Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

1 cup margarine, softened
1 (8 ounce) package tofutti cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup nondairy creamer
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together margarine, tofutti cream cheese and 1-1/4 cups sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda and add to the mixture alternately with the nondairy creamer. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into greased 9-inch springform pan. Combine the pecans, cinnamon and remaining sugar and sprinkle over batter. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan.

Cranberry Sauce with Crystallized Ginger

2 (12 ounce) bags cranberries
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup minced crystallized ginger

Combine all ingredients except crystallized ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until cranberries have burst – about 20 minutes. Cool and stir in crystallized ginger. Store in refrigerator.

Leek Patties with Meat

Also from my friend Debby, these are a big hit with my kids (Right Shia?)

6 large leeks, roots and dark greens removed
1 pound ground veal, lamb or beef
4 eggs, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white or cayenne pepper
matza meal
canola oil for frying

Wash leeks well to remove sand. Mince. Place leeks in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and cook until very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain . Squeeze out as much water as possible. Cool.

Combine the leeks with the meat, 3 eggs, salt and pepper and form into small patties(1 tablespoon, flattened) . Beat remaining egg. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium flame. Dip each patty first in egg, then in matza meal. Fry in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Pumpkin Tarts

1 (8-ounce) package tofutti cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup non-dairy creamer
¼ cup margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
12 pre-made tart shells

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tart shells on a cookie sheet. Beat tofutti cream cheese until whipped. Beat in pumpkin and sugar. Add the eggs, creamer and margarine and continue beating until well combined. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Pour filling into tart shells and bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.

Coconut Date Balls

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped dates
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon margarine
3 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup coconut

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the eggs, sugar and dates. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the margarine and vanilla. Mix in the Rice Krispies. Grease or wet hands with cold water and form the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Roll in coconut. Store in the refrigerator.

Roasted Beet Salad with Spinach

This salad is gorgeous and perfect for Rosh Hashanah, beets and sweet tangerine juice.

For the salad:
3 medium yellow beets (about 1 pound), stems trimmed off
3 medium red beets (about 1 pound), stems trimmed off
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups baby leaf spinach
Toasted almonds

For the dressing:
3 cups tangerine juice or orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch salt and pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
While the beets are roasting, make the dressing.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the beets in a baking pan, drizzle with the oil, and season with salt. Cover with foil. Bake for about 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a knife.
In a 1-quart non-reactive saucepan, over medium-high heat, reduce the tangerine juice to about 3/4 cup. Add the lemon juice. Remove from the heat and strain with a fine sieve.
Return to the saucepan; add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Over medium heat, reduce until the mixture bubbles and has a syrup-like consistency. You should have about 1/4 cup. Remove from the heat and strain again. Let cool to room temperature. Add the olive oil. Set aside. (Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 1/2 weeks.)

When cool enough to handle, peel the beets, and thinly slice them into rounds. Arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with the dressing. In a large bowl, toss the spinach with the remaining dressing and place spinach on top of beets in the center of the platter.
Garnish with toasted almonds.

Fall Fruit Compote with Pareve Ice Cream

1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
Dash kosher salt
1 cup Granny Smith apples, diced 1/4-inch thick cubes
1 cup pears, 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pareve vanilla ice cream

In a 4-quart saucepan or pot bring the first 6 ingredients to a simmer. Stir slowly to dissolve the sugar in the liquid. Add the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice. When the liquid comes to a boil, adjust the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes to marry the flavors and soften the fruit. Turn off the heat then stir in the lemon juice. With a slotted spoon remove the fruit to a bowl. Bring the remaining syrup to a simmer and reduce until lightly thickened or when the bubbles formed on the top become small. Remove the syrup from the heat and when it is cool pour it over the fruit. The compote can be held in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

To serve, scoop the ice cream into dishes. Pour either warmed or room temperature compote and juice over the ice cream.

Herbed Sea Bass with Orange-Rosemary Margarine

Four 6 ounce sea bass fillets, skinned
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons each chopped fresh rosemary, parsley, thyme, and basil or 4 tablespoons each parsley and basil
6 tablespoons Orange-Rosemary margarine (recipe follows) cut into 4 pats

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush the fish on both sides with the oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Spread the herbs on a plate. Dip the flesh side of each fillet in the herbs to coat.

