Appetizer

CIGARETTE BOEREKS WITH CHEESE

Cigarette boereks are usually served as a side dish after a meat main course. They are also used as a snack with tea, or an appetizer at a buffet, cocktail party, or luncheon. (From A TASTE OF TURKISH CUISINE by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman)

  • 1 pound white Turkish cheese, crumbled
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, washed, dried, and finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill, washed, dried, and finely chopped
  • two 1-pound packages yufka (a type of Turkish phyllo) wedges (available in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern shops or use 3 buttered layers of phyllo cut into triangles/wedges)
  • vegetable oil for frying

Soak the white cheese in cold water to remove the excess salt, drain, then mash with the egg yolks. Stir in the chopped parsley and dill mixing well. Cut the wedge-shaped yufka sheets in half, lengthwise.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg whites. Rub a little egg white around the edges of the yufka except for the last 2-inches of the pointed end. Place a little filling at the base of each triangle and fold over the side edges of the bottom corners (triangle shaped pieces) to cover some of the filling. Fold up the bottom edge to cover the filling and carefully roll up the yufka sheet like a cigarette (from the large end to the small point).

Wet the pointed end with a little water and press down to seal the boerek closed.  Place the boereks on a cookie sheet and freeze until ready to cook. Remove from freezer and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
 

In a large skillet place enough oil to measure 2 inches deep. Heat the oil and before frying the boereks, hold one between your fingers (vertically) and place it in ½ inch of the oil. If the oil is hot enough to cook with, bubbles will immediately form around the bottom of the boerek. Add as many boereks as the pan will hold in a single layer and fry the boereks turning once or twice, until golden brown all over. Place in a fine sieve to drain, then drain well on paper towels. Repeat until all the boereks are cooked and drained. Makes about 84

 

GREEN OLIVE AND WALNUT SPREAD

Since Chanukah is the Festival of Lights (from olive oil), what could be more perfect that a recipe based on olives, which can be made a day ahead, and stays in the refrigerator for a few days, or it freezes beautifully. Make a double batch! From SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE: Easy, Elegant, Fearless, Fussless Cooking by Sheilah Kaufman)

  • 1 cup pitted green olives (with or without pimento), chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients except the salt and pepper in a food processor. Process JUST until the spread holds together, and be careful not to puree! Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with crackers or bread. Serves 8.

 

EGGPLANT FANS WITH ONION MARMALADE

Mild and nutty eggplant is the perfect backdrop for sweet onion marmalade and cool, creamy goat cheese.

  • ·  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ·  2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ·  1/ 2 teaspoon salt
  • ·  1 teaspoon sugar
  • ·  1/ 2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ·  8 sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • ·  4 Japanese eggplants, about 3 to 4 inches long*
  • ·  4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • ·  salt to taste
  • ·  2 ounces goat cheese, in 4 slices
  • ·  4 -to 8 basil leaves, whole, for garnish
  • ·  4 to 8 basil leaves, cut in chiffonade**

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large heavy skillet over low heat. Add onions; sprinkle with salt and sugar. Caramelize onions over low heat, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Pour vinegar over onions; increase the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil; remove from heat. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes. Cover and set aside to keep warm. The recipe can be prepared up to 3 days in advance to this point, cover and refrigerate. Reheat to serve.

Meanwhile, fan cut the eggplants but taking a sharp knife and cutting thin slices from just below the stem of the eggplant all the way to the bottom, being careful not to separate the slices at the top. With the heel of your hand, press firmly on the stem end of the eggplant to "fan out" the slices, making the eggplant lie flat (also a great technique for zucchini).

Preheat grill or grill pan over high heat. Brush eggplants with remaining olive oil; sprinkle with salt. Grill them until tender. Center one eggplant on each of four warmed serving plates, mound with one quarter of the caramelized onions, then place a slice of goat cheese beside the eggplant on plates. Drizzle the warm vinegar drippings from the onion marmalade around the edges of each of the eggplants. Garnish with whole basil leaves and chiffonade. Serve warm. Serves 4.

* Japanese eggplants are smaller and more elongated than our domestic varieties. They may be found in specialty markets or your local supermarket.

 

ONION STRUDEL

  • 4 medium red onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • pepper to taste
  • 3/ 4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/ 4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/ 2 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 box phyllo pastry
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1/ 4 cup yellow cornmeal
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cover baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Sauté onions in 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet until tender. Stir in the flour and pepper and mix in the broth and white wine. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, whisking constantly.
  3. Let mixture stand until cool then stir in the bread crumbs, Swiss and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Place 6 sheets of phyllo on a work surface and cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out.
  5. Brush 1 sheet at a time with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal, stacking after completion of each sheet.
  6. With long side of phyllo sheet facing you, at the bottom 1/3 of top sheet, spread 1/2 of onion mixture evenly across bottom leaving a 1 inch border on all sides.
  7. Fold the sides (ends) over onion mixture and then roll as a jellyroll.
  8. Place seam side down on baking sheet, brush roll with additional butter.

Repeat process with 6 more pieces of phyllo, onion mixture and melted butter to make another strudel. Bake at 350F for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 6 to 8.

 

LENTIL SPREAD - or MOCK CHOPPED LIVER

Healthy and delicious and a treat for those who love or hate liver.

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 hard boiled eggs or egg whites
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • l onion, chopped and sauteed in a little olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. In a pot, boil the lentils and the water.
  2. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the lentils soften.
  3. Drain the lentils.
  4. In a food processor blend together the drained lentils, eggs, nuts, and onion.
  5. Do NOT liquify...leave somewhat "chunky". Stir in the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover and chill. Best if made a day or 2 ahead so flavors can "marry".
  6. Serve on crackers or party breads.

 

SALT AND PEPPER FRIED SAGE LEAVES

Serve these aromatic, crunchy leaves as a snack or use as a condiment on roast pork, or chicken, or to garnish soups. Each crisp leaf delivers a simple combination of salt and heat.

  • 20 large fresh sage leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/ 3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/ 3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • fleur de sel to taste
  1. Place the sage leaves in a small bowl.
  2. Pour the wine and vinegar over them and allow to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or for up to 1 hour.
  3. In a small shallow bowl, stir together the cornstarch, flour, kosher salt, pepper and cumin.
  4. Remove the leaves from the wine mixture and while they are still damp, coat each leaf with the flour mixture, pressing lightly so that the dusting adheres to the leaf. Set aside on a plate.
  5. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
  6. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/ 2" into a sauté pan and heat over medium-high hear until the oil shimmers but is not smoking.
  7. Working in batches of 5 to 6 leaves, drop the leaves into the oil.
  8. As soon as they begin to turn golden, turn each leaf over. The total frying time should be about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leaves to the Prepared plate to drain. They can be kept hot in a warm oven for up to 30 minutes.
  9. Just before serving, sprinkle the leaves generously with fleur de sel.
  10. Serve hot.

 

MUSHROOMS STUFFED WITH WALNUTS AND CHEESE
(from Sheilah's SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE: Easy, Elegant, Fearless, Fussless Cooking)

  • 48 small white button mushroom caps
  • olive oil (for brushing caps)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated (if you don't want to use Gruyere, use 4 oz of Feta)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • salt - optional
  • crushed red pepper - optional
  • freshly ground pepper - optional

Preheat oven to 375F.
Remove stems from mushrooms, wipe with a damp paper towel to clean.
Brush tops of mushrooms lightly with oil.
Heat olive oil and butter in a small skillet and sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat. Add spinach and cook 5 more minutes, mixing well. Remove skillet from heat and cool slightly.
Stir in cheeses, nuts, dill, and salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste if using. Set aside.
Place mushroom caps round side down on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake about 10 minutes.
Turn the caps over and bake another 10 minutes. Remove excess liquid. Turn caps over and fill with spinach mixture.
Place baking dish in the upper third of the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the filling is browned and the mushrooms are thoroughly heated through.
Serve immediately. Makes 48.

PINA COLADA FRUIT DIP OR DRESSING

By adding a little more juice to the mixture the dip becomes a dressing.

  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • l/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup Cream of Coconut
  • Dash salt
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 (8-ounce) container pineapple Yogurt

In small saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in pineapple juice; stir in cream of coconut and salt. Over medium heat, cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Slowly stir about 1/4 cup hot cornstarch mixture into egg yolks; add to remaining cornstarch mixture in pan. Cook and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Cool. Chill thoroughly. Fold in yogurt. Serve with fresh fruit. Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes about 2 cups.

TROPICAL LIME DIP (dairy)

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh or from concentrate)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest

In small bowl of an electric mixer combine all the ingredients. Beat until fluffy. Serve with fresh fruit. .

Makes about 2 cups

EGGPLANT AND AVOCADO SALSA

  • 2 large eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •  Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Toasted Pita Wedges or crackers

Heat your barbecue to medium-high heat*. Using a small sharp knife, poke two 1-inch deep slits into each eggplant. Grill the eggplants until the skins are charred and the centers are soft, turning them occasionally, about 30 minutes total. Place the eggplant in a strainer and cool slightly. Cut the eggplants lengthwise in half and scoop out the pulp. Place the pulp in the strainer set over a bowl to drain any excess liquid. Cool the eggplant completely. Coarsely chop the eggplant and transfer it to a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, roast the red peppers on the barbecue or over a gas flame until lightly charred all over, about 10 minutes. Enclose the peppers in a plastic bag until cool enough to handle. Peel, seed and dice the peppers. Add the diced peppers, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, mint, lemon juice, green onions, olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper and seasoned salt, to the eggplant. Gently toss to combine.

Transfer the salsa to serving bowls. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with toasted pita wedges or crackers.

8 appetizer servings.


*COOK'S NOTES: The eggplant may be cooked under the broiler instead of on the grill, if desired. To do so, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the eggplants on the prepared sheet and broil until the eggplants are very soft and the skin is charred, turning every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

CREAMY FETA TERRINE with Roasted Red Peppers

This fabulous creation is from Sherron Goldstein, author of Fresh Fields.
4 roasted red peppers or a 12 oz jar or roast, peeled, seeded, cut in quarters

  • 3 cups moist feta cheese
  • 1/ 2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/ 4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/ 2 to 3/ 4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/ 4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 to 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (skin on if want)
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint or 4 tablespoons fresh mint, torn

Roast peel seed, quarter red peppers. Lay out on paper towels.
In the bowl of a food processor ad the feta, yogurt, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. Process until smooth unsing aeditional oil if needed.
Line a 4 cup rectangular pate or terrine pan with clean plastic wrap.
Line the pan with roasted red peppers, reserving some for top, and fill pan with feta mixture, patting down firmly to avoid air spaces.

