Saturday, March 1, 2014

Butterscotch Brownies

I used to make these brownies a lot, but lost track of the recipe over the past years.  I made it for the first time in over 15 years, and I remember why it is such a crowd-pleaser and cook-pleaser.  It is very easy to make and is dairy-free.

1/2 cup oil
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) 

·         Heat oven to 350°F/175°C. 
·         Mix brown sugar and oil. 
·         Add vanilla and eggs. 
·         Stir in salt and baking powder.
·         Mix in remaining ingredients. 
·         Spread in greased 9×13 pan. 
·         Bake 18-30 minutes until the top is semi-firm and the bottom is lightly browned.  The brownies turn out great, even if they seem a bit mushy when they come out of the oven.
·         Cut into  squares after they have slightly cooled.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winter Casserole: Sweet potatoes, Black Beans, Greens, and Brown Rice

    • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and dice
    •  A few cups of cooked brown rice
    • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 can of diced tomatoes
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1 bag of fresh spinach or other greens
    • 1/2 cup of chicken or vegie broth
    • 1 tbsp ground coriander (plus more to tastes)
    • 1 tbsp ground cumin (plus more to tastes)
    • 3/4 cup asst shredded  cheese (I used cheddar and parmesan)
    • salt, pepper and olive oil

  1. peel and dice the sweet potatoes and parboil in a saucepan until nearly done
  2. In a big pot, saute the onion for about 5 minutes in 1T olive oil
  3. Add the fresh spinach/greens and
    broth , turn heat to low and cover the pan, allow to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the spinach wilts and cooks down
  4. add the steamed (and drained) sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to the pan, mix all together and turn off heat
  5. in a large baking dish, layer the rice and then a sprinkling of the shredded cheese, then the sweet potato mixture, a bit more shredded cheese, and finish with brown rice with some shredded cheese.
  6. Cook uncovered at  375 degrees for 25-40 minutes

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gondi - Persian matzoh ball soup with chickpeas and chicken
(modified from Epicurious)

Gondi is a bawdy Persian expression for a certain part of the male anatomy
and a favorite food in many Iranian Jewish homes.

Prep time: 15 min for balls, 30 min for everything else
Cook time: 60 min
Yield: 8 servings (50 balls)

  2 yellow onions
  1 egg
  3 cloves garlic, minced
  2 t ground cardamom
  1 t ground turmeric
  2 T grapeseed oil
  2 C chickpea flour
  1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  12 C chicken or vegetable stock
  8 C chicken or vegetable stock (Note: this can be reduced by using broth
      that the balls are cooked in, which will yield about 1/3 its original
  1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  2 C cooked chickpeas (one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  4 dried limes, soaked in hot water & covered for 15 minutes
  2 C loosely packed coarsely chopped fresh dill, flat-leaf parsley, or
  1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice

Puree the onions in a food processor, then transfer to a large bowl
Whisk in egg, garlic, cardamom, turmeric, oil, 2 t salt, & several grinds
Now use a fork to mix in the meat and chickpea flour to form a thick paste
Cover & store in fridge for at least 4 hours (up to 24 hours) to firm up
Use 2 spoons or wet hands with cold water and break off walnut-size pieces
  of the dough & roll them into smooth balls (gondi)

In large stockpot, bring 12 C stock and 2 t salt to a rapid boil
Carefully drop in gondi
Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes without opening the pot
When ready, the gondi will be firm in the center
Remove with a slotted spoon
Cooking stock can be strained and used for the soup broth

In another stockpot, pour 4 to 8 C stock (4 if gondi broth will eventually
  be used & 8 if not)
Add carrot and chickpeas and bring to a boil
Pierce limes several times with a fork and add them to the stock along with
  their soaking water
Simmer covered for 15 minutes
Add herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper
Stir in the lemon juice just before serving
Divide the gondi among soup bowls, ladle the broth over the top, and serve.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hot Fudge Soufflé

This is the first soufflé I ever made, and I made it for New Year’s Eve 2013 for a special dinner with Tova and Carlos.

Before dinner I prepared the baking dish, mixed together the dry ingredients in a saucepan, and beat the egg yolks with the vanilla.  Near the end of dinner I prepared the rest of the soufflé and put it in the oven.

This recipe creates a light soufflé with a “hot fudge sauce” a little bit like our family favorite pudding cake.
Vegetable oil spray
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup, plus 1/3 cup
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
 Pinch of salt
1 cup cold skim milk
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 egg whites
½  teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar 

1.      Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

2.      Coat a 9 inch casserole dish (or deep pie plate) with vegetable oil spray. Dust with 2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside. 

3.      In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly over medium heat, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. 

4.      In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk the hot chocolate mixture into the yolks until smooth. Set aside. 

5.       Beat the egg whites until frothy (I did this in my Cuisinart, or you can use a hand-mixer).  Add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the rest of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until firm (but not dry) peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. 

6.       Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then use a large spatula to fold the chocolate mixture into the whites until just incorporated.   My chocolate/egg mixture was marbled, which was fine.

7.      Spoon the soufflé into the prepared dish and bake 15 minutes or until the soufflé is almost doubled in height and feels firm around the edges but still somewhat jiggly in the center. 

8.       Dust the top of the soufflé with powdered sugar and serve immediately by spooning onto dessert plates or into small bowls.

 REALLY don’t worry if the inside seems jiggly!  This is the magic of the hot fudge inside the soufflé!  This recipe served 4 generous portions.  

Based on a recipe from the American Medical Association Family Cookbook (Barnard & Dojny).  SO sorry I didn't take a photo of this beautiful dessert :(

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Cranberry Tea Cake

Thank you Oprah!

This cake is plenty sweet enough, but using agave syrup, which is milder than sugar, allows the creamy pumpkin flavor and the tart berries to meld smoothly.  I was really happy to find a cranberry coffee cake recipe that doesn't have any butter or margarine.

 Makes 2 loaves

·   2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour 
      NOTE:  I use some whole-wheat flour in the mix
·   1 tsp. baking soda
·   1/2 tsp. baking powder
·   1/2 tsp. salt
·   1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
·   1/2 tsp. ground ginger
·   1/4 tsp. ground allspice
·   1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
·   3 eggs
·   1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
·   1/2 cup canola or other neutral-flavored vegetable oil
·   1 cup agave syrup, preferably light
·   1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, don't defrost first) -- set aside about 1/2 cup
        NOTE:  I chopped the cranberries first
·   1 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped -- set aside about 1/2 cup


Oil and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  NOTE:  I "flour" the pans with spice or vanilla cake mix

I know this isn't the proper way to make a cake, but it works for me:

In the Cuisinart whip together the oil, eggs, pumpkin, agave syrup, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg

Quickly add the nuts and cranberries (be sure to set aside 1/2 cup of each for toppings).

Pour this batter into a mixing bowl and add the flour and mix thoroughly (but don't over-mix).

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. 

Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup each of cranberries and nuts evenly over the tops, pushing them gently into the batter to help them adhere and prevent burning.

Bake until the tops of the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the center with a fingertip, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for about 20 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of each pan to loosen the cake sides, then unmold the cakes onto the racks. Let cool completely before serving.