Creamy Rice Pudding

26 May

It’s almost Shavuot, that little-observed Jewish holiday where we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai by eating dairy foods. I could go into the reasons why, but that’s not the purpose of this blog. Suffice it to say, you may be looking for a  dairy dish to serve next week.

This rice pudding recipe won’t feed a crowd, but it’s nice for a light summer dessert, for Shavuot or any other time. It’s also a great way to use up leftover white rice.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup sugar
2 cups milk, scalded (heat until bubbles form at the edges of the pot – do not boil!)
1 cup cooked white rice
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
⅓ cup raisins, optional
¼ tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg, or  a few drops of rosewater, optional

Directions:

In the top of a double boiler, combine the eggs and sugar. Stir in the milk, rice and salt.

Cook over hot water, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat a metal spoon (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in raisins and vanilla.

If you like, add a dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg and/or a few drops of rosewater. Pour into 4 dessert dishes. Serve warm or cold.

Serves 4

 

 

 

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Chicken Cacciatore

11 May

For many years, The Joy of Cooking was my go-to cooking Bible. It was the first real cookbook I owned. Nowadays, I don’t refer to it too often but it’s where I go when I want to make chicken cacciatore, a real Italian comfort dish. It’s a lovely stew of chicken with tomatoes, wine and mushrooms. Serve it with fresh pasta. It’s great left over too. I’ve edited the recipe only slightly. True confession: I forgot to take a photo the last time I made it. This one, by Dan Gritzer via Flickr Creative Commons, looks pretty close to my version.

Ingredients:

4 lb. chicken pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. chopped shallots (or onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. salt (less if using kosher chicken)
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 to 1 cup sliced mushrooms

Directions:

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, and shake off excess.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the chicken with the shallots or onions until golden brown.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, for about an hour or until tender.

Serves 6 

 

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

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