Saturday, April 30, 2011

spicy peanut orange sauce

I made this to go to on a stirfry that also included Alissa's delightful baked tofu, which made me realize that with tofu, you can throw the leftover marinade directly into a sauce without worrying about cooking it first the way you do with chicken marinade. Then you feel pleasantly non-wasteful like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The amounts aren't really important -- I really just threw stuff in -- so I wouldn't necessarily call this a recipe, but I liked the combination and wanted to remember it.

For the tofu marinade:

few glugs of soy sauce
few glugs of rice vinegar
one or two glugs of this Wegman's stirfry sauce I like, although teriaki or something just a little bit thick and sweet is probably good

Once the tofu is off baking or frying or whatever, combine leftover marinade with:

about 1/2 c orange juice
a few big spoonfuls of peanut butter
little more soy sauce & rice vinegar
squirt or two of sriracha or other spicy thing
large-ish dash of red pepper
dash of ground ginger
dash of garlic powder
fistful of cilantro

Whizz it all up with the immersion blender and then pour over your stirfry. The sauce is pretty thin and I had a whole lot of it, which was kind of nice because it really soaked into the rice and coated all the veggies.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Turkish Haroset

From: New Jewish Holiday Cookbook

I made two versions of haroset for a seder on Thursday night. The first was a combination of apples, cinnamon, walnuts, honey and wine. It was good, but this version was better. Everyone loved this stuff and several people asked to take some of the extra home. I have a container of leftovers in my fridge (I made a double batch of both versions and it was way too much), and I had some for breakfast this morning, scooped up with pieces of matzoh. I also had some as a snack yesterday, spread on a rice cake. It makes a great snack. This version is easy to whip up in the food processor.

15 pitted dates, cut in half
1 large apple, peeled, cored, cut into eighths
1 medium navel orange, peeled, cut into chunks
1 cup any kind of raisins
1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces
1/2 cup slivered almonds
about 2 Tbsp sweet red Pesach wine (any type)
additional navel orange slices for garnish, optional

Put the dates, apple, orange, raisins, walnuts and almonds into a food processor. Pulse several times. Add the wine and process to form a soft, slightly coarse mixture. Transfer to a shallow bowl and garnish with slices of orange around the edge of the bowl. Refrigerate until needed. It will keep for several days in the fridge, covered.

Makes about 3 cups.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Asian turkey meatballs with lime sesame dipping sauce

Add "meatballs" to "tuna noodle casserole" and "mushrooms of all kinds" on the list of foods I never thought I'd like but now I love.

Original here. I stir-fried a bunch of vegetables separately and tossed them with the leftover dipping sauce.
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1-1/4 lbs 93% lean ground turkey [I used ground chicken]
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
Dipping Sauce
  • 4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce [I think I doubled this because it didn't seem like enough sauce]
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice [I just squeezed a whole lime]
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 chopped fresh scallion
Preheat oven to 500°F.

Mix ground turkey, panko, egg, salt, scallions, ginger, cilantro, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the dipping sauce mix together lime juice, water, soy sauce, and remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a bowl. Add scallions.

Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce.

Serve meatballs with remaining sauce, about 1 tbsp per person. Chances are you won't use all the dipping sauce.

Servings: 4 • Size: 3 meatballs • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 7 pts
Calories: 229.1 • Fat: 11.1 g • Carbs: 8.5 g • Protein: 24.3 g

Moosewood beet salad

I was flipping through the Moosewood low-fat cookbook last night looking for some inspiration.
Here's a surprise, I found inspiration in beets.
This is adapted from the recipe in the book.

4 large shallots, peeled
6 golden beets, ends and leaves trimmed

Wrap the beets and shallots up in foil, and bake in the oven for a little over an hour at 400 degrees.
Take out, let cool.
When cool, rub the skin of the beets so that it falls off. Quarter (or smaller, if needed) the beets and the shallots and put in a large bowl.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Pour the vinaigrette on top of the beet mixture and combine. Refrigerate for a while to let the flavors meld, serve cold or at room temperature.

