I know that nobody really wants to think about the imminent arrival of the Passover holiday, but face it, friends. Passover is coming. The good news is that today I am reviewing a cookbook that aims to make Passover cooking easy. I know, it sounds too good to be true. But this book proves that it can be done!
Passover Made Easy is a brand new book, written by the fabulous duo of Leah Schapira (or Fresh & Easy fame) and Victoria Dweck, food editor of a number of top kosher magazines, including the one I write for. The book is a project of CookKosher.Com, and actually features about a third of the recipes by a number of the members, myself included! Leah and Victoria took the recipes, tweaked them and triple tested them, then compiled them into one gorgeous book at a very affordable price! So read what I thought about the book, then scroll down for details on how to win a copy…oh, and a recipe for one of my favorite salad recipes ever!
At a first glance:
The book is visually gorgeous. The pictures are bright and modern, and beautifully styled, the graphics are amazing, and the whole layout is fun and inviting and makes you want to just dig in!
Once I flipped through the book a bit, I was amazed at how none of the recipes screamed Passover. This sure isn’t your bubby’s passover cookbook! There’s a really wide variety of recipes in this book- it even features a brunch and dairy section. (I always thought of that category with regard to passover as scrambled eggs. But no, this book features recipes like Banana French Toast and Matzahroni and Cheese!
Some Features I Liked:
You all know how much photography in cookbooks is important to me, and this book fulfills my expectations in a *big* way. Not only does every recipe have a beautifully photographed picture to go with it, but there are step by step pictures to guide you through the process of things like plating the Potato and Flanken Kugel, a delicious dish that doesn’t usually look very nice on the plate.
Another thing I loved about the book were the cute little anecdotes and stories that come with each recipe. I have to admit that both of the authors are good friends, so I felt like I could hear them talking to me as I read these little stories. But that’s how this cookbook is – it invites you into their kitchens to make Passover together with them.
I’m not a big wine gal (I know!) but for those who are, there are wine pairings alongside many of these recipes.
Due to the vastly varied customs within the Jewish community regarding which ingredients are acceptable for Passover, some of the recipes feature ingredients that some may not use. However, the book features a Replacement Index of substitutions you can make if your customs don’t allow for all of the ingredients. As someone with rather restrictive customs for Passover, I found this feature especially useful!
The beginning features a very useful section of Passover building block recipes, including crepes, passover crumbs and homemade mayo. (They even made a fabulous video demonstrating the process!)
Most importantly, I loved the variety of ideas and flavors in this book. The biggest challenge for me, every year, on Passover, is to make foods that don’t all taste and look the same. With this book at my disposal, I know I won’t face that challenge this year!
Some Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try:
Brisket Eggrolls: Do I really need to say anything else?? I had (non-passover) at Abigails a while back, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. But the idea of making a Passover version of such a delicious dish is mind-bogglingly awesome. This is so going on my menu this year.
Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup: We’ve all established how much I love soup, but this one sounds totally different. I might not be able to wait for passover to make this one!
Sweet Potato Pepper Steak: my family doesn’t love the traditional pepper steak, but this looks like a recipe they could really get behind!
Pecan Pie with Cookie Crust: everyone loves pecan pie during the year. I am so excited to try this passover version!
Who This Cookbook is For:
Anyone who is cooking for passover this year and needs a fresh batch of ideas will find this cookbook ultra useful!
Who This Cookbook isn’t For:
Obviously this book is for passover recipes, so if you either aren’t celebrating passover, or are going away (or not cooking for any other reason) this book isn’t for you.
On a smaller scale, people with certain dietary restrictions such as no sugar, nuts or eggs will find a lot of recipes in this book are problematic for them. (But then again, most passover recipes will be a problem for you, so that’s not so much about this book as it is about passover cookbooks in general.)
What I Didn’t Like About This Cookbook:
My main complaint about this book is that there are a number of recipes that I can’t make due to my restrictive Passover customs. As I mentioned, there’s an index of helpful substitutions, but there will still be some recipes I can’t make.
My other issue with this book is that a bunch of the recipes do require an extra step or two, but again, I think that’s more of a complaint about Passover cookbooks and recipes than this book specifically, because there are so many things you can’t buy, so they require extra steps to make them.
This is an innovative, exciting, fun and totally beautiful book that everyone who is cooking for passover should own. Not cooking for passover this year? Consider this as a gift for your hosts – that way everyone reaps the benefits!
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Sugar ‘n Spice Nuts:
Adapted from Passover Made Easy
for the roasted butternut squash
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
for the sugar ‘n spice nuts:
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oil
for the shallot dressing:
1 medium shallot
1/4 cup oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
to assemble salad:
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 green apple, diced
for roasted butternut squash:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the butternut squash cubes with the oil, salt, pepper and sugar.
Bake at 475 for about 30 minutes, until the cubes are tender and cooked through.
for sugar ‘n spice nuts:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine nuts, sugar, spices and oil on tray.
Bake at 300 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
for shallot dressing:
combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a tall container and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
to assemble salad:
Combine lettuce, diced apple and butternut squash in a bowl. Toss with the dressing and top with nuts.
Giveaway now over!
Giveaway Details! For your chance to win a copy of Passover Made Easy: Please note: Each entry requires its own comment! Multiple entries in one comment will only be counted once! Entry #1 – Leave a comment on this post telling me what is your favorite passover dish! Entry #2 – Follow @OvertimeCook on twitter and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did. Entry # 3- Like Tales of an Overtime Cook on Facebook and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did. Entry # 4 – Follow @OvertimeCook on Pinterest and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did. Entry # 5 – Subscribe to OvertimeCook via email (link is on the right sidebar of the blog). and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did. Note: if you already like/follow etc, that’s fine. Just leave a comment letting me know that! Giveaway Details: Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Monday, March 11th. A valid email address or twitter profile must be provided. Prize can be shipped within the US and Canada. Giveaway is sponsored by the publisher. Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy of this book, and one of my recipes is featured in it. All opinions are my own. There are affiliate links within this post.
Thanks for stopping by folks! Come back soon, I have some more great recipes up my sleeve! -Miriam