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Archived Questions & Answers


Passover Questions & Answers

Is there a good wine that can be served at Passover? We are going to a friend's house for dinner, and would like to take a wine. Also, where can I find information on "kosher"?
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I liked your suggestion of using baking soda in the preparation of potatoes for a kugel to prevent potatoes from darkening in color. However, am I not correct in thinking baking soda is a "leaven" and therefore not allowed in cooking of passover dishes? If it is allowable, how much should be used for approximately 8-10 grated potatoes?
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Are wild rice and wehani acceptable for Ashkenazic Jews during Passover? Usually they are technically classified as "grasses" and as different from rice, but I'm not sure how Judaism classifies them.
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In the Apple Crisp#1 Recipe, what is mandelbread crumbs, where can you find them and is there a substitute ingredient?
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Is Canola Oil OK to use on Passover?
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What Kind of fish is the best to prepare "Gefilte fish"? In my country, Mexico I use "Robalo". I can not find it here.
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Marcy - I just printed your recipe for caramel matzoh crunch and it looks great. One question... what is baking parchment? Can I get it at a grocery store or at a specialty store like William Sonoma?
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How about a couple of basic, not too many unusual ingredients---chicken recipes--that might appeal kids? Is there a Passover BBQ sauce recipe someone can share?
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I would like some hints as to how i may keep potatoes from getting dark while preparing potato kugel? I do keep potatoes in ice water but discoloration occurs during processing (grating) of the potatoes.
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I understand that Quinoa is Kosher le Pesach, but can I use buckwheat during Pesach? I am Askenazi and do not eat wheat, therefore I am hoping that buckwheat is acceptable as it is from a grass rather than a cereal.
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Could you tell me if Gatorade lemon/lime is kosher for passover?
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I have several recipes that require confectioner's sugar. All other ingredients are available in the Kosher for Passover form. Does anyone make confectioner's sugar "Kosher for Passover" or does the cornstarch in it make that impossible?
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I have a friend in Sooke (Victoria island) BC Canada. She needs Matzot. where can she get them on time? Is there a kosher shop in Victoria or Vancouver?
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We are not jewish, but think it is very important to teach our children about other cultures. Accordingly, we are teaching about judeism to the best of our abilites. For us that means teaching and sampling the food of a culture as well. My wife would like to know what is matzo meal and where can she obtain some?
Answer


Q: Is there a good wine that can be served at Passover? We are going to a friend's house for dinner, and would like to take a wine. Also, where can I find information on "kosher"?

A: Hope this is not too late re: kosher wines for your Seder. Here are some web sites that speak about kosher wines for Passover:

These were rounded up by Mark Mietkiewicz, who often writes about Judaic interest web sites.

For more on kosher cuisine: check out

A good cookbook, filled with wonderful recipes and basics on kosher cuisine would be, SPICE AND SPIRIT, The Complete Kosher Jewish Cookook put out by the Lubavitach Women's Cookbook Publication (in New York - contact Amazon.com - an online bookstore to get this book) This is a a great book, chock full of traditional Jewish recipes from all corners of the world.

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Q: Dear Marcy: Thank you for your prompt response and suggestions. I liked your suggestion of using baking soda in the preparation of potatoes for a kugel to prevent potatoes from darkening in color. However, am I not correct in thinking baking soda is a "leaven" and therefore not allowed in cooking of passover dishes? if it is allowable, how much should be used for approximately 8-10 grated potatoes. thanks again

A: You're right - baking soda, the usual trick for keeping potatoes pristeen, would not be suitable at Passover -(at Chanukah, other times, a good option). So, if you are making potato kugel and choose baking soda (for other times or if you choose to use it as Passover - actually it will not be a leavening agent in the potatoes but...), use about 2-3 teaspoons. Also, change your water (but I feel you loose alot of taste that way too).

Really wish you would give my alternate technique a shot!

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Q: Are wild rice and wehani acceptable for Ashkenazic Jews during Passover? Usually they are technically classified as "grasses" and as different from rice, but I'm not sure how Judaism classifies them. Thank you.

A: Although wild rice and wehani are classified as "grasses" botanically, it would seem that they, much like quinoa, buckwheat (see previous question that refers to these), resemble cereal grains. That being the case, usually they would not be found or served on the Passover table.

