Archive for December, 2008


After perusing the Israeli Kitchen blog, I became intrigued with this recipe. Also called mafroum, it is a North African style meal of stuffed vegetables (in this case, potatoes) cooked in a tomato sauce, simmered in delicious spices. This involved a fair amount of groundwork, and I also created my very own Baharat spice mixture, which I am happy to have extra! The whole house was filled with delightful aromas, and we all felt this dish tasted even better the next day. The full recipe and step-by-step photos are just beautiful and very explicit on Mimi’s website, so rather than re-copy them, I will refer you to them. Enjoy! And make sure to look around her blog while you are there – her kitchen is full of wonderful recipes, cooking tips and beautiful photos of Israel.


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Another perfect dessert! And utilizing the perfect winter fruit in abundance – citrus! How can I describe it? Smooth, creamy, slightly tart, slightly sweet, melts in your mouth. This is a wonderful dessert for company, to finish an elegant dinner. It’s quite easy to make, has the fresh flavor of grapefruit, but it is a gentle taste and not too tart or overpowering. A truly delicious little treat, and one that I know I’ll be making again and again. Many, many thanks to My Cooking Hut blog for a truly wonderful dessert inspiration that I modified to make nondairy, with perfect results. Enjoy!

Grapefruit pudding cake      

2 egg yolks

6 ounces nondairy creamer

1/2 teaspoon grapefruit zest  (the original recipe also called for 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, but I left it out)

1/4 cup grapefruit juice

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

pinch of salt

2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray the inside of 6 4-ounce ramekins with cooking spray and place them on a shallow baking dish.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, creamer, zest, and juice.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and whisk until combined.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to medium stiff peaks. Add the whipped egg whites to the custard base and fold gently, trying not to deflate them too much. It will be a runny batter.

Pour the batter into the ramekins about 3/4 full. Bring the baking dish to the oven and fill with hot water to cover about half way up the ramekins.

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake the custards until the tops are lightly golden. It will take about 35 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your ramekins.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before unmolding so the pudding part sets.


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We had this for dinner tonight, and couldn’t have enjoyed it more. The chicken is very nicely spiced and has a zing. The couscous, with the vegetables and flavorings, is a perfect foil for the chicken. Together, this made a very easy-to-make after-work winner of a recipe, and it comes with my highest recommendations. Enjoy!

Spiced chicken with couscous pilaf (from Cooking Light, April, 2001)

2 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

4 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup uncooked couscous (I used whole wheat)

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon lime juice

Combine first 7 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the paprika mixture.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.

Heat another teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Stir in couscous and broth; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in corn; cover, and let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the minced cilantro and lime juice. Serve with the chicken. Makes 4 servings.


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Tis the season to find vegan egg nog on the market shelves. I like Silk Nog A LOT, and have been dying to try this recipe that I found on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog. It is truly outstanding – creamy, cheesey, egg-noggy, and all around wonderful. This is also the first time I made a vegan cheesecake; the cheesecake that I usually make has eggs in it. Nope, never missed it here – this is a fabulous recipe, and a real keeper. Enjoy, and thanks again to Fat Free Vegan!

Vegan eggnog cheesecake  

1 12-ounce package extra firm silken tofu

1 8-ounce package Tofutti cream cheese

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegan eggnog (I used Silk Nog)

2 1/2 tablespoons brandy or rum

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 prepared graham cracker crust (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain the tofu and put it and the cream cheese into your food processor. Blend til smooth. Add the sugar and eggnog, and process again until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except crust) and process until completely smooth, about 3 minutes more. Pour into the pie crust and bake in the middle of the oven for about 55 minutes (do not allow to brown). Filling will be slightly jiggly, not completely set until chilled.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate until completely chilled, and serve sprinkled with additional grated nutmeg. Serves 8.

Graham cracker crust:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup apple sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9″ pie pan.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Blend well. Add the vanilla and the apple sauce. Stir well until completely combined.

Put mixture into pie pan, and flatten and press it with moistened fingers until it evenly covers the bottom and extends up the sides as far as possible.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool before filling.


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I always like to try new ways of preparing tofu, and when I saw this recipe on Steamy Kitchen blog, it definitely looked worth a try. I found the sauce to be a little too citrus-y, and just seemed to be missing something. Sweetness to cut the tartness? Not sure, but I am sure that this was pretty to look at. It was good, but needs some tweaking for my tastebuds.

