Haggadah Section: Commentary / Readings


Recipe #1: Rabbi Isaac Luria (KABBALIST, TZEFAT, 16TH C)

Seven chopped fruits and nuts mentioned in the Song of Songs, like walnuts, figs, and pomegranates, grapes, apples, pears and dates. Three spices like ginger, cinnamon sticks, and sweet spike nard. (In Northern Europe where many fruits were unavailable in the spring, Jews simply used walnuts, apples and pears).

Recipe #2: Maimonides (TALMUDIST, PHILOSOPHER, EGYPT, 12TH C)

Figs and dates are soaked and then cooked. Then they are mashed and mixed with vinegar, straw-like grasses (like celery), and the spice “nard.” 5

Recipe #3: Rabbi Kapach (YEMENITE, ISRAEL, 20TH C) Charoset is called “Dukeh,” meaning smashed fruits and nuts: dates (300 grams), raisins (300 g), figs (100 g), sesame (200 g), pomegranate (1), almonds (100 g), walnuts (100 g), black pepper (20 g), cumin (20 g), cinnamon sticks (10 g), zangwill (ginger) (10 g).

Turkey with Matzah Stuffing
Recipe courtesy of Larisa Simonova from Tallinn, Estonia.

1 large turkey
For the stuffing: 10 pieces of matzah; 1 ½ cups of white wine; vegetable oil; 2 medium-sized onions, cubed; 2 tablespoons of soup mix; 1 stalk of celery, diced; 10 rosemary twigs; ¾ to 1 cup of walnuts, chopped;
For the basting oil: ½ cup of olive oil; 1 ½ teaspoons of mustard; ½ teaspoon of black pepper; ½ teaspoon of paprika.

Clean turkey thoroughly. Soak matzah in a dish with the white wine, until soft.
Fry the onion until the color is golden. Mix the onion together with matzah, then add the celery, rosemary, and walnuts.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix olive oil, mustard, black pepper and paprika in separate dish and then smear on turkey using your hands. Stuff turkey with the matzah stuffing, placing any additional stuffing under the turkey. Cover with foil and roast for at least 3 hours, turning it from time to time, until it gets tender and golden.

By Marissa Weitzman

Delicious Menu for the Seder
by Elizabeth Kurtz 
A festive meal worth waiting for!


Makes 8 servings

  • 3 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8 (5-ounce) fillets boneless, skinless salmon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine bell peppers, jalapeños, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until chunky. Add 1 cup of the cilantro and pulse to incorporate. Season with salt and set aside.

Heat oil and lemon juice in a large skillet over medium. Add remaining 1 cup cilantro, olives, and tomatoes and cook 30 seconds. Add reserved pepper puree. Cook 2 minutes and remove from heat.

Place salmon in a 9x13 oven-safe pan. Pour prepared sauce over salmon. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes. To serve, place salmon on platter and spoon sauce over and around the fish.


Makes 8 servings

Roasted Garlic:

  • 1 large head garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (Yukon Gold potatoes work well or red potatoes with skins on)
  • 1 cup olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup non-dairy creamer
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

To prepare the garlic: Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the top off the head of the garlic, exposing the cloves. Place a large piece of aluminum foil under and around the garlic head. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic, allowing the oil to cover the garlic completely. Wrap tightly with the foil. Bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven to cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic out of skins and mash into a pulp. Set aside.

To prepare the potatoes: Place potatoes in a large stockpot; add enough water to cover and salt well. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes; transfer to a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until chunky. Do not over mix or they will become gummy and dense.

Add reserved roasted garlic, ¾ cup of the olive oil, non-dairy creamer, salt, nutmeg, and pepper to mashed potatoes; mash or beat slowly with an electric mixer to desired consistency. Drizzle with olive oil; stir in chopped chives.

Serve warm.


Makes 8 servings

  • ½ cup (1 stick) margarine
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch
  • 3 pounds button mushrooms
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Passover soy sauce or white horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Melt margarine over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add potato starch and stir to blend; cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add mushrooms, wine, broth, onion, garlic, and Passover soy sauce/horseradish. Cook until mushrooms are tender and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.

Transfer mushrooms to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.


Serves 8

  • 2 lbs. asparagus, washed and trimmed (white or green)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large, low-sided roasting pan, place asparagus in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and garlic. Toss well.

Roast for 12 – 14 minutes (depending on thickness of asparagus and color, white takes longer, and thin asparagus might be cooked through with only 7 minutes cooking time). Remove from oven. Sprinkle lemon zest, juice, salt, pepper and parsley over asparagus.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Serves 10

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) brisket
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium broth or water
  • 1 cup cola (regular not diet)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small dish, mix together the brown sugar, garlic, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Rub the mixture generously and evenly over the brisket.

In a large roasting pan or Dutch oven, place the chopped onions on the bottom of the pan. Top with the brisket. Pour broth, and cola on top of and around brisket. Cover tightly, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Cool and slice thinly. Return to pan juices. Rewarm covered. Serve brisket with sauces.

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