Sunday, April 27, 2008

Final Bits of Fun Playing with Passover Foods in 2008!

Ok, back to Passover, which ends tonight one hour after sundown. Growing up, an expected Passover treat was Hebrew National Kosher for Passover Salami. We ate Hebrew National cold cuts and hotdogs exclusively in my house, all year round. With all of the culinary restrictions at Passover, Hebrew National could always be counted on for snack or meal food, regardless of whether the supermarket ran out of any other "Kosher for Passover" food. Remember, "regular" Kosher salami etc. are made with all sorts of fillers derived from soy, which is forboten to an Ashkenazic Jew during Passover.

But things have changed, big time, in the last 30 years. Sometime in the 1990s, I think, Hebrew National was acquired by Agribusiness powerhouse Conagra Foods. And the products have never tasted the same to me - they taste almost plastic. Which isn't such a bad thing, since hotdogs and salami are not the healthiest food. And my husband Bob could never understand the attraction - especially with all of the wonderful pork sausage and salumi that Cleveland has to offer. And even though I could still get a salami chub and a package of hotdogs KP when I first moved to Cleveland in the mid-1990s - no supermarket carries it anymore here. So - what to do?

To the rescue came Boris' Kosher Meats, on Cedar Road on the border of Beachwood and Cleveland Heights. They make their own salami, and they make it Kosher for Passover at this time of year! Not only that - in the face of the "KP Food Shortage" this year - I was able to score a bottle of KP Cottonseed Oil (and this is the place that supplied my Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt earlier this year, an essential kitchen staple that none of the local supermarkets carried, and the only mass market Kosher salt without chemical anti-caking agents).

And yes- you can hang them and let them dry, which intensifies the flavor (try doing that with Hebrew National!). Salami comes in mild and spicy - I took two of the spicy; one of them is still hanging.

The other is opened, and made for a wonderful Passover lunch last week.

Boris' Fresh Made KP Spicy Salami Sandwich on Potato Kugel

This morning, we had our last Passover breakfast. Yesterday, Bob finished the last piece of Gefilte Fish, and I had Matzo Brei with our last fresh egg (Bob went out to the Blue Egg Farmer for a new supply yesterday after breakfast). Today was for Cheesy Matzo Pancakes. Bob is not a huge fan of Matzo Brei (though he will eat it if I add a bunch of salami to it - see above!) or the traditional matzo pancakes my mother made, which are eggs, matzo meal, salt, and sugar and served with jelly.

I learned to make the Cheesy Pancakes because Bob like them better, and I have to admit, they taste pretty darn good! This recipe is from Elegant Essen, the 1973 cookbook published by the East Northport Jewish Center, and credited to Miriam Asher. We start with these ingredients:

Three eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of Pot Cheese (Friendship brand is required - thank you Heinen's for carrying it). Since I was little short of milk, I used extra pot cheese. Heather's cinnamon, Kosher Salt and a TB of sugar are not pictured, but you get the idea. It is very simple - beat the eggs, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Form into pancake shapes (easy to do due to the thickness of this batter) and fry. Though Mom always used oil, I decided to try ghee this year.


We topped the pancakes with Maple Syrup (and a bit of Cherry Jelly) and some amazing organic Strawberries that Bob got from Mustard Seed Market yesterday, macerated in Maple Syrup.

What a way to finish the Passover Holiday!

Again, I wish all who read this a happy, healthy and green Spring! Filled with lots of great food to play with!


  1. Hebrew National tastes just fine to me. In fact, I love it. I'm not sure I understood your comments about it. Are you saying there's some reason you can't dry a Hebrew National salami?

    What do you think is the optimal length of time for such drying?

  2. Stuart - I wouldn't risk it with Hebrew National. The packaging is pretty clear about keeping it refrigerated, though I believe they also make a dry salami product that I've seen in the deli case at Davis Bakery - that one might be suitable for drying.

    I am a lot less familiar with the Vienna Beef Salami, which is the product you experimented with. Did it come with a string, or did you just decide to hang it? Does it say "keep refrigerated" on the package?

    Boris' salami is always hanging at room temperature in the store, so I am very comfortable with doing the same. I hate to admit we're not terribly scientific about it - we hang it until we're ready to eat it!