Asian Lettuce Turkey Wraps

Easy

4 servings
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef or turkey
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated, cleaned and dried

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and saute beef until brown. Stir in ginger, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and hoisin and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm wrapped in lettuce cups.

Perfect Cheese Popcorn

Easy

Serves:
3 1/2 to 4 quarts

Ingredients
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 ounces popcorn kernels, approximately 1/2 cup
1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions
Place the oil, popcorn and salt in a large, 6-quart, metal mixing bowl. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke 10 slits in the top with a knife.

Place the bowl over medium heat and shake constantly using a pair of tongs to hold the bowl. Continue shaking until the popcorn finishes popping, approximately 3 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the heat and carefully remove the foil. Stir in any salt that is on the side of the bowl.

Melt the butter in the microwave. Slowly drizzle over the popcorn, while spinning the bowl. Serve immediately.

Try adding some flavors like grated parmesan cheese or smoked paprika to make cheese or smoky popcorn.

Amaretto Cake

Easy

Serves 12

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (do not prepare)
¾ cup orange juice
¼ cup vodka
¼ cup amaretto

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Slowly add eggs, orange juice, vodka, oil, and amaretto. Spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in batter and bake for 55 minutes.

Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon vodka
1 tablespoon amaretto

Combine ingredients with a fork and mix until there are no lumps. Thin with water if necessary. Drizzle on cake.

Quick Coq Au Vin

Serves 4
½ kielbasa, coarsely chopped
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
8 ounces large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved
8 large shallots, peeled, halved through root end
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1-1/2 cups dry red wine
1-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
4 teaspoons all purpose flour

Preparation
Preheat oven to 300°F. Sauté kielbasa in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.
Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Add to drippings in skillet. Sauté until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side; transfer to pie dish (reserve skillet). Place in oven to keep warm.
Add mushrooms and shallots to skillet; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; toss 10 seconds. Add wine, 1 1/4 cups broth, kielbasa, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place flour in small cup. Add 1/4 cup broth, stirring until smooth.
Add flour mixture to sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange chicken on platter; stir juices from pie dish into sauce and spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

Mesclun Salad with Apples and Esrog Vinaigrette

Still have your estrog? Try this.

Ingredients
6 cups Mesclun Lettuce
1 apple, sliced thin
¼ cup toasted almonds or pine nuts
¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
Estrog rind

Dressing:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons or more Estrog juice (or lemon juice)
kosher salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ – 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix dressing ingredients together. Toss into salad and serve.

London Broil with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts

Serves 8
4 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds London Broil or skirt steak

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 cup teriyaki sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced
Soak the London Broil in cold water to clean and to remove excess salt that is soaked in the meat. Soak it for 15 minutes, pat dry.
 Spread garlic and Dijon mustard on the meat and then add the teriyaki sauce. Marinate for 6 hours. Either broil the meat for 8 minutes each side, checking often to make sure it is not too overcooked or grill the meat until medium rare on a prepared barbeque or grill pan. Serve with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts

Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts
¼ cup margarine
2 pounds shallots, peeled
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup vin santo or other Italian or dessert wine such as port
5 thyme sprigs

Melt margarine in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sprinkle with salt. Cook shallots until well browned all over, about 20 minutes.
Add walnuts, vin santo, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered until shallots are tender about 5 minutes.

Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Serve warm.

Pareve Chocolate Nutella Cookies


Makes 5 dozen
INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 cup of pareve Nutella spread (chocolate hazelnut cream spread)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of chopped hazelnuts (optional)

METHOD
1 Preheat oven to 350F. Cream margarine in an electric mixer for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and pareve Nutella and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
2 Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each. Add the vanilla and mix for 10 seconds.
3 Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda (do not skip this step as sifting eliminates clumps of cocoa). Mix into the margarine mixture on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bottom and sides at least once to ensure even mixing. Fold in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts and refrigerate the dough for ten minutes.
4 Spoon tablespoon-sized drops of dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheets for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

White House Fruit and Oat Bars

Adapted from Bill Yosses, White House pastry chef

Time: About 50 minutes, plus time for cooling

6 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil, plus extra for brushing pan
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups mixed dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries, apricots, papaya, pineapple and cranberries (at least 3 kinds, cut into small pieces if large)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, letting a few inches hang over side of pan. Brush with oil.

