The First Night of Passover ~ Celebrating with Family

Sweet Matzoh Kugel | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comLast night was the first night of Passover (this is a cute video Isaac’s Hebrew school teacher sent us). It’s tradition that you create a Seder meal the first two nights of Passover. This year, for the first time in a long time, we are only doing one. Like most holiday’s, Passover is a time to gather with family, honor our heritage and traditional foods, and show gratitude to those that sacrificed before us. In the past, Passover was the holiday dreaded by my boys. Giving up foods, for one week, was almost as bad as shutting off the satellite for two weeks (yes, I really did that). Since giving up gluten, Passover is much less of a challenge than it has been in years past.

This year, the first night of Passover will be celebrated in our home. This is not a holiday that I generally host. But with my sister-in-law’s house under construction, I offered to create the meal. As you know from previous posts(read here, here, and here), I like to plan, so cooking for 22 and not just the usual 5, is not as daunting to me as would be for others. I always make it a point to make a few new dishes. This year I made my friend, Lisa’s Matzoh Kugel (deli-sh!), gefilte fish, and a feta cream spread for the patties.

Our Passover Menu | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comThe first thing I did was create the meal plan. I knew I didn’t want to serve soup this year, instead I focused on the sides. With a bit of planning and a lot of prepping, list making, and time management, my meal was pretty much complete by Sunday evening. My goal on Monday was to simply bake off the desserts (ingredients were measured and organized Sunday night), make the feta spread, assemble the matzoh kugel and farfel, and pan fry the patties. By 9:00 a.m., I was free. A hike, lunch with my mom and Levi, and a short cat nap was all accomplished before everyone arrived at 5:00 p.m.

Leek + Turkey Patties with a Feta Cream Spread | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comA Simple Feta Spread | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comI have made these Leek + Turkey Patties in the past, but this time I made a feta cream spread to accompany it. What a beautiful combo!

Make your own Gefilte Fish - It's the only way to go | @Susan Salzman |

I do admit to eating the Gefilte fish that comes in a jar. I know, it’s kind of gross. Making it yourself, using Ungar’s frozen loaves is my newest Passover must have and obsession. I read a bunch of chat rooms on how best to cook it and for me, simply placing it in a small dutch oven with some carrots, onions, celery, Celtic sea salt, pepper, and paprika, and covered with water was the path that I took. Baked in the oven for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours and refrigerated overnight – it’s that easy. This is one of those dishes that I could become addicted to.

Grandma Rose's Farfel Recipe | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comMy grandma Rose’s matzoh farfel was something I grew up on and couldn’t get enough of. I cannot remember the last time I made it and this year I was craving it. Jewish food, in my opinion, can be a bit monochromatic (yellow and brown). Adding spinach to her original recipe gave me what I miss most on these holidays – GREEN!

Passover desserts do not have to taste bad | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.comDesserts have never been a fan favorite on this particular holiday. After much research and lots of trial and error, I have come up with a few that will be passed on to my grandchildren one day. This chocolate cake, these cookies, and some of our favorite homemade ice creams (accessorized with chocolate sauce and caramel sauce) was a dessert table that made both the kids and the adults shout with praises. Red wine, homemade lemonade, and green iced tea was on the beverage menu and I can honestly say, no one left our home hungry.

Passover is all about setting yourself free. How are you going to set yourself free in the coming year and challenge yourself to tasks that you might be too fearful to otherwise tackle? I would love to hear from you!


Grandma Rose’s Matzoh Farfel Recipe with a Twist


1/2 box Matzoh Farfel
2 large, organic eggs, beaten
10 ounces fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 – 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 Celtic sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika


• mix beaten eggs and farfel in a large bowl until completely coated.
• spread mixture onto a lightly coated, rimmed baking sheet  and let dry out over night (you can also line the baking sheet with foil and coat the foil or use a silpat mat).
• set a large pot of water to boil. cook dried out farfel in boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes. drain and set aside.
• while the farfel is draining, saute onion in coconut oil until translucent, about 8 -10 minutes. place onions in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
• in the same saute pan, add some additional coconut oil in the pan and saute the spinach until wilted, 3 minutes. add salt, pepper, and paprika to both vegetables.
• mix onions, spinach, and farfel together. spread in an oiled baking dish, cover and bake for 20 – 25 minutes in a 350* oven.
• remove from oven, let sit for 20 minutes before serving.
note: I doubled my recipe. Many veggies, such as mushrooms, leeks, zucchini could all work in this dish
yield: 8 servings

