Monday, April 8, 2013

Passover Postscript

Okay, just a few final words.  I don't mean to belabor the Passover point, but there is just a bit more I want to share with you about Passover food.  Well, sort of, Passover food.

If you are Jewish, you know about the roasted  hard-boiled eggs we eat during the our seders.  If you're not familiar with this ritual, I'll spare you the explanation since there are several and none of us of can ever agree upon them anyway.  Haha, it just gives us one more thing to debate argue about - a common occurrence around the Jewish dinner table!

Since Henry, Sue, Ross and I are gluttons for punishment, we hold two seders - one on the first night of Passover and one on the second.  In the interest of full disclosure, we dial it down somewhat on the second night.  Let me tell you, two nights of Passover food and you're ready for a BLT!

So this year we decided to change up those boiled eggs on the first night to Truffled Eggs for the second.  These were so good that we ate the leftovers for breakfast the following morning.  They may not be traditional Passover fare, but they are flat out delicious!  You may not want them for Passover but they would be a fabulous addition to your next barbecue or even as an appetizer with pre-dinner champagne!


12 eggs (I used extra-large)
1 cup mayonnaise, additional if needed
1 – 2 tablespoons black truffle oil
Large sea salt crystals

Place eggs in a heavy saucepan large enough to hold them in one layer.  Cover completely with cool water and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil, then immediately turn off heat.  Cover the pan and let stand for exactly 13 minutes.  Drain water and place eggs into a bowl of cold water.  Lightly crack each egg as you drop it in the cold water to release any residual heat, so as to prevent a green ring around the yolks.

Peel the eggs under cool water and pat dry.  Slice each egg in half lengthwise and remove the yolks to a small bowl.  Place the cooked whites on a serving tray.

Mash the egg yolks with a fork and blend in the mayonnaise  until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Add a bit more additional mayonnaise, if needed.  Fold in 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil and taste.  Depending upon your preferences, you may want to add up to another tablespoon.  Your call.

Spoon or pipe the egg/truffle mixture into the reserved, cooked egg whites.  Top each one with a few sea salt crystals and serve immediately.

Yield:  24 pieces

*  This is a great method for cooking eggs because it will eliminate that green ring around the yolks.  Older eggs are also better than farm fresh ones (am I really saying that?) because older eggs develop an air pocket at one end, which makes them much easier to peel.

*  If you want to make your own mayonnaise, by all means have at it.  If you are feeling lazy, then just use a good mayonnaise like Hellman's (or Duke's, if you live in the South).  In a perfect world, I would advise you to make your own, but in truth, it doesn't matter so much for this recipe.

*  Because I work at Watershed and have made WAY  too much truffled chicken salad during my years there, I am not normally a fan of truffle oil.  I make an exception for this recipe because the mouth feel and taste of those creamy yolks scented with truffles is both unctuous and irresistible.  Even for breakfast!

*  BTW, I used 1-1/2 tablespoons of the stuff when I made these.  Again, it's personal preference.

*  This recipe is practically foolproof, since there is no seasoning involved in the yolk/mayonnaise/truffle mixture.  As long as you cook the eggs properly and add the correct amount of mayo, you are golden.  Then all you have to do is top the eggs with a few large grains of crunchy sea salt and you're done!

*  Speaking of salt, you want nice, big sea salt crystals.  I used Hawaiian pink sea salt, but any good, fat salt crystals will do.

Salt and fat.  Sigh.  I'm still not a skinny cook!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Beach Blanket Passover

Oy.  It's that time of year again when we have to forgo bread, anything with leavening and pretty much everything else one can think of.  If you're really observant, you will also eschew beer, most hard liquor and anything not labeled "kosher for Passover."   You will also drink kosher wine, but I say you have to draw the line somewhere.  Have you ever tasted that stuff?

This year we escaped to the beach with our dear friends Ross and Sue.  Passover is far less proper and structured in their beach house than at our Seders together in years past.  Instead of a formal setting, we eat on their screened porch, on a big plank table.  Instead of dressing up, we dress down. In our sweats, because even though we were in Florida, it was way too cold.  (Since when is it chiller in Florida and Georgia than in New York City?)  Oh, and we drank a lot of good red wine, too.  Not kosher for Passover either, except for that obligatory sip or two of Manischewitz which reminds you of the worst cough medicine you ever choked down when you were a kid.

Sue and Andy are smiling now, but bet they won't be after the first sip!

Now I thought that I had pretty much said my piece about Passover desserts in postings past, so I didn't think it necessary to bring it up again.  But that was before I rediscovered my recipe for FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE.

Remember that?  It was all the rage in the late seventies/early eighties, until it was knocked out of grace by those ubiquitous molten chocolate cakes.  I had forgotten about this recipe until recently, when I needed to make a birthday cake for a gluten-free friend.  I revisited my old tried-and-true recipe and it got rave reviews.  Then it hit me.  This would make the perfect Passover dessert.  No matzoh meal required!


1 cup unsalted butter, diced
8 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (unsweetened) cocoa powder
6 eggs (I used extra-large)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Butter a 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper.  Set aside.

Place butter and chocolate in a heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until melted.  Let cool briefly.

Mix sugar and cocoa in a large bowl.  Add eggs to this mixture and whisk until well-blended.  Stir in salt and vanilla.  Whisk in chocolate-butter mixture.  Pour batter into the  prepared pan.  Bake until just done, but not overcooked in center, about 40 - 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely in pan.  Run a knife around pan sides to loosen and release pan.  Place the cake on a baking rack set over a sheet pan and pour ganache over top, letting it drip down the sides of the cake.

Serves 12 - 14

Ganache Glaze:

2 cups heavy cream
11 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup light corn syrup

Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Cook and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Let cool slightly, then spoon over cake.

*  You can make this cake a day or two ahead and store in the fridge.  The glaze may set up and harden, so I recommend letting it sit at room temperature to warm up slightly before serving.

*  Another way I like to serve this is to omit the ganache, then top each slice with a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce and a dollop of softly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  Yum!

*  Now again, if you are observant, you will make this with kosher for Passover chocolate and butter.  You might also omit the ganache because there may be no such thing as kosher for Passover cream (or maybe there is, but what do I know?)  At the end of the day, do what you will.  But don't confine this dessert to just Passover - it's pretty wonderful any time of the year!