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

Parsley, Always a Bridesmaid Ingredient/Passover and Easter Recipes

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

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

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

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

PARSLEY BAKED SALMON

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk

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

2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice

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

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

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

Great with fish or over vegetables

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

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

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

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

 

PARSLEY POTATO BISQUE

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

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks, sliced

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

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

 

Modified from May All Be Fed by John Robbins

PEPPER PARSLEY CELERY SOUP

 

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

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

Chopped parsley for garnish

 

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

 

Submitted by Joslyn Kemintsky Chicago IL

 

HEARTS OF PALM AND PARSLEY CHOPPED SALAD

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

1 can black olives, chopped

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

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

2 cups chopped romaine or red leaf lettuce

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

 

PARMESAN   CAULIFLOWER AND PARSLEY SALAD

 

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

 

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

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

Modified   from Gourmet May 2006

ALMOND, PARSLEY AND PORTABELLA SALAD

 

6 to 8 portabella mushrooms cleaned and sliced thin

1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)

4 to 6 chopped green onions

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 cup of your favorite Italian salad dressing

1 red pepper diced

4 stalks celery, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon  vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 cup toasted almonds

 

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

 

LIME AND PARSLEY CHOPPED SALAD

 

1 head romaine or red leaf lettuce, chopped

1 English cucumber sliced

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 avocados, diced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

 

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

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.

 

Superbowl Update: We Dip, We Eat and Everybody Wins

Ok sports fans, it’s the end of the first quarter, the bases are loaded, one more goal and it’s a hat trick and the quarterback takes the snap. He runs down the court, the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking 5,4,3, 2…………he shoots, he scores and………………he was fouled!!! In my dyslexic world of sport this is how I see this Super Bowl being played.

Yes, surprising to most who know me, I’m a sports fan, sort of. It’s time for the annual Super bowl, you know that the annual game of who out lasted whom in the different football leagues (do they still have leagues don’t they?) or as it is less commonly known, the high holy day of chips and dips.

In keeping with the sports metaphors, dare I say puns, I feel are in keeping with the day, it’s a pretty much the same set up every year (only the players (re: guests) and game plan (recipes) change. Appetizers until half time and then sandwiches. Victory desserts after the game. This game plan gives everyone the ability to be “on the field” eating all day long and yet not feel as if they were not going to be benched for a foul like double dipping your chip or failing to stop passage of the “special” punch to an underage illegal receiver.

The following recipes are all winners no matter which team you’re rooting for to bring home the Turner Cup. It is the Turner Cup isn’t it?

HOT ARTICHOKE DIP

1 can (14 ounce) artichoke hearts, drained

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 teaspoon minced garlic (or to taste), minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoonTabascosauce or other red pepper sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts, and combine with all other ingredients. Stir to mix well. Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.

Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve with assorted crackers, bread, or other dippers. Makes about 12 servings.

HOT CRAB DIP

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons Creole mustard

1 tablespoon horseradish cream

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 cup minced celery

1/4 cup minced onion

Tabascosauce, to taste

1 pound fresh crabmeat

1 cup coarsely crumbled cornbread (I use store bought)

Heat the oven to 400 and arrange a rack in middle. Place mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish cream,OldBay, celery, and onion in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Season with salt andTabascosauce, add crab, and mix until well incorporated. Place crab mixture in a 3-cup ovenproof dish and top with crumbled cornbread. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with toasts or celery sticks. Serves 8 to 10.

Submitted by Bettie Aldich-WagnerOak ParkIL

BROWN SUGAR DIP

1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup pecans, toasted
3 pounds pears, cored and sliced
3 pounds apples, cored and sliced

Combine first 4 ingredients in a heavy saucepan; cook over medium heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with pear and apple slices. Serves 12 to 14.

HOT PIZZA DIP

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (8 ounce) can pizza sauce
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons sliced green onion

Heat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and Italian seasoning; mix well. Spread mixture in the bottom of a medium-size casserole dish. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture over cream cheese. Spread pizza sauce over cheese. Top with remaining cheese, pepper and onions. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until bubbly. Serves 12. Can be heated in the microwave.