Technically, there are items which "seem" ok for inclusion at Passover, but there is another factor in making an accessment. You have to question if a food is within the spirit of Passover, or is part of its underlying foundation of not serving grains, cereal foods, or foods with which one can make bread. Foods that replicate grains - regardless of their botanical root, usually are avoided or considered untraditional.

Certainly, opinions differ - and these are based on cultural bias (Sephardic, Ashkenazic, etc.), familial, spiritual, philosophical, rabbincal input, etc. Some will eat rice at Passover; some not; others will enjoy matzoh rolls; others not; some will use kosher-for-Passover baking powder (technially "legal" but a leavener, nonetheless), some not, etc. As with so many issues in Judaism, there is much debate over what constitutes what is appropriate. At Passover, the debate often focuses over the technical versus the interperative nature of a certain food.

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Q: In the Apple Crisp#1 Recipe, what is mandelbread crumbs, where can you find them and is there a substitute ingredient? Thanks

A: The Apple Crisp #1 Recips is not one of mine but I presume the contributor is referring to a packaged, Passover variety of mandelbrot.

You can purchase them, and coarsely grind them up to get crumbs. Alternatively, prepare a traditional mandelbrot "Passover style."

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Q: Is Canola Oil OK to use on Passover?

A: As far as I know, canola oil is made from rape seed and seeds, as grains, are not served as Passover. Vegetable oils, since they are often blended oils (there could be corn oil in it) are also not kosher for Passover.

Cotton seed is one oil that is a Passover oil and occasionally, I have seen kosher for Passover olive oil or olive oil with a UP symbol on it.

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Q: What Kind of fish is the best to prepare "Gefilte fish"? In my country, Mexico I use "Robalo". I can not find it here.Could you also send me the recipe? Thanks.

A: According to my mother-in-law, Shirley Posluns, this Sweet Style Gefilte Fish recipe is sweeter than most - and to me, more flavorful. Because it is a touch sweet, you can use tons of horseradish on it - and the flavor balance will be perfect. She likes this combination of fish and recommends that the whiter the fish, the prettier and sweeter the resultant gefilte fish. Names in regions for fish, as well as available varieties might vary. Just tell your fishmonger what you are making and what style fish the recipe calls for, and he can make suggestions or substitutions.

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Q: Marcy - I just printed your recipe for caramel matzoh crunch and it looks great. One question... what is baking parchment? Can I get it at a grocery store or at a specialty store like William Sonoma?

A: The telephone number of Sweet Celebrations (for parchment paper, et al) 1-800-328-6722 or in Minnesota - 612 943-1688. Another source is King Aurthur Flour Baker's Catalogue at 1-800-827-6836.

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Q: How about a couple of basic, not too many unusual ingredients---chicken recipes--that might appeal kids? Is there a Passover BBQ sauce recipe someone can share?

A: I've included online recipes for a homemade barbecue sauce and a Passover Chicken Coating which kids might enjoy.

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Q: I would like some hints as to how i may keep potatoes from getting dark while preparing potato kugel? I do keep potatoes in ice water but discoloration occurs during processing (grating) of the potatoes.

A: For incredible potato kugel and come Chanukah, the best latkes you will ever have do this:

Heat potatoes (not peeled) in medium saucepan.
Bring to a nice boil and simmer (sort of briskly) for exactly 10 MINUTES (12 minutes if your potatoes are large). MAKE SURE it is for ten minutes. MATTER OF FACT, as soon as the water begins to boil, SET A TIMER FOR TEN MINUTES. (I have tested this recipe for countless newspapers and found this is the best method).

STILL WITH ME?
Remove potatoes, cover in cold water. As soon as you are able, slide off skins (another jobs made easier by the par boiling). Shred or rice potatoes on a hand grater (it goes very fast when they are par boiled) or a large Cuisinart of Kitchenaid or Braun or some processor that has a large capaciaty and a great shredded. If the shreds are long, I shred first, then attached metal blade and re-grate (compulsive but fast and makes for good results).

THEN ---- follow the rest of your recipe (adding eggs, salt, pepper, etc.) Bake as for a regular kugel - maybe shorten time 12-15 minutes. This is my recipe for Marcy Goldman's Kinder Gentler Potato Latkes - less messy, no dark potatoes, cooks faster, absorbs less oil, not starchy tasting.

