Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recipe Redux -- Sweet Potato and Leek Latkes


Happy Chanukah! I am re-posting a delicious recipe for sweet potato and leek latkes that I developed last year at this time, because this year, I can't cook as I am expecting twins in just a few weeks! I've been on bedrest for quite a while, but I have still been working to develop recipes both online and in my head, so hopefully, when things swing back toward normalcy in my house, I will begin posting again with regularity.

Until then, I hope you enjoy these delectable savory snacks, and that your festival of light is your best yet. Chanukah Samayach!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dark Chocolate Applesauce Cake


Using the muffin method yet again (a great way to incorporate healthy fruit purees into fall recipes!), I made a moist, dark chocolate cake that turned out absolutely delicious. It wasn't so dark and decadent that it was difficult to eat; this is one of those cakes where you just turn around and it's gone. I hope you like it as much as I did!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa (I use, and recommend Ghiradelli unsweetened)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp decaf or regular instant coffee granules
4 large eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 cups oil (I use, and recommend Mazola Corn Plus with Omega 3's)
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (I recommend Trader Joe's semi-sweet chocolate chips), lightly coated with flour


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix first five ingredients together and set aside. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, coffee granules and oil until light in color. Add, alternately, dry ingredients and applesauce, mixing between each addition. Stir in floured chocolate chips by hand. (Flouring the chocolate chips helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Greasing only the bottom of the pan with a small amount of oil or spray, pour until half full into large loaf or tube pans. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or less, depending on the size of the pan, until dry in center. This cake also may be baked in muffin tins, 8”x 8” pans, small loaf pans, etc. The baking time will be shorter if you use smaller pans or muffin tins, so keep an eye on them. The cakes are done when the centers are no longer wobbly. Recipe can be easily halved or doubled.

The cake is especially delicious if served warm.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Savory Homemade Pizza


When you're sandwiched between several three-day yom tovs (and here are some recipes I worked on for those days), you might be interested, like I am, in a couple of dairy meals. I did a flavorful homemade pizza that is easy and quick, outside of the 1 hour rise time. But it's worth it!

2 pkg. rapid rise yeast
2/3 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
4 c. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. granulated garlic
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried rosemary
3 tbsp. olive oil
2/3 c. warm water

For topping and baking:

1/3 cup semolina flour (or stone ground corn meal, regular corn meal, or yellow corn meal)
tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese
pizza toppings


Dissolve yeast in first 2/3 cup of lukewarm water with 1 tsp. sugar and set aside for five full minutes until bubbly and yeasty-smelling. Combine remaining ingredients, mix well, and then add the yeast mixture. Knead well or use a dough hook in an electric mixer, mix for five minutes. Oil a bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it and turn the dough so that the oil coats the entire dough ball. Set aside in a warm place for an hour.

Roll out the dough on top of some semolina flour, either in a round or in a large rectangle. Cover with tomato sauce, cheese and any other toppings of your choice and bake* at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until browned and bubbly.

*I bake pizza on top of a bread stone, and preheat the stone in the oven for half an hour.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nine Days Bonus Recipe: Whole Grain Lentil and Black Bean Enchiladas

(photo coming soon)

This is an amped-up version of Claire's Corner Copia enchiladas, which everyone should order if they go to New Haven. Claire's is a vegetarian, kosher restaurant that is really a unique place with lots of delicious flavors and neat entrees. The desserts are also spectacular: Claire's Lithuanian Coffee Cake with buttercream frosting is something not to be missed.

Anyway, on to a Nine Days high protein, low-fat treat:

8 whole grain flour tortillas
one white onion, chopped
one red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots or 10 mini-carrots, minced
8 cups fresh spinach leaves
15.5 oz. cooked black beans (I use Goya brand canned black beans)
15.5 oz. cooked lentils (I use Goya brand canned lentils)
2-3 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
4 tbsp sour cream
8 oz. light monterey jack or muenster cheese, shredded
8-10 oz. prepared salsa (or make your own!)

