Make Mine Minestrone

While chicken soup may be the quintessential soup to serve when someone is sick and tomato soup is the perfect comfort food to serve with a grilled cheese sandwich (extra cheese please) Minestrone is the one I like to serve best on a cool crisp fall evening when there is just a hint of frost in the air and I’m ready to light the first bonfire of the season. Minestrone is an Italian soup in origin, made with fresh seasonally fall vegetables, often made more robust with the addition of pasta or rice.

The most common ingredients of Minestrone soup include beans (dry and/or canned), onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no one “politically correct” recipe for minestrone  since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season or in your fridge it can whipped together (and thrown in a crockpot ) relativity quickly before you head out for the day and ready when you get home or cooked the night before and reheated . It can also be vegetarian or contain meat. In fact the word “minestrone” has become a synonym for “throw what every you like in there”. Just so you know, great minestrone should distinguish itself by the large quantity of fresh vegetables it contains and its thick consistency (great for mopping up with that extra bread that always seems to be on the table when you serve a thick soup).

MINESTRONE OF MODENA (meat)

 

1/2 cup dried cannellini beans
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
3 ounces sliced pastrami, chopped
1 cup minced yellow onions
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced carrots
1 generous tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomatoes, drained
2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
4 ounces green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, diced
4 ounces white mushrooms, diced
2 cups shredded Savoy cabbage
4 ounces asparagus, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen petite green peas
8 to 10 basil leaves, shredded
2 quarts warm water or canned low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sort beans, pick out the bad ones and soak overnight in water to cover.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add pastrami, onions, celery, carrots, and parsley; cook, stirring until vegetables are lightly golden and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir, about 5 minutes. Drain and add the rehydrated cannellini beans, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage, asparagus, peas, and basil to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat vegetables well with savory base. Add warm water and Parmesan rind; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring from time to time, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the minestrone has a dense, thick consistency. (If the soup should thicken too much, add a bit more water.) Remove cheese rind, and adjust seasoning. Turn off heat and let soup stand for about 30 minutes. Serves 8 to 10

 

Note: Rice or small pasta such as ditalini can be added to the soup during the last minutes of cooking. Add rice 10 minutes before you turn off the heat, pasta 3 to 5 minutes before. The rice or pasta will keep cooking as the soup rests.

 

Adapted from Biba’s Taste of Italy. 2001. Biba Caggiano, William Morrow Publishing

 

FAST AND EASY MINESTRONE (meat)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 egg
Salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
7 cups beef or chicken or vegetable broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole tomatoes, mashed with a spoon
1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried basil leaves
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup uncooked rotelli pasta (4 ounces)

Squeeze as much moisture as possible from spinach. Mix together with beef, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, and pepper. Shape into 1-inch balls. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until very hot. Add a few meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towels. Repeat till all are browned.

 

Remove excess oil and add onion to Dutch oven; cook until opaque. Stir in broth, tomatoes, beans, oregano, and basil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add carrots and celery; cover and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir in pasta; cover and simmer until done, about 10 minutes. Add meatballs and heat through, about 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls. Serves 10 to 12

VEGETARIAN MINESTRONE (pareve)

 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 large sweet potato, diced
2 medium white potatoes, diced
3 stalks celery
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
15 oz. canned whole tomatoes
6 cups water, boiling
Salt and pepper
Fresh or dried oregano, to taste

1/4 lb rottini pasta, cooked and drained

Parmesan cheese, optional

 

Saute the onion in the olive oil, until golden. Add the sweet potato, white potatoes, celery, peas, carrots, and corn and sauté until softened. Add tomatoes, breaking up with hands or spoon. Add boiling water, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  In the last minutes of cooking add the cooked pasta to the soup.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with cheese and oregano if desired. Serves 6.

 

VERY VEGGIE MINESTRONE (pareve or meat)

 

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (more if you prefer)

2 stalks celery

1 red pepper, seeded and diced into chunks
4 oz prewashed and cut kale (6 cups)
1 (1-lb) bag frozen mixed Italian vegetables such as zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, and broccoli
1 (14 1/2-oz) can “petite” diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup elbow macaroni
5 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (42 fl oz)
2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (19-oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
grated parmesan, optional

 

Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add kale and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add frozen vegetables, peppers, celery, tomatoes with juice, pasta, broth, water, salt, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer half of beans to a wide shallow bowl and coarsely mash with a fork or a potato masher, then stir mashed and whole beans into soup and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Modified from a recipe from epicurious.com

 

MEATBALL MINESTRONE (meat or pareve)

 

1 cup frozen chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (15- to 19-ounce) can cannellini beans, undrained

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 (1.4-ounce) package dry vegetable soup mix

1 (16-ounce) package frozen cooked meatballs or vegetarian meatballs

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 cup elbow pasta, uncooked

1 (10-ounce) package fresh washed baby spinach

 

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the onion and the garlic in the olive oil until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in vegetable soup mix until dissolved. Add meatballs, tomatoes and crushed red pepper and return to a boil. Add elbow macaroni and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until pasta are tender.

