Cupcakes for Chanukah! Recipes and more

Sorry for the lag in posting, lots of travel and family commitments but now, shes back…………………..

cup3 There are times in your life (like after eating a dozen latkes) when you just gotta have that certain something sweet BUT you really don’t want the guilt associated with gobbling up 5 bags of candy coins or a calorie laden mega doughnut topped with chocolate and filled with custard (granted, there aren’t too many times when I DON’T want that kind of doughnut). For me that’s when I reach for a cupcake. Just enough cake and frosting to satisfy but not so much as that I feel like I’ve over indulged and the “oh I blew my holiday diet AGAIN” remorse isn’t omnipresent.

The origin of the cupcake isn’t all that clear. Some historians say it’s because the original recipe contained 1 cup measurements (I cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar etc.) Another source I checked with said that long ago that cake batter was cooked in tea cups, hence the name, cup-cake. Either way it came about I’m just glad the recipes evolved into the sweet treats we love today.

Deciding what type of cupcakes to make and what to top them with can be truly a personal and existential experience. You can fill them, frost them, and dust them with powdered sugar or cocoa. Sprinkles are always nice and so is a couple of pieces of candy or chocolate stuck into the top of the batter just before baking. The possibilities are endless and the results are always irresistible.

With cupcakes you can indulge in your love of lemon, banana, chocolate or vanilla or both at the same time and not have to commit to eating a whole cake. One of the beauties of making cupcakes is that most cake recipes can be converted into cupcakes. There are, however, some exceptions, like angel and sponge cakes, they don’t have quite enough structure to pull off the smaller size, but those to obvious exceptions aside, I say go for whatever recipe you want and see how creative you can get. I prefer to use cupcake liners in my pans as I find it easier to take them out after they’ve been cooked and they help keep all those pesky crumbs from falling all over your lap or shirt.

 

Just a few cup cake rules before you get started.

 

1. Always grease or line you baking pan, easier to remove the cupcake

2. Never over fill the pan, it will make an overly large cupcake top

4. Once the pan or pans are full, put them in the preheated oven immediately. The longer they sit out, the less they will rise.

5. Cupcakes should be baked in at least a 350 so that the structure sets quickly and the cake doesn’t dry while it’s baking

3. Make sure you test the cupcake with a toothpick before you remove it from the oven to make sure it cooked throughout.

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Depending on how you decorate the following recipe they can be served as a snack or at a formal dinner and are equally at home at a 5 year olds birthday party or a wedding reception. I make the peanut butter ones every Chanukah and decorate them with chocolate candy coins.  Enjoy!

 

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES (dairy)

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper cup cake liners in the muffin pan and set it aside. In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the margarine or butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.  Mix to combine and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture to the egg mixture with the milk. Do not over mix or you’ll get air bubbles in the cup cake. Fill each muffin cups about 1/2 full of batter. Place a peanut butter cup into the center of each and push it down so it almost touches the bottom but so there is still some batter underneath the peanut butter cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean (be careful not to test where the candy is, you won’t get a true test of if the cupcake is done). Makes approx 14 to 16

 

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BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese or pareve cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoon soft butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Optional Toppings;

hot fudge sauce,

maraschino cherries

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. In another large bowl combine the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.  Frost and top with fudge sauce and a maraschino cherry

 

Modified from the Joy of Baking

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ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO CUPCAKES (pareve)

This recipe uses self rising flour if you don’t have it for each cup of self rising flour use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 zucchinis, grated

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease or line 2 12 muffin tin pans. In a bowl combine the egg, oil, and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the zucchini, lime zest and nuts and stir together until well mixed.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, into the zucchini mixture and gently fold it in. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake and for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then dust the top with powdered sugar. Makes 24.

 

Modified from about.com

 

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

generous 1/3 cup potato flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk and eggs and beat to combine.   Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

 

1 oz bittersweet chocolate

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave but don’t over heat it, it should just be soft. Cool for about minutes. Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and then pour the chocolate over the top. Add the vanilla and mix until the cheese and chocolate is combine. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Frost and serve. Makes 12

 

Submitted by Roger Mancref and Cheryl Rodrego Naples FL

 

CANDIED CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

Topping

6 chocolate candy bars, chopped into pieces (your choice)

1, 12 oz bag of any kind of M&M’s you like

Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces

Mix together in a bowl, set aside

 

Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream

 

Cupcakes

12 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup mini chocolate chips

 

 

Make the frosting first. In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth and then add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Cool in the refrigerator and when it is cool beat the frosting until it is spreadable.

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 24 cupcakes molds. In a bowl combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs and mix to combine. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, chocolate chips and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepare tins filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting and then decorate with the chopped candy. Makes 24.

 

LUSCIOUS LEMON CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute

 

FROSTING:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon milk or pareve substitute

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or paper line 30 muffin tins. Set them aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar. Mix to combine and then with the mixer running add the eggs. With the mixer still running add lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This will be a thick batter.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix until combined.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Makes 30.

