Brownies from scratch

3 Feb

BrowniesI’m about to make dozens of brownies for my Hadassah group’s dinner dance fundraiser. Mea culpa, I’m using the Ghirardelli mix from Costco — because I have two pouches in my cupboard and another pan of brownies frozen in my freezer.

But when I don’t have a mix, or when I want to make non-dairy brownies, either for a meat meal or to serve to someone who doesn’t eat dairy, I use this terrific recipe which I got more than 40 years ago from Joan Piorkowski, a fellow graduate student at Temple University and a neighbor in the graduate student apartment building where we lived. It’s almost as easy as making brownies from a mix; the only additional step you need to take is measuring the ingredients instead of dumping a pouch into a bowl.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 Tbs. cocoa
½ cup (1 stick) melted butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl in the order listed.

Pour into a greased 8- or 9-inch square pan (melting the butter or margarine in the baking pan before adding it to the bowl is the best way to grease it).

Bake 30 to 40 minutes until the brownies are cracked on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.

Makes 9 to 16 brownies

Honey Sriracha Chicken

19 Jan

chicken sriracha honey

Doesn’t this look scrumptious? There are a lot of marinade ingredients, and you have to plan ahead so the chicken can marinate at least two hours — overnight is better — but it’s really tasty and worth the bother. It’s a little like the Sweet & Spicy Roast Chicken recipe I posted in October — but different enough that I thought I’d tell you about this one today.

This dish has a somewhat Asian flavor, due to the Sriracha, soy sauce, garlic and ginger, and a little zing, but it’s not too spicy. If you  don’t like spice, add the little more honey. If you like it really zingy, add a little more Sriracha.

The original recipe (from the Detroit Free Press‘s 2015 recipe roundup) calls for cilantro. I didn’t have any cilantro, and we don’t like it much anyway, so I used parsley for the garnish. Cilantro would give it some added flavor.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts with skin and 2 wings or 4 chicken thighs *
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbs. Sriracha hot sauce (or more or less to taste)
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
1Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
1 Tbs. cornstarch
½ cup chopped cilantro or parsley and/or 4 green onions, chopped, optional, for garnish

*double the marinade ingredients to cover a whole cut-up chicken

Directions:

Place the chicken in a sealable plastic bag.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients, except cilantro and green onions, in a small bowl. Pour over the chicken in the bag, seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange the chicken pieces in a shallow baking dish. Bake about 30 to 45 minutes, basting occasionally, until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Arrange on a platter and garnish with cilantro or parsley and/or green onions.

Serves 2

Oven-roasted “fries”

29 Dec

Oven Fries

When my husband and I were in our carefree early 20s and living in London, we had a deep-fry pot, with an insert basket that let you put the food into the hot oil and then lift it out to drain. We kept the oil in the fryer on the stove, adding a little fresh oil every time we used it. We ate “chips” (aka French fries) almost every day.

Now, alas,  we don’t have a special pot in which we can keep oil just for making fries — nor would we want to, given our middle-aged metabolisms. So when we eat “fries,” they’re usually made in the oven.

Most of the time I don’t need a recipe. I just peel a couple of nice large baking potatoes and cut them into thick strips. Then I preheat the oven to 425 degrees. I put foil on a baking sheet and spray it with non-stick spray, like PAM. Then I put the potatoes on the sheet and spray them well with non-stick spray. I roast the potatoes in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning them over once so they brown evenly.

It you want to get a little fancier, here’s a nice recipe I got from Weight Watchers more than 30 years ago. The potatoes come out tasty-spicy but not hot-spicy.

Ingredients:

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
¾ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
2 egg whites
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and coat it with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a fork until frothy, then stir in the spices. Add the potato strips and toss until they are completely coated. Put the strips in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake until barely tender, about 15 minutes. Turn the oven to Broil and broil until potatoes are crispy, about 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Baked Beans

15 Dec

Baked beans by Kelly GarbatoYou might think of baked beans as a summer-barbecue type dish. But if you want to make it from scratch, you need to leave it in the oven for many hours, making it a perfect recipe for these cold days of the year.

The recipe comes from Dr. Robert Wright, who oversaw the graduate program  in the Religion Department of Temple University, where I worked as a secretary right after we were married. At the end of the year, Dr. Wright had a barbecue for his students and invited us. He served these delicious baked beans and gave us the recipe.

These are old-style Boston baked beans, flavored with molasses and brown sugar rather than tomato sauce. It’s an inexpensive but hearty and satisfying dish, and the leftovers are good too

You can cook it overnight if you like. You can also make this in a slow cooker (on high) if you don’t want to keep your oven on that long.

Ingredients:

1 lb. white or pinto beans
1 large onion, sliced thin
3 Tbs. molasses
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
Pinch black pepper

Directions:

Soak the beans overnight, and then boil them in the same water for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Drain beans but reserve the water.