HOT BRIE DIP

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
8 ounces Brie cheese, trimmed and cut into pieces
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce salt and pepper to taste
1 (8 ounce) round bread loaf

Heat oven to 400. Saute onion and garlic in butter until golden. Set aside. Put Brie and cream cheese in a bowl and microwave until soft. Mix in onion and garlic, sour cream, lemon juice, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Hollow out the middle of the loaf and fill with mixture. Wrap in foil and bake in oven until bubbly, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Dust with paprika if desired. Serve hot with bread pieces or crackers. Makes 2 cups.

 

HOT RUBIN DIP
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large onion, finely diced
1/2 pound corned beef, sliced and shredded
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained and chopped fine
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups grated Swiss cheese

Melt butter or margarine in a 4-quart sauce pot. Add diced onion and cook until golden brown. Add corned beef and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often over medium heat. Drain excess fat. Add cream cheese in chunks, stirring after each addition. Add sauerkraut and pickle relish. Add ketchup, mayonnaise and Swiss cheese. Stir until well blended and melted. Serve in fondue pot or chafing dish with toasted mini rye triangles. Serves 6 to 8.

From an old SUNSET Magazine in my files.

SPINACH BACON DIP

1/2 cup pecans
1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed, 8 oz. frozen, thawed and drained
8 slices bacon
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapenos
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Heat the oven to 300. Spread the pecans in a cake pan and toast them until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool, and then coarsely chop the nuts. Set aside.

Wash the spinach well. Drain the spinach and immediately transfer the damp leaves to a large pot set over high heat. Cover and cook until the leaves are just wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Strain and let stand until cool. Squeeze the spinach and dry on paper towels. Chop very fine and set aside. In a saute pan, fry the bacon over until crisp, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then cut each slice crosswise into half-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise, and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the spinach and jalapenos and mix well. Stir in the pecans and bacon. Add the Worcestershire sauce and salt and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate the dip for at least 1 hour. Bring it to room temperature before serving. Serves 12.

BUFFALO CHICKEN WING DIP

1 can chicken (large size)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
celery sticks, crackers or corn chips

Preheat oven to 350. Melt cream cheese over low heat. Once creamy, add blue cheese dressing, hot sauce, and chicken. Remove from heat, fold in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Pour into square 8×8 oven-safe dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks, crackers or corn chips.

Submitted by Carlos RaminezNY,NY

NAUGHTY NACHO CHEESE DIP

1/2 cup beer

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 16-ounce can refried beans

1/2 cup purchased chunky hot salsa

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Tortilla chips

In a saucepan combine the beer, cumin, dried oregano and garlic powder. Bring to simmer. Add beans and salsa; stir until heated through. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Transfer to bowl. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Makes about 4 cups

Reinventing the Slider or Thank You White Castle

             

Ever hear of a guy named Walter Anderson? Well, he’s the culinary genius who gave us White Castle and the world famous concept of the slider (they call it a slyder, just so we’re clear here). Thanks to good ole Walt, we can all chow down on lots of teeny tiny burgers and call ourselves gourmets. While my youth was spent gobbling down those 2 ½ in square mouthfuls of ground beef and onions my adult years have seen me take my fascination with these burger babies to a whole new level.

This mini teeny tiny burgers craze has been sweeping low and high eating establishments for years now and I’ve taken it upon myself to sample quite a few of the more outlandish ones. Sliders are smaller than the super sized fast food staples we’ve grown accustomed to but small in size doesn’t mean it has to be small in the flavor department. Your sliders don’t have to be limited to beef they can be a reinvented by using chicken, or fish or even veggies.

If sliders are guilty pleasures then lock me up and throw away the key. Better yet, put me in the kitchen with these following recipes and sentence me to a life time of eating these delicious treats.

 Note: The best way to assemble and serve your sliders is to place all the sliced rolls (toasted if you prefer them that way) on a platter and  top each bottom, in an assembly line fashion with the lettuce, tomatoes, dressing, ketchup, mayo or mustard you’re using.

