Super Dupper Ice Box Cake Recipes/Kosher

Anyone who has ever read one of my columns knows I am a huge fan of dessert. In fact, if given the choice, I’ll eat it first. While baking something is my typical motis operandi when the temperature and humidity starts edging toward thermo nuclear meltdown my feelings lean towards less towards cooking and more towards how cold can I make the sweet for the end of my meal.

I suggest we all veer straight towards the quaintly named Icebox cake. For those of us not born before the 1930’s an ice box is the storage unit that was the precursor to the refrigerator where “big blocks of ice” were delivered to the home to place in the “ice box” to keep food cold. Yep, this is how they did it in the olden days when we walked 10 miles to school each day (both ways up hill) and when the Slurpee ®  didn’t even exist.

Ice box cake is a slight misnomer. It’s usually a dessert like recipe that contains layers  of custard or curd or whipped cream layered between, cake, graham crackers, cookies or graham cracker or cookie crumbs. These layers of yummy “rest” or “set up” in the refrigerator (as opposed to the freezer) for a several hours or overnight so that all the ingredients evolve into a single, luscious, creamy cake like dessert that will remind you of an  éclair, cake, cookie and the best thing you’ve ever eaten all rolled into mouth full after mouth full of delicious.

Now for the easy part, putting together you ice box treat. For expediency sake most people usually opt for store bought cookies or cakes for the key ingredient because, like I said, I don’t wanna cook when it’s too hot. Sometimes though, you do have to make the cake or cookie as it’s a key ingredient of the recipe.  That being said I typically make my own, whipped cream, custard, curd or pudding as I’m not a big fan of their “imitation” flavors. I usually avoid recipes that require gelatin as I’m not a big fan of the texture it creates.

Most of the following recipes are quite flexible and forgiving when it comes to the ingredients. You have the luxury, dare I say freedom to interchange most of the ingredients and individualize your creations according to your (or your guests) preferences. Hate strawberries? Use raspberries or blackberries. Don’t like chocolate cookies? Use a vanilla or pecan one. Lactose intolerant?  Get the non dairy whipped topping. Just remember, no matter what you put together, cold in 100 degree weather is always delicious. I am, however, making no comment on the amount of calories you will consume when you decide that leftovers are just not an option.

CHOCOLATE AND CREAM CHEESE ICE BOX CAKE

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans

 

FILLING/TOPPING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

3 cups cold milk

2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant French vanilla pudding mix

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon rum extract

2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, butter and pecans until they form a crumb mixture. Press the mixture  into the prepared pan. Bake  for 15 to 20 minutes . Cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processer combine the  cream cheese and sugar and beat or process for about 2 minutes or until combined. By hand, fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spread the mixture over the top of the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set. Stir in nutmeg and extract. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serves 16.

 

Submitted by Irene Koslowski Chicago IL source unknown

 

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE COOKIE ICE BOX CAKE

 

3 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies [or, make your own!]

Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

 

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center. Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

 

Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

STRAWBERRY ICE BOX CAKE WITH FUDGE DRIZZLE

 

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced thin (save 5 or 6 whole ones for garnish)

3 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided (3 cup +1/4 cup)

2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided (1/3 +1/3)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 sleeves (about 19 ounces, or 24 to 28 whole crackers) graham crackers

2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

 

In the bowl or an electric mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until they form medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and whip to stiff peaks. .

 

Spread a dollop of the whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Place six graham crackers on top of the whipped cream. Gently spread more whipped cream on top of the graham crackers. Place a layer of sliced strawberries on top. Repeat this process to create three more layers (total four layers of graham crackers and 3 layers of strawberry slices) End with a layer of whipped cream.

 

To make the frosting, in a microwave bowl combine the chocolate butter and ¼ cup cream. Heat just until the chocolate and butter melt. Whisk slightly and then add the remaining powdered sugar. Whisk vigorously to remove any lumps. If there are lumps microwave for at 10 seconds and whisk again. Drizzle the fudge frosting over the top. Refrigerate for at least four hours. Garnish with the whole berries. Serves 10 to 12.

