Passover + Bernie's First Month

Despite getting aggressively sick of matzo and showering millions of matzo crumbs all over Bernie every day (sorry, Bernie!), we had the best Passover ever. My mom flew in like a true Passover Mary Poppins and prepared the most delicious brisket, sweet potato kugel, matzo balls, and charoset while I fumbled around just trying to melt some dang chocolate for a flourless chocolate cake while Bernie snoozed but sometimes wailed in her ring sling. (Check out the finished cake! Whatever the cake decorating equivalent is to the Ravel Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, I’m practicing for it.) We set the table with my favorite flowery tablecloth and a makeshift seder plate, complete with Bernie’s toy beet because we couldn’t find a bone and it turns out that a beet is commonly used on vegetarian seder tables, and had the Eggs over for a short and sweet Seder. Bernie slept the entire time and even let me put her down in her bouncy chair so that I could safely eat some soup. She kind of woke up to telepathically guide Eggboy to where she thought the Afikoman was hiding and won, of course. Her prize was a Mo Willems book from Auntie Elaine.

The rest of the week consisted of leftover brisket matzo pizza, cheesy matzo brei, matzo lasagna, pb and j on matzo, kewpie and swiss on matzo… If I was an octopus I would have fixed big beautiful ramp-filled spring salads while also cuddling Bernie, but I’m not an octopus so I chose the next best route which still involved cuddling Bernie but required having to just one-hand scarf the most readily available calories on top of matzo. (And I only cheated once when I determined that one hour of solid Bernie screaming earned me one unit of chametz, which I redeemed in the form of a Jimmy John’s Turkey Tom.)

Other than Passover, we have had such a wonderful month, the first month of Bernie! It has included lots of firsts and lots of learning: 

-Bernie took a pacifier for the first time yesterday and I melted almost as quickly as I did the first time I held her. What is it about baby faces with pacifiers sticking out of them that are sooo outrageously adorable??

-We baked challah for the first time! Bernie was nestled in her Solly wrap while I braided. We made three loaves: everything bagel, cinnamon raisin, and sea salt. I hope she enjoyed the smell of it baking. Imagine smelling freshly baked challah for the first time!

-I learned how to not get projectile pooped on. (Of course, it took getting projectile pooped on to learn that…but it was my own fault for standing in the line of fire.)

-I learned how to plan a Sunday to avoid the witching hour so that Bernie would be calm throughout Game of Thrones.

-This morning I took Bernie up a flight of stairs for the first time. She was in her sling and fast asleep but in my mind it was a *moment*.

-Bernie had her first bath and I think she likes bath time!!

-I learned that the acoustics in the grocery store are not actually that bad when combined with Bernie screams. The acoustics in the gym kind of are though. Conveniently, it’s easier to drop everything and leave the gym than it is to drop everything and leave the grocery store. 

-And lastly, I learned how to have reasonable limits. Do one thing every dayjust one, advised Eggsister, and it’s been the best goal. One outing (like going to the grocery store or on a walk at the gym, but not both) or one project (like writing this blog post or baking something or working on Bernie’s baby book) plus all of the necessary baby stuff (feeding, changing, tummy time, bath time, cuddling) and adult stuff (brushing my teeth, eating a granola bar, staring at Bernie, and occasionally showering) makes a successful day these days. I’ve been slow moving but doing my best to savor every bit of it. 

Ok now if you’ll excuse me I’ve wanted a piece of challah for the past three hours so I’m going to prepare to make the journey with Bernie from living room to kitchen for that piece of challah. See you in a month!

-yeh!

spring veggie white matzo lasagna

I am so curious to see what our opinions are re: matzo after Passover is over this year because since last year’s Passover, we have basically kept the itsy bitsy Kosher section of our grocery store in business with our aggressive year-round matzo eating habit. I ate an insane amount of it while I was pregnant, with peanut butter and jelly, with Kewpie mayo and sliced cheese, and in extra shallot-y matzo brei covered in ketchup. Matzo was my go-to 3am snack, in bed. I am pretty sure Bernie is 1/3 made of matzo. Eating matzo is different when you have the option to eat bread though, right? Which is why we never got sick of it. This week without the option though, I’m afraid we’ll get sick of it and I’ll have to find another easy 3am snack. What a dramatic life we lead! 

When it came to baby meal prep, I was told over and over to make lasagna! So a matzo lasagna, one big enough to provide enough leftovers for a few good days, was an obvious choice for Passover. And I wanted to make sure it was veggie packed, so I converted my spring vegetable quinoa hotdish in Molly on the Range to a freezer-friendly layered situation. The matzo pieces get nice and soft with the white sauce, and the flavors of leeks, chives, ricotta, and peas whisper spring! Even though it’s totally loaded up with cheese and milk, the ricotta and bright flavors add a nice sense of airiness. And there’s layers upon layers of spinach in this. So go ahead, have seconds!

Thanks to Our Family for partnering on this post and providing all of the cheese for this delicious Passover supper!


Spring Veggie White Matzo Lasagna

Makes one 9” x 13” casserole

Ingredients

Sauce

1/4 c (57g) unsalted butter

2 large leeks, chopped

4 scallions or ramps, chopped, white and green parts separated

Kosher salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 tb matzo meal

3 c (720g) whole or 2% milk

1 c (236g) vegetable stock

1/4 c (75g) chopped chives

1/2 c (55g) fresh or frozen peas

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp onion powder

Black pepper

Hot sauce, to taste

Filling

1 large egg

1 (15oz) container our family part skim ricotta

3/4 c (3oz) our family shredded parmesan cheese

2 c (8oz) our family shredded mozzarella

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 c (5-6oz) fresh spinach

9 sheets matzo (I use lightly salted matzo)

Directions

If planning to bake immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºf. If prepping ahead, see directions below.

