Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

19 Feb

hot fudge pudding cake

You may be wondering why I don’t share recipes more often. There’s a simple explanation. This is a blog of my favorite recipes. I’ve been writing it for several years. Most days, there are just two of us for meals. Over the course of this blog’s life, I’ve used most of my actual favorite recipes. (If you’re new to the blog, go back and look at some of the older entries.) Most of my recent posts have not been old standbys but new recipes that I like a lot (and remember to photograph).

This one, however, is an oldie-but-goodie. We rarely make desserts except when we have company. Most of our company meals feature a chicken or meat main course; in our kosher home, that means no dairy desserts. So while I love this recipe, I don’t make it very often. (You can make it vegan, but I don’t think it would taste as good.)

The directions will probably sound odd. While the cake bakes, the top layer turns into a rich pudding that sinks to the bottom of the dish. When you serve it, invert each piece onto a serving plate and it will be topped by a yummy, fudge-y sauce. Serve it warm, even right out of the oven. It’s terrific with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients:

1¼ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup milk, soy milk or water
3 tbs. melted butter, margarine or vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup boiling water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir flour, sugar, 2 Tbs. cocoa, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl. Stir in the milk, melted butter or margarine and 1 tsp. vanilla and blend well. Pour into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan or a small casserole dish and spread evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and ¼ cup cocoa; sprinkle the mixture over the cake batter. Combine the boiling water and 1 tsp. vanilla and pour over the top of the cocoa-brown sugar mixture. Do not stir!

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6 to 8

 

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Thai-Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

28 Jan

img_4880 (2)

Here’s an absolutely delicious soup from my recipe blogger friends at MediterrAsian.com. It’s smooth and creamy without being heavy (because it uses coconut milk instead of cream), and it has lots of beta carotene and fiber.

“Thai-spiced” here means flavorful, not spicy.

The recipe calls for 8 oz. of coconut milk, plus a little more for garnish. The can had 13.5 oz. What was I going to do with a half-cup of leftover coconut milk? I just threw it all in.

The original recipe calls for chopped cilantro on top. We don’t like cilantro, so we used chopped scallions. You could also use chives or parsley. And I whizzed it with an immersion blender. I used chopped cashews on the top, but then I noticed that the MediterrAsian folks used whole cashews for garnish. I also had roasted salted cashews on hand so I used those, and the soup was not at all salty, so if that’s what you’ve got, I say use ’em!.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. peanut oil
2 scallions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1½  Tbs. Thai red curry paste
28 oz. (800g) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk, plus 4 Tbs. for garnish
½  cup roasted unsalted cashews, plus extra for garnish
3 Tbs. fish sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro for garnish (or parsley or scallion or chives)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Add the sweet potato, stock, coconut milk, cashews, fish sauce and brown sugar, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are very soft. Remove from the heat and cool a little.

Puree the soup until smooth in two batches in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender.

Return to the pot to reheat, and stir in the lemon juice.

Serve in bowls with a swirl of the reserved coconut milk, and garnish with cilantro (or parsley, scallion or chives) and reserved cashews.

Serves 4 to 6

Smoky Brussels Sprouts

30 Nov

brussels sprouts, smoky

As long-time readers of this blog will know, I get a lot of my best recipes from Cooking Light magazine, which I have subscribed to for years. So I was devastated to see a notice in my most recent issue that it would be the last issue! Because my subscription still has about two years to go, I will instead get something called Eating Well, which they promise will have lots of the same features as Cooking Light. Color me cynical.

Meanwhile, try this easy and delicious recipe. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, even smoked paprika. The sprouts came out crunchy and with a very nice flavor from the almonds, paprika and vinegar.

Combine the garlic, brown sugar, paprika and salt ahead of time in a small dish; you may want to measure out the vinegar too. This will make it easier to add them at the right time.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if large
1 Tbs. chopped garlic
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. chopped salted smoked almonds

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring often, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the garlic, brown sugar, smoked paprika and salt. Cook, stirring often for another minute, then remove from heat. Stir in the vinegar. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds and serve.

Serves 4

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Tahini

8 Nov

eggplant-tahini-sauce.jpgThis is a good dish to serve as an appetizer, salad, or to accompany a main dish.

If you’ve never used tahini paste, be aware that it behaves in a very weird fashion. Usually the oil separates from the rest in the jar, so before you measure it, be sure to stir it well.

When you add liquid to tahini paste, it gets very stiff. Keep stirring and keep adding liquid (usually water or lemon juice) slowly while stirring until you get the consistency you want. It should be easily spreadable but still thick, a little like sour cream.

