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

asp3

 

ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS HOT POT (dairy)

1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons of butter, divided

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded.

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the asparagus, garlic and onion until just slightly wilted. Put the mixture into the greased pan. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the cream cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and onion mixture. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

MAPLE GLAZED ASPARAGUS (pareve)

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Paprika

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Place the asparagus spears on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Toss to make sure all the spears are coated. Lightly sprinkle the asparagus with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes then turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

ASPARAGUS AND PASTA SALAD (dairy)

6 to 8 slices Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon, cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper chopped

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on a long diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package directions, save 1 cup of the water used in cooking

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Parmesan for serving

Cook the Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and but keep the oil in the pan. Saute the onion, mushrooms and red pepper in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and 1/2 cup of the water to the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine, scraping the bottom to remove the cooked on bits of vegetable. Cook for 1 minute and add the remaining water and 1/2 cup parmesan. Mix to combine and cook for 2 more minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the cooked Morning Star Farm® fake bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to 8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe

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Edamame: A food that sounds like a video game/Recipes/Kosher

There was a time not so long ago that the soy bean was an ingredient that was relegated to the soy sauce or tofu ingredient in our recipes. Some enterprising chef realized that the soy bean in its fresh form AKA Edamame is a fabulous food in its own natural form and voila, a new food craze is off and running.

Edamame (or the soy bean) is a green vegetable that is jam packed full of protein and is a wonderful source for calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamin, foliate and iron. These large beans come in a pod that looks like a pea pod only bigger. They are harvested early in their growth cycle so the beans are still tender and green and haven’t matured. The best way to use the edamame is to parboiled in lightly salted water, rinse, drain and cool and then remove the bean from the pod. When shopping for your fresh edamame choose pods that are plump, firm and don’t have any spots of blemishes. You can keep the fresh edamame in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days and the frozen stuff is just fine for 3 or 4 months in the freezer.

Edamame is so very versatile it’s great eaten all by itself or in salads, soups, stir fry, pasta dishes and any kind of casseroles into which you want to add some protein.  Fresh edamame is usually found at natural and higher end produce sections or at farmers markets. You can find the frozen stuff in most grocery freezer sections.

At this point you know as much as I do about our friend the edamame and you’re ready to try some of the new recipes you’ll find below.

 

HOISIN BEEF AND EDAMAME (meat)

 

1/2 lb cooked and drained whole wheat spaghetti

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons sesame oil

8 ounces  steak, trimmed, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 10-ounce package frozen shelled edamame, (about 2 cups), thawed

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

 

In a bowl combine the lime juice, hoisin sauce, garlic and cornstarch. Whisk to combine.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the steak and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes or until it’s done the way you like it. Immediately transfer the steak to a plate using tongs but don’t clean the pan. Add bell pepper to in the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add edamame and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture and beef to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the noodles; toss to coat. Top with cilantro. Serves 4

 

Tip: Freezing the flank steak for about 20 minutes will make it easier to thinly slice.

 

From EatingWell January/February 2007

GARLIC EDAMAME (pareve)

 

1/2 cup water

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 (16 ounce) packages frozen edamame

1/2 cup teriyaki or soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/2 to 1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked, drained

 

Bring the water and garlic to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the edamame, and cook until the edamame are hot, and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened and coats the edamame, about 4 minutes. Add the cooked pasta, toss to combine and place the mixture in a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and serve. Serves 6 as a side dish 4 as a main course.

 

Submitted by Jore Cardase Chicago IL

EDAMAME AND CORN SALAD (pareve)

 

1 package (16 ounces) frozen shelled edamame

2 cups fresh or frozen corn, cooked and kernels

1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

4 green onions, thinly sliced

4 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 cup chopped black olives

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

dressing:

 

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 small tomato, seeded and diced small

1 tablespoon oregano

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 

 

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in medium saucepan on high heat. Add edamame; cook 4 minutes or until edamame are bright green and tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl and whisk to combine.  Add edamame, corn, red bell pepper, green onions, celery, black olives and parsley; toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Toss before serving.