Place remaining roasted red peppers on top. Cover with plastic wrap and place something heavy on top to pack cheese firmly. Refrigerate overnight.
For topping: in a bowl add olives, parsley, tomatoes, and mint. Mix well and add a bit of olive oil to gloss. A little fresh pepper may be used for taste. Remove from pan. Remove plastic wrap and cut into slices about 1 1/ 2" thick. Arrange slices on serving plate and sprinkle with olive salsa.

Serve with fresh pita bread.

GRILLED BREAD STICKS, ASPARAGUS, AND CARROTS WITH BRIE FONDUTA

The BBQ queens', Karen Adler and Judith Fertig authors of WEEKNIGHT GRILLING WITH THE BBQ QUEENS: Making Meals Fast andFabulous, and The BBQ QUEENS' BIG BOOK OF BBQ (Harvard Common Press) offer this great side dish.
Big name, easy recipe, and can also be a great vegetarian entreé and fun finger food as well.

  • 15 ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped but not drained
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb. Brie cheese, rind removed and chopped
  • 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 lb. baby carrots with tops or 2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and cut lengthwise into wedges
  • 1 lb frozen bread dough, thawed, rolled out, and cut into 2x8-inch fingers
  • 8 large spinach leaves - optional
  • olive oil for brushing
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Light your grill on medium-hot.
Stir together the artichoke, shallot, and brie fonduta in a disposable aluminum pan.
Place the asparagus and carrots on a baking sheet. Whap each finger of dough with a spinach leaf if using and place on the baking sheet to take out to the grill. Brush the vegetables and leaf wrapped dough with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Place the cheese on the grill, close the lid, and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until it begins to melt. Stir the mixture. Place the bread sticks on the grill, close the lid, and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Turn bread sticks with tongs and give the cheese another stir. Place the vegetables on the grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes, turn with tongs, and stir the cheese again. Finish grilling the vegetables until slightly charred and crisp tender.
To serve, transfer the cheese to a large serving bowl or small bowls and place in the center of a platter. Arrange vegetables and bread sticks around cheese. Dip veggies and bread sticks into cheese and enjoy.
Serves 4.
 

CREMINI MUSHROOM DIP

On a recent trip to teach cooking in Atlanta I had the good fortune to eat at Murphy's, an Atlanta institution that started as a basement deli to become one of Atlanta's most beloved restaurants. MURPHY'S: 25 Years of Recipes and Memories by Tom Murphy and Jan Butsch tells the story of it's journey, the experience of customers, and 50 fabulous recipes.

  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon Spanish sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms (baby portobellos), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon white truffle oil

In a bowl combine onions, vinegar, and salt and let pickle for 10 minutes. Add garlic and mix well.
While onions are pickling, heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté mushrooms until golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Place mushrooms in a food processor and chop finely. Place mushrooms in a bowl and add onion mixture. Mix well. Season with pepper. Add sour cream, parsley, tarragon and truffle oil and vinegar to taste. Mix well.
Serve with tropical root vegetable chips. Serves 10 to 12.

TURKISH HAROSET

Sephardic Holiday Cooking by Gilda Angel is an old favorite and a terrific book on the subject. It is a must have for anyone who collects Jewish cookbooks. Now you can get it by mail for $19.94 plus $3 for shipping and handling (one copy I saw on line was $80!). Make your checks out to Decalogue Books and send it to PO Box #2212, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551 or call 914 664 5930.

This is one of the few cooked haroset that I have come across, the other was from Mexico.

  • 1 medium orange, washed and cut into eights
  • 1 lb. pitted dates, coarsely chopped
  • 1/ 2 cup sugar
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sweet wine
  • 1/ 2 cup chopped walnuts

Remove the pith from the orange but do not peel. Chop finely or coarsely grind in food mill.

In a saucepan, combine oranges, dates, sugar, cinnamon, and wine. Mix well, cook over low heat, stirring often until mixture is soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nuts.

Cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature. Makes 2 cups

VEGETARIAN GEFILTE

Also from PESACH FOR THE REST OF US : Making the Passover Seder Your Own by Marge Piercy

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 12 eggs, 10 hard cooked, 2 raw
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 2 good sized boiling potatoes
  • 4 teaspoons matzoh meal
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil and sauté the onions until golden brown. Puree the hard cooked eggs with 2/ 3rds of the cooked onions. Put the rest of the cooked onions in a pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Add the carrots to the onions in the water and cook for 30 minutes. Peel the potatoes and grate them or process them briefly in the food processor with the grating blade.

Add the grated potatoes, matzoh meal, uncooked eggs, salt, and pepper to taste to the pureed egg-onion mixture and mix well.

With moist hands, form 12 to 16 balls. Add them to the pot with the onion and carrot and cook for 20 to 25 minutes over low heat.

Serve cold.

TROPICAL HAROSET

This is the other cooked charoset.

  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3 bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1 lbs. dates, pitted
  • 1/ 2 lbs. blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sweet wine

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and puree. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, adding wine or water as needed. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to chill. Serve as a spread.

OLIVE AND BRIE APPETIZER BREAD PUDDING

This classy pairing of your favorite assortment of olives and luxurious Brie is a first-rate first course or luncheon or brunch fare. This spread can be made in either 4 1-cup or eight 1/ 2-cup soufflé/ramekins. Being too lazy to grease all these dishes, I made it in a pyrex 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and baked it for 65 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

From my newest book: UPPER CRUSTS Fabulous Ways to Use Bread (Delectable recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, vegetables, desserts and more).

  • butter for greasing
  • 4 1/ 2-inch slices of stale French bread (if bread is too hard it will not absorb the custard)
  • 4 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pitted olives, of mixed varieties

Preheat oven to 300F. Generously butter 4 1-cup or eight 1/ 2-cup soufflé/ramekins.
Tear the bread into small pieces and divide equally among prepared ramekins.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer set on low speed, cream both cheeses until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly blended after each addition.
Gradually add milk; continue beating until well mixed. Stir in oregano and olives.
Pour custard mixture evenly over bread.
Set ramekins in an ovenproof pan just large enough to hold them snugly and add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of ramekins.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until custard is set (knife inserted off center comes out clean) and tops are golden brown.
Remove from water bath onto a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
Serve in the ramekins (warm or at room temperature) with your favorite crisp cracker.
Let un-used portions come to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate.
Serves 4 as a light luncheon serving, or 8 appetizer servings.

Salads

Eggplant Salad with Olive Oil
Orange and Lemon Salad
Tabouleh
Summer Garden Pasta Salad
Breakfast Fruit Salad With Ginger and Mint
Wheat Berry Salad
Marinated Potato Salad
Fennel Salad Sotto Sopra

 


 

EGGPLANT SALAD WITH OLIVE OIL
(A TASTE OF TURKISH CUISINE by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman)

This can be served on lettuce leaves, or by itself as a salad/side dish.

  • 3 large eggplants, stems trimmed and leaves removed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pierce the skin of the eggplants all around with the tip of a small sharp knife.
Cook over an open flame (a charcoal fire is preferable but gas will do), turning
occasionally, until the skin is charred and the flesh has softened. Or broil about 8 inches from the broiler heat for 25 minutes or until soft.
Using the flat side of the blade of a knife, gently tap all around the eggplants.
With a sharp knife, carefully peel the skin off the eggplants from top to bottom while it is hot. Cut eggplants diagonally in 1/2-inch slices, remove the stems, and discard.
In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of water with half the lemon juice. Place the eggplants in the water for a few minutes to cool. Place eggplants in a fine sieve and drain well, pushing the eggplants with a wooden spoon.
In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, remaining lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
Whisk into drained eggplant, cover, and chill. Serve cold.

Serves 6

 

ORANGE AND LEMON SALAD

This classic Italian salad always reminds me of warm, sunny spring days in southern Italy, from where it originates. The first time you try it, you will agree that the unlikely matching of flavors produces a vibrant, lively and always beautiful side dish.

  • 4 oranges (blood oranges if you can find them; see below)
  • 1 or 2 lemons, very ripe (Meyer lemons if you can find them; see below)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, or fresh mint, or combination of both
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons Extra-Virgin olive oil

With a very sharp knife, peel oranges and lemons, removing all the white pith (see below). Slice oranges into medium slices, lemons somewhat thinner. Remove any visible seeds.

Layer overlapping orange and lemon slices on a serving platter or on individual plates. Thinly slice or chop the onion, arrange over fruit slices. Cut large basil or mint leaves in chiffonade (see below). Small leaves may remain whole. Scatter leaves over the fruit. Sprinkle generously with black pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

Let stand one to three hours before serving. The salad should be served at room temperature. Serves 4.

 

TABOULEH

A unique salad from the Middle East.

  • 1 cup cracked wheat (bulgur wheat)
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped scallions - a little green included
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 - ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons dried mint leaves, or 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  1. A few hours before serving, place the wheat in a large bowl and cover it with boiling water.
  2. Let it stand for 15 minutes, the wheat should feel tender but slightly crunchy.
  3. Drain off the water, and wash the wheat under the faucet 2 or 3 times, draining thoroughly.
  4. In a salad bowl, combine the wheat and remaining ingredients, blending well.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 8.

SUMMER GARDEN PASTA SALAD

This elegant salad stars ultra-fresh, just picked vegetables, accented by Gorgonzola cheese and lemon juice.

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/ 4 cup olive oil
  • 9 oz fresh angel hair pasta
  • 1/ 4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, or to taste
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into 8ths
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow summer squash, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, julienned
  • 1/ 2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained

Heat a pot of lightly salted water and the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and when boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions, Drain, quickly rinse under cold water and set aside.
Combine remaining 1/ 4 cup of oil, juice, mustard, zest, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper in a bowl, beating well. Add the pasta while still warm, and too to combine well. Set aside.
Put the tomatoes, zucchini, squash, scallions, basil, parsley, cheese and capers in a bowl, toss. Add to the dressed pasta, and toss again before serving, making sure vegetables are well distributed. Serves 6.

BREAKFAST FRUIT SALAD WITH GINGER AND MINT

Joan traveled all around the USA collecting the recipes and stories showing how American cooking has never been as exciting as it is today. This recipe is from Prune, a tiny, homey restaurant on New York's lower East side. The fruits used can change with the season, and if you don't want to bother with ginger syrup, just sprinkle crystallized ginger over the fruit.

Ginger Syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/ 2 cup sugar
  • one 2-inch piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled

Salad:

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup diced honeydew melon
  • 1 cup diced cantaloupe
  • 1 cup red or green grapes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Prepare syrup: place the water, sugar, and gingerroot in a pan , bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered to reduce the liquid by half (about 20 minutes). Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the apples, blueberries, honeydew, cantaloupe, and grapes together . Add a few tablespoons of the syrup and sprinkle the mint on top. Serves 8.