Saute the onions and garlic until deeply browned. Add the carrots and the spinach, and mix and then cover until the spinach is wilted. Add the black beans and lentils and heat thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Taste for flavor and correct seasoning if necessary. Add 4 oz., or half of the shredded cheese, mix well and remove from heat. Add the sour cream and mix again until everything is incorporated.

Place 2-3 oz. of the mixture into the center of a tortilla and place it, seam side down, at the bottom of a casserole dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, placing tortillas in a straight line, closely together. Cover entire mixture with salsa and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the salsa.

Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes to 1 hour until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Recipe Roundup for the Nine Days


As you may know, the first nine days of the Jewish month of Av are characterized by some traditional mourning-style activities, because the 9th of Av concludes with a fast day for the destruction of the First and Second Temples. This year, the nine days begins Sunday night, July 11th. In addition to people not wearing new clothes, Jews typically refrain from doing unnecessary laundry, getting haircuts, listening to music, and even eating meat. That's where Classically Kosher comes in.

Here's a roundup of various Nine Days-friendly recipes so you won't have to eat pizza the whole time (not that there's anything wrong with that). I hope they will provide some helpful ideas for menu-preparation!

Herb Crusted Sun Dried Tomato Quiche

Three-Cheese Mac n' Cheese (pictured above)

Potato Leek Soup

Braised Red Snapper with Lemon and Wine

Salmon Shallot Frittata

Fire-Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Fusili

Stuffed Shells

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oreo Explosion Cheesecake











I have made this cheesecake for the past several years. It is a huge crowd pleaser. It can be made without the kosher gelatin, but it may dip in the middle a bit, especially if you use full-fat cream cheese. If you use low-fat cream cheese as I do, you are not as likely to have an issue, and the dessert is so creamy you won't miss the missing fat.

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 package Kolatin® kosher gelatin, dissolved in a small amount of warm water
1 cup sugar
3 packages Philadelphia® or Neufchatel (low-fat) cream cheese
1 package Oreo® cookies or chocolate sandwich cookies, half broken, half
crushed in a food processer

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Using a food processor, pulse half the cookies until you have achieved a fine powder.
3. Press cookie crumbs into a 10- or 12-inch springform pan and press in the corners so that the crumbs crawl slightly up the sides.
4. Beat eggs with dissolved gelatin, vanilla and sugar.
5. Slowly add cream cheese and beat only until combined.
6. Pour cheese custard into the pan and sprinkle with the remaining cookies. I like to simply break them up by hand so there are large pieces, but you can also chop them roughly in the food processor.
7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to one hour, and remove from the oven when the middle is still a little moist. The whole thing should still be jiggly. Cool completely for at least two hours and, ideally, chill overnight before serving.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pecan Cinnamon Buttermilk Pancakes, on Kosher.com


In advance of Mother's Day, feel free to try my new recipe this weekend for pancakes that will literally fill up your house with the perfume of cinnamon and toasted pecans. I know what I'm making. Wish I could have these for dinner tonight!

Visit my article on Mother's Day pancakes and the accompanying recipe for Sour Cream Buttermilk Pecan Pancakes here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pesach Salads (Part III): Homemade Mayonnaise




Click here for Pesach Salads Part II (salad nicoise and classic caesar dressing) and Part I (superfood chopped salad with an amazing citrus basil vinaigrette).

In my opinion, there's nothing worse than kosher for passover mayonnaise. I have no idea why it tastes so awful, because mayonnaise is simply an emulsion of egg yolks and oil. If you have a food processor or stand mixer that is kosher for passover, then you have the ability to make delicious Pesach homemade mayonnaise (as good, or better than Hellman's, I think!), and you can add garlic and herbs to it in order to make herbed mayo, or you can add horseradish puree to make a chrain mayo for gefilte fish. This will also greatly improve any tuna or egg salads you make, and since it's so easy to make, I would wager some people might even make homemade mayo the rest of the year too.

