Cheers to All the Moms/ Wonderful Drink Recipes

When getting ready to shower your mom with love admiration and tokens of your affection you may want to take a leaf out of my family’s book and actually ASK your mom what she wants in terms of gifts or outings to celebrate the day. As my children are older than 21 it stands to reason that I will not be getting a handmade Popsicle stick jewelry box or a card with cut out hearts saying that I can redeem it for 1 hug anytime I need one. These precious types of gifts were wonderful when they were 5 now, not so much. Asking them for a manicure or pedicure or to clean out their closets is not unreasonable but what I really want is not something they can’t buy but rather something they can give me. Their time.

What I really wanted was one time just like we used to have when they were little. An afternoon or evening together, just the three of us. When I suggested it they jumped at it and suggested an evening at an outdoor cafe where we could just sit and talk and have a few appetizers a cocktail or two and listen to some music. I suggested we stay home, they clean their closets and we sit on the deck at sunset and drink fruity girlie drinks and talk. I figured I could get two gifts for the price of one, their company and clean closets. The rules were simple. At least 2 hours of uninterrupted time with no cell phones, nowhere else to go, just mom and kids, communication where I’m always right the way it was before they figured out I wasn’t omnipotent. Oh yeah, and fun fruity concoctions with the crackers and cheese and M&M’s they will cook for me (trust me, that is the limit of their cooking ability).

I started thinking about what we should make with my blender, some ice and the contents of our refrigerator and or bar. Since I don’t typically drink much alcohol I surfed the web and asked a few friends for their favorite beverages and I came up with a few fun recipes that are a little different than my usual beverages of choice, Snapple. While it’s true that some of following recipes contain alcohol my boys are of legal age and drink responsibly. However, most of these recipes can absolutely be made without it.

This Mother’s day I’m getting a gift more precious than diamonds and rubies or pearls. This year I get my babies back for a special time where I’m still the center of their universe. Days don’t get much better than that.

RASPBERRY LIME MARGARITA or MARGARTE & RITA without liquor

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 cup lime juice
3/4 cups tequila (or lemon lime soda)
2 cups ice cubes
1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup vanilla ice cream

Puree the raspberries in a blender. Strain out the seeds. This makes about 1 1/3 cups of liquid. Return the 1/2 cup of the juice to the blender and add the lime juice, tequila, ice cubes, ice cream and sugar and process until smooth. Makes 1 drink. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

CHOCOLATE ORANGE TEQUILA KISS

1 1/2 oz tequila
1 oz chocolate liquor
2 tablespoon chocolate syrup
3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup orange juice
Ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process. Pour into a glass. Makes 1 drink.

Modified from drinkmixer.com

PEACHY TEA

4 quarts boiling water

10  breakfast  or Earl Grey tea bags

1 (15-ounce) can cling peaches in juice, pureed

sugar, to taste

3 to 4 cups ice cubes

Fresh peaches, sliced for garnish (optional)

Pour boiling water over tea bags and let steep for at least 1 hour. Take tea bags out of tea. Pour pureed peaches into the tea and mix to combine. Taste to see if the tea is sweet enough for you. Add additional sugar, to taste, one teaspoon at a time. Add the ice cubes and chill for at least an hour. Garnish with slices of fresh peach. Serves 10 to 12.

Submitted by Julie Ellison Chicago IL

BANANA COLADA

3 medium bananas

1 cup milk

8 oz crushed pineapple in its own juice

6 tablespoons cream of coconut

1 tablespoon rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg

2 cups crushed ice

In a blender, combine the bananas, milk, pineapple and juice, cream of coconut, sugar, rum or extract and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Add the ice and blend  until smooth. Serves 4.

Modified from barnone.com

SMOOTH AS SILK STRAWBERRY LEMON FLIP

8 oz strawberry yogurt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup ice cubes

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh strawberries

1 tablespoon frozen lemonade or orange juice concentrate

1 oz rum or vodka (optional)

Place yogurt, milk, ice cubes, blueberries, strawberries, lemonade concentrate and rum in a blender. Process until smooth. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

HOT CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY RESPITE

If the evening is kinda cool this is the hot drink you want

2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur

1 oz. creme de cacao

8 oz. chocolate milk, heated

whipping cream from an aerosol can

2 or 3 fresh raspberry mashed in a bowl

Pour raspberry liqueur and crème de cacao in a mug.Add hot milk and mix to combine. Top with whipped cream and the mashed raspberries

FORBES CUCUMBER MOJITO

I got this recipe from the Forbes website and who knew a money magazine had such terrific taste in food.