 

 

 

Lucious Lemongrass/ Recipes, some Kosher

In the theatre production or movie made the major character typically has a side kick, a buddy, a counterpoint or antagonist that is in place to showcase the talent of the lead. Such is the case with lemongrass in the food world.

Lemongrass is a very versatile plant and can be integrated into just about any recipe from appetizers to desserts. This subtle Asian centric plant offers a subtle citrusy lemon-like (hence the name lemongrass) flavor to any and all dishes it’s used in. Never a main ingredient this green onion looking like plant was nearly impossible to find for years anywhere else but in an Asian grocery. These days, however, lemongrass has become mainstream and often available at farm stands and in the produce section of more upscale or urban grocery stores.

When you’re buying lemongrass you should look for firm stalks. The end (where most of the flavor is concentrated) of the stalk should be plump, rounded and pale yellow (almost white) and the upper stalks should be green. Avoid any lemongrass with yellow or browning leaves.

To use lemongrass in marinades, a stir fry, salads, curry or baked item, you will need to trim the top and base of the stalks and then peel off any dry or tough outer layers. You should only use the bottom 4 inches or so.  The lemongrass flavor becomes more intense the longer it’s cooked so if you want a strong lemongrass flavor; add it at the beginning of your cooking. For a lighter more subtle lemongrass flavor, add it at the very end of your cooking. Storing lemongrass is simple.  Keep it whole, uncut and wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to three weeks, or you can freeze it for up to six months.

Lemongrass may be the understudy ingredient in the following recipes but the flavor it brings to the table gives the dish star quality.

SAIGON CHICKEN SALAD

 

1cup chopped fresh cilantro

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemongrass stalk, finely chopped

3 large lime leaves, minced or substitute 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel for each lime leaf.

1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt

1 1/4pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves (4 to 5)

5 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam) (or soy sauce)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced jalapeno or Serrano chilies with seeds

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 cups Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into bite sized pieces, blanched

8 ounces tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips

1 cup coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish) or trimmed red radishes

1 cup coarsely grated seeded English cucumbers

1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage

1cup coarsely grated carrot

1cup mince celery

1cup fresh cilantro leaves

3 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal

1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts

 

In a bowl combine the cilantro, lemon juice, lemongrass, and lime leaves and whisk to combine. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken in single layer in a glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken flipping it once to coat evenly. Cover and chill 3 hours. In a heated grill pan cook the chicken (with a tablespoon or two of marinade). Cook 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat, cool and cut into strips. Set aside.

 

In a bowl combine the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chiles, and garlic. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature; whisk before using.

 

Place the blanched beans in large bowl. Add the tomatoes, daikon, cucumbers, cabbage, carrot, celery leaves, cilantro leaves, green onions, and most of peanuts. Toss to combine. Add the chicken and dressing; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mound salad on large rimmed platter. Sprinkle with remaining peanuts and serve Serves 8

 

Modified from a recipe by Kajsa Alger of Street in Los Angeles

 

LEMONGRASS MEATBALLS IN LETTUCE CUPS

 

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken

1lemongrass stalk, bottom 5 inches only, smashed with rolling pin, then minced

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1tablespoon oil

1teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

 

Dipping sauce

1lemongrass stalk, minced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4cup fish sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons grated carrot

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons minced green jalapeno pepper

 

2 tablespoons oil

1head of butter lettuce leaves separated

1small English cucumber, thinly sliced

 

Chill the meat in the freezer while making lemongrass paste. You want it cold, not frozen. In the bowl of a food processor combine the lemongrass, green onion, cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, oil, sugar and pepper. Pulse to combine. Add the meat and pulse to combine but don’t overdo. Make meatballs, about 1 heaping tablespoonful each and place them on a cookie sheet that has side. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours so the flavors can blend. While they are chilling make the dipping sauce.

 

Dipping sauce

Place the minced lemongrass in a bowl. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro, carrot, sugar, and chile and whisk to combine. Set the mixture aside.

 

In a skillet heat the oil. Add the meatballs and cook, browning on all sides until cooked throughout, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and place on a serving platter along with the lettuce leaves and cucumber. Place the meat balls in a lettuce leaf with cucumbers and drizzle the sauce over the top. Serves 8 to 12 as appetizers

 

Submitted by Candice Morant source unknown (modified)

LEMONGRASS STIR FRY

 

2 large stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 pound cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (4 cups)

12 asparagus spears cut into 1-inch lengths

1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

3 tablespoons soy sauce

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 cup mung bean sprouts

Rice, for serving

 

In a mini food processor, finely chop the lemongrass.  In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the lemongrass and shallots and stir fry the shallots are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower, asparagus, carrots and red bell pepper along with 1/2 cup of the water; cover and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup of water, whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Stir in the basil and bean sprouts. Transfer the stir-fried vegetables to bowls and serve with rice.