1 cup of light olive oil, canola, safflower or other light-tasting oil
1 egg
Juice of 1 lemon, and/or white wine vinegar (I start with the juice of half a lemon, and then about 2-3 tsp of vinegar at the end to get the right taste)
Pinch of salt (to taste)
Water to thin the mayonnaise, if necessary

In a food processor or mixer, pulse or beat the egg and the lemon juice together continuously until it turns a full shade or two lighter, very light yellow and frothy. Begin adding oil very slowly in a steady stream, with the processor on. As the mayonnaise starts to thicken and lighten, you made need to add some water to thin it. If your mayonnaise never emulsifies (very unlikely if you use a food processor), you can try adding another egg yolk, or simply start over. This is very, very easy. Taste as you go along, and add more lemon and/or vinegar to get the mayonnaise taste you prefer.

As difficult as it is, it can be made in about ten minutes of whisking by hand. If making by hand, having someone else stream in the oil as you whisk. (Variations: to make garlic mayonnaise, puree a clove of garlic before pureeing the egg and lemon juice, remove it, and then fold it in later, or add your favorite chopped herbs after you've created plain mayo, to make herbed mayo).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pesach Salads (Part II): Salad Nicoise and Classic Caesar Dressing



Click here for Pesach Salads Part III (easy homemade mayonnaise) and Part I (superfood chopped salad with an amazing citrus basil vinaigrette).


At our amazing salad making class at Ohab Zedek last week, we revisited the classic salad nicoise, which makes a delicious first course salad for a formal Pesach lunch. Above, my friends Emma and Sarah model the Salad Nicoise that they made.

Because it has hard-boiled eggs and tuna (dagim!), it provides a fresh and delicious alternative to a plain salad with fish on the side. I also recommend either the classic nicoise dressing, or, to be crazy, serve it with a classic caesar dressing. There's nothing like a classic caesar dressing and it's very easy to make kosher for passover, as long as you have a whisk. Get a whisk if you don't have one, it's worth it!

Classic Caesar Dressing

4 anchovy fillets, or more, if you prefer a strong anchovy flavor (if you are not using a food processor, press the anchovies through a garlic press or mince small)
2 egg yolks (or 2-3 tablespoons pasteurized egg)
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
1 lemon, juice only
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
2 garlic cloves (pressed or minced very small)

Combine garlic, anchovies and egg and whisk until you have created a paste (this is very easily done in a food processor, and requires a little elbow grease if done by hand). Add lemon, spices and stream in olive oil while whisking. Taste and correct seasoning. If you have used a food processor, you may wish to thin the dressing with a bit of water, as it sometimes creates a mayonnaise-like consistency (or, you may like it this way). Whisk again before serving.

Salad Niçoise

A composed salad is something special. It is arranged, rather than simply tossed together. This salad can take a number of forms, from a tower of fresh greens to an artfully arranged sunburst of color on a plate. It can also be layered in a trifle bowl. The end goal is to plate a more formal, elegant looking salad, which shows your family and friends that the course they are about to eat has been made specifically for them. With composed salads, it is important that all the individual parts of the salads have been seasoned well, so they taste good both on their own, and together.

2 heads romaine lettuce, washed
½ cup cooked new potatoes, tossed with chopped parsley, olive oil, and salt
½ cup tuna per person, canned or fresh
1/8 cup red onion, sliced thin
1 hard boiled egg per person, quartered
20 olives
4-8 tomato wedges
2 tbsp chopped chives (for garnish)

Salad Niçoise Dressing


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp mustard (kosher for Passover mustard is very difficult to find and the kind you find may not be so great. You may wish to serve a caesar salad dressing with your Salad Nicoise or replace the mustard in the dressing with homemade garlic mayonnaise).