1 1/2 ounces rum

4 slices peeled seedless cucumber

6 to 8 mint leaves

1/2 lime, cut into wedges

1 packet Equal

chilled ginger ale

In a tall glass, muddle together the cucumber, limes, mint and Equal. Add to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add rum and shake. Fill glass with crushed ice, return mixture to glass and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a slice of cucumber. Makes one serving.

Modified from Forbes.com

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Gourmet Sprouts Make Good Salads Spectacular/ Kosher recipes

When “mung bean sprouts” first made their appearance as a healthy, natural food in the 60’s and 70’s many people dismissed them as a food fad. Thank goodness nobody paid attention to the nay sayers and the sprout survived and thrived. Today dozens of varieties of gourmet sprouts grace the shelves of supermarket and farm stands and each is more delicious, and surprising, nutritious than the last one you tried. All sprouts are low in calories and are virtually fat free. A cup of alfalfa sprouts contains about 10, count them 10 calories and mung bean sprouts about 30 calories.  While the nutrition value varies bean and lentil sprouts both deliver vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin B.

A sprout is produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can grow from the seeds of vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat, and from beans. They vary in texture and taste. Some are spicy (radish and onion sprouts), some are hardy and are often used in oriental food.  Mung beans are the most popular and hardy others are more delicate (alfalfa, onion, broccoli) and are used in salads and sandwiches to add texture and moistness.

Sprouts are fresh when their roots are moist and white and the sprout itself is crisp. You should store spouts the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator and use them as soon as possible.

The following mung bean recipes are a combination of salads and main courses that should tempt even the most salad phobic child. There are a variety of other vegetable sprouts used in many of the recipes so you’ll have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of different flavors.

EZ BEAN SPROUT SALAD   (pareve)

1 lb. mung bean sprouts

1/2 cup sliced radishes

1/3 cup broccoli sprouts

2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

Blanch mung bean sprouts and place them in a bowl. Add the radishes, broccoli spouts soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Toss gently, taste and then season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

 

SHREDDED CHICKEN WITH BEAN SPROUTS AND PEA PODS (meat)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2 lbs.

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

4 oz. Chinese pea pods

1 lb. bean sprouts

2 tablespoon chicken broth

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup toasted almonds

cooked rice (optional)

toasted slivered almonds (optional)

 

Cut the breasts into 2 x 1/2 inch pieces. Stack slices; cut into thin strips. Place the chicken in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the white pepper. Toss, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

 

Remove the strings from pea pods. Place pea pods in boiling water; cook for 30 seconds and immediately remove the pea pods from the water; drain and rinse in cold water; drain. Rinse the bean sprouts in cold water; drain thoroughly. In a bowl combine 2 tablespoons broth, soy sauce, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, and the sugar.

 

Heat wok until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil; tilt wok to coat side. Add bean sprouts and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir fry 2 minutes. Remove bean sprouts from wok; drain.

 

Heat wok until very hot. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; tilt wok to coat side. Add chicken, garlic, and ginger root; stir fry 2 minutes or until chicken turns white. Add bean sprouts and pea pods; stir fry 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup broth; heat to boiling. Stir in cornstarch mixture; cook and stir until thickened. Serve immediately over rice and garnish with the toasted almonds.  Makes 4 servings

 

SPINACH BEAN SPROUT SALAD (pareve or meat)

 

1 bag of baby spinach, washed and broken into bite size pieces (aprox. 4 cups)

2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts, washed and dried

5 or 6 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup fake bacon bits or 4-6 slices kosher breakfast beef, fried and crumbled of

2 to 3 hard cooked eggs, sliced

1/2 diced red onion

 

DRESSING:

 

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoon ketchup

2 tablespoon brown sugar

 

