But "restrictions" don't have to mean dull or tasteless, as chef and part-owner Josh Eden of the hit eatery Shorty's.32 in Manhattan proved on The Early Show Saturday.
As the show's "Chef on a Shoestring," he made a three-course Passover meal for four and tried to do it on our $40 budget.
Eden used traditional ingredients for the dinner.
His menu included Matzo Ball Soup, Braised Brisket with Caramelized Onions, and Sponge Cake with Fresh Berries.
Matzo Balls: Matzo or Matzah balls are traditional eastern European Jewish dumplings made from matzah meal. The balls are shaped by hand and dropped into a pot of salted, boiling water or chicken broth. (Keeping one's hands wet is vital when handling the sticky dough) The balls swell during the boiling and come out light or dense, depending on the precise recipe. Matzo balls are roughly spherical and can range anywhere from a couple of centimeters in diameter to the size of a large orange, depending on preference. Matzo balls are usually served with chicken broth, as matzo ball soup.
Matzo Meal: Or ground matzo, is generally available in two textures -- fine and medium. Matzo meal is used in a variety of foods, including gefilte fish, matzo balls and pancakes. It's also used to thicken soups and for breading foods to be fried. Matzo meal is available in Jewish markets and most supermarkets.
Brisket: Brisket is a cut of beef from the breast or lower chest. Most of the tenderness from this normally tougher cut of meat comes from the fat cap often left attached to the brisket. The brisket is almost always placed with the fat on top, so it slowly dissolves down into the meat as it cooks, resulting in a more juicy and tender meat. In traditional Jewish cooking, brisket is most often braised as a pot roast.
Potato Flour: Potato starch flour is obtained by grinding the tubers to a pulp and removing the fiber. The dried product consists chiefly of starch, but also contains some protein. Potato flour is used as a thickening agent. Because the flour is made from neither grain nor legume, it is used as substitute for wheat flour in cooking by Jews during Passover, when grains are not eaten.
Sponge Cake: This light, airy cake gets it delicate texture from beaten egg whites, which are folded into a fluffy mixture of beaten egg yolks and sugar. They get their leavening power entirely from the eggs. Sponge cakes are further characterized by the fact that they do not contain shortening of any kind. The cakes can be flavored with anything from lemon zest to ground almonds.
For Eden's recipes, go to Page 2.
Matzo Ball Soup
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup matzo meal
3 egg whites
3 tablespoon Seltzer
2 tablespoons Chopped Parsley
1 bunch baby carrots, peeled and blanched
1 cup English Peas, blanched
2 tablespoon Chopped Dill
8 cups chicken broth
In a medium sized bowl, mix together egg yolks, matzo meal, salt and seltzer and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peak, then add to the refrigerated mixture and assemble into small balls using your hands, keeping in mind that they will expand as they cook.
Be careful not to pack them too hard or they will be too dense. The recipe should make 18 matzo balls.
In a large pot over medium heat, heat the chicken broth. Add the matzo balls and cook in the chicken broth for twenty minutes.
Remove the matzo balls and place into the bowls you will be serving them in.
Add the blanched vegetables to the broth to warm them.
Place the vegetables into the serving bowls and ladle 2 cups of broth into each bowl and sprinkle the chopped herbs on top.
Braised Brisket with Caramelized Spring Onion and Garlic for Passover
3-to-3-and-a-half pounds first cut brisket
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons sugar -- make caramel using equal parts sugar to water. (Add to sauce pot with all other liquid ingredients)
1 onion, rough chopped
2 stalks of celery, rough chopped
1/2 of a parsnip, rough chopped
1/2 of a turnip, rough chopped
3-4 tablespoons salt
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 package onion soup mix
1 10 oz.-bag pearl onions
Preheat oven to 400º.
Season the brisket with salt, pepper and the onion soup mix.
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on high heat.
Sear the brisket on all sides, sear until all sides are browned.
Add the vegetables to a large pot and place the browned brisket on top.
Add one cup broth to the pan in which you seared the meat to deglaze; scraping at the browned bits with a wooden spoon.
Pour this liquid over the meat and vegetables. Add the remaining chicken broth, red wine and a little water if necessary to barely cover the meat.
Place the pot in the oven, cook for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, reduce the heat to 375º, and cook the meat for another hour.
Remove the pot from the oven and transfer brisket to a cutting board. Slice into strips about 1/4 of an inch thick. The brisket will not be fully cooked at this point, but for serving purposes you slice it now to ensure it does not fall apart during the remaining cooking time.
After the meat is sliced, return it to the pot and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes at 375º.
When fully cooked, remove the brisket and vegetables from the sauce pot and strain the liquid.
Skim the fat from the liquid and discard. Reduce the liquid by ½ by boiling on high heat until it reaches a thick consistency, about 30 minutes.
Once it has reached the desired consistency, pour it over the brisket and serve.
For the Pearl Onion Garnish:
In a sauté pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
When pan is hot, add the onions and sauté until caramelized.
To serve, spoon the onions over the brisket.
For the sponge cake recipe, go to Page 3.
1/4 cup potato flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 Teaspoons lemon peel blanched three times and chopped fine
1/2 cup cake meal
¼ cup lemon juice
1 pound Strawberries or other seasonal berries
Preheat oven to 325º.
First separate the eggs, and add whites to a separate mixing bowl
While adding sugar, slowly beat the whites to form medium sized-stiff peaks.
In a separate bowl, mix potato starch and cake meal.
Add the egg yolks and chopped lemon peel to the potato/cake meal mixture and blend by hand until smooth.
Fold your egg whites into the potato/cake mixture.
Lightly grease a medium-sized square baking pan using margarine and pour mixture in.
Bake at 325º for 1 hour. Remove from oven and flip upside down onto a wire rack.
Once cooled, invert the cake onto a serving plate.
Serve with fresh strawberries.
DID EDEN COME IN UNDER-BUDGET?
Matzo Meal $2.79
Chicken Broth $3.18
Onion Soup Mix $1.49
Red Wine $2.29
Pearl Onions $1.49
Potato Flour $1.00
Lemon Peel .50
Lemon Juice .50
Cake Meal $2.50
FINAL COST = $39.67, so he did, indeed, spend less than our $40 "shoestring" amount!