Thursday, April 30, 2009

West Indian Vegetable Curry

Before I get into this recipe, I have this preface:
If you do not dig tempeh, you can totally substitute with chicken, beef, lamb or shrimp (1 pound of one of these will do). OK, now that's said...

Tempeh! Ah, what an easy, recession-friendly ingredient for a healthy vegetable curry in a hurry (and when I say hurry, I mean it—30 minutes and it’s suppertime!). This is a great dish to try if you’ve never cooked with tempeh before. It's made from fermented soy beans, so if you don’t like the texture of tofu, this is perfect for you because it is hearty and chewy, more like nuts or beans.

I highly recommend you try making some shockingly simple whole wheat breads from scratch to go with this fantastic curry. See below for a simple roti recipe and how-to video. Trust me, 15 minutes and 2 or 3 pennies later (that’s seriously all it takes to make authentic, homemade Indian bread!), you will have elevated your dinner to restaurant quality and your snack mates will grin from ear to ear. Girlscout promise on that one.


WEST INDIAN VEGETABLE CURRY
WITH WHOLE WHEAT ROTI BREADS AND BROWN RICE

Serves 4

CURRY INGREDIENTS:
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 package tempeh, cut into 1-inch pieces
(my favorite is Litelife Flax tempeh)
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (any color bell or an Italian frying pepper will do)
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2-3 Tbs. curry powder (prepared or use a yummy recipe below)
1 handful of golden raisins or dried cranberries (or both)
1 handful of roasted cashews
1 14-oz. can of lite coconut milk
1-2 Tbs. water
Salt & pepper
Squeeze of lemon or lime (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Steamed brown rice (short-grain non-instant brown rice is my favorite)
Whole Wheat roti breads (recipe is below)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Cook 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water, according to package directions. If serving roti breads, prepare the dough now and set it aside. While rice is cooking and bread dough is resting, prepare the curry.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add garlic, and stir for a minute. Then add chopped peppers and onions. Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring so it doesn’t stick. Add broccoli and tempeh. Stir.

3. Stir in the coconut milk, water, and curry powder. Add raisins, cashews, optional lemon juice, salt & pepper, and stir. Allow this mixture to simmer very gently on low for 10 minutes or so, or until the broccoli is fork tender but still bright green. Cover skillet and remove from heat.

4. If serving roti breads, prepare them now.

To serve:
scoop a big, happy, heap of curry over a mound of hot brown rice. Scoop up all the juices and goodness with the fresh roti breads. You can eat the entire dish with your hands (which is so much more fun than a fork if you ask me), using the roti as your scooper. Eat. Smile. Have seconds. Wash it down with ice cold beer. Sigh in snack-satisfaction.


WHOLE WHEAT ROTI BREAD
(makes 4 breads)

INGREDIENTS:
½ cup whole wheat flour
Pinch of salt
¼ cup lukewarm water
¼ tsp. oil

To learn how to make these breads perfectly, just watch this 7-minute video of a sweet and gifted Indian woman making these breads. Seriously, that is how I learned. I love her; I want her to be my auntie. CLICK HERE: FLAT INDIAN ROTIS

DIRECTIONS:
In a small bowl, mix the above with your hand, forming a soft dough.
Note: put a couple drops of oil on your hand to knead dough without it sticking all over your hands.

Put the dough onto a cutting board and divide into 4 even-sized pieces, and roll into nice little meatball shapes. Flatten a bit. Let them rest 5-10 minutes (very important step for the bread to come out soft and tender!)

In a dry cast iron or non-stick skillet, turn heat onto medium high.
Dip a ball into a little flour. Rollout to 5-inch diameter with rolling pin or a wine bottle.

Place the flat bread dough into the hot skillet.
Peek underneath to make sure it is not burning.
Once bubbles form on top, flip it over. There will be golden brown spots on top.

Turn it once again, and it will bubble. Press the bubbles into a circular motion with a spatula and the bread will puff up like a big puffy bread bubble.

Flip over, remove and spread with a little butter or ghee.

Layer rotis in a dish lined with papertowel then cover the dish to keep the steam in – this is very important to keep the bread soft and moist!

