Passover cleaning is the Jewish equivalent of spring cleaning. When the weather warms up and it’s time to clean the house from top to bottom, think about giving your pantry an overhaul. Not only should you be looking for crumbs in every nook and cranny, but Passover is also a great opportunity to rid your kitchen and pantry of expired items you might not have thought to get rid of. Here is a guide to getting your pantry storage items organized and under control.
Store food properly. Even non-perishable items can go stale or be susceptible to bug infestation. Keep open cereals, pastas, rice, and other grains in airtight plastic or glass containers. They will look more organized and appealing, and you will be able to better keep track of when you are running low and need to restock. They will also remain fresh longer. Keep everything labeled so you know what it is and how long it’s been there.
Redo your pantry. While you are cleaning for Passover, reorganize. Clear out all shelves and place the items on a counter to see what you have and start from scratch. Check expiration dates, throwing away expired goods, and group foods together by category. Repackage foods that are running low into smaller containers that take up less room.
Keep food organized. Your pantry should be organized with similar items near each other so everything is simple and easy to find. Canned goods on one shelf organized by type (beans, tomato products, etc.), baking ingredients on another (flour, sugar, oils, etc.), and other pantry products grouped together as well (pasta, rice, spices etc.). Items you use most often should be kept at the front and on eye-level shelves so they are easily accessible, while things used less often, or of which you are stocking extras, can be kept toward the back or on a bottom shelf.
What to get rid of. If an item does not have an expiration date, it does not mean it lasts forever. Most opened sauces and condiments will last about six months in the refrigerator. Flours are good for 6–9 months in sealed containers. Whole-wheat flour has a higher oil content so it has a shorter shelf-life. Store it in the fridge or freezer to keep fresh longer. Sugar, honey, and salt don’t spoil, but keep them in airtight containers to keep out moisture. Cooking oils should be stored in a cool, dark place sealed tightly for 6–9 months. Nuts are perishable, so keep shelled nuts in an airtight container for 3–6 months in the refrigerator or up to a year in the freezer. v
Flourless Orange-Infused Chocolate Cake
¼ cup blanched almonds
3 Tbsp. matzah cake meal
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter or butter substitute
6 large eggs, separated
⅔ cup sugar
1½ tsp. grated orange peel
⅓ cup light brown sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°F. Pulse almonds in food processor until finely ground. Add matzah cake meal and pulse till combined. Combine chocolate and butter in glass bowl and microwave on medium heat for 1 minute, stirring once. Microwave 30–60 seconds longer and stir until melted and smooth. Let cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed till foamy. Increase spread to high and gradually beat ⅓ cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. Place yolks, orange peel, brown sugar, salt, and remaining ⅓ cup sugar in large bowl. Beat with mixer on high for 2 minutes until pale and thick. Turn to low speed and add chocolate mixture. Fold in almond mixture and one-fourth of egg whites till combined. Add remaining egg whites.
Transfer batter to ungreased 9” springform pan and bake 35–40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack. Run knife around sides to loosen cake. Transfer cake to plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to elke@TakeHomeChef.net, or visiting www.TakeHomeChef.net.