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Archive for November, 2007

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Traditionally served around the Jewish New Year, Honey Cake is both a symbol of sweetness and a delectable dessert. Most honey cake recipes that you’ll find, or buy in the store, are made in loaf form, and can be dry. This cake “rises” to the occasion, and makes a beautiful presentation. It is moist and sweet, and I can’t think of a better way to herald in the Jewish New Year, or any holiday for that matter. Of course, this cake is dairy-free. Enjoy!

Honey Cake

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 pound honey

2/3 cup oil

3 1/3 cup flour

1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup coffee (liquid, not ground)

3 teaspoons lemon juice

1 cup of slivered blanched almonds

Cream the eggs and sugar with your electric mixer in a large bowl. Add the honey and mix well. Then add the oil and blend well. Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the coffee to the egg mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Blend together. Then add  the lemon juice. Mix well. Fold in 3/4 cup of the nuts. Blend well.

Pour into ungreased tube pan and sprinkle remaining nuts on top. Bang pan on counter top to remove any air bubbles.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool on rack then remove from pan.

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Does everyone love chicken pot pie? Everyone I know does. The combination of chicken and vegetables in a warm creamy sauce all tucked under a pie crust is just too good to resist. The traditional sauce of a chicken pot pie is a roux, and usually is made from butter and cream. Margarine and soy milk are substituted here, with excellent results. The crust used here is a cobbler crust, and substitutes soy yogurt for dairy buttermilk. This dish will warm you from the inside out. Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

Filling:   2 pounds cooked, diced chicken (I use breast, but any parts are great)

4 carrots peeled and diced

2 zucchini, diced

5 tablespoons margarine

2 small onions

5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup canned chicken broth

1 cup soy milk

1/4 cup Cognac or dry white wine

1 tablespoon tarragon

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blanch the carrots in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini  and cook 1 more minute. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.

Melt the margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until translucent. Add the flour; cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes, and do not let the flour brown.

Add the broth and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in the soy milk and Cognac. Cook over low heat until thick (about 3 minutes).

Stir in the tarragon, salt, and pepper, and simmer for a minute. Add the chicken and vegetables, mix gently into the cream sauce, and remove from heat. Pour the chicken/vegetable filling into a deep 2-quart casserole dish.

Crust:   1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

6 ounces plain soy yogurt

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a smaller bowl, mix together the oil and yogurt. Fold the oil mixture into the dry ingredients with a fork. Using your hands, working the dough as little as possible, form it into a ball. Turn the dough onto a clean surface. Cut the dough in half, place on half on top of the other, and press down. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

With pressure from your hands, flatten the dough into a circle to fit your casserole dish and place it over the filling. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until the crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 6 portions.

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Any Benedict dish is known for the creamy and piquant Hollandaise sauce that is drizzled over a toasted muffin or roll with various enticing toppings. Traditional Hollandaise calls for butter, but using a margarine with no hydrogenated oils helps to make this sauce a healthier (though still rich) alternative. You can probably get as creative as you want with your toppings. I made two different Benedicts on top of whole grain muffins in this photo: one with a poached egg nestled on top of wilted spinach, and the other with roasted chicken slices roosting on top of spinach. Both topped with dreamy Hollandaise. But experiment and let your imagination rule. I’m thinking of toppings like crumbled bacon … artichoke hearts … roasted peppers … sauteed mushrooms … smoked salmon …  Let the good times roll. Enjoy!

Hollandaise Sauce

4 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

8 tablespoons margarine (made without hydrogenated oil, if possible)

Melt the margarine in a saucepan. In your food processor, place the egg yolks, salt, mustard, and lemon juice. Process for 3-4 seconds. Reheat the melted margarine until it starts to boil, then, with the food processor spinning, slowly pour in the hot margarine through your feed tube. The sauce will thicken before your eyes. This recipe makes enough sauce for 8 servings.

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Marsala is a sweet amber wine made originally from the grapes of Sicily. It imparts a distinctive flavor to this dish, and when added to the chicken and mushrooms, it is just fantastico! This recipe is practically fool-proof, and guaranteed to please your palette. Buon appetito!

Chicken Marsala

1 pound of boneless chicken breast

1/2 cup flour        salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 pound button mushrooms, sliced

3 teaspoons of chicken bouillion powder, mixed in 1 cup of very hot water

1/2 cup Marsala wine

1/4 cup Vermouth

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Saute in olive oil in a large pan, until browned. Remove. Add another tablespoon of olive oil if needed, and saute the onion and garlic. When softened, add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they just begin to soften.

Add the chicken bouillion mixture, the Marsala, the Vermouth, and the vinegar, and cook over medium heat. The sauce will begin to thicken and reduce. Add the chicken (I like to cut up my chicken before adding, but it’s personal choice) and allow all the ingredients to mingle and warm together.

Serve with either rice or pasta, and a green vegetable. Makes 4 generous servings.

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This is a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving, and the puree can be made ahead of time. Roasting brings out the rich flavor of the brussel sprout, and the squash puree has just a hint of sweetness to assist the whole dish in melting in your mouth. Enjoy!

Roasted brussel sprouts in a pool of butternut squash puree

1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and pulp/seeds scooped out

1 tablespoon margarine

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds of brussel sprouts

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper

To make the squash puree: Place the squash, cut side facing down, on a greased baking sheet and place in preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes, until the skin can be quite easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. While the squash is roasting, saute the onion in the margarine. When squash is cooled, scoop out the flesh and place it in the food processor along with the sauted onions, nutmeg, maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth. Place in a microwave-safe container and refrigerate until ready to use.

To roast the brussel sprouts: Wash and cut off the stalk ends of the sprouts, and place in a large bowl. Toss with the oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking pan, and roast in a preheated 375 degree F oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. The outside will be crisp and the inside tender.

