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

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French Fries and Other Good Stuff

According to Gourmet (a magazine that is sadly ceasing publication) the key to making the perfect French fries is to double fry them. They suggest that you flash fry them first to eliminate moisture, then fry them again for crispness. While the recipe for the fries was pretty good I decided that a few other recipes that incorporate other vegetables and can be “oven” fried might just be the perfect food gift for my readers. Some of the recipes call for regular corn oil, others olive or peanut. They all have their own distinctive flavor and you can really use them interchangeably. Don’t season fried anything before serving as the salt tends

Happy Chanukah (and Merry Christmas) to all and good eating

FRENCH FRIES A LA GOURMET MAGAZINE

 

About 8 cups vegetable oil
2 pounds medium baking (russet) potatoes, peeled

a deep-fat thermometer; an adjustable-blade slicer fitted with French fry or large (1/4-inch) julienne blade
Heat 1 1/2 inches oil to 325 in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat. While oil is heating, cut potatoes with slicer into 1/4-inch sticks. Fry potatoes in 5 batches for 1 1/2 minutes per batch (potatoes will not be golden) and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 325°F between batches.) Heat oil to 350. Refry potatoes in 5 batches until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes per batch, and transfer to clean paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 350 between batches.) Season fries with salt.

 

From Gourmet May 2009

 

SEASONED OVEN FRIES

 

4 large potatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons cayenne

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Cheddar cheese (optional)

Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Cut potatoes into wedges and place them on a greased cookie sheet with sides. In a bowl combine the oil, paprika, garlic salt, chili powder, onion powder and cumin. Brush the wedges with the oil and spice mixture. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes depending on how crispy you want the fries. You can sprinkle the cheese over the top of the fries in the last 4 to 5 minutes of cooking. Salt to taste. Serves 4.

 

ROSEMARY PARMESAN SWEET POTATO FRIES
3 large sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons bread crumbs

3 tablespoon oil

 

Preheat oven to 450. Cut sweet potatoes, with skins on, into long thin sticks.

In a bowl, combine the oil salt, pepper, rosemary, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Add the sweet potato sticks and toss to coat. Place cooling rack on top of cookie sheet, spread potatoes in a single layer on top of cooling rack.

Cook at 450 degrees for 40 minutes or until desired crispiness.

 

FRIED ZUCCHINI

 

3 large zucchini, washed, trimmed, cut lengthwise into strips

olive oil

1 tablespoon of salt

 

For batter:

1 1/2 cup soda water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup flour

 

Put the zucchini pieces in a bowl, salt them lightly and then let them sit for 20 minutes. Pour off the liquid, pat dry and set them aside.

 

In a bowl combine the soda, flour and salt. Whisk together.

 

Heat the oil. Dip the zucchini strips in the batter and then fry them in the oil for 4 to 5 minutes. The batter will puff up while it’s frying. The strips will be done when they are lightly golden brown. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately. This doesn’t reheat well. Serves 4 to 5 as a snack.

 

BATTER FRIED MUSHROOMS
2 to 3 cups oil for frying
1 lb. whole white button mushrooms, cleaned and dried
2 eggs, beaten
8 oz. seltzer
1 cup cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or in a deep sauce pan. In a bowl combine the eggs and water and whisk to combine. Whisk in the corn starch and salt and pepper a little bit at a time to prevent lumps. Dip the mushrooms in the batter and fry 1/3 of them at a time making sure that they don’t clump together. Fry them for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with a little salt. Serve with immediately. Serves 4 to 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

GARLIC ONION RINGS
2 cups flour

3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

12 ounce beer, flat and at room temperature

1/4 cup oil, plus oil for frying

2 egg whites

4 LARGE flat sweet onions, cut in to 1/2 inch rings, separated

 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, breadcrumbs and salt.  In another bowl combine the beer and the oil. Pour the beer mixture into the flour mixture, stirring with a whisk until just combined, do not over mix and let set for at least an hour. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a deep fryer or large pot . While the oil is heating, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them into the batter being careful to not over mix. Dip the rings into the batter, then drop into the hot oil, making sure to not crowd them. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and serve. Don’t salt before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Modified from The New Southern Cook

 

Latke VS Doughnut

Quick Hanukkah quiz: Which came first, the latke (potato pancake) or the sufganyot (doughnut)?

Well, if you guessed the latke, you’d be wrong. Even though Jews have been celebrating Chanukah for more than 2,000 years, the potato latkes didn’t get “invented” until around the 15th century because potatoes did not become a staple in Europe and Russia until the New World was discovered and the potato was introduced to the menu our great great great great great bubbies and zadies.

