Short Order: Where's that freedom they've been talking about?

A few easy dishes to put together before tearing off the apron and rushing out to join the madding crowd.

yam 88 (photo credit: )
yam 88
(photo credit: )
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 1⁄2 cup coarse matza meal 2 eggs 1⁄2 cup ketchup 1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish 1 tsp. dry mustard 2 tsp. salt 1⁄4 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 olive oil salt and pepper dried basil or oregano 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 Dressing: 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 juice) 1 cup dried apricots, soaked until soft 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped or sliced 6 eggs, separated two-thirds cup sugar 1⁄2 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. MUFFINS, ANYONE? 11⁄2 cups matza meal 1⁄4 tsp. salt 3 Tbsp. sugar 3 egg whites 1 cup milk or water 1⁄4 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!"