Hello and happy Passover! I hope everyone had wonderful Sedarim. We went low-key this year as it’s been a tough couple weeks. Unfortunately, my husband lost his beloved father to cancer the week before Passover. He had been sick for only a handful of months and, as cancer tends to do, it took him quickly. We are still in shock, even a week after his funeral. I flew to Jersey for a quick and emotional 48 hours in order to be with the family as we said our final good-byes. While I lost my grandparents at a relatively older age, this is the closest I’ve come to losing a parent and I’d like to not do it again, thank you very much.

 

 

My husband was gone for a total of 2 weeks prior to Passover and while it was tough to go through all of that with the two kids at home, I gotta say, I continue to be overwhelmed by the support of friends and the community we’ve made here in Los Angeles. People sent food and prayers and showed up at 8am on a Sunday morning for the shiva in order to stand by Yonz and I as we ended the shiva week. It’s amazing how truly wonderful people can be when you ask for help (and accept it).

Now, about this recipe. It wasn’t until I went to Teaneck and had my first Passover at my would-be in-law’s house that I had my first matzah lasagna. When I saw my mother-in-law making it I was like, “ummm, matzah soaked in water and then baked with sauce and cheese? Hard pass”. But then I took a bite and I became a believer. Since then, matzah lasagna has been on our Passover table at least once every year. I pair it with some baked salmon and a spring green salad to help off-set the immense cheesy-ness of it and I have to say, it’s a delightful little lunch (if I do say so myself). Pay attention to the directions below. You do need to soak but not for too long as it will turn into mush if it’s soaked for too long. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Eggplant Matzah Lasagna

2 large eggs

1 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese

1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp kosher salt

1/2 tbsp ground black pepper

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1 jar of marinara sauce or 3 cups of homemade sauce

8 standard sheets of matzoh

1 eggplant, roasted (<— click for roasted eggplant recipe)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Fill a baking dish with about an inch of room temp. water and set aside.

In a medium bowl beat the eggs then and add 2 Tablespoons Parmesan, ricotta and 3/4 cup of mozzarella. Next, add the spices and combine well.

Spread ½ cup of sauce on the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish,

Soak 1 sheet of matzah in the water for about 30 seconds in order to soften (note: You might need to soak 2 matzah slices or 1 1/2 as matzah never seems to be fully the right size for a lasagna baking dish. Just make sure your matzah covers the majority of the length and width of the baking dish). It’s important that you not let it soak for longer than 30 seconds, you don’t want it to fall apart or become mush. Place the soaked sheet of matzah in the baking dish.

Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture on top of the matzoh. Spread ¼ cup sauce on top of the ricotta and then at least 4 slices of roasted eggplant. And sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Soak the second sheet of matzah for 30 seconds and place in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining ricotta, ¼ cup sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella.

Soak the last piece of matzah for 30 seconds and place in the baking dish. Spread with ¼ cup sauce (or more) and top with a few slices of roasted eggplant. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and a tablespoon of grated Parmesan.

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is golden and lasagna is bubbling, about 10 more minutes. If sides are bubbling, but you want the cheese more golden quickly, stick it under the broiler for 10-30 seconds.

 

 

I remember sitting at lunch one day at a restaurant on the corner of 3rd and Harper in Los Angeles with my peeps, Keeli and her husband David (hi, Wolkin!) when Keeli ordered a dish I had never heard of before—chilaquiles. When the word left her mouth I was like, “Umm, do what now?”. For a Jewish lady born and raised in Marietta, GA, I had never heard of chilaquiles before. I was a bit embarrassed because I consider myself a pretty ‘with it’ individual, especially when it comes to food, but I had never heard of chilaquiles until that moment. See now, Keeli was born and raised in California so homegirl was aware of all the best SoCal foods. So when the dish was delivered to the table and I realized it was basically a Mexican version of shakshuka (if shakshuka was made with pita chips, which, by the way, we should make happen), I was in.

As with a lot of dishes, chilaquiles varies amongst regions. You can make it with green or red sauce and I chose red for this one though I think a green sauce would be awesome as well. While I made this recipe with a cast iron skillet, you definitely don’t need to though I do recommend a frying pan that can go straight from stove top to oven. The recipe for this can be found on Interfaithfamily.com. Happy Passover!

 

 

 

 

 

Not all quinoa is created equal—at least that’s the case when it comes to finding Kosher for Passover quinoa. It was only recently that this healthy rice/noodle alternative became a hit amongst healthy eaters and though it’s not as popular as it was a few years ago (every fad must end, no?) it absolutely it still embraced every year in my household come Passover. I remember a few years ago, the Trader Joe’s brand of quinoa was one of the few brands that the Orthodox Union had certified as kosher for Passover and you best believe Jews were throwin’ some ‘bows to get their hands on boxes of the stuff. I mean serious, it was like black Friday at a Wal-mart. You’d think they were giving the stuff away from free the way we hoarded it but no, it’s just that it was a better option, FINALLY, than those Kosher for Passover noodles we ate year in and year out (if Jew keep strict kosher during Passover, then Jew know what I’m talking about). Quinoa came at a time where, if I had to look at one more bowl of sad, soppy potato noodles during Passover ONE MORE TIME, I was gonna lose it. The certification process for quinoa is insane and basically, if the OU deems it worthy of it’s Passover certification well, let’s just say it’s like one of my students getting into the Ivies . . . it’s a big deal and it’s very validating. And so, I bring you a list of recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers out there to help broad your quinoa horizons, whether it being during Passover or any time throughout the year. I hope you enjoy! Just 11 more days until Passover . . .

 

Quinoa Sushi with Matzah Crunch from Jewhungry

Broccoli and Quinoa Salad with Asian Vinaigrette from Overtime Cook

Steak and Peppers Quinoa Bowl from Cook with Chef Eitan

Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Honey Citrus Vinaigrette from The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Herby Quinoa Kale Salad (omit olives for Passover if need-be) from Kosher Like Me

Butter and Vinegar Infused Mushrooms, Quick Crispy Quinoa and Crispy Parsley from Manu’s Kitchen

Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad with Quinoa from The Lemon Bowl

Quinoa Zucchini Pie from Kitchen Tested

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad from Busy in Brooklyn

Mushroom, Zucchini & Quinoa Breakfast Muffins from May I Have That Recipe?

Pumpkin Quinoa Chili (remove beans for Kosher for Passover otherwise, Sephardic kosher for Passover) from A Clean Bake

Kale and Quinoa Mac n’ Cheese (remove panko and dry mustard for Passover) from What Jew Wanna Eat

Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette from A Nutritionist Eats

Quinoa Majadra (Sephardic Kosher for Passover) from This American Bite

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