Curried Coconut Sweet Potato Mash

coconut-sweetpotato-mashed

Yum, great mash-up. Coconut, curry and sweet potatoes are balanced so well here.

2 ½ pounds sweet potato (3 or 4 large), scrubbed and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted margarine
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¾ cup coconut milk
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more as needed
6 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened (see note)

Fit a steamer basket into a large pot, add water just to the bottom of the basket, and arrange the sweet potatoes in a snug layer in the basket. Bring the water t a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pot, and lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook until the potatoes are completely tender when pierced with a skewer, 15 to 20 minutes. (Keep an eye on the water level during cooking, and add ore if it threatens to boil off.) Remove from the heat, carefully remove the potatoes from the basket, and set aside.

Pour the water out of the pot and return to medium heat. Add the margarine, curry, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until the margarine is melted and the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and 1 ½ teaspoons salt, bring to a simmer, and cook for an additional minute to thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Carefully peel off and discard the potato skins. Add the potatoes to the pot and mash until smooth and all ingredients are blended. (At this point you can adjust the consistency of the potatoes by adding up to ½ cup of water.) Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as needed. If necessary, rewarm over low heat, stirring constantly.

To serve, transfer to a serving dish and top with the coconut.

You can make these potatoes up to a day ahead. Reheat in a covered ovenproof dish in a 350 degree oven until heated thorough, about 40 minutes. Garnish just before serving.

Note: to toast coconut, spread it in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally, until golden.

Couscous with Lemon and Golden Raisins

Serves 6

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup water
1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (10-oz) box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
½ cup golden raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Cook onion in 1 tablespoon oil in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add water and broth and bring to a boil.

Stir in couscous and raisins, then cover and remove from heat. Let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and stir in parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add remaining tablespoon oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry-Pretzel Trifles

strawberry-pretzel-trifle

This is a refreshing twist on a regular trifle. The salted pretzels make a delicious candy crunch topping. It tastes like a dairy dessert!

Makes 6 to 8

For The Strawberries:
2 pints strawberries, halved (about 6 cups)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For The Crumble:
1 stick unsalted margarine melted plus more for the pan
3 ½ cups small pretzel twists
1 large egg white
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Kosher salt

For The Cream:
2 (8 ounce) packages pareve cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups pareve whipping cream

Prepare the strawberries: Combine 4 cups strawberries and the granulated sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until bubbling, then increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft and the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 cups strawberries and the lemon juice. Let cool, then transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Meanwhile, make the crumble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch-round cake pan. Combine 3 cups pretzels, the melted margarine, egg white, granulated sugar, flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse until a wet dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Break the remaining 1/2 cup pretzels into pieces and press into the dough. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely in the pan, then break into bite-size pieces.

Make the cream: Just before serving, beat the pareve cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat the pareve cream in another bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold half of the pareve whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, then fold in the rest.

Layer the pareve whipped cream, crumble and strawberry mixtures in individual glasses or bowls. Cover and chill, at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

Red Beet, Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad

Serves 4

Weird combination that is terrific together. Sweet beets and cantaloupe with creamy avocados. The dressing is both sweet and savory and makes a very creative salad.

6 small red beets (about 1 pound), tops removed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

For the Dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ large ripe cantaloupe, seeded and rind removed
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn (optional)

Put the beets in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the red wine vinegar, cover, and cook until a knife inserted into the center of a beet meets no resistance, about 45 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a bowl.

When they are cool enough to handle (use gloves to prevent the beets from staining your hands), use a paper towel to rub the skin off the beets. Quarter the beets lengthwise, return to the bowl, and, while warm, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the Dijon, white wine vinegar, lime juice, honey, ginger, and garlic together until combined. Whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and whisk well.

Cut the cantaloupe into pieces the size of the beets and add to the beets. Drizzle one-quarter of the dressing over and toss gently.

Divide the beets and cantaloupe evenly among four salad plates. Using a small melon baller, scoop balls of the avocado and scatter over the plates. Drizzle more dressing over each plate and season each salad with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves and mint, if using, evenly over the salads and serve immediately.