 

Modified by me from mccormick.com

 

SESAME CHICKEN EDAMAME (meat)

 

2 teaspoons oil

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh lemongrass

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)

2 cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry mix

2 tablespoons  soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diagonally cut green onions

2 teaspoons dark sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the ginger, lemongrass, and garlic and sauté 1 minute or just until mixture begins to brown. Add the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes. Add edamame and stir-fry mix and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.  In a bowl combine the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and cornstarch and whisk to combine. Add the liquid to the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the onions, sesame seeds, and salt. Mix to combine and serve over rice or noodles. Serves 6 to 8

 

Modified from Cooking Light MARCH 2006

 

PEPPERS EDAMAME AND QUINOA (pareve)

 

1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup shelled frozen edamame, thawed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red onion, chopped

3 stalks of celery, chopped

2/3 cup golden raisins

8 to 12 bib lettuce leaves

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove of garlic, minced

 

In a bowl combine the garlic, honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Whisk to combine and set aside.  In a large bowl combine the quinoa, edamame, pepper, raisins and onion and mix to combine.  Pour the sauce over the quinoa and mix together until the mixture is completely coated. To serve, place 2 leaves on each serving plate and spoon some of the quinoa mixture into it. Serves 4 to 6.

 

From my files, source unknown

 

Oddles of Noodles /some non kosher recipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SLEEPING DRAGON NOODLE SALAD

 

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 carrots julienned

1/4 cup chopped celery

4 radishes julienned

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

4 packages ramen egg noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons black or toasted sesame seeds

 

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

 

SHRIMP NOODLE STIR FRY

 

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 egg whites

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

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

salt

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

 

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

 

Modified from a recipe submitted by Carlie Smyth Chicago IL

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

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

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

 

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

 

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

 

BOTH SIDES BROWNED NOODLES

Kind of like a noodle pancake

1 pound fresh or dried egg noodles

2 tablespoon sesame oil

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

 

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

 

Submitted byTony Easteron River GroveIL

 

WARM GINGER AND PEANUT NOODLE SALAD

 

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound uncooked angle hair pasta or linguini

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot

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

1 cup thin strips red or yellow bell pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 to 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts

 

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

 

SPICY CASHEW NOODLE SALAD

 

8 oz dried linguini, spaghetti, or soba noodles

2 cups broccoli florets cut small

1/4 pound pea pods, sliced in 1/3’s

1 carrot, peeled, julienned

1/2 red onion chopped fine

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

3 green onions, sliced

1 large tomato seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, julienned

1 cup toasted cashews

 

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

 

SALSA SHRIMP AND NOODLE SOUP

 

1 lb shrimp, peeled and divined

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups water

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

2 cups salsa

1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained

1 can corn

1 green onion thinly sliced

 

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

 

Submitted by Lenore Hentz Trenton NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND NOODLE STIR FRY

 

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

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lb. sea scallops cut in half

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

 

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

 

Modified from about.com

Cooking with Carrots / easy recipes

About this time in winter I start looking for fresh vegetables that don’t require my approaching a senate subcommittee for a bailout. I’d have taken my private jet toWashingtonto ask but I had to hock it last week to buy hamburgers and pay my kids college tuition. This is when I turn to my friend the carrot

Carrots are a fantastic source of vitamin A. In fact, a single carrot provides two times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. They are also low in calories and sodium are a source of potassium and a cup contains less than 50 calories. Surprisingly to most, carrots come in orange, red, black yellow, white, purple and you can roast them, grill them, simmer them in stocks and stews, toss them in a stir fry or on a salad or just eat them raw.

While most people I know love the pre peeled mini-carrots that are perfect for snacking or throwing in a salad or lunch bag you pay for convenience. These ready to go treats can cost three times as much as peeling your own.

Store carrots in the refrigerator, they’ll keep for at least a month stored in an open bag in your vegetable drawer. To peel or not to peel is a question most cooks ask at one time or another. You do not have to peel your carrots. If you wash them well with a vegetable brush it’s just a matter of looks.

