Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

No Refined Sugar Apple Cranberry Sauce

November 18, 2013

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I love cranberry sauce, but I don’t love the massive amount of sugar that goes into it. My solution was to offset the tartness of the cranberries with sweet fruits.

My first attempt involved cooking the cranberries with orange juice and a super sweet apple. The cranberry sauce was almost, but not quite sweet enough. I needed to add a small amount of sweetener to take the edge off the tartness.

For my next attempt, I used white grape juice and golden raisins. That did the trick. The apples, golden raisins and white grape juice add sweetness without changing the taste of the cranberries.

If you puree this, the texture, from the apple, becomes something between applesauce and cranberry sauce.

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Chanukah Hush Puppies

November 18, 2013

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A popular theme for Chanukah this year is “Food that is Thanksgiving-ish or Autumnal but still recognizable as Chanukah fare.” Put another way, the question is: What Thanksgiving food can be fried as latkes or sufganiyot?

I offer you hush puppies. It is fried–perfect for Chanukah. It is a traditional recipe from the American South that is a twist on cornbread, a Thanksgiving classic. Basically, hush puppies are mini latkes made from cornbread batter. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that hush puppies are to cornbread what latkes are to kugel.

Why hush puppies are not more popular (outside the South) I will never understand. They are, according to one journalist, “the best fried food in existence.” Hush puppies may be ready to have their moment, though. The New York Times just featured an article about quinoa hush puppies, as served at Market Table. I wouldn’t be shocked if the NYT quinoa hush puppies recipe makes the rounds for Chanukah.

There are a lot of stories about how Hush Puppies got their name. A popular story is that hush puppies were made from cornmeal leftover from frying fish and thrown to the dogs to quiet them.

My husband was reminiscing recently how his mother would make little latkes from matzoh meal/breadcrumbs and egg that was leftover from breading something for frying. I’ve done that, too. You don’t want to throw away the extra egg and breading, right?

That is kind of what hush puppies taste like, those little breading latkes, but there are also little bits of onion, like with potato latkes. Actually, they also kind of remind me of falafel, but cornbread flavored, of course.

Traditionally, hush puppies are served with fried fish and tartar sauce, but I am not such a fan of dipping deep-fried food into a fat-based sauce. I think the hush puppies taste nice by themselves or served with cranberry applesauce.

But serving hush puppies with a rich sauce is apparently the norm. Curious whether anyone else is serving hush puppies for Chanukah, I came across an article about Amanda Cohen chef/owner of Dirt Candy in New York City. Apparently, Dirt Candy has a super popular appetizer consisting of hush puppies with a side of maple Dijon butter. Market Table offers a spicy aioli to go with the quinoa hush puppies, which is a mayo-based sauce. If that appeals to you, follow the links to get the Maple Dijon Butter and Chili Aioli sauce recipes.

There are lots of recipes for hush puppies, but I offer you the recipe I have been making for many years, which comes right off the side of a bag of Indian Head cornmeal.

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Farro Salad with Mushrooms and Green Beans

June 2, 2013

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I have been wanting to experiment with farro for quite some time. Of course, when I finally found some farro in the supermarket, I couldn’t remember where I had seen interesting recipes using it.

I wanted a cold farro salad for Shabbos, preferably using the green beans and cremini mushrooms I already had on hand.  A little googling yielded not one, but two Green Bean and Mushroom Farro salad recipes (Closet Cooking and Melissa Kelley in Food and Wine). I went with the recipe that called for roasting the green beans and mushrooms and made a few changes (doubling the amount of mushrooms and roasting the vegetable with balsamic vinaigrette instead of just oil, salt and pepper).

The final salad was intensely savory, with a satisfyingly hearty chewiness from the farro, string beans and mushrooms. The bitterness and crunch of walnuts added a nice counterpoint, but the salad works without the nuts, too.

This is meant to be served cold, but it would also be lovely as a warm pilaf. If you don’t have farro, I think that barley would make a decent substitute, as it has a similar texture. This is something I would definitely consider making for Thanksgiving, as the flavor combination makes me think of the classic green bean casserole.

