Thursday, March 22, 2018

Some Simple And Fancy Ways Of Using Your Noodle(s)

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160104025700/http://articles.philly.com/1986-04-20/food/26078762_1_pasta-and-noodles-noodle-recipes-fresh-egg-pasta

Posted: April 20, 1986

Fresh homemade noodles are unquestionably one of the finest foods known to mankind. Silky and tender, delicate and flavorful, requiring no sauce beyond a light gilding of butter yet agreeable to the most elaborate embellishments, they are Hall of Famers for sure. And yet, you hardly ever see them. Why?

Because pasta covers the earth, that's why.

Commercially speaking, the difference between the two is that noodles must contain at least some egg, while pasta can be and usually is made only from hard wheat and water. Most homestyle pasta, on the other hand, whether northern Italian or Nouvelle American, is as eggy as the most unimpeachably Germanic nudel. The distinction between pasta and noodles in this case is largely one of nomenclature . . . until you get to the sauce.

Say "pasta" and one thinks of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and herbs, rich meats and strong cheeses. Say "noodles" and one conjures up, instead, buttered crumbs, nutmeg, sour cream, poppy seeds and cottage cheese, raisins and prunes, toasted almonds, vanilla and honey.

Though fresh egg pasta is more and more widely available and can be used in most noodle recipes, it still behooves the noodle-lover to start from scratch at home. Days-old noodles, even though not dried out, are already quite different from those cooked as soon as they are ready. Furthermore, eggs are still more costly than flour, and very few commercial fresh pastas are likely to contain the lavish number that distinguishes the finest noodles.

Last, though far from least, is the matter of flexibility. Homemade noodle dough can be rolled and cut into any size and shape, from tiny stars to shine in the soup to sheets big enough to make pies of, while the purchased sort comes only in ribbons.

Before you protest that you have none of the necessary equipment, reflect that for centuries, noodles were made by hand. First the dough was mixed and kneaded by hand, then a wooden pin was employed to roll it out. Many cookbooks would have you believe these operations are difficult, that unmechanized noodle-making is best left to skillful, experienced cooks.

What it is is time-consuming, particularly where large quantities are concerned. Even with the latest machinery, one might hesitate to make homemade noodles for a number of growing boys. If, on the other hand, you are only making a few portions, it's a piece of cake. This is especially true when you use a processor to make the dough, because arriving at the proper consistency is actually trickier than the rolling out. With the machine, it's effortless.

HOMEMADE NOODLES

1 1/2 cups bread flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 egg yolks

1 whole egg

Water

To mix by hand: Combine flour and salt. Make a ring of the mixture on the work table, leaving an opening about 4 inches broad in the middle. Spread a thin film of flour over the opening.

Beat yolks and egg until well mixed and pour them into the opening. Use a fork to gradually mix the flour into the center, pulling it in a little bit at a time. While mixing, use your other hand to keep the flour dam together so the liquid doesn't escape and run over the board.

Presently the thing will become dough. If it looks very dry, gradually sprinkle in water. Up to 3 tablespoons or so may be necessary, depending on the humidity, flour moisture, etc. The goal is a very firm, non-sticky, elastic dough, so go very lightly on the water. Knead until the dough is smooth, springy and shiny. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and set aside in a cool place for at least a half hour to rest. Dough may be kept, refrigerated, for up to a day.

To mix by machine: Combine flour and salt in a processor bowl fitted with a steel blade. Beat yolks and egg until well mixed, add them and process, pulsing the machine on and off, until a very stiff dough is formed. It may be necessary to add up to 3 tablespoons or so of water, depending on weather conditions and moisture content of flour. Proceed cautiously, to keep the dough firm and dry, but be sure the machine doesn't heat up the ingredients. As soon as the dough starts clinging to the blades, it's ready. Remove it, hand-knead briefly until it is smooth, springy and shiny, and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and set aside as described above.

To roll: Most machines come with instructions. To roll by hand, employ a lightly floured board and pin and thin slices of well-rested dough. When newly made, it is fiercely elastic, but it will spread speedily with only moderate pressure. If properly firm, the dough will require very little flour to keep from sticking. Keep turning it. Roll to about 1/16 inch or even paperier. Dry the sheets on a pasta drying rack or, for that truly homemade effect, over a length of waxed paper-protected clothesline strung between two chairs. They are ready to cut when leathery, in 15 to 30 minutes depending on humidity.

To cut noodles: Roll the semi-dried sheets loosely in jellyroll fashion, then slice on the diagonal with a sharp knife. Unroll the noodles and return them to the drying rack or spread them loosely on cookie sheets. They are ready to cook after about 10 minutes further drying. They should be firm but still leathery.

To boil homemade noodles: Boil like any other noodles, except remember that they will only take about five minutes to cook. They are much more delicate than the commercial variety; keep your eye on them so they don't turn to mush.

Makes about one pound, enough for four to six portions.

*

This dish is Germanic in simplicity, French in finesse. Though generally presented as a side dish with meat, it may be even better served solo, so the interplay of its subtle textures and flavors can be appreciated.

NOODLES ALSATIAN STYLE

1 batch homemade noodles (above)

4 to 6 tablespoons butter

Make the noodles as described above, rolling them a bit less than 1/16 inch thick and cutting them into ribbons roughly 1/4-inch wide. Take about a sixth of the total, cut them into small squares and set them aside. Cut the remaining noodles into 3-inch lengths.

Set a large kettle of water on to boil. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy skillet and add the small squares. Cook them over medium-low heat until they are richly browned and well toasted. Stir frequently. Remove toasted noodles with a slotted spoon to a plate. Do not drain them.

Slowly dribble the remaining noodles into the by-now boiling water, stir well and cook at a vigorous roll for about five minutes. Keep testing; they should be just a little more tender than firmly al dente spaghetti. Drain the noodles, rinse briefly with hot water and toss to dry.

Combine the boiled noodles with the butter the squares were fried in and stir well. Add as much of the remaining 2 tablespoons butter as is needed to lubricate attractively. Turn into a warmed serving dish, top with the fried noodle squares and serve at once. Salt and pepper should be on the table, though many will find the salt in the butter enough.

Makes four servings.

Usually, sweet noodles mean noodle pudding, an old European favorite. It's custard, basically, with raisins and noodles and - like rice pudding - cannot help but be more than a tad on the stodgy side. A nice alternative is to make sweet little dumplings and serve them hot with melted butter, custard sauce or a mixture of half sweet, half sour cream, topped, for crunch, with buttered crumbs, toasted nuts or both. They should, of course, follow a fairly light meal and are nice for supper all by themselves when the day has been hectic and lunch large.

FAVORITE SWEET NOODLES

1/2 batch noodle dough (above)

1/2 cup filling (below)

1 beaten egg white

Make dough as described above, patting the ball into a square for resting so the slices when rolled (1/16 inch thick) will make rectangles. Cut the dough into strips about 2 inches wide and put scant teaspoon-sized dollops of filling at regular intervals, leaving wide margins on all sides.

Paint a square of beaten egg white around each dollop of filling and apply a second strip of dough. Press firmly and cut apart into individual units. Press again to be sure they are well sealed, then set to dry on wax-paper- lined cookie sheets.

To cook, slip gently, a few at a time, into a big kettle of boiling water. They'll take about 10 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Drain carefully, tipping them slowly into the colander and remembering not to bounce them around. Rinse briefly with hot water and serve at once in heated bowls.

Makes two dozen dumplings.

For the fillings: Any thick jam is good, such as apricot. You can also use the dark Hungarian prune butter, called Lekvar, available packaged in specialty stores. Here are recipes for two other fillings.

POPPY SEED

1/2 cup poppy seeds, crushed

1/4 cup cream

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dry cake or cookie crumbs

Combine poppy seeds and cream and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Stir in honey and crumbs.

CHEESE AND RAISIN

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 or 3 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon beaten egg

1 teaspoon vanilla or rum

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (thin outer peel)

Mix all ingredients and let rest 15 minutes before using.


There's More Than Just Matzo

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160104031654/http://articles.philly.com/1986-04-20/food/26078717_1_matzo-passover-potato-starch Posted: April 20, 1986

When it comes to Passover, there's often a week's eating of kugels, knaidlach and blintzes. There's also a hefty amount of matzo thrown in - sweet with strawberry jam and satin-slathered with butter.

This year, the Jewish festival of Passover begins on the evening of April 23 with the seder (ceremonial dinner). All dishes are carefully prepared with foods that are kosher for Passover.

Just one mouthful of these festive foods tempts and entices, and, as with any other holiday, we often eat too much. The overeating is compounded by the nature of the holiday's traditional dishes, which tend to be on the heavy side because of the dietary laws for Passover cooking.

Keeping "kosher for Passover" takes on an expanded meaning from keeping kosher throughout the rest of the year. Matzo must be eaten instead of bread, and no food may be eaten that contains any raising agent or leavening - contributing to heavy textures - although eggs may be used.

Grain or cereal products and derivatives of those foods may not be used. That means oil or margarine made from corn may not be used. And for cooking and baking, potato starch and matzo meal or matzo-cake meal is substituted for flour and such. Legumes such as peas, beans, corn and rice are not used, although some Sephardic Jews do allow rice to be eaten.

So after the seder, what can you serve during the remainder of the eight- day holiday so that meals are not overly matzo-laden? It's really not so difficult. Passover comes at a time of new crops of fruits and vegetables. There's also a huge variety of processed foods that are kosher for Passover (all clearly marked). But most important, year-round recipes can be adapted so they are acceptable.

For a seasoned "crumb" coating mix, combine matzo meal, salt and pepper; matzo-cake meal can be used to bake cakes and cookies; potato starch thickens a gravy; margarine is available for pareve recipes (thoses dishes that can be served with meat or dairy dishes), and there is peanut or cottonseed oil that is kosher for Passover. There is even an onion-soup mix made kosher for Passover. Plus, stiffly beaten egg whites or eggs will help lighten cakes and fresh fruits, and vegetables can play a major role in menu planning.

So there's no reason to lack variety in Passover eating. Meals can be as varied and exciting as at any other time of the year. Here are some recipes to add a new dimension to this very special festival.

PASSOVER BLINTZES STUFFED WITH

FRESH SPINACH AND CHEESE

For the blintzes:

3 eggs

1 1/3 cups water

6 tablespoons potato starch

2 tablespoons matzo-cake meal

1 tablespoon oil

Oil for frying

For the filling:

8 ounces farmer's cheese

1/2 cup small-curd cottage cheese

3 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 cup finely shredded fresh spinach, uncooked

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

4 to 5 grinds fresh black pepper

In medium-size bowl, beat together eggs, water, potato starch, matzo cake meal and oil until mixture is well blended.

Lightly oil bottom and sides of heavy 5-to-6-inch skillet. Heat over medium heat, and when hot, pour three tablespoons of batter into skillet. (Stir batter often; potato starch tends to settle and separate mixture.) Rotate pan so that bottom is coated evenly. Cook until batter is set, two to three minutes.

Invert skillet over clean cloth - blintz leaf will fall cooked side up. Continue making blintz leaves until all batter is used. Set aside while preparing filling.

In bowl, combine farmer's cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, spinach, nutmeg and pepper.

To assemble, place heaping tablespoon of filling in center of blintz leaf. Fold sides of blintzes over filling, and roll up so filling is sealed. Repeat with remaining blintzes and filling.

Pour about one-quarter cup oil in large skillet. Brown blintzes over medium heat, sealed edges down first. Serve hot.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Note: For fresh strawberry blintzes, combine one pint fresh sliced strawberries, one-half cup cookie crumbs and one tablespoon sour cream. Spread thin layer of honey over each blintz leaf, and top with strawberry mixture. Fold and cook as above.

STUFFED GREEN PEPPERS

4 medium green peppers

1 egg

1 cup parsley with stems

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

1/2 cup matzo meal

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup raisins

Tomato-horseradish sauce (see note below)

Cut 1/2-inch slice from top of each green pepper. Remove seeds and white membranes, and plunge peppers into boiling water for one minute to blanch. Drain and set aside.

In food processor, place egg, parsley and onion and chop finely. Add matzo meal, salt and pepper and ground beef, and combine.

Turn into bowl, and mix in raisins. Stuff green peppers with filling. Set in baking dish (8 by 8 inches is a good size), and pour tomato-horseradish sauce over. Cover lightly with sheet of foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours, basting occasionally, or until meat is cooked.

Makes four servings.

Note: To make tomato-horseradish sauce, combine one 16-ounce can tomato sauce with two tablespoons prepared horseradish.

*

For the following recipe, use the less expensive pink salmon rather than the red sockeye. Tuna or any cooked fish may be substituted.

SALMON PATTIES

1 16-ounce can salmon, drained

1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup oil for frying

In large bowl, place drained salmon. Remove any large bones. Mash finely with fork, and add egg, mashed potatoes, parsley, lemon juice and pepper. Chill mixture for 15 minutes. Shape into patties about the size of a hamburger, and coat with matzo meal.

Pour oil into large skillet. Heat over medium heat. Fry patties for three to four minutes on each side until nicely brown. Drain on paper towels.

Makes eight servings.

This vegetable spread could be called a vegetable charoseth (traditionally a mixture of apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon that symbolizes the clay used for brickmaking by the Jews in Egypt).

VEGETABLE SPREAD

3 carrots, scraped

1/2 sweet red pepper

1 stalk celery

1/2 cup walnuts, shelled

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon rind

2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

In food processor, chop together carrots, red pepper, celery and walnuts to coarse consistency. Add ginger, lemon rind and enough mayonnaise to hold mixture together. Chill and serve with matzos.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

ISRAELI MEAT PIE

4 whole plain matzos

1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small celeriac (celery root), grated

2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 eggs, beaten

1 to 2 tablespoons oil for brushing

In deep dish, soak matzos in warm water for two to three minutes. They should be soft but not breaking. Place on paper towels to drain.

In large skillet, brown ground beef, draining off any fat. Add onion, celeriac, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for four to five minutes. Do not let onion brown. Set aside.

Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, and place two drained matzos to cover bottom. Spread meat mixture over, and top with tomatoes. Beat eggs with fork until frothy, and pour over tomatoes. Arrange remaining matzos on top to form crust.

Brush with oil, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until egg layer is firm and pie is heated through. Let cool for five to 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

Makes six servings.

Here is a Passover version of the Commissary Carrot Cake. For a pareve cake, do not frost.

PASSOVER CARROT CAKE

For the cake:

1 1/4 cups oil

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups matzo-cake meal

1/4 cup potato starch

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 cups grated carrots (about 1 pound)

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raisins

5 eggs, separated

For the frosting:

1/4 pound (1 stick) sweet butter, softened

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 10-inch tube-cake pan.

Into very large mixing bowl, measure oil and sugar and mix well with wooden spoon. Add cake meal, potato starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, carrots, walnuts, raisins and egg yolks. Stir to mix well.

In separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. All white traces should disappear. Turn into prepared cake pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick placed into the cake comes out clean. Cool upright in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan and frost.

To make frosting, cream butter and cream cheese in small mixer bowl until fluffy. Add honey, and beat well. If frosting is too soft to spread, chill for half-hour before using.

Makes 16 to 20 servings.


Coleslaw: The Salad Specialty Just Right For Summer Meals

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150914233536/http://articles.philly.com/1986-07-06/food/26096654_1_dressing-coleslaw-cabbage Posted: July 06, 1986

Culinary logic and an appreciation for the appropriate suggest that coleslaw should be a winter specialty, winter being the season when cabbage is at its best. But as soon as swift shipping and cold storage made it a summer possibility, custom made it a summer staple, and though slaw is actually a salad that knows no season, it's a safe bet that far more of it will be forked down on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day than was ever consumed on a Christmas Day.

The incongruity of the cabbage aside, this makes a lot of sense. For one thing, the stuff is durable, not only OK when prepared in advance but generally improved by a bit of marination. Furthermore, it is compact. Ten portions of coleslaw take up a lot less than 10 portions of green salad, an important consideration when the refrigerator is full of beer and watermelon. Finally, it's tidy, easy to eat at picnics, barbecues and other informal occasions - no flapping leaves, no drippy dressing, no elusive, unspearable cherry tomatoes to careen off the plate into Aunt Maude's decolletage.

When you add to these advantages the fact that it's almost impossible to make bad coleslaw and almost impossible to spend much time making it, well, no wonder it's just about the national salad.

Coleslaw's history in America dates back at least to the 18th century. Most authorities describe it as a Dutch import, the name coming from the New World Dutch kool sla (or slaa), which translates to cabbage salad. Food historians John and Karen Hess, on the other hand, point out (in The Taste of America) that "cole" is old English for cabbage (whence we get "cole crops" to describe the whole family from broccoli to kale) and that cabbage is kohl in German. They state flatly that "slaw is a simple corruption of salad."

Authorities do, however, agree that the original dressing was not mayonnaise but what is classically called "boiled dressing" - a cooked mixture of vinegar, seasonings and eggs that often includes milk, cream or sour cream as well. In the hands of unskilled cooks, boiled dressing can be floury, sour and lumpy, and it seems to have seldom been seasoned with the herbs, garlic or onions that we have come to associate with salad. The eminent food writer M.F.K. Fisher called it "dreadful stuff - enough to harm one's soul."

Sometime around the mid-1800s, coleslaw began being called "cold slaw," a change that can be attributed only to mis-hearing, since the salad was often served immediately after having been mixed with the hot dressing. It wasn't until somewhat later that unthickened dressings began to appear, such as this one from The Country Kitchen (1916) "Plain Cold Slaw: Chop a cabbage very fine, add salt; a cup of sugar and good cider vinegar and water in equal parts, to cover."

Commercial mayonnaise manufacture began in 1912 and mayonnaise-based dressing rapidly replaced boiled dressing except in old-fashioned households, particularly those in the Midwest. Vinaigrette-style has never really taken hold, though slaws so dressed do enjoy great popularity in some places, parts of the South and the Southwest especially. Pineapple, raisins, nuts and marshmallows are not, by the way, an inspiration of the 1950s. They were already showing up in salads of all sorts, including coleslaw, when the '20s began to roar.

*

In the following recipe, a brief salt bath tempers the strength of cold- storage cabbage while moderating the heat of chili peppers, while the dressing is influenced (mildly) by Oriental sauces for cold noodles. Don't be alarmed by the peanut butter; most people won't be able to tell what makes the dressing seem so smooth and rich yet scarcely be there. Though peanut butter is a high-calorie item, there isn't much of it here, and the finished slaw is less fattening than most.

