Apple Dapple Cake

26 Aug

Apple Dapple CakeNote: We are taking a break next  week. Come back September 9 for a new recipe!

If you’re starting to plan your menus for the Jewish holidays, consider this apple cake. It’s very moist, and chock-full of apples and nuts.  I’m including the frosting recipe, but I almost always make it without the frosting, which verges on making the cake too sweet.

It can be parve as long as you don’t use butter or milk in the frosting.

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup orange juice
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
1½ cups chopped nuts
3 cups peeled, chopped apples (3 medium-large apples)

Frosting (optional):

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup milk, apple juice or orange juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans or a bundt pan. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, oil and juice. Add the flour mixture in thirds until combined. Stir in vanilla, then fold in nuts and apples. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 45 minutes for the loaf pans or 1 hour for the bundt pan, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the pan(s) and cool on a wire rack.

If you frost the cake, start the frosting (it’s more like a glaze) as soon as the cake comes out of the oven.

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter or margarine and milk or juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook 2½ minutes, stirring constantly. Cool slightly, then pour the hot frosting over the hot cake. (Be sure to put some foil or newspaper under the rack to catch the drips and make cleanup easier.)

Serves 10 to 12

 

Song of India Rice

18 Aug

Song of India RiceI apologize for not posting last week. Those of you who live in Southeastern Michigan will likely guess why. For everyone else, last Monday night our community experienced major flooding due to unprecedented rainfall: 5 to 6 inches in a space of several hours. All the freeways turned into canals. Thousands of basements were flooded, including ours. So we spent most of last week hauling out trash and dealing with the insurance company and the cleanup crew; we didn’t have much time to think about cooking.

We didn’t lose too much stuff, but our lovely rec room is now a wrecked room. They had to tear out the carpeting, bottom two feet of drywall, storage cabinets, bathroom vanity and flooring, all the doors, and more. So we’ll have to re-do the dryall, recarpet, retile, reinstall and paint. It will take many months, I think.

This week I’m back in the saddle, and sharing a wonderful recipe that comes from my friend Marianne Kestenbaum, who now lives in San Antionio. When we worked together in the 1980s in the communications department of the dear departed Sinai Hospital of Detroit, she would often bring this dish to potlucks, where it always got rave reviews. The sheet of paper on which the recipe was typed is faded, stained and yellowed from so much use.

The original recipe calls for “soy grits” which I have never seen in a store. So I substitute bulgur (cracked wheat), which works well. Don’t be afraid of the curry powder if you don’t like spicy food; it adds flavor rather than heat.

Ingredients:

1½ cups white or brown rice, cooked as usual
2 Tbs. soy grits or bulgur
1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
1 Tbs. curry powder
½ cup roasted or dry roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
½ cup raisins
1 onion, sliced
1 tart apple, cored and sliced
Salt and pepper
Plain yogurt (optional)

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the curry powder and sauté with the onion and apple slices until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the raisins and cashews and sauté a few minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fold in the cooked rice and continue to cook the mixture for a few minutes until it is heated through.

Serve with plain yogurt if you wish.

Serves 8 as a side dish

 

 

 

Grilled Caribbean Chicken Breasts

5 Aug

Chicken Breasts Grilled CaribbeanThis simple, summery barbecue recipe came from the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. I made a mistake and used 1 Tbs. of orange zest instead of 1 tsp., so feel free to use more than 1 tsp. if you like. It’s very tasty!

Be aware that you need to marinate the chicken overnight or at least eight hours so it can absorb the fruity flavors.

Ingredients:

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. orange zest (or more!)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1Tbs. lime juice
1 tsp. grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce
½ tsp. minced fresh thyme, or a dash of dried thyme leaves
1½  lb. skinless, boneless  chicken breasts

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a large bowl.

Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 8 hours).

Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Prepare an outdoor grill with a rack 6 inches from the heat source. Coat the grill rack with cooking spray.

Grill the chicken over medium-high heat for 6 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Serves 4

Strawberry Soup

29 Jul

strawberry soupHere’s another nice fruity summer recipe.

I love it that I can now get recipes from my kids in addition to providing recipes for them! My daughter Miriam made this for dessert for Shabbat lunch one hot summer day when we were visiting. It also works as a first course. It’s super-easy and super-tasty.

I made this for a meal where one of our guests was diabetic, and substituted Splenda for the sugar. I couldn’t tell the difference, so if you need to replace the sugar, you can do so easily.

You can easily double or triple the recipe, but you may have to blend or process in several batches.

Ingredients:

1 pint strawberries (fresh, or one bag frozen)
½ cup apple juice
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
sour cream or Greek yogurt, optional
Fresh strawberry slices, kiwi slices or mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

Clean and hull the strawberries if using fresh. Partially thaw frozen berries.

Place Strawberries, apple juice, sugar and lemon juice in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, if desired. Garnish with fresh strawberry slices, kiwi slices or mint leaves.

Serves 2 to 4

 

Cherry-Berry-Peach Pie

22 Jul

Cherry berry peach pie (peach-a-berry) by Fiona via FlckrOh boy! It’s that rare time of year when bing cherries, peaches and blueberries are all readily available at reasonable prices — i.e. the perfect time to make a Cherry-Berry-Peach Pie, one of my all-time faves.

I usually use a frozen pie crust, but if you want to make your own, I’ve added a recipe below. And if you’ve never made a lattice-top pie, fear not — it’s not as hard as you might think, and it’s so pretty! Here is a good video that will show you how.

