|New tastes in Passover provisions|
|By Sarah Sholes|
|Friday, 30 March 2012 12:06|
BOSTON – Trading a traditional classroom for the kitchen, I am spending the final semester of my master’s program in a culinary rotation. Recently, my class visited the Boston University Hillel House where Rabbi Joseph Polak spoke about kosher practices and their impact on the food industry. Rabbi Polak stressed the importance of kosher consumers in the United States. Food manufacturers, he said, make decisions based on the number of Americans, Jewish or not, who purchase kosher foods. It was an idea I had never thought about before.
To have a “K” or “U” printed on a food wrapper makes a statement. Connotations of morality, quality and religion may fit within the small, circled letter on products ranging from Oreos to Rice Krispies. Later that day, I took a trip to a grocery store close to campus and could not believe what I saw there. As we discussed in class, ancient Jewish dietary practices are very prevalent on a modern grocery store’s shelves of packaged foods. More surprising to me, however, is that evidence of current food trends appears with traditional Jewish goods.
Passover provisions are on display at the store, and for once the designated holiday section seems to have grown. Usually a mindless task, Passover shopping this year is filled with options. Standard matzah meal sits beside whole-grain matzah meal. I used to think eating egg-flavored matzah was really shaking things up. Now boxes of Mediterranean Matzah, with a touch of oil and garlic, rest on the shelf.
While some dietary practices are open to interpretation, it seems to me that kosher food producers are working to make Passover a more palatable holiday. Despite the sacrifice of a leaven-free week, everyday flavors and health trends are weaving their way into the Passover taste profile. I do not point this out to make light of the holiday, but to celebrate going beyond traditional tastes and finding a deeper joy in more varied flavors.
Wondering how closely a Passover diet can resemble an everyday menu, I went in search of a good chocolate chip cookie recipe. One of my favorites comes from Marcy Goldman’s “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, The 10th Anniversary Edition” (published by Whitecap Books Ltd., September 2009). These cookies are delicate, as Passover baked goods often are. I recommend mini-chocolate chips for small bites. Aptly named, these cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. They are better when baked right away, although the dough may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If refrigerated, press dough flat before baking.
Crisp and chewy chocolate chip cookies
Recipe adapted from Marcy Goldman’s “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking….”
Makes 3 dozen cookies
1-and-1/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-and-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups matzah cake meal
1 cup potato starch
2 cups mini-chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the butter to soften. Cream in the sugars, and add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and mix.
Separately, stir together the matzah cake meal, potato starch and salt.
Slowly incorporate into the wet ingredients.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Roll teaspoon-size balls of dough and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake about 15 minutes, until golden. Cool and serve.
Sarah Sholes bakes and writes for her blog Can You Cookie. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in gastronomy at Boston University. For more cookie recipes go to http://canyoucookie.blogspot.com or become a fan on Facebook.