 

MUSHROOM AND BEEF SLIDERS

 

3 pounds ground beef

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon margarine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lb sliced mushrooms (your choice but I like to use at least 2 different kinds)

1 red onion diced

2 tablespoons white wine

Dijon mustard and mayonnaise to taste

12 dinner rolls

 

Melt margarine and olive oil in large sauté pan. Add the mushrooms, onion and wine and sauté just until the mushrooms and onions are soft, season with salt and pepper to taste. Set the vegetables aside. In a bowl combine the ground beef, salt, and pepper in bowl, divide the meat into 4 ounces patties. You can cook them on a grill or in a grill pan. Toast the buns slightly and spread the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard on them.  Place beef patty on bottom bun and spoon the mushroom and onion mixture over the patty and top with the remaining bun.  Makes 12.

 

Submitted by Art Rostburn Trenton NJ

 

HOT LOX SLIDERS

 

1 lb lox (smoked salmon)

4 green onions, minced

2 tablespoons fresh minced dill

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

pepper

1 egg

3 to 4 tablespoon breadcrumbs

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

8 small dinner rolls, toasted

8 slices cucumber

8 slices of avocado 

 

Place the lox in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to get smallish pieces. Be careful not to make it a puree. Place the minced lox in a bowl and add the, egg, bread crumbs, green onions, dill, and lemon juice, mustard and olive oil. Season with pepper. Form the mixture into 8 small patties. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and lightly sear both sides of the patty and immediately place it on the bottom half of toasted roll. Top with a cucumber and avocado slice and place the top on top. Makes 8

 

CARAMELIZED ONION TURKEY SLIDERS

 

Onions:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

Pinch salt and pepper

2 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

 

Burger:

1 lb ground turkey

2 teaspoon olive oil

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2 green onions, finely chopped

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper

8 rolls

 

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet. Saute the celery and green onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set the mixture aside.

 

In the same skillet, heat 2 more teaspoons olive oil. When oil is hot saute the onions with the sugar and season with salt and pepper and cook. Saute about 15 20 minutes until the onions are golden, stir occasionally.

 

In a bowl combine the ground turkey, Tabasco sauce, smoked paprika, mayonnaise and cooked onion and celery mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Gently combine the ingredients. Make 8 small patties. Either spray a skillet with non stick spray or heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Cook until the bottoms are just turning brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the burgers, baste with bbq sauce and cook 4 more minutes. Flip once again, baste it with the bbq sauce and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes. Place patty in bun and top with caramelized onions. Makes 8.

 

LAMB SLIDERS WITH MOCK YOGURT SAUCE

 

Sauce:

1/2 cup mock yogurt

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons grated cucumber

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

salt to taste

 

Burgers:

1 1/2 pound lean ground lamb

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tsp salt

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 to 10 small rolls, split (mini sandwich rolls or small dinner rolls work great)

Preparation:

 

To make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine  the mock yogurt, garlic, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, pepper and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

To make the lamb burgers: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Form the mixture into 8 to 10 small, thin patties. Heat a skillet (cast iron is good to use) over high heat and brush with oil. Add the lamb burgers and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side for medium.

 

Lightly toast the rolls, then place a lamb burger in each and top with the sauce. Makes 8 to 10.

 

Modified from epicurious

 

CHICKEN AND VEGGIE SLIDERS

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 can (7 ounces) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

8 small buns

1/2 cup minced mushrooms (I like portabella)

8 tomatoes slices

2 cups bean sprouts

 

 Heat the oil in a skillet. Saute the pepper, mushrooms, onion and garlic in the skillet until they start to get a little soft. Add the chicken, barbecue sauce, chipotles and 1/4 cup water; cover and simmer until chicken is done, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Remove chicken from sauce; place on a plate to cool for 5 minutes. Shred the chicken and return it to the sauce stirring to coat. Place the bottom half of the buns on a cookie sheet. Divide the chicken mixture evenly between them and then top with tomato slices and the sprouts. Top with the top of the bun, secure with a tooth pick and serve.  Makes 8

 

Modified from Self magazine recipe (date unknown)

 

