Festival of Lights Begins Tuesday | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 11 December 2014 15:08

121114fHanukkah will begin this year at sundown next Tuesday and continue for eight days and nights.

The holiday is celebrated by candle lighting, exchanging gifts and eating foods fried in oil, an ancient custom commemorating an event at the temple in Jerusalem, where a tiny vial of oil is said to have burned for eight days.

The favorite Hanukkah food is potato pancakes, or latkes as they are called in Yiddish.

POTATO LATKES

1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Sour cream and applesauce

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Allow potatoes to soak for another 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.

Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven. Makes 12 to 16 latkes.

CARAMELIZED APPLE SAUCE

6 large golden delicious apples, peeled, cord and thinly sliced
Juice & grated peel of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup orange juice

In a large bowl, toss together apple slices, lemon juice and peel. Set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, marmalade and orange juice. Cook over medium heat stirring until sugar and marmalade dissolve. Bring syrup to boil, reduce heat and simmer 3 to 4 minutes, just until sauce begins to thicken.

Add apple mixture to syrup and toss to coat apples. Simmer covered, 10 to 15 minutes, until apples are soft. Transfer to glass bowl and cool to room temperature.

Gently mash apple mixture. cover with plastic wrap and chill. Serve with latkes. Makes 5 to 6 cups.

BRISKET & WINTER VEGETABLES

1 6-pound lean beef brisket
Kosher salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 onions, thinly sliced
5 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and thickly sliced
2 potatoes, peeled, diced
1 rutabaga, peeled, diced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 (12-ounce cans) beer
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Rub brisket generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pan over high heat and brown brisket about 1 minute on each side. Remove brisket, pour off all fat and return brisket to pan. Place garlic, onions, sliced carrots and parsnips, diced potatoes and rutabaga, parsley, thyme and bay leaves on top of brisket. Combine beer, stock and tomato paste and add to brisket. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, on stove top, or bake at 325°F 2 to 3 hours until brisket is tender.

Remove some of the vegetables and purée with some of the liquid to form a sauce. Slice brisket and serve with sauce and remaining vegetables. Makes 12 servings.

APPLE FRITTERS

3 eggs
1 cup milk
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
6 medium-size crisp apples
Oil for frying

Purée the eggs, milk, flour and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Scrape the batter into a shallow bowl.

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

Dip each apple slice into the batter; let excess batter drain of briefly, then fry slices, a few at a time, until golden on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove slices to a paper towel-lined platter or baking sheet to drain and cool briefly.

Sprinkle apples on all sides with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Keep warm in a 200°F oven, if necessary.

Repeat with remaining apples, skimming browned bits of batter from the pan and adding additional oil if needed. If oil becomes too brown, discard it and use fresh oil for successive batches of frying.

Transfer apple fritters to a warm platter. Sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar before serving. Yields about 30 fritters.

RUGELACH

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Cut cold butter or margarine and cream cheese into bits. In food processor pulse flour, salt, butter or margarine, cream cheese and sour cream until crumbly. Shape crumbly mixture into four equal disks. Wrap each disk and chill 2 hours.

Roll each disk into a 9-inch round, keeping other disks chilled until ready to roll them.

Combine sugar, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and finely chopped raisins.

Roll each disk into a 9-inch round keeping other disks chilled until ready to roll them. Sprinkle round with sugar/nut mixture. Press lightly into dough. With chefs knife or pizza cutter, cut each round into 12 wedges. Roll wedges from wide to narrow, you will end up with point on outside of cookie. Place on ungreased baking sheets and chill rugelach 20 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

After rugelach are chilled, bake them in the center rack of your oven 22 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers...they freeze very well. Yields about 4 dozen.

 

 
December’s Cookies | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 04 December 2014 08:59

120414fDecember is inevitably associated with cookies, the joy of baking them at home, and nibbling one the moment it is cool enough to be consumed without scorching either your tongue or fingers.

So tie on your apron strings and be prepared to put good intentions about self-control on hold till January.

THUMBPRINT COOKIES

3/4 pound butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Your favorite jam or preserves

Cream together the butter and sugar until just combined, and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. (Do not overmix.) Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1-1/4-inch balls. Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

TURTLE SHORTBREAD COOKIES

1 cup butter (no substitutes)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 (1-ounce)squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted, cooled 5 minutes
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 (14-ounce) package Kraft Caramels
2 tablespoons cream
6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Mix butter, brown sugar and vanilla thoroughly using an electric mixer. Beat in melted chocolate. Gradually blend in flour and corn starch.

Form into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Gently press down on each cookie to flatten using fingers or a flat bottomed drinking glass (dipped in sugar to prevent sticking).