My favorite way to prepare carrots is to oven roast them. The roasting caramelizes the sugar and creates a delicious, lip smacking side dish. To roast them, slice them in 1″ chunks, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, dot with butter or margarine or drizzle olive oil over them and bake covered, at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Before you get to the recipes, I have to share a carrot factoid I discovered in my extensive search. Mel Blanc, the voice of the quintessentially carrot loving Bugs Bunny, hated carrots, go figure.


MOROCCAN CARROT SALAD

 

4 large carrots cut into 1 inch wedges.
1/2 cup black olives.
6 to 7 radish, sliced thinly.
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon of paprika.
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin or 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch cinnamon.
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/3 cup olive oil

 

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the carrots and cook until tender and then rinse them with cold water. Drain the carrots and mix with the olives and radishes. In another bowl combine the garlic, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, salt, parsley, lemon and olive oil. Mix to combine Pour the marinade over the carrot, olives and radishes and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour for flavors to meld. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

CARROT SPREAD

 

3/4 cup of finely grated carrots.
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened.
1 stick of margarine, softened.
2 tablespoons chopped green olives
2 tablespoons of grated onion
Dash of white pepper.

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. Makes 1 1/2 cup spread

 

SCALLOPED CARROTS

 

4 cups sliced carrots
1 medium onion diced
3 tablespoon butter
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated
3 cups herb stuffing
1/3 cup butter melted

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish and set it aside. Cook carrots in salted water until almost tender. Drain. In a skillet melt the 3 tablespoons butter and saute the onions until soft. Stir in soup, salt, pepper and cheese. Stir in the cooked carrots. Place the carrot mixture in the prepared casserole dish. In a bowl combine the bread stuffing with the melted butter. Mix to coat and spoon over the carrots mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

CARROT PUFF

 

2 1/2 cups carrots, cooked, mashed, and seasoned with salt and pepper

2 egg yolks, beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup bread crumbs

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish. In a bowl combine the cooked carrots, egg yolks, milk, bread crumbs and onions. Mix to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg whites until they are stiff and then fold them lightly into the carrot mixture. Turn into prepared casserole dish. Bake at 45-60 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean. Serve immediately. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

CARAMEALIZED CARROT COUSCOUS

1 lb carrots, very coarsely grated
3-4 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
spices to taste, such as ground coriander,
1 package couscous (prepared according to the package directions)
2 tablespoon margarine for frying
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Saute onion in margarine over medium heat until soft, then add carrot, salt, sugar and spices.  Cover and leave on medium to low medium heat, checking occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t burn, but not stirring so frequently that it don’t get a nice variation of browning.  Should be done in about 10 minutes. Serve over warmed couscous topped with toasted sesame seeds. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

SWEET SPICED CARROTS WITH APRICOTS

4 cups baby carrots (or small-cut carrots) steamed yet a little firm
1 onion chopped
1 cup dried apricots chopped up
3 to 4  tablespoons oil (for frying)
1/4 cup  brown sugar
about 1/2 cup water
a generous dash each of: ground ginger, ground cloves and allspice
salt and pepper

In a frying pan, fry up onions with oil (and garlic if you choose to use it) until the onions are soft. Add the spices, sugar, and apricots to the pan. When the sugar has been absorbed, add the water so it’s like a sauce and has a little liquid to cook in. Add the carrots (they should be steamed a little before hand so they cook faster), and cook for a few minutes. Stir with the sauce, until they are covered nicely and a little brown. Serves: 4 to 6

 

Modified from a recipe by Charlotte Millman

PEANUT ORANGE AND CARROT SALAD

1/4 cup peanut butter

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, shredded

1 pound shredded carrots

4 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

salt and pepper to taste
In a medium microwaveable bowl, microwave the peanut butter for about 10 seconds to soften. Whisk in the tamari, orange juice and ginger; stir in a splash of hot water if the sauce begins to tighten up. Stir the carrots and green onions into the dressing and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture in a serving bowl and top with peanuts. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

CARROT APPLE SALAD

 

2 cups firmly-packed shredded apple

2 cups shredded, firmly-packed carrots

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

 

In a large mixing bowl, toss the shredded apples, carrots and raisins (if using) together. In another bowl whisk together the lemon juice, sour cream, vanilla and honey. Pour the dressing over the apple carrot salad and toss well. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