In a salad bowl combine the spinach, bean sprouts and green onion. Toss gently. In another smaller bowl combine the vinegar, ketchup and brown sugar. Whisk to combine.  Pour the dressing over the vegetable salad and toss. Serve with crumbled breakfast beef bits, red onion and sliced eggs on top. Serves 6. Can be doubled or tripled

HAWAIIAN BEAN SPROUT SALAD (pareve)

2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1 can (12 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained

1/2 cup mandarin oranges, drained

1/2 green pepper, cut in strips

3/4 cup diagonal cut celery

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/4 teaspoon curry powder

2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

 

In a large salad bowl combine the bean sprouts, pineapple chunks, oranges green pepper and celery, toss to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, curry powder and soy sauce. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat.  Serves 4. Can be doubled or tripled

 

THAI CARROT AND SPROUT NOODLE SALAD

This recipe is an interesting take on the traditional pad Thai.This is great at room temperature after the flavors have blended.

12 ounces linguine
4 tablespoons oriental sesame oil

8 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili sauce or a few dashes of hot sauce
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup finely shredded carrots

 

Cook the pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Transfer pasta to large bowl; add 3 tablespoons sesame oil and toss to coat. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 green onions, garlic, and ginger; sauté until onions soften, about 2 minutes. Add honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili sauce; whisk to blend. Simmer sauce 1 minute. Cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture over the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add the sprouts and carrots; mix well to combine. Transfer to a bowl or platter; sprinkle with remaining green onions. Serves 3 to 4. This can be doubled or tripled.

 

WARM TERIYAKI BEEF SALAD

This salad is really a great winter dinner.

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons medium-dry cooking wine
3/4 pound steak, cut across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1/2 pound mushrooms
3 scallions
1 small cucumber
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 tablespoons water
2 cups packed spinach leaves, washed well and spun dry

 

In a measuring cup stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, and cooking wine. In a glass bowl combine the cut up steak with the garlic, gingerroot, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture. Mix to coat and let set while preparing vegetables.  Discard the stems from mushrooms and cut the mushrooms and scallions into thin strips, keeping them separate. Peel the cucumber and cut in half lengthwise. With a spoon scrape seeds from cucumber halves, discarding seeds, and cut each half crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

 

In a large non-stick skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat until very hot but not smoking and brown the steak, stirring frequently, until any liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Transfer steak to a clean bowl.

 

In the skillet heat the remaining tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid they give off is evaporated. Add the scallions and bean sprouts and cook 1 minute. Remove the skillet from heat and add the cooked steak, remaining soy sauce mixture, and water. Mix to combine.

 

In a large bowl toss together spinach, cucumber. Add the warm steak mixture and toss just to combine. Divide salad between 2 plates. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

LINGUINI WITH SPROUTS, CUCUMBERS AND PEANUT SAUCE

 

The combination of cooked and raw vegetables is refreshing and satisfying enough to please everyone. Serve the pasta immediately after tossing it with the peanut mixture; the sauce gets thick if it sits too long.

 

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/3 cup peanut butter

2/3 cup chicken broth or pareve vegetable stock

1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 pound linguine

1/2 pound snow peas, cut diagonally into thin slices

1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts (about 1/4 pound)

2 scallions including green tops, chopped

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin

onion sprouts

1/2 cup chopped peanuts
In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, soy sauce, peanut butter, chicken broth, lime juice, red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Puree until smooth and set aside.

 

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until almost done, about 9 minutes. Stir in the snow peas and bean sprouts and cook until the vegetables and pasta are just done, about 3 minutes more. Drain the noodles and pea post and place the noodles in a large serving bowl. Add the peanut sauce, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the scallions, cucumber, mung bean sprouts and 1/3 cup of the peanuts. Toss to combine. Serve with the remaining peanuts and onion sprouts sprinkled over the top.