Prime Rib with Cabernet Jus

Bon Appétit
Yields 8

2 750-ml bottles Cabernet Sauvignon
4 cups beef stock or canned broth
2 cups ruby Port
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 large shallot, peeled, halved
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons dried thyme
1 6-pound boneless prime rib beef roast
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
Fresh parsley sprigs

Combine first 6 ingredients and 1 teaspoon thyme in large non-aluminum saucepan. Boil until reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. (Cabernet mixture can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place beef, fat side up, in heavy 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Rub beef all over with pressed garlic and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme. Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Roast 1 hour. Tent beef with foil. Continue roasting until meat thermometer inserted into center registers 118°F for rare, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter and let stand 20 minutes.
Pour off all fat from roasting pan. Place pan over medium-high heat. Add Cabernet mixture to pan and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour jus into sauce boat. Garnish platter with parsley, if desired. Carve beef and serve, passing jus separately.

Orange Chicken

from Lauri Barbanel

10 boneless chicken cutlets
cake meal or flour
2 cups orange juice
1 lemon, zested, juiced
1 orange, zested
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
4 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper
pinch rosemary
2 oranges, peeled and sliced

Mix flour with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour. Sauté chicken in a skillet. Put it into an ovenproof baking pan.

Mix the orange juice, lemon zest, orange zest, ginger, lemon juice and honey together. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Place one orange slice on each piece of chicken.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

**Freezes well. Great for Pessach.

Moroccan-Style Cornish Game Hens

from Bon Appétit

Serves 4

1 large orange, thinly sliced
2 Cornish game hens, cut lengthwise in half
6 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ cup tawny Port
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. honey
20 whole pitted dates
10 large pitted green olives

Arrange orange slices in bottom of 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Top with game hens. Mix 4 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped garlic and 1 ¼ tsp. cumin in bowl. Rub mixture all over hens. Whisk tawny Port, oil, vinegar and honey in small bowl. Pour over hens. Tuck dates and olives between hens. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight, turning hens once.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Turn hens skin side up. Bake hens with marinade, dates and olives until hens are cooked through, basting occasionally, about 40 minutes. Transfer hens, dates and olives to platter; discard orange slices. Pour pan juices into heavy small saucepan. Add remaining ¼ tsp. cumin and boil until reduced to ½ cup, whisking frequently, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon some sauce over hens. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Mixed Greens with Grapefruit and Pomegranate Salad

pomegreen-salad

Serves 4

This salad doubles easily. The dressing is great, sweet and citrusy. I serve it all winter long.

4 cups mixed greens
1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented; squeeze remaining membrane and save juice for dressing
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Put greens, grapefruit segments, onion, and pomegranate seeds in a bowl. Mix grapefruit juice, mustard, honey, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Pour as much dressing as desired over salad and toss gently to combine.

Seared Balsamic – Glazed Carrots

balsamic-glazed-carrot

I am always looking for a good way to bring the symbolic foods into the meal. This is a delicious side dish that also warrants a special bracha.

Serves 4

4 peeled carrots, cut thinly on the diagonal
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, bring about 1 quart of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots, blanch for about 2 minutes, and drain. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until smoking hot. Add the carrots and allow them to sit in the pan to sear, 2 to 5 minutes or until brown. Toss the carrots and sear again. Add the garlic and shallots and briefly sauté. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce over high heat until thick and carrots are coated, about 2 minutes. Add the marjoram and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve piping hot.

Salmon and Red Snapper Ceviche

salmon-ceviche

The fish is cooked in the enzymes of the citrus fruit. It’s similar in texture to a tartare and has that fresh taste of sushi but it also has the amazing summer flavors that make it seasonal and super tasty.

Serves 8

1 pound fresh pink snapper, skinned and cut in half lengthwise, then cut into small dice
1 pound salmon, shelled, cut into small dice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
½ cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
4 green onions, green and pale green part only, thinly sliced
1 or 2 jalapenos, finely diced depending on how spicy you like (you can remove the seeds and the membrane if you like it more mild)
1 ripe mango, peeled, halved, pitted and finely diced
1 peach, finely diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/4 cup Pickled Red Onions, recipe follows, for garnish
Red onion, for garnish
Lime zest, for garnish
Avocado, optional
Kettle cooked potato chips, for garnish

Place the snapper and salmon in a large bowl. Toss with the lime and orange juice and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the snapper and salmon and place in a separate bowl.