 

From a recipe by Marcia Kiesel source unknown, modified

 

SPICY THAI SOUP

 

4 lemongrass stalks, bottom two-thirds of tender inner bulbs only, thinly sliced

5-1/4 cloves garlic, chopped

1-1/4 (4 inch) pieces fresh ginger root, chopped

5-1/3 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

3-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks

1 pound fresh white mushrooms, quartered

2-3/4 teaspoons red curry paste

1/4 cup fish sauce

2-3/4 (14 ounce) cans coconut milk

1-1/4 red onion, sliced

5/8 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

2-3/4 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

1-1/4 fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced into rings

 

Stir lemon grass, garlic, and ginger together in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain chicken broth and set aside. Discard lemon grass, garlic, and ginger.

Heat vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; Stir in chicken; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in red curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until combined. Stir in chicken broth and coconut milk; return to a simmer and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes. Skim off any excess oil and fat that rises to the top and discard. Stir red onion into the chicken mixture; cook and stir until onion softens, about 5 minutes. move from heat and add about 1/2 the cilantro. Serve with plates of cilantro, lime wedges, and fresh sliced jalapenos. Serves 8.

 

Modified from about.com

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

Where do Easter Eggs Come From? Recipes and More (So Not Kosher)r

I have always been fascinated by the origins of foods and food traditions. Have you ever wondered what a bunny that lays eggs has to do with Easter and which came first, the bunny or the egg?

Ancient cultures had an early spring festival celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Theses festivals were held at the time of the first full moon following the vernal equinox. A fertility goddess named Estre was the goddess of offspring and springtime. While many different pagan religions held the same type of festival they all had different names for their fertility goddess. She was known as Ishtar, Ashtoreth and Eostre. It was believed by Babylonian legend that a giant egg fell from heaven and was incubated by doves. This is how the myth of Ashtoreth/Ishtar/Eastre was born. The hare (rabbit) was the symbol of the goddess. The male god of fertility was called Baal. The egg was the symbol of Baal.

Not until 325 A.D. when the Nicean Council declared Easter a religious holiday was it celebrated by Christians. Because the celebration of Eastre and the celebration of the Resurrection fell at the same time of year the Nicean Council declared that the day would be celebrated on the first full moon after the vernal equinox and would be called Easter, instead of Eastre.

According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, 1987 “Easter” “It was a popular Easter custom amongst Europeans and Americans to eat ham at Easter, because the pig was considered a symbol of luck in pre-Christian European culture.” German tradition believed that pigs are symbols of luck. If you had a pig to feed your family you were considered lucky. This is also probably the reasons that people started keeping their money in banks that were shaped like pigs.

Like I said, food plays a prominent role in any holiday, and Easter is no exception. For many Americans, Easter dinner includes a hearty helping of ham. Besides ham, pastries and bread also figure prominently in Easter fare all over the world. In Russiaa paska cake is molded and baked with a cross on each side. In Germanyand Austria, an Easter bread called stollen is baked in twisted or braided strands and  Polandhas the mazurka, a sweet cakes made with honey. Today, hot cross buns, small buns decorated with a sweet icing in the shape of a cross are the American treat associated with Good Friday and Easter.                           The following recipes are perfect for any brunch, lunch or dinner you may have this year. May your table be full of family, friends and the good cheer that always accompanies a gathering of those you love.

HOT CROSS BUNS

 

1/4 cup water – at room temperature or just slightly above

1/2 cup lukewarm milk

1/4 cup melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

3-1/2 cups  flour

1/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

pinch of allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup finely chopped, mixed candied fruit

 

glaze

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

 

icing

1/2 cup Confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoon water

 

BREAD MACHINE:
Place all the dough ingredients, except the raisins and fruit, in the bread machine pan. Set on the dough only cycle. Add the raisins and candied fruit at the bread machine’s signal for adding extra ingredients. Remove the dough from the bread machine at end of dough cycle. Place it in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes.

 

Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape the pieces into balls and place them 3 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until almost doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour. Bake in a preheated oven at 375º for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light brown on top. Remove from the oven. Place the baking sheet full of buns on a wire rack to cool. Prepare the glaze, then spread it over the warm buns. Let the buns continue to cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool, fill a cake decorating bag, fitted with a round tip, with icing. Pipe an icing cross on each bun. Or… simply spoon narrow stips of icing, in the shape of a cross, on each bun.

 

MIXER:
Mix the yeast, 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and other spices in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the milk and water together. Combine the dry ingredients mixture, the liquid ingredients, and the butter in a large bowl. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed. Add the egg and beat 1 more minute. Stir in the raisins, fruit, and enough of the remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn over to grease the other side of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place. After about 15 minutes, test the dough to see if it has risen sufficiently and is ready to be shaped. To test, gently stick two fingers into the risen dough up to the second knuckle… take them out. If the indentations remain, the dough is ripe and ready. Continue to follow the preparation directions above, from the **.

