Passover 2013 – Holiday Highlights

Shiksa Passover 2013

I kind of feel like a truck hit me, in a good way. These past two weeks have been totally bonkers. I knew Passover would be busy, but I couldn’t have anticipated just how busy it would actually be. Since today is the last day of Passover, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the highlights with you. After the recap, please share your own Passover thoughts and memories in the comments section. I’d love to hear how all of your Seders went, and what kinds of new recipes you tried!

As the holiday approached, I created this new index of Passover recipes, with special categories for Ashkenazi, Sephardic, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and more. I’ll use it each year and add to it when new Passover-friendly recipes are posted. Click the matzo to see the index:

The Shiksa's Passover Recipe Index

I also organized the second annual Passover Potluck. We had some incredible submissions this year from some really talented, fabulous food bloggers. Click the badge below to see all of the terrific recipes that were shared:

The Shiksa's Passover Potluck 2013

I have to give one more thank you shout-out to Idaho Potatoes for sponsoring this amazing potluck and helping me bring all of these wonderful recipe ideas to you.

To kick off the Passover media appearances, I shared Passover recipes on New Day Northwest in Seattle:

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Then I shared some holiday dessert ideas on Fox San Diego:

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After that, I spoke at the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture for their “In the Mix” series about my “Passover Secrets.” I had a great time demoing a few recipes and talking about my own Passover cooking experiences. It was a great group and a fun time was had by all.


Finally, I came back home to a house full of our Israeli friends, who flew all the way here to join us for my home-cooked Seder meal. It was a pretty big celebration. I made, in total, 35 pounds of brisket and a giant vat of matzo ball soup. Two full days of cooking. By the end I was downing Advil for my back and iced tea for the caffeine fix. But I made it, and everything turned out fantastic… or so I’m told!

Shiksa Passover 2013

Sadly, I didn’t get any pics of the food. Between the Haggadah and rushing to and from the kitchen, I just didn’t have the time. I can tell you what was on the menu, though!

The Shiksa’s Passover Seder 2013

My Favorite Chicken Soup with Floater Matzo Balls

My Favorite Holiday Brisket

Slow Cooker Barbecue Brisket
(I modified it by using homemade BBQ sauce and potato starch)

Seared Salmon with Toasted Almond Pesto

Roasted Asparagus, Avocado and Arugula Salad


Moroccan Carrot Harissa Salad (recipe will be in my upcoming cookbook!)

Sweet Citrus Rosemary Medley

Dark Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

Passover Apple Pecan Pie

I did something a little different with my matzo ball soup this year. Usually, I make one huge pot of chicken soup the traditional way, then I make a separate large pot of broth for the matzo balls. The matzo balls soak up a lot of soup, so cooking them in their own pot of stock reserves the soup broth for guests. Rather than going through all of the chopping, peeling, etc. of veggies to make a second pot of stock for the matzo balls, I came up with a shortcut. I bought a rotisserie chicken (our local kosher market carries them during Passover). I cut most of the meat off and reserved it for the large pot of chicken soup. Then I put the skin and bones into the second pot and boiled them. It produced a rich, dark, seasoned broth, which only needed a little salt to make it taste excellent. I strained the broth, then cooked the matzo balls in it. This resulted in the most flavorful matzo ball soup I’ve ever made. The idea was inspired by a reader a couple of years ago who suggested using rotisserie chicken for my chicken soup broth. It’s way easier than making a second pot of stock from scratch! Plus you’ll have those yummy bits of rotisserie chicken in your soup. Try it sometime, you’ll love it!

So here’s something amazing. I had more hits on my website this month than I’ve ever had in the history of my blog! It warms my heart to know how many of you made my recipes for the Passover holiday, that your families and friends ate and enjoyed these dishes I’ve worked so hard to develop. Your comments and emails mean more to me than I can say. I haven’t gotten back to all of you yet, but I’m trying my best! Thank you for reading, sharing your comments and thoughts, and being part of what I consider to be the greatest cooking community online (I’m biased, of course). You all inspire me daily. :)

How about you? What are your highlights from Passover week? What was the best dish you made? Any kitchen disasters? Please share!

xoxo Tori

Comments (25)Post a Comment

  1. I made your seared salmon with the pesto twice! That pesto is such a yummy update from my usual (basil, garlic, walnuts, salt and olive oil). The toasted almonds and meyer lemon make it!! And my husband loves the crispy-ness of the seared salmon. Once passover’s over he recommended we have it over a little pasta. I think that sounds splendid :).

