We Jews in the neighborhood are getting ready for Passover. For some this means getting rid of the chametz – the food that isn’t kosher for Passover. This adds another layer to the kosher diet’s separation of milk and meat. Kosher for Passover includes the separation of grains and leavening agents. The separation includes grain products that have come in contact with water for more than 18 minutes.
Why 18 minutes? It comes from the need for the Israelite slaves to leave Egypt in so much haste the women did not have time to let the bread leaven. Rabbi Josh Yuter makes the case that it’s a misconception that there’s an 18-minute timer in preparing matzah for baking. As long as someone is working the dough, he says, the 18-minute countdown does not start ticking.
Accommodations, however, must be made for Covid-19. I don’t know if Zoom video is truly kosher for Passover, but many of us are doing it so that the non-kosher for Passover Covid-19 does not intrude to land on Elijah’s cup of wine, in case he wants to show up and take a sip.
And emails are going back and forth about recipes, especially for brisket. I found a great one by Joan Nathan. Check to make sure the soda is sweetened with sugar and not corn (a grain) syrup to be kosher for Passover.
Milton Shinberg (posing next to Lady Liberty above) sent me an email about matzah brei. This is something else we do with matzah other than smothering with lots of butter. We always buy too much and have to figure out ingenious ways to incorporate it into other kinds of recipes.
Matzah brei is like Passover French toast. Milton’s extended family of 35 usually has a weekend celebration, and it includes cooking up a lot of matzah brei for Sunday brunch.
His recipe for matzah brei includes soaking it in water. I could not understand, as a kid, how this was kosher for Passover. But I love matzah brei. Milton’s recipe is below. And you can download a printable version here, complete with his photo illustrations.
Matzah Brei: The Celebration of Freedom, The Exercise of Liberty
(per batch = one pan)
2+ sheets matzah
2-3 tablespoons butter
2-3 large eggs
salt and pepper
Matza Helper: Joshua, Jake and Max (any combination is 100% effective)
Maple Syrup, Cinnamon/Sugar, Peanut Butter, Jam
1) Aggressively beat the eggs.
2) Crack the matzah into medium-sized chunks (about the size of a dollar bill).
3) Place the matzah into a colander and pour just enough boiling water over it to make it damp (not soaked).
4) Heat the butter in a hot pan. Work quickly so it doesn’t burn.
5) Dip the matzah (it will be very hot) into the eggs and layer it in the pan (two pieces deep). After about 30-40 seconds, lift a corner with a
spatula. If brown, flip it (you can do it!). The second side will cook much faster.
6) Place the matzah brei on a platter. Do two more batches. Stand aside while the Matzah Helpers take over.
Did you know there is more than one kind of matzah? In addition to what is the usual hard, dry and crunchy cracker, there is Shemura matzah, a soft matzah like pita or tortilla eaten by Yemenites and Iraqi Jews. I want to know where I can get some of this matzah.