CLASSIC BAKED SMOKED HAM
1 large smoked ham, about 12 to 18 pounds
whole cloves
3 cups pineapple juice
I pound dark brown sugar
One 16-ounce bottle dark corn syrup

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Place the ham in a shallow roasting pan. Score the fat and stud it completely with cloves. Pour the pineapple juice over the ham and bake for 12 minutes per pound. After 1-1/2 hours, remove the ham from the oven and carefully pat the brown sugar on top, completely covering the top of the ham. Gently pour the corn syrup over the ham, being careful not to disturb the sugar covering. Continue baking, basting every 15 minutes.When ham has baked its allotted time, remove it from oven and continue basting until it is cooled-this gives it a beautiful glaze. The remaining syrup is good over hot sweet potatoes. Serves 12.

 

MAPLE HAM SLICES

1/3 cup Chopped pecans
2 ham slices (about 2 1/2 pounds) (1/2-inch-thick)
1/2 cup Maple syrup
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Butter

 

Bake pecans in a shallow pan at 325, for 8-10 minutes or until toasted; set aside. Bake ham slices in a shallow pan at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Bring maple syrup, sugar, and butter to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring often. Stir in pecans, and spoon over ham. Bake 30 more minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

 

BAKED HAM WITH APPLES

4 to 5 lbs. pre-cooked ham
6 to 7 apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Few drops red food color

 

Preheat oven to 375. Place the ham in a baking dish and cook for 30 minutes. While the ham is cooking combine the apples brown sugar, cinnamon ginger and food coloring in a bowl. Pour the mixture over the ham and bake an additional 30 minutes. Baste every with the mixture every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with sauce. Serves 8 to 10.

 

BONE IN HAM WITH DRIED CHERRIES

 

1 bone-in fully cooked ham, about 9 pounds

2 bottles (12 ounces each) light beer

 

Glaze:

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup cherry preserves

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup dried cherries

 

Sauce:

Cornstarch or arrowroot

Water

 

Remove ham from refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place ham in a large roasting pan and pour beer over it. Cover and bake 1 hour.  Prepare glaze: While ham is baking, combine honey, cherry preserves and ground cloves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until preserves have melted and glaze is smooth. Stir in dried cherries. After cooking the ham for a little more than an hour, baste with pan juices and spoon about half of the glaze over the ham, cover and continue cooking 20 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over the ham, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Prepare sauce: Remove ham from the pan to a cutting board and cover with foil for 15 minutes. Bring the pan juices to a simmer over two burners. Dissolve cornstarch or arrowroot in cold water (see Kitchen Note) and slowly whisk into liquid. If using cornstarch, cook about 3 to 5 minutes to thicken. Transfer to a bowl and serve with the sliced ham.

.

HAM AND HORSERADISH STUFFED EGGS

 

6 hard-cooked large eggs

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 cup minced cooked ham

1 teaspoon coarse-grained mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons bottled horseradish, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Cut a paper-thin slice off both ends of eggs and halve eggs crosswise. Mash eggs with a fork and stir in remaining ingredients; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip and pipe into whites, mounding it. The stuffed eggs may be made 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Makes 12 stuffed eggs. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

CURRIED STUFFED EGGS

 

6 hard-cooked eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream

1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sweet relish

1 green onion, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoonTabasco

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish: thinly sliced green onion

 

Cut a paper-thin slice off both ends of eggs and halve eggs crosswise. Mash yolks with a fork; stir in remaining ingredients; salt and pepper to taste. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large ribbon or other decorative tip and pipe into whites, mounding it. Garnish with sliced green onion. Makes 12 stuffed eggs. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

VEGGIE STUFFED EGGS

I find that depending on how juicy the vegetables are, I occasionally need to modify the amount of mayo I add. Start with 3 tablespoons, adding another ½ tablespoon at a time if needed.

 

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
3 to 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet red pepper – very finely chopped
1 tablespoon green onion or scallions – finely chopped
1 tablespoon celery – very finely chopped
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Paprika for garnish

 

Cut a paper-thin slice off both ends of eggs and halve eggs crosswise. Mash yolks with a fork; stir in remaining ingredients; Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large ribbon or other decorative tip and pipe into whites, mounding it.  sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day before serving. Makes 12 stuffed eggs. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Oddles of Noodles /some non kosher recipes

When my son discovered that the money train AKA his parents credit card had left when he entered grad school he quickly discovered the joys of pasta, or more specifically, ramen noodles. Left to his own devices (and given his limited time to spend in the kitchen) this staple in his pantry would have been the entree of choice. I convinced him, though a little culinary magic, a few simple recipes and a $50 gift card to Kroger have to try a few different types of noodles to kick up his menu variety.

Created in China (not Italy as most people believe) noodles were an integral part of the Chinese diet from as early as 200 B.C There are several kinds of noodles in Chinese cuisine, mien noodles (egg), rice noodles, wheat noodles and bean noodles. In northernChina, wheat noodle are eaten more regularly than rice or rice noodles. Rice noodles are considered a southern Chinese staple. I told my son that while there were nice inexpensive “Americanized” alternatives to the Asian noodles (lets not forgetJapanhere) that the originals were actually tastier and more interesting.