    Thank you.

  2. My girl,
    You are the best, most courteous kosher food blogger I’ve ever followed. Ideally appreciate your compassion for the gluten-free among us; it’s not an easy way to live but you’ve really helped. It is very reassuring to make your recipes; they always come out the way you say they will :) Mary’s Mandelbrot were a big hit–my husband is allergic to gasp chocolate! So they were a winner. Additionally, I found a great recipe on Pinterest for Passover Pistachio Brittle by Martha Stewart. It wasn’t gf and I did get a little sick but it was crazy delicious worth it! It was a lovely holiday it I’m glad it’s over…hope yours was great and thanks for all the step by step recipes!

    1. Aww, Julia, thank you! And I’m really glad you had a chance to make Mary’s recipe. Meeting her was an amazing experience. Pistachio brittle sounds awesome!

  3. Tori this post made me SO HAPPY. When I converted in 2007 I told my Rabbi that even after two intense years of study I didn’t *feel* Jewish. He told me that the best way to feel Jewish is by creating Jewish memories. I don’t have a Jewish family and my Jewish MIL passed away before I met her. I am raising Jewish children in a Jewish home and using YOUR recipes as guidance. I can honestly say that now I feel nothing other than Jewish.

    I hope you are so proud to host Israeli family, speak to Jews about creating a deliciously meaningful holiday and hosting a beautiful seder (not to mention being a kick ass step mom). Congratulations on the hits, I’m not surprised one bit.

    This year I totally cut corners and used rotisserie chicken to make my stock and my balls! I added apples to the sage butternut squash recipe and it was awesome as were the chocolate dipped macaroons.

    From one shiksa to another THANK YOU for both your recipes and your inspiration. And PLEASE give me the heads up on your book over at Kveller 😉

    1. Tamara, you are the sweetest! Can’t tell you how much it means to me that the site and my recipes are contributing to your Jewish experience. So glad you had a happy holiday. Keep making those memories! xoxo

  4. I loved your revelation about the rotisserie chicken stock. This is how I make ALL my chicken soup. In fact, in my recipe box it is listed as “Rotisserie Chicken Soup.” I’ve passed the recipe on to bride’s to be as a great starter for making awesome soup broth.

  5. Love your blog and recipes. Made pesto salmon and the asparagus arugala salad for my parents week before passover and they were both divine. Yasher Koach!

  6. Hi Tori. Your blog is an inspiration. After years of reproducing my mom’s recipes and merging those with cooking traditions of my m.i.l. from the northern midwest, I was feeling the need for new “takes” on tradition. And you have provided exactly that. I resource you 2-3 times weekly. We (your readers) are all lucky to have your commitment, adventurous spirit, combined with your regard for traditions–both old and new. Thank you. By the way, I love Bubbe Ruth’s Mandel Bread–and love her story that came with it.

  7. I wanted to thank you so very much for your generosity in sharing all these valuable recipes and resources. My husband is Jewish and I am not, so preparing a special Passover meal (for a seder for our three girls) for the first time this year was so much better for being able to refer to your website (along with quite a few others, I hope you don’t mind my saying)! For us, the standout recipes were the braised brisket (which was so good we decided this was a recipe that HAD to be kept), and your Passover Chocolate Chip cookies reminded my husband of the special cookies his Bubbe would make him during the holiday (and was a recipe his grandmother and mother could never seem to replicate). Again, thank you so much!

  8. having kids and an ex allergic to fresh fruits, i’ve always cooked the charoseth [chopped apples & pears, pecans, wine] since moving to florida, i’ve switched to mango chutney: mango, wine, almond slivers, vinegar, brown sugar, sometimes red pepper flakes. don’t be afraid to experiment with local foods, it is the way of our people!
    love the rotisserie chicken stocl=k, gneius!

  9. New to your blog and loving it! Thanks for taking the time to do it. Your seder table looks beautiful and I particularly love the goblets. Can you tell me where you got them?

