and anything at all made with mazta dipped in crappy kosher wine. (Matza dipped in chocolate is allowed, but only if it's good chocolate and not scary chocolate.) Life, as I always say, is too short to eat crappy (Passover) cake.

I leave you with my favourite toppings for matza. Matza is Jewish people's Chinese food - you gorge on it like you've never seen food before, feel like you're going to explode, and ten minutes later, you're wandering around the kitchen looking for something to eat.

Matza Toppings as preferred by emzee:

1. Cream cheese and then a layer of red-fruit jam
2. Chocolate spread (a la Nutella)
3. Matza pizza (red sauce of some description, cheese of your choice, under the griller)
4. Marinated persian (soft) feta
5. Avocado, smashed with tons of sea salt and cracked pepper
6. A decent smoosh of chevre (goat cheese) and some sort of veg (tomato, cucumber...)
7. Plain ol' butter, but salted butter
8. Mayonaise and kosher salami
9. Egg salad, still warm (hard boil a few eggs, smash warm eggs with mayo and loads of salt and pepper)
10. ???? Ideas welcome.

For the foodies among us, Cooking with Amy has a whole week of Passover themed blog posts. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

um ...

fresh horseradish and harosetz! Yum!
horseradish by itself ... also yum.

Anonymous said...

peanut butter and jelly-this is what I brought for lunch every Passover when I was in elementary school!

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

Hi Ronnie,

I would do the peanut butter thing, except that for our family, peanuts are considered chametz! For some (idiotic) reason, our Ashkenazi family doesn't eat rice, beans, or any legumes on passover. As peanuts are a legume, that option is out. *sigh* It's a shame, really, because I adore peanut butter, and I think it would be great on matza. I might have to try it today, since Passover is over but I've got a box left! :)

Thanks for posting!


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I forgot about the whole legume thing. We didn't adhere to that when I was a kid and I don't now either. At some point I think the rigorousness of our rituals masks the original intention. But anyway, Passover is over and we can go on to more delectable foods-traditional and otherwise.
BTW, your trio is adorable! Brings back fond memories of my kids in the tub.

Randi said...

We always had PB & J too when I was a kid. I never even knew about the peanut thing until last year.