Pharaoh’s Wheel

17 Apr

Pharoah's wheelPharaoh’s Wheel: Tagliolini colla Crosta

Adapted from King Solomon’s Table by Joan Nathan

I wanted to make something new and impressive for my luncheon study group and found this recipe by Joan Nathan, whose recipes are almost invariably wonderful. I’m posting it below as she wrote it, but I’ll tell you about all the things I changed and/or screwed up first.

This is a very old Italian Jewish dish. It’s basically bolognese sauce mixed with pasta and baked. It’s typically eaten on Purim, when the Torah portion is about how Pharoah’s chariots were destroyed during the Exodus.

The idea is to bake the casserole and then invert it onto the serving plate, as Joan does in the video below. I lost my nerve on this part, because it was the first time I’d made it, so I served it in the casserole. I probably could have turned it out with no problem.

I didn’t have any cans of whole tomatoes but I had lots of cans of diced tomatoes, so I just used those.

My cans of tomato paste are 6 oz. (who ever heard of a 3-oz. can?) and I didn’t have any plans for the leftovers so I just used the whole can (but I didn’t scrape it out carefully as I usually do).

I wasn’t sure whether to use powdered cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.  I used the powder, and a scant half-teaspoon seemed to provide the right amount of heat.

And I couldn’t find tagliolini in Trader Joe’s. In the video Joan uses what looks like fairly wide pasta strips, so I bought pappardelle, which turned out to be wider than ideal. If I can’t find tagliolini when I make it again, I’ll probably use tagliatelle or fettuccine. (I Googled tagliolini, and it looks thinner than what Joan uses in the video.)

The important thing was that the study group raved about the dish. We had some leftover, and it was good reheated a couple of days later too.

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½  cup chopped Italian parsley
2 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup dry red or white wine
14.5-oz. can peeled whole tomatoes
3-oz. can tomato paste
3 cups beef broth or water
Salt to taste
½ tsp. dried hot red pepper, like cayenne
1 tsp. oregano
1 lb. tagliolini pasta
½ cup dark seedless raisins
½ cup coarsely ground whole almonds
½ cup pine nuts
¼ lb. kosher pastrami, salami, or pickled tongue, chopped into small chunks

Directions:

Heat a large saucepan and add the oil. Toss in the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and most of the parsley and lightly brown for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground beef and brown thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Then, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and oregano. Pour in the wine and raise the heat, allowing the wine to evaporate completely. Cook over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently and using a wooden spoon to break apart the tomatoes.

Add the beef broth or water and cook, covered, over very low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be nice and thick. If it is too thin, cook a few minutes longer until it loses its excess liquid. Add raisins, almonds, pine nuts, and pastrami, salami, or tongue. Add salt to taste and the hot red pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a round, 12- to 16-cup-capacity oven-proof baking dish.

Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the tagliolini, bring the pot back to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes. Drain and put the pasta into a large bowl with the meat sauce. Toss everything together to thoroughly distribute.

Put the pasta mixture into the baking dish and bake for 1 to 1/2 hours, or until a nice crust has formed. Invert onto a platter and serve warm with the remaining chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

Serves 8 to 12

 

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Joy’s Pineapple Kugel for Passover

27 Mar

Passover pineapple kugel

This is a very easy Passover recipe from my machatenista Joy Gardin. If you are not Jewish, you may not know that very useful Yiddish term for the mother-in-law of your child. A child’s father-in-law is a mechutan and together they are the machatunim. 

Anyway, this makes a nice change at Passover because it doesn’t contain any matzo meal, farfel or anything else to give it a distinctive Passover taste. It would be a good recipe for gluten-free people as well. Serve it as a side dish or even for dessert, because it’s sweet enough.

Ingredients:

4 eggs
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
4 Tbs. potato starch
1 Tbs. vanilla sugar (optional)
1 tsp. baking powder (optional)
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients except pineapple and stir well. Add drained pineapple and mix. Bake in a 9-inch round pan for about 40 minutes or until firm and lightly browned.

Serves 6 to 8

 

Egg-Lemon Soup for Passover

19 Mar

Passover Greek Egg Lemon Farfel SoupTime to start sharing some Passover recipes!

Here is a nice soup if you’re tired of the usual matzoh ball variety. Though who could ever tire of matzoh ball soup?

I usually make this one for the Shabbat dinner during Passover. It’s easy and a nice change.

The soup tastes like traditional Greek egg-lemon-rice soup, but because rice traditionally wasn’t used at Passover, at least not by Ashkenazi Jews, the recipe substitutes matzoh farfel.

Greek Egg-Lemon-Matzoh Soup

Ingredients:

2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups matzoh farfel
4 Tbs. chopped flatleaf parsley
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
6 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Bring the broth to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the matzoh farfel and parsley and simmer until the farfel is soft, at least 2 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to taste; the broth should be highly seasoned. Remove the pan from the heat.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl with a fork and strain them into a heatproof, medium-sized bowl. Beat in the lemon juice. Beat a half cup of the hot soup into the egg mixture, little by little. Very gradually, stir this mixture back into the remaining soup.

(Be careful not to add the hot soup to the eggs, or the mixture to the soup pot, too quickly because the eggs can curdle.)

Return the soup to medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not let the soup boil or even simmer because that could curdle t eggs.

Add salt to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 8

 

Sweet Mustard Green Beans

31 Jan

green beans sweet mustard.JPG

I had some green beans to cook for dinner but I didn’t want to make plain old boiled or steamed beans, or even plain old roasted green beans, so I pulled out this recipe, which really adds some pizzazz to a fairly boring vegetable. And it’s easy enough to make!

