Archive | February, 2021

Thai-Spiced Sweet Potato and Cashew Soup

28 Feb

Here’s a recipe for something a little different! It comes from the MediterrAsian.com blog.

I confess I used salted roasted cashews — and the soup was a little on the salty side. So use unsalted it you can, especially if you don’t like a lot of salt.

I also confess I used the whole can of coconut milk because I didn’t have anything planned to use the remaining amount after I used a cup and saved a little for garnish. I don’t think this was a bad thing. The soup was really tasty!

I pureed the soup using an immersion blender. It worked great on the sweet potatoes but it was hard to get every last cashew ground up this way. Using a blender or food processor might be a little messier, but it would probably do a better job.

If you don’t have cilantro or don’t like the taste, use a little parsley for garnish.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. peanut oil
2 scallions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1½ Tbs. Thai red curry paste
28 oz. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
5 cups stock: vegetable or fake chicken
1 cup coconut milk, plus 4 Tbs. for garnish
½ cup roasted unsalted cashews, plus extra for garnish
3 Tbs. fish Suce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

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

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

Puree the soup in two batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the saucepan to reheat and stir in the lemon juice.

Serve in bowls with a swirl of extra coconut milk, and garnish with cilantro and reserved cashews.

Serves 6 to 8

It’s hamentasch time!

11 Feb
Hamentaschen

The Jewish holiday of Purim is in just two weeks, so I thought I’d reprise my recipe for hamentaschen, the three-cornered fruit-filled cookies that are popular for this holiday. (One cookie is a hamentasch.)

Instead of the usual photos, this year I have a video for you, thanks to my very talented future daughter-in-law, Grace Vant Hof. My synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom, asked if I would do a Zoom cooking demo for their online Purim carnival this year. I’m not confident enough of my Zoom skills to do this “live” so I offered to enlist Grace and make a short vid.

Purim is described in the Book of Esther, which is short and easy to read, and you should get out your Bible if you’re not familiar with it. The day celebrates the deliverance of the Jews of Persia from an evil plot to exterminate them (something that pretty much sums up most of Jewish history). The cookie’s name comes from the story’s villain, Haman, and is said to mimic the shape of his hat, though in Yiddish the word means “Haman’s pockets” (and in Israel, they call them “oznei Haman,” Haman’s ears.)

On this holiday it’s customary to exchange gifts of food. When our kids were younger and we distributed dozens of food packages, each with four to six hamentaschen, I would double this recipe and make at least two double batches. This year we are pretty much foregoing the package distribution – it’s part laziness and part realizing that most of our friends, like us, do not need gifts of sweets this year – so I only made the one batch.

I still think this recipe makes the best hamentaschen! We have received many different versions of these cookies, and to my mind there’s only one friend whose recipe (quite different) rivals this one in taste.

Watch the vid to hear the stories about where this recipe came from, as well as some tips on how to make them. It’s just under 13 minutes.

Ingredients:

2½ cups flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
⅓ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 eggs
1 can Solo fruit or poppy pastry filling

Directions:

Sift dry ingredients together. Cream shortening and sugar. Add honey and lemon juice and mix well. Add part of flour, then eggs, then rest of flour. Dough should be soft enough to form a ball but not stickyDirections:

Preheeat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out on a floured board, cut out rounds using a cookie cutter or glass (dip edge into flour). Place a half-teaspoon of filling in the center of each piece, then pinch into a three-cornered shape. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies