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Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy Passover April 14th at sundown

Passover starts on Monday, April 14th at sundown. My shops will be closed April 14-April 16. 

If you don't know, I specialize in handmade Judaica jewelry and kippot. 

Like most Jewish people, I am almost ready, it’s the awkward in-between time when we are trying to use up bread and other chametz (items not kosher for Passover including items made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt). This year, I’ve even looked up the definition of “spelt.” Spelt is similar to wheat in appearance, but it has a tougher husk than wheat that may help protect the nutrients inside the grain. Spelt has only been in America for around 100 years, starting in the Middle East around 5-6,000 BCE. 

Passover Charm Bracelet

The way I describe Passover to non-Jews is that we can’t eat anything that rises or puffs. It commemorates the Israelites being freed from slavery in Egypt, when Moses asked Ramses (the Paroah) to “Let my people go.” It took 10 plagues, the last being the death of the Eqyptian first-borns before the Pharoah let us go. It’s all about freedom from being slaves in Egypt. During the Passover Seder, it’s our responsibility to tell the story of Passover and dine while reclining on pillows (as the free men did). We do this using a book called the Haggadah that has blessings, the Passover story and songs to sing. And yes, the custom is to drink 4 cups of wine, but I never get through them, unless they’re tiny cups. 

As part of my Spring cleaning, I wash walls for Passover on the first floor and did the majority of this in February and early March. Over the past week, I moved the cookie jar, rice, cereals and a few appliances that won’t be used during Passover to the garage. The new Passover matzah, jars of gefilte fish and chocolate snacks are in bags and boxes in another separate area of the garage. In our tradition, if it’s not affordable to throw everything out, you can move it to the garage and sell it along with your community’s chametz. It is no longer our property. I also had to “sell” the cats, since the food they eat is not kosher for Passover. They’ll be ours again on the 8th day of Passover (April 21) after sundown. 

One of my favorite recipes: 
 • Box of farfel (or broken up matzah) 
 • 2 large onions (optional for us)
 • Chicken fat or oil (not olive) 
 • 2 cups sliced mushroom 
 • 1 cup chopped or sliced celery 
 • 3 eggs 
 • salt and pepper to taste

matzo farfel kugel

Saute onions in oil until very soft, do not brown. About 10-12 minutes or maybe longer.  
Add celery and cook for about 15 minutes, then add sliced mushrooms and cook gently until they give up fluid. Soak farfel in warm water until soft, but not mushy. Mix the farfel with onions and mushrooms. Add eggs that have been slightly beaten along with salt and pepper. Pour into a 9 x 13- inch baking dish for about an hour. This can be basted with drippings from turkey or chicken that may be cooking at the same time. If not, baste with chicken soup or boullion (if using boullion, make sure to watch the salt you have seasoned the kugel with. This can also be used for stuffing. 

The image is from

Matzah Earrings for Passover

I am ready for matzah brei, matzah ball soup and matzah kugel, aka Farfel Kugel II*. In a few days, I’ll have the Passover dishes and new tablecloth out and begin the cooking marathon. We have an informal Seder at our home. The recipes that I use come from my mom’s (z’l) “antique” Manischevitz large printed recipe card, with its food spots and torn edges. A few newer ones are printed on white paper. One of these days, I’ll put together a binder maybe. A new cookbook? Not me. I’m old-fashioned. 

Easter is on Sunday, April 20 and I have a few items in my shop. 

Easter Bunny Necklace

Happy Passover and Happy Easter! 

 Linda B