 

My files, source unknown

 

EASY LEMON ICE BOX PIE

 

1 small can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 graham cracker crust, readymade is fine

2 to 3 cups whipped topping or whipped whip cream

 

Mix everything together until smooth and pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until set about 1 hour.

 

My files, source unknown

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL ICE BOX PIE

I saw a version of this recipe in a magazine a few weeks ago and just had to make it. It was AMAZING!

 

2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups whipping cream, divided

1/3 cup granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar then firmly press it on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned then let cool completely. In the bowl of a food processor chop up the strawberries, brushing down the sides as needed until they are in smallish pieces but NOT puréed. Remove them from the bowl. Place the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese in the bowl (you don’t have to clean it out) and process until smooth. By hand, fold in the strawberries. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat 3/4 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into strawberry mixture. Spoon the strawberry filling into prepared crust. Cover and freeze 8 to 12 hours or until firm. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over pie. Freeze 1 hour or until whipped cream is firm. Serves 8

 

Modified from a recipe in Southern Living JUNE 2012

 

CHOCOLATE CRUST LEMON RASPBERRY ICE BOX PIE

 

1 (9 inch) chocolate cookie pie crusts (store bought or homemade)

 

Filling

2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (do not use low or no fat)

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

1 1/2 pints fresh raspberry (more for garnish if you like)

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese and condensed milk. Beat or process smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the lemon juice and continue beating for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and then spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover with and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours or overnight. When you’re ready to serve sprinkle 1 pint of the berries over the top.  Then in the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whipping cream until it has soft peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and remaining raspberries and beat until the mixture has stiff peaks. Gently spread the raspberry whipped cream over the raspberries on the top of the pie. Slice and serve right away, garnishing each slice with additional raspberries.

 

My files, source unknown

 

AMBROSIA ICE BOX CAKE

 

1/2 cup pineapple juice

3 eggs (2 yolks room temperature)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 pinch fine salt

1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sweet white wine

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

18 ladyfingers (soft)

12 cup shredded coconut (sweetened, lightly toasted)

 

In a sauce pan bring the pineapple juice to a simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Slowly pour the hot pineapple juice into egg mixture, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until it boils and coats back of a spoon. Continue cooking about 1 more minute. Remove the  mixture  from the heat and then whisk  in the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

Zest 1 orange and place it in a bowl. Peel and section the orange, then cut the sections into pieces. Combine the pieces and the zest. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the whipping cream together until it form soft peaks. Fold in the orange and zest. Whip cream and confectioners’ sugar together until soft peaks form and fold into chopped orange.

 

Combine the orange juice and white wine in a bowl. Lightly brush the ladyfingers with this liquid and then press into bottom and along sides of 6 ramekins. Evenly divide the pineapple curd among ramekins. Top each with the orange whipped cream and toasted coconut. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Release cakes from ramekins to serve. Serves 6

 

Modified from Yummly.com

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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

Carrots Carrots and More Carrots/ Kosher and Non Kosher Recipes

 

So when is a vegetable bargain REALLY bargain? Answer:  when it’s a 10lb bag of carrots and you only need 2 lbs but the 10lb bag is only $1 more than the 2 lb bag. No brainer, you buy it. The truth is I always have carrots in the fridge; sometimes I just have more of them than other times. It’s when I have too many that I really great creative.

Carrots are my go to veggie that are always in season and ALWAYS cheaper than any other vegetable out there. They are delicious cooked or fresh you can always count on them to lend color and fiber to any meal. I call them the Robin Williams of vegetables, all over the place when it comes to their color. They come in the ever popular international orange we all recognize, white, or red, yellow purple (yes purple) and everything in between. On top of being the “pretty” vegetable  carrots  are a terrific source of  potassium, manganese, foliate, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, C and K.

So now I’ve got all these carrots and I can only needed 2lbs for the soup I was making (recipe below). I figured that since I had them I might as well use them all at once because, well, I just cook that way. I went digging for carrot recipes that were just a little bit different and easy to make and delicious enough that even the most finicky of non veggie lovers would like.