SHRIMP SLIDERS

 

1 1/4 pounds salmon filets chopped (not too small)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

2 teaspoons lemon juice

A few dashes of hot sauce

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

3 green onions, chopped, green and white parts

1 1/4 cups crushed crackers (approx 24 crackers)

12 mini buns, split

Toppings: tartar sauce, sliced red onions, cucumber slices (at least 24)

 

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it with cooking spray. In a bowl combine the egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce, Old Bay, salt, pepper, cilantro, green onions. Fold in the chopped salmon and cracker crumbs, the mixture will be very thick. Shape the mixture into 12 patties. Place the patties on the cookie sheet and cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least one hour (you can refrigerate overnight).

 

To Bake:

Preheat oven to 375. Place baking sheet with shrimp patties in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until firm and shrimp have turned pink.

 

To Pan-Fry:

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp patties 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels.

 

To Finish:

Place the patties on bottom halves of buns, top with tartar sauce, red onions, and 2 cucumber slices each. Makes 12 sliders or 4 full-sized burgers;

 

Adapted Southern Living Magazine (date unknown)

Yo Yo Yogurt

           
After watching Jamie Lee Curtis touting the benefits and joy of regularity that comes with of eating of Activia ® I was filled  with a fair amount of trepidation (and a few really good one liners) as I approached this column about yogurt. I figured I’d take a pass on the gas jokes and just get down to the basics of writing about the benefits and good stuff that comes from consuming of good old fashioned yogurt.
So what exactly is yogurt? While some of the less informed may immediately think of the creamy sweet stuff in little plastic tubs with fruit on the bottom or the frozen custard like stuff with flavors like caramel crème and chocolate mousse plain yogurt is actually milk that has had bacteria added to it. This good for you bacteria causes the milk to ferment and thicken. This fermented thick mixture is strained and the liquid is drained off. The end result is a tangy creamy mixture that has the consistency of sour cream. Besides being delicious yogurt is also full of calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Regular yogurt is strained once or twice, the new kid on the block, Greek yogurt is, however, strained three times (or more) making for a much thicker and denser consistency.
           Which yogurt is better for you to utilize when climbing the food pyramid, you ask? On one hand Greek yogurt has almost double the protein and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. However, regular yogurt has three times the calcium as the Greek variety so choose which ever one works best for you. Finally, it’s really a tossup when it comes to calories (watch what you add to it) and if price is your only concern the Greek yogurt is typically far more expensive.
On the technical side, I prefer to use Greek yogurt to replace cream cheese, sour cream, or ricotta cheese in baking or cooking. The regular yogurt tends to curdle more than the Greek variety when you cook with it.  I gravitate towards regular yogurt when I’m making dips, salad dressing, smoothies, desserts and sauces. When you add fresh fruit either variety works great.
So if there was a smack down cooking cage match between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt which should you bet on and buy? The answer is that it’s a draw you win with both and whoever gets to eat what you make takes home the prize.
   
Yogurt Tips:
1. Use yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream to reduce calories and fat.
2. Add yogurt to your marinades. Its high acid content is a great tenderizer.
3.  Add yogurt near the end of the cooking process to prevent curdling.
4. Use yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk, sour cream, or butter to reduce calories and fat in baking.
5. Don’t use aluminum pans when cooking with yogurt, the acid could cause a negative reaction.
YOGURT MASHED CAULIFLOWER

2 heads of cau¬li¬flower (flo¬rets only)
6 oz con¬tainer of Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons but¬ter
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 to 1 tablespoon mince garlic
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 to 3 chopped green onions for gar¬nish
Salt and pep¬per to taste

In a medium pot, bring the water to boil. Add the cau¬li¬flower flo¬rets to the boil¬ing water and let then cook it for about 8 min¬utes or until they are soft. Remove the florets from the heat and drain then in a colander. In a food proces¬sor, com¬bine the cau¬li¬flower with the yogurt, but¬ter, gar¬lic and minced onion and process with pulses until you have a con¬sis¬tency you like. Add the salt and pep¬per to taste. Immediately spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and mix in the parmesan. Top with green onions and serve immediately. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

