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

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Turkish Charoset

5 Apr

Many of you are probably up to your eyeballs in Passover preparation. If you’re looking for something to spark up your seder this year, try this Turkish charoset. It’s a bit of a change from the standard grated-apples-and-nuts variety, and it’s a snap to make with a food processor. This comes from one of my go-to Jewish cookbooks, The Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene.

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates, halved
1 cup light or dark raisins, or a mixture
1 large apple, peeled or unpeeled, cored and cut into large pieces
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup blanched, slivered or whole almonds
1 medium-sized navel orange, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tbs. sweet red Passover wine

Directions:

Put all the ingredients except the wine through the coarse blade of a food grinder or coarsely grind them together in a food processor fitted with the steel blade (in batches if necessary). Add the wine and mix or process to form a soft, slightly coarse mixture. Refrigerate in a covered container and serve chilled.

(The charoset gets firmer when it’s chilled. It will keep fresh for several days in the refrigerator.)

Makes about 3 cups.

 

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

Lemon (or lime) mousse

21 Feb

lemon-mousse

This is a nice, light dessert that’s good any time of year. The only thing hard about this recipe is finding kosher unflavored gelatin, if that’s important to you. The recipe was originally for “lime mousse” and it’s really delicious with lime too — but I almost always have lemon zest on hand, and rarely lime zest.  The recipe is also easy to halve if you want to make less.

Ingredients:

6 eggs, separated
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup lemon (or lime) juice
1½ Tbs. butter or margarine
1 Tbs. grated lemon(or lime) zest
1½ tsp. unflavored gelatin
½ tsp. vanilla

Directions:

If you use fresh lemons or limes grade the rind for zest before you squeeze for juice.

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, half a cup of the juice, butter and 1½ tsp. of the zest in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat.

Soften the gelatin the remaining lemon or lime juice and dissolve over a pan of hot water. Stir in the egg yolk mixture. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Stir the vanilla into the yolk mixture, then fold in the egg whites. Pour into serving dishes and sprinkle with the remaining zest. Chill several hours before serving.

Serves 8

Miso chicken

7 Feb

chicken-miso

Here’s a nice and easy recipe that’s been in my “gotta try this” folder forever. I had a container of miso in my fridge forever as well, so it seemed like a good idea. I had yellow miso, not white, but I don’t think it makes a big difference. If you don’t have it, you can find it at an Asian grocery or online.

The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but I used a whole cut-up chicken. (Actually, I used only half a cut-up chicken, because there are only two of us, and halved the rest of the ingredients.)

These particular chicken pieces didn’t have a lot of fat, so I had to add a little water to the pan after about 20 or 30 minutes because the miso-margarine mixture was starting to burn.

The finished dish was very tasty. The miso and honey produced a an interesting and pleasant flavor — but it wasn’t too strong, so don’t be put off by the idea.

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. margarine, softened
½ cup white miso
2 Tbs. honey
1Tbs. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
Black pepper to taste
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, approx.. 2½ to 3 lb., or a whole chicken cut in eighths

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine margarine, honey, rice vinegar and black pepper in a large bowl and mix with a spatula or spoon until well combined.

Add the chicken to the bowl and massage the miso mixture all over it.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over once or twice until the skin in golden brown and crisp. (You may need to add a little water to the pan if necessary part way through.)

Serves 4

 

Chicken with Ginger-Sesame Glaze

24 Jan

chicken-ginger-sesame-glaze

I got this recipe from Cooking Light magazine last June and finally made it. I saw that the recipe called for chicken thighs, so I took a package out of the freezer. Only after I’d mixed up all the glaze ingredients did I notice that the recipe called for skinless, boneless chicken thighs. It was too late to change course, and when I cooked the chicken I discovered that it didn’t really matter. The glaze is delicious, and it would work well with any cut of chicken, with or without skin.

Because I don’t have an indoor grill pan and it was not outdoor grilling season, I oven-roasted the chicken rather than grilling it. Grilling would probably be better for skinless, boneless thighs or breasts, but oven-roasting is fine for chicken with skin.

The magazine suggested mixing up the glaze first thing in the morning so the chicken marinates in it all day. Then the cooking part is really easy. I did them one better and started marinating the chicken the night before in a large Ziploc freezer bag. They were certainly right about the dinner-making being easy after that!

Ingredients:

½ cup thinly sliced green onion
3 Tbs. dark brown sugar
2½ Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
1 Tbs. minced fresh garlic
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. sambal oelek (chile paste)
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1½  lb.)
Cooking spray

Directions:

Combine everything except chicken and cooking spray and stir with a whisk. But half in a shallow bowl or large Ziploc bag with the chicken and toss. (At this point, you can leave it in the fridge for several hours, or even overnight.)

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts; cook about 4 minutes on each side until done. OR preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast the chicken , basting occasionally. The amount of time this takes will depend on whether the chicken  skinless and boneless or not and how big the pieces are. The chicken should be nicely browned; if using chicken with skin, the skin should be crisp.

Transfer chicken to a platter and drizzle with the remaining soy sauce mixture.

Serves 4