 

PARSNIPS AND CARROTS WITH HONEY AND ROSEMARY

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound carrots (about 4 large), peeled, cut into bite sized pieces

1 pound large parsnips, peeled, cut into bite sized pieces

kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

 

Heat the oil in large skillet. Add the carrots, sugar and parsnips and saute until the carrot and parsnips start to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the butter, rosemary, and honey and mix to coat. Cook, stirring constantly until the vegetables are coated about 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serves 8

 

Modified Bon Appétit November 2007 submitted by Molly Stevens

CARROT SLAW

 

6 medium carrots, shredded.
1/2 a head of green cabbage, shredded

1/2 a head of red cabbage, shredded.

4 green onions, sliced thin
2/3 cup of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of orange juice

Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup salted sunflower seeds

 

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, green onions, cabbage. Toss to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, sugar and orange juice. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but up to 6 hours before serving. Sprinkle the sunflower seeds over the top and serve. Serves 10 to 12

CARROT SOUP WITH A KICK

 

8 carrots, chopped
5 celery stalks, cut into pieces

1 parsnip, peeled, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped

4 cups of water
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons of curry powder
sea salt to taste

 

In a large soup pot heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, celery and onion for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly until they are soft. Add the curry powder and mix to coat. Add the carrots, parsnip, and water. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Cool slightly and then process in a food processor or blender until the soup is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Submitted by Antonia Marcarni Chicago IL

CARROT & PASTA

 

3 large carrots, washed, peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

A little kosher salt

1 onion, sliced into rounds

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic, finely diced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 lb cooked pasta, spaghetti, rottini or bow tie

 

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into long thing strips. Place the strips in a bowl and sprinkle them with a little kosher salt. Place the oil in the bottom of a large pan and add the carrots and onions and stir frequently.  When the carrots start to soften, add the garlic and pepper and continue cooking for about 5 minutes but make sure not to let the veggies get too browned. Add the spaghetti sauce, oregano and basil and then continue to simmer until the everything is hot. Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta. Serves 6 to 8.

 

My file source unknown

 

APRICOT CARROTS WITH WILD RICE PILAF

 

3 cups baby carrots or regular carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons oil

12 to 16 dried apricots, chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon allspice

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup water

2 cups wild rice/white rice mix cooked

 

Steam carrots until tender, but still firm and then set them aside. In a skillet saute the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are soft. Add the ginger, cloves, sugar, and apricots and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the sugar has been incorporated. Add the water and whisk until the sauce thickens slightly.  Add the carrots, and cook for a few minutes until the carrots are hot throughout. Add the rice, mix to combine and serve. Serves 6.

 

My file source unknown

ULTIMATE CARROT CAKE

 

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

1/2 cup buttermilk or milk or non dairy substitute

2/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1 pound finely grated carrots

1 cup toasted chopped pecans

1 cup golden raisins

1 batch Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

 

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by lightly coating with oil and lining with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg together in a bowl.  Set aside.

 

In a large bowl combine the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, brown sugar, vanilla, and pineapple together, mix to combine.   Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.   Stir in the carrots, pecans and raisins just until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake on the center rack for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool cakes in their pans for at least 30 minutes before attempting to remove them.  Then, removed from the pans and peel off the parchment paper.  Continue to cool the cakes completely before frosting.

 

To assemble the cake, place the bottom layer on a cardboard round or other flat surface and put on a cake turntable. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups of the cream cheese icing onto the top of the bottom cake layer.  Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the surface.  Carefully place the second layer on top.  Scoop another 1 1/2 cups or so of the frosting on the top of the cake and spread evenly, easing the frosting down the sides.  Spread the icing around the sides of the cake, adding more as needed.  Lift the cake off the turn table and place on a cake stand or platter and chill a bit to firm up the frosting before slicing.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar to taste

 

Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add extracts and beat just until incorporated.  Beat in sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting has the flavor and consistency you want.  You may not need to add all of the sugar.

