Are They Latkes Or Potato Pancakes?

The Jewish celebration of Chanukah begins this year at sundown on December 1st. Called the festival of lights it commemorates the freedom of the Jewish people thousands of years ago. The holiday lasts for eight days, beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev

The story is simple. A Greek ruler named Antiochus had conquered the Jewish people. He prohibited the practice of their religion and desecrated their most holy place, the Temple. This sparked a revolt led by a man named Judah Maccabee. After three years of fighting for their freedoms they won, and on the 25th day of Kislev, they reclaimed the Temple, cleansed and prepared for the rededication. Although there was only enough special oil needed to light the menorah (candelabra) in the Temple for one day, miraculously, the oil lasted for eight entire days until a new supply could be obtained. Chanukah is an eight day festival to celebrate this miracle.
            Many people believe that because Chanukah is celebrated around the same time of year as Christmas there is a connection or similarity between the two.  Not so. Chanukah a minor Jewish holiday. The only specifically religious part of the celebration is the lighting of the menorah every night, the blessings said at that time and this is typically done in the home.

            When my children were very small and our budget was even smaller we tried to find creative ways to celebrate Chanukah that didn’t require spending copious amounts of money but maximize the amount of fun the family could have. We came up with crazy latke night (a latkes is a potato pancakes, cooked in oil and eaten to honor the miracle of the lasting oil). It’s been a hit with family and friends ever since.

            Simply put, 2 of the families invited came up with the most unusual and creative latke recipe that they could find.  They would bring the ingredients for the latkes and the other 3 or 4 families would bring the rest of the stuff for our dinner. Every family would bring a small gift costing no more than 3 dollars for each child attending (but not their own) and we’d have a cook off. Granted, some recipes are better than others and others are soooooooooooooooo bad that the entire batch is ceremoniously disposed of after the first few bites. Regardless of what we end up choosing as the blue ribbon winner of the evening everyone has a good time and the cost for the evening was never more than any of us could afford.

            The party has evolved as the families grew and got older. The presents became gift certificates or a check (preferred by high school and college students world wide) and the recipes got a tad less crazy and more heart healthy and had a few less calories. None the less, most of following recipe were served at one time or another at one of our parties and a few just sounded too good not to pass along.

Rules for the perfect latke (potato pancake)

1. Have all of the ingredients ready to go before the potato shredding begins (peel the potatoes, mince the onions, and get the egg mixture ready). To prevent the potatoes from browning, they may be peeled in advance and kept covered with water, but once they are shredded, you must work fast.
2. I always beat the eggs and flour together. This is how it was done in most restaurants, despite what many of the recipe say.
3. When frying, use a generous amount of oil. I like to use peanut oil

4. While a hand grater works just fine, you can save time, and your knuckles, by using a food processor.
5. SQUEEZE! Squeeze as much liquid out of the shredded potatoes as possible, pressing them against the side of the bowl to release their starchy water.
6. Serve immediately. While you can make them ahead of time and reheat, they are at their best right out of the pan.

7. You can top your latkes with sour cream, yogurt, apple sauce or even brown sugar if they’re sweet rather than savory. They sky and your imagination is the only limitation.

CLASSIC POTATO PANCAKE

2 eggs, beaten

4 medium russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled and shredded

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup grated onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup vegetable or peanut oil

In a large bowl combine the eggs, flour, onion, salt, and pepper, stirring to blend. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the potatoes. Add the shredded potatoes to the egg mixture, mixing well. In a large, heavy skillet, heat some of the oil over medium-high heat. Spoon the batter by quarter-cupfuls onto the hot skillet, flattening them with the back of the spoon. Fry until the bottom of the pancakes are nicely browned – between 3 and 5 minutes; flip the pancakes and cook for about 3 minutes longer. Repeat for the remaining pancakes, adding oil to the skillet as needed. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately. About 12 four-inch pancakes. Serves 6

From my files, unknown author

EXOTIC SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

Spiced with cinnamon, curry powder and cumin this potato pancake is also great for Thanksgiving.

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons white sugar

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup oil for frying

1/2 cup milk or water

Shred the sweet potatoes, and place in a colander to drain for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, white sugar, brown sugar, curry powder and cumin. Make a well in the center, and pour in eggs and milk. Stir until all of the dry ingredients have been absorbed. Stir in sweet potatoes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop the potato mixture by spoonfuls into the oil, and flatten with the back of the spoon. Fry until golden on both sides, flipping only once. If they are browning too fast, reduce the heat to medium. Remove from the oil, and keep warm while the other pancakes are frying. Makes about 15 or 16.

