All Hail Asparagus, Spring is just around the corner

  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 MOCK CRAB TART (dairy)

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 mock crab 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 mock crab 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.

Modified from about.com

 

PUFFED ASPARAGUS AND LOX BITES (dairy)

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 lb lox, cut into bite size pieces

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, lox 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 (dairy)

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 (dairy)

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 (dairy)

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

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ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS HOT POT (dairy)

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 (pareve)

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 immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

ASPARAGUS AND PASTA SALAD (dairy)

6 to 8 slices Morning Star Farm ® fake 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 Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and but keep the oil in the pan. 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 2 more minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the cooked Morning Star Farm® fake bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to 8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe

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Winter Squash Is In Season/ kosher recipes, information and suggestions

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We’ve all heard the terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” It’s kinda weird because you can get summer squashes all winter; and “winter squashes pretty much a summer long. Confusing yes, but easily explainable.

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” date back to a time when the seasonal vegetables were only available when they “were in season”  a “get em while you can” kind of mentality existed.  Right now the newest crop of winter squashes are just rolling into the marketplace so now is the time to get them, cook them and eat them

Winter squash are more typically round in shape and have a harder, non eatable skin that needs to be peeled. Winter (or fall harvested squash for those of a more literal mind) take longer to mature than summer squash and can be stored for months longer than the summer squashes as long as they are in a cool dry area. You can bake, mash, steamed or simmer you winter squashes and , for the  most part they can replace sweet potatoes in almost any recipe. Cooked winter squash is great as an ingredient in cakes, pies, soups and casseroles.

You should look for squash that feels heavy than you think it should for its size. The skin should have a deep color and it shouldn’t have any obvious bruises or blemishes. While there are bunches and bunches of squash the one that are the most popular (and available) are the acorn, turban, butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Hubbard and Spaghetti.

These squashes are usually covered with wax and or dirt so you need to make sure you wash and really scrub the outside of the squash. Then cut off stem, cut in half, remove the seeds and stringy fibers and cook. It’s usually easier to peel squash after its been cooked.

 

 

1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, mashed
2-1/2 pounds whole squash = 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
1 pound trimmed squash = 2 cups cooked pieces
1 pound squash = 2 to 3 servings
12 ounces frozen squash = 1-1/2 cups

1 medium-size (15 to 20 pounds) pumpkin = 5 to 7 quarts of cooked pumpkin.

 

Bake: Cut the squash in half, poke the skin with a fork then place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet with sides and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until soft.

 

Boil or Steam: Cut the squash into halves, quarters or rings and cook it, with water or broth for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is tender. You can mash cooked squash just like potatoes.

 

You can also microwave your squash. Place cut pieces of squash in a shallow glass dish with a little water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 5 or 6 minutes and test it for softness. Continue checking for doneness at 2 or 3 minute intervals until the squash is soft. You can microwave a whole squash. Just poke the skin all over with a fork (so steam can escape). Microwave the squash 7 to 10 minutes and check to see how soft the squash is.

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CHEESE AND BEEF STUFFED TURBAN SQUASH

 

1 large or 2 small turban squash

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 green pepper, diced small

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon fennel

1 egg; slightly beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 cup parmesan cheese; shredded

1 cup fresh parsley; chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375. Cutting at a downward angle remove the crown of turban. Scrape out seeds and membrane. Sprinkle the inside cavity with salt. Place the squash in a 9X13 baking pan with the cut opening facing down. Add about 1 inch of water. Bake 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the squash. It should be softening but not mushy. Remove the squash from the oven turn the cut side up and leave it in the pan.

 

In a bowl, combine egg, sour cream and parmesan and mix to combine and set aside. In skillet, combine the beef, onion, garlic, green pepper, thyme and fennel. Cook, stirring frequently for 7 or 8 until the meat is fully cooked. Drain any excess grease and add the parsley. Add the egg mixture to meat mixture and mix to combine. Spoon the beef mixture into the squash. Place the stuffed squash back in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until filling is set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. To serve, cut into slices. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

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CASABLANCA ACORN SQUASH

 

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

1/4 cup olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic

5 to 6 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, shredded

2 cups garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup raisins

3 tablespoons cumin

salt and pepper to taste

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups uncooked couscous

 

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Combine the sugar and butter in a sauce pan and heat until they are combined. Baste the inside of the squash with the mixture and set it aside. In a skillet heat the oil and add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, raisins, cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cooking (stirring often) until vegetables are crisp tender. Add the chicken broth and couscous. Cover and turn off heat. Allow the mixture to sit, covered for 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the cover, mix to combine and then fill the squash and serve. Serves 8.