 

Adapted from The Essential Baker via Zoe Bakes

© Eileen Goltz carrots12

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.

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.

Asparagus and Artichoke/ Spring has Sprung Recipes

Every spring as I start to approach that dreaded day, (no, not April 15 or the last day of school for my kids) where I have to make the decision as to whither or not to actually purchase that new swim suit I’ve been trying to avoid for the past 3 years (deciding to actually put it on and then go outside in it is another column relating to nervous breakdowns).
I look back at all the candy bar breakfasts, french fry and or pizza lunches, and milk shake and corn chip dinners that I snarfed my way through this last winter and I think, “WAS I OUT OF MY MIND?!?”
I know, that unlike my sister Lois, who’s mottos is “I never met a swim suit I liked (or who liked me)” and “Control Top forever” that I’ll inevitably get into that “Oh yeah, it’s spring, I’d better start eating right, diet” mind set.
This isn’t actually that much of a hardship as it might appear to be. Right now, I know that the 2 vegetables that I love the most but ignore most of the year because they’re SOOOOOO expensive can be mine at bargain prices (rain, floods and other natural disasters inCalifornia not with standing). Every produce section I’ve visited in the last few weeks has been full to overflowing with my produce pals the Artichoke and Asparagus.

For inquiring minds the artichoke is a native of theMediterranean. It’s also a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower (Compositae) family. The “vegetable” that we eat is actually the plant’s flower bud. The Asparagus is a member of the Lily family and its spears grow from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils.

When choosing an artichoke it should look compact, (not necessarily small) plump, have the leaves tightly packed and have an even green color overall. The asparagus should have firm stems, tight closed leaves at the end and should be a bright green. (If you’re lucky enough to find the white variety of asparagus grab it quickly. It’s very difficult to find in the United States. It may cost a small fortune but once you taste it you’ll be forever hooked.

BASIC COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
If the asparagus is more than 1/4 inch thick, peel it if you like. Snap or trim the bottom base off (about 1 inch from the bottom) and rinse. Gently steam or boil the asparagus until it’s crisp tender. Serve immediately if you wish to serve it hot. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process if you wish to serve it cold. You can also roast it with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Serve it crisp tender, hot, warm or room temperature.
Rinse the artichoke. Cut off the tip of each large leaf. Then cut off the top 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the artichoke with a sharp knife. Cut off the bottom 1/2 inch of the stem. Boil or steam the artichokes in a covered pot. Cook 30 to 40 minutes at a rolling boil or until the outer leaves pull away easily. Remove from heat and serve either hot or cold with butter or other sauces for dipping. To eat. Pull off the leaves, dip the meaty bottom part of the leaf in the dipping sauce and bite off. You can remove all the leaves and just eat the bottom or heart of the artichoke. You must however remove the top part of the  heart (small bitter leaves and filaments in the center) before you can eat the bottom portion. Fresh artichoke taste wonderful, however if you need to use a large amount for a recipe the canned or frozen variety work almost as well.

 

Now is the time to grab these first offerings of spring and go for the gusto.

SESAME ASPARAGUS
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into thirds
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted*

Cook asparagus in a large pot or frying pan of boiling water till crisp-tender, about 3-5 minutes.  Drain and rinse asparagus under cold water.  Drain well.

Heat vegetable oil in  a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bell pepper and stir 1 minute.  Add asparagus and sauté till heated through, about 2 minutes.  Add soy sauce and sesame oil.  Toss till asparagus and bell pepper are coated.  Transfer to platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

* To toast sesame seeds, place them in a toaster oven on a metal pan and toast 1-2 cycles, till lightly browned and popping.  Alternatively, place in a frying pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, till lightly browned and popping. Serves 4.