Add the spinach and stir until it is wilted, about 1 minute. Serves 6.

 

MINESTRONE PASTA BOWL (dairy)

Not technically a soup but hey, it’s close and it’s really delicious so who cares what you call it.
1 package (16 ounces) uncooked rigatoni pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning Mix, divided
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 large carrot, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package and drain. Return pasta to stockpot; add 1
tablespoon of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mix, stirring to
coat. Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat until hot. Add garlic stir-fry 1 minute.  Add zucchini and carrot; stir-fry 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, garbanzo beans and remaining seasoning mix. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and heated through. Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Carefully pour sauce over pasta. Grate Parmesan cheese over pasta. Serve immediately. 8 servings

 

SIMPLE MINESTRONE FOR FOUR (meat)

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 large potato, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchinis, grated
One 8 3/4-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
olive oil for drizzling
Combine the chicken stock, water, potato and garlic in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the potato becomes tender, about 15 minutes. Using a spoon or large fork, mash the potato slightly. Add the zucchini and kidney beans; cook until the beans are heated, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Divide among four soup bowls and drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over each serving. Serves 4
AUTUMN VEGETABLE MINESTRONE (pareve)

2 (14.5 oz) cans vegetable broth
1 (18 oz) can crushed tomatoes — undrained
3 medium carrots — chopped
3 small zucchini — cut into 1/2″ slices
1 medium yellow bell pepper — cut into 1/2″ pieces
8 medium green onions — sliced
2 cloves garlic — finely chopped
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Mix all ingredients except rice and basil in a 3 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir in rice. Cover and cook on low heat setting for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Serves 6.

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So Many Delicious Cheeses and Lots of Recipes Too

How good (or bad) a party is often defined by the food you serve as well as the company you invite. The people I can’t help you with (unless you include me and then all bets are truly off) you might want to consider serving cheeses as part of the appetizers and possibly even the desserts.  Cheese is easy to serve and by getting a wide variety of different flavors and kinds you’ll be able to tempt the palette of just about everyone. You may want to forget your preconceived notions about cheese if they revolve around the cheddar you use for Mac and cheese and the mozzarella you top you pizza with.  You’ll want to open your mind (and wallet) to the possibilities of cheeses from around the world.

Cheese platter 101 begins with the idea that you will want both soft and hard cheeses which will run the gamut from mild and mellow tasting ones to the stronger more pungent flavored cheeses.Cheeses come from milk and the usual suspects that provide that milk are cows, sheep and goats. Cheeses are typically categorized and are usually described as gentle, sharp and strong and can have a rind or not. Younger cheeses tend to be mild, soft, and moist.  As cheeses age, they become more pungent, hard, and crumbly.

Fresh: These cheeses don’t have rinds. Examples are goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, Ricotta, Feta and cream cheese.

Semi-Soft:  A little firmer than fresh you melt well. Look for Gouda, queso asadero, Limburger, Provolone, Havarti and Monterey Jack.

Semi hard : can also be called semi-firm and the top three that I like in this category are Cheddar, Edam Beaufort, Cheshire and Gruyere. The can be grated fairly easily.

Hard cheeses:  cheese like a Parmesan, Sapsago and aged Asiago are very popular and easy to find.

Washed Rind: Cheeses like Tallegio, Limburger and Muenster have been washed or rested salty brine mixture. The brine creates an edible rind and protects the soft or semi-soft interior.

Bloom Rind: These cheeses have a soft sort of pliable rind on the outside.  Brie and Camembert are the two best known and most people ignore the rind and eat the softer inside.

Blue: The strongest flavor and smelling of the cheese. It usually falls into one of two categories, can’t get enough or never touch the stuff. Actual mold spores are used to create the distinctive flavor, taste and smell. Stilton and Maytag Blue, Saga Blue, Stilton, Roquefort and Gorgonzola are usually readily available.


