Cupcakes for Chanukah! Recipes and more

Sorry for the lag in posting, lots of travel and family commitments but now, shes back…………………..

cup3 There are times in your life (like after eating a dozen latkes) when you just gotta have that certain something sweet BUT you really don’t want the guilt associated with gobbling up 5 bags of candy coins or a calorie laden mega doughnut topped with chocolate and filled with custard (granted, there aren’t too many times when I DON’T want that kind of doughnut). For me that’s when I reach for a cupcake. Just enough cake and frosting to satisfy but not so much as that I feel like I’ve over indulged and the “oh I blew my holiday diet AGAIN” remorse isn’t omnipresent.

The origin of the cupcake isn’t all that clear. Some historians say it’s because the original recipe contained 1 cup measurements (I cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar etc.) Another source I checked with said that long ago that cake batter was cooked in tea cups, hence the name, cup-cake. Either way it came about I’m just glad the recipes evolved into the sweet treats we love today.

Deciding what type of cupcakes to make and what to top them with can be truly a personal and existential experience. You can fill them, frost them, and dust them with powdered sugar or cocoa. Sprinkles are always nice and so is a couple of pieces of candy or chocolate stuck into the top of the batter just before baking. The possibilities are endless and the results are always irresistible.

With cupcakes you can indulge in your love of lemon, banana, chocolate or vanilla or both at the same time and not have to commit to eating a whole cake. One of the beauties of making cupcakes is that most cake recipes can be converted into cupcakes. There are, however, some exceptions, like angel and sponge cakes, they don’t have quite enough structure to pull off the smaller size, but those to obvious exceptions aside, I say go for whatever recipe you want and see how creative you can get. I prefer to use cupcake liners in my pans as I find it easier to take them out after they’ve been cooked and they help keep all those pesky crumbs from falling all over your lap or shirt.

 

Just a few cup cake rules before you get started.

 

1. Always grease or line you baking pan, easier to remove the cupcake

2. Never over fill the pan, it will make an overly large cupcake top

4. Once the pan or pans are full, put them in the preheated oven immediately. The longer they sit out, the less they will rise.

5. Cupcakes should be baked in at least a 350 so that the structure sets quickly and the cake doesn’t dry while it’s baking

3. Make sure you test the cupcake with a toothpick before you remove it from the oven to make sure it cooked throughout.

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Depending on how you decorate the following recipe they can be served as a snack or at a formal dinner and are equally at home at a 5 year olds birthday party or a wedding reception. I make the peanut butter ones every Chanukah and decorate them with chocolate candy coins.  Enjoy!

 

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES (dairy)

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper cup cake liners in the muffin pan and set it aside. In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the margarine or butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.  Mix to combine and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture to the egg mixture with the milk. Do not over mix or you’ll get air bubbles in the cup cake. Fill each muffin cups about 1/2 full of batter. Place a peanut butter cup into the center of each and push it down so it almost touches the bottom but so there is still some batter underneath the peanut butter cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean (be careful not to test where the candy is, you won’t get a true test of if the cupcake is done). Makes approx 14 to 16

 

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BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese or pareve cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoon soft butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Optional Toppings;

hot fudge sauce,

maraschino cherries

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. In another large bowl combine the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.  Frost and top with fudge sauce and a maraschino cherry

 

Modified from the Joy of Baking

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ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO CUPCAKES (pareve)

This recipe uses self rising flour if you don’t have it for each cup of self rising flour use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 zucchinis, grated

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease or line 2 12 muffin tin pans. In a bowl combine the egg, oil, and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the zucchini, lime zest and nuts and stir together until well mixed.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, into the zucchini mixture and gently fold it in. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake and for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then dust the top with powdered sugar. Makes 24.

 

Modified from about.com

 

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

generous 1/3 cup potato flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk and eggs and beat to combine.   Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

 

1 oz bittersweet chocolate

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave but don’t over heat it, it should just be soft. Cool for about minutes. Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and then pour the chocolate over the top. Add the vanilla and mix until the cheese and chocolate is combine. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Frost and serve. Makes 12

 

Submitted by Roger Mancref and Cheryl Rodrego Naples FL

 

CANDIED CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

Topping

6 chocolate candy bars, chopped into pieces (your choice)

1, 12 oz bag of any kind of M&M’s you like

Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces

Mix together in a bowl, set aside

 

Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream

 

Cupcakes

12 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup mini chocolate chips

 

 

Make the frosting first. In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth and then add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Cool in the refrigerator and when it is cool beat the frosting until it is spreadable.

