The Jewish holiday of Passover celebrates the ancient story of Exodus, when the Israelites were freed from the Egyptians in the Old Testament. It begins on the 15th day of Nisan of the Hebrew calendar, which usually falls between March and April. This year, Passover begins on April 18 and will end April 25 or 26. Each celebration is filled with unique foods and flavors that date back to ancient times.
Here’s a bit information about the fascinating history of Passover. In the story of Exodus, the Bible says that God helped the Jewish escape slavery in Egypt by cursing the land with 10 plagues, the last of which being the death of the first-born child of every family in Egypt. God told the Jewish people to paint the top of their doorposts with the blood of the spring lamb. Seeing this, the spirit of God would pass over the house and spare the first-born. Hence, the name of Passover was created.
It’s been said that the Jewish people were in such a hurry to leave after liberation that their bread was unable to rise properly. Because of this, Passover is also known as “The Festival of Unleavened Bread.” Matzo, which is flat, unleavened bread, became a main symbol of the holy day in the Jewish culture.
Matzo is a cracker-like bread that is a traditional food for Passover.
Photo by ohad/Courtesy Flickr
In honor of the up and coming holiday, I’ve found a great recipe that provides a delicious twist on the traditional Matzo bread thanks to The Food Network, courtesy of the Wolfgang Puck Cookbook. Makes about six sheets of Matzo. (Click on the link for the complete list of ingredients, along with their measurements.)
1. Place flour, salt, eggs, and half of the olive oil in a bowl of a mixer with a dough hook. Mix until the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out into a clean bowl, cover with a damp towel. Let it rest at room temperature for at least two hours.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Roll out dough until it is very thin. You should toll out about six sheets, each being about 6- to 10-inches.
4. Place dough on cookie sheet. Brush lightly with remaining olive oil and sprinkle salt, thyme and onion on top. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Beet Morar Recipe
Another Passover-favorite is the bitter herb horseradish (this year's Herb of the Year!). This tangy herb is often used in a traditional dish called Maror, which is eaten with Matza. Maror describes the bitterness of the slavery in ancient Egypt. Serve horseradish grated with beets, romaine lettuce and onions. Here is an easy, traditional Maror recipe, thanks to Elena’s Pantry.
• 1 horseradish root (about 4 inches), peeled and chopped
• 1 to 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 raw beet, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1. Combine all ingredients in food processor
2. Pulse until horseradish and beets are well ground
3. Carefully remove lid; do not inhale or smell mixture, as it may burn eyes and nasal passages
4. Store in a glass container and serve!
Do you celebrate Passover? If so, share some recipes of traditional dishes!