Kitchen overflowing with chametz Clean out with these pre-Pesach recipes

I’m convinced the Earth is spinning faster on its axis now than ever before. That’s the only way I can account for the fact that Chanukah seems to have just finished, and we’re already getting ready for Pesach. As I peruse the contents of the pantry, I like to use up as much cereal, grains, flour and other starches as can before I clean out for Passover. The unopened packages get donated to the food bank, and the opened crackers, chips and cereal are given to neighbors, composted or thrown out.

Much flour and baking powder gets used up with our Purim baking — but what about the refrigerator door filled with condiments, the corn syrup, the various opened bags of pasta, dried beans and rice, and the boxes and boxes of cereal?

This week’s column is devoted to cleaning out the fridge and pantry. Using the pizza dough as the canvas, create an artistic masterpiece by cleaning out the refrigerator (sun-dried tomatoes, olives, odds and ends of cheese, herbs, dried mushrooms). The cereal bars are a great way to use up those last bits of dry cereal.

If you’re interested in learning how to prepare delicious foods for the seder, I am teaching a Do-Ahead Seder cooking class at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco this Tuesday April 8, at 6:30pm. Visit for more information.

Pasta e Fagioli

Serves 6

4 Tbs. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, through the press

3 cups canned chopped tomatoes

2 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. sugar

1⁄2 tsp. chopped rosemary

2 cups cooked beans

4 cups cooked pasta shapes

2 oz. grated Parmesan

2 Tbs. chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and the tomatoes, and cook about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, sugar and rosemary. Stir in the cooked beans and pasta, and simmer until heated through. Just before serving, toss in the grated Parmesan and the parsley. Serve warm.

Cornmeal Pizza Dough

1 Tbs. yeast

1 Tbs. sugar

1 cup warm water

1 cup semolina flour

1 cup flour

1 cup coarse cornmeal

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. fine sea salt

In a bowl or food processor, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Add the semolina, white flour, cornmeal, olive oil and salt and mix everything together. Knead 15 minutes by hand or 3 minutes in the food processor. Let rise in a lightly oil bowl until double in bulk. Roll out to a 12-inch circle and top and bake as desired.

Sweet Corn and Green Chili Bread

4 oz. unsalted butter, melted

1 1⁄4 cups milk

2 large eggs

1 1⁄2 cups flour

1 cup corn meal

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. fine sea salt

2 oz. shredded cheese, such as smoked Gouda, Mozzarella, extra sharp Cheddar

1 jalapeno, finely chopped

1 cup corn kernels

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, milk and eggs. In another bowl, combine the flour, corn meal, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Fold in the cheese, jalapeno and corn.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch cake pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake the cake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 25 minutes. Unmold immediately and allow to cool on a rack. Serve warm.