Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin: Or how to get your family to eat their vegetables.

gratin

By now, those of you who know me have heard me talk ad nauseam about how lucky I was to grow up with freshly grown vegetables at arms length. Being able to eat extremely fresh produce certainly made a difference in flavor, but my love for vegetable recipes was certainly influenced by my mother’s kitchen skills and her ability to prepare these vegetables to best tickle my taste buds. I recognize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have my mom preparing their vegetables, and that perhaps this is why they get such a bad rap. For those people I offer a little secret. Just a little something to solve the riddle of dreary, steamed, mushy vegetables. In a word… CHEESE!

Gratin2For many families, cheese is the perfect vehicle to introduce even the most offensive vegetable. In this recipe, ribbons of green zucchini and aubergine eggplant are coated with not one, but three types of cheese, in order to add depth of flavor. Mozzarella and parmesan are traditional favorites, but when paired with fontina cheese, whose characteristics boast a nice sharp flavor and high melted gooiness factor, the three make a winning combination.

Click here to check out my post at PJLibrary.org.

Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
  • 2 Japanese eggplant, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices.
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup grated fontina, divided
  • ½ cup grated parmesan, divided
  • 3 sheets of Yehuda matzo, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. Italian seasoning, divided
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with kosher for Passover nonstick spray (Or grease with butter or oil).
  3. Place the first layer of zucchini and eggplant in the bottom of the dish, and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Pour ⅓ of the heavy cream on the zucchini. Sprinkle ⅓ each of the mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan cheeses. Add ⅓ of the matzo crumbs, and ⅓ of Italian seasoning.
  5. Repeat the layering (steps 3 and 4) two more times, ending with the matzo crumbs and Italian seasoning on top.
  6. Drizzle the olive oil over the dish, and place in oven.
  7. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling and the top is brown.
  8. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
Be careful of spillage while baking. You may want to place a tray underneath to catch any leaking cheese.

*Note: I am working in conjunction with PJ Library on several recipes featuring Yehuda Matzos. Although I am being compensated for my recipes, my opinions expressed regarding Yehuda Matzo are honest and entirely my own.

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Lemon Garlic Matzo Crumbs: Kicking off Passover Prep with a bang!

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Lemon Garlic Matzo Crumbs, featuring Yehuda Matzo

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Lemon Garlic Matzo Crumbs, featuring Yehuda Matzo

Shortly after I announced my pregnancy, my friends and family who became mommies
before me welcomed me into their club by sharing all their tips, tricks, and anecdotes of
pregnancy, labor, and early motherhood. Just when I thought I understood the basics of
baby care, a friend of mine threw me a curveball. “Remember to sign up for PJ Library!,”
she said. PJ Library? How is it that as a lifelong bookworm, I had never heard of such a
thing? “PJ Library,” she said, “is a program that sends free Jewish bedtime stories and
music directly to your child every month.” This sounded too good to be true. She
explained to me that all I had to do was sign up, and my baby would get to look forward
to a monthly contribution to his Jewish library. Naturally, I was very excited about our
son receiving free books, as I am of the school of thought that a child can never have too
many books, and when I learned that I had to wait until after my child was born to
register him for the program, I put a reminder in my calendar to sign up a week after his
due date, just in case he decided to stay a while. Shortly thereafter, I shared the word
about this program to everyone I knew, and I had definitely drank the proverbial Kool-
aid, because I didn’t want any of my friends to miss out on the opportunity for free
books. PJ Library had quickly become one of my favorite topics of conversation, and
earned a special place in my heart.

Yehuda Matzo and PJ Library make a perfect pair.

Yehuda Matzo and PJ Library make a perfect pair.

Imagine my delight when I heard that my new favorite program was partnering with my preferred matzo brand, Yehuda Matzos. I’ve never been more excited to get cracking on
my Passover recipes! Every year around this time, I am bombarded with requests for new
and exciting recipes that are kosher for Passover. The truth is, I believe that you don’t
actually have to try all that hard to keep Passover, and I jokingly call Passover meal-
planning G-d’s low-carb diet. There are plenty of foods and recipes out there that require
no leavening (hello, flourless chocolate cake), and I usually limit my matzo consumption
to the seder table. This year, however, in honor of the great pairing, my meal plan for
these 8 days will most certainly be matzo-centric, and highlight some of the ways my
family indulges in this little Jewish cracker.
First up, I’ll be enjoying my Roasted Broccoli Florets with Lemon Garlic Matzo Crumbs.
If easy is what you’re looking for, then this is the recipe for you. I understand that
broccoli may not be a favorite for many, but I argue that’s because you’ve probably never
roasted it before. There’s something magical that happens when deep green broccoli
meets a hot oven and emerges with a gentle char, and I so stand by this recipe, as I’ve
converted plenty of cruciferous haters with it. Plus, the combination of sweet and pungent
roasted garlic married with vibrant and refreshingly tart lemon zest perfumes the matzo
crumbs in such a way that it won’t take long for this dish to become a heavily-requested
staple on any Passover table.

Click here to see this on the PJ Library blog.

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Lemon Garlic Matzo Crumbs
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 4-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. broccoli crown, cut into florets
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, separated
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sheets of Yehuda matzo, or 1 cup matzo farfel
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large lemon, zest reserved
  • 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from that lemon you just zested)
  • 1 Tbs. Italian parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Drizzle 1 Tbs. of olive oil over the broccoli florets and sprinkle with salt and pepper to
  3. taste. Toss to coat, and lay flat and in a single layer on a baking dish or cast-iron skillet.
  4. Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, place the matzo sheets in a plastic bag, seal the bag with as little air in it as
  6. possible, and use a rolling pin to crush the sheets into small pieces. (*Note: this is a fun
  7. step for kids to help.)
  8. Once the matzo is crushed into crumbs, drizzle with 1 Tbs. olive oil, add the garlic,
  9. lemon zest, and Italian parsley. Reseal the bag, and shake to combine mixture.
  10. Remove the broccoli from the oven, drizzle with lemon juice, and sprinkle the matzo
  11. crumb mixture on top.
  12. Return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until matzo crumbs are golden brown and broccoli
  13. is tender.
  14. Serve immediately.

*Note: I am working in conjunction with PJ Library on several recipes featuring Yehuda Matzos. Although I am being compensated for my recipes, my opinions expressed regarding Yehuda Matzo are honest and entirely my own.