Every year we turn our kosher food store into a Passover kosher food store. For over a month, from Purim through Pesach, my days are all about Passover. We pack away all of the chometz and get tonnes and tonnes (literally) of kosher for Passover food – it takes us days to get everything unpacked and on the shelves. We even rent a 40 foot train container and park it in our parking lot for extra storage.
As soon as that first items hit the shelves (or even before that) our days are filled with customer questions – about the products we sell, about the foods we cook and about recipes and menu ideas. Some people love cooking for Passover — they love pulling out the recipes that are traditional in there family and/or experimenting with new recipes and ideas. Others . . . well, others feel differently. They fear Passover and loathe matzo. I also hear a lot of complaints about how heavy the food is. But it doesn’t have to be.
I am firmly in the camp that likes Passover food. Really. I actually like matzo. I hear people say they think it tastes like cardboard all the time. I have no problem with a piece of matzo with butter and some fruit for breakfast. In fact, I’m quite happy with it. Seder meals that include soups, starters, at least two meats, several sides, and dessert can weigh you down, but those meals don’t have to, and the rest of the week can certainly focus on other, lighter things.
One of my favourite treats, something that’s good all year round but I tend to cook rarely outside of Passover is cheese blintzes. The delicate wrapper (bletlach) filled with creamy cheese and served with strawberries and a crisp salad make a great dinner — one that I enjoyed tonight. They were so delicious I was questioning my decision to keep them as a Passover treat — but maybe that’s part of what makes them so special.
Blintz Wrappers / Bletlach (based on a recipe from my book, Passover – A Kosher Collection)
It may take a few tries to get the hang of making these, but once you do, they’re easy to make. Fill them with cheese, fruit, potatoes or meat.
4 large eggs
1/2 cup cool water
5 Tbsp. potato starch
1/4 tsp. salt
oil for the skillet
Whisk the eggs, water, potato starch and salt together in a large measuring cup and let it rest for a few minutes. Whisk again, making sure you get rid of any potato starch lumps. Heat an 8″ non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Lightly brush the pan with oil — I like grape seed. Whisk the batter again and pour some into the pan — swirl the pan immediately so that the batter forms a thin layer and pour any excess batter back into the measuring cup.
Cook until the blettle (single bletlach) starts to bubble a little, the top is dry to the touch, the bottom just starts to brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Loosen the edges and turn the blettle out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Continue with the rest of the batter, whisking before each blettle and brushing with oil after every 2 or 3 bletlach — you should get 12-15 bletlach from one batch. Separate the layers of bletlach with parchment paper.
2 lbs. 1% pressed cottage cheese (or paper or baker’s cheese)
4 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon until everything is thoroughly incorporated.
Assemble the blintzes by placing one wrapper on your work surface with the cooked-side up.
Place approximately 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture along the bottom edge of the wrapper and roll it up from the bottom so that the filling is covered with the blettle. Fold the left and right sides in so that both ends are closed then continue to roll up from the bottom, using the whole blettle. Continue with the rest of the bletlach and filling.
You can refrigerate or freeze them at this point or heat some butter in a skillet and brown on both sides for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Serve on their own or with strawberries and sour cream.
These strawberries are great with the blintzes or use to top your matzo brei for breakfast.
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
1 tsp. potato starch
2 tsp. cool water
Place the strawberries, sugar and orange juice in a pot over medium heat and cook until the strawberries have release some juice and the liquid comes to a simmer — this should take about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the potato starch and water together. Add to the pot and stir through. Cook another minute, or until the juices have thickened slightly. Remove from heat. Serve hot of chill and serve cold.