Natty’s Glazed Honey Chiffon Cake

12 Sep

Honey glazed chiffon cake

Last year at this time I came across a wonderful website from Australia called the Monday Morning Cooking Club. They have a lot of great recipes on their website and have also published a cookbook, The Feast Goes On, available through Amazon.

One of their signature recipes is this delicious Glazed Honey Chiffon Cake. It’s lighter than the usual Rosh Hashanah honey cake because it uses tea instead of coffee as the liquid and calls for whipping the egg whites.

The club ladies gave me permission to use the recipe (I adapted it slightly to meet American standards and terms) and this photo of Natanya, one of their members.

Ingredients:

CAKE
6  eggs, separated
175 g (⅔ cup) superfine sugar
275 (¾ cup) honey
¾ cup light olive or grapeseed oil
¼ cup strong black tea
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
2¼ tsp. baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

GLAZE

80 g (½ cup) confectioners’ sugar
½ lemon, juiced (or 2 Tbs. lemon juice)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You will need an angel cake (tube) pan that is not non-stick and has a removable base. Do not grease it.

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add half the sugar and continue whisking until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.

In a separate bowl, beat the yolks and the remaining sugar until light and pale. Add the oil and keep beating for a couple of minutes until well combined.

Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the honey into the hot tea. Add these to the egg yolks, alternating wet and dry, beating gently until fully combined.

Gently fold the egg whites into the flour mixture with a metal spoon, until just mixed through.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for 50 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 320 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

After removing the cake from the oven, immediately invert it to cool by balancing the middle funnel onto a bottle neck. The cake will be dangling upside down. (If your tube pan has feet, or if the funnel is higher than the sides of the pan, you don’t have to use a bottle.)

When completely cool, run a knife around the outside of the cake and the funnel. Lift the base out of the pan, then use the knife to ease the cake off the base.

To make the glaze, add the lemon juice (a few drops at a time) to the confectioners’ sugar until you have a thick, smooth paste. Pour over the cooled cake.

Serves about 12

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Asparagus/Mushroom Strata

30 Aug

 

asparagus mushroom strataDid you miss me? I was away the entire summer! My husband and I were the “host couple” at a guest house at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, a magical place I can’t do justice to in a recipe blog.

Our duties as hosts at the Everett Jewish Life Center included making breakfast for the residents of the five guest rooms. Unlike many B&Bs, Everett has a tradition (which predated our tenure) to serve breakfast over an hour-and-a-half period. People wander in and out, which precludes serving omelets, pancakes or anything similar that would have to be ready at the same time for everyone. So I had to look for casserole-type hot dishes to serve buffet-style. I looked for recipes that I could mix up in the evening and leave in the fridge overnight, so all I had to do in the morning was pop it in the oven.

This one was a real hit. It combines asparagus and mushrooms, of course, but also eggs, milk and cheese, held together with a base layer of toasted English muffins. Try it the next time you need a brunch dish!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. butter
1¾ cups sliced mushrooms
½ onion, finely chopped
½ cup chopped red or orange pepper
5 English muffins, split and toasted
2 cups shredded cheese
1 lb. fresh asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar, Colby, Monterrey Jack)

Directions:

Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the mushrooms for five minutes. Add the onion and pepper and cook another 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

Arrange 8 muffin halves in the baking dish, and stuff the spaces between the halves with pieces of the remaining muffin. Spread 1 cup of the cheese over the muffins, and distribute the asparagus pieces and the mushroom mixture over the cheese.

Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, mustard and black pepper together and pour over the muffins and vegetables. Spread the remaining cup of cheese over the vegetables. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.

Take the dish out of the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the cover and bake the casserole for about 45 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Serves 8 to 10

Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole with Cilantro-Lime Rice

13 Jun

I have long been intrigued by chicken mole, that Mexican dish with the secret ingredients of cocoa and/or chocolate. But since I keep kosher, I have never been able to enjoy it at a restaurant. Not too long ago I saw this recipe in the Detroit Free Press, which seemed easy enough, despite the long list of ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.

A can of chipotle peppers contains about two-and-a-half or three peppers. I didn’t know what I would do with the rest so I threw in the whole can. Don’t do this unless you really like spice, which luckily I do! It tasted great, but it was up there on the heat level.

I went out and bought a great big bar of Trader Joe’s 70% cacao dark chocolate, which I love, only to realize at the last minute that it was certified as “dairy” for kashrut purposes, even though it didn’t contain milk other than possible “traces” (I’m guessing it was made on the same equipment as milk chocolate). So I substituted an ounce of parve (non-milk) semi-sweet chocolate chips, and that seemed to work fine.