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 24 cupcakes molds. In a bowl combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs and mix to combine. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, chocolate chips and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepare tins filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting and then decorate with the chopped candy. Makes 24.

 

LUSCIOUS LEMON CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute

 

FROSTING:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon milk or pareve substitute

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or paper line 30 muffin tins. Set them aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar. Mix to combine and then with the mixer running add the eggs. With the mixer still running add lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This will be a thick batter.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix until combined.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Makes 30.

 

 

 

It’s Blueberry Time/ Kosher Recipes

There’s only one bad thing that can be said about blueberries, they can be messy if you squish one.  Other than that, they’re really a wonderful fruit.

A typically American fruit the flavor and sweetness of the blueberry is the frosting on the cake that is fruit. A blueberry is a super food, one that is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. This may sound obvious but when buying your blueberries you should remember they should actually be blue, if they’re even slightly green, red or purple forget them. Only blue will do.

The blueberries you want should be uniform in size, not big and small, firm not hard and have a slightly waxy sheen. To store then you should keep your blueberries refrigerated and please don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. They will spoil if you do. They should last, in the refrigerator, for 10 days to 2 weeks.

You’re in luck, blueberries are in season right now and very affordable so hopefully this column will nudge you toward adding them to your shopping list this week.

 

Blueberry Guide

Approx 3 cups of blueberries in a pound

One cup of fresh or frozen blueberries =2/3 cup pureed

1 cup frozen blueberries = 2/3 cup thawed blueberries

BLUEBERRY AND CREAM MUFFINS

 

2 cups cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

11/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

3 ounces cream cheese cut in cubes

2 teaspoon lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Brown sugar to sprinkle on top

 

Preheat oven to 350. Line the cups of a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.  In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt and set aside.

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Stir in the melted butter and mix until smooth. Mix in milk. Add dry ingredients and stir until all dry is incorporated. Do not over mix. Fold the berries into the batter.

 

Pour an equal amount of batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top and then bake for 30 minutes (or until the top is golden), remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

 

From my files, source unknown

 

BLUEBERRY APPLE SALAD

 

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, divided

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons apple jelly

Zest of 1 orange

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach

2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced

2 ribs celery, cut into 1-1/2-inch matchsticks (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup pecan or walnut halves, toasted

 

To prepare dressing: In a blender container, combine1/2 cup of the blueberries, oil, apple jelly, lemon juice, orange zest, mustard and salt; blend until smooth. Set the dressing aside. In a salad bowl combine the spinach with apple slices, celery, pecans and remaining 1/2 cup blueberries. Toss gently, drizzle the dressing over the top, toss gently and serve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from a recipe from my mom Anita Weinfield, Northbrook IL

LIME AND BLUEBERRY BARS

 

2 cups blueberries

21/4 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup softened butter

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1/3 cup lime juice

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Extra powdered sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until blended. Cut in the butter (mash with a fork until dough holds together). Press the mixture over the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, lime zest, lime juice and baking powder. Gently fold in the blueberries. Gently pour the mixture over warm, baked crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is firm. Remove from the oven and cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar cut and serve. Serves 12

 

Modified from about.com

BLUEBERRY CORN MUFFINS

 

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 cups blueberries

Coarse sugar

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 1 12 muffin pan and 1 6 muffin pan and set them aside. In large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix and set aside. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, orange juice, margarine, egg and orange zest. Whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix, by hand just to combine. Add the blueberries and gently mix them in. Do not over mix. Divide the batter between the 18 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with a little coarse sugar. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden or a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins.