For an attractive appetizer or dessert tray I say you should use 4 to 6 cheeses planning on about 2 to 3 ounces per guest (you will have leftovers). The cheese should be served at room temperature and I unwrap the cheese just before I serve it so that the cheese doesn’t dry out. I tend to arrange them in the order of hardness and always label them with some of their flavors and characteristics  so everyone know kind of what to expect when they pop it in their mouths. I always have a different knife or serving piece for each cheese so that the flavors don’t get confused. I have a variety of breads, crackers and fruits and dried fruits to accompany the cheeses. One other trick I’ve discovered to making cheese tasting an event rather than a chore is to pare the cheeses with wines that are made in the same region they come from.

Sometimes a cheese try just isn’t enough and you’ll feel the need to cook the cheese. The following appetizer recipes will allow you to add just enough other ingredients to keep the cheeses front and center.

PULL APART CHEESE STICKS

1 (11-ounce) can breadstick dough

1 1/2 cups shredded mild cheese mozzarella, provolone or smoked Gouda

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

About 2 cups warmed store-bought marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 375. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Arrange the breadstick dough in single layer lengthwise on the parchment paper but DON’T separate the dough into individual breadsticks.  Sprinkle the cheese, basil and oregano over the top of the dough. Bake 10 to 11 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Remove the breadsticks from the oven. Let the breadsticks cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes. Pull apart the breadsticks and serve them with the heated marinara sauce. Makes 12. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

TOMATO AND ONION TART APPITIZER

This can be served hot or cold

7 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

1/2 stick of butter, melted

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 cups shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese

6 plum (Roma) tomatoes cut into thick slices

8 10 fresh basil leaves, shredded or 1 tablespoon dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray paper with nonstick cooking spray. Lay 1 sheet phyllo dough on paper and brush lightly with a little melted butter. Sprinkle top of buttered phyllo with 1 to 2 tablespoons grated parmesan (don’t overdo it). Repeat the layering 6 more times (phyllo, butter, and cheese), making sure to press down on each sheet so it adheres to the previous layer.

When you’ve finished the layers, place the onions on top of the last layer making sure not to over load it. Sprinkle the provolone on top of the onions and then layer the tomatoes on top making sure you don’t overlap them. Sprinkle the basil (fresh or dried) over the top. Salt and pepper generously. Bake for 30 minutes and then let it cool for about 7 to 10 minutes before you cut and serve it Serves 8 to 10.

Modified and Submitted by Ronnie Smith Chicago, IL

SPINACH AND FETA MINI CALZONES

1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (plain or flavored)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender.  Add the spinach and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat.  Stir in the cheese and black pepper.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 12-inch square.  Cut into 16 (3-inch) squares.  Brush edges of the squares with water.  Place about 1 tablespoon spinach mixture in the center of each square.  Fold the pastry over the filling to form triangles.  Press the edges to seal.  Place the filled pastries onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Remove the pastries from the baking sheet and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.

Modified from Pepperidgefarm.com

CHEVRE MINI BOULES

1 large head garlic

1 small shallot

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

31/2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

11/2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds

1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar

11/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

11/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme

Dash ground black pepper

Dash sugar

12 oz. Ile de France® La Búchette Goat cheese

French baguette, sliced

Separate garlic cloves from the head, leaving the skin on, and boil for four minutes. Drain, peel and mince garlic and shallot, and sauté in oil until golden. Keep garlic mixture in pan, and drain and discard. Add vinegar, rosemary, thyme, pepper and sugar to pan and cook for 3 minutes until liquid is evaporated. Crumble the goat cheese in medium bowl, add garlic mixture and stir until combined. Shape into 22 balls.

Place parsley, peppercorns and sesame seeds in 3 separate bowls, and roll balls in mixtures as desired. Serve with crusty French bread slices.

From Iledefrance.com

CREAM CHEESE GRAPE AND PISTACHIO

8 oz cold cream cheese

salt and pepper

16 red or green seedless grapes

3/4 cup crushed pistachios

Take a teaspoon or two of the cream cheese and mold it around each grape. Season lightly with salt and pepper and then roll it in the chopped pistachios. Place the grapes on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours before serving. This is great next to a bowl of mixed nuts. If the grapes are really big you can cut them in half after they’ve chilled. Makes 16. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

CRANBERRY ONION CREAM CHEESE BITES

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups thinly sliced sweet onions

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), coarsely chopped or dried cranberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind

16 crackers (whole grain work well)

cream cheese (you can use fat free)

parsley leaves

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onions, and sauté 15 to 18 minutes or until golden and tender. Stir in the vinegar, cranberries, sugar, salt, and orange rind; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Spread the crackers with about 1 teaspoon cream cheese; and then top each with about 1 tablespoon of the cranberry mixture. Garnish with parsley. Makes 16.