Homemade Amazing Curry Powder

2 tablespoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon crushed dried red pepper flakes
2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground yellow mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium skillet or saute pan combine all and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, until spices are fragrant and just beginning to smoke. This will smell very pungent and savory, much stronger than it will taste as it cooks in prepared dishes! Remove from the heat, transfer to a shallow plate and allow to cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer. Use in any dish that calls for curry powder. This is authentic and yummy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

FlapperGirl Enters the NYC TOFU TAKEDOWN!


TOFU TAKEDOWN!
Sunday, May 10, 2009 / 4:30 PM / HighLine Ballroom, NYC
Have you heard about that carnivorous carnival of fun here in NYC called the Chili Takedown? The NY Daily News calls it a “growing underground movement among food-obsessed New Yorkers.” Well, the takedown’s funky founder Matt Timms has created a spin-off contest for local cooks called the TOFU TAKEDOWN, and I am THRILLED to call myself one of the contestants! All chefs entered attempt to invent a stellar tofu recipe, prepare 300 bite-sized servings worth, and set up shop at NYC’s Highline Ballroom for the big taste-off. It’s open to the public, so you can come and sample all the booty, and even vote in the People’s Choice category!

What to make, what to make! My mind’s swirling with excitement; I feel kinda like Bubba with his shrimp in Forrest Gump. ;)

I hope you will all come out to support your local Flappergirl! All this fun falls at a budget-friendly ten bucks (cheaper than a large pizza pie in these parts!) Tickets sell out QUICKLY for this, so if you want in, Matt recommends ordering tickets ASAP through TicketWeb. Click here for tickets. :)

Taste 30 amateur chef's interpretations of this famed vegetable meat! Vote on the winner!

Come for the tofu, stay for the bloodbath!

YEE-HAW!!!


"Anyway, like I was sayin', you can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, tofu-kabobs, tofu creole, tofu gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple tofu, lemon tofu, coconut tofu, pepper tofu, tofu soup, tofu stew, tofu salad, tofu and potatoes, tofu burger, tofu sandwich.
That...

...that's about it."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake


I decided to commemorate my 2nd annual 39th birthday with a lemon ricotta cheesecake (and also to share with my boyfriend’s family at dinner last night). And you know what? Thirty-nine the second time around doesn’t sting as much when there’s a supportive and lovable friend like a cheesecake at the table. ;-)

This is a traditional Italian Ricotta Cheesecake, not to be confused with the equally lovable, yet entirely different kind of friend, Italian Ricotta Pie. When ricotta is baked, it can very easily become grainy and gritty, but this outta-the-ballpark recipe manipulates the ingredients so the final result is a purely sensual, rolling-on-the-tongue texture of creamy delight. The humble integrity of ricotta is not only uncompromised, but further complimented by the bright and sunny addition of fresh lemon zest.

Ah, things feel better now. Here comes the sun.



LEMON RICOTTA CHEESECAKE
SERVES 12 , 1 12inch cheese cake
Note: Prep and cook time are an hour or so, but set aside 3-4 hours to allow the cake to cool in the oven! (See step 8)

INGREDIENTS:
3 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
2 cups sugar
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 egg whites
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/2-1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon rind
graham cracker crumbs
confectioners' sugar, for lightly sprinkling over top of cooled cake (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Butter bottom and sides of a 12-inch spring form pan. Sprinkle bottom and sides of well buttered pan with Graham cracker crumbs.

2. In a large bowl, beat drained ricotta until very smooth. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar and egg yolks, beating after each addition. Beat in flour, lemon rind, and vanilla.

3. In a small bowl, beat cream until cream holds its shape, but is not too stiff.

4. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with remaining sugar until fluffy and almost stiff; combine with whipped cream and fold into ricotta mixture.

5. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

6. Bake for 10 minutes.

7. Lower oven temperature to 350°F and bake 1 hour.

8. Turn off heat and allow cake to cool in oven with door closed (about 3-4 hours).

9. Remove cooled cake from oven; carefully remove sides of pan, store cake (well wrapped) in refrigerator.

10. Before serving, lightly sprinkle top of cake with powdered confectioner's sugar.

11. Cake may be served chilled or at room temperature.

NOTE: Center of cheese cake will be lower than the sides when it is cooled. This is not a defect! It is supposed to be this way (makes it easier to hold the topping if you choose to use one).