The first noodle I introduced him to was the Soba noodle. A Soba noodle is made with wheat flour and buckwheat. It’s high in fiber and has a nutty full bodied flavor. The higher the buckwheat content the more expensive the noodle. Soba noodles are typically served in soups or with a plain with a dipping sauce. Less expensive alternative: whole wheat spaghetti or linguini.

He already knew about Ramen but for the uninformed, Ramen are thin and skinny curly dried egg noodles that are typically sold in an instant soup form. There is usually a packet of flavored instant soup powder in the package. My son has eaten it for years and has added veggies and left over chicken or turkey. There isn’t really a less expensive alternative as they are cheap cheap cheap but regular spaghetti noodles are pretty close.
Rice noodles are round or flat, thin and slightly translucent white noodles made from rice flour and water. They kinda have zero flavor of their own (just a great squishy texture) and they pair with just about any strong meat of fish flavor. You can substitute vermicelli, linguine, or fettuccine but it’s not really a close match.

Bean thread, cellophane or mung bean noodles are very thin noodles that are semi-transparent noodles made from the starch of mung beans. Bean threads become very slippery when cooked. Their subtle flavor is the perfect complement to any meat or fish dish. I would suggest rice noodles or vermicelli as a substitute but they are sort of a one of a kind noodle.

For most the tried and true method of cooking noodles is to boil the and then add them to the other ingredients, pour sauce over them or add ingredients to the pot they were cooked in. I really don’t have much to add to that for my column other than don’t over cook them and read the instructions on the package.

If possible try and buy fresh noodles as opposed to the dried variety. Fresh noodles should be soft but not limp, sticky, or brittle. Fresh will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and for 1 month in the freezer. Dried noodles can be kept until just about the next ice age in a cool, dry, dark place.

One final “noodle note” those ‘chow mein’ found in most Chinese restaurants are an American invention so if you’re looking for “authentic” pass the up and get yourself the real stuff.

SLEEPING DRAGON NOODLE SALAD

 

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 carrots julienned

1/4 cup chopped celery

4 radishes julienned

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

4 packages ramen egg noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons black or toasted sesame seeds

 

In a large salad bowl combine the sesame oil, hot sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Add shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Add the green onions, carrot, celery and radishes. Toss to combine and top with sesame seeds before serving. Serves 8.

 

SHRIMP NOODLE STIR FRY

 

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 egg whites

1/3 to 1/2 lb shelled shrimp (raw) cut in half

3/4 lb noodles (any kind will work but I like soba noodle with this)

salt

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

 

In a bowl mix the cornstarch and ginger with the egg white and whisk to combine. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Heat the 3 tablespoons sesame oil in a skillet. Add the green onion, and shrimp and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, wine and sugar and mix to combine. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the noodles and mix to combine. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes and just before you’re finished add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly and serve. Serves then add the sesame seed oil just before serving. Serves 2 to 4

 

Modified from a recipe submitted by Carlie Smyth Chicago IL

HOT AND SPICEY PORTABELLA AND EDAMAME WITH NOODLES
For sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons Wasabi paste (this is hot, you can use less)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
10 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
8 cups shredded Napa cabbage
6 green onions, thinly sliced
8 to 9 ounces soba
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

 

In a bowl combine the water, soy sauce, Wasabi and brown sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set the sauce aside.  Heat the oil in skillet then add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the portabellas and saute, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat and add cabbage and 2/3’s of the green onions (save a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

 

While cabbage is cooking, cook the soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until the noodles are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and edamame in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the noodles and edamame in a large bowl and add the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

 

BOTH SIDES BROWNED NOODLES

Kind of like a noodle pancake

1 pound fresh or dried egg noodles

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (or more if needed)

 

In a large stock pot, add enough water to cover the noodles and bring the water to a boil. Add the noodles, stirring to separate. Cook until the noodles almost done, tender, but still firm. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Place the noodles back into the pot and add the sesame oil and toss to coat. In a frying pan or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over a high heat. Add the noodles. Spread the noodles out to the edges of the pan, and then let them cook, without stirring, until they are browned on the bottom (6 to 8 minutes). Flip over and brown the other side. You can do this by placing a plate over the top of the pan, flipping the noodles out onto it and then sliding them back into the pan. You may need to add a little more oil to keep them from sticking. Cook on the second side until crispy,4 to 5more minutes. Remove the fried noodle pancake to a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve with stir fried vegetables or grilled meat. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Submitted byTony Easteron River GroveIL

 

WARM GINGER AND PEANUT NOODLE SALAD

 

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound uncooked angle hair pasta or linguini

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot

1/3 to 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

1 cup thin strips red or yellow bell pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 to 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts

 

In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, Wasabi and garlic. Whisk to combine and set aside. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When the noodles are al dente (still a little crunchy) turn off the heat and add the carrot and snow peas. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes then drain, saving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the drained pasta and noodles to the salad dressing in the salad bowl. Toss to coat. Add the bell pepper, water chestnuts and onions. Toss to coat. Add the pasta water and toss to coat. Sprinkle the honey roasted peanuts on top and serve warm. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

SPICY CASHEW NOODLE SALAD

 