The sufganyot or doughnuts, however, can be traced back to a fried honey ball called “loukomathes” that our ancestors made in ancient inGreece.

Being of Ashkenazi decent I always made latkes at least 3 or 4 nights of Hanukkah.  For the best results I always use russets or Yukon Gold potatoes. They are high in starch, and the starch is necessary to help the latke mixture stick together and form pancakes that don’t fall apart. Most people choose to peel the potatoes but . leaving the skin on will add color and texture to your pancakes. Be sure to scrub the potatoes thoroughly with a vegetable brush if you leave the skin on. If you do peel them keep them under water between peeling and shredding to prevent them from oxidizing. (Oxidation is what’s happening when potatoes start turning those lovely shades of pink brown and gray.) Latkes are traditionally made with a potatoes and onions, but there’s no halicha that says you have to make them the same every time. You can use shredded sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, garlic, parsnips or zucchini in most latke recipe. Just be sure that the majority of the mixture still consists of potatoes; these other vegetables do not contain enough starch to make the mixture stick together.
Having the onions and any other veggies trimmed and peeled and measured before you start shredding if really helpful. If you have a food processor with a shredder attachment, this will make putting everything together go faster, but a good old-fashioned hand-held grater will work just as well. If you want lacy latkes with rough, crispy edges, shred those potatoes coarsely. If you prefer denser latkes with smooth edges, use the fine side of the grater.

One of the most important parts of the latke-making process is squeezing out the potatoes. Wet, juicy potatoes make for soggy, greasy latkes that fall apart in the pan because wet items will not brown well in oil. The potatoes need to be dry and the oil needs to be good and hot, so that the exterior of the latke will quickly crisp up prevent to much grease from being absorbed. To squeeze out the potato mixture, place it in a towel and squeeze. Empty the contents of the towel into a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients

Pour the oil into a skillet until it’s 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. When the oil is about 350 it’s ready.  If you don’t have a deep-fat thermometer, you can test the temperature of the oil by dropping a small amount of latke mixture into the pan. If it turns golden brown within one minute, the oil is ready. Form the latkes by carefully placing spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, then flattening the mounds with a spatula. Fry until they are browned on the bottom, then flip them with a spatula and brown the other side. Drain the latkes on paper towels and serve them immediately, if possible. If you aren’t able to serve them right away, keep them in the oven at 200 on a pan or platter. To keep them nice and crispy, don’t stack them up, and don’t cover them.

 

Latke Cooking Tips

Any latke can be made low-fat just by changing how you cook it. For a lower fat version, just fry for a minute or two on each side to get the outside crispy then bake latkes for about 10 minutes at 400-450. then turn the latke over and bake it for another 5 minutes on the other side.

APPLE AND POTATO LATKES (pareve)

 

1 lb russet potatoes, peeled
1 apple, peeled and cored
1 large egg
1/4 cup flour
salt
ground pepper
canola oil
powdered sugar

 

Grate the potatoes and apples together in food processor. Put the shredded mixture into a colander and squeeze out liquid. Place the mixture in a bowl and add the egg and flour, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. In large non-stick skillet, heat enough oil to cover bottom of the pan. Spoon out the batter into pan (approx 2 to 3 tablespoons per latke), being careful not to crowd the latkes. Cook until crisp and brown on one side, then turn and fry on other side. Keep finished pancakes warm in oven all pancakes are fried. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired just before serving. Makes 10 pancakes.

 

SPINACH AND ZUCCHINI LATKES (pareve)

 

2 lb fresh spinach, stemmed rinsed and chopped
1 lb zucchini peeled
1 lb russet potatoes peeled
1 onion
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried ground coriander
pepper
salt
oil

 

Grate the potatoes, zucchini and onion in food processor. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the grated potato in a bowl and add the spinach, egg, flour, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. In large non-stick skillet, heat enough oil to cover bottom of the pan. Spoon out the batter (approx 2 to 3 tablespoons per latke) at a time into pan, being careful not to crowd the latkes. Cook until crisp and brown on one side, then turn and fry on other side. Keep finished pancakes warm in oven all pancakes are fried. Drain on paper towels. Makes around 24 pancakes.

 

GARDEN VEGETABLE LATKES (pareve)
Carrots, parsnips, green onions and dill make all  the difference in these colorful pancakes. Mix some chopped dill and green onions into sour cream to pass alongside.

