Monday, December 9, 2013

matzoh ball stir fry

A (very rough) recipe for a strange thing I made for dinner tonight that turned out to be totally delicious. I've been eating matzoh ball soup for a couple of days now, and still have lots of ingredients left, but I'm sick of it. Jackie suggested making a stir-fry for dinner. Here's the franken-food that resulted. It took about ten minutes and made two portions.

2 large carrots, chopped into chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup sesame ginger dressing or stir-fry sauce of your choice
matzoh balls (Joan Nathan's recipe is easy and obviously excellent)
chopped green onions
sriracha sauce

Heat the oil in a wok and add the carrots. Cook over medium-high heat until they start to soften, then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for another minute or so, then add the sauce.

When the sauce is heated, stir in the chicken. Keep cooking until everything is hot and the chicken has soaked up some of the sauce.

Serve with matzoh balls, topped with sriracha and green onions.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

pesto two ways

I made spinach pesto ages ago, and it was fabulous. But today I made a more traditional version for the first time. And promptly decided to put it on everything I eat for the next week. Possibly including my Thanksgiving pie. Hopefully there will be more pictures to come. The first variation uses spaghetti squash, which I've been rather addicted to this autumn. The second puts the pesto in a creamy sauce over pasta. To my surprise and delight, coconut milk makes an even richer and more dreamy sauce than the usual cream.

Basic Pesto Recipe

2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts (because pine nuts are way expensive. but use those if you want.)
3 cloves garlic
a bit of salt to taste
1/2 cup good olive oil

Put the first four ingredients (adjust proportions according to taste, whim, or contents of your pantry) in your food processor. Turn it on, and slowly pour the olive oil in through the lid.

Variation one:

Inspired by my go-to spaghetti squash recipe, courtesy of Big Girls Small Kitchen.

1 medium-size spaghetti squash
1 cup pesto
4 oz ricotta cheese

Roast and gut the spaghetti squash (The Kitchn does a good job of explaining how to do that.) and pat the innards with a kitchen towel to remove extra moisture. Mix in the pesto and most of the ricotta. Transfer to a baking dish, dot the top with the rest of the ricotta, and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes until the top starts to brown (you can skip the broiler if you're in a hurry, but it's worth it if you have time).

Variation two:

Pictured above. Inspired by the Silver Palate pasta with pesto recipe and The Rising Spoon.

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup pesto
2 teaspoons crushed pepper
salt to taste
1/2 lb pasta
parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta, drain, and set aside. Return the pot to the stove on medium-low heat. Melt the butter in it, then whisk in the coconut milk. Stir in the pesto, crushed pepper, and salt, and continue heating until the mixture is hot but not boiling. Stir in the pasta. Top with parmesan.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Strawberry Scones

"She said that you were a Mr. Hottie...ness. And that she would like 
to go out with you for... texting and scones." - The Doctor

That quote has nothing to do with anything except that it mentions scones and is incredibly amusing to me because I am a dork.

I was all excited to make these crumpets, but then realized I don't have any cookie/biscuit cutters in which to cook them... but I'd gotten a request for another batch of honey butter and something to spread it on. Therefore scones. (That's kind of a wonderful sentence fragment, I think. Therefore scones.)

Recipe adapted from here.

6 Tbsp cold butter
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
2-3 large strawberries, chopped into small bits

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Chop the butter into small pieces and return it to the refrigerator.

Sift the flour, 3 Tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Make a well in the middle and pour in the cream and eggs. Stir gently until it almost hangs together. Add the strawberries (this adds a little more moisture--add some flour if it's too much) and stir until the mixture forms a dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and pat into a round, then press down until it's about 1-1 1/2 inches thick. Brush the top liberally with cream. Use a large knife to cut the circle into eight pieces. Sprinkle with another couple tablespoons of sugar.

Transfer to a baking sheet, placing the scones at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they're turning golden brown on top. Serve with butter or jam.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

couscous salad

This might be my family's ultimate recipe, and I've made it dozens of times, but I've never blogged it because I never remember to take a photo (as with everything else that languishes in draft posts). The other day, however, I had the terrifying experience of realizing that I'd somehow lost the recipe (or perhaps Gmail couldn't resist swallowing it). Luckily, I'd shared it around to a bunch of friends and one of them was able to swoop in and save me. Be warned: this recipe makes a party-sized quantity of food.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups Moroccan-style couscous
1 large tomato, chopped and drained*
1/3 cup minced green onions
1/3 cup minced black olives
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup crumbled feta**
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
pepper to taste

Bring the broth to a boil, stir in couscous. Remove from the heat and let sit for five minutes. Stir and transfer to a large bowl. Let it cool while you chop the vegetables.

Add the onions, olives, cilantro, and pine nuts. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the couscous, then mix through with a large spoon. Add the feta and pine nuts and mix again. Let the salad sit for an hour (or overnight) in the fridge. Serve with pita. Or a big spoon.