8 oz dried linguini, spaghetti, or soba noodles

2 cups broccoli florets cut small

1/4 pound pea pods, sliced in 1/3’s

1 carrot, peeled, julienned

1/2 red onion chopped fine

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

3 green onions, sliced

1 large tomato seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, julienned

1 cup toasted cashews

 

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain again and then set it aside. Steam the broccoli, pea pods, and carrots for about 2 minutes, making sure they are still crisp. Rinse them in cold water and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a frying pan, add onion, ginger and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until just soft. Add the green onions, tomato and red pepper. Mix to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. In a bowl combine the lime juice, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce. Add the sauteed onion mixture to the sauce and mix to combine. Add the noodles and steamed vegetables to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Great at room temperature or served cold. Before serving sprinkle the pine nuts on the top. Serves 6.

 

SALSA SHRIMP AND NOODLE SOUP

 

1 lb shrimp, peeled and divined

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups water

2 packages shrimp flavored Ramen Noodles (use 1 packet of seasoning)

2 cups salsa

1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained

1 can corn

1 green onion thinly sliced

 

In a medium bowl combine the lemon juice chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Mix to combine and add the shrimp. Toss to coat and let sit for 1/2 hour. In a large sauce pan bring water to boil, stir in 1 ramen flavor packet, break the ramen noodles into pieces and add them to the saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp, salsa, beans, corn, and green onion and then reduce the soup to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Serves 4.

 

Submitted by Lenore Hentz Trenton NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND NOODLE STIR FRY

 

3 oz. pkg. oriental or shrimp flavor ramen noodle soup mix

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lb. sea scallops cut in half

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

 

Cook and drain ramen noodles as directed on the package and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in wok or large skillet. Add the asparagus, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the scallops and stir-fry until they are white and firm. Add the ramen seasoning packet, soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and hot sauce and stir into scallop mixture. Stir in the cooked noodles. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until everything is hot throughout. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Modified from about.com

Snack Attack/ Homemade Gourmet Popcorn and Other Delicious Recipes

With the last of the winter snows (hopefully) blowing across the Midwest a hint of the idea that would require scraping off the car and going outside when is met with a less than enthusiastic response by my family. Saturday night finds us parked in front of the fireplace with a few friends and neighbors (hopefully the ones who had the foresight to rent a movie from Red Box) and pigging out on junk food (like we REALLY didn’t have enough to eat this weekend).

Junk food in our house usually consists of chips, salsa, anything chocolate and some form of popcorn or mixed nut/cereal snack. While some purists might say that popcorn is a dish best served with salt and a touch or butter I like to dress it up with all sorts of seasonings both sweet and savory.

The following recipes should tickle the taste buds of even the most discerning popcorn/snack food gourmet and they all can be made up on Friday so that when the beginning credits roll on the worst movie ever made (the one you kids just HAD to see) your snacks will end up being the feature presentation.

NOTE: 1 ounce of un-popped popcorn kernels makes approximately 4 cups of popped popcorn

SNACK ATTACK POPCORN (dairy)

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

6 cups unsalted popped popcorn

1 cup thin pretzel sticks

1/2 cup salted, roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 250. In a large bowl combine the popcorn, pretzel sticks and peanuts. Set them aside. In a microwave bowl melt the butter and stir in the seasonings. Drizzle the butter/seasoning mixture over popcorn mixture making sure to stir to coat well. Spread the mixture in a large, shallow ungreased baking pan and put it in the oven to bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes while it’s baking.  Yield: 7 to 8 cups.

OVEN CARMEL CORN (dairy or pareve)

7 to 8 quarts popped corn
2 cups of blend of salted peanuts, shelled pumpkin seeds and sunflower
seeds
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250. Place popcorn and your choice of nuts in a large container. In a saucepan, combine sugars, butter, salt, syrup and flavorings. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add baking soda, STIR QUICKLY. Pour over popcorn mix in a large flat pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring several times. Remove from oven and stir occasionally while the mixture cools. Store in airtight container. Makes 7 quarts.

ACROSS THE BORDER PARTY MIX (dairy)

This snack mix gives a new twist to an old favorite with the addition

Of pumpkin seeds.

1 cup small pretzels (twists)

1 cup corn chips

1 cup oyster crackers

1 cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds

1 cup honey-roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon. chili powder

1/2 teaspoon. ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon. ground red pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, combine the pretzels, corn chips crackers seeds and peanuts.  Set aside the mixture.  In a small bowl, combine the butter or margarine, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin and red pepper mix well. Pour mixture over pretzel mixture; toss to coat. Place on ungreased 15×10-inch shallow baking pan. Bake 25 minutes or until peanuts are golden brown, stirring halfway through cook time. Cool completely. Mixture becomes crisp as it cools.  Note: Recipe can be easily doubled, using 2 baking sheets. Makes 5 cups

WHITE TRASH MIX (dairy or pareve)

3 1/2 cups honey coated breakfast cereal

3 cups peanuts

2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup butter or margarine

12 oz chocolate chips (dairy or pareve)

12 oz raisins

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl combine the cereal, peanuts and raisins. Set the mixture aside. In a small saucepan melt together the peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and nuts. Mix well and when cooled n pour the powdered sugar over the mixture and mix to coat completely. Makes 5 cups.

