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

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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.

Everett Eats!

24 Jun

EverettEatsFrontCover20180523It’s opening week at Chautauqua, and the opening night concert last night was by Allison Krause — wonderful! Most of the other weekly people arrived yesterday, and most of the all-season people have arrived by now. Our first guests arrive today. The only reason we ourselves can enjoy Chautauqua is because the Everett House week starts and ends on Sunday instead of Saturday — but I think in all our time here we’ve only met one other Shabbat-observant couple.

Last year, our first as the Everett House host couple, we had a lot of requests for breakfast recipes. Since Joe knows a thing or two about book production, over the winter we produced a little cookbook we called Everett Eats, with about 60 recipes — not all made here, but all made by me at some point and good for breakfast or brunch. We’re selling them for $18 (with the expectation that those with only $20 bills will say “Keep the change”!) The book was introduced this morning at a meeting of the program committee, and by the end of the meeting we had sold three copies!

I wanted to continue baking and freezing today but a couple of Everett machers had a huge “welcome back” reception for 70 of their closest  friends at lunchtime (plus they invited us). Luckily we don’t have to do that. Tracy, who runs I Can Do That, the company that does our housekeeping and maintenance, is also a caterer, so she’s had the kitchen tied up until mid-afternoon. The upside of events catered by Tracy is that we usually get great leftovers. And we sold two more cookbooks!

I baked a cake for today’s program committee meeting and only half got eaten, so I have enough (almost) fresh cake for tomorrow’s breakfast.

One of the program committee members shared an interesting story — two, actually. Last summer, she became very ill and had to leave early. Turns out she had an aggressive form of cancer and ended up spending significant time at Sloane-Kettering. She was assigned both a psychologist and psychiatrist who were interested in her decision not to learn any details about her illness or proposed treatment — and she is a “Type A” person. She says she turned everything over to her kids, and all she wanted to know was what she had to do day by day, so she could use all her energy for that and not have to think or worry about what was coming later. The psychologist was so taken with her decision that he is using her story in his training classes for all the psychologists and psychiatrists at the hospital, so that they will learn not to argue with other patients who make a similar choice.

She also said shortly after she returned home from treatment her little poodle started vomiting and diarrhea, and he was never sick. After a day or so, she realized he had been licking her and ingesting enough chemo through her skin to make himself ill. She stopped letting him lick and he got better without having to go to the vet. Who’d a thunk?

Cinnamon Rhubarb Bread

15 Jun

Rhubarb breadIt’s rhubarb season! We have just a little bit of rhubarb (one struggling plant) in our garden, but we had a half-dozen stalks and were wondering what to do with it. Then I moved a folder in the kitchen rack where I collect coupons and menus and such, and out popped this recipe that I don’t even remember clipping. It was developed by the Heart Smart folks at Henry Ford Health System and printed in the Detroit Free Press, probably last year. I had just enough rhubarb (though I felt it could have used a little more). The best thing is you don’t have to cook the rhubarb first, just chop it up.

I didn’t have any whole-wheat flour so I used all-purpose. Maybe that’s one reason the bread seemed so light.

Ingredients:

¾ cup diced rhubarb
1 cup plus 2 Tbs.  sugar, divided
1 container (5.3 ounce) low-fat plain Greek yogurt (about
⅔ cup)
¼ cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp.baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
⅛ tsp. salt

Strawberry Glaze:
1 Tbs. strawberry jam
⅓ cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tsp. water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with baking spray (or use a parchment-paper pan liner); set aside. In a small bowl, toss rhubarb and 2 tablespoons sugar; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together remaining 1 cup sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla with an electric mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until just moistened, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in rhubarb and its juices. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

To prepare glaze: Heat jam until easy to stir. Add powdered sugar and stir. Thin glaze with 1 to 2 teaspoons water. Spread glaze over top of bread while warm.

Cool bread in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread  from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Makes 12 slices