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Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

26 Sep

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Here’s another breakfast recipe that was a big hit during our summer as hosts at the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua Institution. It would be a great break-the-fast dish after Yom Kippur!

You can mix it up the night before and leave it covered in the fridge. Take it out at least 20 minutes before you want to bake it.

I made it several times. Once I used a package of Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles instead of the veggie sausage, and that was also good.  It was even easier because I didn’t have to thaw and crumble the sausage, just dump in the contents of the package.

Ingredients:

4 cups shredded sweet potatoes
4 oz. butter, melted
8 eggs
8 oz. vegetarian sausages (links or patties), thawed and crumbled
12 oz. shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mexican blend, Italian blend are all good)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely sliced fresh spinach (or 1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry)
2 cups small curd cottage cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Mix the sweet potatoes and butter together and press into the pan, covering the bottom.

In a large bowl, blend the eggs well and mix in the sausage crumbles, cheese, onion, spinach and cottage cheese. Spoon over the sweet potato layer.

Bake about an hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 12

 

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Corn Cakes

11 Oct

corn-cakesEvery August my son plays with his bluegrass band at the Wilson County Fair in Tennessee. One year he brought us back a bag of “traditional stone ground corn” from the Livesay Grist Mill at Fiddlers Grove in Lebanon, Tenn.

On the back of the bag is a recipe for “Miss Valerie’s Hot Water Cornbread” — which I ignored for the longest time because it doesn’t include eggs, like my usual cornbread recipe, and I wondered how it could be any good. Then my daughter said she’d tried it and loved it, so I gave it a try, and she was right!

I think of cornbread as something baked in a square  or round pan and then cut into squares or wedges. In this recipe, the cakes are fried on the top of the stove.

These corn cakes are very easy to make, and the they taste yummy with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Ingredients:

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup boiling water

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients, then pour in hot water and mix quickly.

Heat 1/4-inch oil in a skillet, and drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil. Fry until golden on both sides.

Makes about 8 to 10 cakes.

Hazelnut Biscuits

13 Sep

hazelnut-biscuitsIn a fit of I-don’t-know’what I bought a package of hazelnut meal (actually labeled Natural Ground Filberts) last Passover, and never used them. So when I saw this recipe in the New York Times I was thrilled. It was part of a fruit cobbler recipe (this was the topping) – and I’m sure that would be yummy, but I tried them without the fruit, as biscuits for breakfast, spread with butter and marmalade and served with scrambled eggs. They were deelish! I used milk instead of cream with no ill effect. And the recipe would probably work just as well (though taste a little different) with almond meal instead of hazelnut.

Ingredients:

½ cup hazelnut meal
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing biscuit tops
¼ cup cold whole milk

Directions:

In a small skillet, cook the hazelnut meal over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine cooled hazelnut meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives (or your fingers) until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces. If the butter starts to get warm, put the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the cream and milk and quickly stir it into the flour mixture with a fork. Do not overwork the dough.

Drop the dough in 8 to 10 mounds on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Bake about 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

(If using to top cobbler, use a favorite filling or make one from 2 lb. peaches, 2 cups blueberries, 2 to 4 Tbs. sugar, ½ tsp. vanilla. 1 Tbs. cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Toss to combine and place in baking dish.)

 

Passover fruit compote

31 Mar

Passover compoteThe biggest complaint about all the matzoh we eat at Passover is that is turns into a brick in your innards, a cause of digestive distress for many of us. Of course you can mitigate this by eating less matzoh and more fresh fruit and vegetables, but we know how much you love those matzoh breis, matzoh kugels, cakes and other treats.

One thing I always make at Passover to balance out the matzoh is fruit compote. It’s really easy, and it tastes great plain or mixed with a little yogurt. I eat it often for breakfast during the holiday.

Compote is more a method than a recipe, so feel free to improvise and add other dried fruits if you like.

Happy Passover and Easter to all who celebrate, and happy spring to all. I’m taking a break next week — see you in a few.

Ingredients:

2 cups pitted prunes
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins, Craisins or dried cherries
1 lemon, sliced
2 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down so the water is barely simmering and cook for at least a half-hour until the prunes and apricots are really soft, adding a little more water if necessary. Discard the lemon slices and cool. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

 

Spiced Pecan Waffles

10 Mar

Hi everyone, I will give you a recipe eventually but first I want to use this blog as a bully pulpit to alert you to a fairly common problem in newborns that is easily diagnosed and easily fixed — but for whatever reason in our crazy medical system often isn’t.

Many babies are born tongue-tied, which means something way different than awkward with words. Others have a related problem, lip tie. These ties are thin cords of tissue connecting the bottom of the tongue to the palate or the upper or lower lip to the gum. If they are short or in the wrong place they can interfere with feeding. Later in life they can cause eating and speech problems.

