Archive | March, 2013

Vegetarian Chopped Liver

31 Mar

Vegetarian Chopped LiverI had seen variations on this recipe for ages and it always sounded disgusting – I mean, walnuts and canned green beans, really! Then I went to a cooking demonstration led by the wonderful Annabel Cohen. She made this dish and distributed the recipe. It was delicious! I’ve been making it ever since (modified slightly) and sharing the recipe. With a food processor, it’s very easy to prepare.

I make this for Passover. If your custom is not to eat green beans at Passover, you can substitute 12 oz. of mushrooms; slice them and cook till all the moisture evaporates and cool before processing. (Opening a can of green beans is a lot easier!)

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. vegetable or olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
3 cups walnuts (halves or pieces)
1 can (14-16 oz.) green beans, drained
½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
Pepper to taste
3 hard-cooked eggs

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they are golden brown. Add the walnuts and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, another 3 minutes or so until the walnuts are toasted (they’ll start to become fragrant). Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.

Put the onions and walnuts in the food processor with the canned green beans and process until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the food processor once or twice. Add the salt and pepper. Cut the hard-cooked eggs in half and add them to the food processor. Pulse just until the eggs are chopped; you’ll want to see little flecks of egg in the mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Serves 8 as an appetizer, more as a party spread

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Passover Granola

28 Mar

Passover GranolaI was a little hesitant about trying to make granola out of matzo. If you’ve ever tried one of those Passover cold cereals you’ll understand! But there’s a new product out this year called Matzola, a granola-like snack. I had a sample at a women’s event a few weeks ago and it’s very tasty. Only problem is it costs about $7 for a small can. So I went online to look for a recipe for Passover granola and found this one that originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times. It’s very nice mixed with yogurt for breakfast — and it’s also a tasty snack!

Ingredients:

2 cups matzo farfel
1 cup unpeeled almonds, cut in half or coarsely chopped
½  cup shredded sweetened coconut
½ cup honey
¼  cup oil
½ cup raisins
½ cup diced dried apricots

Directions:

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the farfel, almonds and coconut in a large bowl. Pour in the honey and oil and mix well. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (It tends to get cooked faster at the outer edges of the baking sheet. Check it frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn.)

Add the raisins and apricots and toss well. Transfer to a platter and cool completely. (It will seem a little “wet” when it comes out of the oven, but it gets more solid as it cools.) Store in an airtight container.

Israeli Carrot Salad with Parsley and Pomegranate

24 Mar

Israeli Carrot SaladI got this recipe from a newspaper article on Rosh Hashanah foods, but it’s also great at Passover!

Once you peel the carrots, separate the pomegranate seeds from the pith and separate the parsley leaves from the stems, it’s a snap to make this salad with a food processor! (Helpful hint: cut the pomegranate in half and then put the pieces into a large bowl of water before breaking them apart. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the top. Skim off the pith, and then drain the seeds in a strainer or colander. This will keep your hands, clothing and counters from getting stained with pomegranate juice! Or you can splurge and buy pomegranate seeds at a specialty food store like Trader Joe.)

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic
½ bunch flat parsley, divided
1 lb. carrots, peeled
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. orange juice
4 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. salt
Several grinds of black pepper
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup golden raisins

Directions:

Place the garlic and all but 2 Tbs. of the parsley in the bowl of a food processor and chop well. Add the carrots, lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse until the carrots are chopped into small pieces but not pureed. Mix with raisins and pomegranate seeds and sprinkle with reserved parsley.

Serves 6

Bread Pudding

20 Mar

Bread PuddingThis is obviously not a Passover recipe — but there’s a connection! I was cleaning out my freezer for Passover and discovered a huge cache of my husband’s homemade challah (a subject for a future post!). We keep lots of not-kosher-for-Passover foods over the holiday, putting it away in a cupboard we don’t use for that week and actually selling it (via our rabbi) to someone not Jewish. But we never keep bread — the quintessential forbbiden food — over Passover. But I couldn’t bear to throw away one large and two small loaves of perfectly good bread! My solution — bread pudding, which I love any time of the year. With so much bread, I made a large one, so we’ll be enjoying some yummy breakfasts (and maybe some desserts) between now and Monday.

The only downside was that I didn’t have time to let the bread get really dried out. Usually I let the bread cubes sit in a bowl on my counter for a good few days before I make bread pudding.

This is almost more of a method than a recipe, because you can change it in so many ways. You can reduce the size of the pudding easily by reducing the ingredients proportionately. You can change the flavor by using different dried fruits (e.g. cherries, apricots) or by adding chopped fresh fruit (e.g. tart apples, pineapple, peaches, blueberries). You can even add chocolate chips or chopped nuts. You can substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar. You can substitute almond extract for the vanilla.