2. Spread oats and seeds on another baking pan and toast in oven just until golden and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes, shaking pan once.

3. In a saucepan, combine oil, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and salt. Stir over medium heat until smooth and hot. In a mixing bowl, toss together toasted oats and seeds, dried fruit and cardamom. Pour hot sugar mixture over and stir until well combined.

4. While mixture is warm, transfer to prepared pan, pressing into pan evenly with an offset spatula.

5. Bake until brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack and let cool completely. Using the overhanging foil or paper, lift out of pan and place on a work surface. Cut into bars, about 1-1/2 inches by 3 inches.

Yield: 2 dozen bars.

Easy Recipes

GKC is excited to announce its new section: Easy Recipes. Isn’t that what you’ve been waiting for? Especially after all the cooking for the holidays?! Along with our regular weekly and Shabbos offerings we will now present the Easy Recipe of the Week. In addition, all easy recipes on the site will soon be marked with the easy recipe icon so that you can find them…easily!! Here are some quick recipes, new and old, to get you started. Enjoy


Easy Recipes


Tomato Salad
Chocolate Mousse
Chicken with Duck Sauce
Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Brownies
Spicy Black Bean Soup

New Year’s Resolutions: Achieving Your Nutrition and Health Goals

By Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]
www.nutritionthroughlife.com

How many times have you made that New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, to lose weight, or to cut down on junk food? Whatever the resolution may be, the path to success is not an easy one. There are so many potential roadblocks along the way including procrastination, family and social obligations, holidays, work demands and lack of time and energy. There are many ways to better your chances at achieving your goals; here are my top 5 pearls of wisdom:

1. Ask for help.
Giving up habits that we have developed over our lives is arguably one of the hardest tasks. If you are really serious this year about change, whatever your health goal may be, the best way to ensure success is to invest in some help.

2. Keep a journal of what you eat.
One of the biggest obstacles to changing behavior is not being aware of our habits. For example, we often overestimate how much we eat. Keeping a food diary will help you keep track of your nutrition habits, so when you go off track you will see immediately what needs to change. In addition, if you know you are recording everything you may be more conscious of what you put in your mouth.

3. Eat more vegetables.
No matter how many vegetables you are currently eating, you are likely not eating enough. One of the reasons for excessive sugar cravings is poor intake of vegetables. Our bodies require more servings of vegetables a day than any other food group. Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, water, vitamins (like folic acid, vitamin A, C, E) and minerals (like potassium). Fill your plate half full of vegetables at each meal to stop from over eating on high-calorie foods.

4. Understand your weaknesses.
Everyone has a weakness whether it’s chocolate, challah, over eating, or being too lazy to cook or exercise. Work on finding a solution to your biggest weakness.

5. Get enough sleep.
Research has suggested that sleep deprivation increases appetite and over time can be associated with certain chronic diseases. Experiment for one week and see how much easier it is to be healthy and active once you have had enough sleep.

Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]
www.nutritionthroughlife.com
simone.stromer@gmail.com
Free one hour initial health and nutrition consultation for gourmetkoshercooking.com readers

LUCKS cake decorator

Since I am not a talented cake decorator, I am always looking for products that aid the artistically challenged. I was thrilled to discover that LUCKS (Lucks Food Decorating Company) has a whole series of kosher cake decorations. From baby shoes to balloons to clowns to graduation caps, there is something for every occasion and every taste. Visit their website http://lucks.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&sectionid=188 to check out their selection. I was looking at the Dec-Ons decorations but they have other options as well. Everyone can be a professional cake decorator with these secret helpers!

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies

These yummy cookies allow your children to participate in many different aspects of the preparation. They can form the dough into balls. They can stir together the filling. They can fill the cookies. They can flatten the cookies. And, of course, they can eat the cookies.

¼ cup peanut butter
1-1/2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon nondairy creamer or soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda. Cream together the margarine, sugar, brown sugar and ½ cup peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in egg, soy milk and vanilla. On low speed, beat in flour mixture. Batter will be thick. Form the dough into 32 balls and set aside.

For filling, stir together powdered sugar and ½ cup peanut butter. Shape this mixture into 32 balls also.