Bake at 300°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown. Cool for 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Melt caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.

Dip cookies in caramel sauce; roll dipped portion in chopped pecans. Place cookies on wax paper to cool before serving. Makes about 3-1/2 dozen cookies.

COCONUT POMPOMS

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup shredded coconut

Beat butter until light and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix. Sift together flour and salt and add to butter mixture, stirring until incorporated.

Shape pieces of dough around pecan halves and roll in coconut. Bake on ungreased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 325°F until coconut is lightly toasted, about 20 minutes.

HOLIDAY MOLASSES COOKIES

1 cup molasses
1/2 pound butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water
4 cups flour
2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat the molasses to a boil. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted. Place the sugar in a deep bowl and add soda to the hot water; pour water into the molasses. Pour the molasses mixture into the bowl of sugar and thoroughly mix. Add spices, flour and salt and mix with molasses and sugar. Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper or waxed paper and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut dough as thin as possible and bake on a non-stick surface or a greased sheet for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack as soon as done.

FLORENTINES

1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
8 ounces chopped candied orange peel
8 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Blend the sugar and the cream. Stir in the flour, almonds and orange peel. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a heavily creased and floured cookie sheet. Spread mixture into thin circles with a spatula.

Bake at 350°F just until the edges are light brown about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before removing from the cookie sheet, cool.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt over low heat, or microwave on medium for about 3 minutes. Turn cooled cookies upside down and spread the bottoms with the melted chocolate. Let cookies stand at room temperature until chocolate is firm, at least 3 hours.

Store in a covered container at room temperature or refrigerate. Yields 5 dozen.

 

 
Thanksgiving’s Weekend Encore | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 12:14

112714fSure, we’ll all be groaning after Thursday’s big dinner, but most of us have waited all year for the grand prize of Thanksgiving – the weekend of leftovers!

Whether it’s a late Thursday night raid of the fridge, a turkey sandwich with a little warmed-up stuffing on Friday, or a bowl of turkey soup on Sunday, most Thanksgiving remnants are even better the second time around. And there’s just no end to the possibilities.

TURKEY CLUB SANDWICHES FOR 8

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons honey mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 pound thinly sliced ham
12 slices whole wheat bread
4 slices Swiss cheese
8 lettuce leaves
3/4 pound thinly sliced leftover turkey
8 slices tomato
4 slices bacon

Combine sour cream, horseradish, honey, mustard, garlic salt, and white pepper; stir well. Place 3 ounces of ham on each of 4 slices of bread. Top each with 1 teaspoon sauce, 1 slice cheese, a lettuce leaf, and another slice of bread. Place 3 ounces of turkey on each slice, and add 1 teaspoon sauce, lettuce leaf, 2 slices tomato, and 1 slice bacon. Top with remaining slices of bread.

Cut each sandwich into halves or quarters (if quartered, secure each segment with a toothpick.) Serves 8.

CREAMY DIJON TURKEY SALAD

2/3 cup Dijon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
3 tablespoons minced onion

(Use either prepared or homemade Dijon mayonnaise. To make your own, combine 1 cup mayonnaise with 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.)

Combine Dijon mayonnaise and lemon juice in large bowl. Add turkey, apple, celery, carrot and onion; toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes 4 (3/4-cup) servings.

MASHED POTATO BAKE

3 cups hot mashed potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/3 cup french fried onions
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine mashed potatoes, sour cream, milk and garlic powder in large bowl; mix well.

Spoon half the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup french-fried onions and 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining potato mixture. Bake 30 minutes until heated through. Top with remaining onions and cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer, or until onions are golden. Serves 6.

PILGRIM’S POT PIE

4 cups (about 1-1/4 pounds) cooked turkey chunks
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2-1/4 cups leftover turkey gravy, or 2 (10-1/2-ounce) cans turkey gravy
1/4 cup snipped chives, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
4 cups leftover mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, mix turkey, peas, corn, gravy, 2 tablespoons of the chives and the thyme. Turn into shallow 2-1/2- to 3-quart baking dish; set aside.

In microwave-safe dish warm potatoes on high for 3 minutes; mix in remaining chives. Cover turkey mixture with potatoes. Place dish on baking sheet.

Bake for about 25 minutes in center of oven until turkey mixture is bubbly and potatoes begin to brown. Serve with cranberry sauce, if desired. Serves 6.

TURKEY A LA KING

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (2-ounce) jar  pimiento strips
2-1/2 cups cooked cubed turkey
Dash onion powder, pepper

Melt butter; add green pepper and mushrooms. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon. Add flour to butter, cooking and stirring until smooth. Add half-and-half and cream of mushroom soup, stirring until smooth and thickened. Add turkey, pimiento, mushrooms, green pepper, and seasonings. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over hot cooked rice, biscuits, or noodles. Serves 6.