VARIATIONS: Top cheese cake with fresh berries or cherries before serving; sprinkle powdered sugar over that.
Cover bottom of crumbed pan with drained, sweetened crushed pineapple or sliced apples before adding batter to pan.
Crushed amaretto biscotti may be used instead of Graham crumbs to line pan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tangerine Dreams and Marshmallow Skies...


You know that luscious, image-filled place we find ourselves in, just between waking and sleeping, when all is still, the pillowcase is nice and cool, and surreal images of sensual snacks swirl over your head? OK, my surreal images are decidedly not LSD-induced, but let's just say John Lennon was digging this whole vibe back in the day:

“Picture yourself on a boat by a river, with tangerine dreams and marshmallow skies…”

Back to this morning: I found myself in a dreamy, pre-dawn state, swirling on about gardens of cotton candy blossoms, marshamallow Peeps chirping in a green licorice meadow, and a sky filled with Half Moon balloons and kites made of Girl Scout cookies. Thin Mints to be exact.

See, I ordered a box a couple weeks ago from a coworker, who’s little 6-year-old was selling them for Brownies. Processed foods don’t normally fall under the definition of Flapper Food (unless it is baked with extra amounts of love or a special occasion). So the big question stands:

Can Girl Scout Cookies classify as Flapper Food?

I don’t suppose the Girl Scout’s outsourced factory conveyor belt generates a whole lotta love...but what if said cookies were sold from an adorable little girl that drew individual, personalized thank-you cards for every sale? Drawings of, say, a self portrait and a gigantic necklace? That said, can I still count my Thin Mints as Flapper Food??
I’m going out on a limb and saying YES to Girl Scout Cookies being Flapper Food! YES to snack love! YES to early-morning images of ecstatic cookies swirling around by kite strings drawn by Lucy in the Sky (with Thin Mints). ;)
OK now that we've worked that out, I'm thinking about recipe ideas...what about a Cream Pie with Thin Mint crust? Or how about a Thin Mint-ini? Hmm....I am going to have to Flapperfy these cookies into some kind of fun recipe. Comments please! Ideas, requests, and shared recipes are all welcome. Hit me up on the commment section below and let me know what you think.

Love & Snacks,
Flappergirl

(Oh, and thanks, Lucy!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pesto-Spinach Lasagna with Sweet Roasted Tomato Sauce


I’m always looking for the ultimate lasagna recipe. This one comes close—it’s a combo of my favorite lasagna filling, spinach pesto, layered with a sweet, roasted tomato sauce. The basil, herbs, nuts and parmesan of the pesto give the filling a very delicious, green, creamy, dreamy flavor. And of course I Flapperfied the whole recipe by using whole wheat lasagna noodles and part-skim ricotta. The wheat noodles mirror the nuttiness of the pine nuts nicely.

A word on the sauce:
You can use any jar of your favorite sauce, but the one in this recipe, adapted from Alton Brown, is a very unusual and flavorful sauce—it is a sweet sauce due to the roasting of the tomatoes, and the addition of wine vinegar, a little sugar, and caramelized vegetables. Believe me, I was skeptical when I first saw the recipe (I thought, "What kind of proper Italian cook puts CELERY in her sauce?!?) It's unusual but totally worth the time. (It is also HIGHLY recommended for pizza!) I like to make a big batch of this sauce and just keep it in bags in the freezer—that way it’s there whenever I have a hankering for homemade.

PESTO-SPINACH LASAGNA WITH SWEET ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE

40 minutes to prepare
50 minutes to bake
Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS:
about 16 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 lb. fresh spinach
(or 2-10 oz. pkgs. of frozen, chopped spinach - defrosted)
2 lbs. (4 cups) ricotta cheese
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. dried sweet basil
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh black pepper to taste
3/4 cup grated parmesean
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (or minced walnuts)
1 lbs. mozzarella cheese, grated
1 jar or 4-5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (sweet roasted tomato sauce recipe below)

DIRECTIONS:
1) Preheat oven to 350 F.