From my file, author unknown

SWEET SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/4 cups sweet potatoes – peeled/cooked/mashed (yes you can use canned)

1/4 cup butter- melted and 1 additional tablespoon butter for frying

2 large eggs – beaten

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Allow potatoes to cool to room temperature before making batter. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, combine milk, potatoes, eggs and butter. Combine the two mixtures until dry ingredients are just moistened. Allow batter to set, while you heat a griddle or skillet to medium-high heat and lightly grease with butter.
Drop batter by heaping Tablespoons onto griddle or skillet and fry, turning once, until browned on both sides. Great with maple syrup and butter. Or try it with “sweetened sour cream” – mix 1/2 cup of sour cream with a tablespoon of brown sugar. Makes about 20 pancakes.

Submitted by Carrie Wasermen Chicago IL from http://www.allrecipes.com

POTATO ZUCCHINI PANCAKES

1 medium baking potato, unpeeled and shredded

1/2 small zucchini, shredded

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1 egg white

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon oil
Combine potato, zucchini, onion, egg white and flour in medium bowl until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Drop potato mixture into skillet by 1/3 cupfuls. Flatten pancakes with spatula; cook about 5 minutes per side or until browned.

Tip: Save time by shredding both the potato and zucchini in a food processor fitted with a shredding disc. There’s no need to wash the bowl in between because all the ingredients are mixed together before cooking. Makes 6 pancakes. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Modified from a recipe from Easy Home Cooking Magazine

MASHED POTATO PANCAKES

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 large egg, beaten lightly

6 tablespoons flour

1 and 1/2 tablespoons grated onion

Salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil for frying

In a medium bowl, combine the mashed potatoes and egg and mix them together. Add the flour and onion and mix all together well. Add salt and pepper to batter to taste.

In a large skillet or on a griddle, heat oil, 2 to 3 tablespoons over medium-high heat. Drop batter onto the heated surface in healing tablespoons. Flatten each latke slightly with the spoon. Cooking time is about a minute per side. They should be golden brown on each side. The original recipe called for serving these latkes with a fried egg and grated cheese on top. Absolutely weird for Hanukkah abut strangely delicious! Makes 5 to 6 latkes. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

GOURMET SWEET POTATO PANCAKE WITH CAVIAR

You can form the sweet-potato pancakes up to six hours ahead, leaving only a quick frying before serving.

2 pounds tan-skinned sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)

3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 ounce black caviar
Fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead; keep refrigerated.)

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate into large bowl. Stir in green onions. Whisk eggs, flour, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Gently mix into potato mixture. Form mixture into 48 walnut-size balls; transfer to prepared baking sheet. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place 8 potato balls in skillet, pressing each gently with spatula to flatten to 1 1/2-inch diameter. Cook until pancakes are rich golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining potato balls, adding more oil to skillet if necessary. Transfer pancakes to platter. Top each with 1 teaspoon sour cream and scant 1/4 teaspoon caviar. Garnish with chives. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 48 mini latkes.

Bon Appétit  November 2001

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Leftover Turkey ?? Help is Here

Every year there are literally dozens of articles in newspapers and magazines on how to celebrate the perfect Thanksgiving. You’ll see advice on how to roast and what to serve with the perfect bird. You can read reams of information on whether or not you should stuff your turkey and risk salmonella or just play it safe and make dressing instead. Headlines will tout new recipes for exotic rubs and glazes to give you the perfect crispy skin and moist and succulent meat using vegetables and ingredients you’ve never heard of and that cost more than the bar mitzvah you had catered 5 years ago. So much information dedicated to a bird that can’t even fly.

While helpful, these well meaning articles always seem to address the day and never the day after Thanksgiving when you have to deal with the remaining 12 pounds of turkey you were sure you needed when you bought that 27 pound bird. Yes, there a few papers that will carry articles on how to make 7 different types of turkey sandwiches and turkey salad. They are usually found, however, under the title “been there, made them before”.

What you really need are fun and different recipes that treat the turkey as an ingredient that is needed to create a dish rather than a leftover added as an after thought. You can, of course, substitute an equal amount of cooked chicken in any of these recipes.