 

NOTE: The seeds from a mature cucumber can be somewhat bitter and watery. Scoop them out of the halved cucumber with a spoon or melon baller and discard them. Better yet, buy the English (hothouse) cucumber. They are almost completely seedless. Serves 4

Brown Sugar Baby! Recipes for your Sweet Tooth

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 PASTRAMI 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 pastrami 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 pastrami. Bake, uncovered, until pastrami 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

All In for Asparagus At Any Price/Some Recipes Not Kosher

So I walk into the produce section of my favorite green grocer and what do I spy? Why asparagus at .99 a pound. Are they kidding me? .99 a pound? Sign me up and shut the door, I’m all in for this special. As if in a daze my cart magically makes its way over to the stand and I find myself loading bundle after bundle of that sweet stalk of green goodness into my cart.

By the time I get out of my chlorophyll induced stupor I’m in my kitchen, the proud owner of 10 pounds of the stuff and no real plan on how to use it up before it starts to wilt. My plan, take a deep breath, do a little recipe research and cook up a storm.

Asparagus is one of Mother Nature’s finest gifts and is a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s a part of the lily family and is sort of a first cousin to onions, leeks and garlic. Loaded with vitamins A, B and C it’s also a great source for folic acid,  It’s at its best from May through June so now is the best time to stock up and chow down. It is a very versatile vegetable that can be prepared by steaming, roasting, grilling or even stir frying it. The spears should be firm and green with tightly closed firm tips. Choose thin or thick stalks is just a matter of personal preference, I don’t really taste a difference between the two. Pass up asparagus with thick woody looking stalks.  I don’t peel the stalks but I do cut off about 1/2 inch of the ends before cooking.

If you’d like a little variety in your life look for white or purple asparagus. They’re the same as the green variety they’ve just been grown differently; the white is grown like some mushrooms, without light so it doesn’t produce chlorophyll. You will find that the white asparagus is a tad bit sweeter but so is the price point. The purple is pretty but it does loose most of its purple color when cooked.

I’ve started cooking and don’t plan on stopping until the last stalk is devoured and invite you to do the same with these terrific recipes

GRILLED ASPARAGUS CRAB TART

 

1lb. asparagus, cut into 1/3’s and grilled slightly

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 to 5 portabella mushrooms chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoon parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded Munster or pepper jack cheese

1/2 lb crabmeat shredded or chopped

8 ounces vegetable cream cheese

4 eggs

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

 

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the heat and add the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.  Mix to combine and then press mushroom mixture evenly in bottom and up side of greased pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mushroom crust. Place the asparagus and crabmeat on top of the cheese. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Beat to combine and so that there are no lumps. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and crabmeat. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes then serve. Serves 8.

 

PUFFED ASPARAGUS AND BACON BITES

 

1 lb fresh asparagus ends cut off, steamed till just crisp tender

1 package puff pastry dough (2 sheets), defrosted

1 cup shredded pepper jack or Swiss cheese

1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

 

Preheat oven to 400. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Open puff pastry dough and cut each sheet into 1/3’s. Then cut each strip into 1/3’s. Roll each section out slightly so they form rectangles. On each section, lengthwise, place a few stalks of cooked asparagus on one edge, sprinkle some cheese, bacon and green onions on top of the asparagus and then roll them up. Place the rolls, seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter and sprinkle the top with a few sesame seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until roll ups are golden browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut each roll in half and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

ASPARAGUS POPOVERS

 

1 lb asparagus

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pinch sugar

3 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded

 

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan, add 2 inched of salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the spears crosswise into thirds. In a medium cast-iron skillet, add the butter. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add the asparagus pieces to the hot cast-iron skillet and pour the batter on top. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese. Recipe makes 24 pieces

 

From the May 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray

ASPARAGUS TID BITS

 

1 lb asparagus cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lb smoked white fish, broken into bite size pieces

12 oz gruyere cheese, sliced

1 loaf French bread, sliced in to 1/2-inch slices

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the asparagus in the olive oil until it’s just soft and set it aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the slices of French bread with olive oil. Place the oiled pieces, oil side up on the parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Place a small piece of white fish on top of the toasted French bread, then put two to three pieces of asparagus, and top with one small slice of gruyere, Grind a little pepper on top, return to the oven for 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 pieces.