 

8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces carrots (about 2 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces parsnips (about 2 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend

10 tablespoons (about) oil

 

Preheat oven to 325. Place baking sheet in oven. Using food processor fitted with medium grating disk, shred potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Place towel on work surface. Spread vegetables over. Roll up towel; squeeze tightly to absorb moisture from vegetables. Blend flour, dill, onions, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Mix in eggs.  Heat 6 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop 2 heaping tablespoons batter per pancake into hot oil. Using spoon, spread to 4-inch rounds. Cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to sheet in oven. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to skillet by tablespoonfuls as necessary. Serve hot. Makes about 12

 

MASHED POTATO PANCAKES (dairy)
Your search for hard-to-find good recipe for  mashed potato latkes  is now over. These are good old homemade ones that are slightly sweet, and very very moist.

 

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 potatoes – peeled, boiled and mashed
1 onion, chopped

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup oil
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir in mashed potatoes and onion until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk, and stir lightly into potato mixture. Stir in corn syrup and nutmeg, mixing well. Heat a large griddle to medium-high heat. Brush the griddle with oil and spoon potato mixture onto griddle in 12 equal portions. Fry  until brown on both sides brushing the griddle with more oil as necessary. Serve hot. Serves 6.This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

Hazelnuts Are 4 Everyone

Of all the nuts I have hanging around my house (hubby and kids not withstanding) the one that used to be taken out only for special occasions was the hazelnuts (AKA filberts). Then I was introduced to Nuttella ® a wonderful chocolaty hazelnut spread that made my taste buds stand up and say WOW give me more!!! I had, prior to that culinary revelation, only used hazelnuts in a few cookies and an occasional cake or two. Trying a chocolate hazelnut spread on toast for breakfast (don’t judge me) made me realize just how versatile that little nut could be.

A hazelnut has a sweet slightly unusual flavor and unique texture make them perfect for both sweet and savory dishes.  But, wait, there’s more. This nut has some real substantial nutrition to offer.

Hazelnut is a terrific source of vitamin E, protein, and fiber as well as being a great source for antioxidants. The hazelnut is readily available BUT they can be a tad more expensive than a peanut, pecan or almond. That’s why most recipes tend to use them as a side note or accent rather than a main ingredient. The following recipes will let you take them from appetizer to dessert and will open the door to hazelnut heaven.

Note: Nuttella ® is available at most grocery stores right next to the peanut butter.

 

CRUNCHY HAZELNUT BARS

Cookie

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup cocoa

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups packed brown sugar

2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 cups shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. In a bowl combine the 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the 1/2 cup butter and mix to combine until the mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom of the greased pan. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. While to base is cooling make the topping

In a bowl, combine the cocoa with the 2 tablespoons flour, baking powder and salt and set it aside. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, butter, vanilla and sugar. Whisk in the cocoa mixture until blended. Stir in the hazelnuts and coconut. Pour the mixture over the crust and make sure it covers it completely.

Reduce heat to 325. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting. Makes 16

Submitted by Ronnie Mixser-Hoffman Chicago IL

SIMPLE TILAPIA WITH LEMON AND HAZELNUT

6 six-eight ounce fillets of tilapia

Butter or olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/3 cup hazelnuts, coarsely ground

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon butter

4 teaspoons flour

3/4 cup vegetable broth

3 tablespoons white wine

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking dish and place the fillets in the prepared pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Brush the top of each fillet with melted butter and top each fillet with a tablespoon of chopped hazelnuts. Sprinkle the top of each fillet with fresh lemon juice Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Remove the fish to a warm plate and then melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add the flour.  Whisk to blend until smooth but don’t let it brown. Add the stock and wine and stir until smooth. Pour the sauce over the fish and serve. Serves 6

HAZELNUT CRUSTED CHICKEN WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE

Great over salad greens or rice

3/4 cup fresh raspberries (about 3 1/2 ounces)

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup oil

3 to 6 teaspoons water (optional)

Chicken:

1 cup chopped hazelnuts (about 4 1/2 ounces)

3/4 cup panko or plain dried breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

3 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided

1/3 cup honey mustard

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 large butterflied skinless boneless chicken breasts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons oil

4 cups salad greens

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

raspberry sauce:

In a food processor or blender combine the 3/4 cup raspberries, white wine vinegar, and sugar and process until smooth. With blender running, gradually add the oil. Add water by teaspoonfuls as needed to thin to desired consistency. Season raspberry sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

For chicken:

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl combine the hazelnuts, breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon coarse salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper.  In another bowl combine the honey mustard, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, remaining 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in bowl. Add the chicken to the mayonnaise mixture and turn to coat. Then dip the chicken pieces, 1 at a time, into crumb-nut mixture, coating both sides and pressing to adhere. Transfer coated chicken pieces to baking sheet.

