Here’s a controversial take: I love cooking during Passover. I know this opinion puts me squarely in the minority, but it’s true. After slogging through several Passovers in my early 20s, existing on nothing but seder leftovers and smashed avocado on matzo (so good until you have had it 5 days in a row!), a friend helped me switch my mindset.
“Why do we spend so much energy focusing on what we can’t eat during Passover?” she asked. “There is so much that you can eat.”
She was right. And more importantly, so many of the permitted categories - fruits and veggies, fresh herbs, nuts and nut flours, meat and eggs, cheese and yogurt, and chocolate - are ingredients I love to cook with anytime of year, and ingredients that leave my body feeling refreshed rather than sloggy. I had spent most of my adult life dreading the week of Passover (at least the eating part.) Suddenly, I felt inspired to celebrate the week’s restrictions, rather than bemoan them.
And yet, there is one meal that poses a continued challenge for my family on Passover: breakfast, AKA the day’s biggest carb-fest. My son desperately misses his Cheerios, my daughter misses her Kashi waffle, and my husband and I crave toast with peanut butter and honey or bagels with cream cheese. I usually bake a couple of batches of almond flour muffins, and fill a glass jar with homemade matzo granola to get us through. But the real Passover breakfast winner is homemade chocolate nut-butter spread.
Holy moly, this stuff is so good. And simple to make! The mix of roasted almonds and buttery pecans makes the spread thick and sultry, but also nutritious and hearty enough to justify serving it at breakfast. And the melted semi sweet chocolate folded in tastes decadent but not overly sweet. At breakfast, I spread a thick layer onto matzo and top with sliced bananas. Or I serve it in a bowl with apple wedges and strawberries on the side for dipping. If (and this is a big if) there is any leftover after Passover ends, it is delicious on toast or stirred into oatmeal.
Homemade Chocolate Nut Butter Spread
Makes about 2 cups
2 cups (280 g) roasted unsalted almonds
1 cups (110 g) pecans
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 oz (170 g) semi sweet baking chocolate, roughly chopped
Add the almonds, pecans, and salt to the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Pulse or blend (on medium-high in the blender), scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a smooth and creamy nut butter forms. This can take several minutes, especially in the food processor. Transfer the nut butter to a medium bowl.
Add the baking chocolate to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring in between each, until melted. (You can also melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stove.) Gently fold the melted chocolate into the nut butter with a rubber spatula. Cover bowl or transfer to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. (You can also store it in the refrigerator, but it hardens considerably, so bring it back to room temperature before serving.)
2 things I’m loving this week
Bengingi’s Instagram page. Ben Siman Tov is a self taught baker. His recipes are gorgeous and his Instagram page is full of ecstatic joy. Who wouldn’t want to have recipe titles shouted at them and, when finished, have them punctuated by an enthusiastic “YES!” This guy is magic - following him might just make your day.
Gotham Greens’ Ugly Greens. There are lots of food companies out there working to rescue less-than-perfect produce from the landfill. Gotham Greens, a sustainable urban farm in New York City (with outposts in Chicago, Providence, Baltimore, and Denver), does this by packaging and selling their slightly imperfect, but still utterly delicious, salad greens. They cost less, but are still gorgeously vibrant and fresh. They call them Ugly Greens, but to me they are beautiful.