To make the sauce, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the leeks, the white parts of the scallions or ramps, and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, and then stir in the matzo meal and cook for another minute. Add the milk, one cup at a time, stirring until thickened after each. Add the vegetable stock and continue to stir until thickened. Stir in the green parts of the scallions or ramps, the chives (reserving a small handful for the topping), peas, nutmeg, onion powder, a few turns of black pepper, hot sauce, and salt to taste. Remove from heat.

To make the filling, in a medium bowl, mix together the egg, ricotta, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella, and the salt.

To assemble, spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” casserole pan (see specifics below on type of pan you should use if you’re planning to freeze). Layer in the following: 2 sheets of matzo, a third of the cheese filling dolloped all over, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzo, another third of the cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzo, the remaining cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, remaining sauce, and then sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 sheets of matzo broken into pieces, and the reserved parmesan, mozzarella, chives, and a few turns of pepper.

Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes, and then for an additional 15 minutes uncovered, or until golden brown on top. Enjoy!

To freeze: I’d recommend using a foil pan that you can place directly in the oven from the freezer. Otherwise, you can use glass or enameled cast iron pan, but it would be best to defrost it in the fridge overnight before baking to avoid cracking the pan. Once the lasagna is assembled, let it cool slightly and wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake at 350ºf covered in foil for 1 hour 30 minutes, and then uncovered for an additional 15-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and heated through. Enjoy!


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

this recipe was created in partnership with our family!

Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

Frozen cookie dough is an essential part of baby meal prep!!!! And just because Passover is around the corner doesn’t make this any different. Well, it actually kind of makes it easier because these cookies are, like, stupidly simple to make. One-bowl, three-minute simple. Remember this Passover cookie cake from a few years ago? Magic, right?! So chewy, delicious, and satisfying, and easy enough that some people asked if there was a typo and if there should have been more steps (no typo!). So these chocolate chip cookies are just hand-held versions of that cake that kind of take on a new life of their own because when they’re in this smaller shape and rolled in sugar, they get a crisp crunchy shell but stay so amazingly chewy inside. And also, you can keep this dough in the freezer and bake off only one or two cookies at a time as needed, so the convenience is real. And the flavor is awesome too, thanks to a tasty nut flour base. If you’d like to change things up and add dried fruit or M&M’s or other candy or chopped nuts, you can totally do that with these. Happy almost Passover! 


Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 12

ingredients 

1 c (112g) almond flour

1 c (112g) hazelnut flour, or 1 more cup almond flour

1/2 c (100g) lightly packed light brown sugar 

1/2 c (100g) sugar 

3/4 tsp kosher salt 

1 large egg 

1 tb vanilla extract 

1/2 tsp almond extract 

3 oz chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (any kind!)

Coarse sanding sugar or turbinado sugar

Clues

If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºf. If preparing for the freezer, see below for directions. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set it aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugars, and salt. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond and stir to combine and then stir in the chocolate. The whole mixture might seem dry at first, but keep on stirring and it will come together. Roll balls that are slightly larger than golf balls and roll them in sanding sugar. Flatten them slightly and then place them on the baking sheet, 1” apart.

If baking immediately, bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool slightly and enjoy! They will be super gooey when they come out of the oven but they will get chewy as they cool.

If preparing to freeze, stick the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is frozen, about an hour or so, and then transfer to a ziploc bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake cookies 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment at 350ºf for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool slightly and enjoy! They will be super gooey when they come out of the oven but they will get chewy as they cool.


kale matzo pizza with garlic, lemon, and almonds

A truth about matzo pizza that I only recently learned is that it has the ability to take on the life of a very tasty cracker crust pizza and become something that is delicious enough to have year-round and, in this case, healthyish enough to have for lunch pizza. You have to do the following though: use a fresh cheese (like fresh mozzarella) that will lend some of its excessive moisture to the dry matzo and soften it slightly, salt the shit out of it, and brush it with olive oil so the edges get just slightly kind of fried and light and crispy. I believe that the world is your matzo pizza kosher oyster when you do these things and I’m going to demonstrate it with this tasty recipe inspired by the broccolini and preserved lemon pizza at the hip joint Young Joni, in Minneapolis. That Young Joni pizza has my favorite flavor combo: green + lemon + garlic, and then it also has almonds! Which turns out is a brilliant way to add protein to a vegetarian pizza. I’ve used kale instead of broccolini here because the dainty matzo wanted a daintier topping than broccolini and also I opted to go with lemon zest instead of preserved lemons because I think I’ve recently overdosed on preserved lemons. But you can use them if you want! 


kale matzo pizza with garlic, lemon, and almonds

makes 4

Ingredients

4 slices of matzo (egg matzo or gtfo)
Olive oil
6 oz (170g) fresh mozzarella, torn
Kosher salt
1/3 c (40g) sliced almonds
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 oz (113g) kale, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Black pepper
Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Parmesan, for serving
Sriracha, for serving, or other spicy stuff
 

Clues

Preheat oven to 425ºf.

Place the matzo on baking sheets lined with parchment and brush all over with a thin layer of olive oil. Top with the fresh mozzarella and a few good pinches of salt. Distribute the almonds all over. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, kale, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt, and massage it for a minute or two to soften the kale and get it evenly coated in olive oil. Pile it onto the pizza. It is a lot of kale (and a lot of garlic) but it will cook down in the oven and also a lot of kale is good! Sprinkle with the thyme, a few turns of pepper, and the lemon zest and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the matzo are brown. 

Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a shower of shaved parmesan, and some very good drizzles of sriracha or other spicy stuff and enjoy! Yogurt ranch is also good drizzled on this.
 


-yeh!