A SLAW FOR OUR TIME

1 medium-sized head firm green cabbage, about 2 pounds

2 medium-sized bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green

1 medium-sized onion

1 or 2 long hot fresh green peppers, cayenne type, enough to make 2 or 3 tablespoons prepared

2 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted chunky peanut butter (pure, all-peanut type)

A 1/2-inch cube of peeled fresh ginger (measured after peeling)

2 medium-sized cloves garlic

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Remove the coarse outer leaves and core from the cabbage, then chop into small pieces - not too fine, about one-third-inch square. A processor works fine as long as you don't let it get carried away. Chop bell peppers and onion to the same size. Remove all but about one-quarter teaspoon of the hot pepper's seeds, then chop the peppers a bit smaller than the other vegetables. The object is a gentle heat, not a roaring fire.

Combine the prepared vegetables in a large bowl with the salt, stir thoroughly, and allow to sit for an hour or so at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Turn the mixture into a colander or large strainer and drain, pressing, stirring, and pressing again so as much juice as possible will be removed.

Make the dressing. Put the peanut butter in a small bowl, position a grate over it and grate in the ginger and garlic, using the small (one-eighth inch) round holes. You should get thin shreds, not crumbs. Add sugar, and stir well. Stir in the lime juice and soy, then enough water to make a dressing the texture of mayonnaise - about two tablespoons. The amount will seem scant but it will be enough.

Combine the dressing with the salad, let it marinate 20 minutes or so, then taste. Depending on the thoroughness of the draining, it may actually need salt. Depending on what the slaw will be served with, you may also want a bit of sourness; but be careful not to upset the subtle balance that distinguishes this version of the old favorite. It's particularly nice with grilled fish. Makes six to eight servings.


At This Bakery, Keeping Kosher Is No Blarney

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150430110025/http://articles.philly.com/1987-03-11/food/26219063_1_cream-cheese-leprechaun-irish-soda-bread Posted: March 11, 1987

The leprechaun of Castor Avenue, unlike the wee people fabled in Irish song and poetry, is not a shoemaker. He's a baker.

And this week, if you get up early enough and sneak into his bakery, you will see the leprechaun of Castor Avenue busy at work, making hamantashen.

Yes, hamantashen. Hamantashen, if you're not familiar with them, are triangle-shaped, sweet-filled pastries eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which this year starts Saturday night.

Our leprechaun, better known as Mike Ryan, is an expert when it comes to making hamantashen. And well he should be, for he has been doing it for 15 years.

Ryan is the owner of Michael's Bakery, 6635 Castor Ave., which he has operated since 1976. And he is proud to say that he has one of the few kosher bakeries in the area.

So what's a nice Irish boy doing owning and running a Jewish bakery? A kosher one at that?

"Actually, it all goes back about 15 years," says Ryan, smiling an impish grin and sporting a T-shirt with a green leprechaun superimposed over a green shamrock. "I was a product supervisor for the Bond bread company, and my wife was expecting twins. I figured that I better go get a part-time job."

What Ryan did was apply for a job at what was then called Lipton's Bakery. Ryan and the Lipton family became friends.

"I was 26 years old and had worked for them for four years on a part-time basis. Then the owner, Ben Lipton, got sick and asked me to take over the business. I thought, 'You've got to be kidding me.' But he taught me the kosher line and he taught me how to bake. He helped me out and did everything he possibly could do for me. All of a sudden, I was in business."

Ryan took over the bakery March 21, 1976, just four days after St. Patrick's Day. When St. Patrick's Day rolled around the following year, however, Mike couldn't resist. He made 15 dozen green bagels. They were such a big hit that he now makes about 300 dozen green bagels each year - plus green cream cheese to go with them.

"The first couple of years, we didn't make the cream cheese," Ryan said. ''Then, all of a sudden, everybody said, 'Where's the cream cheese?' so we dyed the cream cheese green and sold them in these attractive containers."

Although Michael's Bakery is not the only kosher bakery in the Philadelphia area, it's got to be the only one that makes green bagels and green cream cheese for St. Patrick's Day and simultaneously services 17 synagogues.

This year, Purim and St. Patrick's Day are only three days apart, so Ryan is busy gearing up for both.

For St. Patrick's Day - the feast of the man who was the second bishop of the Emerald Isle - Ryan's place takes on an ecumenical appearance. His ovens are busy turning out cupcakes decorated with leprechauns, Irish soda bread and various baked goods laced with such Irish decorations as shamrocks and Erin Go Bragh flags.

Purim is the celebration commemorating a Jewish victory that took place more than 23 centuries ago. Under Persian domination, the Jewish people were threatened with annihilation when an evil chamberlain, Haman, devised a plot to kill them. The victory over Haman is celebrated with the reading of the scroll of Esther and with merriment and feasting.

Feasting includes eating hamantashen jammed with fruit, cheese or poppy seed filling. They are made in the shape of the hat of Haman.

But aside from the merriment of hamantashen and green bagels, Ryan has developed a kosher line, a dietetic line and baked goods for people with lactose sensitivity.

"We now make more than 30 different items in our dietetic line," he explained. "I created it about eight years ago along with a dietitian, and people can have them on a (diet) exchange plan. I even have sheets of paper with the different products listed and the exchanges."

The kosher dietary regulations of the bakery actually help in exercising strict control over dietetic products and nondairy baked goods that would be permissible fare for people who have a milk allergy.

"Our bowls that we use for making dairy products are painted on the outside," Ryan explained. "That's only one of the ways of checking. We have a lot of other checks. Finished dairy products are kept on yellow trays and parev (non-dairy, non-meat products) are on white trays.

"Our regular pies are made with two holes, and when we make a dietetic pie, we make it with one hole. Plain ones are square, diet ones are round. This way, a customer knows exactly."

Though Ryan has always run Michael's as a Jewish bakery, it was not Orthodox kosher until two years ago, when a rabbi began popping in every day to check things out. The supervising rabbi at Michael's is Rabbi Dov A. Brisman.

It's easy to understand how Ryan's kosher bakery can sell loads of hamantashen. But how does this kosher Jewish bakery in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood manage to sell so many green bagels on St. Patrick's Day?

"Actually," Ryan says, "St. Paddy's Day would generally be nothing in a Jewish neighborhood, but I've managed to turn it into one of the biggest holidays of the year here.

"The holiday is actually pretty much like Purim. It's a a fun holiday. We all wear green hats and though we normally open at 8 a.m., on St. Paddy's Day we open at 6 in the morning for the convenience of people going to work.

"What happens is that an Irish guy buys (the green bagels) for a Jewish guy, and a Jewish guy buys them for an Irish guy. Half of them probably never even get eaten anyway.

"It's a lot of work, especially around holidays, but I really enjoy this. Oh, there are times when we get really busy, or I become so disgusted with all the work - 12, 14 hours a day - that I end up selling the place twice a year.

"But I really have a responsibility. I remember when I first took the place over. The first week, Mr. Lipton bought my supplies for me, just so I could get started. He really had a lot of faith in me. He was like the old- time bakers, they still wanted to be a part of it. He didn't just want to turn it over to anybody. And I was there and he trusted me."

Ryan reflected for a moment.

"I just happened to come along at the right time," he said. "I guess you could call it the luck of the Irish."

*

Here are recipes for Irish soda bread and hamantashen. If it's green bagels you want, you'll have to see Mike Ryan.

IRISH SODA BREAD

1 1/4 cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/4 cups freshly stone-ground whole-wheat flour

1 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine the unbleached flour, salt and soda with a wire whisk, making sure the soda is well blended. Stir in the whole wheat flour.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and slowly pour in the buttermilk, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Work mixture until you get a smooth, stiff dough. If necessary, add a bit more buttermilk, but do not let the dough get sticky.

On a floured board, form a round, flattish loaf about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high. Transfer it to a lightly buttered baking sheet. Cut a half-inch-deep cross across the top and partially down the sides of the loaf to vent the heat. Cover and bake in a preheated, 425-degree oven for 40 minutes, or until the loaf is well risen and brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Serve while still warm. Makes about four servings. *

This recipe for hamantashen was distributed by Philadelphia's Lubavitch House.

HAMANTASHEN

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup shortening

3 eggs

1/2 cup orange juice

4 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 pounds mohn (poppy seed) filling

1 egg, beaten

Cream sugar, oil and shortening. Add eggs and juice, and mix well. Blend with flour, baking powder and salt, and roll into a ball of dough. Divide ball into four parts. Roll out each very thin, approximately one-eighth inch, on a floured board.

With the rim of a cup or glass, cut into the dough to make circles. Place one-half to two-thirds teaspoon of the mohn filling in the middle of each circle.

To shape into a triangle, lift up the right and left sides of the circle, leaving the bottom side down, and have them meet at the center of the circle, pinching them together above the filling. Lift the bottom side up to the center, to meet the other two sides, and pinch together lightly.

Brush hamantashen with beaten egg, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Watch that hamantashen do not become too brown. Makes about four dozen.


A Smorgasbord Of Neighborhood Specialties

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150919060901/http://articles.philly.com/1987-03-18/food/26221597_1_potluck-dinner-potluck-menus-casserole Posted: March 18, 1987

Potluck has gotten a bad name. It almost has the feeling of leftovers, something that isn't quite up to par, something less than exotic. That's one reason University City's Potluck Gourmet appears to be a culinary oxymoron.

Invite someone over for "potluck" and it's saying "Diner Beware." And an invitation to a potluck dinner brings to mind a table full of tuna-noodle casseroles and Jello salads.

Potluck deserves an image change. As practiced by a group of West Philadelphia neighbors, potluck means tiny phyllo triangles stuffed with cheese, a tangy Oriental chicken served in a giant wok, sweet and sour meatballs, a raisin-studded kugel, and spicy barbecue. Any of the main courses would stand proud on its own; together they form an embarrassment of riches.

Neighbors living on the 400 block of S. 49th Street gather twice a year for ''potluck," a dead-of-the-winter dinner and an early spring barbecue, a tradition that began about 12 years ago. The winter dinner, in particular, is a chance for weather-hindered neighbors to catch up on the news that flows more easily on summer evenings when many are outdoors on patios or working in their yards.

The United Nations quality of the neighborhood - where black, Oriental, and white is spiced with Ethiopian and Greek - colors the potluck menus. It's the kind of neighborhood where someone who's lived there five years can still feel like a veritable newcomer, compared to the 20-, 30- and 40-year residents. But everyone is thrilled when the newest neighbor, a single man, shows up at the door, his arms full of homemade bread.

The most recent 49th Street potluck, held in late February, was organized by Jeanette Greipp and Lela Bethel, who each took one side of the block and called every neighbor, keeping track of who wanted to bring what. The party was held in the home of Polly and James Muhly; she and her mother contributed authentic Greek delicacies. Block captain Tony Searles came parading in with his famous spicy barbecue, and he fielded the questions about how to eat pork and beef necks.

Here are a few of the dishes brought to the dinner. All of them are perfect potluck fare because they are delicious served at room temperature.

This hearty and healthy casserole was contributed by Lela Bethel.

SPINACH-BROCCOLI CASSEROLE

3 boxes frozen chopped spinach

3 boxes frozen chopped broccoli

3 cans cream of mushroom soup

3 cans french fried onions

2 cans sliced water chestnuts

Cook and drain spinach and broccoli. Mix all the ingredients together and bake in a 13x9-inch dish at 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serves a crowd.

Rosalie King brought these rice-and-meatballs.

BEEF AND RICE PORCUPINES

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup raw rice

3 tablespoons chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

2 (4-ounce) cans tomato sauce

Combine all ingredients and form into 12 or 15 small balls. Place 3 tablespoons of fat in a large frying pan and brown the balls lightly. Drain off the excess fat and place meatballs in a casserole dish. Pour the 2 cans of tomato sauce and 1 can of water over them. Cover and simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until rice is tender.

This may be the most exotic barbecue sauce ever, created by Tony Searles.

TONY'S SPICEY BBQ SAUCE

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 lemon, sliced

1/4 cup wine vinegar

15 dried red hot peppers, crumbled (or 6 for milder flavor)

1 can tomato paste

2 cups ketchup

1/4 cup spicey mustard

1/4 cup Pickapeppa Sauce (Jamaican)

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

2 small onions, finely diced

1 teaspoon garlic powder or 4 crushed cloves of garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoons liquid smoke or 1/4 cup of water from boiled hickory chips

Chili powder to taste for hotness (if desired)

2 cups water

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 hours.

Cut up 6 pounds of beef or pork necks in 2 1/2-inch chunks. Marinate in sauce for 2-3 hours. (Wrap in bacon slices to preserve the meat's moisture. This will make continuous baste while smoking.)

Smoke with hickory chips for 3 hours or grill to taste.

These Sweet & Sour Meatballs are the specialty of Jeanette Greipp.

SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS

3 pounds ground beef

2 eggs

Grated onion

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Water

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together, using just enough water to dampen, and form into small meatballs.

SAUCE

Juice of 2 lemons

1 cup water

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Drop in meatballs and simmer for 3/4 hour. Then add an 8-ounce can tomato sauce and simmer for an additional 1/2 hour.

Here's a nice all-American salad to balance all the spicy ethnic main dishes.

UNTOSSED LAYERED SALAD

1 10-ounce package fresh spinach

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 large red onion, sliced thin

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 pound bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

1/2 pound Swiss cheese, shredded

1 pint mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

Salt, pepper, and sugar

Start layering salad with spinach, then lettuce, sliced onion, bacon, and peas. After each layer, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and sugar. Continued layering until all ingredients are used up (you'll need a big salad bowl.) Mix together the mayonnaise and sour cream until blended. Spread over the top of the salad, like cake icing. Sprinkle the Swiss cheese over the top. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. To serve, just dig in. Makes 8-10 servings.


Perfect Pasta Sauces - Pronto Some Can Be Made With No Cooking At All

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150915195143/http://articles.philly.com/1987-03-18/food/26219496_1_pasta-sauces-spaghetti-walnuts-and-cheese Posted: March 18, 1987

Spaghetti is a natural convenience food. Made of nothing but flour and water, it can be stored at room temperature for years and be freshly cooked just minutes later.

Spaghetti sauces, though, are usually a different story. Most of them call for long lists of ingredients and hours of simmering. Jarred and canned varieties cut preparation time, but many of them are loaded with salt, sugar and preservatives, making them undesirable for many consumers.

The good news is that there are scores of spaghetti sauces that can be made in minutes from a few artfully combined ingredients.

Take clam sauce, for example. Home-cooked clam sauce takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and contains fewer than 10 ingredients, including the salt and pepper. And its flavor makes canned varieties obsolete.

Tomato sauce is another example. Long-simmered tomato sauces are wonderful, but there is no law that requires them to cook all day. Tomatoes are vegetables, after all. They require no more cooking than zucchini or asparagus to release their flavor. Fresh tomato sauce can be ready in five minutes from start to finish, and it has a brighter flavor than many sauces taking 10 times as long. Try the recipe below for Tomato Sauce With Vodka and Cream if you doubt us.

Many quick pasta sauces are dry. In a dry sauce, a few flavorful ingredients are tossed together and then put on top of the spaghetti. Their aromas infuse the pasta as bits of ingredients nestle among the tangle of noodles. Our recipes for Green Parsley Pasta and for Pasta With Smoked Turkey, Pine Nuts and Rosemary both fall into this category.

Two ingredients make almost any pasta sauce instantly delectable: wine and cream. Wine reduced with flavorful vegetables and herbs takes just minutes to coat a plate of spaghetti with an aromatic sweet-and-sour bite. Cream needs only a moment on the heat to transform into a silken sauce. Combine it simply with bacon and cheese for a perfect Alfredo or flecks of garlic and a stream of hot-pepper sauce for a rich and piquant sauce that both burns and soothes with every bite.

Another type of sauce requires no cooking at all. In this one, flavorful ingredients are marinated together and then tossed onto the hot spaghetti just before serving. The final two recipes below fall into this category. In one, roasted peppers are marinated in oil and garlic and then tossed with pasta, walnuts and cheese. The effect is casual and sophisticated. In the last recipe, marinated artichoke-heart salad is tossed with feta and pasta. It's both exotic and homey - not bad for a meal that's on the table 10 minutes after the water begins to boil.

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All of the following recipes are written for one pound of spaghetti cooked al dente in rapidly boiling salted water mixed with a tablespoon of oil. The cooked spaghetti should be thoroughly drained and washed briefly in hot running water before it is mixed with the sauce.

GREEN PARSLEY PASTA SAUCE

2 shallots, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

In skillet, cook shallots and garlic in olive oil over low heat until they just begin to soften. Add parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with one pound of piping-hot cooked pasta, and toss in the cheese. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

TOMATO SAUCE WITH VODKA AND CREAM

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

12 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

In large skillet, cook garlic over moderate heat in olive oil until its aroma is released. Add crushed pepper, and stir briskly. Add tomatoes, and cook until they begin to release their liquid. Add vodka and cream, and simmer a few minutes until sauce thickens lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with one pound of piping-hot spaghetti. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

SMOKED TURKEY, PINE NUTS AND ROSEMARY

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 cup diced smoked turkey

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, ground

1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Heat oils gently in skillet. Add pine nuts, turkey and dried rosemary, and heat gently until pine nuts toast lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Add orange zest, garlic and fresh rosemary leaves. Toss with one pound of piping- hot spaghetti. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

FAST CLAM SAUCE

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine

1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

2 dozen littleneck clams

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons butter

In heavy saucepan, heat olive oil, and cook onion and garlic in it until just softened. Add wine, thyme and lemon juice, and cook until alcohol evaporates.

Add clams, and cover pot until clams open, about four minutes. Remove clams from their shell, and place back into sauce. Discard shells. Stir in the parsley and butter, and toss with one pound of piping-hot cooked spaghetti.

Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

SHRIMP, CUCUMBER AND DILL

1 cucumber, peeled, split and seeded

1 teaspoon coarse salt

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter

1 bunch scallions, white part only, thinly sliced

1 pound medium or small shrimp, peeled and cleaned

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed

1 cup cream

In mixing bowl, mix cucumber and coarse salt, and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Turn into towel and squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Set aside.