Add the grape tomatoes, cilantro, onions, chiles, mango, peaches, salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss.

Place the ceviche on a serving platter or on individual plates. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Garnish with Red Onions, lime zest avocado and potato chips.

Lemon and Honey Cupcakes with Lemon Honey Frosting

Lemon-Honey-Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Cupcakes
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tofutti sour cream or sour cream
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, soy milk, or milk
1-1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted margarine, softened
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs

Lemon-Honey Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine, softened
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl to blend. Whisk tofutti sour cream, soymilk, lemon zest and juice in a small bowl until well mixed.

Beat margarine, honey and sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.

With mixer on low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, then the sour cream mixture. Beat in remaining flour mixture until just combined.

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove cupcakes from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: beat margarine, honey and lemon zest in large bowl with an electric mixer until creamed, about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in confectioners’ sugar until blended. Beat in lemon juice until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow.

Spoon into a large zip lock freezer bag, snip off one corner and pipe onto cupcakes, or just spread frosting onto cupcakes.

Chilled Mango – Curry Soup

mango-curry-soup

This is a super flavorful and delicious cold soup. The mangos make sit super sweet and the curry and ginger make it super savory.

Serves 6

6 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons peeled, chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ red onion, diced
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon curry powder, toasted
2 tablespoons sweet, hot chile sauce plus additonal, as needed
Soy sauce
2 scallions, minced

Put the mangoes, ginger, garlic, and onion in a blender and puree (or puree with a handheld blender). Add the stock, vinegar, curry, and chile sauce and blend just to combine. Season to taste with soy sauce and pour into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refigerate until cold, 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

Ladle the soup into chilled soup bowls and garnish with some of the scallions, sour cream, and chile sauce. Serve cold.

Honey and Dark Beer Chocolate Cake

guinness-cake

Serves 10

1 cup Guinness MINUS 2 tablespoons (if you do not have Guinness use another dark beer)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup tofutti sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For Frosting
8 ounces tofutti cream cheese
1-1/4 cups powered sugar
1/2 cup pareve whipping cream

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 9-inch spring form pan and line with parchment paper.

Heat margarine and Guinness in large saucepan until margarine is almost melted, Add honey and blend well until mixture is fully blended. Remove from heat. Whisk in superfine sugar and cocoa. Beat Tofutti sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl; add the Guinness mixture to the mixing bowl. Blend well, then beat in the flour and baking soda.

Pour batter in to pan and bake for the first 20 minutes at 325°F, then increase temperature to 350°F for last 25-30 minutes, or until tester comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

For frosting, beat powered sugar and Tofutti cream cheese together until creamy. Add pareve cream and beat until spreadable. Frost the top. Serve.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Roasted Shallots and Dried Cherries

braised-lamb-shank-cherry

Dried sweet fruit pairs perfectly with lamb. The mellow shallots add depth of flavor. This is a great main dish for Rosh Hashannah.

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 shallots, peeled
6 whole cloves garlic
6 (10-12 ounce) lamb shanks
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup flour
1 cup red wine
2 ½ cups lamb or veal stock or beef stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put the olive oil, shallots, and garlic in a large roasting pan, cover with a lid, and place in the oven. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the shallots and garlic are soft to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and place on the stovetop over high heat. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Place the flour on a large plate and dredge the lamb in it. Place the shanks in the pan and sear both sides well, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the wine and reduce over high heat by about half. Add the stock, vinegar, cherries, and thyme, cover with a lid, and place in the oven. Cook until tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove the pan from the oven and season the broth to taste with the salt and pepper. Place the lamb on a serving platter. Slice and serve hot with the sauce spooned over.

