Marie's Kitchen -- A fest for Passover and Easter

Easter Sunday is April 8, and Passover is celebrated from sunset of April 6 through nightfall of April 14. Today’s recipes honor both.

Special to the Coastal Point •  Marie Cook: Dad’s best Haroset and a glass of kosher wine, perfect for holidays.Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook
Dad’s best Haroset and a glass of kosher wine, perfect for holidays.

If you plan to have leg of lamb for Easter dinner, my recipe for Best Leg of Lamb is from Karen McAshan of Kerrville, Texas, printed in the April/May 2008 issue of Taste of Home magazine. Karen wrote: “When Julia Child visited my cousin’s winery 20 years ago for a TV segment, she prepared leg of lamb using these ingredients. She didn’t give the amounts, but I’ve come close to recreating the recipe.”

I’m all about time management, so I love recipes like this one that require overnight marinating in the refrigerator to lessen the pressure on the day that you plan to cook and serve guests.

Best Leg of Lamb


? 1/3 cup minced fresh rosemary

? 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

? 2 tablespoons olive oil

? 8 garlic cloves, minced

? 1 teaspoon soy sauce

? 1/2 teaspoon salt

? 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

? 1 bone-in leg of lamb (7 to 9 pounds), trimmed

? 1 cup chicken broth

Method for Best Leg of Lamb:

In a small bowl, combine rosemary, mustard, olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper; rub over leg of lamb. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Place lamb, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan; bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F., for two hours.

Add broth to pan; cover loosely with foil. Bake 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours longer, or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145 degrees; medium, 160 degrees; well-done, 170 degrees). Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

With leg of lamb, I always serve mashed potatoes. Recently, my husband, Jim, and I spent a lovely week in Sarasota, Fla. More than once we ate at Madfish Grill at 4059 Cattlemen Road in Sarasota. I know that many people from this area winter in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, and I highly recommend that you visit Madfish Grill. Check them out online at

I raved and raved over the Frizzled Leeks that topped my grilled mahi-mahi; I could have eaten a whole bowl of them. We chatted with Miles (the owner), and he took my email address and said that his chef, Ben Gough, would be glad to send the recipe to me. And, indeed, I received the recipe the very next day. I’m a very lucky woman! If you want to make a great impression, serve your guests mashed potatoes topped or mixed with Frizzled Leeks.

Frizzled Leeks

Trim leeks, reserving the white part of the leek for your favorite potato-leek soup recipe. Julienne the green part of the leeks into thin strips about 2 inches long and 1/4-inch wide. Soak in ice-cold water. Prepare a fryer according to manufacturers’ instructions or heat oil in a stock pot to 350 degrees F. Prepare a seasoned flour mix with all-purpose flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder, if desired. Drain the bulk of the water off the leeks, leaving enough for the seasoned flour mix to adhere. Dredge the leeks with the flour. Shake off excess flour and transfer to fryer. Fry until golden; remove from fryer and drain on paper towels. Use as a garnish or as an ingredient in salads, mashed potatoes, etc.

One of my favorite recipes, Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes, would be a colorful and simple vegetable dish to add to the Easter dinner table. The recipe is from Laura Zapalowski, Cooking Light, April 2011.

Asparagus with

Balsamic Tomatoes


? 1 pound asparagus, trimmed

? 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

? 1-1/2 cups (a 1-pint container) halved grape tomatoes

? 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

? 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

? 1/4 teaspoon salt

? 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

? 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Method for Asparagus
with Balsamic Tomatoes:

Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes; stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt. Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper. Yield: 4 servings.

I love chocolate cake, and although I have several favorites in my files, I found a new recipe in a Daisy Brand Sour Cream magazine advertisement for Double Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake. The photo made me salivate enough to run out and purchase the ingredients to whip one up. I expected to make it for the photo in today’s column, but my to-do list overwhelmed me. Stay tuned for the results. With cocoa, bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips, it just doesn’t get more chocolaty than that!

