New twists on old favorites for Seder menu

By Jamie Geller
My Passover menu always features a beautiful brisket (something hand-picked from my new book Brisket 101), perfectly presentable potato kugel cups (with almost 1 MILLION likes, views, shares and comments) and a fresh spring salad.
Braised Brisket
As seen on the Today Show — I wrote the book on brisket. Brisket 101 features 40 of the best brisket, side, slaw and leftover recipes around. Also learn my 3 Golden Rules For Perfect Brisket, All About Aromatics, How-To Build Your Braising Liquid and Deglaze, Marinating 101, How-To Make Your Own Spice Rub plus a Special Section on Slow Cooking. You’ll be empowered to invent your own recipes once you learn my easy (to make and easy to remember) techniques. The sky’s the limit when it comes to riffing on this holiday and comfort food classic that spans generations, cultures and seasons. Become a brisket master! BUY NOW!
Makes 10 servings
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup tomato paste
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (7-pound) whole brisket (or second cut)
3 whole heads garlic, cut in half to expose the cloves
3 cups beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
Bouquet garnish: several thyme sprigs, parsley stems, bay leaves tied to celery rib
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees or preheat slow cooker to low.
2. Heat a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, lightly coated with oil, over medium-high heat. Brown onions until dark and very soft. Stir tomato paste in and continue cooking for a few minutes to sear tomato paste. Transfer onions to slow cooker, or if using a Dutch oven, push onions to the side.
3. Season brisket with salt and pepper and brown on both sides in the same pan. You may need to cut brisket in half to fit into a slow cooker.
4. Nestle brisket into pan with onions. Add garlic, broth, wine, and bouquet garnish.
5. Cover and braise for 3½ to 4 hours in a 300-degree oven or for 8 hours in a slow cooker, until a fork, inserted, comes out with no resistance.
6. Cool brisket at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving or cool completely before slicing and storing with pan juices in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
7. To serve fresh, slice brisket against the grain. Squeeze garlic out of heads and add to pan juices. Serve with pan juices and onions.
8. To serve another day, remove sliced brisket from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before reheating in a 300-degree oven, covered, for 1 hour.
Personal Potato Cups
With almost 1 million views, comments, shares and likes, this is easily one of the No. 1 recipes on Let my family favorite become yours this Passover. (Secret Tip: For a half the fat, half the carbs, half the calories, hubby-approved version of this very same recipe, check out my How-To Healthier Potato Kugel recipes and video on
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 large Idaho potatoes
1 large onion, quartered
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Liberally oil six (4- to 6-ounce) glass dessert dishes or custard cups with 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil each. Place custard cups on a baking pan.
2. Fill a large bowl with cold water and, as you peel potatoes, place them in cold water to prevent browning.
3. Place the pan of cups in 425-degree oven to heat up the oil.
4. Beat eggs in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper, mix well, and set aside.
5. Pour ¾ cup of oil in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat.
6. Cut potatoes lengthwise into halves or quarters so they fit into food processor feed tube. Process potatoes and onions using the blade that creates thin, shoestring-like strips.
7. Transfer potatoes and onions to a large bowl, add egg mixture and heated oil from stovetop, mix very well. Remove any large pieces of potatoes or onions that weren’t processed properly.
8. Remove heated cups from the oven and spoon potato mixture evenly into hot, oiled cups.
9. Bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour or until the tops look crunchy and sides look golden and browned. Let cool until the glass cups are safe to handle and loosen edges with a knife, unmold and serve on a platter.
TIPS: To make this as a potato kugel pie, bake at 425 degrees in an 8-inch square or 8- or 9-inch round glass baking dish for 1 hour.
Spring Ribbon Salad
Presentation, presentation, presentation — always remember, we eat with our eyes first. It doesn’t take much to create this beautiful spring salad. If you own a vegetable peeler you’re in business.
Makes 6 servings
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large cucumber
3 large carrots
1 pint multicolored grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups watercress, cut into 2-inch pieces
Suggested garnishes: pomegranate arils
1. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil, shallots, mayonnaise, honey, salt and pepper and whisk well until dressing comes together. Set aside.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel cucumber and carrots into long ribbons. Transfer to a large bowl and add tomatoes and watercress. Add dressing and toss lightly to coat well. Serve immediately or refrigerate undressed for up to 1 hour.
7 Layer Matzo Cake
Makes 8 servings
1½ pounds bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 cup sweet red wine or grape juice
7 sheets matzo
Garnish: fresh berries
1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Keep chocolate warm by keeping melted chocolate in a bowl over a bowl of warm water.
2. Place wine in a pan large enough to accommodate a sheet of matzo without breaking it.
3. Soak one piece of matzo for about 30 seconds. Transfer to lined baking sheet and spread a thin layer of chocolate, being sure to cover the edges. Moisten another piece of matzo and this time stack it on top of the matzo with chocolate. Spread more chocolate on the matzo. Repeat until all matzos are moistened and covered in chocolate. Pour remaining chocolate over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. Spread it with a spatula.
4. Refrigerate to allow chocolate to set up.
5. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with fresh berries.

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