Combine ingredients and whisk.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Roasted Garlic Tapenade


Instead of the classic chicken shmaltz schmear on bread that our grandparents so enjoyed, my husband was recently advised to eat garlic with olive oil every day. Instead of making him eat a full raw clove with a teaspoonful of oily gunk, I thought I'd try to create something pleasant tasting, by giving the cloves a slow saute to give them some color, a little steam, some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. This makes for a really nice appetizer spread for any meal, along with hummus or other small salads.

Alexander has taken to it enthusiastically, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Just, please, don't tell him that garlic is a vegetable! He doesn't know. He just thinks it's yet another delicious meaty treat to come out of my kitchen.

And while it tastes classy, it still has the look of schmaltz, so it feels heimish to eat, especially if you spread it on a bagel. What could be more Jewish than garlic and bagels?

One important caveat of this dish, however: Everyone in the whole house should eat this appetizer. Because if there's one person who doesn't, they're going to be bothered by everyone's garlic breath!

4 heads of garlic, peeled
high quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
pepper

Heat enough oil in a saute pan to coat the bottom, under medium-low heat, and add the garlic cloves. Stir constantly for approximately five-seven minutes, to ensure that none of the cloves burn. You will see the cloves begin to get translucent in places, and to brown lightly in others. When all the cloves have started coloring (a deeper yellow to a light golden brown), sprinkle the cloves generously with salt and pepper and lower the heat to the lowest setting, and cover for five minutes.

Take off the heat, cool for a few minutes, and then puree in a food processor or blender. You can also mash them with a fork, or pulse them to a chunky consistency if you prefer that. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. This is also a great item to add to sauteed veggies as a delicious garlicky flavoring. For example, I added a tablespoon of this to sauteed spinach that I made as a component of lasagna.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pesach Salads (Part I): Superfood Chopped Salad



Click here for Pesach Salads Part III (easy homemade mayonnaise) and Part II (salad nicoise and classic caesar dressing).

This is a perfect salad for Pesach because it is refreshing, flavorful, and so beautiful and pleasant tasting that you don't even know it's positively brimming with healthy ingredients.

Chopped salads, generally, include ingredients which have been chopped to be uniform. Then, the ingredients are either tossed or composed, depending on the style of the salad.

When tossed, the salad dressing is drizzled on the salad prior to serving and allowed to marinate briefly. Tossing a chopped salad allows flavors and textures to mingle in every bite instead of having to fish for flavors.

To make a composed salad, one can chop all the vegetable separately and compose it on a serving dish, with each individual item placed according to the rainbow of colors, with the dressing on the side. This offers a unique and visually impressive dish.

A chopped salad should be chopped to whatever the size the smallest ingredient may be. For example, in this salad, I chop everything "brunoise," or small dice, approximately to the size of a dried cranberry or raisin.

The Superfood chopped salad is named as such for the "superfoods" contained in this recipe. These are foods that many fancy health institutes like the Mayo Clinic recommend be included in everyone's diet, such as almonds, carrots, apples, avocado, sweet potato and cabbage. The bright colors don't just make for a beautiful salad, they indicate high anti-oxident content and are good for you!


1/3 cup purple cabbage, chopped
1 granny smith apple, chopped
3 tbsp fresh basil, julienned into ribbons (chiffonade)
1/3 cup pickled beets, chopped
1/3 cup carrots, chopped
1/3 cup radishes, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds or pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries, golden raisins or fresh blueberries
1/2 cup canned mandarin oranges or orange sections
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/3 cup jicama, chopped
1 avocado (chopped)
1 sweet potato, chopped, baked and chilled (optional)

Citrus Vinaigrette (serve with Superfood Chopped Salad)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (to taste)
1 tsp lemon and or orange zest
1 shallot, minced (1/4 - 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2-3 tsp honey (to taste)
1 dash cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Combine ingredients and whisk.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cinnamon Brioche Challah


On this day, Friday, otherwise known as Snow Apocalypse 2010 (Part II), I couldn't get out to buy challah. I don't often have the time or patience to do challah, since I am often focused on other cooking projects and I'm not big on kneading. But today was definitely a challah-baking day, because it was either that, or dig our car out of the garage and attempt to go to the market. And I wasn't sure how far I would get anyway.

