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Archive for November, 2007

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My grandmother, cook extraordinaire and personal role model, took her sweet and sour recipe to her grave. Actually she took all of her recipes with her, as she never wrote them down.

In my never-ending search to duplicate the sweet and sour perfection she created, I believe that with this recipe I have come close. The meatballs may either be baked ahead or just dropped into the simmering sauce to cook. Along with some mandatory challah bread for sopping up the sauce on your plate, this dish will either remind you of dinner at your bubbie’s house, or make you wish you had had a Jewish grandmother. Enjoy!

Sweet and sour meatballs

Meatballs:

1 pound ground beef or chicken

1 onion, peeled

1 stalk celery

2 carrots

1 beaten egg

1/4 – 1/2 cup matzah meal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Sweet and sour sauce:

4 – 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce

1 – 12 ounce can of stewed tomatoes

1 – 16 ounce jar of grape jelly

2 teaspoons vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Meatballs: Place the ground meat in a large bowl. In your food processor, mince the onion, carrot, and celery together. Add to the meat in the bowl and mix together. Then add the egg, matzah meal, and spices. Thoroughly mix together. Form balls by hand, about 1 ” in diameter (or larger, if you like ’em bigger). You may either bake these on a lightly greased pan in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or add them uncooked into the simmering sauce and cook for 45 minutes. These are the meatballs pre-baked below:

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Sauce: In a large pot, add all of the sauce ingredients. Cook and stir over a medium heat, making sure that all of the jelly dissolves thoroughly. Taste your sauce and adjust the flavors according to how “sour” you like it (the grape jelly will already make it sweet). A little more vinegar, or a little more lemon juice. Less is more; you can always add more, but you can’t take it away once you’ve put it in. If you are cooking your meatballs directly in the sauce, add them now after you have adjusted the flavor to your liking.

Tastes best with challah bread for sopping up sauce.

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Citrus-sweet-tart-melt-in-your-mouth-good! These luscious squares of lemon heaven are adapted from the Kretschmer Wheat Germ website, and they come out of the oven with a soft cookie-like crust on the bottom, and delectable lemon curd on the top. Dairy free and scrumptious. Take heed when serving – they won’t last long. Enjoy!

Crust:

1 cup flour

3/4 cup Wheat Germ

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup softened margarine

Filling:

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 eggs

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

For the crust, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor for about 20 seconds, until crumbly. Press into the pan, and bake for 15 minutes.

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For the filling, combine all of the ingredients and process until blended, about 10 seconds. Pour over the hot crust. Bake for 25 minutes longer. Cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with the powdered sugar and cut into squares. These will freeze well, too.

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It’s Italian night at our house (which usually happens about once a week!), and one of the family favs is chicken cacciatore. One of the reasons I like this dish so much is how the sauce evolves. It starts out with whole canned tomatoes, and as they break down in the cooking process and exude their tomato-ey flavor, the sauce thickens and develops its character. This dish was meant for pasta, and I happen to love fettucine. With a vegetable on the side, you’ve got the perfect entree for Italian night at your home. Mangia!

Chicken cacciatore

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 green pepper, chopped

10 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 – 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, sliced

one 28 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, in their liquid

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dry white wine

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until transluscent. Add the green pepper and mushrooms, and continue to saute until just softening. Remove from the pan.

Place the chicken strips in the pan and saute until browned.

Return the sauted vegetables to the pan, and add the tomatoes, spices, salt, and wine. Cook, partially covered, for about a half hour, and stir occasionally.

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Serve over your favorite pasta, and with a salad or green vegetable.

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It was damp and nasty out today – perfect weather for Lentil Soup! This is an easy soup to put together after work, and you can make the whole thing in one pot. Low in fat, high in complex carbs and flavor. It will warm your insides and soothe your cares away with each delicious mouthful. It is hearty, wholesome, and healthy, too. Enjoy!

Lentil Soup

3 cups dried lentils

2 quarts broth (chicken or vegetable)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped onion

6 minced cloves garlic

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

fresh-ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup brown sugar

Grated soy parmesan cheese for garnish

optional: I added some leftover turkey bits from Thanksgiving (yes, there was still some left!)

In a large pot, combine the broth, lentils, and salt. Bring to a boil, stir, then partially cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Add the onions, carrots, garlic, celery, pepper, and herbs.  Stir well and simmer partially covered for another 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, vinegar, and brown sugar. (I added the optional turkey here). Stir and simmer for about another 10-15 minutes.

Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with soy parmesan. Serve with crusty bread and either a salad or vegetables. Makes 8 – 10 servings.

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Well, it’s five days after Thanksgiving, and I’m still in a food coma. I must have something light. This recipe works just right for me  – it’s flavorful, vegetarian, healthy, and I won’t walk away from the table feeling like a stuffed kishka. With a salad on the side, it’s the perfect way to start the new week. As always, no dairy here! Enjoy . . .

Artichoke Pie (adapted from Vegetarian Celebrations, by Nava Atlas)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 beaten eggs

2 cans artichoke hearts, (non-marinated), drained and chopped coarsely

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 cup grated soy Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup soy milk

salt and pepper to taste

wheat germ or bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In small pan, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil, until the onion is golden.

In a medium bowl, combine the beaten eggs with the onion mixture and all the remaining ingredients except the wheat germ. Combine everything well.

In a 9″ or 10″ pie dish, generously spray a nonstick spray to coat. Sprinkle and coat the pan with the wheat germ or bread crumbs. Pour in the artichoke/egg mixture, then top with more wheat germ or bread crumbs. Place in the oven, and bake about 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden and the pie is set. Let it cool a little or serve at room temperature. Makes 6-8 servings.

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Pecan Pie

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Got a sweet tooth that needs satisfying? This pie just might fill the bill for you. Chewy pecans nestled in a sinfully yummy dark custard that gets right to the heart of the eternal question . . . how can I get my sugar fix today? Enjoy this traditional autumn pie with a scoop (or two) of fruit cream, and you’ll be all set!

Pecan pie

Unbaked 9″ pie shell

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup roasted pecans *

* To roast pecans, place them on a plate in the microwave and zap for 1 minute. Stir them around and zap for another minute – voila!

In a food processor, add all the ingredients except the pecans, and process for 8-10 seconds. It should be well blended. Add the pecans and mix with 2 – 3 quick pulses. Pour the mixture into the pie shell.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serves 8.

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This is an easy little pie crust to make, and actually makes enough for two crusts, so you can make your dough, then wrap up and freeze half of it for another pie another day. As always, dairy-free.

Non dairy pie crust

2/3 cup margarine (10 tablespoons)

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vinegar

almost 1/2 cup ice water

In your food processor, place the margarine in chunks around the bottom of the bowl. Add the flour and salt, and process about 5 to 6 pulses, so the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the vinegar.

Then with the machine running, add the water through your feed tube until the dough just begins to gather around the blades (this will take about 10 seconds approximately). Immediately remove the dough from the machine and shape it into a ball, divide it in two and wrap each ball with plastic wrap. At this point, you can freeze one if you so desire. Refrigerate the other for at least an hour before rolling out.

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll it equally in all directions. Make sure to keep the dough circular, and repair any cracks or patches as needed. Roll your dough about 2″ larger than your pie plate, and about 1/8″ thick.

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