Double Chocolate

Chip Bundt Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


? 1 cup cocoa

? 6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate

? 3/4 cup boiling water

? 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour

? 1 teaspoon salt

? 1 teaspoon baking soda

? 10 tablespoons butter (1-1/4 sticks)

? 2 cups brown sugar

? 1 tablespoon vanilla

? 5 eggs

? 1-1/2 cups Daisy Brand Sour Cream

? 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

? Powdered sugar as needed

Method for Double Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake:

Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Mix cocoa and chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over chocolates and stir to melt. Let stand to cool (about 2 to 3 minutes). Meanwhile, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs to the butter mixture. Fold the sour cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the flour mixture and the sour cream chocolate mixture to the butter mixture and blend. Add chocolate chips and stir to incorporate. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly before removing from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. May be served with whipped cream.

Last year, my husband, Jim, and I were privileged to participate in a family Seder meal held at my brother-in-law Steve Waehler’s home in Sparta, N.J.; several members of our family are Jewish. It was not my first Seder meal, but sharing it with family was a moving experience. The Seder is the joyful family dinner and worship service which is held in Jewish homes on Passover.

Brisket is a traditional dish served during Passover. This recipe also must be marinated overnight and, in fact, if you marinate it, cook it ahead of time and refrigerate again, it’s even better. Just reheat before finally serving it.



? 1 (5 to 7 pound) brisket (called No. 3 cut in Israel)

? 1/2 cup oil

? 1/2 cup dry red wine

? 1/4 cup cola

? 1/4 cup honey

? 4 tablespoons ketchup

? 2 onions

? 1 teaspoon paprika

Method for Brisket:

Wash and drain meat. Mix seasonings; pour over meat. Marinate overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake until done (about 2-1/2 to 4 hours). When cool, use an electric knife to thinly slice against the grain. If the meat is not cut against the grain, it will be chewy and tough to eat. It if is cut thinly against the grain, it’s delicious. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Another traditional dish served not only during Passover but often at the Seder meal, as well, is Haroset (sometimes spelled Charoset). Try the following recipe for Dad’s Best Haroset from, submitted by email from CityGirlTurnedChef.

My thanks to Karen at Banks Wines & Spirits in Millville for guiding me through their selection of kosher red wines; I chose an Italian wine, Mevushal Kosher for Passover Vinò Sweet Red. I suggest first pouring the wine in a non-reactive bowl; then adding the cinnamon and nuts. If you save the apples until last, you can dice each one and quickly add the pieces to the wine mixture so that the apples don’t turn brown.

Dad’s Best Haroset


? 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced

? 1 cup walnuts, chopped

? 1 cup pecans, chopped

? 1 cup kosher red wine (such as Manischewitz)

? 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method for Haroset:

In a large bowl, stir the apples, walnuts, pecans and wine together. Season with cinnamon; stir and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

Since flour can’t be used during Passover, bakers tend to use many eggs to provide the protein necessary to give holiday cakes and cookies some shape. They also rely on nuts and coconut during Passover to lend richness and flavor to desserts. Try this recipe I found online from Lauren Chattman for Coconut Macaroons using unsweetened coconut.

Coconut Macaroons

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


? 3/4 cup sugar

? 2-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut

? 2 large egg whites

? 1 teaspoon kosher-for-Passover vanilla extract (optional)

? 1/8 teaspoon salt

Method for Coconut Macaroons:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla (if using) and salt in a medium mixing bowl; mix with a rubber spatula.

Drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets and press each cookie into a pyramid shape with your fingers, leaving about 1-1/2 inches between each cookie.

Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Slide parchment onto a wire rack and let cookies cool completely. Carefully peel them off parchment paper. Coconut macaroons will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. Yield: About 24 cookies.

(Editor’s note: If you have recipes to share, or recipes you want, contact Marie Cook, Coastal Point, P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970; or by email at Please include your phone number. Recipes in this column are not tested by the Coastal Point.)