Heat a large, ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish, herbed sides down, and cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Turn the fish. Place in the oven and bake just until the fish looks opaque when flaked in the center with the tip of a sharp knife, about 2 minutes. Just as the fish comes out of the oven, place a pat of the butter on each fillet.

Using the slotted spatula, transfer each fillet to a dinner plate, Serve immediately.

Orange-Rosemary Margarine
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine (if pareve) or butter, softened
Zest of 2 oranges
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the margarine/butter in a medium bowl until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the orange zest and juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper and mix well.

Place an 18-inch square of plastic wrap on your work surface. Scrape the margarine/butter out onto the wrap, about 2 inches from the bottom edge, shaping the butter into a rough strip about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Fold the bottom edge of the plastic wrap over to cook the margarine/butter. Roll up the plastic wrap to shape the margarine/butter into a cylinder. Pick up the cylinder by the two ends of the plastic wrap. Twist the ends of the wrap in opposite directions, and it will tighten to shape the margarine/butter into a compact log. Refrigerate the margarine/butter until it is firm, at least 2 hours. (the margarine/butter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. To freeze the margarine/butter, wrap the log, still in the plastic wrap, in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.)

Dry Rubbed Double Cut Veal Chop for Two from The Prime Grill

from: The Prime Grill

Dry Rub
½ tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
5 tablespoons porcini pepper (dried porcini ground in spice/coffee grinder)

Mix all of the Above

Veal Chop
1 double cut veal chop
1 tablespoon canola oil

Sprinkle the dry rub generously on the veal chop before searing.
In a hot sauté pan, using the oil, sear the veal chop on all sides. Put onto an oven-ready tray. Roast in a 350 degrees oven for approximately 10-15 minutes. Medium is my preferred temperature.

Red Pepper Jam
2 red bell peppers—seeded, ribs out, julienned
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar (white vinegar can be substituted)

Combine all ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a simmer. Slowly cook down until a jam like consistency (almost dry).

Sweet Potato Soufflé
3 cups sweet potato purée
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup flour

Combine the first 6 ingredients. Fold in the flour. Pour into a greased pyrex baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 40-45 minutes.

Antipasto Dip

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (7 ounce) can mushroom pieces, drained
1 (7 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 cup pimento-stuffed olives, drained and chopped
1/ up chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ cup olive oil
2/3 cup vinegar
2-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (combination of basil, oregano and rosemary)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon pepper

Mix together first 6 ingredients. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until onion is soft. Add vinegar, seasoning, sugar and pepper and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour over the vegetables. Mix well. Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.

Rosh Hashannah

Yes, its true…Rosh Hashannah is really early this year (is it ever on time?), and GKC is ready to help you get ready. First, check out the amazing all new recipes perfect for your Yom Tov tables. Then bring extra gourmet dishes to your table with the famous restaurant recipes sections. See what the professional chefs from some of our favorite restaurants make at home and see how easy it is to cook like a pro. Next, submit for the great giveaways (we will have one EACH week!). Don’t miss out on the amazing gifts from honey and honey dishes to challahs and artisan glass. Of course, we will include wine recommendations, health articles, crafts, and more new recipes and features each week. Send us your cooking questions and any recipes you would like us to share with our readers. GKC wishes all of our readers a very sweet New Year.

Roasted Fennel and Pears with Romaine

2 tablespoons oil
2 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
2 pears, thinly sliced
2 heads romaine, chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 teaspoon oregano
1/3 teaspoon basil
1/3 teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss fennel and pears with olive oil and spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for ½ hour. Cool. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Gently combine romaine, fennel and pears and toss with dressing. Serve immediately.

Red, White & Pink; Kosher Wines for the New Year

Part one of a three part series

The color PINK conjures up many things - cotton candy, newborn baby girls and bubblegum, just to name a few. In the wine world, the color pink has come to garner a bad association – that of cheap, sweet and unsophisticated rose΄ wine. Though it was more salmon in color, I have memories of the sweet, easy drinking, soda-like White Zinfandel.