PIZZA POPCORN

6 to 8 cups popped popcorn

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

1/2 tsp. oregano

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons tomato Ketchup

In large bowl, place hot popped corn; set aside. In small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, dry salad dressing mix and oregano and set aside. In small saucepan, melt the butter and ketchup. Pour the mixture over the popped corn, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle the dry salad dressing mixture over popped corn, tossing again to evenly coat all pieces. Spread coated corn on l5x10-inchbaking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over baked corn and let cool 5 minutes. Serve immediately or store in airtight container. Makes 3 quarts.

MILK CHOCOLATE POPCORN (dairy)

Popcorn and peanuts glazed with a crispy, chocolate coating.

12 cups popped popcorn
2 1/2 cups (12oz can) salted peanuts
1 3/4 cups (11-1/2 oz bag) milk chocolate chip morsels
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 300. Grease large roasting pan. Combine the popcorn and nuts in prepared roasting pan and set aside. Combine morsels, corn syrup and butter in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Pour over popcorn; toss well to coat. Place the mixture in the preheated oven and bake, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes. Loosen popcorn from pan and allow to cool slightly in pan. Remove the mixture to a cookie sheet covered with wax paper to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to two weeks. Makes about 14 cups.

Enter the Banana /Recipes for the fruit minded

    I am, by nature, someone that loves to entertain and have company stay for the weekend. I’m talking LOTS and LOTS of company. My husband, not quite so much as me. So, for the most part, we compromise and have lots of company. When I first start to plan the menus for the weekends one of the first things I have to determine is whether or not said company falls into or out of the banana category.

Ok, you ask, what heck is the banana category? Well, the banana category is where the guests I have to feed like to snack on fruit and if that fruit is likely to be bananas. Inclusion in this category determines the amount of bananas to be purchased and approximately how much time it will take for any left over bananas (and trust me, there’s always left over bananas) to get mushy after the company leaves.

There truly is a reason for this somewhat bizarre banana thought process. Bananas are actually one of the few foods for which I don’t have a lot of recipes. Not because I don’t like them but rather, because both my children and husband are highly allergic to them in the raw state. I eat them with pleasure when we have company and cook them for the family after the company leaves leave. I have always tried to make really different and exciting recipes because I never know when the next banana company will arrive. The following recipes are all utterly delicious and have come to me from a variety of sources.

 

BANANAS FOSTER CREAM PIE

Crust:
2 1/2 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons allspice
4 bananas — peeled and sliced

Pastry Cream:
3 cup half and half
1 vanilla bean — split in half lengthwise
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Grease a 10-inch spring form pan. To prepare crust, in a medium bowl,
combine cookie crumbs, sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Stir in
melted butter. Press mixture into prepared pan on the bottom and up
the sides of the pan about 21/2 inches and place it in the refrigerator
to chill. To prepare the filling, put the butter and brown sugar in a
large saute pan over high heat and heat until bubbling, about 2
minutes. Add cinnamon, ginger, allspice and bananas and saute until
tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and
spoon the bananas evenly over the bottom of the crust. Set aside.

To prepare the pastry cream, put the half and half in a saucepan with the vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, remove and discard vanilla bean. In a medium bowl, place egg yolks, sugar, dark rum and cornstarch and whisk together. Whisk about 1 cup of half and half mixture into the egg mixture to temper it. Add the egg mixture to the remaining half and half and place the pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until thick, 3-5 minutes. Pour the mixture over the roasted bananas in the crust and refrigerate for 2-3 hours
or until well chilled. To serve, carefully remove the outer ring of the pan, cut the pie into slices, and top each slice with whipped cream and several mint leaves. Serves 12

 

Submitted by Cheryl Cerdanadski Warsaw IN

BANANA SPLIT BREAD

1 can (8 oz.) unsweetened crushed pineapple, well drained, reserve
liquid
1 pkg. (14 oz.)  banana quick bread and muffin mix
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup Maraschino cherries, chopped
1/3-1/2 cup semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

GLAZE:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips, melted
4 teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 . Grease and flour bottom only of a (9×5 inch)
loaf pan. Add water to reserved pineapple liquid to make 3/4 cup In a
large bowl, combine all bread ingredients. Stir 50-75 times with
wooden spoon until mix is moistened (don’t over mix!). Pour batter
into prepared pan. Bake 55-65 minutes or until toothpick placed in the
center comes out clean. Cool in a pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Remove from pan to cool for 45 minutes or until completely cooled. In a
small bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Stir until well blended. Pour
over loaf. For gift giving you can use (3×5 inch) pans and bake 35-40
minutes. Store in refrigerator to slice when chilled. Serves 6 to 8

 

http://www.southerncooking.com

 

ALMOND FUDGE BANANA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZE

3 extra ripe, peeled medium bananas
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
3 eggs
3 tablespoons almond liqueur OR 2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted, ground