2) Bring to a boil a large potful of water. Add the noodles and cook them for 4-5 minutes. (They will be undercooked.) Drain them, and lay them flat and straight on a table, counter or tray.

3) Meanwhile, thoroughly wash and dry the fresh spinach. Remove and discard the stems; finely mince the leaves. (If using frozen spinach, thoroughly drain and squeeeeeeze out all extra water!)

4) Place the ricotta in a large bowl. Stir in the spinach, garlic, basil, salt, black pepper, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, and nuts. Mix well.

5) Spoon a ½ cup of sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan pan. Place a layer of noodles in the bottom of the pan. Spread about 1/3 of the ricotta filling over the noodles (OK if it's uneven), spoon a cup of sauce on top, and sprinkle about 1/3 of the mozzarella on top. Follow with another layer of noodles, another 1/3 of the filling, 1 cup of sauce, and another 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat this pattern one more time with a third layer of everything. Top with one final layer of sauce and the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan on the very top.

Here it is in list form, from the bottom up:

Layer 1:
Sauce
Pasta
Ricotta filling
Sauce
Mozzarella

Layer 2:
Pasta
Ricotta filling
Sauce
Mozzarella

Layer 3:
Pasta
Ricotta filling
Sauce
Mozzarella

Layer 4:
Pasta
Sauce
Parmesean

6) Bake for 50 minutes. If the top browns too quickly during baking, cover loosely with foil.

7. Allow the lasagna to sit on the counter for 15 minutes or so to allow the cheeses to set a bit so you can cut nice, square pieces of lasagna, otherwise you will spoon soup onto your plate. ;)

YUMMY! Have a nice salad and some crusty bread on the side, and you are ready for a cozy dinner of comfort food galore. Don’t forget the wine. ;)

SWEET ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE

2 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled tomatoes (San Marzano variety is the best!)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
2 ounces olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a sieve over a medium non-reactive sauce pot, strain the tomatoes of their juice into the sauce pot. Add the sherry vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil to the tomato juice. Stir and cook over high heat. Once bubbles begin to form on the surface, reduce to a simmer. Allow liquid to reduce by 1/2 or until liquid has thickened to a loose syrup consistency.

2. Squeeze each tomato thoroughly to ensure most seeds are removed. Set the tomatoes aside.

3. Cut carrot, onion, and celery into uniform sizes and combine with olive oil and garlic in a cast iron skillet or oven safe roasting pan over low heat. Sweat the veggies until the carrots are tender and the onion becomes translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the roasting pan.

4. Place roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven and broil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Tomatoes should start to brown slightly on edges with light caramelization. Remove the pan from the broiler. Place the pan on the stove. Add the white wine to the tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes over medium heat.

5. Put the tomatoes into a deep pot or bowl and add the reduced tomato liquid to the tomatoes. Blend to desired consistency with a wooden spoon and adjust seasoning. Allow the sauce to cool a bit if using to assemble a lasagna or pizza. Otherwise, eat it up!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

3-Saucepan Southern Smorgasbord!


This pantry-friendly and super-inexpensive dinner is totally yummy and also really good for you. And while we're at it, let’s hear it for the humble and oft-neglected vegetable okra. High in Vitamin C and fiber, a wonderful thickening agent (it’s the secret vegetable for gumbo), it has a great texture: the crunch and pop of the seeds, and the soft, chewiness of the flesh and juices. Mmmm…

NOTE:I didn’t include it in the picture, but I think a fab sidedish would be a Cuban avocado salad. It's easy: Just lay some avocado and sweet vidalia onion slices over a bed of crisp, chopped lettuce (romaine or iceberg). Drizzle with olive oil, white vinegar, and some lime juice. The crisp lettuce, crunchy onions, and cool, creamy avocado will complement the other dishes beautifully, which are hot, spicy and chewy.

Black bean go power. And wash it all down with a cold lager. Yeah.

