Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookies

photo: stolenmoments.com

This recipe makes about 18 large cookies.

Our friend Shayna brought these delicious cookies to us as a gift for staying with us. They did not last long because they are thick, rich and decadent. The kids loved them and begged Shayna to come back again and again.

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 Cup choc chips
3 king size candy bars of your choice, like cookies and cream, reese’s, Hershey bars (these three work great), chopped in chunks, kept cool

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2) Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and candy bar chunks by hand, using a mixing spoon. Drop cookie dough ¼ cup at a time onto the cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

4) Bake for 15-17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake

Recipe by Paula Dean

This recipe is great dairy or pareve. I make it dairy and serve it with real whipped cream and strawberries and I make it pareve and serve it as a breakfast cake or welcome snack to guests. I often make them in bread pans too. It makes about 3 loaves but the cooking time is much less, about 55 minutes.

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened (or margarine for pareve cake)
8 ounces sour cream (use tofutti sour cream for pareve cake)
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa
Serve with whipped cream and strawberries, chocolate sauce, or dust with a generous amount of powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sour cream, and sugar. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and cocoa. Add 1/2 the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, beat well, add the remaining 1/2 flour mixture, and continue to beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes if necessary, but do not open the oven to check the cake for at least 1 hour. Cake is done when a tester inserted has loose crumbs.

Puréed Sweet Potato Soup

photo: simplyrecipes.com

1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons curry powder
6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 (32-ounce) box pareve chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon lemon grass

In a large Dutch oven, stir together all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft. Cool slightly.

Using a hand immersion blender, purée soup until smooth. Reheat over low flame.

Fennel, Red Pepper and Corn Salad

This is a great spring and summer dish when the vegetables are fresh and crisp.

2 ears corn
2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
½ red onion, diced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove corn kernels from cob. Place in a large mixing bowl along with other ingredients. Mix well, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tomato and Bread Salad

photo: teriskitchen.com

Another taste of summer special.

2 cups bread cubes (from stale white bread)
4 large ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
6 scallions, minced
4 basil leaves, finely chopped

Dressing:
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place bread in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain and squeeze out extra water.
In a large bowl, mix bread cubes with tomatoes, scallions and basil.
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and mix well. Let rest for about 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Chunky Oatmeal Cookies

photo: nancy's recipes

Makes about 3-1/2 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper and lightly grease.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. On low speed, add flour, baking soda, baking powder and oats. Stir in nuts, chocolate chips and coconut.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let rest on cookie sheet 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

Chocolate Cheesecake

photo: oliciouslife.com

Crust:
2 cups crushed ladyfingers
¼ cup margarine, melted

Filling:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover bottom and sides of 10-inch springform pan with heavy duty foil.
Mix together ladyfingers and melted margarine. Pat into bottom of prepared pan.
Beat eggs with sugar. Beat in cream cheese until fluffy.

Melt the chocolate and butter together over low flame and stir until smooth. Cool slightly and add to cream cheese mixture. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Pour on top of crust. Place pan inside a large pan filled halfway with water.

Bake for 2 hours. Cool, remove sides and chill.

Black Eyed Pea and Spinach Salad with Creamy Dressing

This seems like an odd combination but it is packed with flavor and protein. The dressing is creaming and softens the taste of the black-eyed peas.

2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup tofutti sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-1/2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard (Alternatively, use whole grain mustard or Dijon mustard)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 cups baby spinach (about 2/3 of a 6-ounce bag), sliced into thick ribbons

For the dressing: Combine tofutti sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce salt and pepper in a bowl, and whisk to incorporate. 



For the salad: In a salad bowl, combine beans, red onion, and celery. Pour dressing over bean mixture and gently stir to incorporate, being careful not to break up too many of the beans. Add spinach and toss to coat. Season with additional salt, pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Chicken Mole

I love mole sauce but often find that the ingredient lists are very long and the process too complicated. GKC created a great and easy Chicken Mole that I think you will love.

Chicken
2 chickens, cut in 1/8’s
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Mole Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle pepper with 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can (or more to taste), chopped (Roland makes this with an OU, and it can be found in most major supermarkets in the international food aisle)
2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (or 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
Fresh cilantro, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large roasting pan, place chickens in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast until cooked through, about 1 hour.

Place olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring to soften for 5 minutes. Add the chipotle with adobo, and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the peanut butter, broth, chili powder, and cinnamon. Cook 5 minutes until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from heat. With an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 

Pour the mole sauce over the chicken. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Serve warm with chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro scattered over the top.