The following recipes are so good that you’ll turn to them anytime you want a good poultry recipe and not just when you have leftovers.

SESAME TURKEY WITH SUGAR SNAP PEAS (meat)

2 to 3 cups cooked turkey cut in 1/2 inch pieces*

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 tablespoon ginger root, finely grated

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 pound sugar snap peas

1 teaspoon spicy sesame oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat the wok over high heat. When wok is smoking hot, swirl in the oil. Let

Oil settle, and stir in turkey. Stir fry for 30 seconds. Stir in ginger root

and soy sauce. Cook, stirring, until turkey is hot, about 2 minutes.

Add the peas, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Continue stir-frying for 2 minutes or just until everything is hot throughout. Remove the turkey from the heat immediately and serve with cooked white rice. Serves: 4

* You can use fresh turkey or chicken if you don’t have any leftovers. You need to cook the raw turkey or chicken in the oil for 4 to 5 minutes until it’s fully cooked and then proceed with the recipe as it is written for the cooked turkey.

CRUNCHY CHINESE TURKEY SALAD (meat)
 

1 large head Napa cabbage, chopped

1 cup carrots, cut into matchstick pieces (I like the pre cut variety)
5 green onions, diced

1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup margarine
2 packages ramen noodles (discard soup flavoring)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup  sliced almonds
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar

In a large bowl place the cabbage, carrots, olives and green onions and mix to combine. Set the mixture aside. Melt the margarine in a frying pan over medium heat. Break noodles in small pieces. Place the noodles, sesame seeds and almonds in the pan and cook, stirring constantly until they are lightly brown. Remove the noodles and seeds from the pan immediately and place them on paper towels to cool and drain.

In a microwavable bowl combine the oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar . Microwave for about 3 to 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Let cool (about 20 minutes) before dressing the salad. The dressing can be made a day ahead of time. Add the dressing just before serving and toss to combine. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

TURKEY WITH HOT PEANUT SAUCE (meat)

This variation of a classic Southeast Asian dish can be served as a salad with lettuce or as a main course with rice.

1/2 cup unsalted chunky peanut butter

1 tablespoon seasoned sesame oil

1-1/2 teaspoons chili oil, or more to taste

3 tablespoons white wine

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

3 to 4 cups cooked turkey, cut into pieces,

2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, oils, wine and soy

sauce and ginger; stir to blend. In a large bowl, toss the turkey with about

1/3 of the peanut sauce mixture and reserve the rest. Cover and refrigerate at

least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Stir the vinegar and cilantro into the

reserved peanut sauce and set aside. Thread the turkey strips lengthwise on skewers. Broil the turkey for 1 or 2 minutes on each side, or until warm throughout. Serve on lettuce or with rice with the remaining sauce. Serves 4

THAI PEANUT PASTA TURKEY SALAD (meat)

This recipe was sent to me by a reader who swears that it is as close to the Byerly’s (a great grocery store) Thai chicken salad as you can get.

3/4   pound cooked turkey meat cut into strips

1/2 pound uncooked spaghetti

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shredded carrots

4 green onions — thinly sliced

1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts — chopped

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons sesame seeds — toasted

dash crushed red pepper

Break pasta into thirds In a sauce pan bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the pasta. Boil for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water. Drain again.

To make salad: In large salad bowl, combine the turkey, pasta, carrots, onions and peanuts toss and set it aside. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, vegetable oil, vinegar, peanut butter, sugar, sesame seeds and red pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add the dressing to the salad. Toss to coat and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 4 to 6.

TURKEY SALAD WITH BREAKFAST BEEF (meat)

This tasty salad is great served over slices of ripe avocado and lettuce leaves.

2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked diced turkey

1 package kosher breakfast beef, cooked and crumbled

1 can (8oz) water chestnuts, drained

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon parsley, fresh or dried

2 tablespoons finely minced green onions

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

dash Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper, to taste Recipe Instructions:

In a large bowl combine the turkey, breakfast beef, water chestnuts, celery and grapes. Mix to combine and set it aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, parsley, green onions, lemon juice, ginger, soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Combine the dressing with the turkey mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Stir the salad once again before serving.  Serves 4 to 6.    