Ingredients:

3 cups sliced, peeled peaches (about 6)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup pitted, halved, fresh sweet cherries
1 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs. flour
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Pastry for a deep-dish, two-crust, 9-inch pie

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the peaches, blueberries and cherries. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Gently stir in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.

Line a 9-inch, deep pie plate with half the pastry; trim overhang to one inch. Turn the fruit into the pie. Roll out the remaining pastry and place over the filling. If you like, make a lattice top: cut the dough  into thee-quarter-inch strips. Arrange the strips over the fruit in a lattice. Fold the top crust or the ends of the lattice strips under the edge of the pastry and flute the edges. If you like, you can brush the top of the pie with milk or apple juice and a add a sprinkle of granulated sugar.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees aand bake 45 to 50 minutes longer, until pastry is brown and fruit is tender.

Serves 6 to 8

Classic Piecrust

(for a double-crust deep-dish pie)

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-chilled vegetable shortening
6 to 10 Tbs. ice-cold water

Directions:

Blend  flour and salt in medium mixing bowl.

Cut  chilled shortening into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.

Sprinkle 5 Tbs. ice-cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, quickly stir, drawing flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.

Tip: Test dough for proper moistness by squeezing a marble-sized ball of dough in your hand. If it holds together firmly, do not add any additional water. If the dough crumbles, add more water by the tablespoonful, until dough is moist enough to form a smooth ball when pressed together.

Divide dough in two balls, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten balls into ½-inch thick round disks.

Tip: For ease in rolling, wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Roll larger ball of dough from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper into a circle 2-inches wider than top of pie plate for the bottom crust. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.

Fill unbaked pie crust according to recipe directions. Roll out smaller dough disk. Transfer dough carefully onto filled pie. Trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold top edge under bottom crust. Press edges together to seal and flute as desired. Cut slits in top crust or prick with fork to vent steam. Bake according to specific recipe directions.

The Best Potato Salad

8 Jul

Potato saladI love my homemade potato salad, and it’s not hard to make!

First some tips about the potatoes. It’s best to use a waxy thin-skinned type like Yukon Gold or red potatoes, or small “new” potatoes. If you do, you can keep the skins on when you cut them up for the salad, and they hold their shape better than baking potatoes. If all you have is baking potatoes, don’t worry. Boil the potatoes, and then peel them as soon as they’re cooked — the skin will zip right off.

And here’s a foolproof method for making hard-boiled eggs, for those of you who may say you can’t even boil an egg. It works for any number of eggs, as long as they’re in a single layer in the pot. Cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a full, rolling boil. Then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let them sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain and place  immediately in ice water to cover, until the eggs are cool.

This method cooks the eggs completely without giving you that unattractive gray ring around the yolk. What this method doesn’t do is make the eggs easy to peel. The ice-water bath helps a bit, but if eggs are hard to peel it’s usually because they’re too fresh! Really fresh eggs don’t have that little air pocket that develops between the white and the shell. For hard-boiled eggs, it’s best to use eggs that have been in your fridge at least a week after purchase.

Ingredients:

1 lb. waxy potatoes, such as red or Yukon Gold
1 hard-boiled egg
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 large or 2 small scallions, sliced (or use 2 Tbs. minced red onion)
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
½ tsp. celery seed
½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
black pepper to taste
paprika

Directions:

Wash the potatoes and cut off any imperfections but don’t peel them.
Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 or 20 minutes (test by sticking a knife into the largest potato).

Rinse the potatoes in cold water, drain completely, and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.

Chop the hard-boiled egg and add to the potatoes along with the sliced celery and scallion. Add the celery seed, salt and pepper.

Combine the vinegar and the mayonnaise and mix well, then pour the mixture over the potatoes and stir well.

If the potato salad seems too dry, add a little more mayo and vinegar in the same proportions (twice as much mayo as vinegar). Taste, and correct the seasoning if necessary.

Sprinkle the top with paprika to add a dash of color.

Serves 6

Mujadrah

17 Jun

MujadaraSome friends and I were talking about making rice. One noted that she’d started making rice and lentils together, and I asked if she’d ever tried mujadrah, the Middle Eastern lentil pilaf. It’s very easy to make. What makes it taste so good are the sliced onions that are browned to a crisp in oil before being added to the pilaf.

Top with plain yogurt, if you like, and serve  with a tossed salad or an Israeli salad* for a satisfying supper.

Note: Bobbie’s Best Recipes is going on vacation for a couple of weeks, so don’t worry if you don’t get your weekly recipe next week. We’ll be back!

Ingredients:

1¼ cups brown lentils
½ tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
1¼ cups rice
4 large onions
4½  cups of water or vegetable broth
1½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
⅓ cup olive or vegetable oil

Directions:

Combine lentils, water, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until lentils are starting to soften. Add rice, cumin, allspice and cayenne pepper. Cook another 20 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. (Check after 15 minutes and add a bit more water if necessary.) Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

While lentils and rice are cooking, quarter and slice the onions vertically. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and fry the onions in oil until they are dark brown. Drain the onions and reserve. Pour any remaining hot oil over the mujadrah and mix well.

Sprinkle the onions over the top of the mujadrah.

*Make an Israeli salad by finely chopping tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (optional) and onion – roughly equal amounts of tomatoes and cucumbers and about half as much onion. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

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