 

FETTUCCINI WITH SMOKED SALMON AND ASPARAGUS

8- to 9-oz dried egg fettuccine
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon drained bottled horseradish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
6 to 8 oz smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch-wide ribbons

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions. Add asparagus to pot for last 3 minutes of pasta-cooking time.
While asparagus is boiling, heat cream, horseradish, and dill in a large skillet over moderate heat just until hot, about 1 minute. Drain pasta and asparagus and add to cream mixture, tossing. Gently toss in salmon and season with salt and pepper. Serves 6

For a lighter sauce, you can replace 1/3 cup of the cream with an equal amount of the pasta-cooking water

From  Epicurious.com

ASPARAGUS PASTA SALAD

4 ounces uncooked pasta, bow tie style
1/2 half pound of asparagus spears, cut up, steamed crisp tender
1/2 cup shredded carrots
4 teaspoons chopped green onions
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 to 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Herb Vinaigrette
salad greens
4 hard cooked eggs cut into quarters

 

Vinaigrette:

2/3 cup wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in cold water and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the pasta, asparagus, carrot, green onions and cheeses. Add the dressing and toss lightly. Spoon onto salad greens and garnish with egg quarters.  Serves 8.

 

For the vinaigrette: combine all the ingredients in a jar with lid and shake well. Makes 1 1/3 cups

SMOKED WHITE FISH AND ASPARAGUS SALAD

12 new potatoes cut in half or quarters depending on their size
1 pound asparagus, cooked crisp tender and cooled and cut in 1/3’s
1 pound smoked white fish, broken into small pieces
1 head shredded red leaf lettuce
4 to 5 hard cooked eggs
2 to 3 tomato cut into wedges
2/3 cup tarragon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leave
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in boiling water until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and set aside.   Combine the vinegar, oil tarragon, bay leaf, garlic and salt and pepper in a jar with a lid and shake well. While the potatoes are still slightly warm slice them and arrange them in the bottom of a shallow dish. Add the asparagus. Remove the bay leaf from the dressing and drizzle 1/4 of the dressing over the asparagus and potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. To serve place the lettuce on the serving plate and arrange the marinated vegetables on top. Then place the white fish chunks, tomatoes wedges and egg wedges on the top. Drizzle the remaining dressing on the top. Serves 8

ORANGEAND ARTICHOKE SALAD

6  cooked artichoke hearts
1/2 tablespoon margarine
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 oranges, peeled, and segmented
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
salad greens
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Saute the garlic in the margarine and place in a small bowl. Cut the hearts into quarters and set aside. Add the oil, orange juice, grated orange rind and the lemon juice to the garlic. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine the orange segments and the artichoke hearts in a large bowl and drizzle the sauce over. Let set for at least 1 hour. To serve: arrange the artichoke and oranges on the salad greens and sprinkle with the parsley. Serves 4. This can be doubled.

TICKLISH ARTICHOKES
10 artichoke hearts, uncooked and halved
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

Soak the artichoke hearts in the lemon juice, salt and water for approx 1 hour. Pour them and the liquid in which they were steeped in a pot with the oil, garlic, and sugar. Simmer gently until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the artichokes to a serving dish. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch and pour over the hearts. Cool sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley and serve cold as a side dish. Serves 4 this can be doubled.

 

BABY ARTICHOKE CHICKEN SAUTE

 

16 baby artichokes

1/4 cup olive oil

4 half chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cut into chunks

2 red or yellow onions, sliced thick

4 cloves garlic minced

1 tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and rosemary or 1 teaspoon each dried

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 pound fettuccine, cooked and drained

Prepare artichokes as directed (see Basic Preparation); cut into halves. Brown chicken in large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and saute the onions until tender. Add the artichokes to the skillet with garlic, basil and rosemary. Cook until artichokes are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in browned chicken and drizzle with chicken broth; heat thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve over hot fettuccine. Makes 4 servings. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Quintessential Club Sandwiches/ Recipes that make you say “make me a member” (kosher)

To paraphrase the words of Grocho Marks, why would I want to belong to a club that would have me as a member? Well, obviously, he wasn’t talking about a club that loves club sandwiches because everyone I know who’s ever eaten one is a member of that organization for life.