You can prepare this several hours in advance of serving and just keep it at room temperature.

Ingredients:

1 large clove garlic
Pinch salt
⅓ cup tahini paste
2 Tbs. lemon juice
⅓ cup water
4 to 6 small eggplants (“Italian” are good, or baby eggplants)
¼ cup olive oil, plus a little more for drizzling
4 sprigs rosemary
¼ cup chopped parsley
Kosher or coarse salt and ground black pepper
2 to 4 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

Directions:

Mash garlic and salt with a mortar and pestle until it forms a puree.

Combine tahini paste, garlic and lemon juice; the tahini will become stiff. Whisk in the water until it reaches a sauce-like consistency. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roast the eggplant: cut each eggplant in half and score the flesh with the tip of a paring knife in a cross-hatch pattern at 1-inch intervals.

Place eggplant halves on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, cut side up, and brush each with oil, letting each brushstroke get absorbed before brushing on more. Season with salt and pepper and put a piece of rosemary on each.

Roast eggplant until completely tender and well charred, about 25 to 35 minutes.

Toast pine nuts in a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently (be careful, they burn easily).

Arrange the eggplant halves on a serving platter and spread with tahini sauce. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, parsley and rosemary, and drizzle with a little additional olive oil (optional).

Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8

Minestrone

20 Oct

minestroneThis yummy recipe is adapted from The Italian Kosher Cookbook, published in 1965 by Ruth and Bob Grossman. It’s actually part of a larger volume called The Kosher Cookbook Trilogy, which also includes Chinese and French sections. The recipes originated with Ruth’s Grandmother Slipakoff, who collected recipes for Chinese favorites and figured out how to make them kosher. Then she did the same for classic Italian and French dishes.

The authors say Grandma’s favorite Yiddish saying was “As men lebt, d’lebt men alles” (“As I live, I see everything.”)

The recipes all have cutesy Yiddish-inflected titles. This one is called “Minestrone Della Contessa Goldfarb.” And cutesy Yiddish-inflected directions, like “Let it cook for another 20 minutes and it’s ready to serve to an army. But don’t worry, it keeps nice in the refrigerator.”

I make this with vegetable stock, but you can use beef stock if you prefer.

The hardest part of the recipe is making sure you have all the many vegetables on hand.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 quarts meat or vegetable stock
1 cup cut-up green beans
1 small can tomato paste
a handful of fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley, or 1 tsp. dried parsley
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 can light red kidney beans or cannellini beans
2 small zucchini, sliced (if using a larger zucchini, dice it)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (no need to peel new potatoes)
¼ small cabbage, shredded (or use a cup or two of packaged shredded cabbage)
“Enough salt and pepper so it will have a taste”
1 cup elbow macaroni, soup shells or other small pasta

Directions:

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, saute the onions until soft. Add the stock and everything else except the pasta.  Stir well to make sure the tomato paste gets blended in.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the soup seems too thick.

Add the pasta and cook at least 10 minutes longer, until the pasta is tender, then serve.

Serves at least 12

 

 

 

Spinach-Pear Salad with Honey-Ginger Dressing

7 Sep

Spinach-Pear Salad

I’m back, after a long summer hiatus!

The problem with a recipe blog is that after you share all your best tried-and-true dishes, the ones you return to again and again — well, you’re out of material! So after a flurry of activity when I started this blog years ago, I’m now limited to posting when I make something new and remember to take a photo of it, which is less often than ideal.

I still like to try new things, though. This recipe is adapted slightly from one that was in a recent issue of Cooking Light.The recipe called for 2 cups of baby spinach, which I didn’t think was enough for four people — or proportionately enough for the dressing — so I used a 5-oz. package of baby spinach and it was perfect for four.

If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see I used black raisins instead of golden — because I didn’t have any golden raisins on hand. I think the golden ones would be better, but don’t use that as a reason not to try this salad. Craisins or dried cherries would probably work well too.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
5-oz. package baby spinach
1 ripe Bartlett pear, sliced
3 Tbs. golden raisins (black raisins are OK)
3 Tbs. toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard, ginger, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Toss the spinach, pear slices and raising with the dressing in a large bowl and divide among four salad places. Top with the toasted walnuts.

Serves 4

Oops!

24 Jun

You may be scratching your heads about my last piece. I mistakenly posted it here instead of on my travel blog. At least it had to do with cooking!

Apologies, and I’ll try to be more careful.