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Cookbook by Winnipeg’s Pam Reiss

Pam Reiss of Dessert's Plus Fame


By Kaye Replach reprinted from April 1, 2010

I should preface this article with the fact that when I think of Passover food preparation, I am a little disillusioned. I am ordinarily not a bad cook, but my previous attempts at Passover cooking have yielded frustrating results; a honey cake that used 8 eggs but only rose to the thickness of a dime, matzah balls that I was affectionately told tasted like rocks, and an apple kugel and apple crumble that were indecipherable but for the fact that I tried to pass one of them off as a dessert (although I couldn’t tell which one).

So when my sister asked me to try a recipe from Pam Reiss’s cookbook, Passover, A Kosher Collection, I was both interested and hesitant. Interested, because I would like to expand our Passover menu and hesitant because I haven’t had much luck so far.  So I enlisted the help of my husband, a Russian Jew who had never heard of Passover before he came to Winnipeg at age 22 and since that time spends the better part of March each year worrying that he is going to be hungry when it arrives. He does, however, have a lot of patience and is very exacting, so I knew that he was ready for the challenge.

The first thing that I noted about the cookbook is that there are a number of recipes that I wouldn’t ordinarily associate with Passover. The book contains a variety of main courses, salads, appetizers, soups and desserts including meat, milk and vegetarian options. It also contains a number of sample menus at the front which provide some guidance for pairing various dishes together.  After a quick flip through the book, I was surprised at the number of recipes that while kosher for Passover, were the type of thing that I could make throughout the year. I was also pleased with the fact that most recipes called for everyday ingredients. 

We chose to try a Spinach and Zucchini soup from page 25. Both the ingredients and the instructions were very straightforward.  We substituted canola oil for olive oil (my exacting husband was not exacting enough to look at the back of the cupboard where I keep the olive oil).   Preparation of the ingredients for the soup was about 10 minutes, and cooking time was approx 20 minutes.

Spinach and Zucchini soupThe result was a very mild, pleasant tasting soup,  that I am pleased to say my husband and I as well as my 6 year old daughter enjoyed (even if her 2 siblings wouldn’t try it). The color was a rich green as the recipe suggested (see photo). The recipe also suggests that it can be served with matzah balls but we just garnished it with shaved zucchini.

Although we didn’t get have a chance to prepare the matzah balls this time, I am approaching the thought with more optimism than originally.  The matzah ball recipe on page 27 looks promising so I suspect this will be our next try – that is if I can negotiate with the Editor to keep the cookbook…

Pam Reiss’s cookbook Passover, A Kosher Collection is available at McNally Robinson, Indigo and  Desserts Plus.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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