GREEK YOGURT BERRY PIE
You can use a readymade pie crust if you like

Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoons water

Yogurt Cream Cheese Filling:
6 oz. Mascarpone cheese
8 oz Greek yogurt
4 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 to 3 cups mixed berries
3 tablespoons raspberry jam
In a mixing bowl combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives cut the butter in the flour mixture. Add the water the mixture. Mix with a fork until the dough is just moistened. Shape crust dough into a ball with your hands, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Roll out the dough into a 12 inch circle and then fold it in half then in half again. Place it in a tart pan with a removable bottom and unfold.  Press the dough evenly onto the bottom and sides of a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack.

In the bowl of a food processor combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When ready to assemble the pie spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the tart shell. Sprinkle the berries over the top of the filling. In a glass bowl heat the jam slightly and then drizzle the warm jam over the top of the berries. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Modified from about.com

SEAFOOD LASAGNA

1 large egg, beaten to blend
salt and pepper to taste
12 to 15 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. butter
6 tbs. all purpose flour
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 cups Stonyfield Farm Lowfat (1%) Organic Milk
2 cups Oikos Plain Greek Yogurt (or substitute with yogurt cheese)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere
1 lb. lobster meat (slightly undercooked if possible), coarsely chopped
1 lb. small shrimp (uncooked)
1 lb. small scallops (uncooked)

Whisk flour in heavy medium saucepan to remove any lumps. Gradually add 1 cup milk, whisking until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups milk and nutmeg; whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in Parmesan, egg and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead, just cover and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat until heated through before using; do not boil. Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl combine lobster, shrimp, and scallops together In a separate bowl fold together 1 1/4 cup gruyere, 1 1/4 cup mozzarella and yogurt. In 8 1/2 by 11 inch baking dish, start by coating the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of white sauce; next add a layer of lasagna noodles placing tightly together, cut to fit if necessary. Spread 1/3 of yogurt and cheese mixture, and sprinkle with 1/3 seafood. Repeat layers 2 times ending with lasagna noodles. Finish the top with white sauce and sprinkled with remaining cheese. Cook for 35 minutes on top of sheet pan in case it bubbles over

From stoneyfield.com

ZUCCHINI GRIDDLE CAKES WITH YOGURT SAUCE

3 to 4 medium zucchini, shredded
Salt and pepper
3  eggs, beaten
1/2 cup  flour
1 tablespoon  olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dried
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 to 6 tablespoons oil (or more as needed)

Yogurt sauce
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons minced cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chopped cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander over a bowl or in the sink and mix it with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drain for five to 10 minutes and then place the zucchini in a towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Try squeezing it a second time just to make sure you got all the liquid out. Put the zucchini in a bowl and add the eggs. Mix to combine. Add the flour, salt, olive oil, mozzarella, green onions dill and pepper. Mix and add the baking powder. Mix to combine. Place the griddle on the heat and brush 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil on the surface Spoon heaping tablespoons of the batter several inches apart so they have room to spread (don’t make them too big). They may need to be flattened slightly. Cook until they are golden on one side (3 to 4 minutes) and then flip them and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. The griddle cakes should be crispy. You can make them up ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven. Serve hot. Makes 12

For yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, cucumber and salt. Mix well, and serve on the side or on pancakes.

Submitted by Brian Zimmerman NY, NY

APPLE AND CARROT YOGURT SALAD

1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 carrots, peeled and shredded (3 1/2 cups)
2 apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch sticks (3 1/2 cups)
1 cup shredded jicama
1 head red leaf lettuce, torn in to bite size pieces
1 cup chopped pecans

In a salad bowl combine the yogurt, vinegar, pepper, salt and parsley in a bowl. Add the carrots, apples, jicama and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to soften the vegetables slightly. Place the lettuce on a platter and then spoon the apple mixture over the top.  Sprinkle the pecans on the top and serve. Serves 6
 
.
AVOCADO AND MANGO WITH SPICY TAHINI YOGURT DRESSING
I
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
3 mangos, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

To make the dressing combine the yogurt and tahini in a bowl and whisk them together until smooth. Add the cumin, coriander, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Divide the avocado and mango slices between 6 plates. Spoon the dressing over and sprinkle with almonds.

