Pesach - Passover - What Can I Eat
I am writing this in response to an e-mail as I know that many of you have problems at Pesach especially those of you who are Ashkenazi.
This year - 2011 - I have written a Cookbook (available in the UK in print) or as an e-book (worldwide). It concentrates on the foods that are awkward to make gluten free at Passover: Fried Fish, Pot Roast with Dumplings, Goujons, Fish Cakes, Blintzes and many more, over 70 recipes and 100 variations . This has been a major project and there is a small charge. To take you to the order page just click.
We are restricted in our food by being Celiac but this time of year is for some a nightmare. According to Jewish Law there are five grains that ferment, indeed these are the ones used to make matzo, and only the fifth is suitable for celiacs. These are: wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats. I have emboldened starches I use.
Even though technically rice, beans, lentils, corn and millet are seeds, the Ashkenazi Celiac is unable to use flours/starches made from these seeds as a result of the custom dating back to the French Rabbis of the 13th century. Additions have been made over the centuries to this list including peas, fennel seed, mustard, sunflower seeds and peanuts. (Strange because I remember sunflower oil at Pesach as a child). In most recent times a debate has arisen over amaranth and quinoa. These seeds are I believe the OU in the States says its ok as do some authorities in Israel. Britain hangs on the fence. That does not leave us much choice! I personally choose to include these.
Suitable substitutes are not easy to come by especially if they are hechshered, apart from potato flour, coconut and if you are lucky (in Israel) tapioca flour. I have yet to find a hechshered sweet potato flour but ......
So what do I do. Well I make matzo type crackers and bread from potato flour and ground almonds (meal) Pesach Flat Bread & Crackers I make a bread from mashed potatoes Fadge. I grind amaranth and quinoa grain to make crackers Quinoa Crackers and I make Pesach Nut Bread.
My latest collection of Passover recipes appears in The Kosher Celiac’s Passover Cookbook which I hope will inspire you.
I am oat free so must admit I have not experimented with oats but you can buy gluten free oat matzot from mail order suppliers.
As far as starch goes what do I eat; well the ubiquitous potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams, squashes mashed and roasted, chestnuts - really good and you can get them in vacuum packs, some amaranth and quinoa where I might normally use rice; there are ground nuts to include if you are not allergic in pancakes, dumplings and kugels and too many cookies and cakes. If my resolve is good, I go on a diet try not to bake - ha ha - and eat loads of extra green and other vegetables.
HOWEVER IT IS NOT ALL NEGATIVE
There are many positives suddenly I find ready made cakes in the shops from Israel labeled gluten free that I normally never see. There are cookies labeled as suitable for celiacs. My butcher has cleaned his machines and his sausages and salamis have potato starch not rusk or flour as their thickener. I just start reading labels and a plethora of goods jump out at me that I take a risk though not usually on seder nights - at the worst I pass them on to non-celiac family.
Its 8 days to be inventive so turnover to the next page where there is a list of recipes that are suitable for the Passover Celiac I hope they help.