I have had the basics of this recipe lying around for a long time, and was just waiting for the perfect block of time so I could try it. I altered this recipe from the challah/brioche recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. But don't get too excited, because this recipe, even for seasoned professionals, takes at least three to four hours to make if you factor in rising and baking time.

4 eggs (plus one beaten egg for later to brush on top)
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 dash vanilla extract
1/2 cup Agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup unsalted margarine, melted (oil may also be used)
7 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water by mixing gently until the lumps are gone. Lightly beat the four eggs, and combine them with the other ingredients except for the flour. Mix in the flour without kneading in a stand mixer (fitted with the dough hook attachment). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap (not airtight). Allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), for approximately 2 hours. You can speed up this step by placing the bowl on a warm surface.

I am enclosing the other directions about when to use, because when a dough includes raw eggs, I want to adhere to food safety guidelines.

["The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. Then allow the usual rest and rise time.]"

Add flour to the surface of the dough and and cut off a baseball-sized piece to make five small/medium loaves or take about half the dough if you are making two large loaves. Dust the piece with a little more flour if necessary and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides.

Divide the ball into thirds. Roll the balls between your hands, stretching, to form each into a long, thin rope. If the dough resists shaping, let it rest for a few minutes and try again. Braid the ropes, and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with a beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of sugar. I sprinkled mine with sliced almonds.

Allow the bread to rest and rise on the pan for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

Bake at 350 degrees near the center of the oven for about 25 minutes. Smaller or larger loaves will require different baking times watch closely. The challah is done when golden brown. Be sure to cool the loaves before moving them from the sheet pan.

Challah on Foodista


Braided Brioche

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Best Hamantaschen in the World.



From my article, "The Art and Science of Hamantaschen," originally published on kosher.com.

My mom has generously given her daughters and daughters-in-law her best recipe for hamentashen, and we provide it to you here. But we have all made it our own by adding or deleting certain ingredients. For example, I add a teaspoon of cinnamon to my dough, while my sister-in-law replaces half the water in the recipe with lemon juice. We encourage you to develop your own flavors and tricks for this delicious treat, and we wish a fraylichen purim to all!

Ingredients:

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons milk/rice milk/water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup of your favorite filling

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Cream together margarine and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture with the mixer on low, alternating with water or rice milk.
5. Chill the dough for 1 hour to overnight, then roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, and using a water glass or round cookie cutter, cut into 2-inch rounds.
6. Fill each round with 1 heaping teaspoon of your favorite filling, and draw up sides for triangle.
7. Seal edges with cold water.
8. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes.


Below is a partial text of "The Art and Science of Hamantaschen":

Few, if any, of our fancy culinary arts textbooks at CKCA include recipes for hamentashen. On the one hand, hamentashen are sentimental little triangular trifles from the old country that are really only popular one day a year. On the other hand, who would be better to keep alive these special Purim treats than the folks at the only kosher culinary school in America? We've got plenty of Jewish grandmothers among us, and we have watched carefully as they rolled out delicious rounds to create the Jewish world's most perfect cookie. So, after much discussion and debate, we present to you our decree on hamentashen, and we think Mordechai and Queen Esther would be proud!

CKCA's decree is that hamentashen are a unique and special cookie, because, unlike rugelach or even babka, the best of the best simply cannot be found in professional bakeries. Instead, the most delectable and mouthwatering of these cookies are found coming out the ovens and perfuming the kitchens of Jewish homes throughout the world, during the few days preceding the Purim holiday, which will be celebrated this year on February 28, 2010.

We feel that bakeries never get hamentashen truly right because the recipes we have, which are overwhelmingly passed down from our European grandmothers, were meant to be made in small batches, with attention given toward the inclusion of fresh ingredients and good tasting fillings, all designed to deliver a delicate, soft, sweet cookie.

