We're past the grueling marathon of cleaning and shopping (wild cheering) and successfully over the Seder. We've drunk the wine, asked the questions, gazed at the shankbone and retold the story. What we really want now is to get out of bondage and enjoy some of that freedom we've heard so much about, but that has, perhaps, been little seen by those whose heads have been bent over chopping board, stove and kitchen sink.
So here are a few easy dishes to put together before tearing off the apron and rushing out to join the madding crowd.
THE FIRST is from What's Cooking Around the World?, a cookbook from the Chug Tzameret Jerusalem Mental Health Center Ezrath Nashim. The second I sampled at a hotel buffet, tried out at home and liked. It's a colorful and worthy accompaniment - but make sure the sweet potato is cubed small and the zucchini cut into bigger chunks so they soften together.
MOCK POT ROAST
900 gr. hamburger
1â„2 cup coarse matza meal
1â„2 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. salt
1â„4 tsp. pepper
8 small carrots
8 small potatoes
16 small onions
Combine all the ingredients except the vegetables into a meat loaf. Place in an open roasting pan. Arrange the peeled vegetables around the meat and cover the pan with foil. Bake at 190 for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Uncover. Baste the meat and vegetables with the pan juices and bake for 5 minutes more.
SWEET POTATO & ZUCCHINI
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut
into small cubes
4-5 zucchini, cut this way and that,
into medium chunks
salt and pepper
Arrange the vegetables in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on some basil or oregano and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well. Bake, uncovered, at 180 -190 for 20 minutes, mix again and bake until the vegetables are done.
EVELYN ROSE offers this salad in The Complete International Jewish Cookbook. It's good, but clearly not unrelated to our own "Israeli salad."
CYPRUS TOMATO SALAD
1 medium Egyptian cucumber (or 6
regular Israeli cucumbers) peeled,
cut into 1-cm. cubes and salted in a
colander for half an hour
4 large tomatoes, cubed
1 large green pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
black olives to garnish
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
pinch black pepper
pinch garlic powder
Shake all the dressing ingredients together until blended. Arrange the tomatoes, cucumber and pepper in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with the parsley. Just before serving, add the dressing and toss well. Top with the black olives.
THIS UNUSUAL seasonal offering comes from Susie Weiss of Ra'anana.
PESSAH APRICOT KUGEL
6 matzot, broken in pieces
2 cups water
450 gr. crushed pineapple (save the
1 cup dried apricots, soaked until soft
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped or
6 eggs, separated
two-thirds cup sugar
1â„2 tsp. cinnamon
Soak the matza in the water and pineapple juice. Cut the apricots into bite-sized pieces. Combine the matza mixture with the fruits and nuts. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they are a lemony color and add to the mixture. Stir in the cinnamon. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold in. Bake in a greased 23 cm. x 38 cm. casserole at 180 for 1 hour.
11â„2 cups matza meal
1â„4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 egg whites
1 cup milk or water
1â„4 cup oil
Combine the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients, and add them to the dry ones. Bake in greased muffin tins at 180 for 30 minutes.
DEAD SEA tourism offers not only widely hailed health benefits but also, it seems, a healthy crop of funny stories. Reading about the chicken served in one hotel that was too tough to cut because, so the explanation went, "it came all the way from Jerusalem," prompted Sandra Cohen of Yishuv Shaked to wonder: Was this the same hotel "where, some years ago, we went into the coffee shop, ordered, and requested in addition a jug of water?
"In reply to our protests on receiving bottles of expensive mineral water - when jugs of water stood on every table in the main dining room - the waiter informed us that he was sorry, but fresh water was piped to that side of the hotel only!"