recipes at random

Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don’t have to teach him anything. - Lawrence Downes

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Triple Ginger Lovers' Biscotti

Three styles of ginger—powdered, fresh and candied—permeate these spicy cookies. I tried these, and they were quite easy to make, and delicious, but I ended up baking them (the second time) close to 20 minutes longer than specified; when I make them again, I'm going to increase the first baking. I also tried adding dark chocolate chips to part of the batter, but the molasses and ginger were so flavorful (despite the note at the bottom) that the chocolate really wasn't detectable, so save your good chocolate for eating straight-up. Thanks again to Marcia and Paul for this one.

¾ cup almonds (120 g) [other nuts okay - pine nuts were good]
½ cup butter
¾ cup (150 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons molasses
2 eggs
2¼ cups (310 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (20-25 g) chopped fresh ginger root
⅔ cup (100 g) finely chopped crystallized ginger

Place nuts in a shallow pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool. In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and eggs. In another bowl combine the flour, ground ginger, baking powder and salt. Add to the creamed mixture, mixing until blended. Stir in fresh and crystallized ginger. Cut nuts into halves or thirds and fold in. Divide dough in half. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and form into two logs about ½ inch thick, 1½ inches wide and 14 inches long, spacing them at least2 inches apart. Bake in the middle of a preheated 325 degree oven for 25 minutes or until a light golden brown. Transfer from the baking sheet to a rack. Let cool 5 minutes. Place on a cutting board. With a serrated knife slice diagonally at a 45 degree angle about ½ inch thick. Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 10 minutes, turning them over once, to dry slightly. Let cool on a rack. Store in a tightly covered container.

Makes about 3½ dozen biscotti

Notes: The logs spread out rather than rising. The ginger flavor is relatively delicate but nice.


Bulgur Salad With Pomegranate Dressing and Toasted Nuts

This recipe, from Claudia Roden, was sent to me by my friends Marcia and Paul. It's similar to tabbouleh, but more complex. Bulgur is one underrated grain, in my book - it's so easy to work with, tastes great, and goes with lots of different flavors. Oh, and it's healthy, of course.

Time: 20 minutes, plus soaking

2¾ cups bulgur, preferably coarse-ground
¾ cup olive oil
6 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, available at Middle Eastern markets
Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste
6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, about 1 cup.

1. Put bulgur in a large bowl and cover with cold, lightly salted water. Let soak until tender, from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on coarseness of bulgur. Drain in a sieve, firmly pressing out excess water, and transfer to a serving bowl.

2. Whisk olive oil with pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, tomato paste and spices. Add salt and pepper and taste; mixture should be pleasingly tangy. Add more pomegranate molasses and lemon juice as needed.

3. Pour half the dressing over bulgur and mix well. Set aside to absorb for about 10 minutes. Taste for salt, adding more if needed. Add half the remaining dressing, all the nuts and parsley, and mix well. Before serving, taste again and add more dressing as needed.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Mock chopped liver (with mushrooms)

This dish could be a handy potluck contribution at this time of year - healthy, vegetarian-friendly (pareve), easy party appetizer. Serve with crackers - I like those small multigrain and tamari-flavored rice crackers that Trader Joe's sells. Thanks again, Gloria!

1 C sliced mushrooms
1 C chopped onions
3 T margarine
2 T dry sherry (optional)
3 hard-cooked eggs
¼ lb shelled walnuts or pecans
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper

1. In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms and onions in the margarine until the onions are golden brown. Stir in sherry and let mixture cook for another minute or so.
2. Pass the mushrooms, onions, hard-cooked eggs, and nuts through a grinder or chop very fine in a chopping bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Serve on lettuce leaves and garnish with tomato wedges and other raw vegetables.


Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls with Bulgur

Thanks to Gloria for this one. I like veg recipes that have a lot of protein without resorting to faux meat (not that there's anything wrong with that...). I'm interested to see whether this tastes like my mother's, which had raisins in it, to my sister's chagrin.