Modified from Taste of Israel by Avi Ganor and Ron Maiberg

.
FRESH HERB TUNA PASTA WITH YOGURT DILL SAUCE

1 cup orzo pasta
3 green onions (sliced thin tops included)
1 green bell pepper (minced fine)
1 red bell pepper (minced fine)
2 tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup black or kalmata olives (finely diced)
2 eggs (hardboiled finely diced)
2 teaspoon fresh dill (finely minced)
1 tablespoons dill (fresh, finely minced)
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt
6 oz water (tuna, drained)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
 salt
 pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse under cold water to quick chill, drain well and pour into large mixing bowl.  Stir in green onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, egg, fresh herbs, mustard, and parsley; mixing well.  Add the lemon juice, yogurt, tuna and cheese, mix well; add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a sliced bell pepper slice, sliced tomato or additional cheese if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Sharon Barlone West Bloomfield MI
RIGATONI WITH YOGURT LIME SAUCE

4 cups cooked rigatoni pasta
2 cups frozen peas
1 red pepper diced small

Sauce:
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoon minced garlic
Zest of lime
Lime juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
4 green onions, sliced thin
Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, in a bowl combine the yogurt, garlic, and lime zest. Mix to combine and add the lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste.  Stir well and set aside.

Just before draining pasta add the diced pepper and peas to the pot and let cook for 1 minute. Save 1 cup of the salted pasta water and then drain the rest.  Return pasta and peas to pot.  Stir in yogurt sauce.  Add the saved pasta water slowly mixing until you get the desired consistency for the sauce.  Serve immediately, topped with green onions and Parmesan. Serves 4

CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA CURRY

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/4 lb. package ground chicken or turkey
1 large onion, chopped in medium dice
2 tablespoons sweet curry powder
1 can petite dice tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz.)
1 can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans, 15.5 oz. can)
12 oz. Greek yogurt
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy frying pan, add ground chicken or turkey, breaking it apart with the turner and sauteing until it is well cooked and lightly browned about 8 to 10 minutes.

Push the chicken or turkey to one side of the pan, add the 1 teaspoon olive oil, then add the chopped onions and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until onions are just starting to get some color. Sprinkle onions with the curry powder and cook about 2 minutes more, turning a few times, then stir the onion mixture into the chicken. Add the tomatoes with juice and drained chickpeas and let simmer about 5 minutes, or until some liquid has evaporated and flavors are well blended. Turn heat to low, stir in yogurt, and simmer about 3 minutes more. (Don’t let it come to a boil after the yogurt has been added.)

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro if desired. Serves 4.

Modified from Chicken Chickpea Curry Bowls by Rachel Ray

Cool as a Cucumber

           We’ve all done enough of that these past few weeks. This is when I say, bring out the cucumbers and start chopping. They’re tasty, low in calorie and can be diced and sliced and thrown into a salad, sandwich or even used as a main course.
           There are three main types of cucumber, slicing, pickling and English. Slicing cucumbers are the most popular and have a dark green skin. Most slicing cucumbers are waxed to extend their shelf life. I always recommend washing the skin to remove the wax. The pickling cucumber (sometimes called a gherkin) is small and crisp and has a bumpy skin. The English cucumber is long, narrow and almost always seedless. English cucumbers are wrapped in cellophane to extend shelf life. Cucumbers should be refrigerated and you shouldn’t wash them until you’re ready to use them.
         There are two really good techniques for making cucumbers “decorative”. The fist is to scrape the length of the cucumber with the tines of a fork before you slice it. The second is to use a zester the same way. The zester (a tool used for removing the colored part of fruit rind) makes a deeper groove in the cucumber. You can also use a melon baller to remove the seeds before slicing. Just cut the cucumber in half, start at one end and scoop away.

The recipes below are a mixture of easy appetizers, salads and main course. Some include herbs and spices. Whenever possible I suggest you use fresh. Fresh herbs enhance the taste of cucumbers and makes the flavors pop.

