Tag Archives: easy

Easy Hollandaise sauce

1 May

Hollandaise

I wanted to make salmon a little differently. I wanted a smooth sauce that was buttery and lemony. I wanted Hollandaise! But I had never made it. One reason is because it always seemed intimidating. Another is that most recipes make a large quantity of sauce, and there were only two of us so I didn’t want to make a lot.

So I did a web search. Some of the recipes described as Hollandaise “for two” called for a whole stick of butter — no thank you! This recipe, which I found on a blog called The Spruce Eats, used only half that – which still seemed like a lot, but more reasonable. The title was “Hollandaise Sauce for Two,”but as you can see from the photo, where the salmon is just about swimming in the stuff, the recipe can easily serve four to six, because a little Hollandaise goes a long way!

It was easy enough to make. If you’re looking for a rich, butter/lemony sauce, give this one a try!

By the way, the black specks in the photo are the fresh-ground black pepper I put on the salmon before I cooked it.

Ingredients:

1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tsp. lemon juice
Pinch salt
Pinch white pepper
2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
1½  tsp. water

Directions:

Put an inch or so of water into the bottom of a double boiler or a saucepan large enough to hold a metal bowl without it touching the bottom of the pot. The water should not reach the bottom of the double boiler insert or the metal bowl.

Boil the water, then turn down the heat to maintain a low simmer.

In the double boiler insert or bowl, whisk the egg yok, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Set the bowl over the boiling water and whisk slowly but consistently until the mixture starts to thicken.

Add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking until each piece is incorporated before adding another piece. Repeat until all 8 pieces are incorporated. The sauce should be thick, smooth and glossy.

Whisk in 1½  tsp. water. Adjust the seasoning and add a bit more lemon juice if desired.

Remove the pan from the heat. The sauce will keep over the hot water for a half-hour or so as long as you whisk it occasionally.

Pour over vegetables, fish, or poached eggs on toast.

Serves 4 to 6

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Brownies from scratch

3 Feb

BrowniesI’m about to make dozens of brownies for my Hadassah group’s dinner dance fundraiser. Mea culpa, I’m using the Ghirardelli mix from Costco — because I have two pouches in my cupboard and another pan of brownies frozen in my freezer.

But when I don’t have a mix, or when I want to make non-dairy brownies, either for a meat meal or to serve to someone who doesn’t eat dairy, I use this terrific recipe which I got more than 40 years ago from Joan Piorkowski, a fellow graduate student at Temple University and a neighbor in the graduate student apartment building where we lived. It’s almost as easy as making brownies from a mix; the only additional step you need to take is measuring the ingredients instead of dumping a pouch into a bowl.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 Tbs. cocoa
½ cup (1 stick) melted butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl in the order listed.

Pour into a greased 8- or 9-inch square pan (melting the butter or margarine in the baking pan before adding it to the bowl is the best way to grease it).

Bake 30 to 40 minutes until the brownies are cracked on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.

Makes 9 to 16 brownies

World’s Easiest Meatballs

14 Jan

Sweet & Sour MeatballsMy granddaughter is coming for a visit — hooray! So I’m whipping up a batch of these sweet-and-sour meatballs. It has got to be one of the world’s easiest recipes, and it’s yummy. My kids loved it when they were little, and I’m hoping the next generation will too.

Ingredients:

1½ lb. lean ground beef
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 egg
1 bottle chili sauce
1 can whole cranberry sauce

Directions:

Combine the chili sauce and the cranberry sauce in a large saucepan and heat on a medium flame until the mixture simmers. While it is heating, mix the ground beef, garlic powder and egg. When the sauce is hot, make meatballs the size of walnuts and drop them into the simmering sauce. Stir gently so that all the meatballs are covered with sauce. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 45 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles.

Serves 6

Almond Cookies (OK for Passover!)

18 Mar

Almond CookiesHooray, I made a recipe last week that can be used on Passover! But you don’t have to be kosher-for-Passover or even Jewish to enjoy these delicious almond cookies.

We had a friend coming for lunch who is gluten intolerant, which limited our options for dessert. I decided to make this very easy recipe for Passover almond cookies, even though it wasn’t Passover yet, because they really are good enough to eat all year round. They contain no matzo flour, so they don’t “taste like Passover.”

This was the first time I made them with cardamom, because I don’t have kosher-for-Passover cardamom. It gave the cookies a very pleasant, distinctive flavor. I also make them without the almond flavoring for the same reason. I planned to add it this time, since it wasn’t Passover yet and I have lots of almond extract in my pantry — but I forgot! During Passover, I often add a bit of cinnamon to the mix.

If you use a food processor to grind the almonds yourself, pulse it in short bursts. You want the almonds to be very finely ground, but you don’t want them to turn into a paste! I usually splurge and buy packages of ground almonds, even though that’s a lot more expensive.