 

My files, source unknown

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CHICKEN AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW POT

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 lbs skinless bone-in chicken breast

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup chopped celery

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2/3 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb sliced mushrooms

 

Heat oil in a large (4 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken and add onion, garlic and celery to pan; sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan with vegetables. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and bring to a boil; simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the squash, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional or until squash is tender. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 more minutes. Serves 6 to 8

 

Submitted by Ronnie Marchoni Chicago IL

 

ORANGE SEAFOOD STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

 

1 (2 pound) butternut squash

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper

½ cup fresh orange juice, divided

2 tablespoons butter

3 green onions, thinly sliced

 

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons orange zest

¼ cup whipping cream

1 1b. mock/fake crab

Garnish: orange slices and additional thinly sliced green onions

 

Preheat oven to 375.Cut the butternut squash lengthwise into 4 wedges. Remove the seeds and place the squash in a 9 X 12 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Pour 1/4 cup orange juice over the squash. Cover and bake for 40 minutes and until fork tender.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the Orange mock crab.

Arrange the butternut squash wedges on a serving platter, cut side up.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup orange juice, orange zest, and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 6-7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and mock crab and simmer an additional 3 minutes.Divide and spoon the mock crab mix on top of the roasted butternut squash. Garnish the platter with orange slices and sprinkle all with additional thinly sliced green onions. Serves 4

Modified from CookEatShare.com

 

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WINTER SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

Roasting squash and apples intensifies their flavors. Use a mixture of winter squash varieties for a more complex taste.

3 pounds winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn or delicata, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 8 cups)

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

Preheat oven to 400. Line two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic and ginger until mixed well. Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer. Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking. Remove from oven and purée squash mixture with broth and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor in 2 batches until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency. Serve garnished with parsley.

 

Modified from wholefoods.com

BEST EVER PASSOVER SUBSTITUTIONS /recipes and tips

At some point during Pesach preparations we’ve all tried to convert a main stream recipe into a Pesach one only to discover that we don’t have a clue as to what to substitute for a chometz ingredient. This panic moment is why I started compiling my COMPLETE LIST OF PESACH SUBSTITUTES. I’ve added some great new substitutions this year. If anyone has any other substitutions that they would like to share please let me know by posting to my blog!

PLEASE DO  NOT POST THIS ON YOUR BLOGS OR WEBSITES AS IT COPYWRITTEN MATTERIAL.

FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY

NOT FOR REPRINT! 

JUST LINK TO THIS BLOG PLEASE

1 oz. baking chocolate (unsweetened chocolate) = 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon oil or melted margarine

 

16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate = 6 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1/4 cup oil and 7 tablespoon granulated sugar

 

14 oz. sweet chocolate (German-type) = 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 2/3 tablespoon oil and 4 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 cup confectioners’ sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar minus 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1 tablespoon potato starch pulsed in a food processor or blender

1 cup sour milk or buttermilk for dairy baking = 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a 1 cup measure, then fill to 1 cup with Passover nondairy creamer. Stir and steep 5 minutes

 

Butter in baking or cooking use pareve Passover margarine in equal amounts. Use a bit less salt

 

1 cup honey = 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water

 

1 cup corn syrup = 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup water, boiled until syrupy

 

1 cup vanilla sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 split vanilla bean left for at least 24 hours in a tightly covered jar

 

1 cup of flour, substitute 5/8 cup matzo cake meal or potato starch, or a combination sifted together

 

1 tablespoon flour = 1/2 tablespoon potato starch

 

1 cup corn starch = 7/8 cup potato starch

 

1 teaspoon cream of tarter= 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar

 

1 cup graham cracker crumbs = 1 cup ground cookies or soup nuts plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

1 cup bread crumbs = 1 cup matzo meal

 

1 cup matzo meal = 3 matzoth ground in a food processor

 

1 cup matzoth cake meal = 1 cup plus 2 tablespoon matzo meal finely ground in a blender or food processor and sifted

 

3 crumbled matzo = 2 cups matzo farfel

 

1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese = 1 cup cottage cheese pureed with 1/2 stick butter or margarine

 

Chicken fat or gribenes = 2 caramelized onions, Saute 2 sliced onions in 2 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until the onions are soft. Puree the onions once they are golden.