Ingredients:

1½  lb. fresh green beans, stem ends trimmed
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
dash dried tarragon
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all ingredients except pepper in a large bowl (add the green beans last) and toss well – the beans will be sugar-coated, but the sugar will melt during cooking.

Transfer the beans to a large baking dish and roast for 10-15 minutes, until beans start to brown.

Toss the beans with the sauce that accumulates at the bottom of the pan and adjust the salt if necessary. Season to taste with black pepper.

Serves 6

Banana Flaxseed Muffins

10 Jan

banana flaxseed muffins

I got the recipe for these easy and delicious muffins from my friend Jan Wanetick. The notable thing about the recipe — besides the ease of making it and the great taste of the muffins — is that it’s vegan! The flaxseed takes the place of egg in binding the other ingredients and adds a little extra nuttiness. If you don’t care about being vegan, you can use dairy butter and milk, as I did. White flour works fine too, if you don’t have whole wheat. And I bet you can sub pumpkin or sunflower seeds for the nuts, if you need to take them into a “nut-free” environment.

You can buy flaxseed meal in many supermarkets. I got mine at Trader Joe.

By the way, I discovered a great new trick for chopping nuts! I had always used a nut chopper. In fact I have two, one with a rotary blade that you operate with a crank handle, and another with a blade on a plunger that you pump up and down. They’re both a pain to clean up. At Chautauqua over the summer, we didn’t have a nut chopper, so I put the measured amount of nuts in a sandwich bag and rolled over them with a glass jar; doesn’t matter if the jar is empty or full. After just a few passes, the nuts were nicely chopped and there was nothing to clean up!

Ingredients:

1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup flaxseed meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup soy butter
1 cup sugar
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup soy or almond milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Grease muffin tins or use cupcake papers. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full.

Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 1 dozen muffins

Browned butter and honey salmon

15 Dec

Salmon browned butter

This dish popped up on my Facebook feed earlier in the week, but it was just a video showing how to make it, not an actual recipe. Thanks to Google, I found a recipe on a site called Cafedelites, where it was attributed to “Karina.” It’s very tasty and easy to make. (Since there are only two of us at home most nights, I halved all the ingredients.)

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon (1-2 Tbs.)
4 salmon fillets, about  6-8 oz. each
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges (to serve)

Directions:

Arrange an oven shelf about 8 inches from the heating element and preheat the broiler.

Place butter in a cast-iron frying pan or other oven-proof skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring and swirling the pan occasionally, for about 3 minutes until the foam settles; the butter will change in color to golden brown and have a nutty fragrance. (Be careful not to turn the butter!)

Add the honey and stir to dissolve it in the butter. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the lemon juice and stir well.

Add the salmon fillets to the pan, skin-side down if they have skin. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, basting frequently with the pan juices, until golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the lemon wedges around the salmon. Transfer the pan to the oven and broil for 5 to 6 minutes until the top is nicely browned.

Serve drizzled with the sauce.

Serves 4

 

Incredibly Delicious Bread Pudding

29 Nov

bread pudding with croissants

If you’re looking for a good dessert recipe for a holiday potluck, you’ve hit the jackpot.

This is an incredibly delicious bread pudding. I don’t make it often because it’s so rich; it’s in my recipe book as “Incredibly Rich Bread Pudding.” In fact, I think Thanksgiving weekend was the first time I made it because there would be a big crowd at the table and there wouldn’t be any leftovers.

I first experienced this dish at a potluck, where I ate much more of it than I should have. The recipe was originally from the a Barefoot Contessa cookbook by Ina Garten, where it is called Croissant Bread Pudding; I got the recipe from the guest who brought it, but every time I considered making it for a home meal, even with company, I’d look at the ingredients and say, “Nah, I just can’t do it!” because it’s that rich and fattening.

I tried making it with less calorific ingredients, like 2% milk instead of half & half, and regular bread instead of croissants, but it just wasn’t the same.

I’m giving you the recipe as I received it. I did make a couple of minor adjustments when I made it. I had large, not extra-large, eggs, so I used nine yolks instead of eight (but kept the original three whole eggs). I bought a quart of half & half, something I rarely use, so for the fifth cup I used lowfat milk.

I used an electric mixer to whiz the eggs, sugar, vanilla and half & half.

When you put the croissants in the pan (I used minis), you will probably have a few that don’t fit as halves. This is fine; break them up and stuff the pieces into bare spaces between the halves.

The recipe calls for a 10 x 15-inch pan. Mine was 9 x 13 and it worked fine. (I needed my larger baking pan for the water bath!)

It took closer to an hour to bake, possibly because I used a slightly smaller pan than the recipe called for.

This was a big hit at the Saturday-after-Thanksgiving dinner — and there wasn’t a crumb left over!

Ingredients:

3 extra large whole eggs
8 extra large egg yolks
5 cups half & half (you can use some milk if you don’t have that much cream)
1½  cups sugar
1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 large croissants or 12 minis (preferrably day old)
1 cup dark raisins or dried cherries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the eggs and yolks, sugar, half and half, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Set this custard mixture aside.

Slice croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 x 15-inch baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the croissants, then add the raisins, then the tops of the croissants.  Be sure the raisins are down inside, as they will burn if they surface while baking. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow it to soak in. Press the croissants many times to insure that they soak up the mixture. Do this for 10 minutes.

Place the casserole into an even larger dish (or a disposable aluminum pan) that you will fill with a few inches of hot water to create a bath.

Place an aluminum foil sheet in a tent-like shape over the entire top of both pans; this allows the pudding to steam. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow some steam to escape.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set, not jiggly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Serves 8-10