Mexican Red Rice


My friend Aviva gave me achiote powder and I love it. It’s a Latin American spice that is not always easy to find. I tried this recipe both ways, once with achiote and once with paprika. Both times I loved it so don’t hesitate to try it with the paprika or ancho chili powder.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups white rice
1 teaspoon achiote (annatto) powder or paprika or ancho chili powder
Pinch saffron
1 bay leaf
1-3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, achiote powder (or paprika or ancho chili powder), saffron and bay leaf. Cook and stir until the rice is opaque, about 2 minutes, 

Add the tomatoes and broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the liquid evaporates to just below the level of the rice, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to the low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve with Chocolate Chicken Mole, if desired.

Chocolate Meltaway Cake

GKC friend and reader, Rachel, requested a recipe for chocolate meltaway cake like the one from the NY bakeries. We tried and tried to get their recipe but had no luck. But, while we were asking, we were also tasting and developing our own version that is remarkably close to theirs. Rachel tried it too, and said that it was not exact but so delicious that they definitely ate too much of it. She used wafer crumbs in place of the cookies crumbs.

Crust:
1-1/2 cups cookie crumbs
1/4 – 1/2 cup melted margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix crust ingredients together and press into bottoms and up sides of a greased 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until lightly browned.

For meltaway center:
1-1/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup non-dairy creamer

Crumble topping:
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 – 2/3 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For meltaway center: In a small saucepan warm non-dairy creamer over low flame until hot but not boiling. Add chocolate, turn off heat and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour 2/3 of chocolate into crust.

For crumble topping: In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, and oil until crumbly but leaving some large chunks. Sprinkle 1/3 over chocolate layer. Fold the second 1/3 into the reserved chocolate. Spoon over crumble layer. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 on top. Bake for 12 minutes. Chill until ready to serve. You may need a little more crumble, if so use 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 3/4 – 1 cup oil for additional crumble.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Seared Salmon with Coconut Tomato Sauce


Serves 4

I made this for dinner last night and it was a big hit. Sweet from the coconut but zesty and full of Indian flavors from the garam masala. I served it with rice and roasted vegetables.

4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala (if you do not have this use ½ teaspoon of fennel and ½ teaspoon cardamom)
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1 tablespoon ground coriander, plus 1/2 teaspoon to season salmon
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk
Pinch salt and freshly ground pepper
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

For the sauce: 
Put 2 tablespoons canola oil into a large skillet over low-med heat and add ginger and garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds and stir in garam masala, mustard and ground coriander; cook for 10 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring well. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for about 15 minutes, until sauce is thickened. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. 



For the salmon: 
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, season the salmon fillets with 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sear them on each side for 6 – 7 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Put the salmon on a plate and ladle some sauce over it. 


Spinach and Beet Salad with Balsamic Dressing

photo: mirileigh.com

2 (6 ounce) bags baby spinach
2 red beets, peeled and diced
2 yellow beets, peeled and diced
1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, sliced
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Dressing:
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

To roast beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In separate pans, toss beets with about ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until caramelized – about 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Cool.

To prepare dressing: Mix together vinegar, garlic, mustard, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil.

To assemble: In a large bowl, combine spinach, beets, hearts of palm, cucumbers and almonds. Toss to coat with dressing. Serve immediately.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bars

photo: cookiemadness.net


This recipe is dairy so serve it during the week – just because – or save it for a special Shavuos treat.

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
¼ cup milk or soy milk
1 cup chopped toasted peanuts, divided (optional)
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
1 (10-ounce) package peanut butter chips
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, beat together melted margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, cocoa and milk until completely incorporated. Stir in ¾ cup nuts, if using Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

In a medium saucepan, over low heat, melt ½ cup margarine with peanut butter chips, stirring until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Pour over brownie layer in pan.

Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with remaining peanuts, if using. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until firm.

Chicken and Spinach Noodle Casserole


4 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (4-ounce) can mushrooms, drained
1 (12-ounce) package egg noodles, cooked and drained

Sauce:
¼ cup margarine
¼ cup flour
1 cup nondairy creamer
1 cup chicken stock
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, spinach, mushrooms and noodles.

In a small pot, over low heat, melt margarine. Whisk in flour until blended. Gradually pour in nondairy creamer and chicken stock, whisking continually until a thick sauce is formed. Remove from heat and stir in spices. Pour over chicken mixture and toss well.

Pour into prepared pan and bake, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes.

Imitation Crab Casserole



photo: worldpub.net

¼ red pepper, chopped
1 pound imitation crab, broken into small chunks
½ cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix together red pepper, crab, mayonnaise, scallions, lemon juice and season salt. Pour into prepared dish.
Combine bread crumbs with melted margarine and sprinkle over top.
Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

Coconut Biscotti

photo: yumyumyummers

1-1/2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, beat sugar, vanilla and eggs. On low speed, add dry ingredients and then coconut. Mix well. (Dough will be sticky)

Lightly flour hands and shape dough into 2 “loaves”. Pat down to approximately 1-inch thickness. Bake for 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and slice loaves. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Let rest on baking sheet 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

Chocolate Pound Loaf

½ cup (1 stick) margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup tofutti sour cream
1-3/4 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream margarine and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and sour cream. On low speed, add dry ingredients until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool for 15 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

Easy (Almost) Everything Brownies

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup butterscotch chips
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup toasted pecans (optional)
1 (19.9-ounce) brownie mix, prepared according to package directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a small bowl, mix together chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and pecans, if using. Stir half of mixture into brownie batter and pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining mixture on top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool before cutting.