WHEAT BERRY SALAD

I first tasted wheat berries at my cousin's in Minnesota many years ago. I had never heard of them before and could not believed I had missed out on something so delicious and healthy. This recipe is from
THE SPIRITED VEGETARIAN: Over 100 Recipes Made Lively with Wine and Spirits by renowned cooking teacher, author, and vegetarian gourmet Paulette Mitchell (Rodale Books, NY), a tantalizing array of spirited appetizers, soups, stews, salads, main courses, and desserts.

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup wheat berries, rinsed in cold water in a strainer
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped red onion
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup medium bodied, sweet and fruity white wine (like Gerurztraimer)
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

In a large pan over high heat, boil the water. Add a dash of salt, and the wheat berries. When the water returns to a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer adding more water if needed until berries are tender, about 1 hour. Drain if needed and spread on a baking sheet to cool.
Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and wine, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes.
Transfer wheat berries to a medium bowl. Stir in the mushroom mixture and the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place in a covered container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 3 days. Sere chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serves 6.

MARINATED POTATO SALAD

A great recipe from Kerry's Dunnington (The Book Cooks).. This has only 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise!!! For maximum flavor prepared this the day before serving. Peeling the potatoes is a matter of preference.

  • 6 medium potatoes, unpeeled, quartered, cooked in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender
  • 1 1/ 2 cups onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/ 2 cup Canola oil
  • 1/ 4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 3/ 4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

After potatoes have cooled completely, thinly slice. in a medium jar, with a tight fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, celery seed, salt and pepper. With jar top on tightly shake vigorously and allow dressing to stand at room temperature for several hours. In serving platter, layer potatoes and onions alternately, pour dressing evenly over the salad. Just before serving, toss salad with mayonnaise.
Serves 6.

FENNEL SALAD SOTTO SOPRA

This was developed by chef/restaurateur Riccardo Bosio for Sotto's in Baltimore. Bosio is a strong believer in using seasonal ingredients, buying local whenever possible and using only the freshest ingredients. It is this mantra that is allowing him to celebrate Sotto Sopra's 10th anniversary this year.

  • 8 oz. of thinly sliced fennel
  • 2 oz. Mache (baby greens)
  • 8 oz. Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 12 Fresh orange segments
  • 1/2 cup ~ diced fresh avocado

Citrus Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 8 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Cracked pepper to taste (optional)

Arrange Mach baby greens in the middle of large plate or platter.
Scatter fennel around baby greens. Arrange cherry or grape tomatoes around plate
Arrange fresh oranges on greens Scatter chopped avocado
Wisk dressing ingredients together adding olive oil slowly at the end to create an emulsion.
Drizzle over salad and enjoy!

Close

Desserts

HORATIO’S VELVET CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

You can make this ahead, but there will not be any left for your company!
I found this unique mousse in Hawaii.  After eating 3 bowls full I begged the owner of the restaurant for the recipe, since it was like no mousse I had ever tasted.  The secret: this one is made with cream cheese, and feels like velvet in your mouth!

  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar and the vanilla until very light and fluffy - about 10 minutes, making sure sugar is well dissolved.  If texture is grainy when you taste it, then beat longer.

Add the cocoa and beat until the mixture is smooth and the cocoa is dissolved.

In another large bowl, with an electric mixer at high speed, whip the cream until soft peaks form. (If you over beat cream, you get butter!)

Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture one half at a time, using a rubber spatula.

Divide the mixture into individual dessert dishes or glasses or spoon it into a large serving bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Serves 10 - 12.

 

ENGLISH STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING

An English and Australian treat from  Alexandra Greeley’s long awaited  Kitchen Memories (Capital Books). The book: a compilation of family recipe collected from 25 different countries, with stories about the recipes and the families.

Pudding:

  • 6 ounces pitted dates
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Sauce:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart ovenproof baking dish..

Soak the dates in 1 cup water. Bring to the boil, and remove from the heat. Add the baking soda, and let stand.

Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar until smooth; add the eggs, beating, well. Fold in the flour, and stir in the dates with the water and the vanilla. Pour into the baking dish.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating the brown sugar, cream, butter, and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat, and continue cooking and stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture become syrupy; stir often. When the pudding is firm in the center, pour ½ cup of sauce over the pudding, and continue baking 10 minutes more. Reserve the remaining sauce to serve with the pudding.

6 servings

PAVLOVA

From the Land DownUnder comes a lovely new travel book Waltzing Australia by Cynthia A. Clampitt  a marvelous tale of  the travels ( with photos on her blog)  of a sensible woman in her mid-30’s who walks away from money, security, career just to make a dream come true.  Clampitt covered nearly 20,000 miles discovering Australia and herself in the process.  Here are some of her favorite Australian recipes.

This light and luscious dessert was named for the great ballerina. New Zealand also lays claim to this dessert, and there is no definitive proof as to who really created it first. The main difference between Pavlovas in the two countries would be the topping: in Australia, you’d most likely see passion fruit, while in New Zealand, kiwi fruit would be a more common topper. (And it’s kiwi fruit, by the way, not kiwi – kiwi is a bird, or a nickname for New Zealanders – Americans may not care, but Kiwis do.) A nice combo of blueberries and sliced strawberries would be attractive and tasty, but would make this a Pavlova Americana. Enjoy. 

Base:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/12 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • fruit (see notes)

Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 250F.

In a large, clean bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on top of the meringue and beat a bit more, until stiff again.

Now you make your meringue cake. Opinions differ as to how to approach this. You can put down a sheet of baking parchment and draw a 7-inch circle in the middle. You might also get a pastry bag and pipe a circle and then fill it with a perfectly even rope of meringue. I just guesstimate the circle size and spoon the meringue onto the baking sheet, spreading it into a circle of about the right size. Do what works best for you (that is, pick a method that makes it likely you won’t write this recipe off as too complicated). Also, baking parchment might make it easier to get the meringue off the pan. I have used it. I have also just sprayed a cookie sheet lightly with baking spray, and I’ve had it slide off with no trouble.

Anyway, whatever method you choose, you now have a circle of meringue, looking rather like a single cake layer and a little more than an inch deep, on your baking sheet. Put it in the oven and bake it for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the oven door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely before removing from the oven.

Set the meringue aside until just before you plan on serving the dessert. Then, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat to incorporate. Spread the whipped cream across the top of the meringue. Decorate with the fruit you’ve chosen, and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Notes: If you’re using passion fruit, you’ll need 10. For kiwi fruit, four or five should do the trick. For berries (blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries), you need about a cup.

The meringue can be made a couple of days in advance. Once it is completely cool, put it in an airtight container and keep it someplace cool and dry.

It’s important that you don’t complete the dessert until you’re ready to serve it. The acid in the fruit will break down the whipped cream and the whipped cream will make the meringue soggy. If you don’t want to serve all 6 to 8 servings at once, you can either cut up the meringue and just add whipped cream and fruit as you serve it (not so great on presentation, but the taste is the same), or you can make a couple of smaller meringues.

 

SOPAILLAS

Another alternative dessert to fried doughnuts are these Mexican (Fried Fritters) delights. Serve with honey and confectioner's sugar.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/ 4 cup cold water
  • oil for frying

Preheat oil for frying to 370F. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the shortening and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or your fingers. It should resemble cornmeal. Gradually add the water a little at a time until the dough holds together. Gather the dough into a ball. Lightly flour a board or the kitchen counter. Place the ball of dough on it., and press it down with the heel of your hand. Picture a clock, and hold the side at 12:00 and fold it to 6:00. Push away from you with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough to 3:00, fold in half, press down, then turn dough again until you have turned and pressed about 6 times. Dough should now be smooth. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is as thin as possible. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut the dough into 2 or 3 inch squares. When the oil has been heating for 10 to 15 minutes, carefully fry a few sopaiplllas as a time. They will puff up and get golden brown. Be sure and turn them while they are frying so both sides puff and brown. Drain well on paper towels. Serve with honey for dipping or confectioner's sugar. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

 

APPLE CINNAMON LATKES

Cooking Maven Phyllis Frucht loves this recipe that a friend made for her for Chanukah. A nice change from potatoes!

  • 2 large eggs, beaten until light and foamy
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/ 2 cup water
  • 3 cups chopped cooking apples - chop them small as possible
  • 1/ 2 cup unsifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (peel)
  • oil for frying
  • optional: 1 / 2 cup sugar mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon

In a large bowl mix the sugar, salt and cinnamon with the beaten eggs. Stir in the apple, flour, and lemon zest, mixing well. In a large skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Place about 1/4 cup of the mixture, (for each latke), in the hot oil. Flatten slightly with a fork or wooden spoon. Cook on each side until it is golden brown. Remove latkes from pan and drain on paper towel as they cook. If more oil is needed, add it, heat it up, then add apple mixture (latkes) to cook. Serve hot with sugar/cinnamon mixture to sprinkle on top. Makes about 12 pancakes.

 

YEMENITE-SPICED RICE PUDDING WITH MANGO

  • 1 cup short grain rice, such as Arborio
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/ 3 cup golden raisins - optional
  • 1/ 2 to 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
  • 2 or 3 ripe mangoes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios or almonds - optional

Choose a large heavy saucepan so the milk will not boil over or scorch. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in saucepan and add rice. Boil, uncovered, for 7 minutes, drain well.

Bring milk and cinnamon stick to a simmer in same pan over medium-heat, stirring occasionally. Add rice and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered for 15 minutes, or until rice is very soft and absorbs most of the milk, stirring often. Rice should look creamy, not soupy and not dry. Stir in sugar and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in raisins, cardamom, and candied ginger. Remove cinnamon stick. Serve warm or cold. Before serving, peel and dice mangoes. Top each serving with generous amount of diced fruit and a sprinkling of pistachios. Serves 5 to 6.

 

RUSSIAN CREAM AND SUMMER BERRIES

Similar to Italian panna cotta, this light yet indulgent Russian cream-served with a mixture of fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or currants that have been quickly sautéed to release their juice-is the perfect finale to any meal. This recipe comes from a British friend, Fiona Black, whose grandmother got it from a Russian friend living in England.

Russian Cream can be chilled in decorative molds and unmolded onto serving plates. Or, the slightly cooled cream mixture can be divided among large wine goblets or margarita glasses and chilled. For a dazzling effect, spoon the sauce into the glasses and garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

Cooking Notes: If you are using frozen berries, thaw and drain off the watery juices before cooking them with the sugar. Do not be tempted to substitute yogurt for the sour cream. It reacts with the gelatin and makes the cream grainy. Serves 6

Russian Cream

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or other extract, such as orange or lemon Berry Sauce
  • 5 to 6 cups fresh berries, cut in half or into quarters if large, or one 15- to 16-ounce bag frozen berries, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  1. To make the Russian cream, combine the sugar, gelatin, and water in a medium-sized nonreactive saucepan, stir, and let stand for 2 minutes. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the gelatin dissolves.
  2. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the heavy cream, sour cream, and vanilla. Pour into a heatproof serving bowl or into 6 individual heatproof serving dishes large enough to hold some berry sauce as well, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or until the cream has set.
  3. To make the berry sauce, combine the berries and sugar in a large saucepan or skillet and place over high heat. Shake the pan or gently stir the berries until the sugar has melted and the berries just begin to give off their juices. Do not overcook; fresh berries should remain firm. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, and then transfer to a heatproof serving bowl.
  4. Serve the Russian cream with the berry sauce.

SALT ROASTED PEARS with Camembert

Salt roasting pears makes the skins slightly salty and a bit crisp. You can prepare the pears in advance, then place them in the oven right before you sit down to dinner or halfway through the meal.

  • 4 firm but ripe bartlett, packham, or anjou pears
  • 4 pounds rock salt
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur
  • 1/ 4 pound camembert cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Holding a paring knife at a 45 degree angle, cut out a 1" round from the bottom on each pear. Save for later.
  3. With a melon baller or small spoon, remove the seeds and core. If possible leave the stems intact for presentation.
  4. Pour the rock salt into an ovenproof pot. Place the pears, stem side down in the salt, nesting them in so that they are about 2/ 3 covered.
  5. Place 1/ 2 tablespoon of the liqueur in each pear cavity. Cut the cheese into 4 equal pieces and place one piece in each cavity. Replace the small round on the bottom of each pear.
  6. Roast the pears in the oven for an hour. They should be browned on the outside and feel soft when lightly squeezed. If still firm, return them to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes longer.
  7. To serve, remove from the salt, brush off any remaining crystals, and place each pear in a bowl or plate, slice, and serve immediately.
  8. Pass the pepper at the table.

CHOCOLATE AND PINK PEPPERCORN COOKIES

  • 3/ 4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/ 2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/ 3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/ 3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/ 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 tablespoons freshly crushed pink peppercorns

Filling:

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/ 4 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
  4. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer or wooden spoon, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and creamy.
  5. Beat in the cocoa and vanilla.
  6. Add the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Stir in the flour mixture.
  8. Drop the cookie dough by teaspoons onto the baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2" apart. Sprinkle each mound with about 1/ 4 teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns.
  9. Bake the cookies until firm and dry to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
  10. While cookies are cooking, make the filling: In a bowl stir together the cheese and sugar until well blended.
  11. When the cookies are cool, spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies, spreading it to within about 1/ 4" of the edge.
  12. Top with a second cookie, pressing the flat side against the filling.
  13. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  14. Makes about 2 dozen.

ROTE CRUTZE

This is the classic German dessert, a sort of thickened clear berry soup, served cold, usually with big dollops of whipped cream, sour cream, or créme fraiche.

  • 2 1/ 4 pounds fresh of frozen berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, red currants, or black currants
  • 1/ 2 cup cornstarch
  • about 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  1. If using fresh strawberries, hull and quarter them.
  2. Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk in just enough water to dissolve any lumps. Set aside.
  3. In a medium heavy pot, combine the berries and the 2 cups of sugar. Stir to mix.
  4. Stirring constantly, bring the berries to a simmer over medium heat, then immediately stir in the cornstarch.
  5. Let the mixture return to a simmer, then remove the pot from the heat.
  6. Pour into glass bowls and sprinkle the surface with sugar to prevent a skin from forming.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10.

This is a favorite company dish from my book SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE: Easy, Elegant, Fearless, Fussless Cooking. It can be made ahead and put together just before serving. The recipe was brought to my class for "Bring It Night." Besides the foods we prepared in class that night we ate and tasted everyone's favorite dish.

CARAMELIZED APPLES WITH COGNAC & VANILLA ICE CREAM

This dessert is for all apple lovers. The combination of apples and cognac is really amazing. The key is to serve the apples warm. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you'll think you've died and gone to heaven!

  • 1/ 2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 3/ 4 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 7), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/ 2 cup sugar
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • Fresh raspberries, for garnish
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish
     

Melt the butter in a heavy large frying pan over high heat, stirring until the butter foams and becomes golden, about 2 minutes. Toss the apples slices, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl to coat. Immediately add the apple mixture to the hot butter. Stir the apples to coat with the butter. Simmer until the juices evaporate and the apples become caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the caramelized apples back to the large bowl. Discard any remaining butter in the pan. Stir the cognac into the caramelized apples.
Spoon the warm caramelized apples into bowls. Top with a scoop of ice cream. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint sprigs. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

COOK'S NOTES: As the apples cook, they will release their juices. Be sure to allow time for these juices to form and evaporate. Once the juices evaporate, the apples will then caramelize. If desired, stir 1/ 4 cup of golden raisins and 1/ 4 cup of chopped toasted walnuts, pecans, or almonds into the caramelized apples.


 

KATAIFI WITH RICOTTA CUSTARD & ORANGE BLOSSOM SYRUP

Kataifi is finely shredded phyllo dough that is available in the frozen or refrigerated foods section of Middle Eastern or Greek markets. Orange blossom water can be found at Indian or Persian markets, natural health foods stores, specialty stores, and some supermarkets. If it's not available, use Grand Marnier instead. Chopped pistachios or candied orange peel make terrific garnishes to this fabulous dessert, and orange segments pair beautifully with it.

When you are in the mood to indulge, this is the recipe for you!! This dessert is sensational. Offer it warm for dessert with a cup of tea, or serve it as a sweet treat for brunch or anytime of the day.

SYRUP

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/ 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom water

PASTRY

  • 8 ounces (half of 16-ounce package) kataifi (shredded phyllo dough), thawed if frozen
  • 1/ 2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 3/ 4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons orange blossom water

To make the syrup: Stir the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a heavy medium saucepan to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling for 3 minutes. As the syrup cooks, wipe down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange blossom water. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the pastry: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Pull apart the strands of kataifi to separate them. Using a large sharp knife, very coarsely chop the strands. Toss the kataifi with the melted butter in a large bowl to coat completely. Arrange half of the kataifi over the bottom of a 13 x9 x 2-inch baking dish, covering completely. Set the remaining kataifi aside.

Stir the cream, sugar, and 1 cup of half and half in a heavy large saucepan to blend. Whisk the remaining 1 cup of half and half and the cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Bring the cream mixture in the saucepan to a boil. Whisk in the ricotta cheese, then whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Continue whisking until the custard comes to a simmer and becomes thick, about 2 minutes. Pour the hot custard over the kataifi in the baking dish, spreading to cover completely and evenly. Sprinkle the remaining kataifi evenly over the custard.

Bake Kataifi in 350-degree oven until is golden brown, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set aside to cool slightly. Using a large sharp knife cut the pastry into 12 pieces. Using a metal spatula, transfer the pastry to plates. Drizzle 3 to 4 tablespoons of the syrup over each and serve immediately.

Serves 12 to 16

ORANGE-HONEY GLAZED ALMONDS (JUST A BITE, Gale Gand, Clarkson Potter, NY)

This recipe combines honey and nuts, making it a nice "new tradition" for your holiday celebration. Great with good ripe cheese, either before or after the meal.

  • 2 cups whole blanched almonds
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • freshly grated zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease or line a large cookie sheet. Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl, then turn out onto the cookie sheet. Spread out so the almonds do not touch each other. Bake until lightly toasted, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. As they come out of the oven, loosen the almonds from the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Let them cool in the pan. Let the almonds cool to room temperature, then store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or less if the weather is very humid. Makes 2 cups.

APRICOT ALMOND SORBET

  • 3 cups apricot nectar
  • 2 cups dried apricots
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/ 2 cup almond or canola oil
  • 1/ 3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Put the nectar and apricots in a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and set aside for 1 hour. Put the soaked apricots and remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness if needed.
Pour the mixture into the ice cream machine and freeze according to directions. If you don't have one, pour the mixture into a glass baking dish and freeze. When frozen, scrape into the processor or blender and process until smooth. Refreeze, process again, and freeze until serving time. Serves 6.

HALWA

This may be eaten as a sweet, but it is quite common to spread it on bread or eat with fried Indian bread such as purees or paratas.

  • 3/ 4 cup superfine (caster) sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ounce blanched slivered almonds
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1/ 2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ounce white raisins
  • 1/ 2 cup rosewater or 1 teaspoon vanilla

Dissolve the caster sugar in the warm water and set aside.
Stir the semolina into the vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat, and cook, stirring for 10 minutes or until the semolina is a golden color and is thoroughly cooked.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the dissolved sugar water, the almonds, and raisins. Mix well and return to a low heat, stirring for a couple of minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the rosewater or vanilla.
Pour into a small (about 1 pint) pyrex bowl, and when cooled, ease the semolina cake out of the bowl and onto a serving platter. Serve cold.

PANNA COTTA

This delicious desert from Italy will really impress your friends. This recipe is from my friend Carol Dearth's book COOKING CLASS.

  • 2 cups whipping cream or for a lighter version, use 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream
  • 1/ 4 cup sugar
  • seeds and pod from one vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/ 2 to 1 package unflavored gelatin

for garnish:

  • 1 recipe Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar and
  • fresh mint leaves
  • Or 1/4 cup Truly Decadent Chocolate Sauce and
  • fresh strawberries or raspberries, or canned mandarin oranges

Pour about 1/ 4 cup cream into a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over. Allow the gelatin to soften as directed on package, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining cream with vanilla seeds and pod over low heat. Add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Mixture should be warm, but not too hot to the touch. Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Stir in gelatin until melted. Do not let cream overheat with the gelatin, as heat will destroy the setting properties.
Strain mixture through a sieve to remove any gelatin lumps and the vanilla pod. Pour into 4 individual molds or goblets. Chill until set. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.
To serve molded Panna Cotta, dip molds in warm water for about 15 seconds. Run a small knife around the edge of the Panna Cotta to loosen. Invert onto serving plate, remove mold. Serve with Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar (see below) or surround with barely warmed Truly Decadent Chocolate Sauce and garnish with fresh fruit or mandarin orange segments.
To serve in goblets, top with small amount of strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar; garnish each with a mint leaf or two.
Serves 4.

Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1 to 1 1/ 2 cups fresh strawberries quartered, sliced or very small sized berries
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons best quality balsamic vinegar

In medium bowl sprinkle berries with sugar. Add vanilla and balsamic vinegar. Set aside at room temperature to allow flavors to develop.

Can be prepared 6 to 8 hours in advance.

POTICA

This is a paper-thin sweet bread filled with walnuts, honey, sugar, and butter. Croatians who came to Minnesota's Iron Range to work the mines at the turn of the century likely brought this delicacy with them, but now just about everyone in Hibbing, Minnesota serves it at numerous celebrations. This version is from Jan Latick to this area from Slovakia, he brought with his a regional variation of the same cake, and won numerous blue ribbons for it. This user friendly version uses puff pastry dough instead of strudel dough.

  • 3 cups walnuts (10 oz)
  • 1/ 3 cup sugar
  • 1/ 4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons light or heavy cream
  • 2 sheets prepared puff pastry dough (about 17 oz)
  • 1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x11-inch jelly roll pan.
Place the nuts in a food processor with the steel blade, add both sugars, honey, cinnamon, egg, and 3 tablespoons of the cream, and pulse a few times until the mixture is the consistency of a chunky paste.
Flour a work surface and roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry to form a 12x 16-inch rectangle. Smear half the filling all over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around.
Starting at the narrow 12-inch end, roll of the pastry like a jelly roll, tightly but gently, tucking in the sides as your roll. Place on the baking pan and repeat with the second sheet and the remaining filling. Mix the yolk with the remaining cream and brush the glaze over the potica. Bake for about 45 minutes of until golden brown. Cool slightly and transfer to a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 12.

DELITEFUL FRUITS ROMANOFF

From Nechama Cohen’s lovely new book Enlitened Kosher Cooking More than 250 Good-carb, healthy-fat, sugar-free recipes from the simple to the elegant (Feldheim Publishers). Note: Granny Smith apples may need additional sweetener unless you prefer a slightly tart flavor.

  • 1 lb. sliced fruit
  • Sugar substitute equal to 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup light pareve or regular sour cream
  • Sugar substitute equal to 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher dark rum or rum extract – optional

Place sliced fruit in individual dessert cups and sprinkle sugar substitute over each. Combine ingredients for topping and pour mixture over fruit, dividing evenly. Garnish as desired.

Serves 4.

PASSOVER APPLE SORT OF CRISP

PESACH FOR THE REST OF US : Making the Passover Seder Your Own by Marge Piercy is the perfect book for those who want to create their own Seder for family and friends. PESACH is a mix of memoir, family recipes, poems and fresh understandings of the rituals and symbols of the Passover meal. Passover, for Piercy, is the holiday where she finds the strongest personal meaning, and in this book she explores each ritual and practice, illuminating different and contemporary ways of interpreting the Seder plate and Haggadah. A lovely complement to whatever Haggadah you use and a sure way to made Passover a highly personal holiday.

  • 1/3 cup almonds or walnuts
  • 8 apples, cored and chopped
  • 10 large eggs, at room temperature, divided
  • 1/ 2 cup sugar
  • Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1/ 2 cup matzoh meal
  • Nutmeg and/or ginger to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Chop nuts in the food processor with a couple teaspoons of sugar to prevent “almond butter” from forming. A light hand, pulsing, is necessary.

Beat the yolks, add the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir in the apples. Add the matzoh meal, chopped nuts, and nutmeg and/or ginger.

Whip the egg whites until stiff enough to stand. Fold into the apple mixture and pour into a pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Serves 10.

LEMON BLUEBERRY DREAM

This rich, smooth dessert is very much like a mousse. The blueberries and the lemon complement each other like a dream. This is delicious when accompanied by ginger cookies. Another winner from Paula Lambert’s Cheese, Glorious Cheese!

Note: The Mascarpone should be cold and kept in the refrigerator until time to use it. If Mascarpone is warm it can easily separate when it is whipped.

Note: This Lemon Dream is delicious when accompanied by ginger cookies.

Lemon Curd

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/ 2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Mascarpone, cold
  • 1/ 2 heavy cream, cold, whipped

Macerated Blueberries

  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 1/ 4 cup Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur
  • 1/ 4 cup sugar

For the Lemon Curd, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice and sugar in the top of a stainless steel double boiler and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a stainless steel whisk, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon and falls off in thick sheets, about 10 minutes. Do not let the mixture come to a boil. When the mixture is thick, remove the top of the double boiler from heat and place in a larger bowl filled with ice and cold water. Stir slowly until the lemon curd is chilled. Once chilled to about 50ºF or 60ºF, stir the Mascarpone into the curd. Take care because if the lemon curd is too warm, it will melt the Mascarpone. Finally fold in the whipped cream until well incorporated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until serving time.

To macerate the blueberries, wash and remove any stems from the berries. Place them in a colander to drain. Combine the blueberries, Grand Marnier and sugar in a bowl. Set aside to macerate at room temperature for 1 hour.

To serve, spoon lemon curd into 8 flat bowls. Spoon the blueberries and their juices over the curd. Or, if you like, layer the lemon curd and berries alternately into parfait glasses.
Serves 8

 

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLE TORTE DESSERT

  • 1 cup butter, plus a bit for the pan
  • 1 1/ 2 cups sugar
  • 16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/ 4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened raspberry puree with NO SEEDS (see recipe below)
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/ 4 cup raspberry liqueur (such as Framboise)
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry extract (optional)
  • boiling water for water bath
  • unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish
  • lightly sweetened raspberry coulis
  • whipped cream (optional)
  • fresh raspberries, for garnish
  • mint leaves

Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9 to 10-inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper, butter paper. Wrap outside of pan in heavy-duty foil, taking care not to make holes, set aside. Melt 1 cup butter and sugar in heavy saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add chopped chocolate pieces; stir until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in raspberry puree. Cool to just warm to touch.

Whisk eggs and yolks in a large bowl just until combined. Gradually whisk in chocolate/raspberry mixture. Add liqueur. Pour batter into prepared springform pan, place pan in larger baking pan. Place in oven; pour boiling water into the outer pan to a depth of one inch. Bake in preheated oven until edges of torte puff slightly but center is not completely set, about 1 hour. DO NOT OVERBAKE (torte will continue to set as it cools). Carefully remove from water bath; remove outer foil. Cool on a rack. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to one week.

Run a small knife around the side of the pan to loosen. Carefully release pan sides. Sift cocoa powder over torte, if desired. Cut into wedges, wiping knife clean before each cut. You may make cutting the torte easier by heating the knife under very hot water, then drying before each cut. Garnish the wedges with raspberry coulis, whipped cream rosettes, fresh raspberries and mint. Serves 16.

This recipe can be divided in half, and baked in two 6 or 7 inch springform pans if you like. Serve one, freeze the other for another dinner. This is a great torte to cut into serving sized wedges, wrap individually and freeze for future use. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

 

WALNUT AND RICOTTA CAKE

  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 5 oz unsalted butter
  • 2/ 3 cup sugar (4 3/ 4 oz)
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 large orange, finely grated zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2/ 3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 TBL flour or potato starch
  • 1/ 4 cup apricot jam
  • 2 TBL brandy or Grand Marnier
  • 2 to 3 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease and line the bottom on a deep 9" round, removable-bottomed cake pan or spring form pan with parchment paper, butter the parchment. Coarsely chop and lightly toast the walnuts. Cream the butter and 1/ 2 cup of sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and orange zest and mix until combined. Add in the ricotta cheese, sift in the flour and add the walnuts and combine. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar (2 TBL + 2 tsp). Sacrifice ¼ of the egg whites and mix into the ricotta mixture to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining egg white and turn the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes until risen and firm. Let cake cool in the pan. Transfer the cake to a serving plate, removing the parchment paper if attached. Heat the apricot jam in a small pan with 1 TBL water. Strain and stir in the brandy; coat the top and sides of the cake. Scatter grated chocolate generously over the cake. Serves 10 to 12.

 

A WALNUT BIRTHDAY CAKE

In their endorsement for A Year of Russian Feasts, Sergei Krushchev and his wife Valentina Golenko-Krushchev, write, "This book perfectly reflects the way of life, traditions, and food of Russia. In our family the Walnut Birthday Cake enjoys great popularity. We make it according to the recipe, given to us by the author two years ago."

Walnut cakes come in endless varieties in Russia. This rich cake, with a buttery, shortbread-like crust and nutty meringue topping, is the best. Serve it with tea or coffee or for dessert, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. It is even better the second day, after the topping has settled into the crust.

Makes one 9-inch cake, serves 6 to 8

Unsalted butter and flour for greasing and flouring the cake pan

Shortbread Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for the filling)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Walnut Filling

  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup dark or golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the second-to-the-lowest level and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, dust lightly with flour, and set aside.
  2. To make the dough, combine the flour and butter in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, in a quick rubbing motion, mix the flour and butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the salt and baking soda and continue mixing until well incorporated. Set aside.
  3. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a small mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until all of the ingredients are well blended.
  4. Transfer the dough to the prepared cake pan. Using your hands, evenly press the dough over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, forming a neat and even 1-inch overhang about 1/4 inch thick all around. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and refrigerate the dough-lined pan while you make the filling.
  5. To make the filling, combine the walnuts, raisins, and brown sugar in a medium bowl and mix until well blended. Set aside.
  6. Combine the egg whites and lemon juice in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 30 seconds, or until foamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 30 seconds more. Increase the speed to high and beat for about 1 minute, or until stiff peaks form.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the walnut mixture until just combined, then fold in the melted butter. Distribute the walnut filling evenly in the dough-lined pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust and meringue top are golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Check the cake after 20 minutes; if the top is browning too fast, place a piece of foil loosely over it. Allow the cake to cool completely, then invert it upside down onto a plate and, using another plate, flip it over so it is upright. Serve the cake at room temperature. (Leftovers should be covered and stored at room temperature.)

 

LEMON-LIME PAN DI SPAGNA

This is an Italian version of sponge cake, not too rich, light in texture, and full of flavor.

  • 1 1/ 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello, other lemon liquor, or Grand Marnier
  • 1/ 3 cup fruity and fragrant olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Set out an ungreased 10" springform pan.
  2. Place the flour, 2/3 cup of sugar, and the salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the flat beater, mix together the egg yolks, lime zest, lime juice, limoncello, olive oil, and almond extract.
  4. Beat until the mixture is pale yellow and smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat until just blended.
  5. In another bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Add the remaining
  6. 1/ 3 cup sugar as you finish beating the whites until stiff.
  7. Beat one third of the beaten whites into the batter mixture to lighten it.
  8. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the beaten whites by hand.
  9. Pour batter into the ungreased pan and bake on the middle shelf of the oven until dry in the center 45 to 50 minutes.
  10. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. When cool, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, and then remove the sides of the springform.
  11. Serves 10 to 12.