Divide equal amounts of butter and oil between 2 large nonstick skillets; heat over medium-high heat. Add 2 chicken pieces to each skillet; reduce heat to medium and cook until chicken is light brown, about 4 minutes per side. Place chicken on rimmed baking sheet; transfer to oven. Roast chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Serve immediately with fresh raspberries and serve raspberry sauce alongside.

Modified from epicurious.com

  HAZELNUT LAMB BURGERS

Debbie Russell of Colorado Springs won a 1st Prize at the Build a Better Burger Cook-off with this recipe and it truly deserved to win, it’s amazing

2 pounds ground lamb

1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon

1/2 cup minced red onion

1/2 cup fresh Italian bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried basil

1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped blanched hazelnuts

1/4 cup unseasoned dried Italian bread crumbs

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

6 large sesame seed sandwich buns split

6 tablespoons fresh goat cheese (about 3 ounces)

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 bunch spinach leaves

6 large tomato slices

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the patties, combine the lamb, Cabernet Sauvignon, onion, fresh bread crumbs, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns. On a plate, combine the hazelnuts and dried bread crumbs. Press both sides of each patty into the nut mixture, coating evenly.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. During the last minute of cooking, top each patty with 1 tablespoon of the cheese.

To assemble the burgers, spread the mustard over the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place several spinach leaves and a tomato slice. Add the bun tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.

Reprinted from Sutter Home Family Vineyards, written by James McNair, Build a Better Burger, published by Ten Speed Press

 STRAWBERRY HAZELNUT COOKIES

1 cup hazelnuts

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup cake flour

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cardamom

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup oil

1/3 cup strawberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 cookie sheets and set them aside. In a food processor chop the hazelnuts until they are coarsely chopped.  Add the flour and oatmeal and pulse 5 seconds and then place it in a mixing bowl. Add salt cardamom and cinnamon. Mix to combine and then add the maple syrup and oil and mix to combine. Make walnut-size balls and place on an oiled cookie sheet. Press cookies with the middle with your thumb, making a small indentation and fill it with about 1/2 teaspoon of strawberry jam.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool. Makes 3 to 3 1/2 dozen depending on size.

THAI HAZELNUT NOODLES

8 oz angel hair pasta

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup fish sauce or soy sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon red or chili pepper

2 tablespoons oil

2 cups ground chicken or tofu cut into ½-inch cubes

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups fresh bean sprouts (you can use canned but they don’t taste as good)

1 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

1 English cucumber sliced thin

Juice of 1/2 lime

Cook noodles according to the package directions, drain and set aside. In a bowl combine the sugar, water, ketchup, fish sauce, lime juice and cayenne pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Heat oil in wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken or tofu and garlic, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add noodles, stirring constantly to keep from sticking. Add ketchup mixture, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until sauce is absorbed. Remove the noodle mixture to a bowl and then return the frying pan to the heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring until almost cooked. Add the bean sprouts, 2/3 cup green onions and 1/2 cup hazelnuts, stirring until mixed with eggs. Return the noodles to the pan and cook while stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and place the noodles in a large wide bowl. Sprinkle the top with the remaining green onions and hazelnuts and decorate the cucumber slices. Sprinkle the lime juice on top and serve immediately.

Keeping The Planet Green One Bean At A Time

Green is the color of the day. Green planet, green energy and most of all green vegetables. We all know you gotta have green vegetables in your diet every day, it’s the law (mom’s law). Most green vegetables are great as stand alone side dishes. The green bean, however, seems to stand head and shoulders (as if they had them) above the rest. In fact, with green beans you can add just one or two ingredients and have a fantastic side or main dish.

Commonly referred to as the string beans, these bright green and crunchy veggies are available at your local market throughout the year; they are in season from late summer through fall when they are at their best and the least expensive. Green beans vary in size they average about four inches in length. Green beans are low in calories (just 43 calories in a whole cup) and green beans are also a great source of vitamin C, A and K, foliate, iron and manganese. (Yum, just can’t get enough of that magnesium)

Look for beans that have smooth feel and have a vibrant emerald green color, and that are free from brown spots or bruises. They should have a firm texture and ‘snap’ when broken. You should store your unwashed fresh beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Stored this way they should keep for about a week.

Lots of recipes call for blanching beans before using them. Easy to do. Heat a pot of water to a boil, adding a teaspoon of salt per quart of water (salt will help preserve the green color of the beans in addition to seasoning them). For a crisper texture, figure a cooking time of about 2 minutes from the time the boil resumes after you add the green beans. Drain them immediately and then submerge them in cold water to stop the cooking.

Fresh green beans are always best but frozen green beans will work just fine for the following recipes if you can’t get the fresh. In my opinion, however, you should never, ever use canned green beans except as a last resort, unless the world is coming to an end and there is no other alternative, but, even then, I’d think about it.

GRILLED GREEN BEAN AND EGGPLANT SALAD
2 to 3 Japanese eggplants
1 1/2 lb fresh green beans, blanched
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large red bell peppers, julienned
2 to 3 cups mixed salad greens
3 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Slice eggplants into rounds 1/4″ thick. In a large bowl toss with green beans with the 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar. Grill the eggplant slices (on a grill or grill pan) 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently. In a large salad bowl, toss together bell peppers, greens, onions, olive oil, lemon juice 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain the green beans and then arrange grilled eggplant and green beans on top of the salad. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8
SHANGHAI STIR FRY GREEN BEANS
 
1 lb fresh green beans, blanched
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over moderate heat. Remove when seeds begin to pop. In a bowl combine the sugar, rice wine vinegar, white pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil and whisk to combine.

Put a wok on very high heat. When very hot, add oil, salt and then the beans and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the oil mixture and stir-fry for another minute. Add sesame seeds and blend well. Transfer to serving platter and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

 DILLED GREEN BEAN AND PASTA SALAD

dressing:
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper

salad:

5 oz (2 cups) rotini or bow tie pasta
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup cut 1″ fresh green beans
1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
4 green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
4 to 6 oz cubed or shredded mozzarella cheese (1/2 to 2/3 cup)

In a jar, combine the vinegar, olive oil, dill, salt mustard and pepper and shake well. Cook pasta in 3 quarts boiling water to desired doneness, adding carrots and green beans during the last 2 to 4 minutes or pasta cooking time. Drain. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to cool rapidly. In a large serving bowl, combine cooled pasta mixture and the peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and mozzarella. Mix to combine. Pour dressing over salad; toss gently, cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour for the flavors to combine. Serves 4 to 6.

GARLIC GREEN BEAN AND RICE PILAF
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups brown rice
8 large garlic cloves, pressed
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup yellow crookneck squash, cubed
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoon soy sauce

Heat oil heavy large skillet over low heat. Add onion; saute until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add rice and garlic; saute 1 minute. Add 3 cups water and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and cook until rice is tender and almost all liquid is absorbed, about 35 minutes; do not stir. Uncover skillet and place green beans, squash, broccoli, corn and carrot evenly over surface of rice. Cover and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in red bell pepper and sesame seeds. Mix in soy sauce. Toss to coat. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

TROPICAL GREEN BEANS
 
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned, cut and dried
1 small onion, cut into rings
6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 to 5 stalks hearts of palm, cut into 1/2″ rings
1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Brush a large baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Put green beans, onion, and garlic in dish, drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring beans at least 3 times. When tender, remove beans from oven and transfer to bowl. Immediately drizzle with vinegar. Add the hearts of palm, tomatoes, pine nits and pepper to taste and toss. Serves 4.

DILLED GREEN BEANS AND NEW POTATOES
 
1 lb small new potatoes, quartered
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed, broken into 2″ pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic

In medium saucepan, bring about 2 cups water to a boil. Add potatoes and green beans; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 9-11 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, dill, salt, pepper olive oil and garlic and blend well. Drain vegetables; rinse with cold water to cool slightly. Place the veggiesf in serving bowl. Add sour cream mixture, toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings.

GREEN BEANS AND PEPPERS

1 lb green beans, cooked
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

zest of 1 orange
salt and pepper

Melt butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add cooked green beans, peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring, until peppers are crisp tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add orange rind, salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8.

GREEK GREEN BEANS AND TOMATOES

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths, blanched
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped or thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup peeled, seeded, and diced tomato
1 tablespoon tomato puree (optional)
salt and pepper
Lemon wedges, for garnish

Bring the veggie stock to a boil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and simmer, covered, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and optional tomato puree and simmer about 5 minutes.  Add the green beans and simmer until tender and some of the sauce is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 6 to 8

BALSAMIC PEPPERS AND GREEN BEANS

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed, blanched
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
grated Parmesan cheese
In a small frying pan over medium heat, saute red bell pepper in olive oil until tender. Add garlic, partially cooked green beans, white wine, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Heat until beans are warmed. Transfer to a serving platter, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8

BARBEQUE GREEN BEANS

2 to 4 slices bacon

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 to 5 cups fresh green beans

1 to 2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 cup prepared hickory barbeque sauce
Preheat oven to 325. Cook bacon until crisp in a heavy skillet. Remove the bacon but don’t drain the pan. Cool the bacon on paper towels then crumble and set aside. Sauté onion and garlic in the bacon drippings for about 3 minutes (they still should be crispy but starting to wilt). Lightly grease a 3 quart casserole dish. In the dish combine the green beans, bacon, onions, garlic, season salt and barbeque sauce. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Serves 4 to 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

Are They Latkes Or Potato Pancakes?