 

ASPARAGUS STRATA

You can vary the amount of cheese according to your taste

 

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots shredded

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups milk or 1/2 and 1/2

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (for sauce)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper

6 large par boiled lasagna noodles

1 to 1 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 to 1 cup grated Romano cheese

1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat oven to 425. Place the asparagus and shredded carrots on a cookie sheet with sides and toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until they just begin to soften. Cool slightly and set them aside. In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and whisk briskly and constantly until it’s combined. Cook for about 2 minutes whisking constantly. Add the milk and continue whisking and cooking until the sauce is thickened. Reduce the heat and add the nutmeg, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from the heat. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles then top with 1/3 of the roasted asparagus and carrot mixture. Sprinkle a little parmesan Romano and mozzarella cheese over the top of the asparagus. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese. Top with a layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Repeat the layers asparagus, cheese, sauce. Top the sauce on the top of the strata with the remaining cheeses. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the sides are bubbly. Let the cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

 

Submitted by Corrine Rasterty, Finley NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS HOT POT

 

1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons of butter, divided

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded.

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the asparagus, garlic and onion until just slightly wilted. Put the mixture into the greased pan. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the cream cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and onion mixture. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

 

MAPLE GLAZED ASPARAGUS

 

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Paprika

2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 450. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Place the asparagus spears on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Toss to make sure all the spears are coated. Lightly sprinkle the asparagus with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes then turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve

ASPARAGUS   AND PASTA SALAD

 

6 to 8   slices Canadian bacon or hickory smoked  bacon, cut into bite size pieces   2 tablespoons olive oil   1  onion, finely chopped

1 red   pepper chopped

1/2 lb   mushrooms, sliced   1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on a long diagonal into   1/2-inch-thick slices   1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package directions, save 1 cup   of the water used in cooking   1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Parmesan   for serving

 

Cook the   bacon in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and   pour off half of the remaining fat. Saute the onion, mushrooms and red pepper   in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking   for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and   1/2 cup of the water to the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine, scraping the   bottom to remove the cooked on bits of vegetable. Cook for 1 minute and add   the remaining water and 1/2 cup parmesan. Mix to combine and cook for an   additional 2 minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the   cooked bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to   8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe

Parsley, Always a Bridesmaid Ingredient/Passover and Easter Recipes

So everyone who’s ever purchased a bundle of parsley for say, a garnish or for oh, I don’t know, a garnish please raise your hand. Well hang on to your cooking hats because this column is devoted to that underappreciated leafy herb.

There are more than 30 varieties of parley and it’s related to celery (sort of like its skinnier first cousin). The most commonly used types of parsley are the curly leaf and flat-leaf parsley. An often asked parsley questions is what is the difference between flat leaf AKA Italian parsley and the curly kind? The answer to the question is simply the intensity of the flavor.  The flat leaf has a stronger more distinct flavor and is also more fragrant and less bitter than the curly variety. Whenever possible I recommend that everyone choose to use fresh parsley over the dried form. The dried, while convenient, isn’t nearly as flavorful as the fresh.

You should look for parsley that is deep green in color and looks fresh and has tight leaves. Forget any bunches that are wilted or have yellow leaves. You should always clean the parsley thoroughly before you use it. Clean the parsley like you clean spinach. Place it in a bowl of cool water and swish it around to get rid of the dirt. Note that parsley should be added at the end of the cooking process so that it retains its flavor and color. One great parsley trick is that if you’re making a lighter colored sauces just use the stems instead of the leaves as it will give you the flavor or parsley but not the green color.

Parsley is great but is rarely, if ever, considered a main ingredient. However, impress your friends and family with the following parsley recipes, they can hold its own in all kinds of herb recipes and let you be quasi eco food friendly by being able to say you’re keeping it “green”.