 

Banana Chocolate Glaze
1 pureed, extra ripe small banana
1 ounce melted semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch bunt pan.  In a bowl mash the bananas and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar and margarine and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, liqueur and vanilla. Beat to combine. In another bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients to combine.  Stir the almonds into the flour mixture. With the electric mixer running, alternately add the flour mixture with bananas to the sugar mixture. Beat well. Turn batter into greased pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan to wire rack to cool completely. Glaze: Combine the pureed banana with the melted chocolate and whisk together. Pour glaze over the top of the cooled cake and let it drip down the sides of the cake. Serves 12 to 14

BANANA BUTTERFINGER® CAKE

 

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger® bars

GLAZE
2/3 cup whipping cream
7 tablespoons butter, cut into large pieces
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
14 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup chopped Butterfinger® bars

Position rack in top third of oven; preheat to 350. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1-1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottoms with waxed paper rounds. Butter and flour paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in dark rum and vanilla extract. Combine sour cream and baking soda in medium bowl. Add mashed bananas to sour cream mixture and stir until well blended. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with banana mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in chopped Butterfinger® bars.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until center of cake feels firm and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Turn out cakes onto racks and cook. Peel off waxed paper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap cakes tightly and store at room temperature.)

FOR GLAZE: Combine cream, butter and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in rum and vanilla. Pour glaze into small bowl. Cover and refrigerate just until cool and thick, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Transfer 1 cake layer to platter. Slide waxed paper strips under edges of cake. Stir glaze until smooth. Spread 1 cup glaze evenly over top of cake layer. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining glaze over top and sides of cake. Cover top and sides of cake with chopped Butterfinger® bars. Remove paper strips. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover cake and store at room temperature.)

 

From about.com

 

BANANA PANCAKES WITH CARAMEL-BANANA SYRUP

 

3 large bananas, peeled, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, divided
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs

Additional melted butter

 

Cut 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in heavy large skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and sliced bananas. Remove syrup from heat.

 

Whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl. Mash remaining banana in medium bowl, then whisk in buttermilk and eggs. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients (some lumps will remain). Mix in remaining 1/4 cup melted butter.

Preheat oven to 200. Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Serve pancakes with caramel-banana syrup. Makes 4 servings.

 

Bon Appétit, November 2005

 

BANANA COFFEE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CHIP STREUSEL

1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended; set streusel aside. Sift all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, room temperature butter, and egg in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and blend well.

 

Spread half of batter (about 2 cups) in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack. Makes 12 servings.

 

BANANA CHOCOLATE STRUDEL

4 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, covered with 2 overlapping pieces plastic wrap and then a damp kitchen towel
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 firm-ripe bananas
2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425. Arrange 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface with a short side of phyllo nearest you, keeping remaining sheets covered, and brush with some butter. Top phyllo with 3 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Arrange bananas one above the other, horizontally, on lower third of phyllo, leaving a 1-inch border on both sides (trim bananas if too long). Sprinkle chocolate over bananas, then fold sides of phyllo toward middle (over ends of bananas). Fold bottom edge of phyllo over bananas and roll up bananas in phyllo.

 

Transfer strudel, seam side down, to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or to a buttered baking sheet, then brush strudel with beaten egg. Cut 4 (1/2-inch-long) steam vents diagonally along top of strudel with a sharp knife. Bake in middle of oven until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack, and then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Makes 6 servings.

 

Gourmet October 2001

CHOCOLATE BANANA TART

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 firm-ripe bananas
1/4 cup apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 350. Blend crumbs, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt in a food processor until mixture begins to hold together and pat onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in middle of oven until side of crust is firm to the touch, 14 to 18 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips into hot crust and let stand 5 minutes to soften. Spread evenly over bottom of crust. Beat cream with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and rum until it holds soft peaks. Cut bananas into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Whisk preserves and add bananas, tossing to coat. Spoon banana mixture into crust and top with whipped cream.
Serves 8.

Gourmet January 2000

BANANA WAFFLES WITH PECAN MAPLE SYRUP

1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not the fake stuff)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted lightly and chopped coarse
2 teaspoons orange juice or fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ripe medium banana
1/3 cup water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron

Preheat oven to 200. In a small saucepan bring maple syrup and pecans to a boil and stir in juice. Remove syrup from heat and keep warm, covered. In a bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Quarter banana and in a blender purée with water. Transfer purée to another bowl and whisk in eggs and melted butter. Add flour mixture and stir until combined well.

Heat a well-seasoned or non-stick waffle iron until hot and brush lightly with oil. Pour half of batter into iron and cook waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm, uncovered, in oven. Make another waffle with remaining batter in same manner.

Serve waffles with syrup. Serves 2.

from Epicurious.com

 

PINEAPPLE BANANA MUFFINS

 

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons beaten egg

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium)

1/3 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained

 

In a small bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg, oil, milk and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and pineapple.
Coat muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or use paper liners; fill three-fourths full with batter. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 6 muffins.

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