CURRIED TURKEY SALAD (meat)

3 to 4 cups cooked turkey, cubed into bite size pieces

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup cubed unpeeled apple

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 to 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper, cayenne

In a large bowl combine the turkey, celery, apple, raisins, and peanuts. Mix well. Add the mayonnaise, curry powder, vinegar, salt, and peppers and mix well to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

HONEY PECAN TURKEY SALAD (meat)

4 to 5 cups cooked turkey pulled into shreds

1 3/4 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons honey*

salt and pepper to taste

red leaf lettuce

green onions, chopped

Mandarin oranges

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce decorated with the chopped green onions and the mandarin oranges. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

*You may want to add more honey for a sweeter salad.

Acorn Squash is Spectacular

            When the first squashes of fall and winter make their appearances at the farmers markets and the isles of the grocery chains the pumpkin is usually the one that is prominently featured and the others often find themselves relegated to the less “popular” section of the produce department. Discrimination, well, not really, but the pumpkin is the “cool” squash, the others are just well, squash. Carve that jack o lantern, toast those seeds and bake that pie. Nice, predictably fall like and dare I say it, boring.  I’d like to humbly suggest (that’s a polite way of saying, do what I say, please) that when you get ready to cook with squash, you substitute the acorn variety for pumpkin.

            Readily available year around the acorn squash is typically weighs from one to three pounds. It’s difficult to judge how good an acorn squash is by its outward appearance. It should feel heavy for its size with smooth, dull skin with absolutely no soft spots. Look for some partial orange on the skin as a sign of maturity. Too much orange coloring on the skin indicates an overripe squash which will be dry and stringy. A good balance between green and orange coloring is optimum.       As for the inside, the deeper the yellowish orange color of the flesh, the sweeter it is.

            Like the pumpkin, you’ll need to remove the fibers and seeds from the center of the acorn squash before steaming, broiling or baking it. Actually, the only draw back that I can find to the acorn squash is when you have to deal with peeling it. The ribbed shape makes peeling it raw a virtually impossibility, but, conversely, the shape more than makes up for this inconvenience by being perfectly shaped for stuffing.

Acorn squash is most often served cooked in its shell, stuffed or with a glaze. Cooking time depends on the size of the squash.  When a recipe calls for just the pulp I like to microwave it. I cut two whole squash in half, cover with wax paper and cook for 10 to 13 minutes on high. I let it cool and then peel it. You can bake it at 375 to 400 for 35 to 40 minutes until soft to the touch. Let cool and peel.
         To peel an acorn squash you’ll need a really sturdy knife to slice it in half. To make the squash easier to cut, pierce the skin in a few spots, place it in a microwave oven and heat on high for 2 minutes. Let stand for another few minutes before cutting. When halving, cut through the stem end to the point rather than across the diameter. To prevent halves from rocking on the baking tray, cut a small slice off the bottom to flatten it.
        Most winter squash, including pumpkin, acorn, buttercup, and butternut, can be used interchangeably in recipes.

1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, mashed
2-1/2 pounds whole squash = 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
1 pound trimmed squash = 2 cups cooked pieces
• 12 ounces frozen squash = 1-1/2 cups
Along with the standard green variety, you may also run across orange and white acorn squash varieties. Although available in many areas year-round, prime season for acorn squash is early fall through winter. Plan on using acorn squash within two weeks of purchase. Cooked acorn squash can be sealed and refrigerated up to four days.

APPLE COUSCOUS AND ACORN SQUASH
1 cup couscous
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup prunes pitted and chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apple

1/4 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 tsp cardamom, ground
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped, optional
Place couscous in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. Bring apple juice to a boil in a small saucepan and pour over the couscous. Cover and set aside until the juice is absorbed. This will take 15 minutes. Stir in the fruit, apple juice concentrate, cardamom, and maple syrup. Set aside. Steam squash halves until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and place on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill squash halves with the couscous mixture and bake for 20 minutes. Top with pecans and serve. Serves 8