CRANBERRY-TURKEY LOAF

First Layer:
2 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 pound jellied cranberry sauce
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
Second Layer:
1 package unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup chicken broth, hot
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups cooked turkey, diced

First Layer: Soften gelatin in cold water. Mash cranberry sauce, add orange juice, and heat until sauce melts. Stir in gelatin. Chill until partially set, then add celery and pecans. Pour into 9-1/2- by 5- by 3- inch loaf pan and chill until almost set.

Second Layer: Soften gelatin in cold water; stir in hot broth. Chill until partially set. Blend in mayonnaise, milk and salt. Add diced chicken. Spoon over cranberry layer. Chill. Unmold and garnish as you choose.

YAM BREAD PUDDING

2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 cup soy or regular milk
1 cup mashed cooked yams
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8  teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups dry whole-grain bread cubes (4 slices)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

To dry bread cubes, spread in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cool. (Bread will continue to dry and crisp as it cools.) Or let stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

In a medium bowl beat together whole eggs, egg whites, and milk. Whisk in sweet potato, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a 2-quart square baking dish combine bread cubes, raisins, and pecans. Pour the egg mixture over bread mixture. Lightly press with the back of a spoon to thoroughly moisten bread.

Bake in a 325°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

 

 
Tackling the Turkey | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 21 November 2014 15:44

112014fSome 15 million Americans plan to visit a restaurant for a Thanksgiving meal this year, according to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association.

And, of respondents who said they plan to go out shopping on so-called Black Friday, 60 percent said they expect to visit a restaurant. Overall, 46 million shoppers are expected to dine out on Nov. 27 and 28 this year.

For many others, the fussiest parts of the Thanksgiving dinner will be brought home from a restaurant or a supermarket.

For most of the rest of us, it will mean the once-a-year job of thawing and cooking a frozen bird.

The best method of roasting a turkey is also the simplest. Here, step-by-step, is how to prepare, stuff and carve the bird, and make a delicious and traditional turkey gravy.

If you haven’t yet purchased a frozen turkey, you should do that before the weekend. The general rule is to allow at least one pound of turkey per person.

You can start thawing your turkey soon after you get it home by putting it – still in its wrapper and breast-side up – on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator (so it won’t drip on other food items). Figure thawing time at one day for every four pounds.

If you buy your turkey late or forget to thaw it, stick the frozen bird, breast side down (and still in its wrapper), in cold water to cover. Change the water every 30 minutes. Figure on this method taking about 30 minutes a pound.

To prepare the turkey for roasting, remove the wrapper, release the  legs from the clamps and pull neck and giblets from cavities. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat dry.

Brush the skin with olive oil. Mix about 2-1/2 teaspoons of salt with about 1-1/2 teaspoons of black pepper and sprinkle it evenly in turkey cavities and all over the skin. Heat oven to 450°F.

If you stuff your bird, do it just before putting it in the oven. Fill the cavities lightly with the mixture; don’t press it in because the stuffing will expand as it cooks. (Stuffing should reach 165°F.)

To save time and ensure safe, complete cooking without the risk of overcooking your turkey, consider baking your stuffing in a covered casserole, instead of inside the bird.

Place turkey in oven and reduce heat to 325°-350°F.  Use a meat thermometer (don’t depend on a pop-out indicator) inserted at the thickest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone. It should register 180°F. The stuffing should register 165°F.

After the first hour of roasting, baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so with  drippings (add a little chicken stock, water or wine to the drippings if they evaporate too quickly). When skin is golden brown, shield breast loosely with light foil to prevent overbrowning.

When the turkey is done, allow it to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving.

Carving the Turkey

Place the turkey breast up on a carving board and spoon out stuffing.

Use a chef’s knife to remove thighs, drumsticks and wings. Slice drumstick holding the knife parallel to the bone. Slice in alternating cuts from each side of the bone. Slice the thigh as it lays flat on the board.

Switch to a very sharp carving knife and make a horizontal base cut across the bottom of the breast.  The sharper the blade, the more attractive the slices. (Don’t use a serrated blade, as it tends to tear up the meat.)

Starting parallel to breast bone, slice diagonally down to the horizontal base cut. Continue slicing the breast by beginning at a higher point each time.

TRADITIONAL SAVORY STUFFING

1-1⁄2 pound loaf day-old bread
3 cups chopped onion
2-1⁄2 cups chopped celery
1⁄2 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1-1⁄2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1⁄4 cup chopped parsley

Tear bread into 1⁄2-inch pieces, or use 3 quarts plain dry stuffing; set aside.

