Monday, April 25, 2011

Flourless Almond Butter cookies

For any time of year!

1 C almond butter

1 C brown sugar

1 egg

1 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 C chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix everything together in a bowl, adding the chocolate chips at the end. Using moistened hands, form dough into small balls and arrange on 2 greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Cookies will flatten and spread during baking.

Bake until puffed, golden on bottom and still soft to touch in center, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes and transfer to racks to cool.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easy, Tasty Brisket

Charlie and I had a potluck a few days ago and the theme was "Where You're From" (it may or may not have been inspired by this episode of Top Chef). Since we're approaching Passover, I decided to make a brisket. I knew we were going to have a lot of people at our apartment, so I wanted to find a recipe that wasn't too labor intensive and would allow me to make a large amount of food. I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen which is based off of an Emeril recipe. I loved the slow-cooker method. Here's my version - enjoy!

Serves 10-12 servings

3 large onions, sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (adjust to your heat preference)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups beef stock (unsalted or low salt)
1 cup ketchup*
1 cup chili sauce* (I used this random bottle of Shaw's chili sauce that I had. You could also use a can of tomato paste and a squirt or two or sriracha for a similar effect)
1 cup brown sugar
8 to 10 pound brisket
* If you are very strictly kosher for Passover you’ll want to find versions without corn syrup in them.

Prepare the sauce: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and sauté onions in vegetable oil, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and most of liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add halved garlic cloves and saute for 3 minutes more. Stir in spices and seasoning (paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne, oregano and thyme) and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together the beef stock, ketchup, chili sauce and brown sugar.

Place brisket in a slow cooker, spread onion mixture over the top, then pour sauce mixture over the entire dish. Cover with the lid and cook it on LOW for 9-10 hours.

When the brisket is cooked but still hot, use a spoon to scrape off any large fat deposits adhered to the top and bottom of the brisket. (This part is easiest to do when hot. The sauce will be de-fatted after it has chilled.)

If your slow cooker has a removable inner dish, take that out of the slow cooker and put it into the fridge. Alternately, you can transfer the brisket and all of its sauce to a baking dish. Chill entire dish in the fridge for several hours and up to one day; this resting time will significantly enhance the flavor and texture of the meat.

You can reheat the brisket either in the oven or in the slow cooker. Deb from Smitten Kitchen reheated hers in the oven, but I decided to make this a real one-pot meal and reheat it in the slow cooker. If you're using the slow cooker, remove the dish from the fridge two hours in advance. If you're using the oven, remove the dish One hour before you’re ready to serve it and preheat the oven to 300°F.

Remove all of the fat that has solidified with a slotted spoon for a less oily finish. Carefully remove the meat from its sauce and place on a large cutting board. Cut the brisket into 1/2-inch slices. I had some trouble keeping my slices intact - I guess my brisket was just too tender :-).

If you like a smoother sauce, you can either run it through a blender or stick an immersion blender into the sauce.

Carefully place the sliced meat (moving it in large sections with a spatula helps keep it together) back into the sauce and spoon the sauce over the meat. Replace the lid or cover the dish tightly with foil and reheat in the slow cooker or oven until it is bubbling at the edges — this usually takes up to to 30 minutes in the oven and 75 minutes in the slow cooker on high.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Turkey & Beef Meatballs

I usually don't eat meatballs when we go out because they have pork in them, so Charlie and I decided to make our own with ground turkey and ground beef. They're a bit labor intensive because you have to form each individual meatball, but it's so worth it! These were delicious. We actually preferred them without red sauce because it kind of masked the rich flavor of the meatballs - but both ways work well!

This recipe is adapted from this recipe in October's Bon Appetit magazine by Molly Wizenberg (just the meatballs, not the sauce).

Makes 6 main-course servings

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French or country-style bread (a few days old is best)
1/3 cup milk
8 ounces ground beef (10-15% fat)
8 ounces ground turkey (not ground turkey breast)
1 cup finely ground Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup onion, finely diced

Combine breadcrumbs and milk in small bowl; stir until breadcrumbs are evenly moistened. Let stand 10 minutes.

Place beef and turkey in large bowl and gently break up into small chunks. Add Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Whisk eggs to blend in small bowl; whisk in garlic and onion. Add to meat mixture.

Using hands, squeeze milk from breadcrumbs. Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture. Quickly and gently mix meat mixture just until all ingredients are evenly combined (do not overmix). Chill mixture at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Moisten hands (Molly suggests using reserved milk from breadcrumbs, but water also worked well), then roll meat mixture between palms into golf-ball-size balls, occasionally moistening hands as needed. You can then cook the meatballs in one of three ways:
1. Heat a large pot of sauce on the stove. Arrange meatballs in single layer in sauce in pot. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Pan fry in a hot skillet, turning every 3-4 minutes, until cooked through and browned on all sides.
3. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.

Serve with pasta or plain! With or without sauce! On pizza! So many options. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for about a week.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fig Crumb Cake

This cake is pretty to look at, easy to make, and it tastes like the perfect coffee cake. Recipe modified from "Valley Fig Growers."

Crumb Topping:

2/3 cup white flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ c. chopped nuts (preferably toasted)

½ c. oats

1t. cinnamon

dash of salt
1/3 cup mix of butter, canola oil, margarine, etc.

Fig mixture:

3/4 cup finely chopped dry figs, stems removed
1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter/oil/margarine mixture

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream (I used no-fat sour cream)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray 9-inch springform pan or equivalent.


§ In food processor, combine all dry ingredients.

§ Add butter/oil and process until crumbly.


§ Mix figs, pecans/walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.


§ Mix flour, baking powder, soda and salt and sugar.

§ Gradually add butter/oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.


§ Stir 1 cup batter into fig mixture.

§ Spoon plain batter in bottom of pan.

§ Spoon small mounds of fig batter on plain batter; spread as best you can to make an even layer.

§ Sprinkle crumb topping over top.

§ Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until done.

§ If the top is done cooking and the cake isn’t done cooking, cover the cake with a loose aluminum foil tent.

Be careful – the bottom of this cake burns easily


This soup is the ultimate comfort food. The recipe is modified from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Soups


1 pound carrots, peeled & cut into chunks

a few potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 large onion, cut into chunks

5 garlic cloves, peeled

2-4T olive oil

salt & pepper

2 thyme sprigs or 1-2T dry thyme

1 bay leaf

1 quart vegetable or chicken (or turkey) stock or water

OPTIONAL: cream, milk, sour cream, creme fraiche, soy sauce, minced parsley, minced basil


Preheat oven to 425


Toss the vegetables with olive oil and season with 1/2t. salt & some pepper.

Put them in a large backing dish with thyme, bay leaf and garlic, and roast until tender and glazed, about 1 hour, turning 2-3 times.

NOTE: Don't worry about burning the vegies!


Transfer the vegetables to a soup pot, add the stock, and bring to a boil.

Simmer until carrots & potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.

Puree with immersion blender or in food processor until smooth.

Return the puree to the pot, season with salt & pepper.


I added about 2T soy sauce and ½ cup whole milk.

You can add cream or swirl with sour cream or crème fraiche.

If you like, garnish with fresh parsley or basil.