Passover Essentials: Brisket and Tsimmes

In addition to foods that are an integral part of the Passover seder, there are other dishes that have no literal significance for the holiday’s celebration but are customary dishes for the occasion. This is the turkey on Thanksgiving. No, you don’t NEED it…but what would the holiday be without?!

Two examples of such gotta-have-it dishes on Passover are brisket and tsimmes. Brisket is standard fare even outside the world of Jewish holiday observance, and anyone who doesn’t love melt-in-your-mouth, moisture filled, slow cooked beef has got to be a little nutty. Or vegetarian. Tsimmes is a traditional Ashkenazi dish made with sweet potatoes, carrots, and dried fruit. There are, surprise!, several varieties.

I made my brisket this year in my trusty slow cooker and borrowed the recipe from the trusty Smitten Kitchen blog. The recipe was stellar, although if you read the full original post I will comment that many non-orthodox Jews (myself included) avoid corn syrup during the holiday. This full recipe for this is HUGE, so I made only 2 lbs of meat and reduced everything else in the recipe to about 1/3 of the original quantity.

Here’s the rundown of the brisket magic from my kitchen. 

Cook the onions with oil, garlic and spices:

IMG_3380 IMG_3381 IMG_3382

Prepare the sauce with beef broth, ketchup, chili sauce (corn syrup free!!) and brown sugar. I didn’t put very much sugar in…maybe a 1/4 cup.

IMG_3383 IMG_3384

Place the brisket in a slow cooker and then cover with onions and sauce:

IMG_3385 IMG_3386 IMG_3387

Cook on low for 10 hours:

IMG_3388

When it’s done, transfer to a pan to marinate in the fridge for one day before reheating to serve:

IMG_3389IMG_3390

This brisket was great, and the sauce was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.

And now moving on to tsimmes…

This is always a favorite dish of mine given my overwhelming adoration for both sweet potatoes and dried fruit. There are several types of tsimmes, some resembling something more like mashed sweet potatoes with mix-ins and others more like a roasted potato dish. I decided to go the roasted route this year and made something along the lines of this recipe with a few tweaks. To begin, I baked two thin-sliced sweet potatoes for 25 minutes at 450º.

While the potatoes cooked, I sauteed a 1/2 onion and two carrots:

IMG_3373 IMG_3375

Once softened, I transferred the onions and carrots to a large bowl and added one chopped apple, prunes, apricots, cinnamon, ginger, and orange juice:

IMG_3377

When the potatoes finished baking I added those to the mix and stirred it all up:

IMG_3378

I spread the mixture on an oiled baking pan and baked for 45 minutes at 350º.

IMG_3379

Wow! This was world class delicious and went great with the brisket.

Having these dishes fulfilled my base level of Passover craving and left me open to do some experimentation during the rest of the week. Check back soon for some less-standard Passover dishes!

Advertisements

The Lowry and Lemon Kale Salad

This past week, I went for lunch at The Lowry. The Lowry opened in 2011 and has been a hot uptown spot ever since. It has great food for all three meals of the day, and by night it turns into an upscale bar that attracts those who want something a little more sophisticated than what’s found at the neighboring Liquor Lyle’s.

IMG_3304IMG_3302

The Lowry has a fairly extensive menu of great looking breakfasts, appetizers, soups, salads, and sandwiches, so it was a challenge to decide what I wanted.

IMG_3303

I settled on the grilled cheese sandwich because it is served with a shooter of tomato soup. And, really, that is just too adorable to pass up. My friend ordered a breakfast dish that came with eggs, hashbrowns, toast, and turkey sausage:

IMG_3305IMG_3306

In addition to a great meal out, I also had some good food from my own kitchen last week. I had some leftover kale that I needed to use up, so I came up with a salad using a lot of extra ingredients from around the kitchen.

First, I chopped steamed a half bunch up kale until it just wilted:

IMG_3309

After removing the kale from the steamer, I added three shredded carrots, 1/4 cup cooked couscous, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup dried currants:

IMG_3310 IMG_3311

Finally, I squeezed the juice of one lemon into the mix and served with baked thyme chicken breast and sweet potato slivers:

IMG_3312

The chicken also was simple and fast to make. I topped the chicken with a little bit of olive oil and some chopped fresh thyme and cooked at 450º for 15 minutes. Cooking the chicken at a high heat for a shorter period of time makes it so much juicier (I’m so glad I learned that trick at Kitchen in the Market with Noah last summer!).

Cilantro Bison Tacos and Sweet Orange Carrots

I want to preface this post by saying that these two recipes do not go together. I just happened to make them on the same day. 🙂

I had some leftover cilantro in my kitchen from the fish cakes I made last weekend so something Mexican-inspired seemed appropriate. The result?

Cilantro Bison Tacos

This recipe was incredibly simple and came together in less than 20 minutes. First, chop 1/2 of an extra large onion and cook with a little bit of coconut oil. When the onion starts to become transparent, add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro:

IMG_2427

Add 1 tsp. each of cumin and oregano and stir to combine:

IMG_2428

Once combined, add 1/4 cup salsa and 1/2 lb. ground bison meat:

IMG_2430

Cook for a few more minutes until the meat is no longer pink. Serve with taco shells, tortillas, salad, etc.

Sweet Orange Carrots

IMG_2432

I don’t have any pictures of the process for this recipe, but here’s the rundown:

Sweet Orange Carrots, serves 4
Ingredients
- 1 lb. carrots
- 1 orange
- 6 medjool dates
- 2 tbsp. mint
- nutmeg
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. water
Method
1. Thinly slice carrots, pit and chop the dates, finely chop the mint 
and place in a skillet with a few shakes of nutmeg.
2. Juice the orange and pour over the carrot mixture. 
Add the zest from half the orange to the skillet.
3. Turn on the flame to medium-high. When the juice begins to boil, 
cover and simmer for approx. 8 minutes (until carrots are tender).
4. While the carrots are cooking, separate the orange flesh from the rind. 
Chop into small pieces.
5. After the carrots are tender, uncover the skillet and add the 
chopped orange.
6. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Add to the 
skillet and cook for a minute longer to help the moisture thicken.