Sauté onion and celery in butter  just until tender.  Add to bread along with salt, seasoning, and parsley. Toss lightly until well mixed. Place in two buttered, covered casserole dishes and bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes, or stuff loosely into neck and body cavities of turkey.

TURKEY GIBLET GRAVY

Turkey drippings
Giblet broth
Cooked giblets, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cover giblets and neck with 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour or until giblets are tender. Drain, reserving broth and discarding neck. Chop giblets.

Pour turkey drippings from roasting pan into 4-cup measure. Remove 1/4 cup fat from the drippings and place in a pan. Skim off and discard remaining fat from drippings. Add giblet broth to drippings to make 4 cups.

Blend flour into the pan with the fat until smooth, then add drippings and broth mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until gravy comes to a boil and thickens. Stir in salt and pepper to taste and add giblets.

 

 
Thanksgiving Sides… With a Twist! | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 November 2014 15:31

111314fThanksgiving Day is just a couple of weeks away, so it’s not a minute too soon to make plans for your holiday meal.

In most families, there’d be open rebellion if your table didn’t include such traditional favorite side dishes as yams and cranberries along with the roast turkey.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try out a few really good variations on the old themes.

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

8 medium russet potatoes
15 peeled garlic cloves
Salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces

Peel potatoes and quarter lengthwise; cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick. In a 5-quart saucepan, combine potatoes and garlic cloves; cover with water (about 8 cups) by 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes.

Drain; return garlic and potatoes to pan. Stir over medium-high heat until dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil; pour over potatoes. Add butter and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mash until smooth and creamy. Serves 8.

TWICE BAKED YAMS

4 medium unpeeled yams
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple in own juice, drained
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Scrub yams and place on a baking sheet. Cook for 1 hour or until tender. Let cool 15 minutes. Cut thin slice off top of each; carefully scoop pulp into a bowl, leaving shells intact. Mash pulp; stir in raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, pineapple, and vanilla.

Spoon into shells, sprinkle with pecans and marshmallows. Bake at 350°F. for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serves 8.

GREEN BEANS WITH CARAMELIZED ONION

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are deep golden brown and very soft, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until crisp-tender and bright green, about 6 minutes. Drain and toss with tarragon and 1 teaspoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer beans to a platter and top with onions. Serves 8.

CRANBERRY & DRIED CHERRY RELISH

1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup sugar
2 cups water

In a large saucepan, combine cranberries (no need to thaw if frozen), cherries, sugar, and water.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until most berries have burst and liquid is syrupy, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Cover, pressing plastic wrap directly on surface of relish; refrigerate. Yields 3 cups.

SWEET POTATO & TURNIP GRATIN

3 medium turnips, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In an 8-inch square baking dish, arrange a single layer of turnips and sweet potatoes, overlapping slightly. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with one-third of the flour. Repeat to make three more layers, sprinkling with salt, pepper, and flour between layers.

Dot top layer with butter, then slowly pour broth and wine into dish, keeping layers intact. Cover with foil and bake until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese over dish. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes. Let gratin sit 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

POMEGRANATE & CRANBERRY JELL

4 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups cranberry juice

In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup cold water; let soften for about 5 minutes. Place over low heat, and cook until gelatin has dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. (When rubbed between your fingers, it should feel smooth.) Add sugar, stirring gently until dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat.

Transfer gelatin mixture to a medium bowl; gradually stir in juices. Pour into a 1-1/2-quart (6-cup) Bundt pan, and skim any foam from surface. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

To unmold, dip bottom of pan (do not submerge) briefly into hot water; invert onto a serving platter, and shake firmly to release. Serves 6.

 

 
Crab Sport Season Opens | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 06 November 2014 15:25

110614fEvery year at this time, recreational crab fishers eagerly set out in pursuit of California’s Dungeness crab. The annual sport season opened one minute past midnight on Saturday.

Some set hoop nets and crab traps from boats and piers while others fished crab loop traps on the end of a fishing rod. Still others dove in to take the crabs by hand. Regardless of the method, Dungeness crabs are one of California’s most popular shellfish.

(For information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations, visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/crabs.asp)

If you’re lucky enough to lay your hands on some fresh crabs this weekend, here are some choice ways to serve them.

DUNGENESS CRAB SALAD FOR 10

For the Dressing:
Juice of 4 fresh limes
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Salad:
1 pound carrots
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored
3 ounces radishes, peeled
1/2 rutabaga, peeled
1 bunch baby turnips, peeled if needed
1 jalapeño chile, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra
5 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus extra
Salt
3/4 cup prepared or fresh Dungeness crabmeat (from 1 to 2 crabs)

To make the dressing, whisk together lime juice and ginger in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.