The Jewish celebration of Chanukah begins this year at sundown on December 1st. Called the festival of lights it commemorates the freedom of the Jewish people thousands of years ago. The holiday lasts for eight days, beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev

The story is simple. A Greek ruler named Antiochus had conquered the Jewish people. He prohibited the practice of their religion and desecrated their most holy place, the Temple. This sparked a revolt led by a man named Judah Maccabee. After three years of fighting for their freedoms they won, and on the 25th day of Kislev, they reclaimed the Temple, cleansed and prepared for the rededication. Although there was only enough special oil needed to light the menorah (candelabra) in the Temple for one day, miraculously, the oil lasted for eight entire days until a new supply could be obtained. Chanukah is an eight day festival to celebrate this miracle.
            Many people believe that because Chanukah is celebrated around the same time of year as Christmas there is a connection or similarity between the two.  Not so. Chanukah a minor Jewish holiday. The only specifically religious part of the celebration is the lighting of the menorah every night, the blessings said at that time and this is typically done in the home.

            When my children were very small and our budget was even smaller we tried to find creative ways to celebrate Chanukah that didn’t require spending copious amounts of money but maximize the amount of fun the family could have. We came up with crazy latke night (a latkes is a potato pancakes, cooked in oil and eaten to honor the miracle of the lasting oil). It’s been a hit with family and friends ever since.

            Simply put, 2 of the families invited came up with the most unusual and creative latke recipe that they could find.  They would bring the ingredients for the latkes and the other 3 or 4 families would bring the rest of the stuff for our dinner. Every family would bring a small gift costing no more than 3 dollars for each child attending (but not their own) and we’d have a cook off. Granted, some recipes are better than others and others are soooooooooooooooo bad that the entire batch is ceremoniously disposed of after the first few bites. Regardless of what we end up choosing as the blue ribbon winner of the evening everyone has a good time and the cost for the evening was never more than any of us could afford.

            The party has evolved as the families grew and got older. The presents became gift certificates or a check (preferred by high school and college students world wide) and the recipes got a tad less crazy and more heart healthy and had a few less calories. None the less, most of following recipe were served at one time or another at one of our parties and a few just sounded too good not to pass along.

Rules for the perfect latke (potato pancake)

1. Have all of the ingredients ready to go before the potato shredding begins (peel the potatoes, mince the onions, and get the egg mixture ready). To prevent the potatoes from browning, they may be peeled in advance and kept covered with water, but once they are shredded, you must work fast.
2. I always beat the eggs and flour together. This is how it was done in most restaurants, despite what many of the recipe say.
3. When frying, use a generous amount of oil. I like to use peanut oil

4. While a hand grater works just fine, you can save time, and your knuckles, by using a food processor.
5. SQUEEZE! Squeeze as much liquid out of the shredded potatoes as possible, pressing them against the side of the bowl to release their starchy water.
6. Serve immediately. While you can make them ahead of time and reheat, they are at their best right out of the pan.

7. You can top your latkes with sour cream, yogurt, apple sauce or even brown sugar if they’re sweet rather than savory. They sky and your imagination is the only limitation.

CLASSIC POTATO PANCAKE

2 eggs, beaten

4 medium russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled and shredded

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup grated onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup vegetable or peanut oil

In a large bowl combine the eggs, flour, onion, salt, and pepper, stirring to blend. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the potatoes. Add the shredded potatoes to the egg mixture, mixing well. In a large, heavy skillet, heat some of the oil over medium-high heat. Spoon the batter by quarter-cupfuls onto the hot skillet, flattening them with the back of the spoon. Fry until the bottom of the pancakes are nicely browned – between 3 and 5 minutes; flip the pancakes and cook for about 3 minutes longer. Repeat for the remaining pancakes, adding oil to the skillet as needed. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately. About 12 four-inch pancakes. Serves 6

From my files, unknown author

EXOTIC SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

Spiced with cinnamon, curry powder and cumin this potato pancake is also great for Thanksgiving.

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons white sugar

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup oil for frying

1/2 cup milk or water

Shred the sweet potatoes, and place in a colander to drain for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, white sugar, brown sugar, curry powder and cumin. Make a well in the center, and pour in eggs and milk. Stir until all of the dry ingredients have been absorbed. Stir in sweet potatoes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop the potato mixture by spoonfuls into the oil, and flatten with the back of the spoon. Fry until golden on both sides, flipping only once. If they are browning too fast, reduce the heat to medium. Remove from the oil, and keep warm while the other pancakes are frying. Makes about 15 or 16.

From my file, author unknown

SWEET SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/4 cups sweet potatoes – peeled/cooked/mashed (yes you can use canned)

1/4 cup butter- melted and 1 additional tablespoon butter for frying

2 large eggs – beaten

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Allow potatoes to cool to room temperature before making batter. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, combine milk, potatoes, eggs and butter. Combine the two mixtures until dry ingredients are just moistened. Allow batter to set, while you heat a griddle or skillet to medium-high heat and lightly grease with butter.
Drop batter by heaping Tablespoons onto griddle or skillet and fry, turning once, until browned on both sides. Great with maple syrup and butter. Or try it with “sweetened sour cream” – mix 1/2 cup of sour cream with a tablespoon of brown sugar. Makes about 20 pancakes.

Submitted by Carrie Wasermen Chicago IL from http://www.allrecipes.com

POTATO ZUCCHINI PANCAKES

1 medium baking potato, unpeeled and shredded

1/2 small zucchini, shredded

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1 egg white

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon oil
Combine potato, zucchini, onion, egg white and flour in medium bowl until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Drop potato mixture into skillet by 1/3 cupfuls. Flatten pancakes with spatula; cook about 5 minutes per side or until browned.

Tip: Save time by shredding both the potato and zucchini in a food processor fitted with a shredding disc. There’s no need to wash the bowl in between because all the ingredients are mixed together before cooking. Makes 6 pancakes. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Modified from a recipe from Easy Home Cooking Magazine

MASHED POTATO PANCAKES

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 large egg, beaten lightly

6 tablespoons flour

1 and 1/2 tablespoons grated onion

Salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil for frying

In a medium bowl, combine the mashed potatoes and egg and mix them together. Add the flour and onion and mix all together well. Add salt and pepper to batter to taste.

In a large skillet or on a griddle, heat oil, 2 to 3 tablespoons over medium-high heat. Drop batter onto the heated surface in healing tablespoons. Flatten each latke slightly with the spoon. Cooking time is about a minute per side. They should be golden brown on each side. The original recipe called for serving these latkes with a fried egg and grated cheese on top. Absolutely weird for Hanukkah abut strangely delicious! Makes 5 to 6 latkes. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

GOURMET SWEET POTATO PANCAKE WITH CAVIAR

You can form the sweet-potato pancakes up to six hours ahead, leaving only a quick frying before serving.

2 pounds tan-skinned sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)

3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 ounce black caviar
Fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead; keep refrigerated.)

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate into large bowl. Stir in green onions. Whisk eggs, flour, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Gently mix into potato mixture. Form mixture into 48 walnut-size balls; transfer to prepared baking sheet. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place 8 potato balls in skillet, pressing each gently with spatula to flatten to 1 1/2-inch diameter. Cook until pancakes are rich golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining potato balls, adding more oil to skillet if necessary. Transfer pancakes to platter. Top each with 1 teaspoon sour cream and scant 1/4 teaspoon caviar. Garnish with chives. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 48 mini latkes.

Bon Appétit  November 2001

It’s So Good It’s Soy Sauce

As an experiment a foodie friend suggested that I replace the salt I used in some of my recipes with a splash of soy sauce. “Soy sauce” I reply in a tone meant to convey interest while simultaneously rolling my eyes to convey skepticism, “ok, I’ll try that”. To my surprise and delight, substituting soy sauce for salt was a wonderful suggestion and really adding flavor and body to many of the recipes. I tried it with seafood, meat, vegetables, salad dressings even a few pasta sauces. The result of my experiment: A fresh, well balanced flavor without overwhelming other flavors in a dish. Cream sauces had a slightly nuttier flavor and tomato sauce seemed to be less acidic. While I can, absolutely recommend soy sauce as a change of pace, I still prefer to use it is in Oriental/Asian dishes specifically, stir fry sauces.

 Discovered in China more than 2,500 years ago, soy sauce is thought to be one of the world’s oldest condiments. It is a cornerstone of many Asian cuisines especially sauces. Soy sauce is never the main ingredient of any sauce, rather it’s the one ingredient that binds the others together to make the unique characteristics of the individual ingredients come together to “pop”.

 There are two types of natural soy sauce available (I say stay away from the synthetic stuff, I don’t think it tastes anywhere as good as the real stuff) to the inquiring cooking, light and dark soy sauce.