Today however more and more wine lovers are discovering rose΄. Rose΄ is an incredibly versatile wine that breaks all the rules. Many will argue that rose΄ is not a wine for serious wine drinkers, but on a warm summer day, at the beach, in the backyard, or even for a Shabbat afternoon meal, who needs serious or sophisticated? Give me a wine that will be refreshing, tasty and will enhance my meal and I’m a happy guy. Rose΄ can go with salad, fish (goes great with salmon) and is a crowd pleaser at BBQ’s, pairing wonderfully with burgers.

A new rose΄ that has recently hit the US market from France is the 2008 Domaine LaFond Tavel. This deeply colored rose΄ has a hint of sweetness but just the right amount of acidity to balance it out. Rose pedals, violets and watermelon are some of the aromas and flavors you may find in this wine. Try it with a strawberry salad.

From the Bordeaux region of France and part of the Rothschild wines is the 2008 Rose΄ De Clarke. This light salmon-colored wine is bone dry, with lip smacking acidity and floral aromas. Serve this one with a fish and/or salad appetizer at your next Shabbat/Yom Tov meal.

From California, the 2009 “Pink by W” is part of the “W” collection of wines. Given their easy drinking and affordable price point, the “W” wines have become quite popular since their release a few years ago. This rose΄ has a touch of sweetness and adds strawberry and cherry aromas and flavors. Having a BBQ and not sure what wine to serve? Pink by W will go great with a burger…while the “White by W” & “Red by W” can round out your BBQ wine offerings.

Finally, from Israel and the popular “Yogev” series comes a new rose΄ blend, made from somewhat unusual grapes; Carignan & Malbec. This 2009 Yogev Malbec/Carignan is another deep colored rose΄ offering a bouquet of aromas and flavors including strawberries, violets and bubblegum! Though you can enjoy this wine with fish, meat, pasta or salad, I think I’m going to go throw a bottle on ice and simply enjoy it on its own.

Apples, Cranberries and Almonds Salad

This is the perfect ingredients and colors of the Yom Tov season.
4 Granny Smith apples, cut into cubes
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup toasted chopped almonds
½ cup pomegranate seeds (optional but good)
1 head romaine, chopped

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon nondairy creamer

Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with salad. Serve.

Braised Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shank with Celeriac Puree from Le Marais Restaurant

by Chef Jose Meirelles, Le Marais

Serves 8
8 lamb shanks, cleaned and tied
Vegetable oil as needed
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
½ cup of tomato paste
1 cup of potato starch
1 bottle of dry red wine
1 cheesecloth bag with the following spices: 1 kaffir lime leaf, ½ teaspoon cumin seed, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds, ½ of a cinnamon stick, ¼ teaspoon whole all spice, 3 whole cloves
1 cup of dried apricots
1 cup of dried figs, halved lengthwise
2 large pieces of celery root (celeriac)
1 lemon, halved
¼ pound of margarine
½ cup of clean flat leaf parsley leaves

To start the lamb shanks, season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat a large braising pan with a medium high flame and coat the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil.

Start browning the lamb shanks in the oil, turning each after attaining a rich brown color on each side of the shank. Once this is accomplished, remove the shank and put them aside.

In same pan with the leftover fat, add the onions, carrot and celery. Sauté the vegetables until softened and browned. Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and cook for about 3-4 minutes. This will remove the raw tomato paste flavor, and also increase its thickening power in the sauce.

At this point, you will then sprinkle the potato starch over the vegetable mixture. Let this cook into the mixture for another 2 minutes. Add the wine and mix in. The mixture should begin thicken immediately. Add the lamb shanks to the mix and then cover with water. Bring the entire vessel to a boil and then lower to a simmer.

You can then leave it on the stove top, covered, on a very low flame for about 3 hours. Or, you can put the entire pot into a 325 degree oven for 3 hours. Either way, it is done when the meat is very tender and can easily be pulled off the bone with a fork.

After they are cooked, remove the shanks and then reduce the sauce to your desired consistency. Strain the sauce, add the shanks back to the sauce. At this point, either serve or cool in the refrigerator for later use. Once properly cooled, they will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Place the figs and apricots into a dish and then cover them with boiling water. This will rehydrate them and will be our garnish on the lamb.