In skillet, melt butter, and saute scallion and garlic until barely softened. Add wine, and reduce to one-third its volume. Add shrimp and dill, and stir until shrimp are opaque and firm. Add cream, and reduce until lightly thickened. Add cucumbers, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with piping-hot cooked spaghetti, and serve immediately. Makes four servings.

ROAST PEPPERS AND WALNUTS

2 large roasted bell peppers, homemade or canned

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1/4 cup walnut pieces

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Remove seeds and stems from peppers. Cut peppers into medium dice. In mixing bowl, marinate peppers in olive oil and garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper. Marinate for as long as possible, though as briefly as 10 minutes is fine.

Toss this mixture with one pound of piping-hot cooked spaghetti, and toss with walnuts and cheese. Adjust seasoning, and serve immediately. Makes four servings.

MARINATED FETA AND ARTICHOKE HEARTS

12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, cut in eighths

4 ounces feta cheese, cut into small dice

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix artichoke hearts with feta, and allow to marinate for at least an hour. Toss with one pound of cooked hot spaghetti. Then toss with parsley and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.


A Bit Of Beef Starts Supper

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150921222941/http://articles.philly.com/1987-06-03/food/26183885_1_water-chestnuts-bell-pepper-extras Posted: June 03, 1987

No such thing as leftovers at your place? That's great! You're such a capable cook that you always prepare just the right amount and not a morsel more. Hat's off! But wait a minute. Does the "right amount" always coincide with all the food that's available? Do you stretch your appetite to accommodate whatever's left on the serving platter, because otherwise the food would "go to waste?"

To prevent unneeded extras from going to YOUR waist, think of those last few slices of meat, that extra chop or chicken breast as a head start on another day's dinner. Forget that wallflower word "leftover." Recycled into a fresh new dish, extras lose their orphan status and make a glamorous comeback.

Cold cooked hamburgers may seem like a lost cause - better stick it on a bun and have another while it's hot. But think of it this way: Extra hamburgers on the grill are merely browned ground meat, the first step in more complex casseroles. When the meat is cool, simply crumble it into a plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze it for use in spaghetti sauce, lasagne or stuffed peppers. Or try this super simple dish:

CHOPPED STEAK CHOP SUEY

1 large, sweet Spanish onion, thinly sliced

1 red (or green) bell pepper, cut in squares

2 celery ribs, diagonally sliced

2-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, undrained

1/2 cup tomato juice

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 cups fresh (or canned, drained) bean sprouts

Optional: 5-ounce can water chestnuts, drained, sliced

2 cups (10 ounces) crumbled cooked lean hamburger

1/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Combine onion, bell pepper, celery, mushrooms, tomato juice and soy sauce in a large non-stick skillet. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp. Uncover; stir in bean sprouts, water chestnuts (if using) and meat. Cook and stir over moderate heat until mixture simmers. Mix water and cornstarch; add to skillet. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and clears. Makes 4 servings, 225 calories each; water chestnuts add 30 calories per serving.

What about baked or broiled chicken breasts? The cooked meat can be saved for salads or sandwiches or recycled into this pronto pasta-topper:

CHICKEN NAPOLI

1 teaspoon oil

1 tablespoon water

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)

16-ounce can stewed tomatoes, undrained, broken up

4-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, undrained

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons each, fresh (or 1/2 teaspoon each, dried) basil and oregano

Optional: pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

2 or 3 broiled chicken breast halves

optional: 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

Combine oil and water in a large non-stick skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender. Add remaining ingredients except chicken and cheese, if using. Cover; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. While tomato mixture simmers, remove skin and bones from chicken and dice meat into bite-size pieces (you should have about 2 cups). Stir chicken into tomato mixture. Simmer uncovered 4 to 5 minutes until mixture is thick. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Makes 4 servings, 190 calories each; cheese adds 15 calories per serving. Serve with pasta or rice, if preferred.

Leftover lean steak or roast beef can be combined with any favorite frozen vegetable mixture to make this meal in a minute:

SZECHWAN BEEF AND VEGGIES

10-ounce package Oriental vegetables (or any frozen mixed vegetables), thawed

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion (or celery)

6 ounces ( 3/4 cup) tomato juice

1 cup (5 ounces) leanest cooked roast beef, sliced

1 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (or pumpkin pie slice)

Combine vegetables and water in a non-stick sauce pan or skillet. Cover and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook and stir until liquid evaporates to a thick glaze, about 3 to 4 minutes. Makes 2 servings, 230 calories each.


Great Matzo Balls Glued With Guilt

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150914041651/http://articles.philly.com/1988-03-30/food/26277872_1_matzo-ingredients-recipe Posted: March 30, 1988

Why are matzo balls different from any other Seder food?

Matzo balls are different from any other Seder food because other Seder food is made from ingredients. Matzo balls are made from soul and guilt.

Matzo balls thrive on adversity, blossom with despair and flourish on tradition, and trying to make a matzo ball from a cookbook recipe is like expecting to get a suntan by reading an Acapulco travel folder.

This is why even those men and women whose sponge cakes expand to helium- light excellence, powered solely on beaten egg whites, find their matzo balls collapse into sullen leaden orbs that thud to the bottom of the chicken soup bowl like an exhausted hockey puck.

They try first aid, like adding beaten egg whites or spurts of seltzer to buoy up the matzo balls, and none of it works. The reason is so simple. The ingredients - meal, eggs, water, shortening and spices - hardly count. The prime ingredient of the matzo ball is the collective consciousness of the 4,000-year-old Jewish mother/father.

But the recipes never tell you this, so matzo balls fail faster than Ivan Boesky's credit line. And it's really all so easy. Use any old matzo ball recipe but add the following special steps and the perfect knoedel is guaranteed.

First of all, time is critical. The perfect matzo ball must be started early in the morning, preferably after a poor night's sleep. Staying up half the night feeding Amoxicillin to a sick child with not just one ear infection, but two ear infections, and sighing a lot, is a good beginning. But nursing two sick kids is even better.

It is also imperative that none of the assembling of the ingredients begins if the house is calm. A matzo ball gets good vibes from hysterical kitchen noise because one doesn't simply make a matzo ball. One manages. Only while simultaneously serving breakfast, packing lunches, nursing your husband's broken foot, praising his work and discovering there are no more sandwich bags and trying to explain to the neighbor why, sure, you'll watch her children while she goes shopping, is the master matzo ball created.

Should the milk carton spill at this moment, consider it a fortuitous sign. But don't smile about it, God forbid. Never, never let the matzo ball know you're pleased. About anything.

It is even a better sign if you discover you've just run out of matzo meal and have to run out to the store in a driving rainstorm.

The ingredients should be mixed in a chipped bowl given by your mother who almost wore a cheerleading outfit to your wedding. Ingredients should not be measured. One just adds "enough."

The batter must stand in the refrigerator, uncovered, until sundown. Don't believe the recipes that say "refrigerate for 20 minutes or one hour," or something like that. All day. Only certain grandmothers who have suffered gravely, including those whose only son is not married, can make a matzo ball congeal in an hour or less.

At this point, you have the perfect, light matzo ball bubbling in an old, chipped enamel pot given to you by your mother-in-law who has never really liked you.

Now don't spoil this master plan by actually sitting down to enjoy your own bowl of matzo ball soup. If you have the soul and the guilt to make the perfect matzo ball, you can't possibly sit down to eat. That would be wrong. The matzo balls will suddenly harden.

So for the finale, one circles the table ladling the matzo balls into the soup, timing it so that there are no matzo balls left for you. Then before anyone is finished eating, clear the table.

For unbelievers who feel they must have a recipe, here is one from "The Jewish Festival Cookbook," by Fannie Engle and Gertrude Blair (Dover, $5.95).

THE PERFECTMATZO BALL

2 eggs, separated

3 tablespoons chicken fat

1/2 cup hot water or hot soup

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup matzo meal

Beat yolks with the chicken fat until thick and well-blended. Pour over the hot water or hot soup and beat well. Fold in the matzo meal mixed with the

salt and then fold in the egg whites that have been beaten until stiff but not dry. Chill for about 1/2 hour. Wet hands with cold water and shape into small balls. Drop gently into 2 quarts of boiling soup or boiling salted water; reduce the heat, cover, and cook gently for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes about 18.


At Shavuot, Say Cheese (and Kugel) To Celebrate

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150919214053/http://articles.philly.com/1988-05-18/food/26262674_1_shavuot-sour-cream-pecan-halves Posted: May 18, 1988

The Jewish festival of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) has many names. Because it comes seven weeks after Passover, in Hebrew it is called Shavuot, or ''weeks." In English, it is Pentecost, which comes from a Greek word meaning 50 days. Often it is referred to as the Festival of the Torah, because it commemorates Moses' receiving the Ten Commandments and the Torah, or Jewish scriptures. Still another name is Feast of the First Fruits, which was celebrated in ancient Israel because this was the joyful time of the harvest of grain and early fruits.

One more nickname could be added: the holiday of cheesecake. It is a custom, although not a law, to prepare dairy delicacies for Shavuot. Some say this is because the Jews abstained from eating meat the day before they received the Torah. Another explanation is based on economics: At this time of the year, a large amount of cheese is produced because cows, goats and sheep give more milk.

No matter what the reason, this holiday, which this year will begin Saturday evening and last until Monday evening is a good excuse to enjoy cheesecake on one day and cheese blintzes the next.

In Israel, the feast is celebrated for only one day, but that one day can become very full. In addition to cheesecake, blintzes, and both sweet and savory noodle and sour cream kugels prepared by Jews of Eastern European origin, there are the bourekas preferred by some of the Sephardic communities. These rich, savory pastries often made with phyllo dough are known under various names in Greece, Turkey and much of the Middle East. They can contain many fillings, but for Shavuot, a zesty cheese mixture is a favorite.

One of the greatest pleasures of festivals is the traditional foods that go with them. Many of the foods of Shavuot have become so popular that they can often be found in delis. Still, they are even more delicious and acquire their own special meaning when prepared at home, among family or friends.

CREAMY CHEESECAKE

FOR THE CRUST:

5 ounces graham crackers (to obtain 1 1/4 cups crumbs)

1/4 cup pecan halves, chopped

3 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE CHEESE FILLING:

1 pound cream cheese, cut in pieces and softened

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

Grated zest of 1 large lemon

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE SOUR-CREAM TOPPING:

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crust: Process the graham crackers in a food processor, or put them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin to make 1 1/4 cups fine crumbs. Mix the crumbs with the pecans and sugar. Add the melted butter, and mix well. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Press the mixture in an even layer on the bottom and about one inch up the sides of the pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Leave the oven at 350.

To make the filling: Beat the cream cheese with the sour cream at low speed until very smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the lemon zest. Scrape seeds of the vanilla bean with the point of a knife into the cheese mixture, or stir in the vanilla extract. Carefully pour the filling into the cooled crust, and bake for about 45 minutes or until firm in the center. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees.

To make the topping: Combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Carefully spread the topping on the cake in an even layer, without letting it drip over the crust. Return the cake to the oven, and bake for eight minutes, or until the topping sets. Remove from the oven, and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving. The cake can be prepared three days ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Remove the sides of the springform pan just before serving. Makes eight to 10 servings.

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Blintzes can be served as a main course, for dessert or for breakfast. For dessert, use the larger quantity of sugar in the filling, and add four to five tablespoons of raisins, if desired. If you prefer, instead of the strawberry sauce, you can serve these for dessert or breakfast with fruit preserves or jam, or with cinnamon sugar in addition to the sour cream.

A mixture of cheeses is best for filling the blintzes. Farmer cheese is a firm, dry cheese that gives the filling body, so it will not be soft and runny. Cream cheese provides richness. Pot cheese, a rich version of cottage cheese that can be purchased at specialty stores, adds moistness.

CHEESE BLINTZES WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE

FOR THE BLINTZES:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 1/3 cups milk

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/2 teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil

FOR THE FILLING:

2 cups farmer cheese

3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

5 tablespoons pot cheese or cottage cheese

2 egg yolks

3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste

FOR THE STRAWBERRY SAUCE:

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen strawberries

3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted, or more if desired

A few drops fresh lemon juice (optional)

TO FINISH:

3 to 4 tablespoons butter

Sour cream

To make the blintzes: In a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in a blender, blend the flour, milk, eggs, butter and salt for five seconds. Scrape down the sides of the container. Blend the batter for 20 seconds more. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for one hour.

Heat a 9- to 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pan lightly with about a teaspoon of oil, heat the oil until it is hot but not smoking, and remove the pan from the heat. Stir the batter, and pour about three tablespoons of batter into the pan, using a quarter-cup measure. Quickly tilt and rotate the pan so that the batter covers the bottom in a thin layer, and return any excess batter to the bowl. Return the pan to the heat, loosen the edge of the blintz from the pan with a pancake turner, and cook the blintz until the underside is browned lightly. Do not cook the second side at this point.

Transfer the blintz to a plate, uncooked side up. Continue making blintzes with the remaining butter, brushing the pan lightly with the oil as necessary. Stack the blintzes and keep them warm, covered with a dish towel.

To make the filling: Mash the cheeses, and beat them with the yolks, sugar and cinnamon until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly blended.

Spoon 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of filling onto the uncooked side near one edge of each blintz. Fold the sides over so that each covers about half the filling; roll up, beginning at the edge with filling. The blintzes can be filled one day ahead and refrigerated, covered.

To make the strawberry sauce, puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Whisk in the three tablespoons of powdered sugar. Taste, and add more sugar if desired. Add lemon juice if desired. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Sauce can be kept, covered, two days in refrigerator.)

Blintzes can be baked or fried. To bake them, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the blintzes in one layer in a shallow buttered baking dish. Dot each blintz with two small pieces of butter. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until heated through and lightly browned.

To fry the blintzes, heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the blintzes with open end down. Fry over low heat for three to five minutes on each side; be careful not to let them burn. Serve the blintzes hot, with sour cream. Makes 12 to 14 blintzes.

NOODLE KUGEL WITH SAUTEED MUSHROOMS AND SOUR CREAM

8 ounces medium egg noodles

5 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter

1 large onion, minced

8 ounces small mushrooms, quartered if small, halved and sliced if large

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3/4 teaspoon paprika

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add noodles. Cook, uncovered, over high heat, stirring occasionally, about four minutes or until nearly tender but firmer than usual, since they will be baked. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.

Heat about three tablespoons of the oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, and saute about 12 minutes or until very tender. Add one tablespoon more oil or butter, and heat. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the paprika, and saute about 12 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and onions browned.

Add mushroom mixture, eggs, sour cream and parsley to the noodles, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Grease a six-cup baking dish, and add noodle mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of oil or butter, then with remaining one-half teaspoon of paprika.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until set. Serve from baking dish. Makes four or five side-dish servings.

CHEESE TURNOVERS IN PHYLLO PASTRY

FOR THE CHEESE BOUREKAS:

1 pound frozen phyllo leaves (about 20 leaves)

1/4 cup lowfat cottage cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups grated Kashkaval, unsmoked Provolone, Asiago or other rather sharp grating cheese (about 10 ounces), grated

2 scallions, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter or margarine, melted

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, approximately

Defrost phyllo in refrigerator for eight hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator two hours before using, leaving the phyllo in its package.

To make the cheese filling, place the cottage cheese in a strainer, and press gently to remove the excess liquid; do not push the cheese through the strainer. Leave in strainer for 10 minutes, and press gently again. Mix the cottage cheese with the egg, grated cheese and scallion until smooth. Add salt (which may be unnecessary) and pepper.

Remove phyllo leaves from their package, and spread them out on a dry towel. Using a sharp knife, cut the stack in half lengthwise, to form two stacks of leaves of about 16 by 7 inches. Cover immediately with a piece of wax paper, then with a damp towel. Work with only one leaf at a time and always keep the remaining leaves covered with the paper and the towel so they won't dry out.

Remove one pastry leaf from the pile. Brush it with melted butter and fold it in half lengthwise, so its dimensions are about 16 by 3 1/2 inches. Brush it again with butter. Place about 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese filling at one end of the strip. Fold the end of the strip diagonally over the filling to form a triangle, and brush it lightly with butter. Continue folding it over and over, keeping it in a triangular shape after each fold, until the end of the strip is reached. Set the triangular pastry on a buttered baking sheet. Brush it with melted butter. Continue making triangular pastries with the remaining leaves and both fillings. The pastries can be shaped a day ahead and refrigerated on a baking sheet or plates. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the pastries again with melted butter, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature. Makes about 32 turnovers, or 10 to 12 appetizer servings.

Kugel is sometimes known as noodle pudding. This version is served as a main dish in a dairy meal, but it also makes a satisfying dessert.

CREAMY NOODLE AND APPLE KUGEL

1 medium Golden Delicious apple

6 tablespoons butter

1/2 pound wide egg noodles

1 cup cottage cheese

1 1/2 cups sour cream

4 eggs, separated

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/4 cup raisins

Grease a deep 8- to 10-cup baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, halve and core the apple. Halve it again, and cut in very thin slices. Melt four tablespoons of the butter.

Boil the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about seven minutes. Drain, rinse, and drain thoroughly. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the melted butter, and stir in the cottage cheese, sour cream, egg yolks, four tablespoons of the sugar, one teaspoon of the cinnamon, salt, apple slices and the raisins. In a small bowl, mix two teaspoons of the remaining sugar and the rest of the cinnamon.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add remaining tablespoon of sugar, and continue beating for 30 seconds, or until glossy. Gently fold one-quarter of the whites into the noodle mixture; then fold in the remaining whites.

Transfer the noodle mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture evenly on top. Dot with the remaining butter.

Bake in the preheated oven about 50 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.

Serve hot or warm. If desired, serve with additional sour cream. Makes four to six servings.


Basics: How To Clarify Your Butter

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160316053210/http://articles.philly.com:80/1988-06-29/food/26267556_1_milk-solids-butter-higher-cooking-temperatures Posted: June 29, 1988

Most cooks can close their eyes and imagine the sounds of butter sizzling in a saute pan. That's a nice recollection. They can also probably recall the bitter smell of that butter scorching when the heat was too high, or when it was left to sizzle unattended.

Burning butter is frustrating; the time it takes to clean the pan and start over also can have a domino effect on the timing of your recipe. There's a simple way to address that problem: Use clarified butter.