GREEK SALAD (dairy)

1 small to medium red onion or sweet onion
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
3 to 4 large Kirby cucumbers or 2 medium regular cucumbers
1 large, ripe tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small cubes
8 kalamata olives, pitted and quartered, lengthwise

Cut the onion into very thin rings. If using a regular (not sweet) onion, put it in a shallow bowl with 2/3 cup vinegar and marinate 1/2 hour, tossing a few times. Meanwhile, trim cucumbers, halve lengthwise and cut into half moon shapes, about 3/8-inch thick. Put into a mixing bowl. Core tomato, halve, then cut into wedges. Halve wedges and add to the cucumber. Drain and add the onions. Put olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and remaining vinegar in a small mixing bowl or large cup. Mix and add to vegetables. Toss well and let sit, covered, 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature.  Add feta and olives. Toss. Check for seasoning. Serves 6.

CUCUMBER SOUP (dairy)

4 green onions, trimmed
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
Salt and white pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fried onions (I like Durkees)

Detach the green part of the green onions and mince about 3 tablespoons. Set aside. Put white part of the green onions and cucumbers in a food processor or blender and puree. Add the buttermilk, dill and salt and pepper.Blend until smooth. Refrigerate at least an hour. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Sprinkle the green onion tops and fried onions on top. Serves 4.

ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD (pareve)

4 large cucumbers; cut in slices
5 green onions white part only, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves (you can substitute flat leaf parsley)
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts (I like to use honey roasted)

Put the sliced cucumbers into a bowl with the shallots and sprinkle over the vinegar. Add the sweet chili sauce and soy sauce and toss the salad. Just before serving add the coriander leaves and peanuts and toss again. Serve at once. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

CHEESEAND CUCUMBER SLICES (dairy)

1 large cucumber
1/2 oz. Swiss or Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1/4 tsp. dill weed
1 tablespoon whipped cream cheese
Dash each salt and white pepper

Cut off ends of cucumber. Using tines of a fork, score peel of cucumber. Cut cucumber in half crosswise and using a melon baller or small spoon, remove and discard seeds from both halves; set aside. In small mixing bowl thoroughly combine remaining ingredients. Spoon half of the cheese mixture into cored section of each cucumber half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. To serve, remove plastic wrap and carefully slice each cucumber half into 6 equal slices. Makes 2 servings, 6 slices each.

CUCUMBER DILL SAUCE(dairy/fish)

Wonderful with fish or as a vegetable dip

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute
2 med. size cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and chopped fine
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill OR 2 tablespoons dried dill weed
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons milk or non dairy substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt
For garnish: 1 jar (2 oz.) red lumpfish caviar, dill sprig

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Cover and refrigerate. To serve, spoon caviar around edges of sauce; place dill sprig in middle. Makes 3 1/2 cups. 

 
CUCUMBER ORANGE AND POMEGRANET SALAD (pareve)
2 hothouse cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 large naval oranges, zest and pith removed, halved and thinly sliced
8 ounces young spinach leaves
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

In a large bowl combine the cucumbers, fennel, onion, oranges and spinach in large shallow bowl. Whisk together vinegar, orange juice, honey and olive oil. Toss with salad. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts.  Serves 8

SWEET AND SOUR CUCUMBER SALAD (pareve)

3 cups peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumbers
11/2 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon dried dill weed

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a medium bowl toss together cucumbers, onions and carrot; set aside. In a liquid measuring cup combine oil,vinegar, sugar, dill 2 tablespoons water, salt and black pepper. Pour over cucumber mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top serve immediately. If you want to make this ahead of time cover and refrigerate and don’t sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top until ready to serve. Serves 6.

