For many years our family would go away for Pesach. It was a breeze, even though I had to pack up for everyone, because I didn’t have to worry about anything cooking related. How bad could that be? Then reality hit. We were staying home. It took a few years to get it as perfect as it’s going to get, but I worked hard at it. I’ll share some easy quick tips, and also some of my favorite recipes for you to enjoy as well.
After organizing your recipes (which you can do during the year—why wait until two weeks before Pesach when there are so many other things to do?) put them in plastic sheet sleeves so when you are using them in the kitchen you can easily wipe them off if they get dirty. This way they will stay clean for years.
When making Shabbos Cholent (yapsuk), I like to prepare three potato kugels that I freeze in a container that has the same round circumference as my crockpot. That way, before Shabbos/yom tov, I can easily slip them into the crockpot with layers of fried onions and flanken. Works every time. No need to worry about grating potatoes erev yom tov/Shabbos.
This is easy and everyone loves it. Add a bit of water and set on low.
Tastes Like Duncan Hines Brownies
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup cocoa
1 package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup potato starch
1 Tbls. vanilla sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven 350°
Beat eggs and sugar until mixed. Add oil and salt.
Sprinkle in cocoa and baking powder, mix well. Slowly add pudding, potato starch, vanilla sugar, and baking powder.
Bake 35–40 min.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¾ cup oil
3 tbls. water
2 cups cake meal
1 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix eggs and sugar. Add oil and water. Add chips and salt, then cake meal and baking powder. Mix well. Refrigerate for a little while to allow the mixture to firm up a bit before baking. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet; press a bit with your fingers or back of a spoon as they won’t flatten like cookies usually do.
Bake at 350° for 10–12 minutes.
Grandma’s Strawberry Shortcake or Chocolate Roll
This is a very versatile cake.
8 eggs separated
1½ cup sugar
1½ tsp. lemon rind
3 tbls. lemon juice
1 full cup potato starch plus 1 extra tbls.
Separate eggs. Beat yolks for 2 minutes in their own bowl. (I always suggest investing in a good mixer for Pesach with two bowls; it will be worth its weight in gold and you can use it for many years.) Add lemon juice, sugar, and rind. Add potato starch. Beat whites in another bowl and add to mixture. Use a long cookie sheet with a lip, line with parchment paper (I spray non-stick spray underneath first), and bake for 55–60 min. (You must use the parchment paper!) Let cool. Then on a counter, put 2 clean dishtowels, sprinkle with confectionary sugar. Turn over your cake onto the towel. You can either roll it up at this point, jelly roll style (yes, empty) and let it cool some more or if you prefer this cake square style, cut in half. Spread with Pesach whipped topping, add strawberries, and top with some more whipped topping and strawberries. If you are making this cake for a large crowd, you can double the recipe and make 1 large cake. As an alternative, I sometimes use a chocolate filling and make a chocolate roll-up cake.
Chocolate Filling for Roll Cake
5 oz. chocolate
1 oz. cocoa
5 oz. liquid (either wine or coffee)
6 oz. margarine
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
Melt and cool chocolate and cocoa.
Beat egg yolks with margarine and sugar.
Mix chocolate and cocoa into the beaten margarine mixture to form a spread. Unroll roll cake and spread on; re-roll. At this point you can freeze it or, if are using it right away, you can cover with whipped topping and sprinkles, if desired. Enjoy!!!
Gail Hochman has been a Bergen County resident for over 30 years and has been blessed with many grandchildren.
By Gail Hochman