3-SAUCEPAN SOUTHERN SMORGASBOARD
Steamed Brown Rice
Cuban Black Beans
Tomato-Stewed Okra
Sweet Plantains
Cuban Avocado Salad

Serves 4
Cook time: 30-40 minutes

Steamed Brown Rice
1. Put the rice on first, on a back burner on the stove. Cook 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water, according to the instructions on the bag. I like short-grain brown rice that isn’t instant. Takes about 30-40 minutes but it basically cooks itself while you prepare the rest of the dinner.

2. Prep/Chop the rest of the ingredients below so everything is ready at the side of the stove to cook with.

Cuban-Style Black Beans


INGREDIENTS:
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs. Goya sofrito
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup chicken stock or water
1 small hot chili pepper (such as jalapeno, Anaheim), seeds removed & chopped finely
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. white vinegar
salt to taste

Garnish:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 or 2 scallions
Lime wedges
Guacamole or avocado slices
Sour Cream

INSTRUCTIONS:
Note: Use rubber gloves to chop the hot peppers and avoid touching your eyes or mouth until you wash your hands. If you don’t want to use hot peppers, you can substitute with a few dashes of dried, ground cayenne pepper or hot sauce.

1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil (1 swirl around the pan) over low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir often so they don’t burn. Add sofrito and cook for a minute or two, stirring.

2. Add black beans, hot pepper, bay leaf, vinegar and stock or water. Bring to a boil, then cover pan, lower heat and simmer very gently on low for 20 minutes or so. Remove bay leaf and add salt & pepper. Serve with the steamed rice, and garnish with any or all of the garnishes listed above.

Tomato-Stewed Okra

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound fresh okra, washed, trimmed, sliced
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes or tomato puree
1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
½ half medium onion, chopped
Salt & fresh cracked pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. In a medium saucepan, sauté onion and optional bell pepper in olive oil (1 swirl around the pan) over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir often so they don’t burn.

2. Add okra and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover pot and simmer very gently on low until tender. Stir occasionally.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve alongside beans and steamed brown rice.

Sweet Plantains


1 large plantain, sliced on the diagonal
olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in frying pan and saute the plantain slices until crisp and brown.

(If you include plantains on the menu, it's really a 4-pan smorgasbord, but they're small pans, and who's counting if it tastes good?) ;)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Italian Easter Bread


Hope you had a Happy Easter yesterday! I have to share this recipe for lovely little Italian Easter breads, which I made over the weekend. I grew up with a similar bread that my aunts made – they shaped the recipe into one large wreath loaf with the eggs nestled around the ring. Very pretty!

This recipe makes individual little loaves that resemble a bird’s nest, so each person gets their own bread and their own egg! I thought that was a cute presentation, as it’s great for kids and for kids at heart (like me). ;)

Bonus Recipe
The bread is slightly sweet and very reminiscent of challah. The leftovers make fantastic French toast (scroll down for the food porn) – just remove the colored egg and slice into nice, thick rounds before dipping into egg batter. Drizzle with real maple syrup and you are off to an Easter breakfast from heaven. Yummy!


ITALIAN EASTER BREAD
Adapted from The Italian Dish blog

INGREDIENTS:
1 package Rapid Rise yeast
1.25 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar

3.5 cups flour (or more—up to 5 cups)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
6 dyed Easter eggs
sprinkles

Note: the Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes. I usually just dye the eggs without hardboiling them. Just be sure the eggs are brought to room temperature first, and dyed in warm (not hot) water so they don't crack!

In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook or wooden spoon. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. You may need more than the 3 ½ cups of flour -- Don't worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore. Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead with your hands (that’s what I did). Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece between your palms to form a 1-inch thick rope about 14 inches long and, taking two pieces, twist to form a "braid", pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.

Place on a greased baking sheet (using parchment paper will result in burned bottoms, trust me, I learned from experience!) Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden - about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

Make chewy, challah-like French Toast with the breads the next day(!!):
(I sprinkled mine with sweetened coconut flakes because I'm a coconut junkie.)



Friday, April 10, 2009

Warm Praline Pecan Noodle Pudding


I was invited to a really fun Passover seder last night and wanted to bring a traditional Passover dish, so I chose a noodle pudding, called a kugel. Kugels can be sweet or savory, and usually consist of noodles, eggs and sometimes a dairy, like cottage cheese, to which countless other flavorings can be added (raisins, cinnamon, nuts, cherries, and on and on.)