Black eyed pea salad

This is adapted from A Veggie Venture, based on what I had in the house. I'll be eating it for lunch this week, but I anticipate it also being good for potlucks and bbqs this summer. I also anticipate adding other things to the salad -- avocado, corn, etc.

16 ounces frozen black-eyed peas, cooked according to package directions
8 ounces frozen green peas, thawed
4 green onions, chopped
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I bought some fancy pants "gourmet" package of heirloom cherry tomatoes)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced garlic (or some granulated garlic, which is what I used)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix the salad ingredients. Mix the vinaigrette ingredients. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Empanada question

Does anyone know how to make empanadas? Because I could sure go for some right about now...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cheese potato puff with dried mushrooms

We haven't been doing a lot of testing new recipes lately, but I did make this one a few weeks ago -- and it was so, so good. Full of carbs and cheese. Doesn't get any better than that.

Adapted from Lisa's Kitchen

9 large potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
3/4 cup of butter
2 (or 3) cups of extra old cheddar cheese, shredded
28 grams of dried mushrooms (I doubled this, actually, because Ernie loves mushrooms)
1 cup of milk
a scoop of sour cream
2 large eggs, beaten
some granulated garlic
1/2-1 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon of fresh chives, finely chopped

Grease a large casserole dish with butter.
In a large pot, boil the potatoes, along with 1 teaspoon of salt until they are fork tender. Drain well, transfer to a large bowl and mash.
While the potatoes are cooking, soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the cheddar cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, mushrooms and milk. Simmer until smooth. Fold into the potatoes along with the sour cream and beaten eggs.
Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with half of the chives and Parmesan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 40 - 50 minutes or until puffy and nicely browned on top. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and chives and serve hot.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Cranky Post from Shannon

For the past several weeks, we have noticed an upswing in the number of spam posts from employees of Your Smart Kitchen. We have been in contact with the company on several occasions, and have been told they are only to provide "value added" comments -- we have not noticed any "value added" comments as of yet. We have asked them repeatedly to stop spamming our blog, and are told repeatedly they will do so -- and then they reappear. Now. It's not so far-fetched to make the leap that they're doing this because they're hoping you, our readers (all like 4 of you out there) would somehow see their posts and want to shop at their online store. Personally, and I can't tell you what to do for yourselves, I won't be shopping there and would encourage my friends not to shop there. If they can't follow our requests to stop spamming this food blog, I have concerns about other areas of their business. Again, these are my personal concerns and beliefs -- not any sort of business advice at all. I will be combing through the blog and deleting their comments this weekend. And I'm irritated, because they can't follow a simple request. So there you have it. And now, back to food.

Monday, April 04, 2011

pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe

Originally here, but I made a fair number of changes. I think the key was only boiling the pasta until it was half-done, and then finishing it in the sauce (which originally looked pretty watery). Yum.

* about 3/4 lb chicken (or other) sausage, casings discarded
* 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
* crushed red pepper flakes to taste
* 1 can diced tomatoes & about two dozen halved grape tomatoes (or a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes)
* ¼ tsp granulated sugar
* 1 glass red wine (or more)
* freshly ground black pepper
* freshly squeezed lemon juice
* chicken stock for cooking the broccoli rabe (optional)
* 1 lb dry orecchiette
* 2 bunches broccoli rabe, bottom stalks trimmed and discarded, outer leaves removed, and remaining rabe cut into 3 inch lengths
* 2 handfuls freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese plus more for serving

Heat a large pan over high heat. Add a bit of olive oil and crumble in the sausage meat. Reduce the heat to medium and use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the meat as it browns, turning once or twice.

Add a little more olive oil and then the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook a minute or two until the garlic has softened.

Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, and wine and return to the heat. Season with a little kosher salt (bear in mind that the parmigiano reggiano cheese you’ll add at the end is very salty), and some black pepper, bring to a gentle simmer, reduce the heat to low and allow to bubble away uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce gets too dry, add more wine or a little stock or water. [I added quite a bit of chicken broth.]