 

1 cup milk (for baking) = 1 cup water plus 2 tablespoon margarine, or 1/2 cup fruit juice plus 1/2 cup water

 

1 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk =1 cup instant nonfat dry milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup boiling water and 3 tablespoons margarine. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. To thicken, let set in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

 

1 cup wine= 13 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix together and let set for 10 minutes.

 

For frying: Instead of chicken fat, use combination of olive oil or vegetable oil and 1 to 2 tablespoons pareve Passover margarine.

 

Eggs: Passover egg substitutes don’t work quite as well as the chometz egg substitutes. For kugels, matzo balls, fried matzo and some cakes the recipes will probably be ok. However, if you want to avoid them (and I do) you can add one extra egg white and 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil for each yolk eliminated when baking. Use only egg whites as the dipping to coat and fry meats.

 

Italian Seasoning= 1/4 teaspoon EACH dried oregano leaves, dried marjoram leaves and dried basil leaves plus 1/8 teaspoon rubbed dried sage. This can be substituted for 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.

 

Curry Powder= 2 tablespoons ground coriander, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons red pepper, 2 tablespoons turmeric, 2 tablespoons ground ginger. Makes 2/3 cup.

 

Pancake syrup=use fruit jelly, not jam and add a little water to thin. I always like to combine the jelly and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat it gently before I serve it.

 

Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar= 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 tablespoon white wine, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix to combine. Makes 1/4 cup

Flavored Vinegar= lemon juice in cooking or salad, grapefruit juice in salads, wine in marinades.

 

Water Chestnuts- substitute raw jicama

 

Orange liqueur =substitute an equal amount of frozen orange juice concentrate
You can mince the tops of green onions and use them in recipes that call for chives or use celery tops instead of parsley (who are we kidding, we always have parsley during Pesach)

 

SOY SAUCE SUBSTITUTE

This soy sauce substitute doesn’t taste exactly like the real thing, but it makes a flavorful alternative for Pesach stir fry.

2 tablespoons beef broth

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

black pepper to taste

1/4 cup boiling water

 

Combine all the ingredients. At this point, you can either a) use the sauce as is, leaving for an hour to give the flavors a chance to blend, or b) for a thicker, richer sauce, boil the liquid until it is reduced by half, about 3 tablespoons. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Makes 2/3 cup. Use the sauce within 3 – 4 days.

CASHEW SOUR CREAM

It’s creamy and you can use it in any recipe that calls for sour cream. It refrigerates well.

 

1 cup raw cashews (must not be roasted or salted)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1-2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 small lemon, juice

 

Cover cashews with water and soak for a few hours, or overnight. Pour off all water, and place nuts in food processor. Add 1/4 cup cold water, salt, vinegar and lemon juice. Puree for 3-4 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy in consistency. Use in any recipe that calls for sour cream. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Makes 1 cup.

 

1 egg= 1 ½ tablespoons water, 1 ½ tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon potato starch 1/2 teaspoon  baking soda. It works well for up to 2 eggs.

You can also try 1/4 cup of applesauce = 1 egg but only for some of the egg in a recipe.

 

CORN SYRUP SUBSTITUTE

 

2 cups white sugar

34 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 dash salt

 

Combine all ingredients in a heavy, large pan.Stir and bring to a boil.Reduce heat to a simmer and put cover on it for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Uncover and cook until it reaches soft ball stage.stir often.Cool syrup and store in a covered container at room temperature.

 

OYSTER SAUCE SUBSTITUTE (great with fish).

 

1 mushroom/vegetable bouillon cube (or 1 tablespoon of the powdered stuff)

1/2 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon potato starch

1 teaspoon cold water

 

In a sauce pan combine the bouillon, sugar and boiling water. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. While it’s boiling, in a cup combine the potato starch and cold water,mix to combine and add mixture to the boiling broth.  Simmer, whisking constantly until the  mixture thickens.

 

 

© Eileen Goltz pesach substitutes 12

Delicious St. Patty’s Day Recipes (All Irish All Day)

There is one time during the year, and one time only, where I suspend all my ethnic and regional food preferences and embrace all things Irish. I am, of course, referring to the one and only St. Patrick’s Day.