Aside from having to measure lots of ingredients, this dish was easy to make, and it was a hit at the company dinner where I served it, in spite of the heat.

I was also serving brisket, so I made regular rice instead of the cilantro-lime rice. I’ll have to try that another time!

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped onion
½ cup raisins
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tbs. peanut butter, divided
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
3 Tbs. cocoa powder
20 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 Tbs, cider vinegar
1 oz. dark chocolate (70-85% cacao)
½ tsp. salt
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
6 lime wedges

Directions:

Place onion, raisins, chipotle pepper, garlic, 2 Tbs. peanut butter, crushed tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin and cocoa powder in slow cooker.

Add chicken breasts. Cover and cook on low setting for 7 hours. Turn off slow cooker.

Using two forks, pull chicken apart into shreds, then stir the chicken back into the sauce.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 Tbs. peanut butter and vinegar and pour over the chicken. Add the chocolate and salt. Cover and allow chocolate to melt, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir to combine.

Prepare rice according to package directions, omitting salt. When rice is cooked, stir in cilantro and lime zest.

Put ½ cup of rice and ¾ cup of chicken on each plate, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Serves 6

Creamy Rice Pudding

26 May

It’s almost Shavuot, that little-observed Jewish holiday where we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai by eating dairy foods. I could go into the reasons why, but that’s not the purpose of this blog. Suffice it to say, you may be looking for a  dairy dish to serve next week.

This rice pudding recipe won’t feed a crowd, but it’s nice for a light summer dessert, for Shavuot or any other time. It’s also a great way to use up leftover white rice.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup sugar
2 cups milk, scalded (heat until bubbles form at the edges of the pot – do not boil!)
1 cup cooked white rice
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
⅓ cup raisins, optional
¼ tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg, or  a few drops of rosewater, optional

Directions:

In the top of a double boiler, combine the eggs and sugar. Stir in the milk, rice and salt.

Cook over hot water, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat a metal spoon (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in raisins and vanilla.

If you like, add a dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg and/or a few drops of rosewater. Pour into 4 dessert dishes. Serve warm or cold.

Serves 4

 

 

 

Chicken Cacciatore

11 May

For many years, The Joy of Cooking was my go-to cooking Bible. It was the first real cookbook I owned. Nowadays, I don’t refer to it too often but it’s where I go when I want to make chicken cacciatore, a real Italian comfort dish. It’s a lovely stew of chicken with tomatoes, wine and mushrooms. Serve it with fresh pasta. It’s great left over too. I’ve edited the recipe only slightly. True confession: I forgot to take a photo the last time I made it. This one, by Dan Gritzer via Flickr Creative Commons, looks pretty close to my version.

Ingredients:

4 lb. chicken pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. chopped shallots (or onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. salt (less if using kosher chicken)
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 to 1 cup sliced mushrooms

Directions:

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, and shake off excess.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the chicken with the shallots or onions until golden brown.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, for about an hour or until tender.

Serves 6 

 

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

25 Apr

Who doesn’t like a good meatloaf? It’s one of the world’s great comfort foods. Kids will like this one too, because of the tomato-y sweet and sour flavor.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
1½ tsp. prepared mustard
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 lb. ground chuck
1 small onion, finely minced
½ tsp. garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 egg
½ cup bread crumbs or corn flake crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make a sauce with the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and half the can of tomato sauce.

Mix the ground beef with the onion, garlic, egg and bread or corn flake crumbs, salt and pepper. Form into a loaf shape and place in a greased baking pan. Pour the sauce over the top.

Bake about one hour.

Serves 4 to 6

Turkish Charoset

5 Apr

Many of you are probably up to your eyeballs in Passover preparation. If you’re looking for something to spark up your seder this year, try this Turkish charoset. It’s a bit of a change from the standard grated-apples-and-nuts variety, and it’s a snap to make with a food processor. This comes from one of my go-to Jewish cookbooks, The Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene.

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates, halved
1 cup light or dark raisins, or a mixture
1 large apple, peeled or unpeeled, cored and cut into large pieces
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup blanched, slivered or whole almonds
1 medium-sized navel orange, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tbs. sweet red Passover wine

Directions:

Put all the ingredients except the wine through the coarse blade of a food grinder or coarsely grind them together in a food processor fitted with the steel blade (in batches if necessary). Add the wine and mix or process to form a soft, slightly coarse mixture. Refrigerate in a covered container and serve chilled.

(The charoset gets firmer when it’s chilled. It will keep fresh for several days in the refrigerator.)

Makes about 3 cups.