For the salad, slice or shave carrots, fennel, radish, rutabaga, and turnips, preferably on a mandoline, into very thin rounds over a large bowl; toss. Add vinaigrette, jalapeno, cilantro, and mint, and toss to combine. Season with salt. Gently fold in crab. Garnish with cilantro and mint. Makes 10 servings.

CRAB COCKTAIL

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Few drops sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
1/4-inch fresh ginger
1 lime, halved
1-1/2 cups white crabmeat
Enough Chinese leaf cabbage to line 2 small plates when shredded
1 scallion
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil and wasabi. Peel and mince or grate the ginger into the bowl and add the zest of 1/2 the lime. Squeeze 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice into the bowl and mix everything together.

Toss the crab in the sauce, and then finely shred the Chinese leaf cabbage, arranging a bed of shredded cabbage on two plates. Divide the crab between them, piling it into the center of each one. Finely chop the scallion and scatter over each plate, and then bash some pink peppercorns either in a pestle and mortar or put them in a freezer bag, close it and hit with a rolling pin and sprinkle these, too, over the crab cocktails.

Cut the remaining lime half into wedges and put on the side of the plates for extra spritzing.

NEW ORLEANS CRAB ETOUFFE´

1 stick butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 pound picked over crabmeat
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped green onions

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the crabmeat, garlic, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to medium. Heat until the crab is the temperature of the vegetables, stirring occasionally, but don’t break up the crab.

Dissolve the flour in the water and add to the crab mixture. Season with salt and cayenne. Stir until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and green onions and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Serve over steamed rice. Makes 4 servings.

CHUNKY CRAB CAKES

1 pound lump crab meat, cleaned
1/4 cup fresh white bread crumbs without crusts
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoons seafood seasoning powder
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
White pepper
Pinch of salt

Gently fold together crab meat and bread crumbs, being careful not to break lump crab meat. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, egg, seafood seasoning, both sauces, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in separate bowl. Mix well.

Gently fold crab meat mixture into sauce mixture until thoroughly mixed. Shape into 4 cakes. Bake in greased jellyroll pan at 400°F until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

If desired, serve with Grainy Mustard Sauce (below).

Grainy Mustard Sauce

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
Salt, pepper

Combine sour cream, white wine, mustard, pinch salt and pinch pepper. Mix well.

 

 
Dinners After Dark | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 30 October 2014 14:42

103014fStarting Sunday we’ll be back on Pacific Standard Time and that means getting home from work in the dark and sitting down to a “nighttime” dinner.

What better time to dig out your Crock-Pot for the long, wintry nights ahead. You can toss together a few ingredients in the morning, turn on the pot, and dinner will be ready when you get home without a second thought.

HEARTY VEGETABLE SOUP

2 pounds cross-cut beef shanks
1-1/2teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced pared carrots
1 cup diced potatoes or peeled turnips or similar root vegetables
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes

Combine all ingredients in Crock-Pot. Add water to barely cover (about 2 cups) and stir well. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 12 to 18 hours (or on HIGH for 5 to 7 hours).

Before serving, remove meat and bones; cut meat into bite-size pieces and stir into soup. Makes about 6 servings.

SLOW-COOKED BEEF POT ROAST

1 - 3-1/2-pound boneless beef chuck pot roast
1 (.7-oz) envelope Italian dressing mix
2 large onions, each cut into 8 wedges
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 red bell peppers cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup beef broth
6 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper

Press dressing mix onto all surface of pot roast. Place onions and garlic in Crock-Pot; top with pot roast. Add bell peppers, carrots and broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until pot roast is fork-tender.

Remove meat and vegetables. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water. Strain cooking liquid; skim fat. Combine 2 cups of cooking liquid with cornstarch mixture in saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir about a minute until thickened.

Carve pot roast and serve with vegetable and gray. Serves 6 to 8.

CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups fresh or frozen whole baby carrots
2 stalks celery, sliced
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 (10-3/4 ounce) cans Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups all-purpose baking mix (such as Bisquick)
2/3 cup milk

Place potatoes, carrots, celery and chicken in 6-quart slow cooker.

Stir soup, water, thyme and black pepper in bowl. Pour over vegetables and chicken. Cover and cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 4 to 5 hours) or until chicken is cooked through.

Stir together baking mix and milk with fork in bowl until ingredients are mixed. Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls over chicken mixture. Turn heat to HIGH. Tilt cooker lid to vent and cook 30 minutes or until dumplings are cooked in center. Makes 8 servings.