Modified from Southernliving.com

Brown Sugar Is the Best

There are those among us carbohydrate addicted sugar junkies that prefer brown sugar to white when it comes to a choice of sweetener. While I know in my head and heart that there is no real difference in calories or sweetness between the two, brown sugar, with its mellow smoky taste is truly my favorite

For the uninformed, brown sugar is just white sugar combined with molasses. Molasses is actually a byproduct of sugar production. Normally, molasses is separated and removed when sugar is created from sugarcane. With brown sugar the molasses is either left in or reintroduced after the white sugar has been created.  Light and dark are the two most common styles of brown sugar. In general, the lighter the brown sugar, the more delicate its flavor. Dark brown sugar has a more intense molasses smoky flavor.

Most of us are familiar with the slightly moist, clumpy kind of brown sugar that turns into a door stop if left out in the air too long. Now a days a dryer granulated brown sugar and a liquid form of brown sugar is available. Be warned however that a 1 cup of the granulated brown sugar weighs about 5 ounces as opposed to a cup of packed regular brown sugar which weighs about 7 ounces.  Makes sure you weigh your granulated brown sugar (as opposed to just using a measuring cup) and your recipe should turn out just fine.

So the next brown sugar question is, have you’ve ever been confronted by a solid brick of brown sugar sweetness?  What looks like a catastrophe is actually a problem with a simple solution. You can re-soften it by including a few slices of apple in the bag of brown sugar and sealing tightly for 1-2 days or you can try microwaving it for about 20 or 30 seconds. You can also substitute 1 cup of packed brown sugar for 1 one cup of regular granulated sugar without any problem (other than a subtle chance of taste) in just about any recipe.

Brown sugar is super in both the main course and dessert sections of your life so it should be no surprise that the following recipes run the gamut from bbq rubs to cheesecakes. Bon Appitit.


WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES WITH BROWN SUGAR TOPPING

 

1 can (approx 22 ounces) red-skinned sweet potatoes or 3 large fresh, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces and cooked for 15 minutes in boiling water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
6 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt

Topping
1 1/2 cups cornflakes crumbs
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
6 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cut potatoes into one inch cubes. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sweet potatoes and butter. Beat until smooth. Add the egg, brown sugar, spice and salt; beat to blend. Transfer the mixture to 8 x 8-inch baking dish. (this can be made 1 day ahead). Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) and prepare the topping. Bake potatoes until beginning to brown around edges and slightly puffed, about 25 minutes.

Prepare topping:
Combine all topping ingredients together in medium bowl and mix well. Spoon the topping evenly over potatoes. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes longer. Serves 6

 

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING

 

12 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoon milk
6 tablespoon butter
1 cup powdered sugar (or a little more depending on the consistency you want)

 

Place the brown sugar, milk and butter one in a saucepan and boil for minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and mix in the powdered sugar. Let cool, then beat until smooth. Makes 1 cup

 

BAKED BEANS WITH BACON AND BROWN SUGAR

 

1 (14- to 15-oz) can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (19-oz) cans small white beans, rinsed and drained (4 cups)
1 onion, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 bacon slices (1/4 lb)

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the tomatoes, brown sugar, mustard, and salt. Gently stir in beans and transfer to a -quart shallow baking dish. Arrange onion slices in 1 layer over beans, and then cover onion with bacon. Bake, uncovered, until bacon is browned and beans have absorbed most of liquid, about 1 1/4 hours. Serves 6.

BROWN SUGAR STREUSEL PIE

This recipe is by Danielle Nettuno of Titusville, Florida, won the 2008 Junior Chef Division Best of Show in the American Pie Council-Crisco National Pie Championships.

 

Crust
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3-4 tablespoons water
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar

 

Bottom layer
4 ounces cream cheese
1/6 cup brown and white sugar mixed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 egg

 

Top layer
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 eggs

 

Crumb topping
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Combine flour, salt and cinnamon sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening until it looks like crumbs. Add in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is flaky. Roll out on a floured counter and place in a 13- by 9-inch pie pan.  Fork the pie crust. In another bowl, cream the cream cheese with the sugars, and then add the salt, vanilla and maple syrup. When this is combined, add the egg. Mix until blended. Spread it out evenly on the bottom of the pie crust. Place it in the refrigerator and chill when making the next two layers. Melt butter and brown sugar together in a medium sauce pan until blended. Let it come to a boil, stirring constantly. Let the mixture cook an additional 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cream, vanilla and eggs. Once the butter and sugar is ready, slowly combine the two. Let cool. For the crumb topping, combine brown sugar, flour and oats in another bowl. Cut in shortening. Add walnuts, salt and cinnamon. Slowly pour the brown sugar layer on top of the cream cheese layer (it is okay if it combines). Evenly distribute the crumb topping on the pie. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, checking frequently after 20 minutes.  Take out and let cool, then refrigerate. Serves 10 to 12