 Soy sauce is made from soybeans that are mixed with roasted grain (usually wheat, rice, or barley) and fermented for several months. Once the process is completed the mixture is strained and bottled. Dark soy is aged longer than light soy and has a darker color and thicker texture. Light soy is lighter in color and surprisingly has a saltier flavor. Light soy sauce is best used in stir fry cooking, as the darker color and stronger flavor of dark soy sauce can overwhelm the taste of light flavored ingredients. Dark soy is typically used in red meat dishes and is good for marinating. Some say that tamari sauce, a type of soy sauce made without wheat and using a different fermentation process is too sweet to be substituted for soy sauce. Not so, in my opinion. I do use it when I’m cooking a lighter fish or vegetable dish.

 The possibilities were endless and so are the recipes. The following recipes are a laundry list of classic sauces that can be use with your favorite vegetables, meats or seafood as well as a few recipes just for fun.

 STIR FRY SAUCE

1 1/ 2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/ 2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/ 2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/ 2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/ 8 teaspoon Tabasco
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1/ 4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/ 2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 1/ 2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon rice wine or sherry

In a small sauce pan heat the sesame oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry 15-30 second over medium heat. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Bring just to a boil, stirring. In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the wine and then whisk the mixture into the sauce. Heat until sauce thickens and reaches a full boil. Simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside. Stir fry your choices of meat or poultry till almost done, add the veggies, cook to heat throughout and then add the sauce. Cook just to heat and serve. Makes approx. 1 cup sauce. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

EFFORTLESS SZECHWAN SAUCE

Lots of ingredients but simple to make

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1cup chicken broth
3 whole anise stars (optional)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoon water

Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the ginger and garlic and saute 1minute until softened but not browned. In a bowl combine the remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture. Add them to the saucepan and bring to a simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove star anise. Whisk in the corn starch mixture and let boil 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more Tabasco if desired. Makes

ORANGE STIR FRY SAUCE

2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup tamari sauce
2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoon Chinese sesame oil
2 tablespoon cornstarch

In a bowl combine the orange juice, tamari sauce, ginger, garlic, honey and sesame oil. Place the cornstarch into a bowl; whisk the liquid mixture into it. Set
aside, but keep the whisk handy, as you will need to whisk the sauce again
just before you pour it into the saute. Add this sauce to a wok, full of vegetables about 2/3 of the way through cooking. Make sure you stir your veggies so that the sauce coats them. Cook until the veggies are done and the sauce starts to thicken and then serve. Makes 1 cup.

GARLIC GINGER STIR FRY SAUCE

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoon cornstarch
pinch of ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 to 2 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoon sherry or white wine

In a bowl mix all the ingredients together and set it aside. After stir-frying veggies or tofu or meat/seafood reduce the heat and add sauce. Stir for about 2 more minutes and then serve immediately. Makes 1/2 cup. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

BASIC BROWN SAUCE

3/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce, plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a saucepan combine all the ingredients, whisk together and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Serve with stir fry vegetables or meat. Makes 3/4 cup.

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a bowl combine water and cornstarch, mix and set aside. In a small saucepan combine the pineapple juice, sugar, vinegar, ketchup and soy sauce. Stir over low heat until hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

PEANUT SAUCE

1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Warm the chicken broth in a small saucepan and keep warm on low heat. Process the peanut butter, garlic cloves, cilantro and sugar in a blender or food processor. Slowly add the warmed chicken broth and process again. Remove from the blender and stir in the soy sauce, and the chili powder to taste. Serve peanut sauce with satay and salads, or as an appetizer dip. Makes 1 cup. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

KOREAN SESAME DIPPING SAUCE

This sauce can be served cold or room temperature for dipping and is great warm poured over steamed vegetables

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 scallion, finely chopped
Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar in a small bowl. In a small, heavy, dry skillet over medium heat, add the sesame seeds and stir until they darken a bit. Remove and crush seeds. Add to soy mixture with sugar and scallions. Makes 1/2 cup. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
 
STIR FRY GREEN BEANS WITH PEANUTS

3 tablespoons peanut oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 inch ginger root, peeled and finely chopped

1 pound green beans, trimmed

4 green onions, sliced

1 cup white wine

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

  Cut beans into one-inch slices. Heat peanut oil in wok until it just begins to smoke. Toss in garlic and ginger root. Add beans and onions and stir-fry for two minutes. Add wine, peanuts and sugar, and continue to stir-fry until the wine has evaporated. Add the soy sauce just before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

CHINESE TOMATO SPINACH SAUCE WITH BEEF

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes, undrained, cut up
2 cups shredded fresh spinach
1 pound stir fry beef in thin strips

In a bowl combine the cornstarch, soy sauce and sherry. Whisk to combine and add pieces of beef. Toss to coat. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add beef mixture and stir fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes and spinach. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes and serve. Serves 3 to 4.