 

Modified from an old Moosewood cookbook recipe in my files, book unknown

 

BLUEBERRY PULL-A-PART BREAD

 

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries

2/3 cup brown sugar

10 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon cinnamon

4 pkgs (10 oz ea) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

 

Preheat oven to 350. REALLY grease a 10 x 4 tube pan and set it aside. In a bowl combine 2/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Cut the biscuits in half. Roll each piece in sugar mixture. Arrange about one-fourth of the biscuit pieces and one-fourth of the blueberries in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Place blueberries between biscuit pieces, creating a mosaic effect. Repeat with three more layers (covered dough balls and blueberries), covering blueberries of one layer with dough balls in next layer. In saucepan combine the brown sugar, margarine, vanilla, cinnamon and the additional 1 cup blueberries. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the margarine melted. Pour the mixture over biscuits and berries in the pan. Bake 34-45 minutes or until done. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before you try and remove this from the pan. Place a plate on the top of the pan and invert. Serves 8 to 10 servings.

 

Modified from epicurean .com

BLUEBERRY SALAD WITH SMOKED TROUT

 

8 oz romaine lettuce, shredded

4 Smoked trout fillets, skinned broken into medium pieces

1 1/2 cups blueberries

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine or rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

In a bowl, combine arugula, trout and blueberries. In a small bowl combine the oil, vinegar, mint, salt and pepper. Divide the salad onto 4 chilled plates. Drizzle each serving with dressing. Serves 4

 

Modified from a recipe from Chef Marc Meyer, Five Points, New York City

 

BLUEBERRY ORANGE SAUCE

This is super over roast chicken or turkey

 

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

2 oranges, sectioned

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt and then set it aside. In a small saucepan combine the orange juice and 1/4 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the blueberries and orange sections and bring the mixture back to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar mixture to the berry mixture, whisk to combine and then cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, the sauce will thicken slightly. Remove it from the heat and serve. Makes approx. 2 cups.

 

NOTE: if you want a sauce to go over a fruit salad just omit the salt and pepper.

 

BLUEBERRY MANGO SALAD

 

2 cups fresh blueberries

3 to 4 mangos, peeled, seeded and sliced or cubed

1/3 cup frozen piña colada mix, thawed

1 to 2 tablespoons rum

Baby spinach

Toasted pecans

 

In a large bowl, combine blueberries, mangos, piña colada mix and rum and mix to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates. Spoon the berry mango mixture over the spinach. Top with the toasted pecans and serve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

BLUEBERRY CRANBERRY CHICKEN SALAD

 

4 cups cook chicken cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, sliced thin

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup minced green onion

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2/3 cup toasted almonds

 

In a bowl combine the chicken pieces, red onion, celery and rice vinegar. Toss to coat and add the green onion, parsley, cranberries and blueberries. Gently mix to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard and then spoon the dressing onto the chicken mixture. Mix to coat and then garnish with the toasted almonds. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from a BHG.com recipe

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

It’s Chocolate Time

 

Chocolate has been the high on the top of the list of aphrodisiacs since it was discovered over 3,000 years ago in Mexico.  Montezuma (of the don’t drink the water fame) would drink 50 goblets of a chocolate drink a day to give himself stamina to handle his harem of over 600 women.

So with my quantum leap of food logic I say what better way to say I love you than giving or serving chocolate (for breakfast lunch AND dinner).

Hold on a second before you go rushing out to buy Godiva, Ghirardelli, Hershey’s or even Nestles. You need to know a little bit about the chocolate you’re about to use or eat. Not all chocolate or cocoa is created equally. Different recipes call for different types of chocolate.
          Unsweetened or baking chocolate is simply cooled, hardened chocolate liquor. It is used primarily as an ingredient in recipes, or as a garnish. Semi-sweet chocolate is also used primarily in recipes. It has extra cocoa butter and sugar added. Sweet cooking chocolate is basically the same, with more sugar for taste. Milk chocolate is chocolate liquor with extra cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla added. Milk chocolate is the most popular form for chocolate. Cocoa is chocolate liquor with most of the cocoa butter removed, creating a fine powder. Each form of chocolate can create a different taste so make sure you’ve got the right ingredient for your recipe.

White chocolate is somewhat of a misnomer. In the United States, in order to be legally called ‘chocolate’ a product must contain cocoa solids. Most of the stuff you get in the market place today does not contain these solids so technically it’s not really chocolate. Real white chocolate is primarily cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla.

Chocolate in its many forms is always welcome as an expression of love. The making or serving the following recipes won’t guarantee the love will be returned but they could give you a shot a few extra brownie points.
CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES (dairy or pareve)

1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter or margarine, cut into chunks
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup whipping dream or non dairy substitute
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 bars (1.5 ounces each) Dark Chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Coarse sugar

In bowl of a food processor, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pulse until well blended. Add butter chunks and process for a few seconds, just until butter is size of peas. Transfer mixture to large bowl and stir in sugar.