I feel like a minor expert now because my nearly four-month-old granddaughter was born with a tongue and a lip tie. The tongue tie was noticed in the hospital but no one felt the need to do anything about it because the baby seemed to be nursing,

Well, she wasn’t nursing properly. She wasn’t getting enough milk. Because her anatomy forced her to work extra hard and mis-use some of her facial muscles, she would get fatigued easily and fall asleep halfway through a feed. With the baby demanding less, my daughter wasn’t producing as much milk as she should have been.

The first solution, as usual, was to suggest bottle-feeding. In my granddaughter’s case, this wasn’t suggested until the baby was three months old, by which time she had no interest in a bottle. She wouldn’t swallow anything that didn’t come directly from mama. And she started losing weight.

My daughter found the solution almost by accident. She had gone to a lactation consultant, who recommended using a “supplemental nursing system.” Pumped breast milk or formula is put into a small bottle, and a very thin tube leading from the bottle is taped next to the mother’s nipple, so that the baby takes in extra while she’s nursing.

The only place to get the supplemental nursing system was from another lactation consultant. This one, upon hearing my daughter’s story, immediately suspected a tie, and when she looked at my granddaughter, she could immediately see a tongue tie and a lip tie. Because she couldn’t move her tongue and lip properly, my granddaughter wasn’t able to get a good grasp on the breast and wasn’t able to get as much food as she needed.

The lactation consultant referred my daughter to a dentist who uses a water laser to cut the ties, and three days later we were in the dentist’s office. The procedure was fast and painless — they know because they also do it on adults. Within a few days, my granddaughter was able to get a better “latch” on her mom and started eating better. She quickly started to gain weight again. (We’re talking ounces here, but when you weigh only 9 pounds, every ounce counts.)

Why a dentist? The lactation consultant told us dentists are at the forefront of developing effective ways to treat oral ties because they see the ongoing problems ties can cause in older children and adults. Speech pathologists are also strong advocates for better treatment because they also see the adverse results.

Most doctors pooh-pooh the idea of correcting ties in infancy, even though it’s such a simple procedure. A friend of my daughter’s, whose child has a lip tie, was actually told by the pediatrician not to worry, that the child would one day fall down and rip the tie. This is a solution?

I’m moving so far from food today just to alert you — anyone who is pregnant, or has a baby, or knows someone who does — that this problem exists and that it’s very easy to fix. But don’t rely on hospital nurses or pediatricians to point the way.

And now on to food — a nice recipe for a lazy Sunday morning or even a weekday supper.

I got the recipe from Annabel Cohen, who used it in her column in the Detroit Jewish News.

spiced pecan wafflesIngredients:

2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking power
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
2 eggs
1¾ cup milk or orange juice
½ cup melted butter
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Heat a waffle iron.

Combine dry ingredients – flour through pecans – in a large bowl bowl and whisk well. Set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir till combined.

Spoon the batter into the waffle iron and bake until brown.

Serve with real maple syrup.

Serves 6

Judith’s Granola

21 Apr

GranolaI know I posted a Passover granola recipe not all that long ago. Now I want to share my all-year-round granola recipe!

I found this recipe many years ago when I was searching online for a way to make fat-free granola. I’ve modified the recipe only slightly. It’s from Judith’s Garden Bed and Breakfast in Goshen, Vermont. I liked the recipe so much that we almost stayed at Judith’s Garden one year when we drove to Maine to visit Aaron at the College of the Atlantic. (Plans changed when we read about a super exhibit of quilts at a museum in Shelburne, Vermont, so we stayed overnight there instead.)

I was going to include a link to the B&B, but alas it has closed – the owner decided to concentrate on her landscape business instead. But she told me via email that she still makes this granola and eats it every day!

Judith’s original recipe made twice as much. I find that this amount suits the two of us fine. It fits on a single baking sheet in the oven, and it lasts well stored in an air-tight canister.

We like to sprinkle a little bit on the top of regular cold cereal or mix it with fruit and yogurt. It’s also good to eat as a snack.

If you put it in a pretty glass jar or a fancy plastic bag tied with a nice ribbon, it makes a dandy hostess gift!

Ingredients:

5 cups regular (not quick) rolled oats
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¾ to 1 cup chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts, but pecans and almonds are good too)
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
½ cup honey
½ cup apple juice
1 cup raisins and/or other dried fruit (I often mix the raisins with chopped dried apricots or cranberries)

Directions:

Mix honey and apple juice in a glass bowl or measuring cup and heat in microwave until hot (about 1½ minutes on high). Combine all other ingredients except the raisins or other dried fruit in a large bowl. Pour the hot honey-apple juice mixture over the oats mixture and stir well until the oats are evenly coated. Let this sit for 5 to 15 minutes so the oats can absorb the liquid and swell a bit.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet (the kind with sides) with foil or parchment paper and spread the oat mixture out on it evenly, breaking up any very large clumps.

Bake for 20 minutes, then stir it on the sheet (the mixture at the edges may brown faster than the rest, so move it from the edges to the center). Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the granola is fairly dry and lightly browned. Add the raisins and/or other dried fruit and mix. Cool thoroughly and store in an air-tight container.

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.