ITALIAN STUFFED PEPPERS

1 pound ground beef
1 cup uncooked white rice
8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 large red bell peppers, tops cut off and hollowed out
1 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1-1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Mix together first 8 ingredients in bowl. Spoon mixture into peppers, filling about 3/4 of the way. (Discard pepper tops.) Place stuffed peppers into 5-quart slow cooker. Pour crushed tomatoes over peppers, then pour beef broth around the sides.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Top with Parmesan cheese before serving. Serves 6.

GOLDEN CHICKEN WITH NOODLES

2 (10-3/4 ounce) cans Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
8 large carrots, thickly sliced
8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 cups medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
Chopped fresh parsley

Stir soup, water, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder and carrots in 3-1/2 quart slow cooker. Add chicken and turn to coat.

Cover and cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 4 to 5 hours) or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with noodles. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 8 servings.

 

 
A Passion for Pumpkin | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 October 2014 13:30

102314fFrom October to December, everything — bagels, bread, cookies, ice cream, scones — seems to contain pumpkin. And for good reason.

It’s our passion for pumpkin and all those spices that go into pumpkin dishes — cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace...

So get your taste buds ready for the annual onslaught!

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

For the crust
1-1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
4 packages (8 ounces each) bar cream cheese, very soft
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
2tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F, with rack in center.

Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.

Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.

Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin purée, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.

Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300°F. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).

Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving.

PUMPKIN FUDGE

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12-ounce) package of butterscotch morsels
1 (7-ounce jar) marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla

In heavy saucepan, combine sugar, butter milk, pumpkin and spices; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling over medium heat, stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer.

Remove from heat and stir in butterscotch morsels. Add marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla, mixing until well-blended. Quickly pour into greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan, spreading just until even. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares. Store tightly wrapped in refrigerator.

LATTICE PUMPKIN TART

2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie dough discs
1 cup pumpkin puree, unsweetened
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg, large, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Roll out 1 pie dough disc on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Press crust into tart pan and prick bottom several times with a fork.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool.

Combine pumpkin, cream, egg, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt until completely blended. Pour into cooled tart shell.

To make lattice — roll out remaining dough disc 1/8-inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or knife, cut ten 3/4-inch wide strips (the number of strips required will vary depending on your spacing). Weave strips on top of pumpkin filling.

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake tart for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake an additional 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is set.

Allow tart to completely cool before serving.

PUMPKIN-CRANBERRY BREAD

3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9x5-inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and orange juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yields two 9x5-inch loaves.

PUMPKIN GINGERBREAD

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup butter or margarine
2 large eggs
1 can (1 pound) pumpkin
1/2 cup light molasses
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Whipped cream

In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar and spices. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside 2/3 cup of the mixture.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, molasses, milk and baking soda to blend. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just evenly moistened. Pour into a greased 8- by 12-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with reserved flour mixture.

Bake in a 350°F oven until top is firm to touch, about 50 minutes. Serve warm, adding whipped cream to taste. Serves 8 to 10.

 

 
Little Sprouts are Big on Flavor and Nutrition | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 October 2014 14:54

101614fAs the baby in the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts, are one of the world’s healthiest foods. But not the most popular.

A big reason why they’re so unliked by so many is because of over-cooking, which leaves them soft and gray, bitter-tasting and with an unpleasant odor. When boiling or steaming, three to six minutes is usually enough time to cook them sufficiently, while retaining some crispness.

There are an abundance of recipes championing the use of sprouts in cooking.

STEAMED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
4-6 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, chopped
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon  fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Remove ragged or old-looking outer leaves on the brussels sprouts and discard. Steam the Brussels sprouts for 3 minutes or until just tender. They should be almost cooked all the way through (split one in half to test). Place the sprouts in a bowl of ice water, this will keep their color bright green. Cut the sprouts into halves.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add 2-3 tablespoons more of butter and the brussels sprouts halves. Increase the heat to medium high and cook for several more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, while the brussels sprouts are cooking.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and half of the toasted almonds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in serving dish and garnish with the rest of the toasted almonds. Serves 6-8.

GRATIN OF BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1-1/2 cup whipping cream
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
Salt and pepper to taste
3 slices of bacon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly butter a medium-size gratin dish.

In a small saucepan, simmer cream over medium heat until it is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Trim base of sprouts, discard tough outer leaves and rinse well. Place sprouts in a medium-size saucepan with salt to taste and water to cover. Bring to boil and continue to boil for 1 minute. Drain and refresh sprouts under cold running water.

Saute bacon in small skillet until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and chop coarsely.

Combine sprouts and bacon in buttered gratin dish and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour cream over sprouts and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until nicely browned and crispy on top, about 15 minutes. Serves 4.

PAN-BROWNED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
2 large garlic cloves
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts

Trim Brussels sprouts and halve lengthwise. Cut garlic into very thin slices. In a 10-inch heavy skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil over moderate heat and cook garlic, stirring, until pale golden. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to a small bowl.

Reduce heat to low and arrange sprouts in one layer in skillet, cut sides down. Sprinkle sprouts with pine nuts and salt to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning, until crisp-tender and undersides are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Transfer sprouts to plate, browned sides up. Add garlic and remaining butter to skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until pine nuts are more evenly pale golden, about 1 minute. Spoon mixture over sprouts and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serves 2.

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and discard any yellow or ragged outer leaves.

Mix sprouts in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more salt and serve immediately. Yields 6 servings.

LIGHT, SAVORY BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1/3 cup chicken broth
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in half
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Heat the chicken broth to simmering. Add the Brussels sprouts and simmer, covered, until tender and the broth has evaporated, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Add the mustard and stir until sprouts are coated and serve immediately. Serves 4.

 

 
Getting Flaky with Coconut | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 09 October 2014 14:15

100914fAside from all of its touted health benefits, coconut is a wonderful tropical addition to many dishes.

We’ve all seen coconuts in the supermarket, but few of us have actually bought one. That’s because opening one requires an intricate set of instructions, a big hammer and a sharp instrument or two.

No, when you need coconut it’s best to avoid the abrasions and smashed thumb, and a whole lot easier to buy it in its flaked or shredded form.

While it is a cooking staple in many Asian countries, in the U.S., most coconut is used in desserts where its flavor and texture make for some really terrific food.

Toasted Coconut

Some of these recipes call for the coconut to be toasted, which is easily done.

To toast, spread coconut on an ungreased baking sheet in a single layer and bake in a 325°F oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. But watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn.

GERMAN’S CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE

Pastry for single-crust pie
4 ounces Baker’s German’s sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Dash salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional flaked coconut

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry; trim and flute edges.

Place the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in milk. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the eggs, vanilla and chocolate mixture; mix well. Pour into crust. Sprinkle with coconut and pecans.

Bake at 375°F for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For topping, in a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie; sprinkle with additional coconut and pecans. Refrigerate until serving. Serves 8.

COCONUT CARAMEL CAKE

6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup toasted coconut
1-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In 8-inch square baking pan, melt butter with brown sugar and water. Cook, stirring, until well blended. Add toasted coconut; set aside.

Sift together cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In mixing bowl, cream butter; stir in dry ingredients. Stir in egg, milk, and vanilla; beat for 1 minute.

Pour batter over coconut mixture. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes, until cake is done.

PRIZE-WINNING COCONUT MACAROONS

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
5-1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, flaked coconut and salt. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla using your hands until well blended.

Use an ice cream scoop to drop dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about golf ball size.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until coconut is toasted. Makes 1 dozen.

 
Sausage & Suds Festival: San Leandro’s Version of Oktoberfest | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 02 October 2014 18:01

100214fIn some parts of the world, October means Oktoberfest – a time when people gather in the streets to celebrate the coming of fall while enjoying sizzling sausages, music and lots of beer.

You don’t have to go far to celebrate this jubilant event. This Sunday, San Leandro hosts its annual Sausage and Suds Music Festival, a salute to the city’s tradition of sausage-making and its breweries.

Great bands and entertainment are lined up for the day, beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing till 6 p.m. on Parrott Street between East 14th and Washington Avenue.

While a lot of us think of sausages as something to enjoy with fried eggs for breakfast, these Old World delicacies add a special touch to many dishes.

BOCKWURST SANDWICHES WITH ONION-MUSTARD SAUCE

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound white onions, thinly sliced
1 cup canned undiluted beef consommé
2 to 4 tablespoons German coarse-grain mustard
Freshly ground pepper
4 bockwurst sausages
4 sourdough French rolls, split

Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a broiler.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they are limp and transparent, about 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the beef consommé and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, adding freshly ground pepper. Set sauce aside.

Grill or broil the sausages for about 15 minutes, turning to brown all sides. If sausages are thick and were sold not fully cooked, it’s best to parboil them before grilling so cooking will be thorough.

Toast the split French rolls, cut sides down, on the grill. Place a sausage or split sausage in each toasted roll and top with a generous portion of the onion mixture. Serve with cold beer.

JAMBALAYA

1 tablespoon butter
1-1/2 cups diced andouille sausage
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1/4 cup diced celery
1 clove garlic, chopped
1-1/2 cups diced chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 cups parboiled long grain white rice
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the sausage, onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic, and saute until the sausage begins to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the chicken and allow to brown on all sides. Add the herbs and rice, followed by the tomato sauce, stock, hot sauce, and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until the rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 4.

