May We Recommend: Using Up Chametz in Quarantine | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

May We Recommend: Using Up Chametz in Quarantine


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Many, many of us grew up with Jewish mothers who taught us to “always have extra food, just in case.”

Well, just in case is here. It’s come in the form of coronavirus.

We are home for an unknown duration. We are upset and frightened. Shopping is limited. We are faced with using what we have left in our pantry and fridge, waiting for the next scheduled delivery or quick trip to the market with our masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer (if we are lucky enough to have any of them).

Here’s the thing though. Passover is coming. This is exactly the time when we use up our pantry goods anyway, to be rid of the chometz and, for some, kitnyiot.

With all this in mind, here are a few tips for buying items you may need during Passover and some tips on using chometz/kitnyiot you may still have. There are loads of links to recipes for you to consider.

Items to stock:

Potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and root vegetables such as beets, carrots, and parsnips, all of which are long-lasting and provide the stuff of side dishes, salads, and soups. Substantive, healthy ingredients such as quinoa and eggs. Dried fruit such as dates, figs, apricots and prunes, raisins and cranberries plus fresh fruit that lasts, including apples, pears and citrus, for snacking and using in recipes. Staples that provide flavor: ginger, scallions, garlic, onions, lemons/oranges (for peel). Canned/frozen/bottled juice for drinking, basting, flavoring. Canned tuna and salmon. Chocolate or potato chips, your call, whatever comforts you (please understand I am not offering nutrition advice here).

Using up chometz and kitnyiot:

So many of us are baking now that many stores are already out of flour. But if you have some, of course there are cookies, pancakes, biscuits -- the usual, because when you’re stuck at home it can be comforting to bake a banana bread or muffins, lemon bread and so on. Use up canned beans/lentils/chickpeas to make hummus, salad, soups, and entrees. Similar ideas for pasta: Mac and Cheese of course, but also simple spaghetti and kugel (to which you can add veggies for more nutrition), soup.

These are just a few ideas, of course. But it’s a good start, with plenty of links to recipes that might be a nice change of pace.

I leave you with one of my favorite sandwich recipes. It’s a terrific lunch dish, attuned for so many of us who are working at home now and need something delicious midday. It’s also a tasty way to use up your bread before Passover. If you don’t have a fresh tomato, it’s okay. It’s a panini, but you don’t need a special pan. An old-fashioned frying pan will do, plus another pot or pan on top to weigh down the stuffed bread. It’s all in the instructions below.

Stay safe and healthy everyone. Chag Pesach Sameach.

Grilled Cheese, Egg and Avocado Panini

Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford. She is the author of The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at, friend on Facebook at RonnieVailFein, Twitter at @RonnieVFein, Instagram at RonnieVFein.

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