Crispy tofu with citrus soy

1 large tofu block (firm), drained and wrapped in paper towels

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup panko crumbs

salt and pepper

1 egg yolk

Combine lemon zest, orange juice, soy, mirin, rice wine vinegar and ginger in a small saucepan. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Slice tofu block in half horizontally, so you have 2 thinner pieces of tofu. Pat tofu halves dry. Dip each half in the egg, then press both sides of the tofu in the panko firmly. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, carefully slide in the tofu halves. Fry each side 2-4 minutes until nicely golden brown.

Arrange tofu on plate, and spoon a bit of the Citrus Soy sauce on top. Serves 2.

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I’m lost for adjectives to describe how well all the flavors in this recipe worked together. But this one definitely gets 5 stars. Suffice it to say that all of the ingredients worked really well together, and really complemented each other. I found this recipe on MyRecipes, where the honors for this one go to CookingLight from 2004. This is a total adaptation from the original, to allow for nondairy indulging. Enjoy!

Roasted butternut squash and bacon pasta  

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 cups peeled and cubed (1″) butternut squash

cooking spray

6 sliced uncooked turkey bacon

1 cup thinly sliced shallots

12 ounces uncooked mini penne pasta (or macaroni or shells will do)

1/4 cup flour

2 cups nondairy creamer

3/4 cup shredded soy cheddar cheese

1/3 cup grated soy parmesan

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan but reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons of drippings in pan. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add shallots to the pan; saute for 8 minutes until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and shallots; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add the creamer, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add the soy cheddar, stirring until the cheese melts. Add pasta to the cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7″ baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray. Top with the squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with soy parmesan, then panko crumbs, and a light spraying after. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Serves 5.


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A delicious variation of a theme for the holiday of Hanukkah. Served with a side of applesauce and a bowl of soup, it’s my idea of a perfect dinner. Adding the carrot and parsnips helps dilute the higher glycemic index that you get with just plain potatoes. Enjoy!

Potato, carrot, and parsnip latkes (I love Martha)(modified slightly)

2 large potatoes, peeled

1 medium carrot, peeled

1 small parsnip, peeled

1/4 onion

1 large egg, room temperature

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup canola oil

Grate potatoes, carrot, parsnip, and onion using the largest holes of a box grater. Combine in a bowl; add the egg, flour, salt, pepper; stir well to combine.

Place oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is very hot but not smoking. Line a plate with a paper towel, and set aside.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the potato mixture into the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, working in batches if necessary. Cook the latkes until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the latkes to the paper towel-lined plate. Serve hot.


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Bean and pasta soup


A very hearty soup indeed that I found on Rica’s Recipes blog. Her photo looked so inviting, and this is one of those soups that comes together quickly and easily. Perfect for these cold wintry days, when even your home’s heater just isn’t doing the trick. Enjoy!

Bean and pasta soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 15-ounce cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

4 cups canned chicken broth

3/4 cup ditalini pasta

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a stockpot, add olive oil, onion, and carrots. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary; cook until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in tomato paste, beans, broth, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until soup has thickened slightly, about 10 mintues.

With a potato masher, mash some of the beans (still in pot) to thicken soup. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

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One of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes is shaksouka, a tomato/egg dish cooked with herbs and spices. I’ve had it with the eggs scrambled in, but never with them floating on top, as in this really wonderful recipe. Enjoy!

Shaksouka (as seen on Serious Eats)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced small

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 28-ounce can chunky crushed tomatoes

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 whole small sprig fresh oregano

1/2 cup water

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 eggs

Heat the olive oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened a little.

Add the tomatoes, cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano, and water. Stir to combine and then season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

Uncover the pan and crack the eggs into the simmering sauce, one at a time, spaced a few inches from each other. Cover the pan again and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes (soft yolk) or until the egg whites are cooked and the yolk is set to your liking.

Ladle the sauce and eggs onto your plate; serve with freshly baked bread for sopping up the sauce and yolk. Serves 4.


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Menu For Hope


Chez Pim blog has launched her annual Menu For Hope, the annual fundraising event hosted by Pim and other food bloggers, to help support worthy causes worldwide. Buy a raffle ticket and do a good deed. It’s a very worthwhile cause.

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