CORNISH HENS WITH ACORN SQUASH
2 medium-size acorn squash (about 1-1/4 pounds each)
3 (1-1/4-pounds each) Cornish hens
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/2 cup pitted prunes (3 ounces)
2 (3-inch-long each) cinnamon sticks
Preheat oven to 375. Cut each acorn squash lengthwise in half; remove and discard seeds. Cut each half lengthwise into 3 wedges; cut each wedge diagonally in half. Remove giblets and necks. Rinse hens with running cold water; drain well. Lift wings toward neck, then fold them under back of hens so they stay in place. With string, tie legs of each hen together. Place hens, breast-side up, in 17 x 11-1/2-inch roasting pan; rub with salt and pepper. Arrange squash in roasting pan around hens. Bake hens and squash 30 minutes. Add apple cider, prunes, and cinnamon sticks. Bake 45 minutes longer, basting with pan juices occasionally, until squash is tender and juices run clear when fork is inserted between leg and body cavity of hens. To serve, arrange hens, squash, prunes, and cinnamon sticks on large platter. Skim and discard fat from pan juices; serve pan juices with hens. (Remove skin from hens before eating if you like.) Serves 6

From Good Housekeeping recipe archives

APPLE ACORN SQUASH SOUP

2 small to medium acorn squash or butternut squash, or mixture, about 3 cups mashed pulp

2 cups diced apple

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced carrot

2 tablespoons butter

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cut the squash into chunks and remove seeds; steam over simmering water until tender. Peel, mash, and set aside.In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter; add diced apple, onion, celery, and carrot. Saute until onion and celery are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken broth; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the cream, salt, and mashed squash. Let the mixture cool slightly then, working with 3 or 4 batches, carefully puree in a blender. Pour back in the saucepan and heat through. Serves 4 to 6.

GINGERED PEARS IN ACORN SQUASH

3 medium acorn squash
2 ripe red pears, chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur (optional)
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts*

Make a small cut into each squash; microwave at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes to ease halving squash. Cut squash in half crosswise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side up, in a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish.

Combine pear, brown sugar, ginger, butter, and, if desired, liqueur; spoon evenly into squash halves. Add boiling water to a depth of 1/2″ to dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Transfer squash to a serving dish; sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts.

*To remove hazelnut skins, cook hazelnuts with 1 teaspoon baking soda in boiling water 30 to 45 seconds. Drain nuts; rub with dish towel (skins come right off). Dry before toasting.

Yield

6 servings

CASBASH STUFFED ACORN SQUASH

“Vegetables, garbanzos, raisins and couscous in a lovely Moroccan broth taste delicious inside butter and brown sugar-brushed acorn squash.

2 carrots, chopped

  1 cup uncooked couscous

  2 tablespoons brown sugar

  1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

  2 tablespoons olive oil

  2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

  salt and pepper to taste

  1 cup garbanzo beans, drained

  1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth

  2 cloves garlic, chopped

  1/2 cup raisins

  2 stalks celery, chopped

  1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Dissolve the sugar in the melted butter. Brush squash with the butter mixture, and keep squash warm while preparing the stuffing. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook 5 minutes. Mix in the garbanzo beans and raisins. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Pour the chicken broth into the skillet, and mix in the couscous. Cover skillet, and turn off heat. Allow couscous to absorb liquid for 5 minutes. Stuff squash halves with the skillet mixture to serve. Serves 4.

MAPLE GLAZED SQUASH RINGS

1 acorn squash, about 2 pounds

salt

pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon maple flavoring
Slice squash into 1-inch thick rings, discarding seeds. Arrange in shallow baking pan. Bake, covered, in a 350° oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until just tender. Season with salt and pepper. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in apple cider. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir raisins, butter and maple flavor into the sauce. Spoon over squash. Continue baking, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
Serves 4.

ACORN SQUASH WITH WILD RICE

4      small   acorn squash — halved widthwise

1 1/2 cups wild rice

2 tablespoons   sherry

1/2 cup  chopped onion

3   stalks celery — chopped

3 teaspoons minced garlic

1   green bell pepper — diced

1 red bell pepper — diced

1 apple — diced

1 cup corn kernels

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan (optional)

ground black pepper

HERBAL CHOICES: thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, chives.

Preheat oven to 350. Cut a 1/4-inch slice off ends of squash halves to

prevent wobbling.  Remove seeds.  Bake, open side down, on a lightly

sprayed baking sheet until soft (40 min.). Cool. Rinse rice. Place in a medium pot with water to cover by 4 inches.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tender (1 hour).  Add water as needed to keep rice from drying. Drain well.

Heat sherry in a large non-stick skillet. Add onions, celery, garlic and

peppers and cook over medium heat until browned (5 min.). Stir in apple and

corn and cook until apple loses rawness (3 minutes). Add rice and herbs and

cook for 1 min. Stir in cheese and ground pepper to taste.