This is adapted from a recipe in The Jewish Holiday Cookbbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene.

Ingredients:

2 large egg whites
⅔ cup sugar
½ tsp. almond flavoring (optional – may be hard to find for Passover)
2 cups very finely ground almonds
1 Tbs. potato starch
¼ to ½ tsp. ground cardamom or cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whip the egg whites until they turn white and start to increase in volume, but not until stiff. Stir in the sugar and mix well, then mix in the remaining ingredients. The “dough” will be a very thick paste. With moistened hands, form small balls and place them on ungreased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (You might want to put parchment paper on the baking sheets to make it easier to remove the cookies.) Flatten the cookies slightly with moistened fingers.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are firm and very lightly browned. Use a metal spatula to remove the cookies from the baking sheets (I’ve found turning the spatula upside down is helpful here) and cool on wire racks.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Roast Potatoes

8 Feb

Roast potatoesHere’s a very simple recipe for roast potatoes, which make a wonderful accompaniment to roast chicken, any kind of meat roast and broiled or baked fish. My mother used to make potatoes in the same roasting pan as the chicken or beef, but somehow they never got as crispy and brown as when I make them in a separate pan.

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes (or more smaller potatoes)
1 medium onion
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for convection setting (recommended) or 375 degrees for regular baking. (If you’re not cooking a chicken or roast at the same time, you might want to do them at 400, and they’ll cook faster.)

Peel the potatoes, rinse them and dry with a paper towel. Cut them into pieces roughly 1 to 1½ inches square. Place potato pieces in a bowl with the oil and paprika, and use your hands to toss so that the pieces are evenly coated. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray – the pan should be large enough to hold all the potato pieces in a single layer. Spread the potatoes in the pan and roast for about 20 minutes.

Cut the onion vertically into thin pieces and add to the pan; stir the potatoes and the onion. Continue to roast until they are nicely browned, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. This will take 1 to 1½ hours in a convection oven, a little longer in a regular oven.

Serves 4

Amish Cabbage Casserole

28 Jan

Amish Cabbage CasseroleOne day I wanted to make a spinach and cabbage salad, so I sent Joe to the store to buy a small cabbage. Alas, all they had was a large cabbage, so after I made the salad, I still had about three-quarters of the cabbage left. I didn’t want to make another slaw, and I didn’t want to just boil it up, although I do like plain, buttered boiled cabbage. I wasn’t in the mood for the old standby sweet-and-sour cabbage and tomato soup. So I looked online and found this recipe for a cabbage casserole, which turned out to be quintessential comfort food, perfect for a dreary winter day like today. It’s also very easy to make, though you’re left with a lot of pots to wash. If you don’t like the idea of using canned cream of mushroom soup, you can make your own sauce using fresh mushrooms and a very thick white sauce (you’ll want it to be as thick as canned cream of mushroom soup). The original recipe called for American cheese, but I think cheddar or Colby cheese gives a better flavor. This can be served as a side dish or as a main dish.

Ingredients:

1 medium head cabbage, shredded (about 12 cups)
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 medium onion, chopped
5 Tbs. butter, divided
6 oz. cheese, shredded or cut in cubes
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil a large pot of water and cook the cabbage until it’s tender, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion in 4 Tbs. butter until soft and golden. Add the soup and cheese and heat, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted. Place the cabbage in a greased 2-quart baking dish and pour the sauce over it; stir well. Add salt and pepper if you want to (most cheese is salty enough that you don’t have to add additional, but a little pepper is good.)

In a small skillet, melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and stir in the breadcrumbs. Continue stirring until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Sprinkle over the casserole.

Bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, until the casserole bubbles and the breascrumbs are browned.

Serves 6

Chocolate Mousse

14 Jan

ImageI got this very easy recipe from Judith Baskin, who is the distinguished director of the Jewish studies program at the University of Oregon. We met  at Antioch College, and we were roommates during our year abroad at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. We lived in a damp, cold, moldy basement apartment in an otherwise toney neighborhood (we referred to our apartment as “the slum of Rehavia”). After college, my husband and I lived in Philadelphia and we visited Judy and her husband, Warren Ginsberg, a few times in New Haven while they were  graduate students at Yale. On one visit, they served us this wonderful dessert, which we have been making ever since.

Ingredients:

1 6-oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
⅓ cup boiling water
4 eggs, separated
2 Tbs. coffee liqueur (or another liqueur that goes well with chocolate)
½ tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

In a blender, or with an immersion blender, mix the chocolate chips and boiling water for about 10 seconds. Add the egg yolks, liqueur and cinnamon and blend another 5 seconds. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites until no streaks or lumps of white are visible. Spoon into dessert dishes or a 1-quart serving bowl. Chill for one hour or more. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 4 to 6