Thursday, April 1, 2010

My affliction as well

Though I am not Jewish, I must admit that Passover, to a certain extent, is the bread of my affliction as well.

Husband keeps kosher for Passover, an act which I greatly admire. But the stark reality is: this carb-loving shiksa finds it challenging to make it through eight nights without being able to eat pasta with her husband. Take this afternoon for example. I was craving pizza like nobody's business. I was all excited that Husband was to be finished with work at 6:00 p.m. It's a beautiful warm spring night and I relished the drive to the best pizza place in Akron. And then I realized it's Passover. Husband can't have pizza. My dreams were dashed. Curses.

What I have found over the years, however, is that quinoa is kosher for Passover. And quinoa is satisfyingly grain-y and filling, so much so that one almost forgets that one is supposed to be eating only matzoh. Several years ago I found a Grant Achatz recipe for quinoa with caramelized onions -- which is so simple that I keep wondering how it is that the recipe is Grant Achatz's, he of the ethereal molecular gastronomic paradise that is Alinea (BUBBLE GUM long pepper hibiscus creme fraiche anyone?) -- and I knew it would become a Passover staple in our house. Because if there's anything that Husband loves, it's being a Jew. A Jew who would eat caramelized onions by the bowlful, with a spoon.

And so! If it is Passover, there is quinoa with caramelized onions. For the second-night Seder this year I paired it with chicken tikka masala -- non-traditional to be sure but delicious and kosher nonetheless.

Everything went perfectly with the Hillel sandwich, and even my nephew got in on the act, reading the four questions and searching for the afikoman for the old-school reward of just $1. Though Husband was the only Jew at the table, all were sated and happy and, well, reclining.


Adapted from Grant Achatz's recipe, from an old issue of Food & Wine

I used a mixture of "regular" and red quinoa for this dish, because it was what I had in the pantry. Feel free to use whatever quinoa you have and enjoy.

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
1 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 c. water

Heat 2 T. of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring often, until meltingly soft and deep golden, about 30 minutes. As the onions begin to look dry and stick to the bottom of the pan, stir through a little bit of water. You might need to do this a few times. When the onions are deep brown, season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside (leaving them in the skillet, off the heat).

Heat the remaining 1 T. of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the quinoa and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until light golden and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the water and 3/4 t. of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low and cook until all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 12-15 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add it to the skillet with the caramelized onions, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 8.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: King Boo and Hot Wheels
Two years ago: more Nephew birthday cakes


The Blue Morpho said...

Hey there! Happy Passover! Gorgeous table cloth. I hope you are doing well. Don't worry, we'll feed him plenty. Maybe not the gourmet food he's used to, but there'll be a lot of it. My take on Passover food is gefilte fish = bleh, matzo ball soup = yum. Next year in Jerusalem! (or Ohio, or wherever ...)

Dianne said...

Hello! Happy Passover to you, too! I hope you guys have a wonderful sorry I can't make it. I agree with you completely: gefilte fish = fish hot dog, matzo ball soup = yum. Dan made a homemade batch of soup for our seder the other night and it was fantastic.

Also, Happy Easter!

Cakegirl said...

I hear you. I am Jewish and I really don't like observing Passover. BUT as a pastry chef and passionate dessert eater I have amassed a small collection of terrific kosher-for-Passover desserts that satisfy dessert lovers everywhere...let me know if you would like some of these for next year's seders...