In a large, heavy, oven-proof pot, layer the beans and the onions. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour the bean water over so that the beans are just covered. Cover the pot tightly and bake for 8 hours.

Serves 8

Tunisian Couscous Pilaf with Chickpeas, Dates and Almonds

1 Dec

Couscous with Chickpeas. Dates amd AlmondsThis is adapted from a recipe I clipped from the Detroit Free Press. If you have turkey left over from Thanksgiving, consider chopping some into cubes or strips and adding it to this pilaf for a one-dish meal.

This dish has a nice range of flavors, from the sweet dates and almonds to the standard onion and garlic, the exotic combination of cumin, paprika, cinnamon and corinader, and just a hint of heat from the cayenne pepper.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups defatted low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
4 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1 box (10 oz.) or 1½ cups couscous
½ tsp. salt or more to taste
¼ cup sliced, unblanched almonds, toasted
Black pepper to taste
1 cup thinly sliced green onions

Directions:

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add the broth, lemon juice, lemon peel, chickpeas and dates. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

Add the couscous and salt, stir, then remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes. The couscous should absorb all the liquid.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and add additional salt, if desired, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and the green onions.

Serves 8

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

17 Nov

lentil soup curry coconutHere’s another nice lentil soup recipe. I clipped it from the Detroit Free Press, which said they got it from Whole Foods. The coconut milk gives it a creamy consistency and just a hint of coconut flavor.

Don’t make the mistake I did and use ground red or cayenne pepper instead of chile pepper flakes — or if you do, use half as much. I like spice, and so my pot of soup was fine with a half-teaspoon of ground cayenne, but I wondered why the recipe said “or more to taste” when it was so spicy. Then I realized my error!

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. coconut or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. curry powder
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1½ cups red lentils, rinsed and sorted
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 handfuls chopped spinach, kale, chard or other leafy green
Chopped cilantro, green onion and/or vegan sour cream for garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a stockpot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and stir-fry the onion, garlic and ginger a few minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomato paste, curry powder and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.

Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and lentils.

Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes, until lentils are very tender.

Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the spinach or other green and garnish with cilantro, green onions and/or sour cream.

Serves 8 to 10

 

Sinaya

3 Nov

SinayaI don’t even know how to pronounce the name of this dish! Is is sin-A-yah? Is it sin-EYE-ya? No mattter really!

It is adapted from Balaboosta, by Einat Admony, an Istraeli American of Yeminite and Persian ancestry. She describes it as “Palestinian comfort food at its best.”

I must admit it’s a real “patchke” to make, so I’ve only made it twice, both times for big company meals. A friend who joined us last week made me promise to put it on the blog so here it is.

The recipe calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground lamb. Kosher ground lamb is really hard to find so I just used all ground beef both times.

You can buy baharat, a Middle Eastern spice mixture, at a Middle Eastern grocery, but the first time I made this, I made my own from the recipe Admony provides in her book. That was a patchke in itself! But if you make it using the recipe below the main recipe, you’ll have enough to make this dish several times. Actually, I reduced the quantities in the baharat recipe below by half and it still produced an ample supply.

You can also buy tahini (sesame paste) at a Middle Eastern grocery or specialty store.

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

Tahini Sauce:

3/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup water
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 Tbs. kosher salt (use a little less if you like your food less salty)

Meat Filling:

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground lamb
2 tsp. baharat (see below)
2 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Combine the spices for the meat mixture in a small bowl (the baharat, paprika, cumin, kosher salt and black pepper).

Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices and sprinkle each slice with kosher salt. Set the slices in a colander, weight them with a plate and let them sit for an hour in the sink or on top of paper towel to drain off some of the moisture. Rinse off the salt and pat the slices dry.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a large baking dish and place the eggplant slices in it, overlapping a little if necessary to cover the whole bottom of the dish. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. of olive oil.

Bake the eggplant for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.

While the eggplant is baking, make the tahini sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth and creamy (it’s not that large an amount, so I used an immersion blender instead, which worked fine.)

Slice the tomatoes thinly and place the slices on top of the eggplant. Set the dish aside.

Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the ground beef and lamb, breaking it up into small pieces. Add the baharat, paprika cumin, salt and pepper, and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Drain off any excess liquid and place the meat in the baking dish with the eggplant and tomatoes.

Spread the tahini sauce over the top of the meat.

Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Garnish with pine nuts.

Serves 6 to 8

Baharat:

1 Tbs. ground black pepper
3 Tbs. allspice
3 Tbs. ground coriander
5 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. ground cloves
3 Tbs. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cardamom
4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbs. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Tbs. dried lemon zest (optional)
4 tsp. dried ginger (optional)

Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight jar.

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