In small bowl, whisk together heavy cream, eggs and vanilla extract. Pour cream mixture over dry ingredients. Add chopped chocolate and stir to form dough. Knead dough lightly in bowl about 10 times. Transfer dough onto lightly floured work surface and shape into 8-inch round disc. Transfer round to plate, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut round into 8 wedges. Transfer scones to ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until set. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Or serve slightly warm. Makes 8

Modified from epicurious.com

CHOCOLATE CREPES (dairy or pareve)

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon unsweetened chocolate powder

1 egg

1 egg white

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup milk or non dairy substitute

strawberries or raspberries or sorbet

Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add all liquid ingredients and stir until batter is smooth and creamy.  Let batter rest in the refrigerator until the air is settled, about 2 hours. When ready to prepare crepes, heat crepe pan over medium heat and pour 1/3 to 1/4 cup of the batter into hot pan. Rotate pan until batter is cooked through and then turn to cook the other side. When done remove from pan and let cool on a rack. Store until ready to serve. May be made one to two days ahead of time. Fill with berries, sorbet. Serves 2.

CHOCOLATE WAFFLES (dairy or pareve)

This recipe is a fun way to portion out cake mix into individual servings much like cupcakes, but with a much quicker bake time.

1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup of boiling water

2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of softened butter or margarine

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

In a bowl whisk together the cocoa and boiling water. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add 2 large eggs to the butter mixture, stirring between each egg to combine thoroughly. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the cocoa water mixture to the butter mixture, stirring until just mixed. Batter may be stored in the refrigerator until needed. Makes 4 waffles.

CHOCOLATE FRENCH TOAST PUFF (dairy)

This recipe should be started the night before you want to serve it as it has to sit for at last 4 to 5 hours before you cook it.
12 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 cups milk, divided
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (dairy or pareve)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 eggs
2 cups half and half

Topping
3/4 cup butter, very soft or melted
1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
Whipped cream or maple syrup, optional
Generously grease a 9×13 baking dish that is at least 2 inches deep. Arrange trimmed bread slices on bottom of pan in 2 layers. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup milk, chocolate chips and sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until chips are melted and sugar is dissolved. Do not let mixture come to a boil. Stir in vanilla. Let cool. In a large bowl, beat eggs, remaining milk and half and half. Mix chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Pour over bread slices. Cover pan tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. In the morning, remove from refrigerator and prepare topping.

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, walnuts, coconut and dark corn syrup. Spread or spoon the topping over the bread slices. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until center is set. If edges are browning to fast, cover with foil. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes or so until cool enough to spoon or slice. Top with whipped cream or syrup, if desired. Serves 8

CHOCOLATE ORANGE BREAKFAST DRINK (dairy)

1 orange – peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

1 cup cold milk

1 cup crushed ice

Combine orange pieces, chocolate syrup, milk, and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve. Makes 1 serving

COLOSSAL CHOCOLATE CINNAMON ROLLS (dairy or pareve)

2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen white yeast bread dough, thawed, divided

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans, divided

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

3 tablespoons milk or non dairy substitute
Grease two 9-inch-round baking pans. Roll out 1 bread loaf into 16 x 10-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle 2 tablespoons over dough leaving 1/2-inch border around sides. Sprinkle with 1 cup morsels and 1/2 cup nuts. Roll up the dough starting at short end; seal edges. Cut into 6 slices; place cut side up in prepared baking pan. Repeat with remaining bread loaf, sugar mixture, morsels and nuts; place in second prepared baking pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until dough almost fills pans. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool slightly in pans on wire racks. In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar and milk and mix into a stiff glaze. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls. Serves 10 to 12.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS (pareve)

3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup oil

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 can of pumpkin (1 pound)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 cup of flour

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

8-12 oz. chocolate chips (miniature or regular)

Preheat oven to 375. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, oil, eggs, Mix to combine. Mix dry ingredients separately; then add slowly to wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Grease muffin pan and fill cups 2/3 full. For full size muffins bake 20 to 25 minutes. For mini muffins bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 12.

© Eileen Goltz chocolate09a