 

CRANBERRY GLAZED CARROTS

 

2 lbs. baby carrots

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice

kosher salt

pepper

 

In a saucepan, boil the baby carrots in boiling salted water until tender-crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and leave the carrots in the pan. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes or until nicely glazed and piping hot, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

 

SAVORY CARROT AND APPLE CASSEROLE

 

1 lb carrots, peeled, cut into sticks

2 large white onions, sliced into wedges

5 tablespoons butter (or margarine)

3 large apples, cored, thinly sliced into rings

1 teaspoon thyme (optional)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. Steam carrots in boiling salted water until tender-crisp. Set aside. In a skillet saute the onions in the butter until golden. In the prepared dish, layer the carrots, onions and apples. Sprinkle with thyme. Drizzle with lemon juice. Melt the remaining butter and then mix in bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over vegetable mixture. Bake degrees for 15 minutes or until vegetables are heated through and crumbs are golden brown. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

SAVORY CARROT AND TARRAGON TART

 

Crust
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup yogurt

Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2 tablespoons white wine or vinegar, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350.  To prepare crust: Coat a 9- to 10-inch tart pan with cooking spray. Place flour, tarragon and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Add 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup yogurt and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan (it will be crumbly), spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust. Bake the crust until set but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. To prepare filling: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in carrots and 1 tablespoon wine or vinegar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.  Spread mustard over the crust. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and then evenly spread the carrot mixture in the tart shell.  Whisk 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, eggs, tarragon, the remaining 1 tablespoon wine or vinegar), 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and pour in the filling.  Bake the tart until the filling is firm and the edges are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or chilled.

 

CAULIFLOWER AND CARROT PIE

 

2 cups seasoned croutons, crushed

1/2 cup butter, melted, divided

1 small head cauliflower cut into small florets (about 5 Cups)

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup shredded Cheddar, divided

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, combine croutons and 1/4 cup butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned; set aside. In a large skillet sauté the cauliflower, onion, carrot, garlic, salt and oregano in remaining butter over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese into prepared crust. Top with the cauliflower mixture and remaining cheese. In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk. Pour over pie. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean and the cauliflower is tender. Serves 6 to 8

Barley There (Ok, a bad pun but a great grain)

So there I was, cleaning out my pantry in a crazed moment of organization (believe me, they are few and far between) and lo and behold, I discover an open box of barley I had conveniently misplaced behind the other opened boxes of pasta, wild rice and ramen noodles I really need to finish. As I contemplated the box I realized that I have tons and tons of recipes that utilize this great grain and what better time to share them than when I’m all trying to use up this “stuff”

Barley is kind of a super fiber filled food and who can’t use more fiber in their diet these days. There are two types of barley typically available to consumers.  The first is pearl barley. This process barley has had its outer fibrous hull removed and is almost like white rice, great for soups and salads. Scotch barley is less processed barley. It holds up better in stews and cooked casseroles.

Barley has a slightly nutty and chewy flavor. I like to toast it (for 8 to 10 minutes in a skillet over a low heat) before cooking it to bring out its more robust flavor. You should know that barley expands A LOT when it cooks so make sure you have enough liquid to keep it from scorching. 1 cup dry barley expands to makes approx. 3 cups cooked barley. In the event, unlike me, you need to purchase some barley to make the following recipes please try and steer clear of the quick cooking kind. In my opinion, it’s just a poor imitation of the real stuff. Yes you can use the quick cooking barley if you’re in a hurry but for my money and taste the slower cooking kind is better in terms of flavor and texture.

 

How cook pearl barley:
In a saucepan combine 3/4 cup pearl barley, 2 1/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Makes approx 3 cups.

SHANGHI STIR FRY

 

1/2 cup barley
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 small peeled and diced eggplant
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
8 to 10 drops hot sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup shredded red cabbage

1/2 cup chopped cucumber

 

Place the barley and water in medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Set the barley aside. In large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chicken and garlic and stir fry 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cooked barley to the pan and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Remove the mixture to a bowl and set it aside. Do not clean the pan. Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add eggplant, bell pepper and onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add basil, hot sauce, sugar, peanut butter and soy sauce; cook 2 more minutes. Add the barley mixture to the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes. Spoon the mixture into the serving bowl and garnish with peanuts, cucumber and red cabbage. Serves 4.