BRATWURST IN BEER SAUCE

4 bratwursts
1 to 2 tablespoons flour
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer
3 to 4 tablespoons gingersnap crumbs
1 tablespoon grated onion
Salt and pepper
Several tablespoons concentrated beef stock
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Prick bratwurst with a fork to keep them from bursting and dredge them in flour. Melt butter in skillet and fry wurst on both sides. Remove them from skillet and set aside.

Pour beer into skillet and scrape off the browned particles clinging to the side and bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle in the gingersnap crumbs and grated onion and cook together for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, a little beef stock and lemon juice, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more. Reduce heat, returning the bratwurst to the skillet and cook until heated through. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

GERMAN SAUSAGE ROLLS

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter or margarine, chilled
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
1 cup buttermilk
6 links (about 2 ounces each) smoked sausage
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease 2 baking sheets.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. With a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add Cheddar cheese and buttermilk.

With your hands, quickly work mixture into a soft dough. Shape half of the dough into 1-inch balls. Slice sausage links into about 12 pieces each.

Lightly press 1 sausage slice into each dough ball. Place rolls about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 dozen.

SAUSAGE PIE

1 pound smoked sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces 
6 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
2cups corn kernels
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375°F.

Brown sausage in frying pan until golden. Place half of the one-inch pieces into a deep pie dish; add half of the sliced potatoes, then sprinkle with flour and salt. Add half of the cabbage, corn and peppers; repeat to form a second layer. Sprinkle with pepper then pour the milk over the dish. Baked uncovered for 1-1/4 hours. Makes 4 servings.

 
Ushering in a Sweet Jewish New Year | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 21:27

092514fRosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began yesterday evening and is observed through Friday.

Meaning “head of the year” the two-day holiday commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, which is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

Foods served during the High Holy Days are meant to sustain the body as well as nourish the soul.

Sliced apples and pieces of challah bread are dipped in honey to signify the hopes for a sweet year ahead.

Honey also finds its way into other dishes, from honey cake to brisket. Here are some favorites.

APPLE SPICED BRISKET

1 tablespoon flour
3 to 4 pound beef brisket (first cut) flat half, boneless
1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 tablespoons flour 1/4 cup raisins 1 apple, sliced

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Shake 1 tablespoon flour in a large size (14x20 inch) Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag and place in 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

Prick brisket with fork on both sides; sprinkle with salt. Place brisket, fat side up, in bag.

Combine apple juice, honey and spices; pour over brisket. Close bag with nylon tie; make 6 half inch slits in top.

Bake 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until tender.

In a medium saucepan, dissolve 2 tablespoons flour in small amount of cooking liquid from bag. Stir in remaining cooking liquid, raisins and apple slices. Bring to a boil.

Boil and stir 1-2 minutes to form light gravy. Thinly slice brisket diagonally across grain. Serve with apple raisin gravy.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

WALNUT HONEY CAKE

3/4 cup walnut halves
Butter for pan
1-1/2 cups flour, plus more

1-1/8 cups honey, divided use
1 cup large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in center.

Spread walnut halves in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, tossing occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer nuts to a plate, let cool, then pulse in a food processor until finely chopped, about 10 times. Set aside.

Butter and flour an 8-1/2 inch spring-form pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup honey and applesauce; whisk until honey is mostly dissolved.

Add eggs, and whisk until fully combined.

Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Stir into honey mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool until sides of cake begin to pull away from pan, about 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and place on a serving plate. While cake is still warm, use an offset spatula to gently spread remaining honey on top as a thin glaze. Serve warm. Yields about 10 servings.

PINEAPPLE & COCONUT KUGEL

1 pound broad egg noodles
1 (14-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup butter
8 eggs, well beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

Boil noodles; drain and place in a bowl. Quickly add eggs, 2/3 cup of the coconut, 2/3 of the butter (melted), vanilla and pineapple with the juice and mix while the noodles are hot. Place mixture in a large Pyrex baking dish and top with the rest of the butter in dabs and the balance of the coconut.

Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

HONEY-BAKED APPLES

1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons Concord grape wine or juice
3/4 cup honey
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
6 large Rome Beauty apples

1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups apple juice

1/2 cup apricot preserves

Plump raisins in wine for 1 hour. Add honey, lemon juice and zest.

Wash and core apples. Cut off thin strip at base so apples stand upright. Place apples in baking dish. Fill centers with raisin mixture.

Sprinkle with almonds. Pour apple juice around the apples. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.


 

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