Spoon rice mixture into a shallow baking dish and nestle squash halves into

it, filling each with some rice mixture. Bake at 400F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 4.

CHICKEN CURRY IN ROASTED ACORN SQUASH

1 Small acorn squash (2 lbs.)

12 oz Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 Red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped Cilantro

1/2 cup milk or rice milk

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 sweet onion, diced

Preheat oven to 425. In a bowl combine the chopped onion chicken and bell pepper. Mix to combine and set aside. Cut squash in half, Rub with half of the olive oil and place on a baking sheet, center face up. Roast it until the flesh is soft and brown, about 25. While the squash roasts, heat the remaining oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. When it’s hot, add the chicken, bell pepper, and onion. Saute for 3 min, and then add the curry powder, milk and raisins. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Serve a scoop of the curry chicken inside the roasted squash.

Garnish with cilantro and serve. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

If you prefere a richer mixture you can substitute heavy cream for milk.

Modified from a recipe found in Men’s Health Magazine

CUPCAKES!!

 

check out my cupcake column at:

http://journalgazette.com/article/20101121/FEAT0103/311219976/1001/FOOD

Thanksgiving Simplified

I tend to be VERY casual when it comes to cooking for Thanksgiving. The emptier my nest becomes the less I become like my cooking buddies Connie who spends hours making a creation called a turducken (cramming a boneless chicken into a boneless duck, which is stuffed into a boneless turkey

a process that takes several days and what seems like millions of ingredients and several hundred of dollars) or Jerry who uses what is quite possibility the first atomic powered deep fryer. Both of these talented chefs create memorable meals using LARGE birds and feed LOTS of people. I’m at that point where I’m pulling strangers in off the street to help finish the appetizers.

            I’m opting for using parts of the turkey this year. Less mess, less fuss and quite frankly, more opportunity to create several really memorable recipes. The following recipes all utilize turkey legs, breasts, or wings, all parts that are readily available at the store. In the event you want to buy a small turkey and utilize the leftovers for the next couple of weeks know that you can use most of the glazes and sauces and techniques in these recipes for a whole bird.

ORANGE GLAZED TURKEY BREAST

6 to 7 pounds bone in turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (12-oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate; thawed and undiluted
1 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 (8-oz) can pineapple chunks drained
1 (2-oz) pkg slivered almonds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup currants
cooked wild rice
3 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Rub turkey breast with salt and pepper and then brown it on the cook top in a large Dutch oven. In a bowl combine the orange juice concentrate, 1 cup water, brown sugar, and cloves and curry, mixing well. Pour the mixture over the turkey breast. Add the pineapple, almonds, raisins, and currants to the pan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours. Remove turkey, and place on a bed of wild rice.

In a bowl combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; gradually stir into juice mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Serve sauce with turkey and wild rice.  Serves 6

 GRILLED TURKEY BREAST WITH CRANBERRY SALSA

6 pound turkey breast, boned, skinned and separated into 2 pieces
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
3 cups frozen cranberries
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricot halves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
2 large oranges, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
Place the turkey breast in a large heavy-duty, zip-top plastic bag. In a jar that has a tight lid combine the cranberry juice cocktail, orange juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley. Cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade, and chill. Pour the remaining marinade over turkey. Seal bag, and chill 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Using the knife blade attachment in your food processor bowl add the cranberries, honey, lime juice, red onion, peppers, apricots, 1/2 cup cilantro or parsley and orange pieces. Pulse until chopped, stopping once to scrape down sides (do not over process). Transfer cranberry mixture to a serving bowl; chill until ready to use.

Remove turkey from marinade, discarding marinade. Cook turkey, covered with grill lid, over medium-hot coals, about 15 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 180, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. This can also be made on a grill pan on your cook top. Serve with cranberry mixture. Serves 4 to 6.