* I'm not a fan of raw tomatoes, so I usually use a red bell pepper or sun-dried tomatoes.
** Totally optional. If you leave it out (and are careful with your vegetable broth), this dish is vegan. You can also leave it on the side for people to add to their own plates.


This recipe came from my mother's cousin Zsuzsi, who learned it from my grandmother. The baffling way the original was written confirms that it is indeed an "old family recipe." To my delight, they came out tasting almost exactly like I remember them from my childhood.

Fasírozott (Hungarian Hamburger Patties)

1 1/2 lbs mixed ground meat (pork/beef/veal)
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp paprika (1 sweet, 1 hot, or however you prefer)
5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 small white onion, grated or minced
1 tbsp flour
pepper to taste
3 thick slices white bread
2 eggs

Soak the bread in a shallow bowl of water for a few minutes, then wring it out and put the mush in the bottom of a large bowl. Mix in the meat, salt, paprika, garlic, onion, flour, and pepper.

Lightly beat the eggs and mix into the meat. Form small patties, about 2" across, and coat in breadcrumbs.

Either fry for 5 minutes on each side or bake in a 350ºF oven for 25-35 minutes until the meat is cooked through, flipping over for the last 10.

The recipe makes about two dozen patties. You can also bake some and then refrigerate the leftover meat mixture for a few days. Or do what my grandmother did and prep the patties, breadcrumbs and all, on a baking sheet, then cover with wax paper and foil and freeze until you want to bake them. If only we all had that kind of freezer space.

Best leftover trick: crumble/smoosh one patty onto a tortilla, top with cheese and hot sauce, cook as a quesadilla. Seriously addictive.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

artichoke and roasted garlic dip

This stuff is so good that I couldn't even get a picture before people swarmed in and ate it. I found this recipe while trying to think of something to do with roasted garlic that was not 'eat it with a spoon because it's magically delicious.' Original is here, but I modified it quite a bit.

Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Dip

2 heads garlic
olive oil
1 can artichoke hearts, diced
2-4 green onions, sliced thin
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2-2/3 cup sharp cheddar (or similar)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon whole-seed mustard
1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup panko
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Slice the top 1/2 inch or so off the heads of garlic, and discard any loose bits of peel. Put the garlic on a square of tin foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Loosely wrap the foil around the garlic and bake for about an hour or until the cloves are soft and mushy. Be smarter than me and wait until they cool before squeezing the softened cloves out into a large mixing bowl.

Mix the artichokes, onions, cheeses, mayo, mustard, and sriracha in with the garlic, and add salt and pepper to your liking. Transfer to a baking dish. Mix the topping ingredients together and spread evenly over the dip.

Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes (depending on how deep your dish is), until the panko browns a bit and the edges of the dish are bubbling. Serve with baguette slices or crackers.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rosemary-Black Pepper Drop Biscuits

Round 2 of my bake-a-thon (unless you count the bread dough that is currently rising to be baked tomorrow, which I made after the almonds). Another Budget Bytes recipe, because she is my favorite. Original is here, as usual my changes involved upping the herbs and spices by quite a bit. I am pretty sure these are the first really good biscuits I've ever made. I'm a little speechless with their deliciousness.

Rosemary-Black Pepper Drop Biscuits

2 cups flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried or fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp sugar
about 1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, pepper, and rosemary in a large bowl.

Cut the butter into pieces and work it into the flour mixture, either with your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the whole thing is more or less the texture of sand (specifically the sand you'd find along the shore of Lake Erie, not that fine-grained ocean stuff...).

Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in 3/4 of a cup of the milk (I actually used half-and-half because I had it on hand, no problems so far). Mix the milk through the flour and butter, stirring as few times as possible but making sure everything is sticking together. Add a little more milk if you need it.

Use two big spoons to drop dollops of the batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. The recipe should make between 8 and 12, depending on how big you want them. Bake for 18-28 minutes, until the biscuits are brown on top. Serve immediately, or toast in the oven later. Slather with honey butter.*

* To make honey butter, let a stick of butter sit on the counter for half an hour and then use a fork or electric mixer to blend in 1/3 cup honey. Lick your fingers.

candied almonds

I've had a bag of almonds sitting around for months (pretty much since the original recipe was first published), but I finally had the type of free time where I decided that 'bake allllll the things' was the order of the day. Didn't change anything on this one except to double the cinnamon, because that's what I do.

Candied Almonds

1 lb shelled almonds (peels on, preferably)

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Mix the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl.

Separate the egg white from the yolk, and discard the latter (or save it for an omelette or something). Whisk the white in a large metal or glass bowl until it's entirely foam and no liquid. Add the vanilla and whisk a bit more.

Toss the almonds in the egg white until they're coated, then add the sugar mixture and stir through.

Spread the almonds on parchment paper or foil on a large baking sheet. They don't have to be spread evenly, but avoid big piles, as they'll stick together.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let the almonds cool for at least half an hour, and then stir again to break up clumps and shake off excess sugar.

Then hide them from yourself because otherwise you'll eat all of them.