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Latest Best Corn Muffins Ever

November 21, 2012

Give me 22 minutes, and I’ll give you a dozen of the best corn muffins you have ever tasted. Sweet and moist, with a maple-ey note that makes you think of corn pancakes drenched in syrup. This recipe originally appeared in Good Housekeeping at the request of a reader who had tasted them at Heathcote Tavern in Scarsdale, New York.

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Pumpkin Bars with Streusel Crust

November 20, 2012

Having turned my pecan pie into bar cookies, I decided to do the same with my pumpkin pie. I used the same crust recipe as for the pecan bars, but used brown sugar and added in a little cinnamon to give the dough a streusel flavor.

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Maple Pecan Bars

November 20, 2012

Is it just me, or do you also find it next to impossible to find pareve deep dish pie crusts in the freezer section of the supermarket right before Thanksgiving? They are dairy, or the only crusts left are all broken, or something. Maybe I should have shopped earlier?

Homemade crusts are better, anyway, but I am so not in the mood to be rolling out crusts.

Fortunately, I remembered about my pecan bars. The crust is an easy press-in dough and, when all is said and done, you end up with forty bars, which is a bigger serving yield than you would get from a pie anyway. Isn’t it easier to platter and serve bar cookies than pie? Most people want just a nibble after all that heavy food.

And these pecan bars are exceptional, with a perfect balance of nuts, maple brown sugar goo and crust.

See, it turned out for the best. Who needs frozen pie crusts? Not me.

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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Five Grain Pilaf and Tempeh

October 22, 2012

This would be a great thing to serve to vegans on Thanksgiving: it looks festive, has seasonal fall flavors, and is a filling meat-free main dish.

I used a grain mix, but you could use any single grain you like. The idea is simple: saute onion and garlic with some diced tempeh. Add seasonings and fold in cooked grain. While you are doing all this, let acorn squash roast until tender and then stuff it with the pilaf. That’s it.

It is actually not so complicated to make, so it is a nice weekday vegan supper, too. I brought some to Leora, and she says I should mention that she really liked it. A lot. My husband liked it so much that he wants it added to the regular rotation, and he is more a meat and potatoes type of eater than a fan of vegan cuisine. Which is a way of saying that this dish pleases the health conscious but also has that crucial mainstream crossover appeal.

The combination of grains, vegetables and seasonings is unusually savory. What I especially like is the way that the tempeh seamlessly blends in with the other ingredients. Tempeh can sometimes be a bit of a tough sell–this recipe has a great chance of converting the tempeh suspicious.

The Kosher Connection, an informal group of creative kosher food bloggers from all around the world, proudly present the first kosher recipe challenge.  Each month we will present you with recipes on a different theme from all the kosher food bloggers.

This month is root vegetables!  Follow our recipes on Twitter with #KosherRecipes.



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Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrots with Dried Cranberries

June 27, 2012

This is a fusion of a recipe from Ina Garten for roasted butternut squash and one from The New Elegant but Easy Cookbook for Agata and Valentina’s Sicilian Carrots (see the Agata and Valentina website for a picture of the recipe made with sliced carrots and this post at The Wash Family Cookbook for a picture of the recipe made with baby carrots).

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Chestnut Pistachio Terrine (vegetarian and kosher for Passover)

April 5, 2012

Most likely, if you have vegetarians coming to your seder, you have already figured out what you are serving them. But, if you are a last minute kind of person, this nut loaf will be a good addition to your seder table.

It is good served cold with some tangy sauce on the side, like duck sauce.

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Perfect Pumpkin Bread

January 24, 2012

This is the pumpkin bread recipe you need. Sweet and moist, but not too sweet, spicy, but not overbearingly so–this irresistible pumpkin bread has been winning accolades for my mom. She made it for Thanksgiving, and it was a huge success. So much so that my mom decided to bake it for other occasions.  Now, she is asked to bring it all the time and it is rapidly becoming a signature dessert.

The recipe comes from Lunch ‘Til Four, a cookbook put together by the sisterhood of Young Israel of West Hempstead. This cookbook, incidentally, is full of wonderful recipes. One of the recipe contributors is Michele Friedman, the author of Chef’s Confidential.

This pumpkin bread is almost exactly the same as Irene’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, except that Irene uses allspice instead of nutmeg and 12 ounces of chocolate chips instead of nuts and raisins. Plus, Irene uses a slightly different mixing method, adding the sugar to the dry ingredients.

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