For the celery root, have a pot of salted water at the ready. Using a large knife, peel the celery root of all of the rough skin. Place the clean vegetable into cold water while cleaning the rest.

Cut the celery root into large cubes and then toss into the boiling water with the lemon. Cook until the celery root is soft, about 15 minutes. Remove the celery root from the boiling water. Purée in a food processor with the margarine, salt and white pepper until very smooth and silky.

Mango and Cranberry Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

From the Bite Me Cookbook by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat
Sugared Pecans
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
4 cups pecan halves
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ kosher salt

Honey Mustard Dressing
¼ cup honey
¼ cup whole grain mustard
¼ cup honey mustard
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

10 cups romaine lettuce torn into bite sized pieces
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
¼ cup dried cranberries

For the pecans, preheat oven to 250°F. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white and water until bubbles form. In a medium bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add pecans to egg whites, mixing to coat. Add sugar mixture, tossing pecans until they are coated. Spread pecans on prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

For the dressing, in a medium bowl, whisk honey, seed mustard, honey mustard, vinegar, oil, orange juice and salt. In a large bowl, place lettuce, diced mango and cranberries. Add ½ cup sugared pecans and salad dressing, tossing well to combine.

Brisket Braised in Pomegranate Juice with Onion Confit

brisket with onion confit and pomegranate glaze
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 (5 to 6 pound) brisket
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 leeks, washed well and coarsely chopped (include both white and pale green parts)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk with leaves, coarsely chopped
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade, or good quality low-sodium canned
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 fresh rosemary branches
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large onions (about 2 ½ pounds), very thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup chicken broth
½ cup dry red wine
½ cup pomegranate seeds

Prepare the brisket. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed roasting pan, using two burners, if necessary, or in a wide 6-quart Dutch oven or flameproof casserole. Add the brisket and brown well on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a platter and set aside. (Alternatively, you might find it easier to sear the meat under the broiler. Just cover the broiler pan well with foil to minimize cleanup. Preheat the broiler. Place the brisket under the broiler, far side up, and broil for 5-6 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Move the meat around as necessary, so it sears evenly on the back and front portions. Transfer the brisket to a platter and set aside.) Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat remaining in the pan and add the onions and leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat, until the vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery and continue cooking until the onions are golden, 7-10 minutes, stirring and scraping the pan to prevent scorching or sticking.

Add 1 cup pomegranate juice and bring the mixture to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the liquid is reduced by about half. Add the remaining 1-cup juice, he broth, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lightly salt and pepper the brisket on both sides, and add it to the pan, fat side up, spooning the vegetable mixture all over the meat. Cover the pan tightly, and braise the brisket in the oven, basting every half hour, until the meat is very tender, 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours. (Turn the oven down to 300°F if the braising liquid begins to bubble rapidly.)

While the brisket is cooking, make the confit. In a 10 to 12-inch heavy skillet, warm the oil. Add the onions, season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss to coat with the oil. Cook, tightly covered, over the lowest heat, stirring occasionally so the mixture does not burn, for 1 hour, or until the onions are very soft and pale gold in color. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, the broth, and wine. Raise the heat and boil the mixture, uncovered, stirring, until all the liquid is evaporated and the onions turn golden. Taste and adjust the seasoning (it may take quite a bit of salt), then turn off the heat. Cover the mixture and keep it warm. Stir in the pomegranate seeds just before serving.

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil. Prepare the gravy. Strain the braising mixture, reserving the vegetables. Skim and discard as much fat as possible from the liquid. Puree the reserved vegetables and 1 cup of the defatted braising liquid in a food processor or a blender. Transfer the pureed mixture and the remaining braising liquid to a skillet and reduce the gravy over high heat to the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.

Cut the brisket into thin slices across the grain at a slight diagonal. Spread the onion confit over a serving platter and arrange the sliced brisket on top. Ladle the hot gravy over the meat and serve immediately.

Chilled Melon and Tomato Salad

Made for President Obama by White House Chef Keith Fuller

½ cantaloupe
½ cucumber
1-2 shallots
3 to 4 cups cherry tomatoes
3-4 teaspoons fresh Thai basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

3-4 teaspoons honey
3-4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:
Cut the cantaloupe into small chunks. Peel the cucumber, remove the seeds, and dice it. Peel and thinly slice the shallots. Cut each cherry tomato in half. Cut the Thai basil into thin strips (this is called a chiffonade).