PINA COLADA CAKE (dairy) 

  • 1 (18¼ or 18½-ounce) package yellow cake mix*
  • 1 (4-serving size) package instant vanilla flavor pudding mix
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cream of coconut
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • candied pineapple (optional)
  • fresh pineapple (optional)
  • fresh lime (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour a bunt pan. In large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, 1/2 cup cream of coconut, 1/2 cup rum, oil and eggs. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in the drained pineapple.

Pour into the prepared bunt pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan. With a table knife or skewer, poke holes about 1 inch apart in cake almost to bottom. In a bowl combine remaining cream of coconut and remaining 2 tablespoons rum. Mix well and then slowly spoon the mixture over the warm cake. Chill thoroughly. When serving sprinkle a few toasted almonds on the plate before you place the slice of cake on it. Then garnish each piece with candied fruit slices or thin wedges of fresh pineapple and lime. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Serves 12.
 

*Note: If you are using a cake mix with "pudding in" is used, omit the pudding

 

BOURBON STREET FUDGE CAKE

  • 1 3/4 cup brewed coffee (water can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 sticks butter, in small pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 275 F. Grease and flour two 9x2" round cake pans.
In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt together the coffee, bourbon, and
chocolate. Whisk in the butter. Remove from heat and beat in the sugar.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the coffee mixture, mixing well.
Stir in the eggs and vanilla and after mixing, pour into the cake pans.
Bake at 275 F for 1 1/2 hours or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool on wire racks, sprinkle tops with confectioners' sugar, and serve with whipped cream if desired. Makes 2 cakes, each serving 12.

Aromatic Apple Cake

For the Pan:

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves

Filling:

  • 5 apples, peeled, cored, cut in eighths and then rough cut
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Cake:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/ 2 cup Juice/Cider
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar

For the Pan: Smear a bundt pan with margarine.
Combine the sugars and spices and then using sifter or a tea ball sprinkle, shake, turn until all surfaces are coated. Chill in freezer until ready to bake.
For the Filling: Combine all ingredients well and set aside.
Preheat Oven to 350F.
For the Cake: Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Whisk eggs together well in a large bowl, then stir in oil, and then the juice and vanilla.
Add sugar a little at a time while whisking.  Then add flour mixture the same way.
Pour 1/3rd batter into the chilled bundt pan.  Layer in half the filling, 1/3rd batter, 1/ 2 filling, and top with remaining 1/3rd batter.
Bake on center rack for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Edges should have pulled away from the pan.  Check for doneness with toothpick or finger touch.
Let cool for 15 minutes on rack before turning out of the pan.
Serve when cool.  Use serrated knife.
Serves 16.

Note:  If at all possible: grate your own nutmeg seed or cinnamon sticks on a microplane.

CRAZY CRUST PIE

A great recipe for those who love pies but who hate to make pie crusts - or, like me, eat the inside and discard the crust! In the summer I use peaches instead of apples.

  • 5 to 6 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced or peaches
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • l 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • l cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • l cup flour


Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the apple slices in a 9-inch or 10-inch pie pan.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle half over the apples.
In a medium bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed, cream together the margarine and the sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the flour, mixing only until ingredients are blended.
Spread the batter over the fruit, being careful to leave a lî rim of fruit showing at the edge. Sprinkle the remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture over the batter.
Bake the pie for one hour at 350 F.Cool on a wire rack for one hour.
Serve the pie at room temperature or chilled.

Close

Main

Grilled Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Here a creamy, moist zucchini spread lies beneath the skin of golden brown barbecued chicken breasts. These are easy to assemble in advance, refrigerate, and grill just before dinner. Accompany with grilled corn on the cob and heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad, and finish off with Honey-Rum Pumpkin Ice Cream. Don’t put your grill away at the end of summer; the smoky flavor of grilled foods is perfect for chilly days as well.

A Harvest of Pumpkins and  Squash Season Recipes by Lou Seibert Pappas (Chronicle Books) 

  • 1 pound zucchini
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces each)
  • Herbes de Provence for sprinkling

Prepare a charcoal grill for a medium-hot fire, preheat a gas grill to medium-high, or preheat the oven to 375°F.

Shred the zucchini, sprinkle with salt, wrap in paper towels, and let stand for 15 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini dry. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini and sauté until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes; remove from the skillet and let cool. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the onion, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes; remove from the heat and let cool.

In a small bowl, beat together the goat cheese and butter until blended. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Mix in the zucchini, onion, parsley, and cheese.

Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the chicken breasts, leaving one side attached, and force the zucchini stuffing underneath the skin of each breast. Brush each stuffed breast with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with the herbes de Provence.

Grill the chicken breasts directly over the heat, turning once, until opaque throughout and the juices no longer run pink, 15 to 20 minutes. If using the oven, place the chicken on a roasting pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve at once.

Serves 4

Stuffed Grapeleaves - Etli Yaprak Dolmasi

This is what Channon told me (educated me) about this dish. “This recipe is primarily based on a reference made by Hans Derschwam in his travelogue to Turkey in the 16th Century. The young German visitor describes a dish of grape leaves filled with meat and plums:  Item mutton.  Chopped small, a spoonful is put on a wine leaf and put together like a krapfen.  In it, one also puts cut sour plums, and boils the whole thing simply in water.  Serve hot.
This recipe is quite special for its uniqueness. The word “krapfen” meant “stuffed fritter” in 16th C German and conveys Han’s observation that the leaves were folded over to enclose the filling. Although many stuffed pastries and vegetables appear in a variety of early world cuisines, to date, I have found no other mention of the practice of using grape leaves in food There does exist a recipe for pickled grape tendrils in the 15th C Italian manuscript by Platina “On Right Pleasure and Good Health”. This hardly constitutes a “dolmas” or stuffed type food.  Athenaeus’ he Deipnosophistae (Scholars at the Dinner Table) in the late 2, early 3rd century in Greece  is reported to mention grape leaf appetizers but I have yet to locate this reference (many ref to stuffed fig leaves though) in I have, however, found recipes that describe similar ingredient combinations used in vegetable recipes in medieval Arabic sources.  A plum, meat, parsley and gourd  recipe called "Khaukhiyya" can be found in the Kitab al Tibakha, the 15th C contemporary Mameluke cookbook to the first Ottoman cookbook.
Khaukhiyya- Boil meat and plums. Fry vegetables- Swiss chard, eggplant, carrots, gourds and so on (onions and garlic are frequently mentioned in other recipes). Macerate the plums in the meat broth and strain it and put it with the vegetables. Then sweeten it and garnish it with walnuts and parsley.
When I created this stuffed grape leaf recipe I experimented using very tart black plums. They imparted a citrus like flavor and a sweetness that developed with cooking.  A nice touch would be to use slightly blanched fresh grape leaves.  I’m sure this would affect the overall taste of the recipe but as it is, the results are delicious. Since fresh leaves weren’t available, I used a jar of brined grape leaves (Ziyad and Roland brand are my favorites) and a simple blend of garlic, parsley, onion, lemon, salt and pepper to compliment the meat and plums.
I prepared this recipe one spring for a large group and to my surprise, found out that plum season was over. After frantically calling several suppliers I realized that there were no plums to be found in the entire area- to get any would require a special order and a huge expense.  Faced with this ongoing seasonal problem I decided to do what anyone in 16th Century Turkey would do- substitute the next closest thing: prunes. The result was a wonderful taste and texture, the prunes blended well with the other ingredients and benefited from the long cooking time.  Whichever you choose to do, plums or prunes, fresh or brined leaves, I’m sure you’ll love the results.”

  • 1 pint jar brined grape leaves- drained
  • 1.5 cups sour plums or 1.5 cups pitted prunes- chopped small
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt- divided
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic,  minced
  • 1/ 2 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley- washed, dried and minced
  • 1/ 4 to1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper- fine
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or ground beef or combination of both)
  • 1/ 2 freshly squeezed lemon (about 1/8 cup) juice
  • 1/ 2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Using jarred leaves;

Carefully remove the leaves from the jar. They are tightly rolled and squeezed into the jar (I’ve often wondered how they do it!) and can rip when you are pulling them out. Unroll the leaves and gently peel the leaves apart. Set aside any badly ripped, discolored or extremely large grape leaves, you’ll use these to line the pan and lay on top of the dolmas in the pot.

The best leaves to use are those about the size of your palm plus some, about 6 inches in diameter. If they are too large they will take too long to cook, if too small they will over cook or won’t hold enough filling.

Cut or trim the stems of the grape leaves off using a sharp paring knife or a pair of scissors. If using brined leaves, place them in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes and rinse with cold water very well. Depending on how tough the leaves are you may wish to steam or parboil them. Try parboiling about 2 minutes at a time and check for softness as you go.  As well, if they are very salty you may wish to soak them again. I have had great success with Ziyad brand grape leaves. They are thin and delicate, but full of flavor.
In a skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil, season the onions with 1 teaspoon salt, and sauté the onions until they begin to caramelize. Add garlic, herbs, chopped plums or prunes. Remove from heat add the raw ground lamb, mixing everything together very well. Add the second teaspoon of salt. Don’t cook this mixture but simply blend well. Use clean hands to blend if necessary.
Place a grape leave on a work surface, shiny side down, place about 1 1/ 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture near the stem end, then fold in the end and sides and roll up neatly. Repeat this process until all the leaves are stuffed.
Line the bottom of a large, heavy based pot (3 to 4 quarts) with several grape leaves (used ripped and discolored ones), then arrange the filled rolls in snug layers, seam side down. Make one layer of dolmas and then place the next layer perpendicular to the first. You do not want them to be able to move around. If they are too loosely packed they will unroll and result in grape leaf soup. I like to use my dutch oven for large batches or my 1 quart enameled cast iron pot for smaller batches.   Pour in the stock, squeeze lemon or pour juice over the dolmas.
When you are finished with the layering, if you have any extra leaves, place them on top of the rolls. Place a heat proof dish (I’ve used salad plates with success) on the top to keep the rolls pressed down.
Cover with a lid and simmer slowly for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the leaves are tender and the meat is cooked. Take one of the dolmas out of the pot, test it for doneness (you want the leaves tender and the filling soft). You may need to add more liquid, if so, add 1/ 2 cup water and continue to simmer another 15 minutes. Check again.   Let cool. Serve at room temp. If you store them in the refrigerator, bring them to room temperature before serving.
 