Butter is clarified by being melted slowly. That causes the milk solids to sink to the bottom of the saucepan, leaving a clear, yellow liquid on top. The clear (clarified) liquid is saved; the milky residue is discarded.

When heated, the clarified butter will not easily burn or become bitter, because it can withstand higher cooking temperatures than unclarified butter. It also will not turn rancid as quickly.

Clarified butter is excellent for quick sauteing of such delicate foods as scallops and chicken breasts. Because it can be heated to a higher temperature, food cooked in it also browns better.

There is a negative side: Butter, when clarified, loses some of its rich flavor. But the virtues far outweigh the drawbacks.

Here are two ways to clarify butter:

Cut 1 pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter into small pieces, and place the pieces in a saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat, skimming off the foam that appears with a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let the milk solids settle. Skim the clear, yellowish liquid off the milky residue in the bottom of the saucepan, place it in a jar, cover and store in the refrigerator. Discard the residue, but keep the foam for seasoning vegetables. Clarified butter will last for at least a month.

Another method is to cut 1 pound of butter into small cubes and place them in a glass, oven-proof bowl. Place the bowl in a 325-degree oven until all the butter melts. Remove the bowl from the oven, and allow the liquid to cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. In a few hours, the liquid will have solidified in three layers - the milky residue, the clarified butter and the foam. Remove the solid mass from the bowl and separate the center layer of clarified butter from the solids on the bottom and the thin layer of solidified foam on the top. Wrap the clarified butter in aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator until needed.


Gourmet Cooking Over A Campfire Tired Of Burgers And Franks? Take Time To Prepare, And Your Camping Repertoire Can Be Far Less Limited.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150919050951/http://articles.philly.com/1988-07-06/food/26235696_1_fire-site-open-fire-water-bath Posted: July 06, 1988

A gourmet in the wilderness is an unnatural sight. Stripped of whisk and processor, wrestling with cratered cookware and stoves that know no temperature, even the most seasoned cook is apt to plead for mercy. Is it any wonder that we become resigned to a fate of endless burgers and franks rather than face the demands of making food in the wild?

Good camping and good cooking need not be mutually exclusive, for many of the techniques we depend upon daily can be accomplished as easily over an open fire as on a range. Broiling and grilling gain added nuance when taken outdoors. But what about methods for which an open fire is too harsh or uncontrolled? How does one saute or poach? What about baking a pie or toasting the morning muffin?

The first thing to understand about cooking over an open fire is that the exact temperature of the heat source cannot be regulated. Let us simply agree that the fire is hot and our only task is to keep it that way. Because a campfire can't be adjusted from high to medium to low with great speed or ease, the only choice in regulating cooking time or temperature is to move the food around the fire, from hot spot to cool spot and back again.

Iron cookware, developed when an open fire was the only choice for cooking, is still the best metal to use with an unregulated heat source. That's because iron heats up slowly, holds heat well and transfers it to food in a steady, regular pattern. An iron skillet, well-heated over a fire, can be moved to the side of the fire or completely off it and still retain its original heat for five minutes or more. If kept warm, it will continue to cook food for hours while maintaining a nearly constant temperature.

Another way of regulating the harsh heat of an open fire is with a water bath. No matter how hot a heat source gets, boiling water never gets hotter than 212 degrees, which means that food cooked in boiling water will never scorch - no matter how long it cooks or how high the fire is.

When heating a single item in a water bath, a saucepan containing a few inches of water is sufficient. But for a whole meal, it helps to devote one side of the fire to a large water bath made from a roasting pan of water. You can use it to heat up a soup, keep a sauce warm, melt butter, poach a fish or blanch a vegetable.

Food heated in a water bath can be held in a pan, pot, ceramic dish or heavy-duty plastic bag. Be sure to keep a container of water nearby for refilling the bath as its water evaporates; if a bath should boil dry, any food held in it will scorch in seconds.

When building a campfire for cooking, choose a wide site with walls or grill supports at least a foot above the ground. To get the fire going quickly, build the fire high and narrow, to concentrate the heat in a small area. Once a good number of hot coals have built up heat, spread the fire out to cover as much of the floor of the fire site as possible, banking the fire higher on one side than the other. This will create a hot side for grilling, sauteeing and browning, and a cooler side for a water bath, a poaching liquid or a place to warm or toast baked goods. Add more wood over the top of the hot coals, and allow it to burn down a bit. Place a rack over the top, and you're set to go.

Baking in an open fire requires special equipment and is rather complex. It is best to bake breads, muffins, cakes and pies at home and warm them on the low side of the fire just before you serve them.

*

The following recipes will destroy the traditional idea of what camping food must be. For easy transport and cooking at the campsite, the recipes are divided into two groups - tasks that are best done at home in a well-equipped kitchen and those that can be accomplished on site.

BROILED LOBSTER WITH AVOCADO LOBSTER SALSA AND HOT PEPPER BUTTER

4 lobsters, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped

2 large California avocados, peeled, seeded and diced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Salt to taste

2 teaspoons hot pepper oil (optional)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1/4 pound butter

2 tablespoons wine vinegar

IN THE KITCHEN. Add the lobsters to a large amount of boiling salted water. Bring back to a boil, and cook until bright red. Boil five more minutes. Cool quickly, and keep chilled. To make the salsa: combine the onion, garlic, tomato, avocado, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce and salt. Split the lobsters down the center. If there is red coral in the lobster, remove and crumble into the salsa. Remove and discard the green tomalley and spongy gills from the central cavity. Remove any back meat from the cavity, and add to the salsa. Toss the salsa well, pack in a tightly closed container and refrigerate. Wrap the lobsters individually, and transport to the campsite with the salsa in a cooler.

AT THE CAMPSITE. Ten minutes before serving, set a rack at least six inches over a hot campfire. Brush the cavities and tail meat of the lobsters with the hot pepper oil and place, cut side up, on the grill. Grill for three minutes. Flip and grill three more minutes. While the lobsters are grilling, place the jalapeno and butter in a small pan. Heat until the butter melts, and stir in the vinegar. To serve, place each lobster, cut side up, on a plate and fill the cavities with the avocado salsa. Serve with the melted hot pepper butter on the side. Makes four servings.

GRILLED VEAL CHOPS STUFFED WITH DRIED TOMATO AND SMOKED MOZZARELLA

8 sun-dried tomatoes

2 cups boiling water

8 rib veal chops, 1 inch thick

Salt and pepper to taste

4 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut in 8 thin slices

IN THE KITCHEN. In a small bowl, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in the water until plumped, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Cut a pocket in the center of the eye of each veal chop, and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff each pocket with a tomato and a slice of cheese. Secure each pocket with a toothpick. Wrap each chop individually. Transport to the campsite in a cooler.

AT THE CAMPSITE. Remove chops from the cooler about 20 minutes before you want to grill them. Place a rack four to six inches above a hot campfire. Grill the chops on the hot rack for four to five minutes per side, rotating each chop a quarter turn once per side to make crisscross grill marks on the surface. Makes four servings.

ULTRA-RICH SPIKED FRENCH TOAST

2 eggs

3 yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup orange liqueur

Pinch ground nutmeg

Pinch salt

1/2 cup light cream

3/4 cup milk

8 slices challah, sliced, 3/4 to 1 inch thick

4 to 8 tablespoons sweet butter

IN THE KITCHEN. Beat the eggs and yolks with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs are lightly thickened. Beat in the liqueur, nutmeg and salt, and store in a tightly closed container. Mix the cream with the milk, and store in another tightly closed container. Transport both of the mixtures in a cooler, the sliced bread in a plastic bag.

AT THE CAMPSITE. Heat an iron skillet or griddle on a rack over a high fire until you can feel heat waves generating from the surface of the pan. While the pan is heating, combine the egg and milk mixtures in a wide bowl. Place the slices of bread, which by now should be slightly stale, into this mixture. Gently turn the bread slices over until all the liquid has been absorbed. Move the hot pan to one side of the fire, where it is still hot but not blazing. Grease the pan liberally with butter. Lift the bread carefully onto the skillet; it tears easily. Cook for six minutes per side, flipping the bread with a spatula every two to three minutes. Serve with the rest of the butter. Makes four servings.

WILD MUSHROOM SAUSAGE CAKES

1/4 cup dried cepes or porcini mushrooms

1/3 cup boiling water

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch grated nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

2 tablespoons minced onion

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 pound prepared sausage meat

IN THE KITCHEN. Soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water with the thyme, sage, rosemary, ginger, nutmeg and cloves until the mushrooms are soft. This will take about 10 minutes. In a small nonstick skillet, cook the onion and garlic over low heat until they begin to release their moisture. Drain the mushrooms and add the liquid from them to the onions and garlic. Simmer until all but a tablespoon of the liquid has cooked away. Chop the mushrooms well, and add to the sausage meat with the contents of the skillet. Mix well. Form into eight four-inch patties, wrap well and refrigerate. Transport to the campsite in a cooler.

AT THE CAMPSITE. Heat an iron skillet or griddle on a rack over a high fire until you can feel heat waves generating from the surface of the pan. Brown the sausage patties in the pan, then move to the side of the fire and cook until the sausage is cooked through and firm to the touch. Makes four servings.

ROASTED ANCHOVY POTATOES

3 ounces anchovy filets, with oil

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons olive oil

Pepper to taste

4 Russet potatoes, cleaned

IN THE KITCHEN. In a bowl, mash the anchovies with a fork or small chopper. Mix in the mayonnaise, olive oil, garlic and pepper. Adjust seasoning and store in a tightly closed container. Rub the anchovy oil all over the skins of the potatoes. Pierce each potato with a fork and wrap in foil. Transport the sauce in a cooler. The potatoes do not need to be kept cold.

AT THE CAMPSITE. Place the wrapped potatoes in the hot coals of a fire and roast until soft, turning about every 10 minutes. The total cooking time will be 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. To serve, unwrap the potatoes, split each one open, and allow to rest for three to four minutes. Dollop with some sauce, and serve the rest of the sauce on the side. Makes four servings.


Basics: Disjointing Chicken Wings Should Be A Snap

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150919083736/http://articles.philly.com/1988-07-27/food/26237834_1_chicken-wings-baking-sheet-tablespoons-balsamic-vinegar Posted: July 27, 1988

There never seems to be any problem in getting guests to polish off the chicken wings. The problem, if any, is in the initial preparation of the wings: taking the wings and disjointing them so you're left with one piece that's an elongated oval and another that looks like a miniature drumstick.

The proper technique is simple and easily mastered. A sharp butcher knife, a cutting board and an attentive eye are all you need.

To begin, hold the chicken wing so that it looks something like the letter V with a small extension coming from the top left. This extension is the tip. Place the wing on the cutting board and slice off the tip at the point where it meets the top of the V.

(The tip is virtually useless in chicken wing recipes, but don't discard it. Save the tips from all of the wings and use them with other chicken parts to make chicken stock. If you are disjointing a number of wings, say 15 or so, you can put the tips in a saucepan, cover them with an inch or so of water and simmer a cup or more of stock while you prepare the disjointed wings according to your favorite recipe.)

Once the tip is removed, hold the wing by the left leg of the V in your left hand (if you are right-handed), and rest the joint that hinges the two sides of the V on the cutting board. With the knife, slice through the skin that connects the two sides, just down to the bone.

Hold one side of the wing in each hand and bend the wing so that it forms a straight line. You'll hear the joint snap, and you'll see where the two sides are joined together.

The knife will easily cut through the wing joint at this point, leaving two separate sections - the long oval piece, and the part referred to as the drumette.

Repeat with each wing. Make sure that no slivers or pieces of bone cling to any section of the wings.

You are now ready to proceed with the following recipe for barbecued chicken wings from Gene Hovis' Uptown Down Home Cookbook (Little, Brown).

BARBECUED CHICKEN WINGS

20 chicken wings, disjointed and tips trimmed away

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon paprika

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

FOR THE BARBECUE SAUCE:

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup sherry wine vinegar

1/4 cup dry sherry

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon garlic chili paste (available in Asian markets)

Butter a large baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the wings and pat them dry. Combine the flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Dust the wings lightly with the flour mixture, and arrange them on the baking sheet. Bake the wings in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the barbecue sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and blending them well with a wire whisk. Taste for seasoning; you may want to add more honey or garlic chili paste.

Remove baking sheet from oven, and drain off any fat that has accumulated. Spoon the barbecue sauce over the wings. Return baking sheet to the oven, and continue baking, basting frequently, for 25 or 30 minutes, or until done. Remove wings from the oven, and let cool briefly before serving. Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.


A Guide To Greater Grilling, Other Outdoor Cooking

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151227080845/http://articles.philly.com/1988-08-03/food/26255302_1_gas-grill-marinade-presoaked Posted: August 03, 1988

A handy companion for this season's outdoor-grilling activities is Barbecuing, Grilling & Smoking ($7.95) produced by the California Culinary Academy. Its more than 140 recipes are a trusty treatment of a cooking technique that continues to grow in popularity.

The book explores the regional and international differences in barbecuing, which it concludes are not very substantial. Much of the book deals with the fundamental execution of grilling, with specific discussions of how to grill different meats. Smoking techniques also are defined, and a chapter is devoted to campfire cooking.

There are recipes for dry spice rubs, marinades and barbecue sauces. Along with main-course grilling, the book features recipes for interesting side dishes, such as grilled tofu or grilled polenta.

Mail-order sources are listed for specialty meats and ingredients, as well as those for sausage-making equipment, outdoor-cooking equipment and camping information.

Here are some recipes from the book:

GARLIC BLUEFISH

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 large bluefish filets (approximately 1 pound each)

Fresh rosemary sprigs, soaked in water

Juice of 1 lemon

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Rub garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into each bluefish filet, and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, use hardwood sawdust to create a smoky flavor. If using charcoal, which is preferable for this recipe, use presoaked hardwood chips. When the fire is ready, throw the moistened rosemary sprigs on the coals.

Place the bluefish, meat side down, on grill, and close lid. Bluefish is a very oily fish and will take longer to cook than others. Cook six to eight minutes per side, moistening the flesh with lemon juice as it cooks. Serve immediately with the lemon wedges. Makes three to four servings.

TANDOORI CHICKEN

1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, cut into pieces

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons oil, plus oil for the grill

Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Remove and discard the skin. Prepare a marinade by mixing the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cayenne, parsley, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken with the marinade, and cover. Refrigerate for at least two and not more than six hours; leaving chicken in marinade overnight is not recommended, as meat will become too tender and fall apart on the grill.

Rub excess marinade from chicken, and lightly coat the chicken with oil. When the fire is ready, place the chicken on the oiled grill, meat side down, and immediately close lid to avoid flare-ups.

Turn the chicken several times while it cooks, and baste frequently with oil to prevent meat from drying. Chicken will be done much more quickly than you may expect because of the cooking action of the marinade and because the skin has been removed. Cook until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes three to four servings.

LEMONGRASS DUCK

1 duck, 4 to 5 pounds

2 stalks lemongrass

4 to 5 slices fresh ginger

3 scallions

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons Poultry Spice Rub (recipe below)

Prepare the grill for indirect-heat cooking by moving the hot coals to either side of the grill and placing an aluminum drip pan between the coals.

Wash the duck, and pat it dry. Prepare a stuffing by roughly chopping the lemongrass, ginger, scallions and cilantro. Combine the mixture with the five- spice powder, and stuff the mixture into the duck. Close the opening of the duck with toothpicks, or sew tightly with butcher's string. Prick the duck all over with a fork so that the fat will render during cooking.

Rub the duck all over with the minced garlic and the spice rub. When the fire is ready, add hardwood sawdust for a smoky flavor if using a gas grill; if using charcoal, add presoaked hardwood chips. Place the duck on an oiled grill over the drip pan, and close the lid. Allow the fire to cool down to about 350 degrees, and try to maintain that temperature for the duration of the cooking time (about 1 1/2 hours). The duck is done when the skin is crisp and dark brown, or when an instant-read thermometer inserted between the thigh and the breast registers between 165 and 170 degrees.

Remove the duck from the grill, and discard the stuffing. Disjoint the duck with a boning knife or kitchen shears. Serve immediately. Makes two to three servings.

POULTRY SPICE RUB

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons tarragon

1/2 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Mixture can be stored for up to four months in a jar in the spice rack. Makes three tablespoons.

HERB-CRUSTED LAMB CHOPS

8 lamb loin chops, about 5 ounces each

1/4 cup Lamb Spice Rub (recipe below)

4 tablespoons unsweetened butter

Lightly coat the lamb chops with the olive oil. Massage the chops with the spice rub until well coated.

Cover and let them rest at room temperature for at least one hour.

If using a gas grill, add hardwood sawdust for a smoky flavor; if using charcoal, add presoaked hardwood chunks.

When the fire is ready, place the meat on an oiled grill, baste with butter, and close lid. Cook four to five minutes, turn, baste with more butter, and cook for an additional four to five minutes. Spices will blacken as they form a crust.

Be careful not to inhale too many of the vapors from the spices as they cook, for they are quite strong. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

LAMB SPICE RUB

1 teaspoon fennel seed, braised or crushed in a mortar and pestle

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons rosemary

1 teaspoon basil

Combine all ingredients, and mix well. Can be stored for up to four months in a jar in your spice rack. Makes four tablespoons.

Use as directed above.


All The Comforts Of Home

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151230150403/http://articles.philly.com/1989-02-15/food/26151688_1_comfort-food-creature-comforts-macaroni-and-cheese Posted: February 15, 1989

The aftershocks of the Oct. 19, 1987, stock market crash - not to mention the fall of the dollar - have brought the charge-it generation of the 1980s back to reality.

Now baby boomers are salving the wounds of conspicuous consumption by staying at home with their young families and eating "comfort" foods.

"Fewer people are able to spend money like yuppies did in the early '80s. When you stay at home, you have more control over spending," notes Mona Doyle, president of Consumer Network Inc., a consumer research organization based in Philadelphia.

The stay-at-home concept was dubbed "cocooning" (Doyle calls it ''nesting") by trend spotter Faith Popcorn. Comfort foods are defined by Holly Garrison, author of "Comfort Food" (Donald I. Fine, $16.95), as ''reminiscent of childhood, adolescence, less complicated times and 'Mommy!' " Thus, classic comfort foods are dishes such as mashed potatoes, Welsh rarebit and pot roast.