Lisa’s Matzoh Kugel


12 Gluten Free Matzohs (or regular matzohs)
9 large, organic eggs – beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt
10.5 ounces | 300 grams | 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
6 ounces | 171 grams | 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter – melted
5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and grated


• preheat oven to 350*. lightly coat  a 9″ x 13″ casserole pan. set aside.
• break matzoh apart and place in a large colander. soak matzoh with water and drain.
• in a large bowl, beat eggs and salt.
• add coconut sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and mix well.
• drain matzoh and stir into beaten eggs. add raisins and grated apples.
• spread evenly in prepared pan.
• bake 40 – 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.
• let sit for 20 minutes before serving.
yield: 10 – 12 servings

Creamy Feta Dip


8 ounces crumbled feta
4 tablespoons good olive oil
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely minced
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne


• in the bowl of a Cuisinart fitted with a metal blade, pulse all ingredients until completely combined.
• place in a glass bowl, cover, and refrigerate for hours before serving.
• bring to room temperature. drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top and serve.
yield: 1 cup

The Urban Baker /

More Passover Dishes around the Web:
Kale Matzo Brei Recipe – Ingredients Inc.
Lemon Honey Cheesecake – The Shiksa
Rosemary Almond Cake – Meal and a Spiel

Showing 18 comments
  • Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy

    Susan, fabulous menu. I love the oven method for the gefilte fish loaves– I’ll have to try that next time. I even use the same brand of fish. Beautiful photos too. Happy Passover, Dana

    • Susan

      Hi Dana – Happy Passover to you and yours as well. How do you do your gefilte fish? This is the first time I have done this and I am now a convert!

      • Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy

        I have been following package directions- boiling in water on the stove with onion and carrot. I make it the day before, slice, and refigerate. It comes out moist and soft- I’m a convert too. Stove top cooking does give off a fish smell into the kitchen, but using the stove vent and opening the window seems to cure that issue. I like that you used more seasoning; I’ll try that next time. Sounds like it comes out great in the oven or on the stove. As you know, it’s completely different (and much better) than the jarred stuff many of us grew up with. I recently found this product too and am thrilled to have a tasty gefilte fish. We’ll have to spread the word.

  • Tammy

    Yum! I had the honor of eating this delicious culinary feast. But, why only eat it for Passover? The dishes are now woven into our daily menu… Thanks!! Xo

    • Susan

      So blessed to always share these special holidays with your and your family! Your salad, charoset, and cookies were a wonderful compliment to the menu! xx

  • Mallory

    Hi. Happy Passover. If I use cane sugar instead of coconut sugar what would be the correct amount? Thank you.

    • Susan

      Hi Mallory! You can swap out the white sugar for the coconut 1:1. It’s an easy swap. Let me know how it comes out!

      • Mallory

        So delicious!! Thank you!

  • Jocelyn Silverman

    OH SUSAN!!!! You have done it again. I am now craving Passover food all over.

    • Susan

      I am sure your seder table was equally delicious, Jocelyn! You must make these turkey-leek patties with the feta cream sauce – you can thank me later!! x

  • Michelle Kipper

    Susan, I just love looking at and reading your blog/website. It has flourished into such a beautiful resource. I miss you and hope to see you the next time I come to L.A. (not sure when that will be yet).
    Love to you, Mitch and the boys.

    • Susan

      Michelle, I miss you too! Sending love and kisses to you and your beautiful family! xx

  • Lucy Lean

    Happy Passover Susan – this looks like one big delicious feast x

  • Nancy@acommunaltable

    Wow…. I want EVERY single one of these dishes. Since I’ve never had farfel or gefilte fish I think it’s time I remedied that situation – and now is the perfect time since I have the perfect recipes to make them!!!
    Beautifully done Susan!!
    As for “setting myself free” my goal for this year is to truly let go of comparing myself to others and focus on my own journey – not an easy task but one I think is well worth it!

  • Reply

    Wow that’s quite a feast, topped off with no less than three desserts!

  • Bill

    I love Passover, but I’ve never been able to acquire a taste for gefilte fish. Will definitely try the turkey and leek patties – hope Passover was wonderful for your family.

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