If you want to do the traditional method - I believe you can put a little baking soda or vinegar in your rinsing water. (Remember, I trained as a pastry chef and baker - any cooking advice I dispense is a bonus! But I am happy to share this method - IT WORKS)

One last thing - I prefer red-skinned (aka potomac or potomac reds) potatoes - they are a touch sweet and flavorful.

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Q: I understand that Quinoa is Kosher le Pesach, but can I use buckwheat during Pesach? I am Askenazi and do not eat wheat, therefore I am hoping that buckwheat is acceptable as it is from a grass rather than a cereal.

A: Technically, quinoa and buckwheat are not grains. According to Bert Green The Grains Cookbook, quinoa is part of a herb family. Buckwheat is related, distantly, to the rhubarb family, and is usually referred to as groats (verus grain). While neither one is technically a grain or cereal grain, overall, they are in the style and genre of cereal grains, such as wheat, corn, etc. which are not permitted at Passover.

So, on one level, buckwheat might be acceptable but because of its "food character", many might find it bears too similar a resemblance to traditional (non-Passover) grains. Thus it might been viewed as inappropriate. As always, if you have any uncertainty, it is best to check with a rabbinical authority.

Side dishes are always a challenge at Passover - aside from potatoes, you might try fried farfel (soak, sauteed, seasoned - it's not buckwheat but it's tasty and traditional!)

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Q: Could you tell me if Gatorade lemon/lime is kosher for passover?

A: I do not know if Gatorade is kosher or if it is, if it is produced "kosher-for-Passover", or if lemom-lime is a variety that would pose further complications. I do not often use Gatorade in recipe development however, I suspect, that it might contain fruit sugars in the form of corn syrup derivatives. To be sure, you must contact the manufacturer of the product and ask them directly. I am sure they will be happy to furnish you with the information you require.

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Q: I have several recipes that require confectioner's sugar. All other ingredients are available in the Kosher for Passover form. Does anyone make confectioner's sugar "Kosher for Passover" or does the cornstarch in it make that impossible? Thank you.

A: Regular icing or confectioners' sugar is indeed, not permitted for Passover as, as you mention, it contains cornstarch in it (corn being one of the grains not consumed during the holiday).

A relatively new and "kosher-for-Passover" confectioners sugar is available under the Haddar brand name and comes in a 20 ounce canister. It is made with sugar, and I presume potato starch (ingredients are not included - it simply says "Pure and All natural" and has the Rabbimate of KAJ Passover endorsement on it.

I have begun including it in many of my Passover recipes - combining it with unsalted Passover margarine for frostings or simply to dust a sponge cake with, adding a bit of elegance to a simple cake.

Haddar is one brand - others might exist. Haddar is part of Erba brands, in Brooklyn, New York.

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Q: I have a friend in Sooke (Victoria island) BC Canada. She needs Matzot. where can she get them on time? Is there a kosher shop in Victoria or Vancouver?

A: Two companies may be able to help you with finding a distributor or retailer near your friend -
  • Paskesz - 718 832-2400
  • Hadaar/Erba Food Products - 718 522-1800
Also, she can contact any synagogue in her region - and ask to speak to the rabbi. He or she should also be able to guide you. Also, there is a web site, hosted by David L. Kline, wherein there is a guide for making your own (I also have a recipe at the Kosher Express site) according to stringent halachot.

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Q: We are not jewish, but think it is very important to teach our children about other cultures. Accordingly, we are teaching about judeism to the best of our abilites. For us that means teaching and sampling the food of a culture as well. My wife would like to know what is matzo meal and where can she obtain some?

A: I think it is really nice you want to broaden your children's experiences.

Matzoh meal is a derivative product of matzoh - the flat, cracker like bread substitute Jewish people eat at Passover. Matzoh meal, is a "meal", pulverized or coarsely ground up matzoh boards. It is usually available in kosher food sections of most supermarkets.

For a "first" experience in using matzoh meal, I suggest you make matzoh balls - a tasty dumpling that is part of the quintessential chicken soup.

For the holidays, matzoh meal is used in countless other preparations, aside from matzoh balls - it is used in cakes, stuffings, and to replace bread crumbs (in making meat balls, for instance)


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