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CHEFS SELECT PASSOVER SECRETS

by Norene Gilletz

This article first appeared on www.chefsselect.com

Passover is an eight-day spring celebration that commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egyptian bondage. Jewish families all over the world gather around the table on the first two nights of Passover to participate in the seder (ritual meal). In Israel, the seder takes place only on the first night of Passover.

During Passover, it is forbidden to eat products which contain wheat, barley, oats, rye or spelt. Sephardic Jews from the Mediterranean and Northern Africa will eat legumes and rice, while Ashkenazi (European) Jews will not eat beans, lentils, peas, corn, rice or soy products. Fresh fruits, herbs and most veggies are Kosher. All processed foods and products require certification to be considered Kosher for Passover.

Chefs Select Parchment Paper is the only cooking and baking parchment paper that is marked "Kosher for Passover." Here are some of its benefits:

It is pareve, can be used both in the microwave and conventional oven and is reusable - just wipe it clean quickly between uses with a damp paper towel.

Here are some tips and recipes using Chefs Select Parchment Paper to help make your Passover preparations much easier. Happy Passover!

PASSOVER PAN-DEMONIUM?

Lining pans with parchment saves on clean-ups. It also saves you money because you won't have to buy extra baking pans and casseroles that you only use for just a few days each year!

Chefs Select parchment paper is reusable, although it may brown slightly around the edges with repeated use. It is safe up to 400F. Save on cleanups by lining casseroles and baking dishes with Chefs Select Parchment Paper. It's ideal when making Passover rolls, chicken, meatloaf, fish or vegetables.

Instead of greasing cookie sheets and baking dishes, line them with parchment paper.  No sticking, no mess, no extra calories!

Not enough cookie sheets? While your first batch of cookies is baking, place the next batch on a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit the cookie sheet.  When the first batch is finished baking, slide the parchment with the baked cookies off the pan.  Cool the pan slightly, then transfer the next batch onto the pan.  (Hint: Be sure to cool pans between batches as cookies can spread or flatten if placed on hot cookie sheets.)

Quick Cover-Ups

Short on casserole covers? Place Chefs Select Parchment Paper under running water and make it wet on both sides. It will become flexible and can be molded easily around your favourite casserole dish. When microwaving, you can also cook or heat foods in a glass measuring cup, microwavable soup bowl or dinner plate, using moistened parchment paper to cover foods, retain heat and prevent splatters.

Passover Jelly Roll

Chefs Select Parchment Paper is excellent when making jelly rolls. They are much easier to make than sponge cake, take less time to bake, don't fall in or come out lop-sided!

Make your favorite sponge cake batter, but instead of baking it in a tube pan, spread the batter evenly onto 1 or 2 parchment-lined jelly roll pans. Bake at 350F for 15 to 18 minutes, until no imprint remains when you touch the top of the cake lightly.

Cool slightly, then invert carefully onto a clean sheet of parchment. Carefully peel off parchment from the baked cake.

Spread with your favourite jam (e.g., strawberry, raspberry or apricot). You can also use lemon filling, sweetened whipped cream and sliced berries, or even chocolate frosting. Roll up from the long side to form a jelly roll. Frost with additional whipped cream or frosting and decorate with additional berries. Yummy!

Fishful Thinking

A caterer's trick is to shape your favorite gefilte fish mixture into logs and wrap them in cooking parchment. Each pound of fish will make 1 log. (Fish can be frozen at this point. No need to defrost the fish before cooking!) Place parchment-wrapped logs in a deep oven-proof pan. Add boiling water to cover fish completely. Bake at 350F for 1 1 /2 hours (2 hours if frozen). When completely cool, remove logs from liquid and chill. Slice with a sharp knife and serve on a lettuce-lined plate. Garnish with tomato slices.

No-Bake Chocolate Drops:

Melt 2 cups chocolate chips on low heat, or microwave in a glass bowl on Medium power for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring each minute.

Stir in 1 1 /2 to 2 cups chopped nuts, Passover cereal and/or raisins; mix well.

Drop from a teaspoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until set.

Freeze extras, separating the layers with parchment paper.

These make delicious gifts for Passover if packed in a pretty container and wrapped with parchment; cut the edges with pinking sheers and tie with a pretty ribbon!

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries:

Wash and dry strawberries but do not hull. Dry thoroughly. Dip the tip of each strawberry in melted chocolate. If desired, dip in ground almonds or crushed cookie crumbs. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill until set. These will keep no longer than 24 hours.

Chocolate-Dipped Matzo Bark:

Coat matzos on one side with melted chocolate. (You can use a pastry brush.) Place on parchment and chill until set. Turn matzos over and coat the other side with melted chocolate, then sprinkle with chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans. (For those with nut allergies, substitute coarsely chopped Passover cereal similar to Cheerios.) Place matzos, nut-side up, on parchment and chill once again. Break into Bark.

Here is a quick Passover lunch or snack that is sure to please the kids.  Guaranteed kid-friendly!  Enjoy..

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MATZO PIZZA

1 matzo (regular or whole wheat)
2 to 3 tbsp. tomato sauce
2 oz. sliced or grated Mozzzarella cheese
1 tbsp. green or red pepper, chopped
cup thinly sliced mushrooms, optional

Spread matzo with sauce. Top with cheese, peppers and mushrooms. Place on parchment paper and microwave uncovered on Medium (50%) power for 2 to 2 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Variations: Miniatures can be made on round matzo crackers. One dozen miniatures will take about 2 to 2 minutes on (50%) power. Alternatively, you can bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375F in a conventional oven.

Yield: 1 serving.

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These yummy cookies make a perfect dessert for Passover or year 'round. They'll disappear in a flash!

COCONUT ALMOND MACAROONS

Source: The NEW Food Processor Bible (Whitecap Books)

1 cups almonds
3 egg whites
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 cups coconut

Preheat oven to 350F.

Insert the Steel Blade into your food processor. Process almonds until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Remove from bowl and set aside. Wash bowl and blade thoroughly. Dry well.

Process eggs whites with lemon juice for 1 minute. Gradually add sugar through feed tube while machine is running, process 1 minute longer. Add almonds and coconut and process 10 seconds longer, just until combined.

Drop from a teaspoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake fro 12 to 15 minutes, until set and oatmeal-coloured. Cool completely.

Yield: About 4 dozen. Freezes well.

Variation: Add 2 tbsp. cocoa to meringue mixture along with ground almonds and coconut. Bake as directed. When cooled, dip cookies halfway into melted bittersweet chocolate and place on parchment paper to dry.

All images and recipes Norene Gilletz, 2011
(www.gourmania.com)

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