MINI CUCUMBER SANDWICHES (dairy/fish)

1 medium cucumber
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
dash Worcestershire sauce
1 loaf sliced whole grain bread
 paprika

Score cucumber lengthwise with fork (for looks) and slice thin. In medium bowl, combine vinegar and water, add cucumber slices; let stand at room temp. at least 30 min. Drain WELL. Meanwhile, combine cream cheese, mayo, garlic powder, onion salt and Worcestershire. Cut bread slices into rounds (or any shape you want, with a cookie cutter) and spread with cream cheese mixture. Top each with a slice of cucumber. Shortly before serving top with olive slice or paprika, or both. You can also add a little dab of cream cheese/mayo and top with a baby shrimp.

Makes about 48 round tea sandwiches.

To make these the night before, cover with SLIGHTLY damp paper towels, then cover the whole plate with foil. Keep in fridge and they’ll be just great.

APPLECUCUMBER AND WALNUT SALAD (dairy)

For the dressing:
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ large lemon)
2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup chopped cucumber (well drained)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint or parsley
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the salad:
1 head red leaf of bib lettuce, trimmed, washed, and dried
1 cucumber, peeled if you want, diced large
1 Granny Smith or other tart apple, cored and diced large
1/3 cup dark raisins
2/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and olive oil. Add lemon juice, honey, cucumber, coriander, min and salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cucumber, apple, and raisins. Stir in 2/3’s of the dressing well, add just enough to moisten the ingredients, and toss to coat.

Place on a serving platter or individual plates, sprinkle with the walnuts and the pomegranate seeds if you have them, and serve.

TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD (pareve)

2 cucumbers, sliced thin

sea or kosher salt for sprinkling
6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 green onions, sliced
3 to 4 radishes, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and finely diced
1/3 cup minced parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Kalamata, black or nicoise olives for garnish

In a serving bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, onions, parsley, lemon zest, olive oil, lemon juice. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Garnish with olives and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

CUCUMBER MUSTARD AND DILL SAUCE(dairy)

Great with fish or with vegetables

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup peeled, coarsely chopped cucumber
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of finely ground white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Taste for seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.Serve cold. May be kept up to 2 days in refrigerator.

ROASTED PEPPERS AND CUCUMBER SALAD (pareve)

1 large green bell pepper
3 6-to 8-ounce tomatoes, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
3/4 cup black olives, pitted, quartered
2/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Char pepper over gas flame or in broiler until blackened.Enclose in plastic bag 15 minutes. Peel, seed, and cut pepper into 1/3-inch cubes. Place in large bowl. Add tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion, and parsley. Whisk oil and lemon juice in small bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper, then mix into vegetables. Let vegetables marinate at least 15 minutes before serving. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Serves 6.

Modified recipe from epicurious.com

CUCUMBER AND PINEAPPLESALAD (pareve)

2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (2-inch-long) fresh serrano or jalapeno chili, minced, including seeds
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
2 cups fresh pineapple, cored, peeled,  and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 to 3 medium tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

In a large salad bowl whisk together lime juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved, then whisk in the oil, garlic, chili, and soy sauce (to taste). Add the cucumber, pineapple cilantro mint and tomato. Toss to coat and then season with salt. Let set in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour for the flavors to blend. Serves 6 to 8.

GARLIC CUCUMBER CHICKEN (meat)
1lb boneless chicken breasts, skinned
1lb cucumber
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 green onions sliced
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or white wine
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes and set aside.  Peel the cucumber, halve it and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Then cut it into 1 inch cubes, sprinkle with salt and put the cucumber into a colander to drain for 20 minutes. (This removes the excess moisture from the cucumber). Next rinse the cucumber cubes in running cold water and blot them dry with kitchen paper. Heat a wok or large frying pan until very hot.  Add the oil and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the chicken cubes and stir-fry them for a few seconds.  Add all the other ingredients except the cucumber and continue to stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
 Now add the cucumber cubes and keep stir-frying the entire mixture for another 3 minutes. Serve at once. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

SUPER EASY GOURMET CUCUMBER CHICKEN SALAD (meat)

1 lb. cooked chicken, diced (leftovers are great for this)
1 cup seedless red or green grapes, halved
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup diced cucumbers
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
3/4 mayonnaise or salad dressing

In a salad bowl combine the chicken, grapes, pecans, celery, cucumber, oranges and salad dressing. Toss to coat and serve. Makes 6 servings

 

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