1 large head of cabbage
1 C cooked bulgur
1 C cooked lentils
½ C chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
½ C mushrooms, chopped fine
2 T mild vinegar
½ C pineapple juice
1 medium can pureed tomatoes
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme

1. Peel away largest cabbage leaves, parboil few minutes or until pliable.
2. While parboiling, make sauce with last three ingredients and put little in bottom of crockpot.
3. Mix lentils, bulgur, onions, mushrooms, and garlic with pineapple juice and vinegar. Roll into cabbage leaves, tucking in ends. Place rolls in crockpot and pour remaining sauce over cabbage rolls.
4. Can cook on low all day. Serve with fresh garden peas, mashed potatoes, and applesauce.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Pumpkin chocolate-chip loaf cake

More pumpkin, but why not? What's not to love about pumpkin? Oh, and of course there's chocolate, too. This recipe was sent to me by my friend Pam, who won a ribbon with it at the county fair.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Sift first 5 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Beat dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture alternately with milk. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake loaf cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes [editor's note: at least 60 minutes, if not 70]. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack; cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Wrap in plastic; store at room temperature.)

Makes 12 servings.
Bon Appétit
Flavors of the World
November 2000

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Fresh wild mushrooms and cream on linguine

Thanks to my friend Gloria Whitman for this recipe... sounds rich, and delicious! (Another friend, who shall remain nameless, will laugh when he sees the white truffle oil...)

According to Gloria, this very flavorful pasta dish makes an excellent side dish or first course dish to serve with a special meal. I think it would be a great main dish for a vegetarian Thanksgiving.

1 (16-oz) package uncooked linguine pasta
1 lb fresh mushrooms, wild (chanterelles, shiitake, oyster, etc.) or button
4 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T minced shallots
½ C dry white wine
½ C veggie broth
1 C cream
Nutmeg, freshly grated to taste
1/3 C thinly sliced green onion
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
White Truffle Oil (optional)

1. Cook linguine pasta according to package directions to al dente; drain and return to pan to keep warm.
2. Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth and cut into ¼-inch slices. In a large frying pan, saute mushrooms in butter for two minutes.
3. Add minced garlic and shallots; sauté an additional two minutes. Add white wine and simmer until wine is reduced by half. Add broth, cream, and nutmeg; simmer until sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add green onions, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
4. Add drained pasta to sauce; tossing gently to coat the pasta. Add more broth or pasta water if sauce seems too thick.
5. Place pasta in a serving bowl or on individual plates by using a long-tined forks (twisting each portion onto a heated plate so that it stands up as high as possible). Spoon any mushrooms left in the pan over the top and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Drizzle white truffle oil over the top.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


No-knead bread

Sorry to be trendy, but I was so excited about this bread that I went out and bought a new enamel cast-iron Dutch oven for the occasion (a cheap one, but still). This recipe is from the New York Times, Mark Bittman's column. You can find comments from other bakers here. I tried it, and it came out pretty well - nice structure - but I left the oven temp at 400 because that's what the directions on the pot said to do, and I also didn't leave it in quite long enough. My crust came out chewy rather than crisp, and the lower temp could explain that. A blog commenter noted that 1 1/2 cups of water works better than the specified 1 5/8.

Re. the yeast - I bought three packets, and poured them all into a small jar for the fridge, since I was only going to use 1/4 teaspoon this time. It was as well nice to have homemade bread, for once, that didn't taste strongly of yeast.

I do hope that someone will come up with some variations, such as rye or challah.

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 [Note: 1 1/2 is plenty, unless you are using a large proportion of whole wheat flour] cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Vegetarian shepherd's pie

This is another recipe that's not really meant to be a recipe. In other words, you can change just about anything in it that you don't like. I browsed the web for ideas, and came up with the appealing innovation of blending goat cheese in with the potatoes, but other than that I winged it with the vegetables. Other ideas were lentils or split peas (cook them first), or green peas (frozen are fine), and red wine. I once tried a recipe with soy protein chunks, but this recipe is plenty hearty and you won't miss the meat-like stuff. Below is an approximation of what I made last night; I think it came out well. Part of my inspiration was a large bag of crudités that I'd inherited from a friend's party, and I wanted to use up the carrots and celery. The coriander seed gives it a nice fragrance, but try not to overdo it.

3 large baking potatoes, peeled
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
4 oz fresh goat cheese (it can take a couple more ounces if you have it)

2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vegetable broth mix (low-sodium if possible),
dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp whole coriander seed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375oF.

Boil the water for the potatoes and the broth mix while you're chopping the other vegetables; be sure to salt the potato water.

Sauté the onions and shallots in olive oil, then add carrots, celery, thyme, coriander seed, cayenne, and salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth. Set aside.

When potatoes are cooked, drain, and mash with butter, milk, and goat cheese. Season with black pepper.

Add mushrooms, sweet potato, and corn to an 8-inch-square baking dish. Pour cooked vegetable mixture over the vegetables, and stir to combine. Drop mashed potatoes on top and spread to cover.

Bake for 30-40 min or until light golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


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