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#1032 - Passover and Easter Dinner
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Passover and Easter are coming up soon, and it's a day of the year when families really like to get together for a lovely springtime meal. I was thinking about this the other day, and I realized that we could recommend quite a few dishes that would be appropriate for both traditions. Of course Passover is a a special meal with an abundance of ritual, including special foods, but there is always room on the table for something a little extra. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen points out, there are many recipes that are suitable both for a Kosher table and the Easter table as well. Here are a few:
Asparagus and eggs in white balsamic vinaigrette
1. Trim asparagus and blanch in simmering water. When tender remove.
2. Hard boil three eggs, peel and set aside.
3. Prepare a vinaigrette with 2 parts olive oil to one part white balsamic vinegar, squeeze of lemon, a tablespoon of fresh chopped chervil and a pinch of kosher salt.
4. Arrange three or four asparagus spears on a plate. Drizzle the vinaigrette over them. Mash the eggs with a fork, sprinkle a little kosher salt over them, and then garnish the asparagus with some of the mashed hard boiled eggs.
Quinoa apple salad
Olive oil for sautéing
1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and minced
1 clove elephant garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups quinoa, cleaned and rinsed kosher salt
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup lightly roasted hazelnuts, roughly ground up
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped up, then tossed in lemon juice
1/2 cup finely chopped basil leaves
1. Sautee the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Reduce heat, and add the garlic. Cook for only about 30 seconds, stirring often. Pour in the quinoa and cook it in the same skillet for about a minute, stirring to give it a bit of toasting.
2. Add the chicken broth to the skillet, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and let it absorb the broth, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove the skillet from the heat, uncover and allow the quinoa to cool down a bit. Sprinkle with salt and stir in the nuts, apple and basil leaves. Toss well, and set aside to cool to room temperature. Serve well tossed in a bowl, and garnish with parsley sprigs.
Couscous stuffed chicken with olives and Meyer lemon
(From Joyce Goldstein's "Saffron Shores", one of Al's favorite cookbooks.)
(Note: you can substitute turmeric for saffron, but don't use too much.)
1 large cooking hen (4-5 pounds)
1 lemon, cut in half
salt to sprinkle
For the stuffing:
1 cup couscous
3/4 cup salted water
2 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup blanched almonds, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed and steeped in 2 tbs hot water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
For the sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 small hot red peppers
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed and steeped in 2 tbs hot water
salt and black pepper to taste
1 whole head of garlic, with paper husk removed as much as possible
1 bunch of fresh cilantro sprigs
2 cups water
4 cups cracked green olives
3 Meyer lemons, cut lengthwise into quarters, seeds removed
1. Rinse chicken inside and out, pat dry, rub with the lemon halves, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
2. For the stuffing: Steam the couscous over boiling water for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with the olive oil, and continue to steam for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let it cool. Fold in the almonds, raisins and spices, and stuff the bird's cavity.
3. To cook the bird and make the sauce: In a Dutch oven or large deep sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and sauté the onions until tender. Add the red peppers, ginger, saffron, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for a few minutes. Place the chicken in the bottom of the pan, and brown in on all sides, turning frequently.
4. Add the garlic head, the coriander and the water to the pot, and over medium heat bring the liquid to a simmer, reduce slightly, and cover the pot. Allow the chicken to cook for about 1 1/2 hours, until tender. During the last 15 minutes, add the olives and the Meyer lemons.
5. Uncover the pot, transfer the chicken to a warming plate, and turn up the heat to reduce the remaining sauce. Before serving, discard the garlic, red peppers and coriander sprigs. Check the seasoning. Remove the stuffing from the bird, then cut the bird into serving pieces. Place a mound of stuffing under the chicken, and ladle on the sauce, being sure to serve everyone olives and lemon pieces.