This kugel is dairyless, and not too traditional due to its lack of dairy and addition of caramelized nuts on top.

I have one addition to the original recipe that I find actually makes or breaks the dish:

SERVE WARM RIGHT OUT OF THE OVEN!
If you do this, you will get an oozy, gooey, warm, sticky, sweet concoction quite reminiscent of old-fashioned caramel sticky buns fresh out of the oven!


The salt content may seem excessive but trust me, it balances the two sugars perfectly (think salted caramel candy or chocolate covered pretzel), so be sure to measure it out and also to use the salted butter. (Plus, anything can classify as Flapper Food if it's for a special occasion and, most importantly, if it's prepared with love.;-))

The original recipe suggests serving cold or at room temperature, and, while this is traditional kugel temperature, I happen to think that melty, gooey, finger-licking praline drippy goodness kicks the butt of a cold hunk of noodles any day. Just my opinion, but I’m sticking to it. ;-)


Lick-Your-Fingers Kugel
Recipe adapted from Jewish Cooking in America by Joan Nathan

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) salted butter or margarine
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup pecans, halved
1 pound wide noodles
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt

1. Melt half the butter in a 12-cup mold or tube pan. Swirl it around the bottom and up the sides.

2. Press the brown sugar into the bottom and press the pecans into the sugar, layering them into a lovely little arrangement.

3. Boil the noodles according to the package directions and then drain. Mix with the eggs, the remaining butter, melted, cinnamon, sugar, and salt and pour into the mold.

4. Bake in a preheated 350*F (175*C) oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top is brown.

NOTE: Begin checking the kugel at 1 hour! If the top is browning and drying on top, it’s done. Let sit for 15 minutes before unmolding. The top will become slightly hard like a praline.

5. Serve a slice of kugel, all warm and gooey like, if desired, along side a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Savor the contrast of hot and cold sweet snack-heaven in your mouth. Commence sugar high. Smile.

Yields 10 to 12 servings.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Equinox! Happy…Wednesday!


It’s that time of year again when delicate blossoms grace the trees, the clouds make room for the rays of the new season’s sun, and robins sing from the tree in the yard.

Whether or not you celebrate one of the spring holidays, or you are just happy that spring has finally sprung, this is a fine time to celebrate new beginnings by turning out something sweet from your kitchen.

Have you tried a ricotta pie? This traditional Italian Easter dessert is pure creamylicious bliss topped with fresh berries and powdered sugar. Make this and you will become the Pied Piper of Spring, with loyal, plate-holding followers wherever you roam.

I'm trying a new recipe for noodle pudding, a traditional Passover dish, and will post the goods here soon.

In the meantime,

enjoy the magic of the season.

xo


Tumbling-hair
picker of buttercups
violets
dandelions
And the big bullying daisies
through the field wonderful
with eyes a little sorry
Another comes
also picking flowers

-e.e. cummings

Friday, April 3, 2009

How do you like the new "kitchen?"


Hi guys!
I have a new layout! So what do you think of the new "kitchen?" Do you like it? Love it? Loathe it?

Don't be shy now - pull up a chair at the kitchen table and vote in the poll to the right--it is anonymous, so no matter what your thoughts are it will be your little secret. ;) And as always, I welcome comments, suggestions, recipe requests, and links to your own blogs, free poetry, and pie. :)

I remember one of my favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald passages in The Beautiful and Damned where he described the aroma of fresh-baked goods wafting onto the sidewalk from a bakery door late at night..."From the door came a smell that was hot, doughy, and pink."

Pink.
The smell was pink! I just love that he described a smell as a color! Amazing writing always inspires me. And I wanted to smell that sweet, warmth visually. So that's what I was going for. Vintage, flappery, warm, doughy wallpaper in my virtual flapper kitchen. You are all welcome to come and sit at the table and have some "coffee and" here with me anytime. :) And the little birdie up there enjoys visiting the the windowsill from time to time to see which pies are cooling in the morning. ;-)

 
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