The Demonstration

Once I got a story from my sister. It is worth retelling:

 

A young single woman in her thirties was depressed with her life.  She hadn’t been successful in finding her life partner, nor excelled in her profession.  She didn’t have many friends, since most had gotten married and were busy with children. She was despondent.

 

Her mother realized how bad the state of affairs had reached.  She invited her daughter over for a cup of coffee. When she arrived her mother told her to take 3 pots and fill them with water.  She complied.

 

“Put each pot of water on to the fire so it will boil.” instructed her mother. “Now in one pot put a carrot, in the second put in an egg and in the last pot place these grounded coffee beans.”  Her daughter fulfilled her mother’s wishes although not comprehending the sparse commands.

 

As they waited for the pots to boil, the young woman told her mother of her desperation, discontentment and disappointments. Her mother listened and nodded compassionately.

 

When the cooking was done, the mother got up and told her child, “I want you to see something, come here. Describe the contents of these three pots we have made.”

 

“The carrot is soft from the cooking, while the egg is hard.  The coffee beans, however, have changed the water to a rich deep brown.” answered her observant daughter.

 

“This is how life is.  Troubles; which are part of everyone’s life can make you weak like this carrot or hard like the egg.  Or you can take the boiling water; the hardships of life, and turn them into opportunities to make the world a nicer place like the coffee beans that turn the water into a rich aroma and drink.”

 

The daughter got the message.”

 

Now couldn’t she have gotten the meaning directly in a simple statement?  Why did the mother need to demonstrate to the daughter how the carrot, egg and coffee beans were transformed? The mother wanted the message to be strong and heard.

 

Seder night we tell our children the great miracles that happened when we were taken out of Egypt.  We are commanded to speak a lot, but we are also commanded to do a lot.  We are commanded to eat the matzoh, taste the bitterness of the marror, ask the 4 questions, tip out 10 drops of wine, dip the karpas into salty water, shake off the sweet charoses, drink 4 cups of wine, lean like kings, sing Dayanu and Hallel, and open the door for Eliyahu. We are commanded to physically demonstrate the Haggadah to our children. We want the message to be absorbed.

 

Herbed Beef with carrots, onions and prunes

Non-Gebrochts 

 

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Serving Portion: 8

 

1 kilo boneless beef roast

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp olive oil

3 cup onion slice thinly

4 cups warm water

2 rosemary sprigs

15 parsley sprigs

1 sage sprig

3 bay leaves

½ kilo carrots

2 cups prunes pitted

 

Tie the roast at 2 inch intervals with twine.  Rub with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large heavy pot over a medium high heat.  Add the roast and brown on all sides about 15 minutes.  Remove the roast for tm the pan.  Add the onion and water to the pan and loosen the entire browned smidgens.  Return the meat to the pot.  Place the rosemary, parsley, sage and bay leaves in a clean material tied with a string or another herb.  Add it to the pan and cover, reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cook covered 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn the meat a round and add the carrots and plums bake another 45 minutes covered or until the carrots are tender.

Drain the drippings into a cup letting the fat float to the top.  Remove the fat and use the rest as gravy.

Sweet potato and carrot Tzimmis

Not-Gebrochts

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Baking Time: 1 hour and 1/2

Serving Portion: 8-10

 

1 cup carrot peeled and sliced

2lb (1 kilo) sweet potato peeled and cut into 2 inch wedges

3 Tbls oil

½ cup dried apricots cut into ¼ inch strips

¼ cup golden raisins

½ cup honey

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

½ cup lemon lime carbonated- type soda

¼ cup apple juice

2 Tbls orange juice

 

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

In a 13 x 9 inch baking dish place the carrots and sweet potatoes smeared with the oil.  Sprinkle the strips of apricots, raisins, and the sugar, salt, and pepper over the vegetables. Mix. Add the soda and juices.  Bake covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes until tender.  Bake another 15 minutes uncovered until all the liquid is thickened.

 

Matzo mushroom and onion kugel

Gebrochts

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Baking Time: 40 minutes

Serving Portion: 12

 

10 matzos

2 ½ cups chicken broth

1 cut hot water

¼ oil

3 cups onion diced

2/3 cup grated carrot

1 tsp salt

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp ground black pepper

3 garlic cloves minced

1 cup mushrooms sliced

2 Tbls parsley chopped

4 eggs

 

Preheat oven to 375°F (180 °C).

Bake matzo in the oven for 5 minutes until they are lightly browned.  Then break them into small pieces in a large bowl.  Pour over the chicken broth and water.  Let it stand 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the mushrooms, carrot, salt, paprika, black pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add the mushroom mixture and the parsley to the wet matzo.  Beat the eggs and add to the matzo mixture. Stir well. Pour the matzo combination into a deep kugel dish greased.  Bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes.  Or until lightly browned.  Let kugel stand for 5 minutes and cut into squares.

 

Pesachdic Baklava Cake

Gebrochts

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking Time: 35 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Serving Portion: 12

 

Cake

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup honey

2 Tbls oil

3 egg whites

2 eggs

½ cup matzo meal

½ cup chopped walnuts finely chopped

¼ cup hazelnuts finely chopped

3 Tbls orange juice

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

Syrup

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup honey

1/3 cup orange juice

3 Tbls water

1 Tbls lemon juice

¼ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Grease a 9 inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, honey, oil, and the eggs.  Stir in the matzo meal and the nuts, orange juice salt and cinnamon. Beat until well blended.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Bake for 35 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly touched.  Cool completely.

To prepare the syrup mix tougher the sugar, honey an orange juice, water, lemon juice and cinnamon in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until it slightly thickens.  Stir occasionally.  Cool completely. Pierce the top of the cake several times with a fork and pour over the syrup on the cake.  Cover and chill.

Pesachdic almond bars

Gebrochts

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Baking Time: 50 minutes

Serving Portion: 25 bars

Crust

1 ½ cup matzo meal

1 cup honey

¼ cup toasted almonds grounded

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup oil

1 egg

Filing

1 1/3 cups honey

½ cup sugar

1 Tbls vanilla

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt

5 eggs

1/3 cup coconut

2 Tbls finely chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Mix together the matzo meal, honey, toasted almonds, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in the oil into the mixture resembles crumbs.  Add 1 egg, stirring until moist and press the dough into a 13 x 9 inch baking pan greased.  Bake for 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Add the honey, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, salt and the eggs. Mix well.  Fold in the pecans and coconut.  Pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes until set.  Cool to room temperature.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour.  Cut into small bars.

Tip: Use any fresh herbs in the beef with prunes, or even try dried herbs.

 

Tip: The browning of the matzo in the oven for the kugel is not necessary.  It will make it taste better, but can be skipped if time or space is an element.

 

Tip: For the Pesachdic Baklava Cake substitute the sugar with maple syrup if you can fid  it kosher l’Peasach.  It will add a whole other taste.

 

Tip: For the almond bars, try substituting pecans, hazelnuts or a mixture of your favorite nuts.

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