Mini Moroccan Lamb Burgers with Pareve Lemon Cream Sauce

This is a great and easy way to spice up a midweek meal. The lamb burgers are a refreshing and flavorful twist to a regular burger and the lemon sauce adds a coolness to the dish.

Makes 6 – 8 servings

For the lemon yogurt sauce:
1 pint tofutti sour cream
1 lemon, zested
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt
12 slider buns or 1 challah, sliced

For the mini burgers:
2 pounds ground lamb
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups lettuce, torn into small pieces
4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds

Make the sauce: 
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the pareve sour cream, lemon zest and juice. Season, to taste, with salt. Sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before using. 



Make the burgers: 
Preheat the grill or grill pan. 

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and work together until they are fully incorporated. You’re your hands, gently form little balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inches big and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking pan. With a fork, flatten burgers to about 1/2-inch thick. 
Once the grill is hot, place them on the grill or grill pan and cook, about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until fully cooked through.

Slice buns and toast if you like. Serve burgers with lettuce, tomato, and lemon cream sauce.

Cocoa Brownies Sweetened with Agave Syrup


Makes 24 mini brownies
(adapted from The Good Housekeeping Baking: More Than 600 Recipes for Homemade Treats)

5 tablespoons margarine or butter
2/3 cup agave syrup

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, cut into bite size pieces
2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease mini-muffin pans.

In a medium saucepan, melt margarine over low heat. Add chocolate chunks, and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
Stir in the agave syrup. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time. Add vanilla.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt
Stir flour mixture into saucepan until blended.
Spoon the batter into the mini-muffin cups.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Soy Spinach with Sesame


This is good both warm and room temperature. Grinding the sesame gives it additional nutty flavor.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound baby spinach (about 16 loosely packed cups)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, divided
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
4-1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Kosher salt

In a large skillet pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and cook 3 minutes or until fully cooked through. Remove from heat.

Using a spice grinder, grind 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds with 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sugar with the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir in the ground sesame seeds.

Add the cooled spinach and gently toss it, separating any clumps. Serve sprinkled with the remaining sesame seeds.

Lamb and Spinach Stuffed Onions

photo by Anna Williams

These are not only delicious but look incredible. Serve them for Shabbos dinner warm for extra special company.

Serves 6

Stuffed Onions
2 – 3 unpeeled 1½ pound sweet onions, like Vidalia, root ends trimmed 2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces spinach
1½ pounds ground lamb
3 teaspoons ancho chile powder (I like ancho-chili powder but you can use chili powder if you do not have it)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
1-/2 cups beef broth, divided
1-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup pareve whipping cream

Topping
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

PREPARE THE ONIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the onions in a small baking dish, root ends down, and rub with olive oil. Add 1/2 inch of water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet. Add the spinach in batches, tossing until wilted. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the water. Coarsely chop the spinach.

In the same skillet, cook the lamb over moderately high heat, breaking it up, until no pink remains, 3 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and add the ancho chile powder and cinnamon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the spinach. Transfer the lamb filling to a large bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup of the beef broth and 3/4 cup of the crushed tomatoes.

Cut 1/2 inch off the top and bottom of the baked onions. Separate the layers, trying not to break them. You will need 10 onion cups: some large, some medium and 2 small. Finely chop enough of the onion scraps to make 1/2 cup; fold into the lamb filling and season with salt and pepper.

Stand the onion cups in a non-stick medium baking dish. Season the insides with salt and fill with the lamb.

In a large skillet, combine the pareve cream with the remaining beef broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Pour the sauce over and around the onions.

MAKE THE TOPPING In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mound the topping on the onions. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until hot. Uncover and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake for 5 minutes, until the topping is crisp. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Chicken Udon Soup


photo by Sang An

I could eat this soup everyday any time of year.

1 (3 1/2-ounce) package fresh shiitake mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock
6 (1/4-inch) slices peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 star anise, optional (I usually skip this)
6 ounces dried udon noodles (thick Japanese wheat noodles)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup diagonally cut green onions

Remove stems from mushrooms; reserve stems. Thinly slice mushroom caps; set aside. Combine mushroom stems, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, green onion and star anise in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Strain stock through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

Cook udon noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water;

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add reserved sliced mushroom caps to pan, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add minced ginger and minced garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add sake, and cook for 4 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add stock to pan. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add chicken, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, and salt; simmer for 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated. Divide noodles evenly among 4 bowls. Add 1 1/2 cups soup to each bowl. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions.