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3 Ways To Transform Your Passover Cooking — With Booze

Passover is a perfect time to experiment in the kitchen. Because I don’t use many of the imitation condiments, I try to use more herbs and alcohol in my cooking and baking. Here are a few of my favorite recent discoveries:

Tequila Marinated Chicken Cutlets

A company favorite which makes great leftovers are my lettuce wrap chicken tacos. Super simple and perfect for leftover lunch picnics.

Chicken cutlets

Tequila

Juice of one lime

Cilantro

Salt and pepper

1) In a 2 gallon bag, marinate your cutlets with tequila, spices and some fresh lime juice. You can also add some lime zest if you like.

2) Grill cutlets as you do normally. Serve with salsa, guacamole and margaritas made from the same tequila.

Vodka Marinated Beef or Veal Roasts

LVOV vodka is unique because it’s made from beets. Personally, I love beets. If you want your menu to blend, serve with roasted root veggies ( including beets — but roast your beer separately so the color won’t run) and a cucumber-beet salad.

Vodka

Salt and pepper

Rosemary sprigs

Garlic powder

Onion powder

1) In a 2 gallon bag, marinate your roast with vodka and spices.

2) Roast as you normally do. Serve with some horseradish sauce, thin-sliced grilled onions and the beet suggestions mentioned above.

Macerate Your Fruit Toppings

Since this year is the year of the Bundt, why not compliment your dessert course with a vodka-infused cake?

There are so many great nut or lemon cake recipes. Or use a mix. You can even use a chocolate mix. Add in 2 capfuls of vodka. Taste your batter — and see how a little bit goes a long way.

Once the bundt has cooled, add your frosting and Vodka-Infused fruits of your choice. I am personally using some blood oranges. Put sections in a bowl, add in 2 ounces of vodka, some sugar or sugar substitute of your choice and let the tastes blend together. Shortly before serving, or if you are presenting slices, top with fruit.

Tequila Infused Lemon or Lime Meringue Pies

After a heavy meat meal, or even lots of matzoh and cheese, nothing tastes more satisfying than a fruit pie with a meringue topping.

Again, use your favorite recipe. You can also use ready-made pie crusts from Gefen and just make your filling. Add in to your recipe 2 capfuls of tequila — just enough to give a hint of flavor. It takes the pie up a notch. I also add some coconut crumb flakes for an added tropical blend, which is optional.

I use a recipe similar to this, from Holiday Kosher Baker © 2013 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress

Crust: 4 tablespoons (57g) margarine

2 cups ground walnuts (from 3 ½ – 4 cups (420–480g) walnut halves)

3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

Lime Filling: 5 large eggs plus 3 yolks

1 ½ cups (300g) sugar

2 tablespoons lime zest (from 3 limes)

½ cup (120ml) fresh lime juice (from 4–6 limes or 12 key limes)

½ cup (1 stick; 113g) margarine

1 drop green food coloring, optional

Meringue Topping: ⅔ cup (130g) sugar

½ cup (60ml) water

2 large egg whites

1) Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). You will need an 8- or 9-inch (20- or 23-cm) pie pan for this dessert. A disposable pan works fine, too.

2) To make the lime cream, place the eggs, yolks, and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water in a medium saucepan (or a double-boiler). Stir to combine. Add the lime zest and juice and stir to combine. Cook uncovered over simmering water for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thick. Be patient and do not stir too much. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the margarine, one tablespoon at a time, until the cream is smooth. Add the green food coloring, if using, and stir. Set the mixture aside.

3) To make the crust, heat the margarine in a medium microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds, or until melted. Add the walnuts and brown sugar and mix until combined. Place this mixture into the pie pan and press to cover the bottom and up the sides. Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, leaving the oven on.

When the cream is ready, pour it into the prepared crust and smooth the top to make it even. Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the outside edges of the cream are set (the inside can remain a little wobbly). Let the pie cool and then chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

4) To make the meringue topping, in a small, heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches 230°F (110°C) on a candy thermometer. While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff. When the sugar is ready, turn the mixer speed to low and then slowly pour the cooked sugar into the whites, down the side of the bowl, not directly onto the wire whisk. When all of the sugar has been poured in, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for one minute.

Use a silicone spatula to spread the meringue over the surface of the pie or use an ice cream scoop to drop clumps of meringue on the top of the pie. You can use a blowtorch to lightly brown the top of the meringue or place the pie in a 450°F (130°C) oven for a few minutes, watching it the entire time, until the top browns (you don’t want it to burn). Store the pie in the fridge for up to three days.

L’Chaim to your Pesach cooking and baking. These recipes are adaptable to use during the year, too. Take a weeknight dinner up a notch with a touch of kosher spirits.

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