In a large bowl, gently toss together the cantaloupe, cucumber, tomatoes, basil and shallots.

For the dressing:
Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl.

Pour over the fruit and vegetable mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it sit for a few minutes to blend the flavors before serving.

Apple Coleslaw

From the Bite Me Cookbook by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat

Spiced Pecans
1 ½ cups pecan halves
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted margarine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
1 medium mango, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

Preheat oven to 350°.

For the pecans, in a large bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, margarine, Worcestershire, salt, and garlic powder. Mix well. Spread mixture on a baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside and cool completely.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk rice vinegar, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, and salt. Gradually whisk in olive oil.

In a large bowl, toss sliced apples with lemon juice. Add the cabbage, mango and dried fruit to the apples. Mix with the dressing and chill for 30 minutes before serving to blend flavors. Add pecans just before serving.

Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Soup from Le Marais

by Chef Jose Meirelles, Le Marais

Serves 8
2-½ lbs of Jerusalem Artichokes (also called Sunchokes)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces of smoked beef or smoked veal, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, white part only, sliced
2 celery stalks, rough chop
1 cup button mushrooms
1 bottle of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of thyme
6 black peppercorns
4 quarts of chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
Salt and white pepper

Wash the sunchokes in cold water to remove all excess dirt. Place them on a sheet pan, coat with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and then place into a 375 degree oven.

Remove the sunchokes when they are very tender and begin to caramelize. The caramelizing is important to the flavor of the soup. This should take about 25-30 minutes.

In your soup pot, add the diced smoked meat and the 2 T of olive oil. Render out the meat until it is crispy. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and drain on to a paper towel. Reserve the meat for garnishing later. Save all of the fat in the pot.

Add into the fat the leeks, celery and mushrooms. Sauté over medium high heat until the vegetables soften, yet, don’t have any color.

Add the bottle of wine, increase the heat to high, and reduce the wine by ¾.

Place the thyme, peppercorns and bay leaf into cheesecloth and tie with butchers twine. Toss the bag into the pot.

Add the roasted sunchokes to the pot and cover with the stock or water. Bring to a boil and then let cook for about 45 minutes. This will allow for the stock to reduce some and for all of the flavors to develop. Season with salt and white pepper. Remove the herb sachet before puréeing.

In small batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency with the stock or water as needed. If the soup is to thin, put it back into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to your desired consistency.

When serving, garnish the soup with the crispy smoked beef and some chiffonade of parsley.

Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze

1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons margarine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 whole salmon fillet, skin on (2 ½ pounds, ¾ to 1 inch thick)

Preheat grill to medium heat
Melt brown sugar, honey and margarine in saucepan. Whisk in mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and ginger. Allow to cool.
Place salmon skin side down on aluminum foil. Leave a foil border of ¼ to ½ inch. Coat salmon with mixture.
Grill salmon indirectly over medium heat until edges begin to brown and inside is opaque, 15 to 25 minutes – depending on thickness of fish and desired degree of doneness. Cut salmon crosswise into 6 to 8 pieces. Do not cut through skin.
Slide a spatula between skin and flesh to remove pieces to serve.

Brisket with Sweet White Wine

Sweet wine Brisket
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 pounds beef brisket or boneless beef chuck in one piece
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 large or 4 medium onions, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 or 3 medium carrots, cut into chunks
1 cup sweet white wine

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet or flameproof casserole with a lid and place over medium-high heat. Wait a minute or so and when oil is hot, add the beef and brown it well on both sides, about 10 minutes, adjusting the heat so the meat browns but does not burn. Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper as it browns.

Transfer the meat to a plate and reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining oil and the vegetables to the pan; stir once, then cover. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the onions are browned, dry and almost sticking to the pan. Uncover, then add the wine and stir. Add the meat and cover again. Adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily but not violently and cook until the meat is tender (this may be as short as 90 minutes or as long as 3 hours).