Ingredients:

8 cups cubed stale bread, crusts removed (challah works great)
6 eggs
3 cups milk
¼ cup brown sugar (use ½ cup or even a little  more if you plan to serve it as a dessert rather than a breakfast or brunch dish)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup raisins
2 Tbs. butter

Directions:

Beat the eggs, and then beat in the milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour the custard over the bread cubes and mix well so the bread is completely soaked. Mix in the raisins. Turn into a greased baking dish, and dot with butter. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight or for at least a few hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove baking dish from refrigerator to come to room temperature.

Bake, uncovered, about an hour until the pudding is puffed and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving (the pudding will sink a bit). Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8

Almond Cookies (OK for Passover!)

18 Mar

Almond CookiesHooray, I made a recipe last week that can be used on Passover! But you don’t have to be kosher-for-Passover or even Jewish to enjoy these delicious almond cookies.

We had a friend coming for lunch who is gluten intolerant, which limited our options for dessert. I decided to make this very easy recipe for Passover almond cookies, even though it wasn’t Passover yet, because they really are good enough to eat all year round. They contain no matzo flour, so they don’t “taste like Passover.”

This was the first time I made them with cardamom, because I don’t have kosher-for-Passover cardamom. It gave the cookies a very pleasant, distinctive flavor. I also make them without the almond flavoring for the same reason. I planned to add it this time, since it wasn’t Passover yet and I have lots of almond extract in my pantry — but I forgot! During Passover, I often add a bit of cinnamon to the mix.

If you use a food processor to grind the almonds yourself, pulse it in short bursts. You want the almonds to be very finely ground, but you don’t want them to turn into a paste! I usually splurge and buy packages of ground almonds, even though that’s a lot more expensive.

This is adapted from a recipe in The Jewish Holiday Cookbbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene.

Ingredients:

2 large egg whites
⅔ cup sugar
½ tsp. almond flavoring (optional – may be hard to find for Passover)
2 cups very finely ground almonds
1 Tbs. potato starch
¼ to ½ tsp. ground cardamom or cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whip the egg whites until they turn white and start to increase in volume, but not until stiff. Stir in the sugar and mix well, then mix in the remaining ingredients. The “dough” will be a very thick paste. With moistened hands, form small balls and place them on ungreased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (You might want to put parchment paper on the baking sheets to make it easier to remove the cookies.) Flatten the cookies slightly with moistened fingers.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are firm and very lightly browned. Use a metal spatula to remove the cookies from the baking sheets (I’ve found turning the spatula upside down is helpful here) and cool on wire racks.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Cranberry Nut Bread

14 Mar

ImageI’ve been getting requests for Passover recipes. This isn’t one. The problem is I like to include photos with my recipes, and I won’t be making any Passover recipes for another 10 days when my kitchen is ready for the holiday! I’ll look for year-round recipes that also work for Passover to post soon, and once my prep is complete, I’ll post some of my fave Passover dishes.

Meanwhile, look in your freezer — maybe, like I did, you have a package of fresh cranberries stashed there. This would be a great way to use them up before the holiday!

This recipe came from one of our neighbors – I can’t remember which one –  in the graduate student apartments at Temple University where we lived from 1972 to 1976. I’ve tried other cranberry nut breads, but none has been as good as this one! Try it for breakfast with cream cheese.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh cranberries, cut in half or coarsely chopped (a food processor is a good idea!)
¼ cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup orange juice
1 Tbs. grated orange zest
1 egg, well beaten
½ cup chopped nuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Combine the orange juice, orange zest and egg. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the orange juice mixture in. Stir lightly to combine. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Spoon into a greased loaf pan and pull the batter away from the center to the four corners (this will keep it from getting too high in the center). Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sour Cream Apple Squares

6 Mar

Sour Cream Apple SquaresI knew I had a recipe for sour cream apple squares – but I couldn’t find it in my card box, my accordion file or my manila folder, where my hundreds of recipes are stashed, and it’s not the kind of thing I would have gotten from my cookbooks. Thank goodness for the Web! I found this recipe on a site called Taste of Home. The unidentified person who contributed it claimed to have invented it in the 1950s with her mother.

I didn’t think it was the same recipe but a few days later I was going through my recipe box and found my original Sour Cream Apple Squares recipe – which was exactly like the one I got from the Web, except that I could tell I cut it out many years earlier from a package of Pillsbury’s Best Unbleached Flour. No matter, it’s a delicious recipe, with a nutty, crunchy base and soft, apple-y top.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped nuts
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
1 cups chopped peeled tart apples (Granny Smith are good)
Whipped cream or ice cream for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and butter, and beat at low speed until even, small crumbs are formed. Stir in the nuts. Press about 2¾ cups of this mixture into an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

To the remaining crumb mixture, add the cinnamon, baking soda, salt, sour cream, vanilla and egg. Beat until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chopped apples. Spoon this mixture over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares to serve, garnished with whipped cream or ice cream if you like.

Serves 12 to 15