Garrison says comfort food and cocooning go hand in hand.

"People are looking for reassurance. It's a very scary world out there," she says.

To recover from the big, bad outside world, Garrison "can't imagine anything better than settling down in front of the television with a plate of cold fried chicken, an old movie and maybe a little fudge for later. That would be heaven." She also notes that "people have had it up to here with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes."

Fast-laners may not have given up pesto or traded in the BMW for a Ford Country Squire, but at least they've installed a car seat for the baby. They've also added a lot of equipment to their houses so that retrenching in their abode isn't exactly the adult version of going to your room.

According to Paul Verden, associate professor of sociology at Santa Clara University, "The home was previously thought of as secure but dull. Now people can broaden their experiences without leaving home by utilizing all the creature comforts that used to be available only outside the home."

Though Verden describes comfort food as possessing "sensate" qualities (that is, sense-satisfying), it isn't exactly the kind of food that's going to endear you to your cardiologist - or your interior decorator.

"Comfort foods are really fatty and not very dashing - usually beige, brown and white," said Garrison, who said the essential quality of comfort food is that "it makes you feel good when you swallow it."

Since the nature of comfort food is nostalgia, if not a regression to childhood, one wonders what the comfort food of the Pepsi generation will be.

"Who knows?" Garrison said, "it might be McDonald's."

*

Before spaghetti and noodles became pasta, there was macaroni and cheese. As soothing as former President Reagan's avuncular voice on radio, macaroni and cheese comforts like no other food. Here is Reagan's recipe for macaroni and cheese, from "The White House Family Cookbook" by Henry Haller (Random House). Use elbow macaroni or a similar short "pasta" for your noodle.

RONALD REAGAN'S MACARONI AND CHEESE

1/2 pound macaroni

1 tablespoon butter

1 large egg, beaten

3 cups (12 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup warm milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Pinch of paprika

Add macaroni to 2 quarts of boiling salted water and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole.

Drain cooked macaroni well in a colander; transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in the 1 tablespoon butter and beaten egg. Add 2 1/2 cups of the grated cheese. In a small bowl, combine milk with salt, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon macaroni-and-cheese mixture into prepared casserole. Pour milk mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining half-cup of grated cheese. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake on middle rack at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until macaroni is firm to the touch and the top is crusty and browned. Serve at once. Makes four servings as an entree, six to eight as a side dish.

Holly Garrison said fried chicken, in addition to being one of the most popular comfort foods, is also one of the most controversial. Her grandmother, like many others, fried the chicken in lard, about as repugnant to most people these days as Agent Orange. She suggests solid white vegetable shortening as an alternative. If you don't have a large 12-inch skillet like Grandma's, try two 10-inch skillets simultaneously.

CRISP FRIED CHICKEN

1 broiler-fryer chicken cut into 8 pieces (the back broken in half, should be fried, too, because it makes great "picking" for those who enjoy the crispy part as much as the meat)

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 to 1 cup solid white vegetable shortening, if using one large skillet, and about 1 1/2 cups shortening if using two smaller skillets

Rinse chicken pieces and place in a colander to drain thoroughly. However, the chicken should not be so dry that the seasonings and flour will not stick to it.

Sprinkle chicken rather liberally with salt and pepper, especially pepper. Place flour on a large piece of waxed paper and dredge chicken pieces, one by one, placing them on a rack.

Melt shortening in a heavy, 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. The fat should be at least 1/4 inch deep. When it is very hot, add the chicken pieces (the oil should really sizzle when the chicken is added), without crowding them, skin side down. It's best to start with the dark-meat pieces because they will take longer to fry.

Fry chicken pieces until golden brown, turning occasionally. It should take about 6 to 7 minutes to brown each side, so if the pieces brown too quickly or too slowly, adjust the heat down or up accordingly. When both sides are appetizingly colored, partly cover the skillet to allow the steam to escape and the chicken to finish cooking. Continue to cook, turning the pieces three or four times, for about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the piece and whether the meat is white or dark.

As the chicken pieces finish, drain them on paper towels and place on a platter. Put the platter in a 200-degree oven, where the fried chicken will keep very nicely until you are ready to serve it. Makes four servings.

Garrison calls chocolate "the quintessential feel-good food." And what could be more comforting than the uncomplicated days of the Eisenhower presidency?

MAMIE EISENHOWER'S MILLION-DOLLAR FUDGE

2 cups sugar

1 (5.3-ounce) can evaporated milk (not condensed)

Pinch salt

1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces (1 cup)

6 ounces (from 2 4-ounce bars) sweet baking chocolate, cut into small pieces

1 (7 1/2-ounce) jar marshmallow cream

1 cup coarsely broken walnuts

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in a heavy, 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add both kinds of chocolate, marshmallow cream and nuts. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is a uniform color. Scrape into prepared pan. Cut cooled fudge into squares. Makes about 2 1/2 pounds of inch-high fudge.

You can use fresh corn for the following recipe, but it is infinitely easier with canned cream-style corn. Most canned cream-style is sweet enough to make the addition of sugar unnecessary.

CORN PUDDING

2 (17-ounce) cans cream-style corn

2 eggs beaten

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine corn, butter, eggs, flour, salt, pepper and sugar, if desired, in a larger bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn corn mixture into a prepared casserole. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set in the center and crust forms around the edge. Makes six servings.


Delicious Traditions Of Shavuot Vegetables And Dairy Products Are Featured.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160102172713/http://articles.philly.com/1989-06-07/food/26107164_1_shavuot-foods-vegetable-broth-dairy-foods Posted: June 07, 1989

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot begins at sundown tomorrow and marks the receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses. In ancient times, it was referred to as the Feast of the First Fruits, a kind of Jewish Thanksgiving, when farm bounty and grains were brought to the temple. The harvest often included wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

In modern times, Shavuot is a holiday that inspires the preparation of many delicious and traditional recipes that usually feature a variety of vegetarian and dairy foods. Milk, eggs and cheeses of all kinds are used in abundance.

Blintzes are the most popular of the Shavuot foods and can accompany other foods or serve as a main course. They are thin pancakes or crepes, filled with interesting mixtures. The classic stuffing is based on cheese, here enlivened with sugar-glazed, crisp apple slices. It makes a perfect holiday dessert. The same basic blintz can be made with a spinach-ricotta combination and served with yogurt or sour cream, which adds a perfect dairy accent.

The Vegetarian Lentil Soup is a family favorite, flavored with a blend of sauteed vegetables. It can be prepared up to two days in advance and refrigerated.

Stuffed Eggplant Rolls are a wonderful choice for Shavuot lunch, brunch or dinner. Thin slices of eggplant are rolled around a filling prepared with three cheeses lightened by beaten egg whites. The spicy, garlicky herbed tomato sauce is a perfect accompaniment.

Shavuot desserts are especially tempting and fun to serve family and friends. Some especially enjoyable ones include an apricot cheesecake and the traditional rugalach, along with bowls of figs, dates and nuts.

Shavuot is a wonderful occasion to entertain informally. Because this is an agricultural holiday, homes and tables are frequently decorated with fresh plants and flowers from the garden. Some Sephardic Jews celebrate Shavuot as the Feast of Roses, using those flowers as the table centerpiece.

VEGETARIAN LENTIL SOUP

1 1/2 cups dried lentils

2 1/2 cups warm vegetable broth or water

2 bay leaves, crushed

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and finely chopped

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

4 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Red wine vinegar to taste

Plain yogurt

Soak lentils in four cups of water for six hours, or overnight. Drain and place lentils in large, heavy pot with the vegetable broth and bay leaves. Bring to boil, skimming off any foam that forms. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.

In large skillet, heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic, carrots, parsnip, onion, celery and parsley. Saute 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add rosemary and tomatoes, and simmer 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar. Add mixture to lentils. Bring to boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until thick, 30 to 40 minutes. Ladle soup into warm bowls, and garnish with yogurt. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

SHAVUOT BLINTZES

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups nonfat milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Ricotta and Spinach Filling (recipe follows)

Hoop Cheese and Apple Filling (recipe follows)

Butter

Sour cream or yogurt (optional)

Preserves (optional)

In large bowl, blend eggs, nonfat milk and the tablespoon of butter. Add flour and salt, blending until smooth. (If any lumps remain, pour through fine strainer, pressing any lumps of flour through. Mix well.) Cover and set aside one hour.

Lightly butter six-inch nonstick skillet. Place over medium heat until hot. Pour about two tablespoons of batter in at a time, tilting pan and swirling batter to make thin pancake. When lightly browned, gently loosen edges and turn out of pan onto towel or plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Cool.

Place one to two tablespoons of the Ricotta and Spinach Filling or the Hoop Cheese and Apple Filling in center of browned side of each blintz. Fold lower portion over filling. Tuck in ends then roll to form flat rectangle. Place on large platter, and cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook.

In large skillet, melt about two tablespoons of butter. Cook blintzes about two to three minutes on each side until lightly browned. Transfer to serving plates, and serve immediately with sour cream, yogurt, preserves or apple slices remaining from filling. Makes about 20 blintzes.

RICOTTA AND SPINACH FILLING

2 bunches spinach

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Rinse spinach, and remove stems. Place in salted boiling water, and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and cool, then squeeze dry in cheesecloth. Chop fine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolks, parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed. Use as directed above.

HOOP CHEESE AND APPLE FILLING

2 pounds hoop, farmer or pot cheese

2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

Glazed Apple Slices (recipe below)

In large bowl, combine cheese, sugar, salt and eggs. Fold in one to two cups drained Glazed Apple Slices. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until needed. Use as directed above.

GLAZED APPLE SLICES

3 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup orange marmalade

1/4 cup orange juice

Place apple slices in a large bowl, and toss with lemon juice to prevent discoloring.

In large, heavy skillet, combine sugar, marmalade and orange juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar and marmalade dissolve. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer two to three minutes, just until mixture begins to thicken.

Drain apples and add to syrup in skillet and toss to coat. Simmer, covered 10 to 15 minutes, until apples are soft. Transfer to a glass bowl, and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill until needed. Makes about four cups. Use as directed above.

STUFFED EGGPLANT ROLLS

1 pound ricotta or hoop cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons minced parsley

3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 3 teaspoons dried

2 eggs, separated

Salt and pepper to taste

8 ounces mozzarella cheese

2 medium eggplants

All-purpose flour

3/4 cup olive oil

Tomato-Basil Sauce (recipe follows)

Fresh basil leaves

In a bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, basil and egg yolks. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Chill.

Slice mozzarella into 2-by- 1/2-by- 1/2-inch sticks. Set aside. Trim stem end from eggplants, and slice lengthwise, one-eighth to one-quarter inch thick. Dredge in flour that has been seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. Shake off the excess.

In large, heavy skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add eggplant slices, and saute on both sides until soft and lightly browned. Drain on paper towels. Cool.

Place two tablespoons of the cheese filling across the narrow end of each eggplant slice. Press a mozzarella stick into the filling. Roll eggplant up tightly around filling. Place rolls, seams side down, in buttered baking dish. Cover with foil, and refrigerate one to two hours. Do not freeze.

When ready to bake, spoon Tomato-Basil Sauce over each roll, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbling. With metal spatula, carefully place one or two eggplant rolls on each plate. Garnish with basil leaves. Serve immediately. Makes about 16 rolls.

TOMATO-BASIL SAUCE

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes with liquid

1 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried

2 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper and carrots, and saute until onions are transparent. Dice tomatoes and add with their liquid, wine, basil, parsley and sugar. Bring to boil, and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thick, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to food processor or blender, and process until well blended. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Use as directed above.

CHOCOLATE CHIP RUGALACH

20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine

8 ounces cream cheese

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup ground walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup ground semisweet chocolate

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

In a medium bowl, cream two sticks of the butter with the cream cheese. Add flour and salt, and blend until dough begins to hold together. Gather into bowl, transfer to floured surface, and knead until smooth. Divide into six portions, wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill.

In a small bowl, combine walnuts, sugar, chocolate and cinnamon. Roll each dough portion to make an eight-inch circle. Melt remaining butter, and brush on each circle of dough. Sprinkle two to three tablespoons of the walnut mixture over each circle. Cut each into 12 wedges. Starting at wide end, roll up each wedge. Roll each cookie in remaining walnut mixture to coat on all sides. Place on a lightly oiled, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes about six dozen.

APRICOT CHEESECAKE

1 package (6 ounces) dried apricots

1 1/2 cups apple juice

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups sugar cookie crumbs (oatmeal, coconut or vanilla)

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Sour Cream Topping (recipe below)

In a small saucepan, combine apricots, apple juice and one-half cup of the sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about five minutes. Cool. Transfer to food processor or blender and process until pureed. Set aside.

In food processor or blender, process cookie crumbs with the butter. Transfer to a nine-inch springform pan, and press to make even layer on bottom of pan. Spread with a half-cup of the apricot puree. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese and remaining one cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in vanilla and one-half cup remaining apricot puree. Beat two to three minutes until light. Pour into sugar-cookie crust in springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until center is set and top is golden. Remove from oven, and spread with Sour Cream Topping. Return to oven five minutes. Cool. Remove from springform pan, and spread with remaining apricot puree. Chill before serving.

SOUR CREAM TOPPING

2 cups sour cream

1 tablespoon sugar

In small bowl, blend sour cream, sugar and vanilla. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Use as directed above.


Keeping The Hanukah Light Glowing The Holiday Gets A Special Boost From Two New Hope Innkeepers.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151230052540/http://articles.philly.com/1989-12-17/food/26157880_1_hanukah-menorah-jewish-festival-jewish-identity Posted: December 17, 1989

Innkeepers are a fairly common breed in the heart of Bucks County. But two of them - a couple who share their space in an antique-filled 19th-century house with their friendly labrador, Jasper - are so committed to their Jewish heritage that they have established a ceremonial lighting of the Hanukah menorah in New Hope's Cannon Square, as well as turning Hanukah into a special occasion at their bed-and-breakfast.

In 1981, Nadine "Dinie" Silnutzer and Carl Glassman met, fell in love and decided to set up innkeeping in historic New Hope. "We stepped off the career ladder," said Glassman.

Glassman, 36, is a mathematician; Silnutzer, also 36, is a social worker. But, Glassman said, "we wanted to be able to control our own destiny . . . and the Wedgwood Inn gave us an opportunity to combine our talents and interests - antiques, decorating, cooking and schmoozing with so many different people."

Their marriage began with the transformation of a weary, old house into a gracious Victorian manor. In the process, they added something extra - the special magic of a haimish Jewish home, that is, one with the feelings of warmth and homeyness that those strait-laced Victorian households never knew.

"An inn is a reflection of the innkeepers' personality," said Glassman, sipping hot cider in front of a blazing fire in the parlor. "Part of the Wedgwood Inn is our Jewish identity because it's an extension of our home. We celebrate the holidays for ourselves. At least half the guests at any given time are Jewish, and even if they're not, they're invited to join us."

Glassman and Silnutzer speak fluent Hebrew, and many Israelis find their way to the Wedgwood Inn. (In 1986, Glassman spent a month as a volunteer on an Israeli army base, but he swears he didn't advertise his inn.)

This year, the Jewish festival of Hanukah begins Friday night. Hanukah lasts for eight days, and each night the menorah candles are lighted to celebrate the victory of Judas Maccabaeus and his brothers over the Syrian Greeks in the second century B.C. The Jews had been forbidden to practice their religion and finally rebelled.

Hanukah is a home celebration in which foods made with oil or butter are served. This symbolizes the miracle of the cruse of oil found in the Temple. Although there was only enough oil for one day, it burned for eight days.

In New Hope, many of the artist residents are Jewish, Glassman said, so when the Christmas tree is lighted in the center of New Hope's historic district at the beginning of December, a crowd also gathers to watch Glassman light a ceremonial menorah to commemorate Hanukah.

"Everyone participates," Silnutzer said. "After the menorah is lit, we serve latkes to the locals. Last year, we grated 50 pounds of potatoes."

Potato latkes, or pancakes, fried in oil, are a traditional Hanukah dish. Those served are the speciality of the Wedgwood's resident innkeeper Jules Smith, who credits his love affair with Jewish cooking to his Latvian grandmother.

In 1984, Smith came to the inn as a guest "and never left." Now, besides owning an antiques shop, he helps Glassman and Silnutzer in the operation of the bed-and-breakfast inn.

"On each of the eight nights of Hanukah, the menorah is lit at the Temple B'nai Wedgwood," Glassman joked. Family and friends gather to sing songs and enjoy home-baked cakes and cookies. Little gifts, such as dreidels (tops) and pencils wrapped in Hanukah paper, are passed out to the children. No one takes credit for organizing and cooking, Silnutzer said, because "we're like a kibbutz; everybody can fill in wherever needed. If someone needs time off, there's never a gap. And we never have a help problem at Christmas."

*

Glassman's and Silnutzer's Hanukah recipes are gathered from their extensive travels, from family, guests and friends all over the world. Mexican Potato Latkes flavored with a healthy dash of fresh coriander comes from a cousin; Tracy's Tricks are butter cookies with a jammy center and they're so named because it took part-time innkeeper Tracy Wentzel much trial and error to perfect them. Recipes such as Bubby Goldie's Almond Fruit Tart are treasured as they are passed to a new generation.

MEXICAN POTATO LATKES

4 large potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled

1 egg, lightly beated

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Oil, for frying

Salsa (recipe below)

Grate the potatoes on the coarse side of grater into a bowl. Add egg, onion, lemon juice, coriander, salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour oil to about one-quarter-inch depth into a large skillet. Heat oil, and drop the mixture by tablespoonfuls into hot oil. Fry over medium heat until nicely browned on both sides, four to five minutes on each side. Serve with Salsa. Makes 24 to 30 latkes.

SALSA

2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 scallion, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons vinegar

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

3 or 4 drops hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a non-metal bowl. Cover, and let stand for at least one hour to allow flavors to blend. Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Use as directed above.

TRACY'S TRICKS

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Pinch salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup jam, any flavor, approximately

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add the salt. With mixer at low speed, gradually add flour, and mix until blended. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, at least one inch apart. Bake for eight minutes. Remove from oven. Using a teaspoon, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Return to oven, and bake for seven minutes longer, or until browned at edges.