We will share an amazing recipe for hamentashen at the end of this article, but we also recognize that most people have a recipe from their own grandmother tucked away for this time of year. Therefore, we have found that the following five tips will provide our signature A to Z guidance when using any hamentashen recipe.

Prepare Hamentashen Dough in Small Batches

No matter how many dozens of hamentashen you make this year, it is important to prepare your dough in small batches to ensure good consistency. Otherwise, you run the risk of a chalky, heavy, hard pastry; the kind most often found in bakeries. It is key to mix your wet ingredients very well, and then add the dry ingredients alternatively with liquid, and to combine everything well. Don't overmix the final product! As soon as the dough comes together, the mixer should be turned off. We've discussed the same idea before in this column, that there are some recipes in which it is good to keep the mixer on to develop the strands of gluten in flour, but this is not one of those times! It is best to handle hamentashen dough as little as possible so that the dough keeps a light and airy consistency, not chalky, hard or chewy. The dough should also be chilled before you roll it out. This will make it less sticky and easier to manage, and it will ensure that each cookie rises and bakes evenly.

To read the rest of the article, click here!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Purim and Pesach Fruit Bouquets



Available in your neighborhood! Synagogue sisterhood fruit carving classes! I have created a fun two-hour class to teach women how to make a gorgeous fruit bouquet, and you will bring home your amazing creation. Fruit bouquets are a beautiful Shabbat, Purim or Pesach gift, and your family will be amazed at your masterpiece! Contact me for more information!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Secretly Stuffed-With-Veggies Fettuccini With Tomato Cream Sauce



Because the goal of my life, of course, is to secretly ferret vegetables down the throat of my husband without his knowledge, I am proud of a recent delicious and successful meal I served, in which he had no knowledge of the amount of healthy vegetables consumed. And I'd like to keep it that way.

I made a simple roux with Earth Balance margarine and flour, and added to that vegetable stock and almond milk, which makes a really nice cream sauce base. To that I added a couple of slices of light Edam cheese, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes and tomato paste cut with water. It was the most delicious tomato cream sauce I have ever made, and it has almost no saturated fat.

But the vegetable stock does not comprise all the vegetables I have snuck in here. I found a Ronzoni brand fettuccine product called Garden Delight, which is an enriched tomato, carrot and spinach pasta blend, that purports to deliver a full serving of vegetables per 4 oz. serving. It paired really well with the creamy tomato sauce. Sprinkled with parmigiana, there is no way anyone will think this dish is made with anything other than heavy cream and full fat cheese. This really is a must-try! Tomorrow night!

1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup almond milk or MimicCreme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2-3 tbsp tomato paste, diluted in 3-5 tbsp warm water

1 box Ronzoni Garden Delight Fettuccini, prepared according to package directions.

Combine the flour and margarine in a hot, wide-bottomed saucepan and mix until you have the consistency of paste. Cook until bubbly, about 30-40 seconds, then add the vegetable stock, a little at a time, and keep mixing until smooth. Continue adding almond milk slowly and whisk as it cooks. When it reaches a boil, it should be ready. You will know it is ready when the sauce nicely coats the back of the spoon. Remove from flame. Add the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and correct the seasoning. Add two slices or 1 oz. of light cheese (I use Edam), and mix in the diluted tomato paste. Turn flame back on, to low this time, and add the cooked pasta and toss in the sauce until all the fettuccine is coated. Dust with parmigiana cheese and serve immediately to people who hate vegetables, but who will ask for this again and again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Portable Gourmet Mini-Quiches


I altered my herb-crusted sun-dried tomato quiche recipe for use as mini-quiches, because sometimes you want to make something fancy, but you want to be able to control the amount. I whipped up a dozen of these cuties for someone who recently had a baby, and I feel good that they can be eaten, hot, lukewarm, or even cold, in a few bites, and can be refrigerated or frozen for later.