Spinach Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Serves 8

Add anything you like to this salad, toasted nuts, hearts of palm, other fruits or dried fruits. It’s sweet and crunchy and great for the holidays.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette: 

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 small cloves garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 tablespoon finely diced red onion

4 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, defrosted

2/3 cup olive oil

For the salad:
6 cups spinach leaves
1 apple, sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup dried apples

For the dressing, in an immersion blender, whirl the vinegars, garlic, Dijon mustard, red onion, and apple juice concentrate. Add the oil in a stream, while the blender is on to mix until incorporated and emulsified. Store until ready to use.

For the salad: In a large bowl, mix together the spinach leaves, apple, mushrooms, and onion. Toss with the dressing. Add the dried apple and mix in. Serve immediately.

Apple Cranberry Turnovers

apple-cranberry-turnover
Makes 8 large turnovers

1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted margarine, at room temperature
6 ounces pareve cream cheese, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups (12 ounces) flour, more for rolling
Kosher salt
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
4 medium apples (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced ¼ inch thick
¾ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
About ¼ cup turbinado sugar (or granulated) for sprinkling

Put 1 cup (2 sticks) of the margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the pareve cream cheese, and mix on medium to blend, 30 seconds longer.

Scrape the bowl again, add the flour and ½ teaspoon salt, and mix on low speed just until it comes together in a ball. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a square slab. Wrap the plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Meanwhile, put the remaining ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, the light brown sugar, and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium heat. When the margarine is melted, add the apples and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Mix the cranberries and lemon juice and cool completely.

When you’re ready to roll the dough, position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment or nonstick liner.

Transfer one half of the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll it out into 12 inch square about 1/8 thick. You won’t have much excess dough, so trim and reposition pieces of the edge to make a straight-sided square, pressing seams firmly to seal. Cut the dough into four 6 inch squares and set aside. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Divide the apple filling among the dough squares, leaving at least a ½ inch border around the edge. Brush the borders lightly with the beaten egg and fold each square in half to make a triangle. Use a fork to crimp the edges and ensure a good seal.

Transfer the 2 baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart. Brush the tops of the turnovers with egg and sprinkle generously with the turbinado sugar. Cut 3 small slits into the top of each turnover.

Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue to bake until golden brown and you can see the filling bubbling through the sits, about 15 minutes longer.

Let cool slightly on the baking sheets. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: these turnovers can easily be assembled and then frozen. Freeze them on the lined baking sheet; when solid, transfer to a zip-top bag and seal. They’ll keep for up to 2 months this way. When ready to bake, arrange on a baking sheet and bake as directed- they’ll just take an extra 10 minutes or so in the oven.

Honey Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal_honeycookie

Makes 24 cookies

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup white or whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins, chocolate chips or butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl, beat margarine with sugar until thoroughly blended. Blend in honey. Blend in egg and vanilla, mixing until smooth. In separate bowl, mix together oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; blend into honey mixture. Stir in raisins or chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool 2 to 3 minutes before removing from baking sheet. Cool completely then store in an airtight container.

Pear Skillet Cake

pear-skillet-cake

Serves 8

6 medium Bosc pears (about 3 1/3 pounds)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted margarine
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/3 cups (6 ounces) flour
2/3 granulated sugar
3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees.

Peel, quarter, and core 4 of the pears and set aside. Peel and grate the other 2 and set them aside separately.

In a 10 inch cast iron skillet, melt the margarine over low heat. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the brown sugar over the margarine. Arrange the quartered pears on the sugar; if necessary, trim a few pieces to fit and fill center.

Combine the flour, granulated sugar, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, vanilla, and orange zest until blended. Stir in the grated pears. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Pour the batter over the pears and smooth to the top. Bake until the cake is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the skillet for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn out onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Pie Bars

apple-bar

Makes 4 dozen bars

Omit the nuts if you do not eat nuts on Rosh Hashannah. Otherwise, save this for Succot. These are delicious. You can also make them with pears and cranberries, just omit the apples and add pears and cranberries.