 

APPLES AND BARLEY CHICKEN

 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup barley
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
3 tablespoons apricot jam or apple butter

 

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X13 casserole dish. In a large skillet heat the oil and sauté the onion, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apple and curry powder and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the barley and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes. Spoon the liquidly barley mixture into the greased casserole. Arrange the chicken pieces over the barley mixture. Season with garlic salt. Cover and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and brush the chicken with the apricot jam. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let stand for a few minutes before serving. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

CORN AND BARLEY CASSEROLE

 

1 cup barley
3 cups water
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
2/3 cup diced red bell pepper
4 to 6 green onions, thinly sliced

In medium saucepan bring the water and approx. 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the barley and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Add the corn and simmer 10 to 15 minutes longer. While the barley is cooking in a bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, basil, approx. 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the warm barley mixture and mix to combine. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Add the tomatoes, peppers, parsley and onions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the flavors to combine. Serves 6 to 8

ORANGE ALMOND AND BARLEY SALAD

 

2 cups hot cooked barley
4 to 5 tablespoons sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar
3-1/2 to 4 cups shredded romaine or red leaf lettuce

1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges drained but save 2 tablespoons liquid
1-1/2 to 2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Rice noodles, for garnish

2/3 cup toasted almonds

 

Place the hot cooked barley into a large bowl. Drizzle the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and sugar over the hot barley, mix gently to coat Cover the barley and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. Add the mandarin oranges, orange liquid, turkey, celery and green onions to the cold barley. Toss gently to combine. Arrange the salad greens on 4 dinner plates. Mound the barley mixture over the greens. Sprinkle the top of each salad with the rice noodles and almonds for garnish. Makes 4 main course servings or 8 salad servings.

 

BARLEY BEEF SOUP

 

1 1/2 lb beef stew meat cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 onions chopped

6 carrots diced

1 to 1 1/2 lb mushroom sliced

8 cups beef broth

1 cup barley

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

In the bottom of a soup pot brown the meat in the oil. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring often for 10 minutes. Add the broth, carrots, mushrooms and barley. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for at least 2 hours. In the last 15 minutes add the parsley and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper before serving. If the soup is too thick add water to thin it. Serves 8

 

VEGETABLE BARLEY SOUP

 

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 parsnip, diced

2 potatoes, diced

2 tablespoon oil

8 cups water or broth

1 cup uncooked pearled barley

1 can pinto beans, drained

1 small can crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 large bay leaves

Salt and pepper

 

In a large soup pot, sauté the onions, celery, parsnip, potatoes and carrots for 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth or water and the remaining ingredients. Mix to combine and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally, until the barley is soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve. Serves 8 to 10.

 

Submitted by Victoria Cambria Northbrook IL

 

CHICKEN BARLEY GUMBO

 

1 lb skinless chicken thighs

2 teaspoon olive oil

4 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

1 onion, chopped

2 cups seeded diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups corn

2 cups sliced okra (sliced)

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon sage

2/3 cup barley

 

In a large sauce pan sauté the onions in the olive oil for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the chicken, cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water and broth the mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Skim off the foam and add the garlic, red pepper, bay leaf, and sage. Cover and let simmer 15 to 30 minutes. Add the okra, tomatoes, corn, and barley, cover and simmer for an hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8 to 10.

 

Modified from about.com

Open Sesame

 

 

I may not be Scheherazade with her tales of wonder  but say the enchanted words “open the sesame seed jar” (ok, so I took a few liberties with the phrase) and a magical world of flavor is open to all. Sesame seeds are one of the oldest condiments in recorded cooking history dating back to as early as 1600 BCE and are an integral part of the cuisines in the Middle East, Asia, India and Turkey probably originated in an area of the world called the Spice Islands.