PARSLEY BAKED SALMON

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk

1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cans red salmon, drained and flaked
2 cups bread crumbs or cracker crumbs or matza meal
2 tablespoons minced onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X13 baking dish. In a bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, sour cream (parmesan cheese if using) and eggs, beat to combine. Add the salmon, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Place the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cook, uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 4 to 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Great with Parsley Cream Sauce (see below). Serves 8
PARSLEY CREAM SAUCE

Great with fish or over vegetables

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour or potato starch
2 cups milk

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced parsley

In a saucepan melt the butter and then quickly whisk in the flour. Cook this mixture for one minute, whisk constantly. At this point whisk in the milk, cheeses, pepper and parsley. Cook, whisking constantly until combine and the cheese is melted (1 to 2 minutes). Serve immediately. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

 

PARSLEY POTATO BISQUE

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks, sliced

1tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons black pepper

In a stock pot heat the oil and then sauté the leeks and garlic for 2 minutes then add the wine. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the potatoes and stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and boil until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let the soup cool for about 10 minutes and then place ¼ of the soup in a blender or processor and process till smooth. Add a little water or more stock if the mixture is too thick. Don’t over process you want some smaller pieces of potato.  Return the pureed soup back into the pan. When you’ve finished processing the soup add the parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes stirring constantly.

 

Modified from May All Be Fed by John Robbins

PEPPER PARSLEY CELERY SOUP

 

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 stalks celery, chopped
1 red onion, chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 red pepper; chopped
1 teaspoon mince garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 large baked potato, mashed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Celery leaves to garnish

Chopped parsley for garnish

 

In a large stock pot heat the oil and saute the celery, parsnip, onion, red pepper and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Add the stock, mashed potato, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the parsley about 5 minutes before the cooking is finished and mix to combine If you like a thicker soup serve it this way. For a smoother soup let it cool or about 20 minutes and then puree it or use an immersion blender. Garnish with celery leaves and chopped parsley

 

Submitted by Joslyn Kemintsky Chicago IL

 

HEARTS OF PALM AND PARSLEY CHOPPED SALAD

10 green onions, chopped
6 to 8 tomatoes, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz.) hearts of palm, drained and sliced thin
3/4 cup chopped parsley

1 can black olives, chopped

2 cans sliced water chestnuts
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups chopped romaine or red leaf lettuce

Put onions in a bowl of cold water and soak for 5 minutes. Drain. In large bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the green onions, hearts of palm, olives, parsley, water chestnuts and lettuce, Toss to combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8

 

PARMESAN   CAULIFLOWER AND PARSLEY SALAD

 

For   salad   1 teaspoon grated lemon zest   2 tablespoons lemon juice   1/2 teaspoon salt   1/4 teaspoon black pepper   1/4 cup olive oil   6 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced   5 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped     For cauliflower   2 large eggs   1/4 teaspoon salt   1/8 teaspoon black pepper   2 (10-oz) packages frozen cauliflower florets, thawed and patted dry   2 cups parmesan cheese   1/3 cup olive oil

 

In   a large bowl combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk in   the oil until combined, then stir in mushrooms and marinate while pan-frying   cauliflower.

Meanwhile, in a bowl lightly beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Add the   cauliflower and toss until coated well. Put the parmesan cheese in a large   bowl. Lift cauliflower out of egg mixture with a slotted spoon and transfer   to cheese, tossing to coat. Heat the oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over   moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then panfry cauliflower in 3   batches, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, about 3 minutes per   batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and cool   slightly. Add the parsley and cauliflower to mushroom mixture, tossing to   combine and serve. Serves 8.

Modified   from Gourmet May 2006

ALMOND, PARSLEY AND PORTABELLA SALAD

 

6 to 8 portabella mushrooms cleaned and sliced thin

1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)

4 to 6 chopped green onions

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 cup of your favorite Italian salad dressing

1 red pepper diced

4 stalks celery, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon  vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 cup toasted almonds

 

In a salad bowl combine the mushrooms, lemon juice, green onion, parsley, and tarragon. Mix to combine, cover and refrigerate. In another bowl, combine the Italian dressing, red pepper, salt, pepper, sugar, rice wine vinegar and mayonnaise. Whisk to combine and refrigerate for 1 hour. To serve combine the mushroom mixture with the lettuce. Toss to combine and then add the dressing and almonds to the lettuce mixture and toss to combine. Serves 8

 

LIME AND PARSLEY CHOPPED SALAD

 

1 head romaine or red leaf lettuce, chopped

1 English cucumber sliced

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 avocados, diced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

 

Put everything into a bowl and toss to combine. Serves 8