 

BROWN SUGAR BANANA POUND CAKE

 

1 pound brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 pound butter

5 large eggs

2 bananas, mashed

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecan

 

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the brown and white sugars with butter until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the mashed bananas. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Mix milk and vanilla together. Add each to the egg mixture alternately. Stir in the pecans. Pour the batter into a 10 inch well-greased bunt pan. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, or until firm. Place upside down on a cake rack; when cool, invert and turn out onto rack. Serves 12

 

BROWN SUGAR SHEESECAKE WITH BURBON SAUCE

A rich cheesecake made with bourbon and pecans

 

Crust

1/3 cup pecans

16 thin chocolate wafer cookies

4 (5 x 2 1/2-inch) graham crackers

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Filling
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons Bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar

 

Topping
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350. In a baking pan toast pecans in one layer in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes, and cool. In a food processor finely grind pecans, wafers, and graham crackers. Add brown sugar, butter, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9 1/2-inch spring form pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side.

 

Make filling: In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy and add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed until just combined. Beat in Bourbon, vanilla extract and brown sugar until just combined. Pour filling into crust and put spring form pan in a baking pan. Bake cheesecake in middle of oven 35 minutes. Leaving oven on, transfer cake in spring form pan to a rack and let stand 5 minutes. (Center of cake will set as it cools.)

 

Make topping: In a bowl stir together sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake in baking pan in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool completely in spring form pan on rack. Chill cake, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 4 days. Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan and remove side of pan. Transfer cake to a serving plate and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Serve cake with sauce. Serves 12.

 

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

 

In a dry 3-quart heavy kettle cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork (to help sugar melt evenly), until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling kettle, until deep golden. Remove kettle from heat and carefully add water and bourbon down side of kettle (mixture will bubble and steam). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Stir in butter until incorporated and cool sauce to warm. Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

 

Modified from epicurious.com

 

APPLE CAKE WITH COCONUT BROWN SUGAR TOPPING
3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt or sour cream

1/4 cups oil

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/4 cups flour

1 pounds apple, Granny Smith, cored and coarsely chopped (3 cups)

1 cup coconut, flaked

3 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon sugar, brown (packed)

2 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat oven to 325. Line two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans with foil; coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.   In a large bowl, stir together granulated sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, the 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the vanilla, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir in flour just until combined. Fold in apples (batter will be very thick and chunky).  Spoon batter into prepared pans; spread evenly. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean and tops are browned.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine coconut, butter, brown sugar, milk, and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Preheat broiler after removing cakes from oven. Gently spread coconut mixture evenly over tops of cakes. Broil 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 45 minutes. Use foil to lift cakes from pans; remove foil. Serve warm. Serves 10 to 12

 

GARLIC BROWN SUGAR CHICKEN

 

1 broiler/ fryer chicken, cut up (3-1/2 – 4 lbs) or about 6 boneless skinless breasts

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup vinegar

1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (diet is fine)

2-3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon pepper

 

Place chicken in a large ziploc bag. Combine remaining ingredients, pour into bag and seal. Shake several times to coat the chicken. Refrigerate 2-4 hours. Transfer chicken and marinade to a large skillet, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until juices run clear.

 

BROWN SUGAR SPICE RIB RUB
2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup lemon pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil

In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Rub into both sides of ribs and let marinate. Makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Enough for 5 to 6 lbs of ribs

Brie Makes The Celebration

   Since parties and celebrations are part of this  holiday seasion and most budgets are not endless rec ipes that are unique and simple for appetizer and fun and interesting side dishes are at a premium. More often than not, I turn to my favorite cheese, brie. It’s readily available and a little goes a long way so it’s very affordable.

Brie was created in the 7th century inFrance. Popularized by Charlemagne this cheese has a very delicate and smooth taste and texture. The body of brie is covered with a white rind. Brie can be savored at room temperature and is equally delicious served with red or white wine. This soft-ripened cheese is made from cow’s milk. Brie is not for those who are counting calories.


BAKED BRIE IN PUFF PASTRY WITH HONEY WALNUT SAUCE

A reader from LondonOntario sent me this recipe that she got from Bon Appetite and I have to agree with her that it’s smashing!

