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Better Nutrition (1989-90)

Enjoy low-cholesterol passover favorites

Enjoy low-cholesterol passover favorites – includes recipes

Leslye Michlin Borden

Enjoy Low-Cholesterol Passover Favorites

The start of Passover on April 9 presents an opportunity to try these alternate recipes

Like other religious holidays. Passover carries with it warm associations of family, tradition and all the special foods that go along with that tradition: in this case gefilte fish, matzo balls, tzimmes and sponge cake. Unfortunately, all these foods call for some high-cholesterol ingredients, including eggs. But with some planning, you can enjoy a traditional Passover menu without the fat and cholesterol.

Instead of making gefilte fish, for example, try poaching your fish in a court bouillon made in the same way as the cooking liquid of the gefilte fish. You’ll end up with some of the same tasty gel that makes the fish so special but you will have avoided the eggs.

Chicken soup can be prepared almost totally fat-free. Start your preparations a few days ahead, so you will have time for all the steps. Begin by carefully removing the skin and all the obvious fat from the chicken. Once you have made the soup, strain it and put it in the refrigerator so that any remaining fat will float to the top and solidify. You can remove it the next day or when you are ready to use it. Make a double batch since the soup is used as a base for many of the dishes suggested below.

Matzo balls are another traditional item you can enjoy eating even if you have to avoid eggs and chicken fat. You can make them several ways: make your usual recipe with egg whites instead of whole eggs, replace whole eggs with a readily available egg substitute, or try the recipe below. In any case, you don’t have to give up matzo balls just because the traditional ingredients aren’t on your diet.

Vegetarian tzimmes truly is a delicious treat that your guests will enjoy even if it is not flavored by brisket. You can depend on the natural sweetness of prunes, carrots and sweet potatoes, but if this combination does not satisfy your sweet tooth, add orange juice and small amounts of honey to liven it up. To save calories, use the chicken broth instead of oil or margarine for sauteing.

You can make a regular green salad, but since this is a special occasion, take advantage of the wonderful spring vegetables just starting to come in, like asparagus. Try a marinated asparagus (or broccoli or cauliflower) salad, using the low-cholesterol vinaigrette dressing recipe below to reduce your fat intake even more. Allow only one tablespoon of dressing per person.

Read the list of ingredients for each recipe carefully to ensure that they meet your dietary specifications.

Low-Fat Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken, skin and fat

removed

3 carrots, cut up

Top half of a bunch of

celery, leaves included,

cut up

Large onion, cut in quarters

Several sprigs of parsley

Parsnip, peeled and sliced 12 black peppercorns 15

Bay leaf

Squeeze of lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a large pot. Add cold water to cover. Slowly bring to a boil to reduce chicken residue. Skim off any residue that does form. Cover and simmer for three hours, then adjust the seasoning. You know the soup is done when it is rich tasting. Remove the chicken and save for another use. Strain vegetables from the broth. Save some for garnish, if desired. Place soup in refrigerator overnight or longer, so that any remaining fat in the soup rises to the top and hardens. Remove this fat. Now you have beautiful, clear fat-free broth which you can use in a variety of ways. It freezes well so you can save any extra for other occasions. Just before serving, reheat the soup to the boiling point. Serve in bowls, garnished with the saved vegetables and a matzo ball.

Low-Cholesterol Matzo Balls

1 cup matzo meal

1 tsp salt substitute

1/4 tsp pepper

4 Tbsp low-fat chicken broth

1 Tbsp low-fat chicken broth

1 Tbsp finely chopped

parsley, if desired

1 package egg substitute equal

to 4 eggs

Place the matzo meal in a medium bowl with the salt substitute and pepper. Combine egg substitute, soup and parsley, if used. Pour over the matzo meal and mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour or longer. Fill a large pot with water. Add salt substitute to taste and bring to a boil. Moisten your hands with cold water. Form dough into 8-10 large balls and drop into the boiling water. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Don’t open the lid. Carefully remove with slotted spoon and serve with low-fat chicken soup.

Vegetarian Tzimmes

5 large carrots, peeled and cut

into chunks 5 medium white potatoes,

peeled and cut in pieces 3 medium sweet potatoes,

peeled and cut in 1-inch

thick rounds 1 tsp salt substitute

Honey to taste

Low-fat chicken broth 2 cups pitted prunes

Orange juice

Place the vegetables, salt substitute and a little honey in a large pot. Add chicken broth to about one inch. Cover, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add chicken broth as necessary to prevent sticking. Do not stir while cooking. Cooking time is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on how soft you like the tzimmes. About a half hour before the vegetables are ready, add the prunes and continue cooking. If the tzimmes do not taste sweet enough, add more sugar or a little orange juice at this time. Do not add so much that it gets soupy. If there is too much liquid at this point, place in a casserole and bake for 30 minutes.

Steamed Chilled Vegetables in Low-Oil Vinaigrette

Select 2 to 3 pounds of a beautiful spring vegetable such as asparagus. Steam in lightly salted water. While the vegetable is still hot, sprinkle it with Low Oil Vinaigrette dressing, allowing about 1 tablespoon per guest.

Low Oil Vinaigrette Dressing

3 Tbsp olive or safflower oil

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp water

1 clove garlic, chopped or left

whole

1 tsp salt substitute

Many gratings of fresh black

pepper

Chopped green onion 1/2 tsp dried basil or 1 Tbsp

chopped fresh basil 1/2 tsp powdered mustard or

dash of prepared Dijon

mustard

Dash of paprika

Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well. Allow flavors to mix in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using.

PHOTO : Author/chef Leslye M. Borden with Low-Cholesterol Matzob Balls.

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