Tag Archives: parve

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

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

 

 

 

Cold Plum Soup

20 Sep

Cold Plum Soup

This is adapted from a recipe I clipped from the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent many years ago. It’s a great recipe for this time of year, when it’s still hot enough outside to enjoy a cold fruit soup and when plums are plentiful in the markets. You can use any kind of plums, but prune plums (also called Stanley or damson plums) are available now and they’re generally cheaper and easier to pit and quarter. Cutting up the plums is the hardest part of the recipe.

The soup will keep for a week or so in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

2 lb. plums, pitted and quartered
3 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Grated zest of half an orange (about 1 tsp.)
Grated zest of half a lemon (about 1 tsp.)
2 cups orange juice
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1-2 cups water
Fresh mint leaves to garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the plums, brown sugar, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests and just enough water to cover.

Simmer, partly covered, until the plums break down, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a blender or food processor (or using an immersion blender), puree the plum mixture with the orange juice, lemon juice, half the almonds. If the soup seems too thick, add a cup or two of water.

Chill for at least 2 hours. Before serving, sprinkle with the remaining almonds and garnish with fresh mint leaves if desired.

Serves 4 to 6

Armenian Stuffed Grape Leaves

8 Jul

grape leavesWe have a bumper crop of grape leaves in our yard, so I just made another batch of these wonderful stuffed grape leaves. The easiest way to tell you about it is to share the post I wrote about them last year for my other food blog, Feed the Spirit. Here it is:

My husband has a wooden swing in the backyard where he likes to hang out on summer afternoons, but it’s right in the sun and can get a little uncomfortable.

To provide some shade, he planted two grapevines next to the swing, one on each side, a couple of years ago, hoping they’d climb up over the swing. I have no idea what kind of grapes they are – one is white, and one is red.

Our grapevine-covered backyard swing.

Our grapevine-covered backyard swing.

Last year we even had two minuscule clusters of grapes, which the birds enjoyed. This year, we had enough to make a couple of pints of grape juice.

But I was also interested in the vines for grape leaves. Living in Detroit, with its large Greek, Chaldean and Arab populations, we’ve been enjoying stuffed grape leaves for decades. They’re often stuffed with lamb, but we eat vegetarian versions. I’ve never made them, but with lush grapevines growing right outside my kitchen window, I thought this was a great time to try.

 

I’d been interested in trying my hand at stuffed grape leaves since last spring, when I participated in a program about food with Jewish and Chaldean (Iraqi Catholic) women. One of the Chaldean women told how almost every cook in her community keeps a large supply of grape leaves on hand.

The women frequently gather in groups to stuff grape leaves, she said, kind of like a Middle Eastern version of a quilting bee.

One family she knows almost got in trouble because of her grape leaves. The family had a house fire, and after the firemen took care of the emergency, they were about to arrest her; they had looked in her freezer, which was full of grape leaves, and thought she was growing marijuana illegally!

Thank you, Joan Nathan!

Joan Nathan

Joan Nathan

What convinced me to finally take action was this video and recipe from Joan Nathan, the doyenne of American Jewish cooking, which showed up in my Facebook feed. Her book, The Jewish Holiday Kitchen, is one of my all-time faves.

I followed her recipe and her directions, and the result was dee-lish! As she says, you don’t need to grow your own grapes or raid a neighbor’s vine; jarred grape leaves, available in any Middle Eastern or specialty grocery store, will do equally well.

These Armenian stuffed grape leaves are super-flavorful, with onions, tomatoes, currants and pine nuts, and a variety of seasonings including mint, dill, cinnamon, cardamom and allspice.

The filling isn’t hard to make; the only fiddly part of the recipe is actually stuffing and rolling the leaves, which was a little challenging to one used to making the much larger stuffed cabbage rolls. It also takes awhile because you need to prepare the filling, then let it cool, then make the rolls, then cook the rolls.

I took them to a holiday lunch at a friend’s house and they were scarfed up in no time!

Joan suggests trying the same stuffing with chard leaves. We had some chard in our garden, so I made a few that way. The taste was great, but the chard leaves, which are long and thin, were actually harder to roll than the grape leaves.