As soon as cookies are removed from oven, place a dab of jam onto each indentation. It's important that the filling melts slightly from heat of cookies. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Makes 24 to 30 cookies.

DINIE'S GRANDMOTHER'S APPLE CAKE

5 to 6 apples, pared, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup orange juice

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup walnuts

3 tablespoons honey

Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon, and set aside. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Mix together to make a smooth batter.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange half the apples on top, and sprinkle with one-half cup of the walnuts and two tablespoons of the honey. Cover with remaining batter. Top with remaining apples and walnuts, and drizzle the remaining honey on top. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until cake is golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Makes about 16 servings.

BUBBY GOLDIE'S ALMOND FRUIT TART

FOR THE CRUST:

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons butter, chilled

2 teaspoons sugar

Cold water

FOR THE FILLING:

1 tablespoon apricot jam or marmalade

2 tablespoons candied cherries, sliced

3 tablespoons currants

3 tablespoons golden raisins

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup uncooked cream of rice cereal

1/3 cup ground almonds

1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare the pie crust, sift flour and add the four tablespoons of butter by cutting it in with a knife. Rub lightly with fingers until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add sugar and enough cold water to make a stiff dough. Turn onto floured board and knead until dough is free of cracks. Roll out until thin, to fit a nine-inch pie plate. Press dough to the sides of the plate, and trim edges. Set aside.

Spread jam over bottom of the uncooked pastry shell. Sprinkle cherries, currants, raisins on top. Cream the four tablespoons of butter and the sugar. Add egg and almond extract, and stir in cereal and ground almonds. Spread mixture over fruit, and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35 minutes. Makes eight servings.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

The Wedgwood Bed and Breakfast Inn is at 111 W. Bridge St. in New Hope, Bucks County. For information and reservations, call 862-2570.


Basics: Clarifying Butter And Becoming A Ghee Wiz

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160316053215/http://articles.philly.com:80/1990-01-03/food/25907989_1_milk-solids-butter-bread-crumbs Posted: January 03, 1990

The virtue of clarified butter is that it can withstand higher cooking temperatures than unclarified butter. That means it will not burn as easily, making it a better medium for sauteing and browning foods.

Another plus is that clarified butter keeps longer than regular butter.

Though some cooks might miss the buttery flavor that's lost in the clarifying process, an interesting, subtle, nutty flavor takes its place.

Clarified butter is made by simply melting butter slowly so that the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan in the form of a residue. These solids are discarded; the clear, yellow liquid on top is the clarified butter.

There is an Indian version of clarified butter, called ghee, that is made in such a way that it can be stored longer than the product of the traditional Western method.

Here are instructions for both methods, and a recipe for Wiener schnitzel that utilizes either the traditional clarified butter or ghee.

Traditional clarified butter: Cut one pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter into small pieces. Place the pieces in a saucepan and melt them over medium heat. Skim off the white foam as it appears. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the milk solids settle. When the solids settle, skim off the clear, yellowish liquid and place it in a clean, airtight jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Ghee: Melt one pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter, being careful not to brown it, over medium heat. Bring it gently to a boil, skimming off the white foam that rises to the top. Reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 45 minutes, until the milk solids on the bottom are brown and the top liquid clear. Line a sieve with four layers of cheesecloth, and strain the liquid. Repeat the straining procedure if the liquid is not perfectly clear. Store in an airtight jar. Will keep up to three months at room temperature.

Here is a recipe that uses clarified butter. It is a favorite of Steven Raichlen, a classically trained chef and food writer who founded A Taste of the Mountains Cooking School in New Hampshire.

WIENER SCHNITZEL

1 pound veal scaloppine, each slice about 2 ounces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

1 cup bread crumbs

6 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee

8 lemon wedges, for garnish

Season the scaloppine on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip each piece of veal first in the flour, shaking off excess, then in the egg, and finally in the bread crumbs. Place the slices of veal on a clean, dry plate until ready to fry. The scaloppine can be prepared up to three hours ahead to this stage, but will taste better if breaded at the last minute.

Heat the clarified butter or ghee in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. It should be hot but not smoking. To test the temperature, dip in a piece of veal - if bubbles dance around it, proceed.

Fry the veal pieces for 30 seconds on each side. Do not crowd pan, or the veal will stew rather than crisply fry. Use two pans if necessary. Serve the Wiener Schnitzel as soon as it is cooked, garnished with lemon wedges for squeezing. Makes four servings.


The Real Skinny On Sponge Cake

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160102124025/http://articles.philly.com/1991-01-30/food/25821417_1_yolks-whites-layer-cake-pans Posted: January 30, 1991

There are two ways for the weight-wary to eat cake without guilt: One is to maximize natural flavors and remove as much fat and sugar as possible; the other is to sneak in some real nutrition so that when you skip half the meal to save room for dessert, you're not robbing your body of something it really needs. The best approach is to do both!

Sponge cake is a prime example of the first approach. Our recipe gets its little bit of fat from egg yolks and nothing else. It's lightly sweetened so that you can sweeten it up with natural, good-for-you fruit as a topping.

SLIMMER SPONGE CAKE

2/3 cup cake flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, separated, plus 1 egg white

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

8 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/4 cup cold water

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside. Beat the 3 egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff, but not dry.

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of sugar over whites. Beat in thoroughly. Set aside. Beat the 2 egg yolks until thick and light, about 3 minutes. Beat in water, remaining sugar and extract. Continue beating for 5 minutes. Gently fold flour mixture into yolk mixture in several small additions.

Then, gently but thoroughly fold in beaten egg whites. Divide mixture between 2 non-stick layer cake pans lined with waxed paper circles. Bake at 350 degrees about 35 to 40 minutes, until cake is springy and done. Cool.

Remove layers and peel off paper. Makes two layers, 395 calories per layer. Each later can be cut into six wedges at 65 calories each. (Top with sliced fresh berries, if desired.)

Here's an off-season sweet treat that can be made with canned peaches or the sliced fresh nectarines appearing in some markets this time of year. You can cut calories about 15 per serving by using unsweetened raspberries (sweeten to taste with low calorie sweetener, if desired.)

SLIM PEACH MELBA

1 layer Slim Sponge Cake, baked (recipe given)

16-ounce can peaches, sliced, juice-packed, drained or 4 ripe nectarines pitted and sliced

10-ounce package frozen sweetened raspberries

Put the cake layer on a platter and arrange the peach slices on top, facing in the same direction. Puree the raspberries in a covered blender and drizzle over the peach slices. Makes 8 servings, 110 calories each.

Here's a lower caloried version of the classic "dump" cake: (it gets its unappetizing-sounding name from the fact that you "dump" all the ingredients in the cakepan and stir like crazy! This recipe is not only low-cal but it's also quick and easy and quick-to-clean-up!

SLIMMER CHOCOLATE DUMP CAKE

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons plain cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 cup water

Sift first five ingredients together into a 9-inch non-stick cake pan, which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Stir in remaining ingredients until thoroughly blended. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 12 servings, about 145 calories each.

DOUBLE DEVIL ROLL

Cake: 4 eggs, separated

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup self-rising cake flour, sifted

2 tablespoons cocoa, plain, lowfat

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar, sifted

Filling: 4-serving package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup skim milk

1/2 cup yogurt, plain, lowfat

CAKE: Combine egg whites and salt. Beat until stiff. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Set aside. Beat egg yolks until light. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar. Continue beating until thick, about 5 minutes.

Fold yolks into beaten whites. Sift flour and cocoa together. Gently fold into egg mixture a little at a time. Line a 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Spread batter evenly over paper.

Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sifted confectioners' sugar over a cotton or linen dish towel on a flat surface. Turn the cake on to the towel. While still warm, peel off the waxed paper and roll towel and cake together lengthwise. Cool. Unroll to fill.

FILLING: Beat together the pudding mix, milk and yogurt. Mixture will be thick. Unroll cake. Spread evenly with filling. Re-roll. Sift the remaining teaspoon of confectioners' sugar over the top. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 12 servings, 133 calories each with sugar-free pudding mix.


Real Food, Without The Bite Elwyn Institute Serves Pureed Meals - Including Hoagies, Spaghetti And Chocolate Cake - That Are As Appealing To Look At As They Are To Eat.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151018150229/http://articles.philly.com/1991-09-25/food/25799641_1_chocolate-cake-food-processor-ingredients Posted: September 25, 1991

Chef John Hilburt looked down on his creations lined up in a neat row on a table in the main kitchen of the Elwyn Institute.

The dishes ran the gamut - spaghetti with a crown of three meatballs; a hunk of frosted chocolate cake; a hoagie with neat layers of meat, cheese and lettuce, and a hearty platter of Salisbury steak and gravy with mashed potatoes, peas and carrots.

While the food looked delicious, it was the taste test that proved to be the big surprise.

For these foods were made entirely of pureed ingredients.

Thomas Rogers, director of food services for the institute in Media, explained that the effort to give pureed foods the look of the real thing has been made to help Elwyn's clients who have chewing and swallowing problems.

Elwyn, located on a sprawling 450-acre site, has 26,000 physically and mentally handicapped clients, and about 5 percent of them have swallowing dysfunctions.

"We wanted to produce three-dimensional food made completely out of pureed ingredients," said Rogers, who works for the Wood Co., based in Allentown, which is contracted to provide the meals and snacks at Elwyn.

"Every year, we try to work on a project to improve what we produce at Elwyn," Rogers said. "We feel all of our clients here at Elwyn are important, and this group of people has always presented a culinary challenge to my staff."

Rogers said clients with swallowing disorders or dental problems are offered a pureed diet.

"So if spaghetti and meatballs was on the menu, for the clients on a pureed diet, we would simply put all the ingredients into the food processor, give it a whirl and present this unappetizing-looking dish to them," Rogers said. "The taste was there, but it was unappealing to look at."

What his staff was discovering was that many of the trays were returning with the pureed food untouched.

About a year ago, Rogers, his head nutritionist, Carol Marzano, and chef Jim Panetta worked with Hilburt to come up with ways to produce pureed foods that looked good enough to eat.

"The biggest problem in the beginning was coming up with the right consistency," Rogers said.

Marzano said that the team experimented with different natural thickeners. ''Some of thickeners we have used with success are instant mashed potato flakes and a cornstarch thickener," she said. "And, our recipes can be adapted for home use."

"Many people are taking care of elderly relatives in their home," Rogers said. "We have found that the elderly we care for here, if they have trouble chewing and swallowing food, eventually they eat only things like ice cream and applesauce. This would get pretty boring after awhile."

And now, the clients on a pureed diet get the same foods as the rest of Elwyn's population.

A pureed hoagie? "No problem," Rogers proclaimed with a big grin.

Hilburt explained that bakery goods such as bread, cookies and cakes were a snap to prepare for those on a pureed diet. Soaking such foods in a gelatin solution softens them to a puree consistency. It also eliminates the crumbs, which some clients have trouble swallowing.

"All I do is take a slice of cake," he said, as he reached for a thick piece of dark chocolate cake, "and pour a solution of unflavored gelatin and water. Once it soaks in, the cake is basically ready to be enjoyed by these clients."

"And what makes this nice is that crumbs from regular cake can become lodged in their throats," said Joanne Bobiak, a speech therapist at Elwyn. ''These clients don't always have a strong coughing reflex to get rid of the particles, and food can create problems."

For a hoagie, Hilburt explained that bread and American cheese are coated with the gelatin mixture. Once it is ready, a pureed mixture of lunch meats is piped onto the bread, using pastry bags and decorating tips that can be purchased at local kitchen supply and department stores.

"Getting lettuce the right consistency was a challenge," Hilburt explained. "We use iceberg lettuce, because we found Romaine lettuce to be too stringy. And, I use lemon yogurt with the lettuce for taste."

He then piped a green layer of lettuce onto the hoagie, used tomato slices made of pureed tomatoes, and, voila, an Italian hoagie.

"When we sent these hoagies to our clients, the staff sent them back thinking we had made a mistake," Rogers said, laughing as he recalled the incident.

Little escapes the food processor.

"We haven't found anything we can't reproduce as pureed food," Rogers said. "Meats, seafood, fruits, even pizza, can be turned into real-looking pureed foods.

Hilburt said the foods were prepared the same way they were for the rest of the clients.

"We cook all the meats the same and season them identically, so our pureed foods have plenty of flavor," he said as he switched the food processor's dial, turning meatballs into puree, to be scooped into meatballs again.

Hilburt said that the only problem was making stews three-dimensional. But, he said, it can be done.

"We've had interest in our foods from nursing homes," said Bobiak. She added that workshops are being scheduled to spread the word that pureed foods can be tasty and appealing.

Hilburt said that if home cooks had a food processor or blender, they could re-create these dishes at home. The gelatin solution is used in many of the recipes.

ITALIAN HOAGIE

1 ounce each, processed lean ham, salami and bologna

One soft hoagie-style roll

4 ounces gelatin solution (recipe follows)

2 1/2-ounce slices American cheese

Mayonnaise to taste

Lemon Lettuce Liner (recipe follows)

Tomato slices (recipe follows)

Process meat until smooth. Pour three ounces of the gelatin solution over soft roll and chill for two hours. Place slices of American cheese on top of roll and pour one ounce of gelatin solution over cheese.

Spread meat mixture on top of bread. Then add a layer of lettuce and tomato. Chill for 2 to 4 hours. Makes one hoagie.

GELATIN SOLUTION. Dissolve one tablespoon of unflavored gelatin with one cup of very hot water. Use as called for in recipes.

LEMON LETTUCE LINER

3/4 cup iceberg lettuce

1 tablespoon lemon yogurt

1 tablespoon instant mashed potato flakes

Puree lettuce and yogurt until blended and smooth. Add potato flakes and blend for 30 seconds. Serve chilled. Use a decorating pastry bag and large cake icer tip to give lettuce a layered look.

TOMATO SLICES

1/2 cup strained tomato sauce

2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

Heat sauce and dissolve gelatin in sauce. Congeal in cylinder-shape mold. Chill for two hours. Remove from mold and slice. Cut slices in half to make wedges.

PASTA PUREE

8 cups pasta or rice, well-cooked

1 tablespoon warm milk

Start by soaking the cooked pasta in cold water for 30 to 40 minutes. (This takes the starch out and makes it easier to process.)

With a food processor, puree pasta and milk, scrape bowl down and repeat as needed. Check smoothness and add more warm milk, if needed (texture should be that of frosting).

To make the pasta look like the real thing, use a #234 decorating tip, a flat-bottomed tip with eight holes punched in the bottom. Extrude pasta onto wax paper-lined baking sheet, or onto a plate. Freeze or refrigerate. Bring to serving temperature by microwaving or heating in an oven.

Pour sauce over pasta and add pureed meatballs. Makes eight servings.

PUREED MEATBALLS

4 one-ounce cooked and seasoned meatballs

Beef stock, as needed

1 ounce gravy

Using your own meatball recipe, process meat in processor. Add stock for desired consistency. Scoop into meatball shape. Place in pan and heat through. Using canned gravy or a gravy mix, pour 1 ounce over meatballs. Makes four meatballs.


Festive Fare For Hanukah Pancakes Made Of Potato Are The Traditional Treat. But Creative Cooks Use Other Vegetables, Fried In The Oil At The Heart Of The Holiday Miracle.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150826182512/http://articles.philly.com/1991-11-27/food/25769220_1_latkes-potato-vegetable-pancakes Posted: November 27, 1991

As children, my brother and I always looked forward to Hanukah. We took turns selecting our favorite colors of candles, arranging them in the menorah and helping our father light them. We also enjoyed singing Hanukah songs and playing Hanukah games. But I must admit, for us the best part of the holiday (which this year begins at sundown Sunday) was getting a gift from our parents every night, just after the lighting of the candles.

My mother's delicious latkes, or lacy potato pancakes, were an anticipated treat. For many families this traditional holiday specialty is more than something good to eat; it is a reminder of the Hanukah miracle, which took place a little over 2,000 years ago.

At that time, the Syrians tried to force the Jews to give up their culture and to worship Greek gods. The Jews drove the foreign army out of Jerusalem, cleansed the temple and relit the light there. Legend says that only enough ritually clean oil for one day could be found, but it miraculously lasted eight days, until more could be prepared. Therefore Hanukah is celebrated for eight days (this year, until sundown Dec. 9).

So what does this have to do with potatoes? Nothing, really. The miracle involved oil rather than potatoes, and it's because latkes are fried in oil that they are served to commemorate this event. Potatoes became part of Jewish cooking only after they were introduced to Europe in the 16th century. In the form most familiar to us, potato latkes appear to have originated in Russia, but they are now popular among Jews throughout Europe, Israel and America.

Creative cooks have extended the repertoire of "latkes" and now many prepare them from other vegetables, such as zucchini, corn, cauliflower, eggplant, spinach and mixtures of several vegetables. Our Zucchini-Garlic Pancakes are of Sephardic origin. Cumin, one of the favorite Middle Eastern spices, adds a special Mediterranean accent to our corncakes, which are topped with a hot salsa.

Potato and vegetable pancakes are delicious as appetizers or as partners for roast poultry or a hearty meat stew. For a kosher menu, pancakes containing dairy products should not be served with meat.

The pancakes can also play a central role in a vegetarian dinner. A selection of pancakes of different colors makes great Hanukah fare, especially when presented with dill, sour cream or mint-flavored yogurt, as in the recipes that follow.

Potato and vegetable pancakes can be a simple party dish if you prepare a variety of sweet and savory toppings and serve them buffet-style. For the sweet toppings to accompany potato pancakes, set out containers of applesauce, chopped nuts and a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. For savory garnishes for potato or vegetable pancakes, provide mushroom ragout, dill or mint topping or fresh salsa as well as an assortment of colorful vegetables, including chopped green onions, diced tomatoes and diced cucumbers. If you like, you can follow the fashion in trendy restaurants and accompany the pancakes with goat cheese, smoked salmon or caviar.

*

Crisp potato pancakes are easy to make by grating the potatoes and the onions in a food processor. To avoid having to saute them during a party, the pancakes can be prepared ahead and refrigerated or frozen on a cookie sheet and then transferred to a bag.

They can be reheated (after being slightly thawed if they were frozen) on a cookie sheet in a 450-degree oven for a few minutes. Instead of the traditional applesauce or sour-cream topping, you can serve Dill Topping or Mushroom Ragout.