After 30 minutes, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, a little more sugar if the acid is too high, or even a spritz of lemon juice if you feel the flavor needs brightening. Continue to simmer uncovered over low heat partially covered.

Meanwhile boil some well-salted water for the pasta in a large pot. Toss in the orecchiette and boil, stirring occasionally, until par-cooked (about half-done). Add the pasta to the sausage ragu and keep stirring, until pasta is al dente and has absorbed some sauce.

Refill the pot with chicken broth (or water). Toss in the broccoli rabe and boil for 8 minutes or until just tender. Drain and immediately rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve the beautiful green color. Press the cooked broccoli rabe against the side of a colander or sieve with the back of a cooking spoon to remove excess water.

Stir into the pasta. Remove from the heat and stir in a couple of handfuls of grated parmigiano reggiano.

Check the seasoning one last time with salt and pepper and maybe more lemon juice, and serve right away sprinkled with a little more cheese.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen

Like every time I make butternut squash soup, I had to keep tasting and adding things until I was satisfied with the taste. For me, that meant adding cinnamon, nutmeg, half and half, and a touch of turbinado sugar. You could go in a different direction and add ginger, but I already have a recipe like that, so I wanted to try a different flavor profile with this one.

Oil For Cooking
1 whole Large Onion, Rough Chopped
4 cups Butternut Squash, Peeled And Chopped Into About 1” Pieces
2 cups Carrots, Peeled And Chopped Into About 1” Pieces
Kosher Salt To Taste
4-6 cups Vegetable Stock
Heavy Cream (I used half and half) - approximately 3/4 cup
dash or so of cinnamon
dash or so of nutmeg
Tbsp or so of turbinado sugar, to taste

In a large pot, add the oil and onion and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the squash and the carrots to the pot, sprinkle with kosher salt and toss with the oil and onions.

Barely cover with the vegetable stock. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and tender.

Remove the soup from the heat and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a traditional blender. Season with kosher salt to taste.

Bring the soup back to a simmer in the pot and serve hot.

Garnish with fresh-snipped chives if desired.


From: The New Jewish Holiday Cookbook

4 cups bread flour
2 to 3 cups unbleached flour, divided
2 packets (4 1/2 tsp) fast-acting dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
4 large eggs, divided, or 8oz egg substitute
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups hot water (120 to 130 degrees- no hotter)
approx 1 tsp poppy or sesame seeds, optional

Mixer Method:
In the large bowl (5 qt or larger) bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer (ie, KitchenAid or similar) with a dough hook, put the bread flour, 1 cup of the unbleached flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients by holding the hook in your hand and using it to stir. Measure out 3/4 cup of the egg substitute, or use 3 eggs, lightly beaten. Add the 3 eggs (or egg sub) and oil to the flour mixture and stir in with the hook. It is not necessary to mix well at this point. Finally, add the hot water to the bowl and stir in.

Set the bowl into the mixer and attach the dough book. Turn the mixer to kneading speed. As the dough kneads, lightly sprinkle just enough unbleached flour around the inside surface of the bowl so that the dough stays on the hook and does not come down off the hook into the bottom of the bowl. You will probably need to use more flour in the beginning, and less as the dough kneads. Let the dough knead for about 5 to 10 min, or until it is very smooth. When it is almost done kneading, it should need very little or no more flour and should almost clean the inner surface of the bowl. Note: If the dough rises over the top of the hook, scrape it down and add more flour. This may happen if the bowl is smaller than 5 qts. In the future, consider reducing the recipe by one-third and making smaller loaves.

Remove the dough hooks from the dough, but leave the dough in the mixer bowl. Cover the bowl with a plastic lid or a piece of plastic wrap so the dough does not dry out and let it rest for about 15 to 30 min. This is not a rising period, but time to let the gluten ease so the dough can be shaped. If the room is warm, the dough may rise slightly.