Celebrated annually on March 17 in honor ofIreland’s patron saint this holiday, brings out the Irish in everyone. St. Patrick was born between 370 and 390 C. E. whenRome ruled theBritish Isles. As a missionary he helped convert the Irish to Christianity using a shamrock to explain the Trinity. With immigration from Ireland to the United States one of the best ways to establish a new life Irish nationals have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day  in the United States back as far as 1737 when Boston held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade.

How all this history translated into the green beer and rivers dyed green and crazy parades we celebrate with today is not for me to speculate on. Suffice it to say, the Irish have their own wonderful food traditions for the day and it behooves all of us to become “just a little Irish” and join the celebration with wonderful food, a few Irish ditties and perhaps a pints or three of ale.

CLASSSIC IRISH SODA BREAD

4 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon caraway Seeds

1 1/2 cups raisins

2   eggs beaten

1 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Place raisins and caraway seeds in a large bowl. Sift together flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Pour sifted mixture over raisins. Add butter, eggs and milk to the bowl; mix well. Mold dough into a loaf shape on a floured board. Place dough in greased pan and bake for one hour, or until bread tests done.

RAISIN IRISH SODA BREAD

This version tastes even better the second day and is great for breakfast.

4 1/4 cups flour (up to 4 — 1/2 cups)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1   teaspoon salt

3   tablespoons sugar

1   tablespoon caraway seeds

1 cup raisins

2 cups buttermilk

butter

sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a 9-inch black cast-iron skillet or cake pan and dust with flour. In a large bowl, mix 4 cups of the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and caraway seeds. Add the raisins, mixing them in with your fingers to make sure they are separated. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and mix with a fork until the mixture forms a dough. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup more of the flour on a board or counter. Turn out the dough and knead for about 5 minutes, working in the flour from the board and forming the dough into a smooth round loaf about 8 inches in diameter.  (If the humidity is high and the dough is very sticky, you may need to add another 1/4 cup of flour to the board.)  Press the dough evenly into the prepared skillet or pan and cut a cross 1/2 inch deep across the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom.  Remove the loaf to a wire rack and rub the top with butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Let the bread cool completely before slicing. Makes one large loaf.

IRISH COFFEE

4 cups strong fresh coffee

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup Irish whiskey

1 cup   whipping cream

2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

Place 4 cups of strong fresh coffee in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of sugar, or to taste. Add 1/2 cup Irish whiskey and heat thoroughly but do not boil. (Scotch, Bourbon or other whiskeys could be used.)  Meanwhile whip 1 cup whipping cream until light. Beat in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and Irish whiskey. Pour coffee into mugs or goblets and pipe or spoon flavored cream on top. Serves 4 to 6 depending on the size of the mugs.

CLASSIC CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet

10 small red potatoes

5 carrots, peeled and julienned

1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.

Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Approx 35 to 45 minutes. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain. Serves 5 to 6

DIJON CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

2   cups water

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoonsDijonmustard, divided

1 medium cabbage head, cut into 8 wedges

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

2 1/2 pounds corned beef brisket

Preheat oven to 350. Place the brisket and water in Dutch oven, cover tightly and cook 1 hour (It is very important to simmer the meat slowly because boiling will cause meat to become tough.) Turn brisket over and continue cooking, covered, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more,   or until meat is tender.  Remove brisket from cooking liquid and place,   flat-side up, on rack in broiler pan so surface of meat is 3 to 4 inches from heat. Combine honey with 1 tablespoon mustard; brush half of mixture over top of brisket and broil 3 minutes.  Brush with remaining mixture and continue broiling 2 minutes, or until brisket is glazed.  Meanwhile, steam cabbage 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.  Combine remaining

mustard with butter and dill; spread over hot cabbage wedges.  Carve

brisket diagonally across the grain into thin slices and serve with

cabbage.

JAMES BEARD’S IRISH STEW

Proper Irish stew is made with lamb, however, beef may be substituted if you must. Plan ahead to make the lamb stock a day in advance. I have used beef and beef broth and it comes out quite nicely.