TRADITIONAL POTATO PANCAKES

4 large potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled

1 medium onion (about 1/2 pound)

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable oil (for frying)

Applesauce, sour cream, yogurt or cinnamon and sugar (optional, for serving)

Grate potatoes and onions, using grating disc of a food processor or the large holes of a grater. Transfer them to a colander. Squeeze mixture to press out as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a bowl. Add egg, salt, pepper, flour and baking powder.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a deep, heavy 10-to-12-inch skillet. For each pancake, drop about 2 tablespoons of potato mixture into pan. Flatten with back of a spoon so each cake is about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. Fry over medium heat about four to five minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Turn very carefully so oil doesn't splatter. Drain on paper towels. Stir batter before each new batch. Add more oil to pan if necessary after frying a few batches. Serve pancakes hot, accompanied by applesauce, sour cream, yogurt or cinnamon mixed with sugar. Makes about 15 pancakes, to serve four or five.

A combination of whole and pureed corn kernels gives these cakes a great corn flavor. They are delicious with a fresh salsa, as in the following recipe; or simply top them with a little sour cream or yogurt and sprinkle with parsley and diced tomato.

CORNCAKES WITH CUMIN

2 cups frozen corn kernels, cooked, drained and cooled

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup vegetable oil (for frying)

Puree 1/2 cup cooked corn; a few chunks may remain. Mix pureed corn with salt, pepper, cumin and egg. Stir in flour, then corn kernels.

Heat oil in a deep, heavy, large frying pan. For each pancake, drop 1 heaping tablespoon of corn mixture into the pan. Flatten each cake slightly with back of a spoon. Fry over medium heat about two to three minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Turn very carefully with two pancake turners so the oil doesn't splatter. Drain on paper towels. Stir batter before frying each new batch. If necessary, add more oil to pan. Serve pancakes hot. Makes 12 small cakes or four appetizer or side-dish servings.

Salsa makes a fresh, zesty topping for vegetable pancakes, and has the advantage of containing no fat or dairy products. It is becoming popular in Israel, where hot condiments are much loved.

FRESH SALSA

3/4 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, minced, or cayenne pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 large green onions, chopped (scant 2/3 cup)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and green onions in bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons water if mixture is dry; it should have a chunky, saucelike consistency. Serve at room temperature. (Can be kept two days in refrigerator.) Makes four to six servings.

Serve these latkes with Dill Topping or topped with sauteed mushrooms or diced tomatoes.

CAULIFLOWER LATKES

1 large cauliflower (about 2 pounds)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

6 tablespoons breadcrumbs

2 eggs

1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried

Cook cauliflower in a large pan of boiling salted water, uncovered, over high heat for about 12 minutes or until very tender. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy skillet, add onion and cook over medium-low heat about 10 minutes or until soft and golden brown.

Drain cauliflower thoroughly and mash with a fork. There should still be pieces but not large ones. Add breadcrumbs, eggs, fried onion, dill and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Wipe pan used to fry onions. Heat 1/4 cup oil in pan. Take 1 heaping tablespoon cauliflower mixture in your hand and press to make it compact. Flatten it to a cake about 1/2 inch thick and add to pan. Make 4 or 5 more cakes and add to pan. Fry in oil about three minutes on each side or until brown. Turn carefully using a wide pancake turner. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm by placing in a 300-degree oven with door open while frying the rest. Add more oil if pan becomes dry. Continue making cakes with remaining cauliflower mixture. Serve hot. Makes six servings.

DILL TOPPING

1 cup sour cream or yogurt

1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill

Mix sour cream or yogurt and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve at room temperature. Makes 1 cup.

In these pancakes the delicate green color of the zucchini shows through the golden brown crust. Serve them as an accompaniment for roast chicken, or as an appetizer at a meatless meal with Dill Topping or Yogurt-Mint Topping.

ZUCCHINI-GARLIC PANCAKES

3 cups coarsely grated zucchini (3 medium zucchini)

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped green onion

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Mint sprigs (for garnish)

Combine zucchini, garlic, green onion, salt and pepper. Add beaten egg and stir in lightly. Stir in flour.

Heat oil in a deep, heavy, large frying pan. For each pancake, drop 1 heaping tablespoon of zucchini mixture into the pan. Flatten each cake slightly with back of a spoon. Fry over medium heat about two to three minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Turn very carefully so the oil doesn't splatter. Drain on paper towels. Stir the mixture before frying each new batch. If all the oil is absorbed, add a little more to the pan. Serve hot, with topping. Garnish with mint sprigs. Makes 12 small cakes, about four appetizer or side-dish servings.

YOGURT-MINT TOPPING

1 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 finely minced small garlic clove

Cayenne pepper

Mix yogurt with mint and garlic. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Serve at room temperature. Makes 1 cup.

There are other types of potato pancakes besides the familiar grated potato version. These are French potato pancakes - tender, delicate thin pancakes made of mashed baked potatoes and cooked leeks. Serve them with sour cream, Dill Topping or Yogurt-Mint Topping or Mushroom Ragout.

POTATO AND LEEK PANCAKES

1 1/4 pounds baking potatoes (2 large potatoes), scrubbed but not peeled

1 pound large leeks, white and light green parts only

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

3 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Bake on rack in oven about one hour or until tender. Halve leeks lengthwise, rinse well and cut in 1/4-inch slices. Soak slices in cold water for five minutes to remove any sand. Lift slices into large strainer, rinse and drain well.

Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks. Cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes or until very soft but not brown. If any liquid remains in pan, cook leeks over medium-high heat, stirring, until liquid evaporates. Transfer to bowl and cool.

Remove pulp of hot potatoes and puree in a food mill or push through a sieve. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let cool.

Stir in leeks. Stir in eggs one by one, stirring well after each. Stir in flour. Taste mixture and add more salt, pepper and nutmeg if needed.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Using a large tablespoon, add a spoonful of batter to oil and flatten slightly to make a pancake about 2 inches in diameter. Mixture should spread but pancake need not be very thin. If mixture is too thick to spread, add a little milk to batter. If pancake does not hold together, add 1 tablespoon more flour to batter.

Make more pancakes of same size and fry about five minutes or until golden brown on both sides, turning carefully with two pancake turners. Transfer to paper towels on an ovenproof tray. Keep warm in a 250-degree oven while frying rest of pancakes.

Pancakes are best if served immediately but can be kept warm about 30 minutes. (They can be kept one day in refrigerator; reheat in one layer on paper towels on a baking sheet in a 250-degree oven.) Makes four to five servings; about 16 small pancakes.

Use exotic and ordinary mushrooms in this richly flavored ragout, which makes a wonderful topping for potato pancakes or potato and leek pancakes.

MUSHROOM RAGOUT

1/4 pound fresh oyster mushrooms

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 shallot or green onion, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 pound white mushrooms, halved and cut in thin slices

1/4 cup Madeira, Port or dry sherry

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Gently rinse oyster mushrooms and dry on paper towels. Cut in thin slices. Heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat.

Stir in shallot, then oyster mushrooms, salt and pepper. Saute, tossing often, about four minutes or until mushrooms are just tender. Remove from pan.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add white mushrooms, salt and pepper and saute about three minutes or until light brown. Return oyster mushrooms to skillet and reheat mushroom mixture until sizzling. Add Madeira and simmer over medium heat, stirring, about three minutes or until it is absorbed by mushrooms. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with parsley and serve. Makes four servings.


Jewish Cuisine With A Turkish Flavor In The Kitchen, Carol Amado Helps Keep Alive Her Husband's Sephardic Traditions.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151230091057/http://articles.philly.com/1992-12-27/food/25993716_1_matzo-balls-chopped-liver-sephardic-jews Posted: December 27, 1992

``I knew that if I was going to have a successful marriage, I was going to have to learn to make the traditional red rice of the Sephardic Jews of Turkey."

Carol Amado was speaking about her insight of 31 years ago when she (born of German-Jewish parents) married into the tightly knit Amado family, descendants of Jews who had been expelled from Spain 500 years ago and like many other of their fellow Jews had found a haven in Turkey.

One of the very first things she noticed was that the Amado family had a style of preparing food for festivals and sabbath meals that was very different from anything she was familiar with. Before her marriage, she had been exposed to the style of Jewish cooking that includes soup and matzo balls, chopped liver and roast chicken - the food brought to the States by Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe.

Two of the Amados (Carol's husband, Ralph, a physicist, and his cousin Jack, an engineer) moved to the Philadelphia area, where they became active in Turkish circles to preserve their country's customs. Their wives, Carol, a New Yorker, and Eda, a native of Istanbul, are extraordinary cooks, and both became interested in helping their husbands by keeping the culinary traditions of the Turkish Jews alive.

Ralph Amado's family came from Izmir, south of Istanbul, on the Aegean Sea, in the early 1900s. Jack Amado came from Izmir in the 1980s.

The variations in the foods of the two cities (Istanbul and Izmir) often gives rise to some good-natured rivalry that surfaces in the banter between the two women when they're discussing which is the "best" or, even, the ''correct" way to make a certain dish they happen to be preparing at any given time.

Neither woman is a professional cook. Eda is a graphic designer and mother of two children, ages 11 and 4. Carol is a concert violinist (first violinist in the Amado String Quartet and a soloist with a worldwide reputation). She and her husband also have two children, ages 23 and 27.

The cooking of the two Amado women shows that there is more to Jewish cuisine than chicken soup with matzo balls and chopped liver. Sephardic Jews use a lot of rice, fresh fruits and vegetables in their cooking, as well as grains.

Here are some of the Amado recipes (most use the traditional Jewish-Spanish names):

FRITADA DE ESPINACA

(SPINACH OMELET)

1 medium potato, peeled and quartered

1 pound fresh spinach, washed, dried, and chopped fine or 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

4 eggs lightly beaten

2 ounces Kaseri cheese

1/2 cup small-curd cottage cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Cook potato in boiling water to cover until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour off water and mash coarsely. Add chopped (uncooked) spinach and mix together. Add eggs, cheeses, salt, cayenne (if using) and vegetable oil and combine thoroughly.

Pour into greased 8-by-8-inch pan and bake in 350-degree oven 45 minutes until sides are brown and top is firm to touch. Cool slightly and cut into 2- inch squares. Serve at room temperature or reheat in 350-degree oven. Makes four to six servings.

SALATA DE BERENCENA

(EGGPLANT SALAD)

1 large eggplant, about 1 pound

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

Salt, to taste

Chopped parsley, for garnish

1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)

1 teaspoon oil (optional)

3 plum tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Place eggplant about 2 inches from a preheated broiler and cook until skin is charred, turning as necessary, until charred on all sides and eggplant is soft.

Cool until able to handle and remove charred skin (and seeds if large and tough). Place in food processor and combine with oil, lemon juice and salt.

Serve at room temperature, topped with chopped parsley. If desired, add optional ingredients, prepared as follows: Cook chopped garlic in 1 teaspoon oil until soft. Add chopped plum tomatoes and cook together until slightly thickened. Combine with eggplant mixture. Makes four to six servings.

*

This is a recipe for the traditional red rice of the Sephardic Jews.

ARROZ CON TOMAT

(RICE WITH TOMATO)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups rice

2 1/4 cups water or chicken stock

3/4 cup tomato sauce

Heat oil in heavy pan over medium heat and add rice. Stir to coat.

Add water, or chicken stock, tomato sauce and salt and bring to boil. Stir once, lower heat to slow simmer. Cover tightly and cook 20 minutes without stirring. Serve with meat or fish that has not been cooked with tomatoes. Makes four to six servings.

Note: For Arroz Blanco (White Rice) cook as above, except use 3 cups water or chicken stock and no tomato sauce. This goes well with meats or fish cooked with tomatoes.

SEPHARDIC ROAST LAMB

3 to 3 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder

4 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

1 onion finely chopped

Place all ingredients in heavy pan with cover. Cook for 1 1/2 hours in a 350-degree oven, basting occasionally with pan juices. Serve with Arroz Blanco. Makes six servings.

TIZPESHTI

(ALMOND CAKE WITH SYRUP)

FOR THE SYRUP:

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup water

Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE CAKE:

1 cup vegetable oil

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

10 ounces almonds, ground

Juice of 1 orange

Slivered almonds, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make syrup: In an uncovered saucepan, mix sugar and water. Bring to boil and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and vanilla. Let stand at room temperature while cake is baking.

To make the cake: Beat together oil and eggs. Add sugar and beat until mixture is light yellow in color. Add flour, baking powder, almonds and orange juice and mix together thoroughly. Place batter in a greased 9-by-13-inch pan and bake until golden brown, approximately 40 minutes.

Cut into diamond-shaped pieces and place a sliver of almond on each. Drench with syrup; allow to stand 2 to 3 hours to absorb syrup before serving. Makes eight servings.


12 Ways Dieters Can Avoid Hunger

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151225150344/http://articles.philly.com/1993-02-24/food/25955751_1_calorie-hunger-pangs-meals Posted: February 24, 1993

Here are a dozen tips to help dieters avoid those hunger pangs:

1. Double your pleasure: Eat twice as often, half as much . . . six mini- meals instead of three squares! If your next real meal is never more than a few hours away, you'll be less tempted to dip into the cookie jar or snatch a candy bar. The key is in planning those mini-meals around low-calorie, good- for-you foods, so that you're eating the same amount of calories as if you were eating three bigger meals and nothing else all day.

2. Wake up to breakfast: Don't skip breakfast, but do eat lightly: preferably a high-protein or whole-grain cereal with skim milk and fruit, with the emphasis on carbohydrates and protein, not on fat. A light calorie investment in the morning pays big energy dividends and can save you calories in the long run. Without breakfast, you'll probably succumb to a pastry break or glutton's lunch later on.

3. The news on chewing gum: Don't! The chewing action starts you salivating . . . and turns on your appetite's "ready" switch.

4. Have a drink: Think you're hungry? Have a drink . . . of water. Liquids help fill you up, at least temporarily. You may even find you weren't really hungry at all, just thirsty!

5. Outta sight! Out of sight, out of mind! Keep food covered. Hidden away. Behind cabinet doors. In covered containers. Under wraps. Choose foil or wax paper over see-through plastic, lidded ceramic or metal bowls instead of glass. If you're afraid food will go bad before you find it again, keep a list on the fridge door of what's stored in containers. If you get very ambitious, record the calorie count of each food, too, so you can think before you eat!

6. Avoid food 'porn': You know, those luscious color photos so real that the cheese seems to be melting off the page. Wait until immediately after dinner to begin leafing through the pages of this month's magazine. On the other hand, if you find beautiful pictures of fruits and vegetables, post them! Get hungry for a pear instead of pizza.

7. Keep your mouth shut: Don't talk about it! If somebody wants to tell you about a great new restaurant or recipe, change the subject. Talk about something safe: sex, politics, religion, anything!

8. Never shop on empty: Shop at the supermarket immediately AFTER breakfast or lunch, not just before dinner when you're supposed to be hungry. Merely looking at labels can tempt you into the wrong choices.

9. Salad for starters: Start each meal with soup or salad . . . something calorie-light that takes a while to eat, and takes the edge off your appetite.

10. Never eat and run: Don't eat and run. Take your time. If you eat too quickly, you'll pack away more calories than you really want or need. Give your "hunger gauge" a chance to register "full."

11. Pay attention: Avoid "psychic starvation" . . . pay attention to what you're eating. Don't read, watch TV, argue, negotiate, gossip or balance your checkbook at the same time you're supposed to be enjoying a meal. If you focus your attention on other matters, the fact that you've eaten might not really register.

12. Make meals memorable: Do it with spices and herbs, seasonings that heighten the flavor of lean, low-calorie foods. Serve it attractively. If your food is forgettable, it's easy to imagine that you're still hungry.


Barbecued Beef Roast Is At Center Of A Hot And Hearty Winter Meal

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151226041225/http://articles.philly.com/1994-02-23/food/25859147_1_roast-chili-sauce-beef Posted: February 23, 1994

If there is anything good about winter - this particular, terrible winter - it is that hot, hearty food, cooked slowly and smelling wonderful, provides a feeling of warm comfort.

Simple roast beef, in its own spicy sauce, is the centerpiece of our current seasonal menu, and it is complemented by basic, nutritious dishes that round out this four-person repast.

All shopping can be done in local supermarkets, at a bargain price of less than $13, and preparation is as painless as the cost.

Here is our Affordable Feast for this month.

CUCUMBER AVOCADO SALAD

BARBECUED BEEF ROAST

EASY CORN FRITTERS

BANANA PUDDING

Cucumber Avocado Salad is a vegetable mixture that can be served either before or along with the hot meat course. Whenever it is presented, it tastes good and seems Southwestern, which adds a feeling of warmth.

One of the nicest qualities of Barbecued Beef Roast is that during its three hours in the oven, its aroma permeates the household, sparking appetites and causing happy anticipation.

Easy Corn Fritters is accurately described. The fritters are quickly made up, rapidly fried and go well with the roast beef's strong taste. They also provide a nice change from the standard potato accompaniment to beef.

As smooth and enjoyable as old-fashioned blancmange, Banana Pudding is easy to make, is excellent served warm and perfectly fine when refrigerated and eaten cold.

All ingredients for this meal were checked for price and availability in a Philadelphia-area Pathmark store.

Barbecued Beef Roast, at its preparation cost of $6.94, is the most expensive of our courses, but still quite reasonable for any roasted beef dish. Its meat cost of $5 is based on a super sale on beef, with its 80 cents worth of chili sauce, 72 cents worth of cooking sherry and 42 cents worth of everything else.

Cucumber Avocado Salad, with $1.09 for cucumbers, 68 cents for an avocado, 78 cents for romaine and 76 cents for everything else, costs $3.31 to prepare.

Super cheap, at an 86 cents total, are Easy Corn Fritters, while Banana Pudding, at its $1.88 total, is also reasonably low in cost. Together, the courses all add up to this meal's final sum of $12.99.

2 large or 3 small cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 large or 2 small onions, thinly sliced

1 ripe avocado, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup corn oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 bunch romaine lettuce

In medium bowl, combine cucumbers, onions and avocado slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice, then add vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Mix to thoroughly combine, then refrigerate, covered, for 4 hours or longer.

To serve, tear lettuce into bite-size pieces, put on 4 salad plates and top with cucumber mixture and its liquid. Serve cold. Makes four servings.

