Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Passover—Gluten Free for Everyone

The Jewish holiday of Passover begins this Saturday, April 19 at sundown and continues until sundown on Sunday, April 27. The first two nights of Passover are traditionally the nights for seder: a large, multi-course meal that ranges from one to five hours depending on the thoroughness and adherence to the haggadah (a small book that contains the steps, prayers, songs and stories that shape the meal). While seeing family and singing festive songs are two of the highlights of Passover, the most significant and unique aspect of the holiday is keeping Kosher for Passover. There are varying levels of keeping kosher. Some Jews skip it all together, some stick to it for just the nights of the seder, many strive to maintain kashrut the entire holiday and the most religious and traditional will go to extreme measures; eliminating every box and crumb of chametz (food not Kosher for Passover) and using special sets of flatware, tableware and cookware for the entire holiday, so as not to contaminate themselves with chametz.

For those with Celiac disease, matzah is also a no-no. At this time most companies make matzah from some form of wheat. Rice is allowed by some Jewish groups and that makes following the Passover requirements easy enough. And, as always, the potato is acceptable for latkes, kugels, baked or roasted as a side dish. Potato starch can be used as a thickener in sauces and baking.

Here are a few of GF Passover recipes to serve at your own seder. They really can be enjoyed anytime. Happy Passover from

Pistachio Chicken with Blackberry Sauce
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, finely chopped. (You can also use almonds or walnuts, if preferred.)

• 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, salt and pepper to taste. Cut chicken breasts into three strips.
• 1 cup white wine. Place chicken in bowl and cover with 1 cup of white wine. Marinate for 1 hr.
• Remove chicken strips from wine, and press into nuts to cover.
• Bake on cookie sheet for 15 to 20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes and continue baking until done.

“Blackberry” Sauce

- One 15 oz. can blackberries, blueberries, or sweet pitted cherries ( Check for not fillers.) 2 T sugar, 1 tsp. potato starch.
• Drain liquid from fruit can. Mix with sugar and potato starch. Heat over medium heat, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil for one minute until thickened and bubbly. Add in reserved fruit.

To serve lightly drizzle sauce over chicken and serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Passover Chocolate Nut Torte

• Serves 12-14
• Preheat oven 350 degrees
• Separate 10 eggs and beat the egg yolks until light and thick. Gradually add 1 Cup sugar.
• Add 2 cups finely chopped walnuts, ¼ tsp. salt.
• Melt 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, add to egg yolk/sugar mixture
• Beat 10 egg whites until they form peaks and fold into yolk mixture
• Pour into 10 in tube pan, greased on bottom
• Bake 1 hour, cool inverted before removing
Coconut Cake
• Serves 10-12
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees
• Separate 6 eggs, beat whites until frothy, gradually add ½ c sugar
• Divide beat egg whites into 2 parts, add 1 ¼ c shredded unsweetened coconut into one part
• Beat egg yolks until thick. Add 3 T. oil, ½ cup potato flour, ½ cup wine, 1/3 cup cocoa.
• Fold a little egg white into yolk mixture, layer both batters evenly in baking tin.
• Bake 45-50 min. Frost with chocolate icing.
Chocolate Icing
• Melt 4 oz chocolate and 2 T butter
• Add 1 tsp GF vanilla. (Optional: Add 1 T wine or liqueur)
• Spread while warm

Coconut Macaroons (For Passover or anytime!)
• Yields 36 macaroons
• Preheat oven to 325 degrees
• Beat 3 egg whites, 1 T lemon juice until frothy
• Gradually add ¼ cup sugar, 2 tsp GF vanilla to egg whites, beat until stiff
• Fold in 2 T honey, 2 T potato starch, and 2 ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut.
• Drop from tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet
• Bake for 20 min. Remove from baking sheet while still warm