SAVORY TURKEY LEGS
 

4 cups dry bread cubes
4 large stalk celery, minced
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground sage
 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 egg
1/2 cup hot water
2 turkey legs with thighs (with the thighs cut off)
3 tablespoons margarine or oil
 Preheat oven to 375. Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a medium baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mix the bread, celery, cranberries, walnuts, onion, and garlic. Season with sage, marjoram, salt, and pepper. Stir in the egg and enough hot water to moisten. Arrange turkey legs and thighs on the foil sheet, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the bread mixture around the legs, and dot with margarine. Tightly seal the foil around the legs and bread mixture. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the turkey leg meat has reached an internal temperature of 180. Remove from the oven, place the legs on a platter and serve the stuffing mixture in a separate bowl. Serves 4

OVEN-BARBECUED TURKEY LEGS

These legs are delicious teamed with roasted potatoes and zucchini and a hot peach or pear half!

1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 Turkey legs, small
1/4 cup Corn oil
1/2 cup Barbecue sauce
1/2 cup Water
1 Chicken bouillon cube, crush

Preheat oven to 325. On a plate mix the flour with salt, chili powder and pepper; dredge turkey legs with flour mixture. Heat the oil in a large skillet; brown turkey, turning to brown all sides. Remove turkey from the pan and place them in a 13x9x2-inch pan. In a bowl combine the barbecue sauce, water and bouillon cube. Mix well and spoon the mixture over the legs. Cover the pan with foil place it in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.. Uncover and bake 1 hour, until turkey is tender, basting frequently. Serves 6.

BAKED TURKEY THIGHS WITH, MUSHROOM POTATOES AND GRAVY

2 turkey thighs
20-30 fresh mushrooms, cut in 1/2
8 red potatoes, cut in 1/2
1 onion, sliced
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 teaspoons pepper
4 or 5 cloves of fresh garlic
1/2 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season turkey with 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Braise the thighs in a heavy skillet with hot oil until brown. Flip over and brown on the other side. Remove thighs from the skillet and drain the oil. Don’t wash the pan. Put the potatoes, which have been cut, the mushrooms and the onions in the bottom of the hot heavy skillet or a Dutch oven. Sit the turkey on top of the potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Cut the garlic into small pieces and sprinkle it over the turkey. Add the 1/4 cup of water. Bake for 1 hour. Stir the mixture and bake for an additional 1/2 hour. Serves 2.

APRICOT STUFFED TURKEY BREAST

1  3-to 4 pound bone turkey breast, with skin

1-1/2 cups soft bread crumbs (2 slices)

1/2 cup snipped dried apricots

1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

2 tablespoons apple juice or water

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 325.. Cut a horizontal slit into thickest part of turkey breast to form a 5×4-inch pocket. Set it aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, apricots, pecans, apple juice or water, oil, rosemary, and garlic salt. Spoon stuffing mixture into pocket. Securely fasten the opening with water-soaked wooden toothpicks or tie with heavy cotton string. In another bowl stir together the mustard and water then set it aside. . Place turkey, skin side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.  Roast turkey, uncovered, in preheated oven for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours brushing with mustard mixture during the last 30 minutes of roasting. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings

Adapted from a from Better Homes and Gardens recipe

FLORENTINE STUFFED TURKEY BREAST

A bone-in turkey breast half is baked on a bed of spinach, onion, celery, bread cubes, walnuts, apple and nutmeg to create this fabulous meal

4 pounds bone-in turkey breast half,

2 tablespoons margarine, divided

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

3/4 cup turkey broth

3 slices whole wheat bread, cubed

1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Granny Smith apple

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 roasting pan and set it aside. Rub turkey breast with 1 tablespoon margarine, thyme and garlic. In large non-stick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon margarine and add the onion and celery. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft. Fold in the spinach, broth, bread, walnuts, apple, salt, nutmeg and pepper and mix until combined. Spoon the dressing into mound in center of the prepared roasting pan. Place the turkey, skin side up, over the dressing. Bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat thermometer reaches 180 and the juices run clear. Serves 6.

TURKEY BREAST WITH PEPPERS AND BLACK OLIVES

1 4/5 boneless pounds turkey breast, thinly sliced

1/3 cup unsalted butter

An onion, finely sliced

4 sweet red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, ribbed, and cut into thin strips

1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives

A dash of olive oil

3/4 cup dry white wine

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound cooked  small shell pasta

In a skillet saute melt the butter and saute the sliced turkey for  3 minutes. Remove from heat. In another skillet saute the peppers and olives in the olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes and then cover and simmer for 8 to 10 more minutes. Add the turkey and the wine and cook, leaving the lid off. Cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated, add the pasta, season to taste, stir until coated and serve immediately. Serves 6

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