To easily remove the dough from the bowl, sprinkle some flour over the dough, and use a spatula to push the flour all the way down the sides of the bowl while completely loosening the dough at the same time. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board, and press it gently into a large rectangle (about 10x14 inches) of even thickness. For two 4-braid large challot, use a knife or sharp-edged dough-scraper to cut the dough in half; then cut each half in half again to make four; then cut each piece in half once more to make 8 equal pieces. Handling the dough as little as possible, form each piece into a ball. This can be done by gently stretching the top of a piece of dough to its underside all around. Very lightly coat each ball with flour so it does not stick to the cutting board.

Form the first four dough balls into thick 12-inch strands by holding up a ball in your hands and gently squeezing it between your thumb and other fingers to elongate it into a thick snake. When it is almost the right size, roll it out on a board or directly on the countertop to smooth its sides and slightly lengthen it. If possible, use no flour for rolling, as floured dough is slippery and will slide rather than roll. Each strand should be either of even thickness its entire length or slightly thicker in the middle and tapering to the ends.

When each strand is finished, coat is completely with a dusting of flour, brushing off any excess. The flour prevents the strands from sticking to the countertop during braiding. It also helps the braided strands keep their definition and not blend together during rising and baking, so the finished challot have nicely separated bumps.

Lay the four strands on the countertop, parallel to each other and about 1/2 inch apart. Squeeze the strands together very tightly at one end so they cannot unravel during rising and baking. Braid them by starting with the first strand on the right. Lift it over the two strands next to it and then put it back under the strand on its immediate right. Do this compactly so the overlapping strands stay close to the pinches end. Then do the same with the other side, beginning with the far-left strand. Continue alternating in this way until completely braided. Handles the strands gently and do not stretch or pull them as you braid. When the strands are too short to continue braiding, pinch them very tightly together so that the load cannot unravel during baking.

Tuck both ends slightly under so you cannot see where they strands were pinched, and push the ends of the load together gently to slightly compact it and make it higher in the center. The load should be relatively short and fat; the finished challah will be much larger. Repeat with the second loaf.

Gently transfer the loaves to a large, heavy, flat, shiny aluminum baking sheet that has been greased, coated with non-stick spray, or lined with parchment. An insulated sheet is best.

When both loaves are formed and on the baking sheet, use a pastry brush to coat them well with the reserved egg substitute or the remaining whole egg beaten with 1 tsp water. Sprinkle the tops lightly with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Turn your oven on to 200 degrees and immediately set a timer for 1 minute. Turn off the oven after exactly 1 minute. Quickly place the baking sheet with the loaves on a middle rack of the barely warm oven, and let the loaves rise for 30 minutes.

Leave the loaves in the oven, and turn the temp up to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 32-40 min or until they are golden brown (if using egg substitute they will not be as dark as they are with whole egg or egg yolk glaze). The loaves should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom (or be 190-205 degrees when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the bottom).

Immediately remove the loaves from the baking sheet, and cool them on wire racks for at least 1 hour before eating them. If you're not using the loaves within a few hours, cool them completely; then put each one in an airtight plastic bag or use plastic wrap and freeze them. That the frozen loaves in their wrappers. Thawed loaves may be warmed, wrapped in foil, in a low oven for a few minutes.

For a richer egg challah, use whole eggs (not egg substitute), and increase the sugar and oil to 1/2 cup each. The top may be glazed with 1 or 2 egg yolks beaten with a few teaspoons of water.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Fruit Tart

Adapted from: Joy of Baking

This was gorgeous! I will definitely make this again when I want a dessert with great presentation value. It wasn't too difficult, but it looked like a bakery purchase. I actually used a different recipe for the crust, because I had to make this gluten-free. I made a crust of crushed pecans, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter and pressed it into a tart pan. I used a gluten-free all-purpose flour in the pastry cream, also, but it all turned out well. I think this tart would also be good with a shortbread-cookie type crust, or a crust with ground almonds, too. Or just a regular tart/pie crust. Use any kind of fruit you want. I made concentric rings of different fruit - halved strawberries around the outer edge, then alternating raspberries and blueberries, then mandarin oranges, with kiwi in the middle. I really like the color combination of the red berries, oranges and bright green kiwi, but use whatever kind of fruit you want. (Click on the link if you want the crust recipe - otherwise make whatever kind of tart crust you want.)