3 to 3-1/2 pounds lamb shoulder

1 pound neck of lamb

2 quarts water

1 medium onion stuck with 2 cloves

1 large bay leaf

2 large garlic cloves

1 Tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

Parsley sprig

3 thinly sliced medium onions

3 leeks split in half and cut in small dice

Additional bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 medium potatoes, finely diced

2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Preparation:

Have the butcher bone the lamb shoulder and give you the bones.

Put the bones and neck in a deep saucepan with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil and boil 5 to 6 minutes, skimming off the scum from the surface. Add the onion stuck with cloves, and the bay leaf, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a boil again, reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer 2 to 2-1/2 hours to a strong broth. Strain, and put in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, skim off the fat.

Remove all fat from the lamb shoulder and cut the meat into pieces 1 inch wide and 2 inches long. Put the meat in a heavy pan with the sliced onions, leeks, additional bay leaf and thyme, nutmeg, and enough lamb broth to come 1 inch above the meat. Bring to a boil, skim off the scum, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, 1 hour, then test the meat for tenderness. If it still seems a bit tough, give it another 15 minutes, then add the diced potatoes. Cook 30 minutes, until the stew is slightly thickened by the potatoes, then taste for seasoning. You will probably find it needs salt — 1 to 2 teaspoons should be sufficient — a few grinds of pepper, and a touch of nutmeg. Let this cook a little to blend with the stew, then add the chopped parsley and cook just 1 minute more. Serves 6 to 8

From James Beard’s American Cookery by James Beard (Galahad Books)

IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

2 cups golden raisins

3 tablespoons grated lemon zest

1/4 cup whiskey

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 lemon, juiced

Place the raisins, lemon rind, and whiskey in a small bowl and let them soak overnight. Line bottom of an eight-inch square cake pan with parchment paper that is buttered and dusted with flour. Preheat the oven to 350. Sift the flour, salt, cloves and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well. Quickly beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the soaked raisins. In a separate clean bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the mixture. Pour this into your prepared pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake thoroughly on a wire rack. To make the glaze: Mix the lemon juice with the sifted powdered sugar and just enough whiskey and warm water so that you can drizzle icing over the cake.

Serves 8 to 10.

Beer Recipes Just in Time for St. Patrick’s Day /some kosher recipes

Despite what some party hardy leprechauns may think, on St. Patrick’s Day, all beers are not created equal and not all dishes made with beer are really a good idea. It takes research, taste tasting (lots and lots and lots of taste tasting) and really good recipes to assimilate beer into your menu and make the dish better than the sum of its parts. With a little help from yours truly, I aim to make this the best culinary St. Patrick’s Day ever (if you were expecting corn beef recipes, sorry).

If you are already a “let’s try anything as an ingredient kind of cook”, then you already know that beer can be used in just about every method of cooking know to man. You can use it when baking, braising, in batters for frying, sauces, marinating, poaching and even glazing. However, knowledge about what beer is and what its complex mix of flavors can do to other ingredients is what’s key to making a so so recipe really terrific.

Beers fall into three different categories: lagers, ales (the difference between them is the type of yeast used in fermentation) and specialty beers. The four main ingredients for most beers are water, malted barley (or wheat), hops and yeast. Ales are usually higher in alcohol content and have a more complex flavor. Lagers are usually lighter in color and can be somewhat drier than ale. In specialty beers, just about everything but the kitchen sink goes. I’ve seen brewer’s use, chocolate (pretty good), pumpkin (really yucky), fruit juices (the jury is still out), candy, and just about anything else you can think of. The specialty beers I drink on a dare, I don’t cook with them.

Beer can be used in marinades to tenderize meat as well as with sweeter vegetables like onions, carrots and corn. It gives them an earthier flavor but you may need to add just a touch of sugar or honey to the vegetable dish to counteract the bitter component of the beer. The yeast in beers is also terrific when used as a leavening agent in baking or in batters.

So what type of beer works best (for cooking, and not just drinking)? I suggest you start with pale ale, for my money it’s the most adaptable for most of the following recipes.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

NOTE: For those of you who don’t imbibe alcohol you can utilize the non alcohol types of beers and get pretty much the same results

 

BEER MARINADE

This marinade is great for grilling chicken, beef and seafood.