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 8 ounce (or 2 four ounce) wheels Brie
1 egg, beaten (for glaze)
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out puff pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Place brie in center, and fold pastry around it, sealing seams. Transfer to baking sheet, seam side up. Brush pastry with egg glaze. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bake brie until pastry is golden, 18-25 minutes. Combine butter, honey, and garlic in small saucepan over low heat. Stir until butter melts. Divide sauce between two plates (if using 2 wheels of brie). Sprinkle sauce with walnuts and parsley. Place pastry wrapped brie atop sauce on plates and serve with assorted crackers. Serves 8 to 10

 

 

BRIE SOUFFLE

Great for brunch served with a sweet sparkling wine and fresh fruit.

 

8 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature
6 slices of good-quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed
1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
dash of Tabasco
3 eggs
1 lb. Brie, rind removed

 

Butter a 1 1/2 quart souffle dish. Butter one side of bread slices and cut each slice into thirds. In a bowl whisk together the milk, salt,Tabascoand eggs. Coarsely grate the Brie. Arrange half of the bread, buttered side up, on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle evenly with half of the Brie and then repeat, using remaining bread and Brie. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the bread. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbling and golden. Serves 4 to 6

BRIE STUFFED POTATOES

 

4 baked potatoes
3oz Brie, de-rinded
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk
2 oz butter, softened
chives (chopped)

 

Preheat oven to 375. Slice off the top of each potato and scoop out the potato (place it in a bowl), leaving behind a potato skin shell ready for filling. In a bowl containing the scooped out potato combine the brie, salt, egg yolk and butter. Beat until combined and spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Place the filled potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until the top of the filling is golden brown. Sprinkle the top of the potato with chopped chives and serve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

BAKED BRIE WITH CRANBERRY SAUCE

This appetizer is simply beautiful and the tart cranberry sauce is the perfect compliment to the smooth brie.

1 lb Fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (about 4 1/2 cups), picked over
1/4 cup red-currant jelly
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon Kirsch
2 packages (17 1/4-ounce) frozen puff pastry sheets (4 pastry sheets), thawed
1 large Egg, beaten lightly
1 Wheel (2-pound) firm Brie (rind intact), chilled

Make cranberry sauce:
In a large saucepan simmer sauce ingredients, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Transfer sauce to a heatproof bowl and cool. Cranberry sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered.

Put Brie on a work surface and with a 2-inch round cutter cut out 10 rounds, pressing scraps together as necessary. Press thumb deep into middle of each round to form a small indentation and fill each cavity with about 1 teaspoon cranberry sauce, reserving remaining sauce. Chill cheese rounds on a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface unfold 1 pastry sheet (do not roll out pastry) and with a 2 1/4-inch round cutter cut out 10 rounds. Transfer pastry rounds to another baking sheet and chill. Unfold remaining 3 pastry sheets and with a 5-inch round cutter cut out 10 rounds (there will be pastry left over). Transfer pastry rounds to a third baking sheet and chill.

On cleaned work surface arrange 1 large pastry round and brush top with some egg. Center 1 cheese round on pastry and wrap pastry up over cheese to form a 3/4-inch border on top of cheese. Brush border with some remaining egg and top with 1 small pastry round, pressing edges of dough together gently but firmly to seal. Brush round with some remaining egg and chill on a baking sheet. Make more wrapped Brie with remaining pastry and cheese rounds in same manner. Chill each wrapped Brie, uncovered, at least 30 minutes. Brie may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered loosely.

Preheat oven to 425. and lightly grease another baking sheet. Bake Brie on baking sheet in middle of oven 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Cool Brie on baking sheet on a rack about 10 minutes.  Serve Brie warm with reserved cranberry sauce. Serves 10 as a first course

BAKED BRIE WITH DRIED FRUIT
This dish pairs beautifully with sparkling wine.

approx. 2 Pounds Brie, round or wedge
1/4 cup sparkling sweet wine

1/4 cup dried apricots or peaches
1/8 cup toasted walnuts or almonds, coarsely chopped

1 sheet puff pastry — thawed
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Place Brie in the freezer for about thirty minutes to make it easier to handle.  In a saucepan, bring wine and fruit to a boil and remove from
heat. Cool.  Cut Brie in half lengthwise, so you have a top half and a bottom half.  Roughly chop fruit into 1/4 inch pieces and mix with toasted
walnuts.  Place mixture on bottom half of Brie, spread evenly and cover with top half.  On a floured surface, roll out thawed puff pastry to about
half the original thickness or until it will cover both the top and bottom of the brie.  Whip egg yolk and water.  Place filled brie in the center of
the rolled out dough and wrap brie completely, sealing overlapping dough with egg wash.  At this point, the brie may be stored in the freezer for
future use. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking. For immediate use, chill for half an hour in the refrigerator.  Preheat oven
to 400 degrees.  Brush with egg wash.  Bake on a greased baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for a few minutes and serve with freshly sliced baguette or toasted croutons.