Because sesame seeds are a plant food, there’s no cholesterol. Natural sesame seeds (unhulled) are high in calcium,
hulled not as much. However, they contain copious amounts of B vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin so it’s all good. Most of the sesame seeds sold in the United States are already hulled and come in light, brown and black colors. As far as I can tell the only difference is in the color, not the flavor. Sesame oil comes in two varieties. The first is cold pressed with very lightly golden color and a subtle flavor. The Asian variety of sesame oil that most of us associate with Chinese/Thai and other oriental foods is made from roasted sesame seeds and is much darker in color and has an intense almost smoky flavor.

Tahini or sesame seed paste and hummus two very popular Middle Eastern dishes have sesame seeds as their base and are served instead of butter or oil as condiments throughout many countries in the world.

To keep your sesame seeds from becoming rancid, store them in the refrigerator or the freezer. Sesame oil has an exceptionally long shelf life but since it’s rather expensive so most people tend to buy it small quantities so it isn’t in the cabinet all that long.

Many recipes call for you to toast your sesame seeds so that they have a slightly nuttier flavor. Easy to do. You can either place
them in an ungreased frying pan and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat for a minute or two, just until they are lightly browned. Remove them from the pan immediately by putting them into a dish. Leaving them in the pan can cause them to burn from residual heat. Or you can also toast them in the oven on a cookie sheet with sides at 350 but you have to watch them CAREFULLY. They will
burn quickly.

So open sesame already and get started creating your own treasure trove of dishes with a rich nutty flavor that adding sesame seeds create.

SESAME ANISE MELTS

 

2   cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon anise seed, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

about 1 cup toasted sesame seed

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease 4 large baking sheets and set them aside. In large mixing
bowl combine flour, baking soda and then set it aside. In another large bowl combine
the shortening, sugar, anise seed and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Beat
in the egg and then add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Roll rounded
tablespoons of the dough into the sesame seeds. Arrange the balls on the cookie
sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart and flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass
to about 1/4 inch thickness. Bake 6 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned
around edges. Cool on rack. These freeze well. Makes 3 dozen

 

Submitted by Constance Kadish Teaneck NJ,
Adapted from joy of cookies

CLASSIC SESAME CHICKEN

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons rice wine

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 dash hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 clove crushed garlic

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered

1 green bell pepper, sliced

4 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2inch pieces

 

To Make Marinade: In a nonporous dish or bowl blend cornstarch with wine or
sherry; then stir in lemon juice, soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, ginger and
garlic. Blend together and stir in chicken strips. Cover dish and refrigerate
to marinate for 3 to 4 hours.

 

In a wok or large skillet, place sesame seeds and dry-fry over medium heat,
shaking the wok, until the seeds are a golden brown color. Remove seeds and set aside.

To same wok or skillet add sesame oil and vegetable oil and heat slowly. Drain
chicken, reserving marinade, and stir-fry in wok a few pieces at a time, until
browned. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add mushrooms and green bell pepper to same wok or skillet and stir-fry for 2 to 3
minutes. Add the scallions and stir-fry 1 minute more. Return chicken to wok,
together with reserved marinade, and stir over medium high heat for another 2
to 3 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly coated with the glaze.
Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Modifiedfrom about.com

PEANUT AND SESAME NOODLES

For peanut dressing

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup warm water

2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

 

For
noodle salad

3/4 lb dried linguine or spaghetti

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips

3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

 

Make dressing:

In the bowl of a food processor or blender combine the dressing ingredients and process until smooth then transfer to a
large bowl.

Make salad:

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander, then rinse well under cold
water.  Add the pasta, scallions, bell peppers, and sesame seeds to dressing, tossing to combine, and serve
immediately.  Serves 4

Modified from Gourmet  June 2002

LEMON AND SESAME DRESSING

 

1/2 cup sesame oil

1 cup honey

1 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a large jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well.  Refrigerate until ready to use. Shake again before dressing salad. Makes
2 1/2 cups

SESAME TURKEY BURGER

2 lb ground turkey

3 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 cup sliced green onions (white and green parts)

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 cup breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for cooking

 

In a bowl combine the turkey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, green onions, cilantro, garlic, sesame oil, about 1 teaspoon of
salt, and bread crumbs. Cover and let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours for the flavors to meld. Form the mixture into 6 to 8 patties and brush them with a little oil before cooking (the turkey has very little fat and may stick to the grill pan or grill). Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until the center is hot and no longer pink. Makes 6 to 8

