By Ruth Abrams
As a vegetarian and the mom of a picky eater, I find the various rules of Passover a stimulus to creativity and improvisation in the kitchen. Probably the best thing I made last Pesach was twice-baked potatoes with spinach: no dairy, no eggs, no matzah meal and my son and his cousin both like spinach. This is how I did it.
Twice-Baked Potatoes with Spinach
Four large baking potatoes
Baby spinach (1 lb., pre-washed)
Large onion (about 1 1/2 cups, chopped)
Salt and pepper
Passover margarine, if you use it
Scrub the potatoes and bake them at 375 degrees (or whatever temperature you need the oven to be for the dozen other things you find yourself making!). In the meantime, sauté the onion in a large skillet or pot in olive oil until golden, about five minutes on a medium-low flame.
Rinse the spinach in water and add the spinach to the onion, placing a lid on the pot so that the spinach will steam. You will find the spinach flops down and cooks quickly, so if your pan isn't big enough for the whole pound of spinach leaves, just add them a little bit at a time. Set the spinach and onion mixture aside. It's good if this mixture is a little wet.
When the potatoes are baked, slice them in half and scoop out the insides with a fork, leaving just enough potato flesh that the skins don't collapse. Put the skins on a baking dish. Mash the potato flesh with a fork or masher until it's nice and fluffy, and then mix in the spinach and onions. Season the whole filling with a little salt and pepper, and then scoop it into the shells. Bake the potatoes again at 350 until they're hot and the tops are slightly crusty.
And here's my family recipe for Passover rolls, those weird non-bread baked goods you can put in your child's lunchbox. My mother found the recipe in a synagogue cookbook attributed to a mysterious "Mrs. Epstein."
1/4 cup oil (can be made with olive oil)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups matzah meal
Put oil, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir matzah meal in well. Cool completely. (If you feel impatient, put it in the freezer--it has to be cool or the recipe doesn't work.) Add eggs whole, one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Fill the well-greased cups of a muffin tin 3/4 full with the mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Freeze in plastic bags if you aren't eating them immediately.
We also recommend Ruth's article about ways to include children in Passover, plus ideas for kid-friendly seders and tips for hosting a sustainable seder.
Ruth Abrams is a Jewish writer, mother and freelance editor with a largely decorative Ph.D. who knows a lot of recipes. She blogs at theversatilewriter.org.
By Ruth Abrams