A classic club sandwich for those of you who have never had this tasty treat is a triple decker sandwich combination of bread, turkey, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise. The most popular theory is that the club sandwich was first served in 1894 at the famous Saratoga Club House the very same place where potato chips were invented.  What is probably more likely origin story is that club sandwich was created in the club cars of the trains zipping in and out of New York, Chicago and Philly (and yes, Philly cheese steak sandwiches are a subject for another column).

I belong to the cooking club of tweaking a recipe once I’ve got it right the first time just because I can and well, I usually end up with something if not better at least more interesting. The following club sandwich recipes are all variations on a theme and all delicious.  For the very best eating experience I suggest that, when possible, you use leftover turkey or chicken rather than the processed and sliced kind of deli meat you usually find in this kind of sandwich if you’re ordering it at a restaurant. Real meat as opposed to processed is always better for you. You can use whatever type of bread you like (whole grain is nice) and low or no fat mayo is just fine.

TUNA AND PEPPER CLUB (dairy)

 

1/3 cup buttermilk ranch salad dressing

2 red peppers, seeded and diced and divided

1 12-oz. can solid white tuna, drained and broken in chunks

2 stalks celery, diced

1 cup whole kernel corn, drained

4 or 5 thin slices of red onion

12 slices toasted whole wheat or rye bread

lettuce

 

In blender container combine the dressing and 1 diced red pepper; process but not too much, you want there to be chunks of the red peppers in the sauce. Set the sauce aside. In a bowl combine the remaining diced pepper, tuna, celery, corn, and 1/4 cup of the sauce.  For each sandwich, spread two slices of toasted bread with the sauce. Top one with the tuna mixture, a slice or two of red onion and lettuce. Place another piece of bread on top and repeat finishing with a third piece of bread. Secure with 2 toothpicks and then cut in half diagonally. Makes 4 sandwiches

VEGI CHICKEN CLUB SANDWICH (meat)

 

2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts, sliced into 10 to 12 pieces

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons oil

1 long loaf multi grain bread or Italian bread (not sliced)

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup honey Dijon mustard

1 to 1 1/2 pounds kosher breakfast beef, cooked and drained

4 roma tomatoes, sliced

2 avocados, pitted, sliced thin

1/2 carton alfalfa sprouts

1 thinly sliced English cucumber

6 to 8 lettuce leaves

 

 

Slice the loaf of bread in thirds lengthwise and set it aside. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a grill pan and cook the chicken pieces for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until just done. Set the pieces aside on paper towel to drain. Slice the loaf of bread horizontally and set aside. In a bowl combine the mayonnaise with the honey Dijon mustard and mix to combine. Spread the mustard-mayonnaise on the bottom third of the sliced bread. Arrange 1/2 of the chicken slices on the bottom layer of the bread. Top with the 1/2 of the breakfast beef, 1/2 tomatoes, 1/2 avocados, 1/2 the bean sprouts and 1/2 the cucumber and lettuce leaves. Place the middle third of the bread on top and repeat the layering starting with the mayonnaise. Spread the top of the bread with the remaining mayonnaise mixture and top the sandwich. Secure the sandwich with toothpicks and slice into 6 sandwiches. Serves 6

 

SALAMI CLUB SANDWICH (meat)

 

1/2 (16-ounce) Italian bread loaf

1/4 cup Italian dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup mustard

1/2 pound sliced salami

1/2 pound sliced smoked turkey

lettuce leaves

3 roma tomatoes, sliced

8 turkey pastrami

 

Cut bread diagonally into 12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices; arrange on a baking sheet. Brush slices evenly with Italian dressing. Bake at 375 for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted. Spread untoasted sides of bread slices evenly with mayonnaise and mustard. Layer 4 bread slices, mayonnaise side up, with salami, and turkey. Top with 4 bread slices, mayonnaise side up; layer with lettuce, tomato, and turkey pastrami. Top with remaining 4 bread slices, mayonnaise side down. Cut in half, and secure with wooden picks. Serves 4.

