16 April, 2009

last night's dinner: Trying to make something from matzos

I’ve already made it quite clear that I dislike Passover this year. I didn’t expect it to affect me other than the lack of work but I forgot that my grandfather keeps kosher for Passover. I had planned on cooking while I was out here but I hadn’t thought ahead about the whole kosher thing. If you haven’t ever tried matzoh you really should just for the experience. The particular brand of matzos that my grandfather bought is “Yehuda Matzos” which, as the package proclaims, was the number 1 rated matzo in 2002 according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Apparently the Chronicle declared that Yehuda Matzos are “crunchy, with a good snap.” Notice that this description does not include anything about taste because matzo does not have a taste.

I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to make that was kosher and not terrible. The only kind of dish I’ve eaten with matzos in it was matzos brie which is basically fried matzos mixed with scrambled eggs. It wasn’t bad but I also wouldn’t say that it was good. Luckily I found a few recipes that sounded pretty decent. I settled on a spinach and matzoh pie recipe on epicurious.

* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
* 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped dill, divided
* 1 (16-ounce) container cottage cheese
* 2 cups whole milk
* 3 large eggs
* 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
* 6 ounces feta, crumbled (1 1/2 cups), divided
* 6 matzos (about 6 inches square)

* Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
* Cook onion in oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
* Meanwhile, put spinach in a sieve and press out as much liquid as possible. Add spinach to onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup dill, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
* Purée cottage cheese in a blender with milk, eggs, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until smooth. * Reserve 2 cups in a bowl and stir remainder into spinach with 1 cup feta.
* Stack matzos in a deep dish and pour reserved cottage-cheese mixture over them. Let stand 15 minutes to soften.
* Arrange 2 soaked matzos side by side in a generously oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch (3-quart shallow) baking dish. Pour in half of spinach filling. Cover with 2 more matzos, then pour in remaining filling. Put remaining 2 matzos on top and pour any remaining cottage-cheese mixture over them. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup feta.
* Bake, uncovered, until golden and set, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then serve sprinkled with remaining 2 tablespoons dill.

I halved the recipe since it was just two of us and this is supposed to make 8 servings. I also used fresh spinach instead of frozen, left out the dill and topped it with sliced tomatoes. Instead of soaking the matzos I just briefly washed them in cold water. It was really good and if I ever had some matzoh around the house I would definitely make it again. I usually take a picture of any of the meals I write about here but I hadn’t eaten all day and forgot to take one before we started eating.

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