Modified from a recipe developed for Domaine Carneros by Chef Kevin Simonson.

STUFFED AND BAKED BRIE
This really fancy appetizer is worth the effort. This wheel of brie stuffed with mushrooms and parmesancheese is so different that everyone will beg for the recipe.
2 lb. wheel of Brie
1 pkg. (17.5 oz.) puff pastry, both sheets thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the Mushroom Cheese Filling:
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons dry Vermouth
4 oz. kosher parmesan cheese,
freshly ground nutmeg
Accompaniments: fruit, crackers, bread

Prepare the filling:
Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add mushrooms and thyme. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the vermouth and simmer for 4-6 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender. Set aside to cool.

 

To assemble the Brie:
Keep the rind on the cheese and slice in half horizontally. Spread the mushrooms over the bottom half and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Add a few grinds of nutmeg, replace top and press down gently. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry and cut into 2 12-inch circles. Place the Brie on one circle and, pleating as necessary, pull the pastry up and over the side. It will not cover the top of the cheese. Gently invert the Brie onto the other circle and again, pleat and pull the pastry up over the wheel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Remove plastic wrap and place the cheese, seam side down on the baking tray. Brush with the egg and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

To serve:
Allow the cheese to rest 20 minutes before serving. Place on a serving tray with fruit and bread as accompaniments.

 

modified from about.com

BAKED BRIE WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS
Very easy to make and simply delicious.

1 head garlic
1/4 cup butter
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple – peeled, cored and sliced
1 (8 ounce) wedge Brie cheese
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 400. Place garlic on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and apple in butter until tender and browned. Set aside. Arrange brie on top of thawed puff pastry. Top the cheese with the apple and onion mixture. Fold puff pastry over the cheese, and pinch closed. Brush with melted butter. Serve with crackers or chunks of bread. Serves 4 as an appetizer

Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm. Garnish
with whole cloves of roasted garlic.

Open Sesame

 

 

I may not be Scheherazade with her tales of wonder  but say the enchanted words “open the sesame seed jar” (ok, so I took a few liberties with the phrase) and a magical world of flavor is open to all. Sesame seeds are one of the oldest condiments in recorded cooking history dating back to as early as 1600 BCE and are an integral part of the cuisines in the Middle East, Asia, India and Turkey probably originated in an area of the world called the Spice Islands.

Because sesame seeds are a plant food, there’s no cholesterol. Natural sesame seeds (unhulled) are high in calcium,
hulled not as much. However, they contain copious amounts of B vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin so it’s all good. Most of the sesame seeds sold in the United States are already hulled and come in light, brown and black colors. As far as I can tell the only difference is in the color, not the flavor. Sesame oil comes in two varieties. The first is cold pressed with very lightly golden color and a subtle flavor. The Asian variety of sesame oil that most of us associate with Chinese/Thai and other oriental foods is made from roasted sesame seeds and is much darker in color and has an intense almost smoky flavor.

Tahini or sesame seed paste and hummus two very popular Middle Eastern dishes have sesame seeds as their base and are served instead of butter or oil as condiments throughout many countries in the world.

To keep your sesame seeds from becoming rancid, store them in the refrigerator or the freezer. Sesame oil has an exceptionally long shelf life but since it’s rather expensive so most people tend to buy it small quantities so it isn’t in the cabinet all that long.

Many recipes call for you to toast your sesame seeds so that they have a slightly nuttier flavor. Easy to do. You can either place
them in an ungreased frying pan and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat for a minute or two, just until they are lightly browned. Remove them from the pan immediately by putting them into a dish. Leaving them in the pan can cause them to burn from residual heat. Or you can also toast them in the oven on a cookie sheet with sides at 350 but you have to watch them CAREFULLY. They will
burn quickly.

So open sesame already and get started creating your own treasure trove of dishes with a rich nutty flavor that adding sesame seeds create.