 

Modified from Southern Living, JANUARY 2001

 

TEX MEX CLUB (meat)

 

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

1 tablespoon minced onion

8 slices kosher breakfast beef, cooked and drained

6 slices hearty grain bread

8 slices deli hickory smoked or barbeque turkey

4 large tomato slices

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, sliced

red leaf lettuce leaves

 

In a bowl combine the mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, minced onion and chili powder. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over one side of the bread slices. On the first piece of bread layer a 1 lettuce leaf, 2 slices of turkey, then 2 slices of kosher breakfast beef, then a slice of tomato and then a 2 slices of avocado. Season with a little salt and pepper. Place another piece of bread on top and repeat. Place the 3rd slice of bread mayonnaise side down. Secure with toothpicks and cut in half. Repeat for the second sandwich. Serves 2.

 

Submitted by Roxanne Lemers Fort Meyers FL

 

LEFTOVER CRANBERRY TURKEY CLUB (meat)

 

3 slices whole grain bread

2 leaves lettuce

2 slices fresh tomato

4 strips cooked turkey bacon

3 to 4 oz leftover cooked turkey

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon leftover cranberry sauce

 

In a bowl combine the mayonnaise and cranberry sauce. Toast three slices of bread. Spread one side of each slice with the mayonnaise mixture. On the first piece of bread place lettuce on top of the mayonnaise. Put a slice of tomato on top of that, then the a few pieces of turkey and 2 pieces of turkey bacon. Place the second slice of bread on top of the cheese, mayonnaise side down. Spread the top of this slice of bread with the mayonnaise mixture. Repeat the layering sequence and top with the remaining slice of bread. Secure with toothpicks and slice diagonally. Makes 2

 

Submitted by Charles Katrell Chicago IL

RASPBERRY CHICKEN CLUB (meat)

 

1 package puff pastry

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

4 tablespoons honey, divided

6 ounces thinly sliced deli chicken breast

6 ounces thinly sliced turkey pastrami

1/3 to 1/2 cup raspberry preserves

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

 

Preheat oven to 400. Defrost the puff pastry sheets and place them on parchment paper and then place the puff pastry on cookie sheets  Cut along the lines so that each sheet is cut into 3 pieces. In a microwave bowl combine the butter and 2 tablespoons honey. Microwave for 15 to 20 seconds and then brush the mixture over the dough. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until just lightly golden browned. Cool to room temperature. Spread the top of 2 layers with the raspberry mixture. Top the preserves with the chicken. Place the second layer of the crust on top of the chicken. Spread this layer with more preserves.  Layer the pastrami on top of the preserves. Top with the third crust. Spread the remaining honey mixture on top. Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds. Return the loafs to the oven and bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes before cutting. Cut each loaf into 4 sections. Makes 8 pieces

 

BREAKFAST CLUB SANDWICH (dairy)

Even though this isn’t technically a club sandwich this recipe from thatsmyhome.com is sooooo delicious I just had to share it.

 

Peanut streusel:

 

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

 

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 eggs, beaten to blend

1/3 cup milk

12 slices firm white or egg bread

3 to 4 bananas, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Ground cinnamon

Maple syrup, optional

 

For streusel, combine brown sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon. Add peanut butter. Work into mixture using 2 forks or your fingers, until blended and crumbly. Set aside.

 

Blend cream cheese, sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat together the eggs and milk in a large, flat dish. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons cream-cheese mixture on each bread slice. Top a slice of bread with sliced bananas. Place second slice of bread with cream cheese side down on bananas. Repeat for remaining bread slices. Spray 2 (13-by-9-inch) glass baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray. Dip a sandwich in the egg mixture, turning to coat each side. Repeat. Place 3 sandwiches in each dish; sprinkle with cinnamon. Have oven heating to 375.Sprinkle about 2 1/2 tablespoons streusel topping over each sandwich, pressing lightly to make it adhere to the bread slice. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Slice in half, corner to corner, for each serving, and serve with maple syrup, if desired. Serves 6.

 

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