>>I’ve been starting to plan meals for Passover, in the hopes that better planning will mean we eat more than matzah spread with whatever. I was wondering if you could post a bit of about creative passover meal ideas. And also I was wondering what you know of sprouting, lacto-fermenting, etc during Passover. What can be sprouted that isn’t kitniyos? All I can think of is sunflower seeds, and perhaps quinoa could be sprouted. We like fermented green beans best (dilly beans), but that is kitniyos. I’m not sure what other options there would be, that we would like. Can a person make kefir, or kombucha, or… for Passover? Do you worry about soaking grains when you are eating matzah? You can’t exactly soak matzah, right?
And also, I’ve been wondering, when you soak nuts and grains, if you don’t have a dehydrator, how do you get them back to normal? Particularly, if you soak grains, can they be ground for flour in that state? <<
I haven’t yet planned my Passover menu (I’ll do it on Thursday next week, after I see what I get for a very good price that I want to integrate into my planning), and I don’t know if it will be very creative! But I’ll be sure to post about it once I have it basically worked out.
I don’t think there’s much you can sprout for Passover, since it’s generally beans, seeds, and grains that are sprouted, and we don’t eat any of those! I suppose you can try to sprout quinoa, but I’ll just do an overnight soak with an acidic medium in a warm location. Nuts can be soaked and dehydrated, but I’m not planning to bother with that for the week of Passover- I generally use my dehdrator for that; the times I tried to use my oven to dry nuts that had been soaked and grains that had been sprouted, it didn’t turn out well at all! (My oven doesn’t go low enough and the result was slightly scorched.) (In answer to your last question, grains that are sprouted are ground after being dried if you want to use them for flour.)
Lacto fermented vegetables are a cinch for Passover – just shred the vegetables (I make up combinations all the time – try napa or cabbage with onion, garlic, carrots and some curry powder – this is an easy one that always turns out well), add some sea salt and water, and let them sit on your counter until they’re ready. (The salt I use throughout the year for table use is Real Salt, which is certified kosher for Passover – this would be a very good addition to fermented vegetables.) The hardest part is that some vegetables like cabbage will take more time than a week to be ready to eat! You can minimize the time needed to ferment cabbage by chopping it very finely. But most vegetables can be ready within 2 – 3 days. Most hard and crunchy vegetables can be effectively fermented – have fun experimenting!
Last year I asked about using the kefir grains and was told that I shouldn’t use them on Pesach (Passover). Realize that in virtually every situation that I’ve asked a question like this, the rabbi I approached had to rely on my detailed description to make his decision, since these kind of questions aren’t common. So it’s possible that it being an unknown food was a contributing factor to the decision and it was cautionary rather than kefir grains being problematic in and of themselves. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter to me – I was told not to use it for this one week a year so I don’t. I don’t find it hard to enjoy raw milk without culturing it for a week, so not having kefir is no hardship for me!
If you do want cultured dairy, you can easily make yogurt by buying a kosher for Passover plain whole milk yogurt starter, then following the instructions I gave here. I usually use a dehydrator but explained in the post that I just linked to how to use a cooler as the insulating box, with a heating pad/hot water bottle on top – since I don’t have a Passover dehydrator, that’s what I would do.
I don’t use kombucha, so I can’t share any tips with that – I tried to make it about three years ago and I think I killed my scoby. 😆 Maybe it wasn’t dead but it was so unappetizing looking that I threw it away.
Because of the high phytic acid content, I’ll be minimizing the use of matza, but matza meal can be soaked overnight in an acidic medium if you use it for cakes, muffins, or pancakes. You can use shredded coconut and nut flours in place of flours for baked goods – I have a number of recipes in my ‘recipe’ category that will be appropriate for Passover use, even if I didn’t label them as such.
Tonight I’ll be preparing beef liver for the first time (will share more about that another time), and bought a new grill to kasher it on so whatever we prepare will be able to be used for Passover. That will be a nice traditional addition to our Pesach menu, I hope!
Someone once commented that her Jewish mother-in-law gave her a Jewish cookbook and the entire book was filled with healthy recipes that work well for a gluten-free diet. I was wondering what in the world she could be talking about, and realized that she must have been given an older cookbook with Passover recipes! Once you get past the modern day food imitations that supermarkets are filled with that are marketed especially for this time of year, you realize that this really is an easy time of year to eat well, easier than during the rest of the year when grains and beans may be a staple of your diet.
Stick with traditional fats- extra virgin olive oil, rendered chicken fat (shmaltz), butter, and extra virgin coconut oil. Then add lots of fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, meat and chicken, along with quinoa, potatoes, and sweet potatoes for the starch, some nuts, coconut, and dried fruits for dessert – there’s hardly anything to miss eating. And all of it is healthy, simple, and delicious!