SESAME ANISE MELTS

 

2   cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon anise seed, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

about 1 cup toasted sesame seed

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease 4 large baking sheets and set them aside. In large mixing
bowl combine flour, baking soda and then set it aside. In another large bowl combine
the shortening, sugar, anise seed and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Beat
in the egg and then add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Roll rounded
tablespoons of the dough into the sesame seeds. Arrange the balls on the cookie
sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart and flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass
to about 1/4 inch thickness. Bake 6 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned
around edges. Cool on rack. These freeze well. Makes 3 dozen

 

Submitted by Constance Kadish Teaneck NJ,
Adapted from joy of cookies

CLASSIC SESAME CHICKEN

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons rice wine

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 dash hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 clove crushed garlic

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered

1 green bell pepper, sliced

4 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2inch pieces

 

To Make Marinade: In a nonporous dish or bowl blend cornstarch with wine or
sherry; then stir in lemon juice, soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, ginger and
garlic. Blend together and stir in chicken strips. Cover dish and refrigerate
to marinate for 3 to 4 hours.

 

In a wok or large skillet, place sesame seeds and dry-fry over medium heat,
shaking the wok, until the seeds are a golden brown color. Remove seeds and set aside.

To same wok or skillet add sesame oil and vegetable oil and heat slowly. Drain
chicken, reserving marinade, and stir-fry in wok a few pieces at a time, until
browned. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add mushrooms and green bell pepper to same wok or skillet and stir-fry for 2 to 3
minutes. Add the scallions and stir-fry 1 minute more. Return chicken to wok,
together with reserved marinade, and stir over medium high heat for another 2
to 3 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly coated with the glaze.
Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Modifiedfrom about.com

PEANUT AND SESAME NOODLES

For peanut dressing

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup warm water

2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

 

For
noodle salad

3/4 lb dried linguine or spaghetti

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips

3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

 

Make dressing:

In the bowl of a food processor or blender combine the dressing ingredients and process until smooth then transfer to a
large bowl.

Make salad:

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander, then rinse well under cold
water.  Add the pasta, scallions, bell peppers, and sesame seeds to dressing, tossing to combine, and serve
immediately.  Serves 4

Modified from Gourmet  June 2002

LEMON AND SESAME DRESSING

 

1/2 cup sesame oil

1 cup honey

1 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a large jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well.  Refrigerate until ready to use. Shake again before dressing salad. Makes
2 1/2 cups

SESAME TURKEY BURGER

2 lb ground turkey

3 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 cup sliced green onions (white and green parts)

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 cup breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for cooking

 

In a bowl combine the turkey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, green onions, cilantro, garlic, sesame oil, about 1 teaspoon of
salt, and bread crumbs. Cover and let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours for the flavors to meld. Form the mixture into 6 to 8 patties and brush them with a little oil before cooking (the turkey has very little fat and may stick to the grill pan or grill). Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until the center is hot and no longer pink. Makes 6 to 8

Fro my files, source unknown

 

SESAME SEED COOKIES

One of my all time favorite cookie recipes

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons McCormick® Gourmet Collection Cream of Tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

2 jars (1.62 ounces each) McCormick® Gourmet Collection Sesame Seed, Toasted (about 1 cup), divided

2 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, melted

 

Mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer
on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add sugar; beat until well blended, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture and 1/4 cup of the toasted sesame seed on low speed until well mixed. . Refrigerate dough 2 hours or until firm.  Preheat oven to 400. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in remaining 3/4 cup toasted sesame seed. Place 2 inches apart on
ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to
wire racks; cool completely. Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is set.

From mccormick.com

LEMON AND SESAME POUND CAKE

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/ 8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 teaspoon black sesame seeds

 

Glaze

 

2 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 5 1/2 by 3 inch loaf pan.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, butter, lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract. Then combine 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture with the sesame seeds. Add half the remaining flour mixture to the egg mixture, until only a few streaks of flour remain. Repeat with the second half of the batter and the sesame mixture. Do not over mix. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula, to ensure a smooth batter. Pour into the mold. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and lemon juice. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the sugar is
dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened. Once the cake has been removed from its mold, brush it with the glaze.

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

SESAME ASPARAGUS AND BEEF SALAD

2 to 3 lbs. rib steak

4 to 6 cups sliced fresh asparagus (cut into bite sized pieces)

3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons sesame oil

1 to 2 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

4 green onions, sliced thin

Chopped romaine lettuce

3 shredded carrots

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook steak to desired doneness. Cool and cut into thin strips or bite sized pieces.

Cook the asparagus until it’s just crisp tender. Drain and cool. In a bowl combine
beef and asparagus and set it aside. In another bowl combine the soy sauce,
sesame oil, vinegar, ginger and green onions. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing
over beef and asparagus. Mix to coat. You can heat this up if you prefer a warm
salad. Place the chopped lettuce and shredded carrots on a serving platter and
spoon the beef and asparagus over the top. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds
and red pepper if you’re using it and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves
6.

From my files, source unknown