Known also as the Festival of Freedom, the Passover holiday begins at sunset Monday, March 23.
There are many ways to celebrate this holiday whether alone or as a family. I would suggest that you call your local temple to see what has been scheduled in your area. Some make Passover crafts and enjoy an appropriate snack, while some have scheduled a time to learn of the history of Passover and sing songs or perhaps even enjoy a community Seder meal. Friends of mine informed me that the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro in Boston is offering a three-course Passover dinner. Whatever you do, you will enjoy taking the time to embrace this holiday and its significance.
Matzo is a large, flat cracker traditionally eaten during Passover. When the Israelites made their Exodus from Egypt, there was no time for bread to rise, so matzo, made without yeast, symbolizes that journey to freedom. Top whole matzo with spreads or cheese. Use ground matzo meal for making cakes and matzo balls.
This surprisingly easy vegetarian recipe layers matzo, cheeses and Swiss chard in a lasagna-like dish. Serve it hot or at room temperature. This doubles well (using a 9-by-13 inch pan), and may be frozen.
Swiss Chard Matzo Torte
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bunch Swiss chard, rinsed thoroughly, discard stems.
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 whole squares matzos
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-by-8 inch pan.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes.
While onion cooks, prepare Swiss chard. Remove excess water and finely chop leaves to get about 4 cups, loosely packed.
Add chard to onion and continue to cook for 4 minutes, until leaves are limp but bright green. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.