  10. I too use the roasted chicken carcass (Costco) to make stock. I cut off the breast and thigh meat, put the rest in the pot with carrot/onion/celery, and let it simmer for 24 hours. Sometimes, when I want it to be REALLY good, I’ll use a couple of boxes of organic chicken stock in place of the water. This year, my matzo ball soup got RAVE reviews, as did your Holiday brisket recipe. Thank you for being here!

  11. Hi Tori, I write to you from Johannesburg, South Africa. I discovered your blog about two weeks before Pesach whilst looking for exciting recipes for Pesach. Thank you for sharing not only your own ideas but recipes from your fellow bloggers. The mock chopped liver was a huge success. The Moroccan Lemon Chicken was fantastic (I was asked to make it after yom tov) I also made it into a stew with beef – hugely successful. The Lemony Almond Macaroons were so easy to make and sooo yum to eat and then there was Mary’s Mandelbroodt as well. I turned your cheese roulade with caramel choc glaze into a parev ice-cream as I do not entertain with milk meals. I filled the roulade with a light chocolate ice cream – it tasted wonderful and wow it looked amazing on the table. Bubaleh were made every morning for breakfast (batches and batches of them) so easy to make what a bonus. There were so many more recipes that I wanted to make but with the regulars I make I ran out of time and meals. Thank you for making our Pesach such a tasty one. I will be a regular to your blog from now on.
    Thank you, thank you and may your blog go from strength to strength. With love

    1. Thank you for your kind words Shelley! It means so much to me knowing that your are making and enjoying the recipes with your family. Welcome to the blog!

  12. My friend and I hosted a Passover Seder the first night. It turned into our own potluck seder because every one wanted to bring something. I brought the chicken course and a flourless chocolate torte. Yum.

    It was a good thing our seder turned into a potluck, because my friend and I cooked for our synagogues second night community seder. 150 people. We had wonderful volunteers cycling in and out that helped with chopping and mixing. But the burden of the seder fell on my friend. Our rabbi, bless his heart, decided that he wanted the food to go with the music he had planned for the night – call & response adapted from India. So, he wanted Indian food. The problem was, most of our congregation is Ashkenazic, so we couldn’t use rice, lentils or beans (Indian food, remember). Also, we had to eliminate almost all of the heat from the food, AND we had to prepare food for people who don’t like Indian food AND we had to prepare vegetarian everything for people who don’t eat meat….. My friend was able to come up with recipes that could go either way, depending on the spices that went in them. We started off with a fish course, (2 ways and vegetarian), then the main course with 3 sides (2 ways plus vegetarian). The desserts we bought.

    We stood up for about 10 hours for three days. We had to start the cooking later in the day because the lovely rabbis who kashered our kitchen for Passover came 2 hours later than they said (they were crazy too).

    My back hurt so much that I couldn’t sit down – because I’d never get up again.

    On Wednesday we had another crisis because our schul prepares food for the needy every Wednesday and serves on Thursday. We had a totally new volunteer crew in on Wednesday. We made matza ball soup for 150 people. On Thursday there was a totally new volunteer group – non Jewish teenagers who never heard from kosher, or Passover for that matter, as well as emergency trips to the store….

    I slept all day on Friday.

    We say every year that we won’t do it again, and every year we do. It is a huge amount of work and responsibility. It is also a tremendous honor. I’m sure we’ll continue to loose our minds next year.

  13. Your blog has been like finding buried treasure! I used at least 4 of your recipes for our Seder and they were all fantastic! Everyone loved them! Thank you soooo much for sharing!
    Now I can’t wait to try your portobello mushroom recipe with goats cheese sauce I just saw….yum!!

  14. Tori, I just wanted to say that over the past 7 months or so I’ve been reading this blog. I started from the very first blog entry I could find, and in my spare time, read as many of the posts as possible. I am just now getting to read the blogs from Passover of this year (however, before Passover I scoured your website for recipes for my first Passover) and have to say that I love your blog and recipes. I have tried many of your recipes and they always turn out great! I am slowly catching up with the blog and hope I will get to the most current blogs shortly. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the blogs and recipes :)

    1. That is so cool Tara! I guess you can see how my photography has improved over the years too. Some of those old photos make me cringe, haha! So happy you’re enjoying the blog, thanks for writing. Please help spread the word! :)

  15. I am looking forward to trying these recipes this year! I was wondering what that spiral bound book is underneath the plate used for the Seder meal.

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