Let's face it. Growing up, if you were an Ashkenazi Jew in America, You weren't exactly drooling when it was time for the pesadich dessert to roll out to the table.
Okay okay, coconut macaroons are an exception to the rule, but those gummy boxed cakes made with matzoh and potato flour or the loaves from your local bakery(at least mine) were not making the cut. It was always frowns all over the place in my family, especially because my mom was never strong in the baking dept.
She held it down on the savory side with her tender brisket strewn with onions and peppercorns and fluffy matzoh ball soup, but when dessert time came, it was all store bought by my dad who, sorry to say dad, has the palate of a very chubby 8 year old boy. He'd bring home these creamy artificial tasting parve layer cakes and kosher for passover crumb babkas that were dry as bone, margarine flavored nightmares. Feh and Feh!
So it is with great pleasure that I thank the great invention of this interweb and Jewish home cooks from around the world who blog and have brought to our consciousness the remarkable flavors of the Jewish diaspora.
Also those that have an eye towards health and high quality ingredients. It's not all tsimmes people. Jewish food and especially Jewish food for the high holy days and pesach can be quite remarkable.
This week, in honor of Passover, I'm highlighting two local food blogging Jewesses who recently teamed up to launch some great Facebook videos for Passover. These ladies are near and dear to my heart, Liz Rueven and Kelly Ohnona.
Liz's blog Kosher Like Me, helps Jewish people and really anyone out there who loves vegetables and organic eating, find recipes, restaurants, farms, chefs and books that have or cook great vegetable based foods. Many people who observe Jewish dietary laws keep a kosher home and eat vegetarian or pescatarian when going out and Liz's blog is perfect for vegans and vegetarians alike, Jewish or not. It is for people who keep Kosher like Liz but so much more if you want to keep knowledgeable about a broad spectrum of all things great in food.
Kelly, a New Yorker originally from Paris, grew up in a home of caterers, so while never a trained chef, she spent her teenage years at the family business, learning the ins and outs of making delicious french classics and pastries. She has some serious dessert skills and decorates and styles her food so beautifully.
While traditional but not very observant in France, Kelly is now married and living in NY. She has become very closely tied to her Jewish community downtown. Observing the Sabbath has become for Kelly, a time for turning off her phone, and getting connected to her husband, her friends and community around the table. She expresses this with so much joy, it's infectious. A recent graduate of INN, Kelly's food blog, my organic diary features lots of healthy dishes but my favorite are her decadent chocolate desserts which she has graciously offered to share with The Inherited Plate Community.
Kelly's molten chocolate lava cakes are made with almond oil and ground almonds, and are dairy free, kosher for passover, and an easy make ahead dessert which can be frozen and popped in the oven before serving. Likewise, her raw chocolate cake is to die for. Made with coconut milk, chocolate and ground hazelnuts, it's a simple dessert which requires just a little patience to ensure the fats in the coconut milk chill deeply enough for whipping.
Liz's wonderful tea soaked fruit compote combines dried and fresh fruit that is gently marinated in spice infused tea.
What I love about these modern Jewish recipes and these two women is their high standards for quality ingredients, flavor and clean eating. No mucking it up with artificial ingredients, uneeded sugar and processed foods.
And if you're a real chocolate freak, try Ora's Matzoh and Rum Cake and Amira's chocolate cake made with almond flour! You can check out the how-to video for a quick tutorial as well! Jewish or not, these desserts are all Kosher for Passover, super decadent and great any time of year for any palate.