Crust:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
5 tbsp water
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dehydrated or granulated garlic

Filling:

6 eggs, beaten (or the same amount egg substitute)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, minced
4-5 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
6 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (or more) chedder, colby or monterey jack cheese, grated
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt (not kosher salt)

For the crust, combine the ingredients and mix with a fork. Place about a tablespoon in each cupcake tin. (For me, this made 14 cupcake-sized quiche crusts). Flatten enough to have some of the dough crawling up the sides. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in a 375 degree oven until slightly browned. Remove from oven.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and combine with almond milk and ricotta and mix with a fork until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix until incorporated and spoon into the crusts. Bake for 15-25 minutes until firm on top and slightly browned.

Note: If you use this recipe in a regular piecrust, your cooking time will be longer, approximately 45 minutes to an hour, and you may have extra filling, which is delicious as an omelette.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Panko and Old Bay-Crusted Mahi Mahi


Mahi Mahi, a kosher fish also known as Dolphin fish (not Dolphin, which is cute, and non-kosher!) is a somewhat bland, firm fish that stands up great to pan-frying. This is a fun and different recipe to serve for a Shabbos lunch first course, or a relaxed weeknight meal. I make it in honor of my sister-in-law Mandy, who hails from the large Jewish community of Baltimore, Maryland.

2 cups Panko bread crumbs
3 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 Mahi Mahi filets
2 tbsp canola oil for frying (I use Mazola Corn Plus!)
2 egg, beaten
1/4 cup flour



Dredge the filets first in plain flour, then the beaten egg, then the panko that has been seasoned with Old Bay and pepper. Place presentation side down (the side that you will serve face up on the plate), in a hot pan preheated with canola oil. Cook approximately 2 minutes on each side (and make sure to turn on your oven fan or open a window, because these might smoke a little). Once browned on both sides, transfer to an oven ready pan and finish at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. The fish can then be chilled in the fridge and reheated for Shabbos.

I served these with stone ground cornmeal onion strips. Moisten sliced onions with unsweetened almond milk, salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl that contains a combination of 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal 1 tbps salt and 2 tsp pepper. Add to a large pot with about 2 inches of hot canola oil (test with one ring, you want enthusiastic bubbling). Remove when brown and crisp, and serve immediately or keep warm in an oven until ready to serve.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Easy Beef Stew


When it's cold and everyone is fighting off a sore throat, the only thing that anyone really wants is a rich, nourishing soup. This stew or goulash recipe is something I have made several times of times over the past couple of weeks, and it's an easy fix-it-and-forget-it recipe. It's also very filling, so you won't go searching through the cupboard for a snack two hour after dinner (you know who you are!) This beef stew can also be made in the crockpot (combine ingredients, set on low heat and go to work, and come home to a house that smells amazing.) My recipe involved only about 15 minutes of work, and then periodic checking, with a total hour to hour and a half cooking time.

2 pounds boneless flanken, brisket, chuck or any other nicely marbled meat, cut in bite-sized pieces
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 parsnips, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
5 ribs celery, diced
4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1 dash cayenne (optional)
2 tsp dried rosemary (or 4 tsp fresh)
2-3 cups vegetable stock

Sweat mirepoix (carrots, celery, onions) in olive oil in a deep pot, approximately 10 minutes.

In a large ziploc bag, incorporate flour and dried spices except for the rosemary, and add the bite-size beef pieces. Shake it all about! Remove the beef pieces, now lightly floured and spiced, and place in the pot with the vegetables. This adds just the right amount of flour to thicken the stew. Add cubed potatoes, parsnips, rosemary and vegetable stock, and cover. Simmer on medium heat for 10-20 minutes, then correct seasonings and reduce to a very low flame and simmer for an additional hour or more, until ready to serve.

This recipe serves four, easily. Add 1/3 to 1/2 pound uncooked meat for each additional adult. It also freezes beautifully.