Slightly flatten each chocolate ball and top with peanut butter ball. Pull chocolate dough over peanut butter to cover completely and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake for 8 minutes or until just set. Cool on pan 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

Snickerdoodle Pinwheels

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup margarine, softened
3 ounces tofutti cream cheese
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-2/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon margarine, melted

Combine 1/3 cup sugar and tablespoon cinnamon and set aside. Beat the ½ cup margarine, tofutti cream cheese and 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Beat in baking powder, egg and vanilla. On a low speed, add flour and mix until completely incorporated. Divide dough in half. Roll half of the dough between pieces of waxed paper to form a 13 x 9-inch rectangle. Brush with half the melted margarine and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up dough jelly-roll style pinch edges to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and roll both logs in the rest of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill – at least 4 and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut rolls into ¼-inch slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let set on cookie sheet 1 minute before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

Tomato Salad

Easy

4 garden-grown or hot house tomatoes, chopped (you need very fresh, flavorful tomatoes since they are the main ingredient and not cooked)
1 small red onion, diced
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, depending on the size of the tomatoes

Mix all ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for ½ hour to allow flavors to blend.

Gingered Pumpkin Pear Soup

2 sweet onions, chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons margarine
5 pears, sliced
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
3 cups pareve chicken broth
2 cups nondairy creamer
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium stockpot, sauté onion and ginger in margarine until soft. Stir in pears and sauté for 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Purée mixture with hand immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chocolate Mousse

Easy

¾ cup nondairy creamer
4 cups miniature marshmallows
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into ½ to1-ounce pieces
¾ cup pareve whip
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine nondairy creamer, marshmallows and chocolate in a medium pot. Melt over low heat, stirring constantly. When mixture is smooth, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Beat whip and vanilla together until stiff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture until completely incorporated. Refrigerate.

Fall Stew

This stew has everything in it so you need very little in the way of side dishes.

1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 (29 ounce) can whole tomatoes
½ cup red wine
¼ cup soy sauce
6 large parsnips, chopped
2 leeks, sliced
4 carrots, chopped
2 turnips, chopped
2 (8 ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
4 potatoes, chopped

In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion, garlic and beef in the olive oil until browned. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 2 hours – the longer the better.

Mexican Short Ribs

4 pounds short ribs
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
1 onion, chopped
3 cups salsa
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced garlic

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine cumin, chili powder, oregano and pepper and rub onto ribs. Place ribs in 13 x 9-inch pan and bake, covered for 1 hour. Pour off fat and reduce oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle onion over ribs. Combine salsa, vinegar and garlic. Pour sauce over ribs and cover again. Bake for another hour.

Chicken with Duck Sauce

Easy

2 chickens, cut into 1/8ths
Garlic powder
Pepper
Paprika
1 jar (40 oz.) duck sauce (Cantonese or Szechwan depending on your taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle chickens generously with garlic powder and paprika. Be a little more sparing with the pepper. Bake for ½ hour. Remove from oven and cover with entire jar of duck sauce. Bake for 2 more hours, basting half-way through. Serves 8 –10.

Chinese Style Bean Salad


Easy
1 cup canned green beans
1 cup canned wax beans
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
½ cup canned red kidney beans
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan, combine the green beans, wax beans, red onion, vinegar and water.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add other ingredients and mix well.
Cool, cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Mixed Nuts Tart

1-1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup cold margarine, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water
1 cup dried pears, chopped
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup pear nectar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup margarine
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup cashews
2 tablespoons pareve whip

In a food processor, combine flour and sugar and mix. Add the margarine and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and vanilla. Add water until soft dough forms. Shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for ½ hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rough dough into an 11-inch circle and transfer to 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom (can make in pie pan if stuck). Press into bottom and up sides of pan. Line pastry with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine pears, dates, nectar and ¼ cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and purée with hand immersion blender until thick paste forms. Set side.

In a small sauce pan, combine the margarine, ¼ cup brown sugar and corn syrup. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Stir in nuts and pareve whip.

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Spread fruit filling over bottom of crust. Pour nut topping evenly over filling. Place tart pan on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Extra delicious served with pareve whipped cream or pareve vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Brownies

Easy

1 Duncan Hines pareve brownie mix for 13 x 9-inch pan
1 package miniature marshmallows
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon margarine
1-1/2 cups Rice Krispies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownies according to package directions. Bake for 30 minutes and remove from oven. Sprinkle marshmallows over top and return to oven for 5 more minutes. In the meantime, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine. Stir until melted and smooth and then stir in Rice Krispies. Cool for a few minutes and spread over marshmallow layer. Chill before cutting into bars and serving