 

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup onion, chopped

1 red pepper, diced fine

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons Worcestershire or soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

8 ounces beer

2 tablespoons black pepper

Juice of 6 limes

 

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.   Process until smooth. Makes a generous 2 cups of marinade

 

BEER AND CHEESE SOUP (not kosher)

12 ounces beer (a lighter beer works best)
8 slices bacon or or turkey bacon (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced red pepper
1 10-1/2 ounce can condensed chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup flour
1 cup half and half
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Open beer and let stand while dicing vegetables. Sauté bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble. In large soup kettle, sauté vegetables in two tablespoons of bacon grease until soft. Add chicken broth. Fill chicken can with beer and add to mixture. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low.
Pour remaining beer into a small mixing bowl and whisk in flour. Gradually add to broth, stirring constantly, till thick. Add half and half, bacon and cheese. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Submitted and modified by Carrie Sneiger Lake Forest IL

ALE APPLE FRITTERS

 

12 ounces amber ale
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 1/2 cups oil
8 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/3-inch thick rings (Granny Smith are best) soaked in ice water till ready to use, then pat dry.
sugar and cinnamon mixture for dusting

 

In a large bowl, whisk together ale, flour, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and melted butter. Set the mixture aside. Pour oil to deep Dutch oven cast-iron frying pan. Heat the oil to about 350 -360. Dip the dried apple rings into the batter and coat them evenly. Fry the apple rings in small batches. Turn once to cook evenly. Skim the extra pieces out of the oil and add more oil as needed. Be sure to keep the oil hot. Let the cooked apple fritters drain on paper towel for a few minutes then sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve. Serves 8.

 

Modified from cookingwithbeer.com

 

RIBS IN BEER

 

6 to 8 boneless ribs, cut away excess fat

salt and pepper

2 onions, chopped

2/3 cup hickory brown sugar barbeque sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon mustard

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup beer

 

Salt and pepper both sides of the ribs. Spread the chopped onions over bottom of a roasting pan or crock pot. Put the meat on top of the onions. In a bowl combine the beer, ketchup, mustard, pepper flakes, brown sugar and barbeque sauce and mix to combine. Pour the mixture over the meat, cover and cook in the oven for 350 for 4 to 5 hours or in the crock pot on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 8 to 10 hours. To serve place the meat on a serving platter and cover. Let liquid sit for a few minutes, skim off the fat and then pour the gravy over the top. The gravy will be kind of thin so you can thicken it with a little cornstarch and cold water mixed together added to the gravy and heated for 2 minutes. Serves 4.

 

BEER AND LIME CHICKEN

 

2 whole chickens (about 4lbs total)

1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

1 tablespoon black pepper, or to taste

1 1/2 to 2 limes, halved

1 can beer

Paprika to taste

1-1/3 cups water

1 lb baby carrots

 

Preheat the oven to 350. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from the limes over the whole chicken, and then place the squeezed halves into the cavity of the chickens. Pour 1/2 of the beer into the chicken and the place the chicken on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Pour the remaining beer over the top of the chicken and then pour the water into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the top of the chicken lightly with paprika and a little more salt and pepper. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour. Remove the foil, add the carrots to the bottom of the pan, baste with the juice in the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle a little paprika on the carrots and cook an additional 30 minutes, basting occasionally. To Serve, remove the chickens from the oven, let set for 3 minutes and then cut them into quarters. Place the carrots on a serving platter, place the chicken quarters on top and serve with the sauce on the side. Serves 8.

QUICK SELF RISING BEER BREAD

I’ve had this recipe forever and my kids love it

 

3 cups self-rising flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese

6 to 8  green onions, chopped

12 ounces beer

 

Preheat oven to 350 and REALLY grease the bottom and all the sides of a loaf pan. Set it aside In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and sugar together. Add the cheese and chopped green onions. Mix to combine. Add the beer and mix until the ingredients are combined but be careful to not over mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to a 1 hour, or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow sound when thumped. Cool on a rack and then serve. This can be made up to a month in advance and frozen. Makes 1 loaf

Chocolate Chip Cookie Perfection

 

Every now and then I feel the need to return to the simpler desserts in life. No I’m not talking about giving up cream puffs and 7 layer torts and the chocolate/cinnamon coffee cakes that I can eat at one sitting forever. I’m talking about satisfying that craving for the perfect chocolate chip cookie who’s first bite takes me back to the time when every problem could be solved at the kitchen table with my mom, the cookies and a glass of milk.

The recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag of morsels makes a pretty good chocolate chip cookie. Follow the recipe precisely and even if you mess up and it’s a disaster the crumbs are still delicious. However, based upon my own experience if you try a few minor modifications and refinements you can make the recipe fit your own personal requirements (more chocolate, more nuts, bigger cookies). First, unless you want to make the cookies non dairy use real butter. Don’t let anyone convince you that butter vs. margarine doesn’t make any difference. It does. Second, TRIPLE the amount of vanilla extract recommended. This means to use a tablespoon where a teaspoon is specified. Also, always use real vanilla extract, not the fake stuff, this can make a big difference in the taste. Finally, let the butter sit out at room temperature to become soft before you start making the dough.

You can also experiment with untraditional mixes of white and brown sugar until you achieve the version you like best. Note that Toll House dough, without chips but with a fair amount of cinnamon, is a nice variation on a great American cookie called the “snickerdoodle.

In my experience Nestle morsels melt the best during baking process but they are not pareve. Ghirardelli morsels are also very good. I also like the Hershey mini-morsels. The standard-size Hershey Morsels, however, do not seem to melt as well as the others, and I usually don’t use them in cookies (although they are terrific in brownies, which is an entirely different column). The morsels MUST, however, be semisweet (i.e. dark) chocolate. Milk chocolate morsels, which are sold in similar bags, are way too sweet to put into these cookies.

 The following recipes run the gamut from crunchy to chewy and the basic to the exotic. Make sure you pay attention to the types of flour and butter the recipe asks for, they are important to the end quality of the cookie.


MOIST AND CHEWY CHIPPERS

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375.  Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool and store in an airtight container. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies

Submitted by Jill Janson Chicago IL

PUFFY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 cup butter-flavored shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. Combine the shortening, sugar, and brown sugar in the mixer’s work bowl, and cream until light and fluffy. In the meantime, sift together the cake flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the creamed mixture. Then add vanilla. Increase the speed until thoroughly incorporated. With the mixer set to low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the shortening and combine well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill the dough. Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 per sheet. Bake for 13 minutes or until golden brown and puffy, checking the cookies after 5
minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool and store in an airtight-container. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies

THIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch baking soda
1 egg
2 ounces milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups semisweet  or milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and set is aside.. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the sugars and mix to combine then mix until light and fluffy. Reduce. Slowly add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for more even browning. Remove the cookies from the pans immediately. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Modified from cooking.com

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 box chocolate cake mix (2 layer size)
1 cup sour cream
1 box instant chocolate pudding (4 serving size)
1 cup semi sweet or milk chocolate chips
2 large eggs

Preheat oven on to 350. Grease the cookie sheet. Combine all five ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until moistened and no big lumps remain. Drop by rounded spoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, on to the cookie sheet. Bake on the center rack in the oven for 16 – 18 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes. Cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.

Modified from Pillsbury.com

KITCHEN SINK COOKIES
 
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee pieces
1/2 cup butterscotch chips or peanut butter pieces

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, sugar, brown sugars, vanilla and eggs (adding the eggs one at a time and beating well between each one.) Gradually beat in the flour mixture into the large bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients; nuts, both kinds of chocolate chips, toffee pieces and butterscotch chips. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased pan cookie sheet, but not too close as these cookies will spread. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes, and remove to cooling rack. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.

A LITTLE BIT LOWER FAT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray two nonstick baking sheets with non stick spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula to force the mixture into the blades, beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, about 1 1/2 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the egg, oil, corn syrup, and vanilla. Pour into the butter/sugar mixture and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Using a spoon, stir just until a stiff dough forms. Using a heaping teaspoon for each, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (The cookies will spread during baking.) One sheet at a time, bake until the cookies are lightly browned 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies will seem soft, but they will crisp as they cool. Cool in the pan for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to a wire cake rack to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen

Modified from about.com

BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 cup (2-3) ripe bananas, well mashed

 3/4 cups oatmeal
12 oz package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the egg, sugar and shortening and vanilla . Add the bananas and mix until light and fluffy. Stir in the baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon and flour. Mix slightly. Add the oats and chocolate chips and mix to combine. Drop by spoonful onto lightly greased (or parchment sheeted) cookie sheet. These can be either small teaspoon size, or large serving spoon size. ( I like them super sized) Normal baking time is 10 minutes depending on the size. They should be moist and chewy. Makes 2 doz. Depending on the size.

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