BARBECUED BEEF ROAST

2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef, top round

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup chili sauce

1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 cup dry sherry

1/4 teaspoon salt

Trim fat from roast, as much as possible, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar. In skillet, melt butter with oil. Add roast and brown the meat, turning to brown evenly on all sides. Remove roast from skillet and place in baking pan or dish. To skillet, add chili sauce, hot pepper sauce, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, curry powder, pepper, sherry and salt. Bring to boil, remove from heat and pour sauce over meat in baking pan. Cover tightly and bake at low heat, 300 degrees, for 3 hours or until fork-tender.

Remove from oven, slice as desired and pour sauce from pan over meat. Makes four to six servings.

EASY CORN FRITTERS

1 can (16 ounces) creamed corn

1 cup biscuit/baking mix

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup oil

In medium mixing bowl, combine creamed corn, baking mix, milk, salt and sugar. Stir well to combine.

In heavy skillet, heat oil. Add corn mixture, by heaping spoonsful, to hot oil and quickly fry, over medium-high heat, until fritters are golden, turning once to brown both sides. Remove from skillet, put on paper towels to drain. Keep warm. Repeat process until all batter is used. Serve hot. Makes four servings.

BANANA PUDDING

1 large overripe banana

1/3 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup sugar

4 cups milk

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 dozen vanilla wafers

4 firm, ripe bananas, sliced

Peel overripe banana and mash it. In saucepan, combine cornstarch, salt and sugar. Add 1 cup of milk, stirring until smooth. In separate small pan, scald remaining 3 cups milk, then stir into cornstarch mixture. Cook, over medium heat, stirring, until mixture is thickened. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and reserved mashed banana. Stir well to combine. In 4 dessert dishes, put 6 vanilla wafers on bottoms of dishes, top with sliced firm bananas, then top with banana pudding. May be served warm or cold, with or without whipped cream. Makes four large or six small servings.


You're Not Off Your Noodle If You Serve Guests Pasta

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150920080645/http://articles.philly.com/1994-02-25/news/25859432_1_pasta-red-meat-fresh-meat Posted: February 25, 1994

An invitation from an old friend arrived in the mail.

It said, "You are invited to a pasta party."

I immediately phoned him and said, "Look, I don't know what's going on, but I want to help."

He said: "Good. You can bring some Parmesan or a bottle of red wine."

"I'm serious," I said. "I'm right here. What can I do?"

"OK, you can make the garlic bread," he said.

I said: "Don't be proud. What do you need? A loan? Food? A co-signer? Just name it and you got it. Believe me, the kids will be all right."

He said, "What are you talking about?"

"This," I said. "This pasta thing."

"What about it?" he said. "I just bought a pasta machine. I want to try it out. What do you like? Fettuccine?"

"Level with me," I said. "Have you been fired?"

"I've just been promoted," he said.

"Then you're getting squeezed by your bookie," I said. "Don't panic."

"I don't gamble," he said.

"Look, you can confide in me. What's wrong?"

"I told you. I bought a pasta machine. What do you like? It makes great linguine."

I could tell he was serious. "You bought a pasta machine?"

"Sure. It's the latest thing. Electric. That's why I'm having a party. To try it out."

"But you're not Italian," I said.

"Of course not. If I was Italian, my mother would make pasta for me."

"You really have a pasta machine?"

"Sure. It's right next to my Cuisinart."

"But you don't even live in Lincoln Park. You're from the Southwest Side."

"What has that to do with it?"

Obviously, he was another victim of pasta chic, a craze that has gripped Chicago and the nation.

When Slats Grobnik was a kid, he always knew the old man was having a losing streak at the racetrack.

"We ate spaghetti every day," he said. "Or macaroni. Or some of those other damned noodles."

If the streak was prolonged - and old man Grobnik had a fondness for horses that ran backward - Slats would start moaning: "The only fresh meat in the house is our dog. And I'm too weak to chase 'im."

It was that way all over the neighborhood. You knew when the paycheck was running out: The noodle appeared. There was no cheaper way to feed a family.

Poverty meant starch. Prosperity meant meat. That's why so many poor people are fat.

But now that has been reversed. Pasta is in. Meat is out. (At least red meat. You are still fashionable if you eat the flesh of a dead fish or chicken.)

It probably began along the lakefront, where most strange trends take root.

Maybe it was a broker who had bet on the wrong pork belly and went broke, causing his wife to face the anguish of canceling a dinner party because she couldn't afford to buy a sirloin tip.

"Let them eat pasta," the broker may have said.

Or maybe it was a jogger, seeking the ultimate carbohydrate high and faced with the rising cost of Adidas shoes.

It might have been an offshoot of Italian chic, which preceded pasta chic.

Whatever caused it, you can't escape the noodle.

There was a time when people invited you over and you ate pot roast, baked chicken, roast beef, or meat loaf - which made the trip worth the price of the gas.

Now you get noodles, covered with olive oil and powdered garlic.

A friend of Italian ancestry told me:

"I never accept invitations to dinner any more. I can't stand it. Last week I went to a pal's house. And his wife, who is of Norweigian-Irish ancestry, served linguine with a sauce made of herrings and potatoes."

Incidentally, I did accept the invitation to the pasta party that my friend threw.

But his machine broke down and we sent out for Chinese food.


Sunday Brunch & Seder

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151222165844/http://articles.philly.com/1994-03-23/food/25848695_1_passover-wines-passover-meals-place-eggplant Posted: March 23, 1994

At sundown on Saturday, Jews around the world will gather in their homes to retell the story of the exodus from Egypt.

The Passover seder combines a religious service with a dinner.

Symbolic foods such as bitter herbs, hard-boiled eggs, fresh parsley and haroseth (a mixture of chopped apples, nuts and wine) are an integral part of the meal.

Yet nothing is nicer than inviting guests for a Passover Sunday brunch, especially if you've been invited out for the first seder.

It's been a long time since the first day of Passover fell on a Sunday.

The following menu borrows from many different Jewish culinary traditions.

The chopped eggplant appetizer is Austrian-Romanian, although it is also popular throughout the Middle East.

Roasting the eggplant in the microwave oven for 10 or 12 minutes yields a sweeter eggplant.

Or you can roast the eggplant in a conventional oven at 350 degrees for one hour.

Cold fruit soups, especially those made with cherries, are Hungarian in origin.

Italian Jews make use of fennel, roasted peppers, pine nuts and fresh fish at Passover time.

Red snapper served on a bed of shredded raw spinach and topped with pine nuts is a very Italian main course.

My Austrian-born grandmother always served the first asparagus of spring during Passover. Today, asparagus can be found in supermarkets all year round, and I always include them in my Passover meals.

Steamed asparagus with roasted red peppers and slices of crunchy fennel serve as an Italian side dish.

Roasted potatoes with lots of garlic and olive oil accompany the fish.

Kosher for Passover wines have come a long way since I was a girl.

The red Concord grape wine was so sticky-sweet it had to be mixed with a spritz of seltzer water. Vineyards in New York, California, Italy, France and Israel now produce crisp dry wines, including Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, to complement any dish.

I always serve fresh pineapple slices and juicy strawberries with good quality store-bought kosher for Passover cookies and macaroons for dessert.

I have deliberately omitted egg dishes for this brunch because so many traditional dishes during this eight-day holiday contain eggs - among them gefilte fish, matzoh balls, sponge cake and matzoh meal pancakes.

CHOPPED EGGPLANT APPETIZER

1 large eggplant (about 1 pound), pricked with a fork

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Place eggplant on two paper towel sheets and microwave on high for 10 or 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Slice the cooled eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh. Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the onion,

salt and pepper. Process until coarsely chopped; do not puree until smooth.

Place mixture in a serving bowl and stir in the olive oil and lemon juice.

Serve with small squares of matzoh. Makes about 2 cups.

COLD CHERRY SOUP

1 pound fresh, frozen or canned cherries

1 large cinnamon stick

1/2 cup sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

4 cups water

Sour cream for garnish

Place cherries, cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. The cherries should keep their shape, so check the soup after about 5 minutes.

Cool the soup and place in the refrigerator overnight. Serve in small soup bowls or glass mugs. Pass sour cream on the side. Serves 4 to 6.

RED SNAPPER ON SPINACH

1/3 cup raspberry vinegar

1 small scallion, finely minced

6 red snapper fillets, 4 to 6 ounces each

2/3 cup dry white wine

2 sticks chilled sweet butter, cut in pieces

1/2 pound finely shredded raw spinach

Pine nuts for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine vinegar and scallion in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until vinegar is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Set aside.

Place snapper fillets in a large baking dish. Pour the wine over the fish and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and set aside.

Heat the vinegar mixture again over very low heat. Whisk in the chilled butter, piece by piece, making sure each piece is completely absorbed before you add the next. The sauce will be creamy and shiny. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Divide the spinach evenly among 6 plates. Place a fillet on top of the spinach. Spoon the sauce over each and top with pine nuts. Serves 6.

ASPARAGUS, ROASTED PEPPERS AND FENNEL

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus

1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips

1 fresh fennel bulb, rinsed and sliced

Place asparagus in a large frying pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Combine the peppers and fennel slices in a bowl and toss well. Place the asparagus on a serving platter and top with red peppers and fennel. Serves 4 to 6.

POTATOES ROASTED WITH GARLIC

1 1/2 pounds small red Bliss potatoes (halved if not small)

12 large garlic cloves

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes in a large casserole. Add garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat well. Cover tightly and bake about 45 minutes. Halfway through cooking time, lift off the lid and stir. Serves 4 to 6.


Passover Suggestions Just Right For A Lunch Box

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151222134659/http://articles.philly.com/1994-03-23/food/25849330_1_passover-pear-pepper-and-salt Posted: March 23, 1994

These suggestions for Passover lunches bring a touch of spring to lunch boxes, featuring some of the new products available this year. Combined with plenty of fruit and vegetables, each is fresh, appealing and brimming with good nutrition.

FRESH TOMATO-BASIL SOUP

1 teaspoon cooking oil (such as cottonseed, peanut)

1 scallion, snipped in 1/4-inch lengths with scissors

1 ripe tomato, cut in 8 wedges

1 can (16 ounces) tomatoes with juice

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons Passover noodles, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallion, tomato; saute 2 to 3 minutes until scallion is wilted. Stir in canned tomatoes and basil; bring to boil. Add noodles, reduce to simmer and cook 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Makes two servings.

MARINATED BROCCOLI SPEARS

4 to 5 frozen broccoli spears, thawed

1/4 cup Passover Italian salad dressing

1 tablespoon red bell pepper, chopped

Place broccoli spears in small dish. Pour dressing over and sprinkle with red peppers. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Makes one serving.

BROILED CHICKEN FILET "SANDWICH"

2 teaspoons oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 boneless chicken breast filet, 4 to 6 ounces

Fresh-ground pepper and salt

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 Passover "bagel," split

2 slices apple, unpeeled

4 to 5 spinach leaves, washed

Preheat broiler. Combine oil and garlic. Brush chicken filet on both sides with garlic oil. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Broil under preheated broiler, 4 to 5 minutes each side, until nicely browned and cooked through.

Combine mayonnaise and horseradish; spread on one half of "bagel." Place broiled chicken on top, then apple slices and spinach. Top with remaining ''bagel" half, pressing lightly. Serve hot or cold. Makes one serving.

PEAR POACHED IN PEAR WINE

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup Passover pear dessert wine

1 pear, quartered and core removed

Place sugar, lemon juice and water into small skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in pear wine. Cut each pear quarter into 3 wedges and arrange in a layer in wine mixture. Cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes until pear is slightly tender. Transfer to serving dish. Serve warm or cold. Makes one serving.

RASPBERRY "SHORTCAKE"

1 Passover "doughnut," made according to package directions

2 teaspoons strawberry jam

2 tablespoons softly whipped cream

1/4 cup raspberries

Split "doughnut"; spread both sides thinly with strawberry jam. Spoon whipped cream on one half. Sprinkle raspberries over and top with second half of doughnut. Makes one serving.


Food For Passover - Italian-style Expanding The Seder Menu With The Cuisine Of Italian Jews.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150919075648/http://articles.philly.com/1997-04-13/food/25531944_1_matzo-seder-menu-italian-jews Posted: April 13, 1997

For Jews throughout the world, Passover, which begins Monday evening, April 21, commemorates the exodus from Egypt. For Edda Servi Machlin, author of the two-volume Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews (Giro Press), it is also a time to remember the seder of 1944, when she and her siblings were in hiding from the Nazis in Italy.

``As Easter approached,'' she said, ``we carefully watched the moon. We knew that when it would be as round as a wheel of cheese, it would be the 14th of Nissan, the first night of Passover.''

More than anyone else, Machlin, a historian of Italian Jewish life, has brought to the American public the food and stories, as well as the recipes, of her family and others from the Tuscan town of Pitigliano and its surroundings.

During a recent interview at her home in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., she talked about that dark period in her life between November 1943 and June 1944 when ``we ran for our lives'' and her parents and younger brother were taken to an Italian concentration camp near Siena.

``In our soul, in our heart, my two older brothers, younger sister and I never forgot that we were Jews,'' she said. ``We became beggars, often living with peasants from farm to farm. But whenever the peasants celebrated, we made Jewish delicacies. At every opportunity, I cooked. For the first time we ate polenta, something my mother had thought of as peasant food. Sometimes we had to knock on doors and people gave us bread and cheese just to send us away.''

To illustrate the rich history of the Italian Jews in general (and of her family in particular), who came to Rome from Jerusalem in the first century, she makes the matzo of her childhood, Italian oval cakes, about a quarter-inch thick, cut and trimmed like doilies.

``We began to make a few matzo with the flour that the farmer who was sheltering us allotted to us and baked them in the rustic stone oven that was built outside. The farmers had never seen unleavened bread before and gathered around to watch us make the matzo.

``But for us, not only did they symbolize the festival of remembrance and freedom, but they also represented home. By being able to make and bake our own matzo, something we used to do with our parents as little children, we nourished our souls even more than our stomachs.''

Like Machlin's recipe, other matzo from the Middle Ages often had decorations on them, and in some countries such as Italy, the matzo was almost an inch thick and did not crumble. The thick ``afikomen,'' the hidden or ``dessert'' matzo, became a symbol of good luck. Jews of medieval Italy used matzo as an amulet, hanging it in the house throughout the year or carrying it in a pouch or wallet, a practice continued by some Italian Jews to this day.

Machlin, who wrote her first book in 1981 and her second 11 years later, serves heirloom recipes at her seder. The menu includes what she calls ``haroset Edda,'' the fruit-and-nut paste served symbolically at the seder to remind Jews of the times of slavery in Egypt when they were making bricks.

Machlin explained that in her town of Pitigliano, haroset was made with matzo meal, sugar and vinegar because her family was poor. Her own version, in contrast, is rich with dates, walnuts, apples and bananas.

The meal itself starts with her jellied striped bass, followed by a roast lamb or veal, many vegetables including ``carciofi alla giudea,'' artichokes Jewish style, an almond torte, and her mother's biscotti for dessert.

In addition to her seder dishes, Machlin's recipes are helpful to pasta-loving Americans deprived during this eight-day period when all leavened products are forbidden. Not only does she make homemade Italian noodles from matzo cake meal, which she serves with tomato sauce, but she also bakes several matzo ``mazzagnes.'' Layered with pesto and ricotta cheese or a meat ragu with mushroom sauce, these are great family meals at Passover, or anytime during the year.

MAZZAGNE AL PESTO

(MATZO LASAGNA WITH PESTO SAUCE) 1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves

6 large sprigs Italian parsley, stems removed

2 cloves garlic, coarsely cut

1/2 cup walnuts

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup grated Italian Parmesan cheese or kosher Passover cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

6 tablespoons Passover cake meal

1 cup hot milk

1 cup ricotta cheese (can substitute pot cheese if kosher for Passover ricotta cheese can not be located)

8 egg matzos

1 cup milk

Pulse basil in bowl of food processor with parsley and garlic until finely chopped. Add nuts and pulse few seconds longer (you will want some ``crunch'' in sauce). Transfer to bowl. Add oil and cheese and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let pesto sauce stand at room temperature at least 1 hour before using.

Meanwhile, heat butter and cake meal in saucepan and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add hot milk all at once and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring vigorously with wire whisk. Add ricotta cheese and simmer, stirring, until ricotta is almost completely melted.

Coat bottom of deep 8-inch-square baking dish, which should be slightly larger than the matzo, with 1 tablespoon pesto sauce. Make alternate layers with matzo, pesto sauce, then dollops of ricotta sauce. Continue to make layers until all ingredients are used, ending with ricotta sauce. Use spatula to spread sauce evenly over top. Pour remaining 1 cup milk over top. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbling. Cut into 8 squares. Serve immediately with salad. Makes eight servings.

Adapted from The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews, II.

Nutritional data per serving: Calories, 537; protein, 15 grams; carbohydrates, 34 grams; fat, 39 grams; cholesterol, 68 milligrams; sodium, 277 milligrams.

* This is the Italian Passover version of the central European Jewish mandelbrot. It comes from Machlin's late mother, Sara Di Capua, who was born in Rome.

BISCOTTA DI PESACH DELLA MAMMA

(MOTHER'S PASSOVER BISCOTTI) 1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 large eggs

3 cups matzo cake meal

1 cup whole almonds

Combine sugar, salt, oil, vanilla and almond extracts in bowl and beat with mixer or by hand until well-combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add enough matzo cake meal to make soft but manageable dough. Fold in whole almonds.

Turn dough out onto oiled work surface and divide into 3 equal portions. Oil hands, and shape each portion into a 15-inch long cylinder. Place cylinders on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees on middle rack for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven. Raise temperature to 450 degrees. Cut through each cylinder diagonally, making about 20 slices per cylinder. Place slices on greased baking sheet, cut side down, and bake 10 minutes longer. Cool biscotti thoroughly before storing. Makes about 60 biscotti.

Nutritional data per biscotti: Calories, 69; protein, 1 gram; carbohydrates, 10 grams; fat, 3 grams; cholesterol, 11 milligrams; sodium, 24 milligrams.

Joan Nathan is the author of numerous Jewish cookbooks.

FOR MORE INFORMATION * To order Machlin's books, write or call Giro Press, Box 203, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. 10520, 914-271-8924.

Dishes include homemade pasta from matzo cake meal, matzo lasagne called ``mazzagnes,'' and biscotti.


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