Pastry Cream:
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/8 cup (20 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)
3/4 tablespoon (10 ml) liqueur (Grand Marnier, Brandy, Kirsch) (optional)

Apricot Glaze: (optional)
1/2 cup (120 grams) apricot jam or preserves
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or water or combination of the two (can also use other liqueurs)

2 - 3 cups mixed fruit, such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwifruit, bananas, plums, pineapple, melon, etc.

Pastry Cream: In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the milk and split vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. (The milk will foam up to the top of pan quickly, so watch carefully.) Remove from heat and whisk a small amount into the egg mixture to temper it. Slowly add the egg mixture to the milk, whisking constantly to prevent scrambled eggs. (If you get a few pieces of scrambled egg in the mixture, pour through a strainer.) Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture. (The vanilla bean can be dried and placed in your sugar bowl to give the sugar a vanilla flavor. This sugar can then be used in baking where you would like a vanilla-flavored sugar, e.g. pies, cakes, cookies.)

Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.

Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using). Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Beat before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Apricot Glaze: Heat the apricot jam or preserves and water (if using) in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid (melted). Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. (If using, add the liqueur at this point.) Let cool until it is only slightly warm.

Variation: If glazing strawberries, raspberries or any other red fruit you can make a red currant glaze. Gently whisk 1/2 cup (125 grams) of red currant jelly over medium heat until melted. Let cool slightly and then lightly glaze the fruit using a pastry brush.

To Assemble Tart: To remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan, touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto a cardboard cake round.

Spread a thin layer of apricot glaze or melted chocolate over the bottom and sides of the baked tart shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry between 20 - 30 minutes. Spread the Pastry Cream onto the bottom of the baked tart shell , filling about 3/4 full.

To decorate the tart you will need 2 to 3 cups (480 - 620 ml) of mixed fresh fruit (such as berries, bananas, oranges, kiwifruit, plums, pineapple, and melon). Prepare the fruit by gently washing and drying. Peel and slice the bananas, plums and kiwifruit. The strawberries will need to be sliced also. Arranging the fruit on the tart can be done either randomly or in concentric overlapping circles, starting at the outside edge. Try to cover all the pastry cream with fruit so that no pastry cream is showing through.

After arranging the fruit, rewarm the glaze, if using, and gently brush a light coat on the fruit. Do not put it on too thick or it will look like Jell-O. Try not to get any glaze on the tart shell. The idea is to make the fruit look shiny. If not serving immediately, refrigerate. Take out about 30 minutes before serving to give the fruit and cream a chance to warm to room temperature.

This fruit tart is best eaten the same day as it is assembled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves about 8 - 10 people.

Friday, April 01, 2011

no-strainer-necessary lemon curd

I haven't been cooking much blog-worthy food recently, mostly because I am obsessed with our new electric wok and stir-fry is the only thing I make for dinner anymore. But I had a whole bag of Meyer lemons and wanted to make something that would do them justice.

We already have a lemon curd recipe on FG, but I wanted one that wouldn't require me to wash my strainer. Yes, I am that lazy.

Also, I made this a one-pot experiment by doing the prep work in the pan in which I would eventually cook the curd. Worked fine, and now I have two lovely cheerful yellow jars cooling in the fridge.

Original recipe here.

1 stick (6 T) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar [I used less than this
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min.

Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min.

Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.

Put the pan on the stove and cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. [I did not use a thermometer and only cooked for about 10 minutes. It thickened up noticably.] Don't let the mixture boil.

Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.