Makes approximately 60-90  dolmas depending on the size of the leaves. You can make these up to 3 days in advance, then remove from fridge about 1-2 hours before serving. You can also reheat them gently in a microwave at 70% power for 45 seconds, or until warm.

 

ONION BRAISED CHICKEN WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND LEMON

Lemon and onions are favorite flavors for chicken throughout the Mideast. Sometimes nutmeg is also used. Freshen the flavor with an extra squeeze of lemon juice at serving time.

  • 2 1/ 2 lbs. chicken pieces
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions, halved and sliced thin
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 to 2 1/ 2 cups diced butternut squash - l" cubes
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley - optional
  • lemon wedges

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil in a stew pan. Lightly brown chicken pieces in 2 batches in oil over medium heat. Remove with tongs to a plate. Add onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until softened. Return chicken to pan and add any juices from plate. Add garlic and broth. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add squash, sprinkle it with nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken and squash are tender, turning chicken pieces once or twice.

Remove chicken and squash pieces from pan but leave in onion. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Stir in lemon juice and add a little more nutmeg. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning. Return chicken and squash to pan. Cover and warm over low heat for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley if you like and serve hot, with lemon wedges."

 

JALAPENO SEA BASS WITH TOMATOES, POTATOES, and GARLIC

  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/ 4 cup Italian parsley sprigs, plus 1 tablespoons chopped parsley for sprinkling
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, cut in pieces, seeded if desired, or 1/ 2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boiling potatoes, cooked, sliced about 1/ 2" thick
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 red, green, or yellow bell peppers, halved, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 1 1/ 2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/ 4" thick
  • 2 lbs. fish steaks or fillets, such as sea bass, halibut, or cod 1" thick, rinsed and dried
  • pinch cinnamon, optional
  • 1/ 2 onion, cut into thin slices

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine garlic, parsley sprigs, and jalapeno peppers in food processor. Process to chop. Add 1 tablespoon oil and process until blended to a paste. Oil a shallow 2-quart casserole and arrange the potato slices inside in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with bell pepper strips then with half the tomato slices in one layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Top with fish in a single layer and spread spice paste evenly over it. Sprinkle fish with salt, pepper, and if you like, cinnamon. Top fish with onion slices, then with remaining tomatoes. Pour remaining oil evenly over the top. Cover and bake for 25 minutes, or until fish can just be flaked with a fork, but is not falling apart. Sprinkle with parsley and serve from the casserole. Serves 4 or 5.

 

CORIANDER AND PEPPER CRUSTED SALMON

  • 4 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced coriander or cilantro leaves
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt

With a mortar and pestle, or the back of a large spoon in a small bowl, crush the coriander seeds. Combine with the pepper, salt and coriander leaves. This may be done 6 hours in advance. Cover and set aside.

Preheat oven and baking sheet to 425°F. Spread coriander and pepper mixture on shallow plate. Lightly brush each salmon fillet with 1/ 2 teaspoon olive oil; press into spice mixture to coat only the topside. The salmon can be prepared to this point in advance, covered and refrigerated for up to 6 hours. Let salmon rest for 15 minutes to come to room temperature before cooking.

Heat remaining oil in sauté pan over high heat. Place fillets in heated pan, cook 2 minutes on each side. Remove to heated baking sheet. Place in preheated oven; cook 5 to 10 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 135°F. Remove from oven, tent with foil. Let stand 2 to 4 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 145° F. Serve immediately, with mango salsa. Serves 4.

Variation:

Delete coating salmon with coriander and pepper mixture. Brush with oil; sear salmon as directed above. Before roasting, brush top of each fillet with 1 teaspoon maple syrup, sprinkle lightly with black pepper. Continue as above.

Mango salsa

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Puree half of mango in food processor or blender. Dice remaining half. Gently stir all ingredients together to combine, season to taste. Store refrigerated.

 

RICKI CARROLL'S EASY LASAGNE

With the combination of mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan, this lasagna is a triple treat.

  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1/ 2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 cups spaghetti sauce (not a very thick one)
  • 1 1/ 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 12 lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the ricotta with ¼ cup of the Parmesan. In another bowl mix the sauce and the oregano. Spread 1 cup of sauce in an ungreased 9x13" baking dish. Top with four of the noodles. Spread 1 cup of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Top with 1 cup of the sauce mixture. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup of the mozzarella.

Repeat with four noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, 1 cup of sauce, and 2/ 3 cup of the mozzarella. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer, or until lasagna is hot and bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

 

GOAT CHEESE AND MUSHROOM PIZZA

  • 1 1/ 2 cups thawed frozen spinach
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cups thinly sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 1/ 2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Boboli (store bought bread-like pizza crust) - large size original or thin crust.
  • 6 ounces herbed goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Squeeze the moisture from the spinach.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan until hot and stir in the shallots, mushrooms, and garlic.
  3. Cook just until golden brown, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with the sugar and mix lightly.
  4. Remove from the heat. Place the Boboli on a nonstick baking sheet.
  5. Spread the mushroom mixture over the Boboli. Top with spinach and sprinkle with the goat cheese.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until bubbly and serve hot. Serves 4.

 

GARLIC CHICKEN WITH SPINACH AND CILANTRO

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1/ 2 cup chopped scallions (white only)
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/ 3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/ 2 cup chicken broth (about)
  • 1/ 3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/ 2 cup chopped whole scallions (white with a little green)
  • 1/ 4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 lb fresh spinach, trimmed, chopped
  • Bibb lettuce, radicchio or red cabbage cups
  1. Combine chicken, 1/ 2 cup chopped scallions, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet until hot but not smoking and add the chicken mixture. Stir fry over medium heat until the chicken is light brown. Increase heat to high.
  3. Stir in the remaining soy sauce, broth and red wine vinegar.
  4. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in the cilantro and /2 cup chopped whole scallions.
  6. Combine the rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons olive oil and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
  7. Pour over the spinach in a bowl, tossing to coat. Add to the chicken mixture and mix well.

Spoon into lettuce or red cabbage cups. Serves 6.

CHICKEN AND MANGO CURRY (meat)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mild curry paste
  • 1 pound chicken breast fillets, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • 1 lb. canned mango slices, or 2 fresh mangoes, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cucumber, deseeded and sliced
  • cooked rice

Place half the mango and all of the coconut milk in a food processor and blend until smooth Set the mixture aside. Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the curry paste and sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the chicken pieces and onion and stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Add the mango coconut mixture to the chicken and cook until the mixture is bubbly.. Stir through the remaining mango slices and cucumber and cook for an additional minute or two until the mango and cucumber are hot but not wilted. Remove from heat immediately and serve with rice.

Serves 4 This recipe can be doubled or tripled

Glazed Chicken Breasts With Strawberry Salsa

This easy, elegant dish is from Susie Fishbein's cookbook, Kosher by Design Entertains (Mesorah Publications), a unique new cookbook that provides menus perfect for any occasion.

Glazed Chicken Breasts:

  • 4 boneless skinless, chicken breasts, tenders removed
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jelly
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Strawberry Salsa:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • juice of 1 lime

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides, 4-5 minutes per side, until browned. You can also grill the chicken on a barbecue grill. Remove the chicken to a plate.
To the same pan, add the shallots and sauté on low heat until soft, about 4 minutes. (If you grilled the chicken on a barbecue, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and sauté the shallots in it and continue). In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the chicken stock. Add it to the pan. Add in the jelly and balsamic vinegar. Cook until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and coat both sides with the glaze. Remove from heat.
Prepare the salsa. Place the chopped strawberries into a small bowl. Toss with the red onion, balsamic, pepper, mint, and lime juice. Allow flavors to mix for 10 minutes.
Serve chicken with the salsa warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

QUINCE STUFFED WITH MEAT

Quinces look like pears and smell like pineapple and can be used in a variety of ways: as a main dish stuffed with meat, or boiled in water and served hot with honey on a cold day. This is from Riva Goldman's new book from Hippocrene Books, NY (www.hippocrenebooks.com) Mama Nazima's Jewish Iraqi Cuisine. Riva was born in Basra, Iraq and left as a child as part of the forced repatriation of Jews and later learned the art of cooking from her mother, a healer who incorporated her work into traditional recipes. She married an American and lives in New Mexico with her husband and 3 children.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 quinces, halved, insides scooped out to form a pocket and insides chopped and set aside

Stuffing:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • juice of 1 large lemon

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sweet red wine such as Concord grape
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Combine the meat, salt, garlic, paprika, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Heat the oil in a pan over high heat and add the onions. Reduce heat to medium and add the meat and chopped quince, and stir for 2 minutes. Cover and cook meat until tender, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Add the nuts, raisins, and lemon juice, and simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Fill each quince halfway with the meat mixture and place neatly on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine the wine, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, and 1 cup water in a bowl.
Pour the sauce over the stuffed quinces. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
Serves 8.

 

SPLIT CHICKEN BREAST PUTTANESCO STYLE with Green Olives, Tomatoes, Onions, Thyme, and Lemon Zest

A great way to jazz up a chicken dinner instead of serving the sauce over pasta.  If you would like the dish to have a little kick, add a large pinch of red pepper flakes.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/ 2 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/ 2 cups canned whole plum tomatoes, drained
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, split
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated and finely chopped fresh lemon zest
  • 5 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

In a large nonreactive sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil for 30 seconds.

Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about  3 to 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and mash into pieces with a spoon or fork. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken, capers, olives, thyme, lemon zest, and anchovies.  Stir the sauce around, spooning it over the chicken until it is covered in the sauce.

Cook the chicken and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side (depending on thickness); when done, the chicken breast should be white and juicy and its juices should run clear when pierced with a knife.  Don’t overcook the chicken or it will become chewy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Close

Salads

EGGPLANT SALAD WITH OLIVE OIL
(A TASTE OF TURKISH CUISINE by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman)

This can be served on lettuce leaves, or by itself as a salad/side dish.

  • 3 large eggplants, stems trimmed and leaves removed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pierce the skin of the eggplants all around with the tip of a small sharp knife.
Cook over an open flame (a charcoal fire is preferable but gas will do), turning
occasionally, until the skin is charred and the flesh has softened. Or broil about 8 inches from the broiler heat for 25 minutes or until soft.
Using the flat side of the blade of a knife, gently tap all around the eggplants.
With a sharp knife, carefully peel the skin off the eggplants from top to bottom while it is hot. Cut eggplants diagonally in 1/2-inch slices, remove the stems, and discard.
In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of water with half the lemon juice. Place the eggplants in the water for a few minutes to cool. Place eggplants in a fine sieve and drain well, pushing the eggplants with a wooden spoon.
In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, remaining lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
Whisk into drained eggplant, cover, and chill. Serve cold.

