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Oven “fried” zucchini

5 Mar

zucchini oven friedHere’s a nice way to make zucchini that even vegetable haters will love! You’ll want to slice the zucchini about a quarter-inch thick. That sounds really specific, but it doesn’t have to be. I was trying to figure out how to say “not too thin, not too thick” so I looked on a ruler and a quarter-inch seems about right. The point is, you want the slices to not fall apart when they’re baked, but you don’t want them to be so thick that they won’t cook all the way through quickly.

For the breadcrumbs, a mixture of panko and regular breadcrumbs is good. If you don’t have seasoned breadcrumbs, just add some parsley, a grind of black pepper, a sprinkle of garlic powder, a pinch of paprika, and a pinch of any other herbs you like.

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally
1 egg, beaten
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
non-stick cooking spray or olive oil in a spritzer

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with non-stick spray or oil. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate.

Dip each zucchini slice in the egg, drain off excess, and then roll the slice in the breadcrumbs and place it on the baking sheet.

When all the slices are on the sheet, spray the tops lightly with oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Baking times may vary, depending on your oven. Both sides should be golden brown.

 

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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

 

Banana Flaxseed Muffins

10 Jan

banana flaxseed muffins

I got the recipe for these easy and delicious muffins from my friend Jan Wanetick. The notable thing about the recipe — besides the ease of making it and the great taste of the muffins — is that it’s vegan! The flaxseed takes the place of egg in binding the other ingredients and adds a little extra nuttiness. If you don’t care about being vegan, you can use dairy butter and milk, as I did. White flour works fine too, if you don’t have whole wheat. And I bet you can sub pumpkin or sunflower seeds for the nuts, if you need to take them into a “nut-free” environment.

You can buy flaxseed meal in many supermarkets. I got mine at Trader Joe.

By the way, I discovered a great new trick for chopping nuts! I had always used a nut chopper. In fact I have two, one with a rotary blade that you operate with a crank handle, and another with a blade on a plunger that you pump up and down. They’re both a pain to clean up. At Chautauqua over the summer, we didn’t have a nut chopper, so I put the measured amount of nuts in a sandwich bag and rolled over them with a glass jar; doesn’t matter if the jar is empty or full. After just a few passes, the nuts were nicely chopped and there was nothing to clean up!

Ingredients:

1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup flaxseed meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup soy butter
1 cup sugar
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup soy or almond milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Grease muffin tins or use cupcake papers. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full.

Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 1 dozen muffins

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

25 Apr

Who doesn’t like a good meatloaf? It’s one of the world’s great comfort foods. Kids will like this one too, because of the tomato-y sweet and sour flavor.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
1½ tsp. prepared mustard
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 lb. ground chuck
1 small onion, finely minced
½ tsp. garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 egg
½ cup bread crumbs or corn flake crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make a sauce with the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and half the can of tomato sauce.

Mix the ground beef with the onion, garlic, egg and bread or corn flake crumbs, salt and pepper. Form into a loaf shape and place in a greased baking pan. Pour the sauce over the top.

Bake about one hour.

Serves 4 to 6

Edamame Succotash

28 Mar

Once upon a time, when I still worked in an office, the HR people brought in a chef who worked on behalf of our health insurer so that he could give us tips on healthy eating. He not only gave us the healthy eating tips — presumably this would lower our insurer’s cost for our medical care — but he also did a cooking demo and left us with some great recipes. This salad wowed everyone, and I’ve made it several times since. It’s got an interesting combination of flavors  and all the different colors make it very pretty. And it’s very easy to make if you start with frozen edamame and corn and jarred peppers!

Ingredients:

1 ripe mango, cubed
1 package (16 oz.) frozen shelled edamame, thawed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup raw or roasted red peppers, diced (you can use jarred roasted red peppers)
2 Tbs. Thai sweet red chili sauce
⅛– ¼ tsp. Thai red curry paste
1 Tbs. mirin or seasoned rice vinegar
1½ Tbs. toasted sesame oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the mango, edamame, corn, cranberries and peppers in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the chili sauce, curry paste, vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat.

Serves 6 to 8

Cambodian Spiced Eggplant

7 Mar

I like to go to dinners organized by a group called Dining for Women. It’s a deceptively simple concept: invite a bunch of women to a potluck and contribute the money you would have spent on a restaurant meal to a nonprofit that helps women and girls in a third-world country.

Well, a dozen or so women in the suburbs or Detroit aren’t going to donate more than a few hundred dollars, but when the dinners are repeated in dozens of locations all over the country, some serious moolah  can be raised. The national organization chooses the recipient nonprofit, and provides a DVD for the dinner hostess showing the work the nonprofit does.

Last month’s dinner featured an organization in Cambodia that helps street children by giving them a place to live and teaching them useful skills so they can earn a living.

I looked for a simple Cambodian vegetarian recipe and found this one. Now the problem with eggplant — I admit it! — is it’s so visually unappealing, at least to me. If that’s your impression of eggplant too, get over it! It’s a delicious vegetable, and this combination of spices is very complementary.

I couldn’t find Asian eggplants so I used a large regular eggplant. And I didn’t have the fresh herbs for sprinkling on top, but the dish was still delectable. It’s also very easy to make, and leftovers reheat nicely.

Ingredients

6 Asian eggplants (small skinny ones) or two small or one large regular eggplant
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. ground coriander
Fresh coriander and mint to serve

Directions:

Chop the eggplant into pieces about a half-inch square.

Heat the oil in a wok and add the eggplant. Fry over a medium heat for about 4 minutes.

Combine all the other ingredients except the fresh coriander and mint in a small bowl and mix well.

Add the seasonings to the frying eggplant and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened.

Sprinkle with the chopped fresh herbs.

Serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves 4 – 5

Tofu in Mali Sauce

16 Nov

tofu-in-mali-sauceLast month I went to a potluck dinner for Dining for Women, an organization that pools contributions from small local events to make a big donation that helps women in Third World countries.

The theme of the evening was Mali (the funds raised would go to a program that supports literacy and numeracy education for women) and so I looked for a vegetarian Mali dish and found this. It was very easy to make and very tasty. I’ll definitely make it again.

The original recipe called for a full cup of water. I used a half-cup and the sauce was still pretty thin. I used home-made tomato sauce made from the last tomatoes in our garden and cooked it down significantly to thicken it a bit. Use your judgment — you don’t want the sauce to be too watery.

Ingredients:

1 package firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
½ cup onion, finely chopped
Cooking oil
2 Tbs. peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 Tbs. palm sugar or raw sugar (I used agave nectar – can probably use cane sugar or honey)
1 Tbs, soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 cup tomato sauce or chopped and mashed tomatoes
2 cups cooked white or brown rice to serve

Directions:

Bring water to a low boil, then add the peanut butter. Cook for one minute while stirring. Remove from heat.

Add the sugar, soy sauce and tomato sauce or mashed tomatoes and cook for two minutes. Set aside.

In a separate pan, saute the tofu cubes with the chopped onions in the oil over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until onions are soft and tofu is starting to brown.

Put the tofu cubes into a serving dish and pour the sauce over.

Serve over boiled rice – or over stir-fried vegetables or baked potatoes.

Serves 4