Fro my files, source unknown

 

SESAME SEED COOKIES

One of my all time favorite cookie recipes

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons McCormick® Gourmet Collection Cream of Tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

2 jars (1.62 ounces each) McCormick® Gourmet Collection Sesame Seed, Toasted (about 1 cup), divided

2 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, melted

 

Mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer
on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add sugar; beat until well blended, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture and 1/4 cup of the toasted sesame seed on low speed until well mixed. . Refrigerate dough 2 hours or until firm.  Preheat oven to 400. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in remaining 3/4 cup toasted sesame seed. Place 2 inches apart on
ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to
wire racks; cool completely. Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is set.

From mccormick.com

LEMON AND SESAME POUND CAKE

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/ 8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 teaspoon black sesame seeds

 

Glaze

 

2 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 5 1/2 by 3 inch loaf pan.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, butter, lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract. Then combine 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture with the sesame seeds. Add half the remaining flour mixture to the egg mixture, until only a few streaks of flour remain. Repeat with the second half of the batter and the sesame mixture. Do not over mix. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula, to ensure a smooth batter. Pour into the mold. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and lemon juice. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the sugar is
dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened. Once the cake has been removed from its mold, brush it with the glaze.

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

SESAME ASPARAGUS AND BEEF SALAD

2 to 3 lbs. rib steak

4 to 6 cups sliced fresh asparagus (cut into bite sized pieces)

3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons sesame oil

1 to 2 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

4 green onions, sliced thin

Chopped romaine lettuce

3 shredded carrots

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook steak to desired doneness. Cool and cut into thin strips or bite sized pieces.

Cook the asparagus until it’s just crisp tender. Drain and cool. In a bowl combine
beef and asparagus and set it aside. In another bowl combine the soy sauce,
sesame oil, vinegar, ginger and green onions. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing
over beef and asparagus. Mix to coat. You can heat this up if you prefer a warm
salad. Place the chopped lettuce and shredded carrots on a serving platter and
spoon the beef and asparagus over the top. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds
and red pepper if you’re using it and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves
6.

From my files, source unknown

Perfect Pot Pie

SLICE OF LIFE BY EILEEN GOLTZ

The phrase “it’s as easy as pie” to make is one that readily comes to mind whenever I’m in the mood to make pot pies. Surprisingly the mood seems to strike whenever I have leftovers that don’t seem to be just quite enough to make a full meal all by themselves. The light bulb in my head (the one that looks eerily like the one in my fridge) goes on and the word balloon appears and it blinks, pot pie, pot pie, pot pie.
Recipes for pot pie cooking methods date back to the Middle Ages in Europe, and were brought to America along with all the other hand me down recipes our ancestors had in their own personal cookbooks. Simply put, a pot pie is a savory meat or vegetable stew/thick soup cooked in a single or double crusted pan depending on your personal preference and your geological frame of reference. A lot of recipes from south of the Mason Dixon line have  a biscuit type of crust and those from those Yankee states are more apt to use pastry dough or puff pastry. Those that originated in other countries use potatoes or barley or even rice in the crusts. It just goes to show you that even though cooks all over the world may have a different set of staples in the house we know what to do with them when it comes to making the best of leftovers.
. The following recipes include several that I’ve made for years and years and more years and have absolutely no idea where the original recipe came from and the rest have been sent to me by readers who love pot pies as much as I do. .So, even if you’re ordinarily a the kind of cook that burns water, making a pot pie will raise your confidence level 10 fold and your standing as the best cook in the world for turning leftovers into a spectacular meal 100 fold.