Serves 6

 

ORANGE AND LEMON SALAD

This classic Italian salad always reminds me of warm, sunny spring days in southern Italy, from where it originates. The first time you try it, you will agree that the unlikely matching of flavors produces a vibrant, lively and always beautiful side dish.

  • 4 oranges (blood oranges if you can find them; see below)
  • 1 or 2 lemons, very ripe (Meyer lemons if you can find them; see below)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, or fresh mint, or combination of both
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons Extra-Virgin olive oil

With a very sharp knife, peel oranges and lemons, removing all the white pith (see below). Slice oranges into medium slices, lemons somewhat thinner. Remove any visible seeds.

Layer overlapping orange and lemon slices on a serving platter or on individual plates. Thinly slice or chop the onion, arrange over fruit slices. Cut large basil or mint leaves in chiffonade (see below). Small leaves may remain whole. Scatter leaves over the fruit. Sprinkle generously with black pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

Let stand one to three hours before serving. The salad should be served at room temperature. Serves 4.

 

TABOULEH

A unique salad from the Middle East.

  • 1 cup cracked wheat (bulgur wheat)
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped scallions - a little green included
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 - ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons dried mint leaves, or 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  1. A few hours before serving, place the wheat in a large bowl and cover it with boiling water.
  2. Let it stand for 15 minutes, the wheat should feel tender but slightly crunchy.
  3. Drain off the water, and wash the wheat under the faucet 2 or 3 times, draining thoroughly.
  4. In a salad bowl, combine the wheat and remaining ingredients, blending well.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 8.

SUMMER GARDEN PASTA SALAD

This elegant salad stars ultra-fresh, just picked vegetables, accented by Gorgonzola cheese and lemon juice.

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/ 4 cup olive oil
  • 9 oz fresh angel hair pasta
  • 1/ 4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, or to taste
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into 8ths
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow summer squash, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, julienned
  • 1/ 2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained

Heat a pot of lightly salted water and the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and when boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions, Drain, quickly rinse under cold water and set aside.
Combine remaining 1/ 4 cup of oil, juice, mustard, zest, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper in a bowl, beating well. Add the pasta while still warm, and too to combine well. Set aside.
Put the tomatoes, zucchini, squash, scallions, basil, parsley, cheese and capers in a bowl, toss. Add to the dressed pasta, and toss again before serving, making sure vegetables are well distributed. Serves 6.

BREAKFAST FRUIT SALAD WITH GINGER AND MINT

Joan traveled all around the USA collecting the recipes and stories showing how American cooking has never been as exciting as it is today. This recipe is from Prune, a tiny, homey restaurant on New York's lower East side. The fruits used can change with the season, and if you don't want to bother with ginger syrup, just sprinkle crystallized ginger over the fruit.

Ginger Syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/ 2 cup sugar
  • one 2-inch piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled

Salad:

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup diced honeydew melon
  • 1 cup diced cantaloupe
  • 1 cup red or green grapes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Prepare syrup: place the water, sugar, and gingerroot in a pan , bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered to reduce the liquid by half (about 20 minutes). Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the apples, blueberries, honeydew, cantaloupe, and grapes together . Add a few tablespoons of the syrup and sprinkle the mint on top. Serves 8.

WHEAT BERRY SALAD

I first tasted wheat berries at my cousin's in Minnesota many years ago. I had never heard of them before and could not believed I had missed out on something so delicious and healthy. This recipe is from
THE SPIRITED VEGETARIAN: Over 100 Recipes Made Lively with Wine and Spirits by renowned cooking teacher, author, and vegetarian gourmet Paulette Mitchell (Rodale Books, NY), a tantalizing array of spirited appetizers, soups, stews, salads, main courses, and desserts.

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup wheat berries, rinsed in cold water in a strainer
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped red onion
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup medium bodied, sweet and fruity white wine (like Gerurztraimer)
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

In a large pan over high heat, boil the water. Add a dash of salt, and the wheat berries. When the water returns to a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer adding more water if needed until berries are tender, about 1 hour. Drain if needed and spread on a baking sheet to cool.
Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and wine, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes.
Transfer wheat berries to a medium bowl. Stir in the mushroom mixture and the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place in a covered container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 3 days. Sere chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serves 6.

MARINATED POTATO SALAD

A great recipe from Kerry's Dunnington (The Book Cooks).. This has only 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise!!! For maximum flavor prepared this the day before serving. Peeling the potatoes is a matter of preference.

  • 6 medium potatoes, unpeeled, quartered, cooked in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender
  • 1 1/ 2 cups onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/ 2 cup Canola oil
  • 1/ 4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 3/ 4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

After potatoes have cooled completely, thinly slice. in a medium jar, with a tight fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, celery seed, salt and pepper. With jar top on tightly shake vigorously and allow dressing to stand at room temperature for several hours. In serving platter, layer potatoes and onions alternately, pour dressing evenly over the salad. Just before serving, toss salad with mayonnaise.
Serves 6.

FENNEL SALAD SOTTO SOPRA

This was developed by chef/restaurateur Riccardo Bosio for Sotto's in Baltimore. Bosio is a strong believer in using seasonal ingredients, buying local whenever possible and using only the freshest ingredients. It is this mantra that is allowing him to celebrate Sotto Sopra's 10th anniversary this year.

  • 8 oz. of thinly sliced fennel
  • 2 oz. Mache (baby greens)
  • 8 oz. Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 12 Fresh orange segments
  • 1/2 cup ~ diced fresh avocado

Citrus Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 8 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Cracked pepper to taste (optional)

Arrange Mach baby greens in the middle of large plate or platter.
Scatter fennel around baby greens. Arrange cherry or grape tomatoes around plate
Arrange fresh oranges on greens Scatter chopped avocado
Wisk dressing ingredients together adding olive oil slowly at the end to create an emulsion.
Drizzle over salad and enjoy!

Close

Salads

ZUCCHINI PANCAKES WITH PISTOU SAUCE

Multitudes of delicious zucchini based recipes are the byproducts of abundant Provencal harvests.  Here the grated zucchini is added to beignet batter, fried, and doled out with traditional pesto sauce, known as pistou in Provence. The pistou can be made days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.  Keep in mind that the zucchini needs to drain for 1 hour, and the batter needs to rest 30 minutes before making the pancakes. You can make them a day in advance, store them in the refrigerator, and reheat them at 350F for 10 minutes before serving. From: Amy Riolo Author, Food Historian, Food Writer, Lecturer, Restaurant and Culinary Consultant, Instructor  www.amyriolo.com

For the Fritters:

  • 1 pound zucchini, grated
  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Pistou:

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves (the smaller the better)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (unfiltered, if possible)
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese

Put the grated zucchini in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt and let stand for 1 hour.  In the meantime, combine flour, egg yolk, and olive oil in a large bowl and slowly stir in 1/2 cup water. If batter seems too thick, add a tablespoon more at a time. Mix well to incorporate and smooth out lumps by beating with a whisk. Season with salt and pepper and let stand for 30 minutes. After zucchini has been in colander for 1 hour, rinse thoroughly. Drain zucchini and dry with paper towels. While the batter is resting, make the pesto by combining basil leaves, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor.  Process until chopped while pouring olive oil into the processor.  Spoon pistou into a medium bowl. Stir in olive oil and parmigiano and pecorino cheeses.  After the batter has rested for 30 minutes, stir in the zucchini. Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a large wide frying pan.  Spoon in teaspoons of batter and fry approximately 2 minutes per side, or until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately on a large platter with the sauce arranged in the center for dipping.

Serves 6

Pumpkin-Orange Waffles with Hazelnut–Maple Syrup Butter

Toasted hazelnuts in whipped butter lend a decadent crunch to these golden waffles for a real treat for brunch. The waffles freeze very well, ready to reheat in a toaster or regular oven at 300°F until hot throughout. It is smart to toast and skin a quantity of hazelnuts in advance so they are ready to pop into the sweet butter. A Harvest of Pumpkins and  Squash Season Recipes by Lou Seibert Pappas (Chronicle Books)

Hazelnut–Maple Syrup Butter

  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Pumpkin-Orange Waffles

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin or winter squash, canned or homemade
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

To make the Hazelnut–Maple Syrup Butter, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts in a baking pan. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub the hazelnuts between paper towels while they are still warm, letting the papery skins fall off. Chop the nuts finely.

In a small bowl, combine the butter and syrup and beat with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Stir in the nuts. Scrape into a small serving bowl. (Or, heat the butter, syrup, and nuts, stir, and pour into a pitcher.)

Preheat a waffle iron. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat or whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin, milk, orange juice, and melted butter. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium high speed, beat the egg whites until soft, glossy peaks form. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in the egg whites.

Spoon or pour about 3/4 cup batter onto the hot iron. Close the lid. Cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the waffle is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a fork to a warmed plate. Serve at once or keep warm on a baking sheet in a 200°F oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Pass the Hazelnut–Maple Syrup Butter with the warm waffles.

Makes about eight 7-inch round [AR1] waffles; serves 8

Roasted Autumn Root Vegetables

Most vegetables develop a tantalizing caramelized sweetness when oven-roasted, and root vegetables are exceptional candidates for this easy preparation. They are delicious hot from the oven; they also reheat well if you wish to do a large batch at once.  A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash  by Lou Seibert Pappas (Chronicle Books)

  • 1 winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, banana, or Hubbard (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges about 2 inches long
  • 8 small Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and quartered or cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 slender carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 3 slender parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh thyme or oregano leaves or minced fresh sage for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the squash, potatoes, onion, carrots, and parsnips. Pour over the oil and vinegar and toss to mix and coat. Spread out on the prepared pan.

Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and turn the vegetables, and continue baking until tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 35 minutes longer, stirring once or twice. Sprinkle with the herbs and serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

ZUCCHINI WITH RICE (A TASTE OF TURKISH CUISINE by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman)

This is a very light summer lunch dish or it can be a served on the side with any meat dish. Serve at room temperature, or cold.

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh zucchini
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded, cored, cut in quarters lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons uncooked medium-grain white rice
  • salt

Garnish::

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

Wash and scrape the zucchini and cut in 4 lengthwise pieces, then cut crosswise (from the middle) making 8 pieces. Arrange zucchini in a saucepan side by side. Heat oil in a skillet, add onions and garlic, sauté 6 to 7 minutes, add green pepper and tomatoes, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the sautéed vegetables over the zucchini, add rice, salt to taste, and 1 ¼ cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and let it cool. It is eaten cold or room temperature. Top with finely chopped dill.
Serves 4

Close


Please choose a menu category from the list above

 

Home
Cookbooks
Videos
Media
Events
Services
Recipes
Meet Sheilah