Food and Faith: Meals for Passover and Easter

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Lamb is one of the Easter favorites at Kapnos Restaurant and Bar by Mike Isabella, Washington, D.C.

Greg Powers

Food and Faith: Meals for Passover and Easter

This is a week when religious traditions influence the menu at festive family gatherings. We explore the link between faith and holiday food traditions in homes around the world.

This week people from a variety of religious traditions will sit down to meals inspired by faith at festive family gatherings. Jews convene for the Passover seder Monday evening while Western and Orthodox Christians share Easter meals the following Sunday. Kojo explores which foods and preparations are dictated by religious beliefs and which are the results of cultural and family traditions.

Guests

Joan Nathan

Cookbook author, Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France

George Pagonis

Chef de cuisine, Kapnos

Cathal Armstrong

Owner and Chef, Restaurant Eve (Alexandria, VA); Author, "My Irish Table: Recipes From the Homeland and Restaurant Eve" Founder, Chefs as Parents

Related Links

Featured Recipes

Kapnos Melitzanno
A recipe from George Pagonis, Chef de cuisine at Kapnos in Washington, DC

Kapnos Melitzanno

This recipe for Melitzano salata, a very popular eggplant spread, is one of the items available on the Kapnos Easter takeout menu.

Kapnos Melitzanosalata

Roast Leg Of Pork With Cracklings
A recipe from Cathal Armstrong, Chef at Restaurant Eve

Roast Leg of Pork With Cracklings

Passover Chremslach
From Jewish Cooking in America by Joan Nathan

This is an updated version of the chremslach passed down in Nathan's own family (she's never had a Seder without it). A heavier version stuffed with cranberries appeared in many early American Jewish cookbooks as Kentucky grimslech.

Yield: about 2 dozen

3 matzahs, soaked and squeezed very dry
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup matzah meal
1/3 cup sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Kosher-for-Passover vegetable oil for frying

Mix together the matzahs, currants, almonds, apricots, egg yolks, matzah meal, sugar, lemon rind, and lemon juice.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold into the matzah mixture, adding matzah meal to make the mixture hold together.

Using an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat about 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees. Drop the mixture by tablespoons and brown a few minutes on each side until they are crisp. Cook only about three at a time. Drain well on paper. Serve at room temperature or crisped up in the oven. The fritters are especially delicious with stewed prunes with orange juice as an accompaniment, if desired.

Note: You can make these in the morning, drain on paper, leave out all day, and crisp in the oven just before serving.

Asparagus with Jaffa Orange and Ginger Vinaigrette
From The Foods of Israel Today by Joan Nathan

This Israel-inspired recipe is good for a Passover Seder, or for any springtime meal.

2 pounds fresh asparagus
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Black and white sesame seeds for garnish
1 orange, sliced, for garnish

Break off the bottom ends of the asparagus with your hands. Cook the spears in boiling salted water until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove with tongs and quickly transfer to a large bowl of ice water so the asparagus will retain its brilliant green color. Drain on paper towels and refrigerate, wrapped in a towel, up to 4 hours before serving.

Put the orange and lemon juices, the garlic, ginger, and salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the oil.

Arrange the asparagus on a plate and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with the sesame seeds and orange slices.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.