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Published: Tuesday, 3/31/2009

Passover foods and kosher wines

Passover, which begins at sundown April 8, is one of the few Jewish holidays celebrated in the home, says Eileen Goltz of Fort Wayne. "The creativity of the menu comes in with side dishes, vegetables, kugels, and desserts."

Ms. Goltz's recipes can be found on the Passover Web site of the Orthodox Union, oupassover.org. She also writes a weekly food column for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne and the Chicago Jewish News.

"I typically have both Seders at my house," says the mother of two college-age children. Many Jewish families celebrate two Seders, one on the first night of Passover and the other on the second evening. "In Israel there is typically one Seder meal," she says.

"Most families have a traditional menu," says Ms. Goltz, who usually has 35 attending her meals.

Following the Seder service, which includes haroset, matzo, hard-cooked egg, and parsley, appetizers include chopped liver and gefilte fish. This year at the first meal, she will serve a standing rib roast with sweet potatoes, asparagus, matzo kugel, salad, and fresh fruit. On the second night she will serve turkey, and as side dishes a stuffing made with matzo and carrots and apples and a stuffing made with matzo meal and savory spices.

"You do a lot more cooking during Passover," she says. "It's easier for me to do all the cooking at once."

For example, she makes a big batch of Pear Compote (pareve) to use throughout the eight days of Passover. For the Saturday morning of Passover Shabbat, she plans on serving Mushroom Crust Quiche (dairy). The crust is made with sauteed mushrooms and crushed matzo. Honey and Pecan Crusted Chicken (meat) prepared with duck sauce (one 16-ounce jar of Pesach duck sauce mixed with chopped apricots) is served for Friday night's Shabbat dinner.

Brulee is also a popular dish throughout Passover for something sweet. Ms. Goltz's Berries Brulee is made with frozen mixed berries and sour cream.

Wine is served during the Seder service. "I love coming up with all kinds of wines (kosher)," she says. "I serve a mixture of red and white."

"Passover is an expensive time of the year; you buy a lot of items. While Concord wine is a tradition for many, I have a couple of people who are wine aficionados. We only have kosher wines. But there are some amazing kosher wines. You can have fabulous food that is kosher."

As she plans Passover meals, "for me it's bringing something new and different [to the table] that I would eat year round," says Ms. Goltz.

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The Vineyard wine shop at 5305 Monroe St. has noted in its weekly newsletter that kosher wines are in good supply. According to the newsletter, "Every year as Passover nears, we would do a kosher tasting and every year we would be disappointed by attendance."

So this year the shop decided to sneak a couple of extra bottles into every tasting over the next couple of weeks. The extra bottles will be kosher wines included on Tuesdays and Thursdays tastings, says Jerry Johnson, owner.

"We brought in 10 different varieties from Israel with one from Italy, " says Mr. Johnson. Four are whites, including a sweet white and a sweet blush, and the other five are reds, which are dry, such as cabernets, merlots, and a blend. Prices range from $11.99 to $29.99.

Today and April 7, the tastings are 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and cost $5.

On Thursday the tasting is from 7 to 9 p.m. and it costs $15.



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