If you make more than you can eat at once, you can freeze them. Put the extra rolls in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss gently to make sure all the rolls are lightly coated with oil, then place them in a plastic freezer bag. Defrost in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Ingredients:

One 15-oz. or 1-lb. jar of grape leaves (about 70 leaves) — or 70 fresh grape leaves
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup currants
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup snipped fresh dill
1 Tbs. dried or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 Tbs. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup short- or medium-grain rice, uncooked
1 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes or 1 cup diced canned tomatoes, with juices
2 lemons

Directions:

If you use fresh grape leaves, blanch them for 1 minute in boiling water. then drain. If you use jarred, drain the grape leaves, then carefully unwrap each leaf, remove and discard any stems. Put the leaves in a large bowl with water to cover. Let soak while you prepare the filling.

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large covered skillet, and add the onions. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover the skillet and sauté for a few more minutes until beginning to turn golden.

Add the pine nuts, currants, parsley, dill, mint, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, salt, pepper, rice, 1 cup of water, sugar, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice is almost cooked. Remove from heat and stir in the juice of 1 of the lemons, then set aside to cool slightly.

Line the bottom of a heavy 6-quart pot with 10 of the leaves, dull side up.

Put 1 leaf on a flat surface, dull side up, with the stem end toward you. Spoon on 1 tablespoon of filling near the stem end of the leaf and flatten the filling to the width of the leaf. (Editor’s note: I’m sure she means one level measuring-spoon tablespoon; don’t use a soup spoon or you’ll have too much for one leaf. It may be easier to use a teaspoon.) Fold the stem end over the filling, then fold the sides into the center and roll away from you. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Arrange the stuffed grape leaves, seam sides down, in rows along the bottom of the lined pot, then stack them on top of each other.

Pour 1 cup of water over the leaves and place a small plate on top to keep the leaves weighted down. Cover the pot and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover and simmer 10 minutes more. Allow to cool in the pot, then drain.

Serve warm or at room temperature as an appetizer, sprinkled with the juice of the remaining lemon and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you like, you can also top them with yogurt.

To freeze: drizzle with olive oil and toss lightly to cover all the stuffed grape leaves with a thin film of oil, then pack into a plastic freezer bag or container.

Passover Chocolate Truffle Cake

3 Apr

Passover chocolate truffle cake

Passover is less than three weeks away (yikes) so you’re probably planning your holiday meals.

This recipe isn’t what I’d call easy, but it’s really yummy and it’s gluten free. You can kid yourself that it’s good for you because it’s made with sweet potatoes – which you can’t really taste, but which help make it lighter than most flourless chocolate cakes.

You can gussy it up more than I did in this photo by garnishing with berries and/or whipped topping.

Ingredients:

16 oz. semisweet chocolate, divided
1½ cups baked mashed sweet potatoes at room temperature (or use canned sweet potatoes)
1/3 cup plus ¼ cup sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla sugar or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. very soft unsalted butter or margarine
6 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

Melt 10 oz. of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and let cool.

Using a wire whisk, blend together the mashed sweet potatoes with 1/3 cup of sugar, the vanilla sugar or vanilla and the softened butter until well blended.

Stir in the egg hyolks and then the melted chocolate, mixing to blend.

In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer, starting on low speed. When the egg whites are foamy, add the salt and whip on high speed, slowly dusting in the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture and work in to lighten the batter. Then gently fold in the remaining 2/3 of the egg whites, blending well but taking care not to deflate the mixture.

Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes. The cake will rise somewhat, look dry, and have a slight crack on top. The middle should be soft but firm.

Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then remove the sides from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Chill for at least an hour.

Make the ganache glaze: Chop the remaining 6 oz. of chocolate. Bring ¼ cup of water to a gentle boil and add the chocolate all at once. Remove from heat and stir briskly with a wire whisk until all the chocolate melts and is a thick sauce-like consistency. Refrigerate for an hour.

Invert the cake onto a platter so the flat bottom faces up. Pour the glaze over the cake, using a spatula to even it out and spread along the sides.

Serves 8 to 10

Gila’s Chocolate Cake

1 Mar

 

Gila's chocolate cakeParve or dairy

I got the recipe for this cake, which could be nicknamed “death by chocolate,” from Gila Semp. It’s very rich and moist, and it’s easy to make, especially with a stand mixer. And even though it’s based on boxed mixes, it tastes homemade.

Full disclosure: I made this cake for guests last weekend, but I neglected to take a photo! This one is by Emily Hill, via Flickr Creative Commons — and I like her addition of shredded coconut and sliced chopped nuts on top, though because this cake is so rich I often make it without the chocolate glaze, and just sprinkle with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Ingredients:

1 box devil’s food or chocolate fudge cake mix
5 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup water
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix (most are dairy, but you can find parve mixes in kosher food stores)
1 package (12 oz.) chocolate chips
1 package (6 oz.) chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, water and pudding mix together with an electric mixer.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bundt pan.

Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Optional glaze:

Combine a 6-oz. package of chocolate chips with ¼ cup of boiling water. Stir to combine.

Add a little more boiling water if the glaze seems too thick. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake.

Serves 12 or more

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

Kale, Apple, Walnut and Sumac Onion Salad

6 Oct

Kale salad with apple and bulgurHere’s a very pretty and tasty fall salad recipe. The original was called “Kale, Apple, Walnut and Sumac Onion Tabbouleh.” I don’t know what the actual definition of tabbouleh is, but since it doesn’t have bulghur, parsley or mint, I thought that was a little confusing — although the ground walnuts have a somewhat bulghur-like bite.

The original also didn’t include “massaging” the kale, but ever since I started making my Massaged Kale Salad, I’ve been using this technique with all kale salads. It softens the kale and I think makes it a little less bitter.

Ingredients:

1 red onion
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. ground sumac (available in Middle Eastern groceries)
½  tsp. kosher salt
2 cups (packed) shredded, stemmed kale leaves
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
cup diced apple
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
3 Tbs. lemon juice
3 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. salt

Directions:

First make the sumac onions. Thinly slice the red onion,  add 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. ground sumac and ½ tsp. kosher salt and toss to combine. Set aside.

Add 1 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. lemon juice to the kale in a large bowl and “massage” the kale with your hands for a few minutes until the leaves soften a bit and turn glossy.

Combine a quarter-cup of the sumac onions with the rest of the ingredients and toss well to combine.

Serve immediately or within a few hours.

(Keep any remaining sumac onions in the fridge and use as an ingredient in a green tossed salad.)

Serves 4 to 6

Fresh Corn Salsa

8 Sep

Corn salsaWell, you could make this with frozen or canned corn, but it’s SO much better with fresh, and that’s SO easy to get right now that there’s no excuse.

This is a very easy dish to make, especially if you have a “corn zipper” tool to remove the corn from the cob. Leftovers will last about a week in the fridge.

Double the recipe if you’re serving a lot of people or taking this dish to a potluck.

Here’s a trick for cooking the corn easily:

Put it in the microwave, husks, silks and all, and nuke for 4 minutes at high for one ear or 8 minutes for two (don’t cook more than two at a time). When it’s done, cut about an inch off each ear above any stalk on the bottom. Then, starting at the top of the ear, squeeze gently and the corn will slide right out of the husks, without any silk (or very little) attached. You will probably need a potholder to do the squeezing, because the ear will be quite hot.

Ingredients:

Cooked fresh corn from 2 – 3 cobs
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1/2 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine
1 small onion, preferably red, chopped fine
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. lime juice (or lemon juice if you don’t have lime)
1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Allow flavors to mingle for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Avocado salad

26 May

avocado saladAvocadoes were on sale this week, so it was a good opportunity to make this yummy salad. I would say it’s very easy, but it’s kind of a pain cubing four avocados. It’s well worth the effort, though!

You can tell an avocado is ripe when the skin is very dark, almost black, and it has some “give” to it. But don’t wait till it’s too soft, or the flesh will be mushy and may even turn black.

It looks like there’s no red onion in this photo. If you don’t have red you can cheat and use a regular ol’ yellow onion. But red looks prettier.

Ingredients:

4 or 5 ripe avocados (the small “Hass” type)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 can hearts of palm, drained
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 tsp. salt or more to taste
black pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice each avocado lengthwise, and twist to open it. Remove the pit. (I do this by sticking a knife into the pit and pulling it out, probably not the safest method.)

Cut the avocado into cubes by slicing lengthwise and widthwise while it’s still in the skin; then use a tablespoon to scoop out the cubes into a large bowl. Scrape any avocado meat that remains into the bowl as well.

Cut each grape or cherry tomato in half, unless they are very small, and add to the bowl.

If your hearts of palm aren’t already sliced or in pieces, slice them and add to the bowl.

Add the chopped onion.

Sprinkle with lemon juice and add just enough mayonnaise to hold the ingredients together. The avocado is very moist and also full of oil, so you won’t need much mayo.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you serve on individual plates (rather than letter people help themslves), it looks nice on top of a lettuce leaf.

Serves 4 to 6