REMINDS ME OF MARSHALL FIELDS CHICKEN POT PIES

2 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of thyme
12 ounces cooked chicken meat, cut into strips
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup peas, if frozen, thawed
1/2 cup diced cooked carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and place on sheet of the dough on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Press to push it slightly up the sides of the pan. set it aside. In a sauce pan melt the butter and then stir in the flour. Cook, whisking until the flour is incorporated into the butter and then add the broth and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is thickened. Add the pinch of thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine.  Add chicken, peas, onions, celery and carrot and mix to combine and pour the mixture into the prepared pan over the dough. Top with the second piece of puff pastry dough making sure to tuck the edges into the pan and connecting it with the bottom dough if possible. Bake for approx 25 minutes until the top has puffed up and is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

RICE AND CHICKEN POT PIE

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup flour
2 cans (14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth
1 package (16-oz) mixed frozen vegetables
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups cooked chopped chicken
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cup baking mix
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

Heat butter in skillet  and add onion, garlic, thyme, sage and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes until onion is tender. Add flour, cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in broth; cook, whisking 4 to 6 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens.

Stir in vegetables; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in rice, chicken and parsley; cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes more. Place in 2-1/2-quart casserole. (May be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.)

Combine baking mix, buttermilk and green onions in medium bowl. Gently stir, just until dough comes together. Form dough into 9-inch long log on lightly floured surface; cut crosswise into 6-1/2-inch rounds. (Or roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness and cut with different shaped cookie cutters.)

Top casserole with biscuits, spacing evenly. Bake in 425-degree oven for 20 minutes until filling is bubbly and biscuits are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Modified from cdkitchen.com

MASHED POTATO TURKEY POT PIE

1 tablespoon oil
2 pounds ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper diced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 (16 oz.) cans cream style corn
8 white potatoes, cooked and mashed
Butter or margarine
Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 325. In a skillet sauté the onion, celery and red pepper together in the oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the turkey. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.  Drain any liquid, add the poultry seasoning, mix to combine and put the mixture in a 9X13 casserole dish. Pour the creamed corn over the mixture and top with the mashed potatoes. Place small pieces dabs of butter or margarine on the potatoes. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake an additional 10 minutes and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Submitted by Audry Snarling

VEGGIE POT PIE

1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 onions, diced
1 green or red pepper, diced
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 or 4 yellow or zucchini squashed, diced
15 ounces can vegetarian chili (you can use the stuff with meat if you like)
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
6 ounces box cornbread mix (or your favorite recipe)
salsa and sour cream

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare the corn bread mix and set it aside. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside. In a large skillet sauté the garlic in the oil for about 1 minute and then add the onion, green pepper, carrots, and zucchini; cook 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Stir in the chili, mix to combine and then spoon the mixture spread into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. Spread the corn bread mixture over the top of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown.  Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes then serve. Serves 6

SWEET POTATO POT PIE

3 tablespoons   olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small  pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg mixed
Poppy or sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet sauté the onion, jalapeno, garlic and, sweet potatoes in the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the corn.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk and cornstarch, then pour the mixture into the sweet potato mixture. Bring the mixture to bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until the liquid starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a 9X13 pan and then gently lay a sheet of the puff pastry dough on top pushing the edges in to the mixture around the side of the pan.  Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg and then sprinkle the top with sesame or poppy seeds. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in the top of the crust (you can make a design) to let the steam vent. Place the casserole on a cookie sheet with sides just in case it bubbles over. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden. Serves 4 for dinner 6 for lunch

Note: you can use canned sweet potatoes but don’t saute them with the other vegetables, add them with the corn.

HONEY DIJON MUSTARD POT PIE

1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons oil
1 lb chicken breasts, no bones or skin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup peas, frozen or canned
2 ready make pie crusts, defrosted
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
Water, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425. Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce for about 10 minutes then drain. In a skillet sauté the garlic and onions in the oil. Cook until they just start to wilt and are still firm. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is done through. Add the honey, carrots, broth, parsley, salt, pepper and mustard. Mix to combine and cook on a low heat. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and enough water to make paste. Bring the chicken mixture to a boil and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly as you add it. Cook until the liquid starts to thicken. You can make more of the cornstarch mixture and add it if the liquid to too runny. Spoon the chicken  mixture into one of the pie shell and then top it with the other crust. Cut a few slits in the top so steam can escape while it bakes. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for another half an hour or until the crust is golden brown and the pie is hot. Serve immediately with vegetables and mashed potatoes. Serves 4 to 6.

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