Choose a decorative serving dish. Re-heat the squash puree in  your microwave oven, and carefully spoon the puree onto the serving dish. Gently and decoratively place the roasted brussel sprouts on top of this. Serve immediately. Makes 6 – 8 side servings, depending upon your eaters’ appetites.

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Shepherd’s Pie is hearty, and just right on a cold evening. This version is meatless, although it may be hard to tell. I used SmartGround ground meat substitute instead of ground beef, but that was just my personal preference. This stuff crumbles and looks just like ground beef, and absorbs what ever flavors it sits in. Instead of using potatoes for the crust topping, I substituted mashed yams. It imparts a mild sweet flavor that perfectly complements the filling. Bon appetit!

Shepherd’s Pie

2 large yams

1 tablespoon margarine, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 cup soy sour cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon salt/ black pepper to taste

3 stalks minced celery

12 ounces sliced mushrooms

1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped

1 package of SmartGround fake ground meat, or 1  pound lean ground beef

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon basil, and oregano

1/2 cup grated soy cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons wheat germ

1 tablespoon vinegar

Preheat overn to 350 degrees F. Boil the yams until soft. Remove skins when cool, and mash with margarine, salt and pepper, parsley, and soy sour cream.

In large pan, saute the onions and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper until soft.

Add the celery, mushrooms, and cauliflower, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is just tender. Add the SmartGround or ground beef and herbs. Continue cooking about 5 more minutes (or until meat is no longer pink).

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Remove from heat, and add the soy cheese, wheat germ, and vinegar. Toss together. Place this mixture into a greased casserole dish. Spread the mashed yams on top, and sprinkle a little paprika over the top. Bake uncovered, for 40 minutes. Makes 6 hearty servings.

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Ah, soup.

 When did early man first discover its magic? Soup has probably been around ever since fire was discovered. What genius! and yet, so logical - soaking and extracting the essences from common everyday vegetables, meats, roots, and herbs, swirling them all together in a primeval broth!  Maybe that is what draws us to soup – a deep-rooted link with our earliest ancestors, getting warmed around the hearth and anticipating the meal that is emanating its hypnotic aromas throughout our cave home! Soup connects us with our humblest beginnings, and speaks the universal language of human ingenuity and fascination with all that surrounds us.

In this split pea soup, I’ve added some smoked turkey bits and dices for added flavor, but the addition is entirely optional.

Split Pea Soup

3 cups of dried split peas

2 quarts broth (vegetable or chicken)

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried mustard

2 cups minced onion

2 cups minced carrots

1 cup minced celery

coarse ground pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 chopped tomatoes

chopped parsley, 1/4 cup

Place the split peas, broth, salt, bay leaf, and mustard in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer on low, partially covered, for about 20 minutes.

Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and stir well. Continue to simmer, partially covered, for about 40 minutes or more. You may have to add water, if soup gets too thick.

Add the black pepper and vinegar. Just before serving, stir in the parsley and tomato.   Makes 8-10 servings.

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It’s cold out, and I love comfort food. This time-honored dish of kasha and bowties has graced many a plate in many a Jewish household. Kasha, also known as roasted buckwheat, comes in different coarsenesses, and it tastes great in and of itself. But I have added a few more flavors and enhancements to this dish, and I always manage to win over young and old alike to this delicious standard. Enjoy!

Kasha and bowties

one 16 oz package of bowtie noodles, cooked according to package

1 box of kasha (coarser texture works well)

2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup sliced mushrooms

Bring broth to boil in large pot, add kasha, stir, cover, and simmer on lower setting for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.

In a large pan, saute the onion, celery, mushrooms, and carrots in the oil. Stir occasionally, until softened.

Mix everything in a large serving bowl (the bowties, the kasha, and the vegetables). Makes 10-12 side servings. It’s extra good with your favorite gravy ladled on top.

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Creamy and chocolate. Whenever I think of these two words and I invariably enter into the realm of dessert heaven. But being lactose intolerant has usually meant death to these unearthly delights, due to the dreaded dairy factor. Weep no more, all fans of creamy and chocolate! Here is a dessert trip to nirvana, and not one cow was ever milked to create this sensational dessert. This is great for company, but I like it all to myself. Enjoy!

Chocolate Custard

2 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. You will need a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, and 6 custard cups.

Place the milk and chocolate chips in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring until all the chips are melted. Cool for about 15 minutes.

Place the remaining ingredients in a blender, add the milk mixture, and whip it up to a froth.

Divide the custard among the custard cups, and place them in the baking pan. Fill the pan half way with water.

Bake for 40-45 minutes – the custards should be solid in the center when you shake the pan.

Remove from oven, remove custard cups from pan, and cool to room temperature. Cover each one with plastic wrap, and chill. Makes 6 servings.

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Here is a hearty Italian casserole made with pasta. I have adapted several ingredients to make this lactose-intolerant-friendly:  the original recipe called for ricotta, I used silken tofu; I replaced the mozzarella with soy mozzarella; and the parmesan sprinkling on top is, you guessed it . . . . soy parmesan. You will never miss the original ingredients, and neither will anyone you serve it to. Buon appetito!

Italian pasta casserole

16 oz package of pasta (fettucini or ziti work nicely), prepared according to package directions

1 cup chopped onion

3 cloves minced garlic

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1/8 teaspoon thyme

salt and pepper

1 cup silken tofu (grated)

1 cup grated soy mozzarella

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 cup fine breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Saute the onions and garlic with the salt, pepper, herbs, and mushrooms. When the onions are soft, add the tomatoes. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

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Combine all the ingredients (I added some leftover cooked, diced chicken because my husband loves this dish that way), and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed or greased. Top with lots of soy parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

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