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust the sauce seasoning; you should be able to taste the pepper. If the mixture is very thin (unlikely), boil it down for a few minutes as necessary. Carve the meat and serve it with the sauce spooned over it or cool and refrigerate the meat (uncarved) and sauce for up to a day before reheating gently.

Apple Date Ring

2 teaspoons yeast
½ cup warm water
¾ cup nondairy creamer
½ cup sugar
½ cup margarine
1 egg
5 cups flour
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 cups finely chopped apple
1 (10 ounce) package, chopped dates
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons nondairy creamer
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Proof yeast in water – about 10 minutes. Combine nondairy creamer, sugar and margarine in microwave until margarine is melted. When still slightly warm but not hot, add to yeast mixture. Add eggs and whisk all liquid ingredients together. Start adding flour. Stir and then knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a oiled bowl, cover and chill for 8 hours (it’s a good idea to make the dough before bed and finish the ring in the morning) Punch dough down and divide in half; roll each half into an approximately 14 x 9-inch rectangle and brush with the melted margarine. Combine apple, dates, sugar and cinnamon and spoon over the dough. Roll up dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at the long side. Place each roll, seam side down in a greased 12-inch round pan and shape into a ring, pinch ends to seal.
Make cuts in dough at 1-inch intervals around rings, two-thirds of the way through rolls. Gently turn each piece of dough on its side, slightly overlapping slices. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
For glaze, combine powdered sugar, nondairy creamer and vanilla. Mix well and drizzle over rings.

Chicken & Fruit Fricassee from Abigael’s

By Chef Jeff Nathan
Abigael’s On Broadway

Yield: 4 - 6
¾ cup dry figs
¾ cup dry apricots, diced
¾ cup golden raisins
2 cups water, warm
¼ cup brandy
Pinch saffron
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup olive oil
2 - 3 pound chickens, cut into eighths
2 onions, diced medium
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
128 ounces can crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl combine the dry fruits with the water. Set aside and allow to plump at least 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the fruit water.

In a separate small bowl, combine the brandy with the saffron & cinnamon. Allow to steep 20-30 minutes. Stir well.

Dredge the chicken pieces in flour. In a large sauté pan of hot olive oil, brown the chicken on both sides. Transfer chicken to an ovenproof casserole. Pour off most of the remaining oil. Add the onions and garlic. Stir occasionally and cook until translucent. Add the dried fruits, tomato, brandy mix and reserved fruit water. Using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan for the pan drippings. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Bake, uncovered at 350˚ F for approximately 1 hour; or until the chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened slightly.

Serve with couscous, or rice pilaf.

Indian Inspired Pineapple Coconut Milk Kugel

One 20-ounce can of pineapple rings in natural, unsweetened juices
3 tablespoons maple sugar or brown sugar
Neutral oil for greasing the pan
½ cup orzo
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 vanilla bean, split
3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
Boiling or scalding hot tap water, for hot water bath

Preheat the broiler. Drain the pineapple and arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined broiler pan. Sprinkle evenly with the maple or brown sugar. Broil the pineapple on one side only until it is a rich, golden brown and the sugar has melted, 5-8 minutes.

Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish with the oil. Spread the pineapple pieces (with any sugar drippings), sugared side down, in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. (If there is an extra ring or two, cut it in quarters and use it to fill the spaces between the rings.) Set aside. Turn the oven temperature down to 350°F.

Bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a rapid boil. Add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain well, rinse a few seconds under cool water, and drain again.

While the orzo is cooking, combine the coconut milk, cinnamon, curry, and ginger in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the pan. Turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes to infuse the milk with the fragrance of the spices. Don’t allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt until thick and light. Add the coconut milk mixture, pouring it through a strainer into the bowl. Discard the spices. Add the cooked, drained orzo and combine well.

Distribute the mixture evenly over the pineapple in the prepared pan. Place the pan in a larger baking pan and add enough boiling or scalding-hot tap water to the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the kugel pan.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. The kugel must cool to set. You can serve it right from the pan, or invert it when cool: run a knife along the edges of the pan, turn the pan upside down on a serving plate, and unmold.

Serve the kugel chilled, but not icy cold. Or for a more exotic finale, try it slightly warm (reheat gently).