CRUST
3 sticks unsalted margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

FILLING
6 tablespoons unsalted margarine
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup water, as necessary

TOPPING
3/4 cup pecans, almonds, walnuts or other chopped nut, optional
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 sticks unsalted margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

MAKE THE CRUST Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the margarine with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the sheet and 1/2 inch up the side. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden. Let cool on a rack.

MAKE THE FILLING In each of 2 large skillets, melt 3 tablespoons of the margarine with 1/4 cup of the light brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillets and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir half of the cinnamon and nutmeg into each skillet. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillets and add up to 1/2 cup of water to each pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.

MAKE THE TOPPING
Spread the nuts, if using, in a pie plate and toast until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the nuts and press the mixture into clumps.

Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.

Asian Spiced and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

spiced-butternutsquash-soup

Serves 6

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon peeled, chopped fresh ginger
½ cup mirin
½ cup sherry or red wine
4 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons chile sauce
2 teaspoons curry powder, toasted
½ teaspoon ground toasted cumin
Soy sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the squash and garlic in a roasting pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a stockpot over high heat until hot. Add the onion and ginger and saute until fragrant. Add the mirin and either sherry or white wine and reduce to about ½ cup, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock, cooked squash, and gsrlic and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the chile, curry, and cumin and puree with a handheld blender or in batches in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Season to taste with soy sauce. Taste for spiciness and adjust, adding more chile sauce if you like it hotter. Or use Tofutti sour cream to mellow it out.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with a dallop of tofutti sour cream and serve hot.

Date Cake with Caramel Sauce

datecake
Serves 8-10

CAKE
12 ounces pitted plump dates
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons brewed espresso
3/4 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 sticks unsalted margarine, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs

CARAMEL
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pareve whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease and flour a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, cover the dates with the rum, espresso and water and heat at high power for 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and let stand until the dates are softened. Puree until smooth.

In a bowl, whisk both flours with the baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs until incorporated, then beat in the date puree. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at low speed until incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely.

In a medium saucepan, simmer the sugar and water over moderate heat until a deep-amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pareve cream. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the hardened caramel is dissolved. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with the caramel sauce.

Tomato Chili Brisket

tomato-brisket

Serves 8 – 10

One 5- to 7 pound beef brisket
One 24-ounce bottle ketchup or chilli sauce
1 package dry onion soup mix
Several dashes hot sauce
1 cup water
½ cup beer

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Place the brisket in an oven-safe pan. Combine the ketchup (I use ½ ketchup and ½ chili sauce) and soup mix in a bowl, and stir to mix. Pour in 1 cup water and the beer and stir to combine. (You can add more water if needed!)

Pour the sauce all over the brisket. Make sure the brisket is coated on both sides. Cover the pan with foil and roast in the oven for 6 to 7 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and test the brisket to make sure it’s fork-tender. The brisket should fall apart if you look at it! Slice the brisket into thin strips, then return the beef to the sauce and keep it warm until you’re ready to serve.

Frozen Caramelized Pear Torte

Serves 12

Almond Meringue
6 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup ground toasted almonds, optional
½ cup flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

White Chocolate – Pear Mousse
5 ounce pareve white melting chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate)
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
¼ cup dark rum
2 cups pareve whipping cream
2 pears, peeled and diced

Chocolate Ganache
12 ounces chocolate
1 cup pareve whip cream

To prepare the meringue, draw two 10-inch circles on two parchment paper-lined baking sheets, then flip over the parchment so the ink is on the other side. Place the egg whites in a bowl of a mixer and whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time, along with the almond extract, and whip until still peaks form and the whites are shiny. Place the ground almonds, flour, and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and mix together. Gently fold the mixture into the egg whites. Divide the batter between the two circles and spread evenly to fill the circles. Place in a 300 degree oven and bake for about 2 hours, or until firm.

To prepare the mousse, melt the white chocolate (or chocolate) in the top of a double boiler over gently simmering heat. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Place the egg yolks, ¾ cup of the sugar, and the rum in a metal bowl and whisk together. Place over gently simmering water, and whop the egg mixture until it is thick and resembles softly whipped cream. Remove from the heat and set aside. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture, then fold in the melted white chocolate. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Place the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a sauté pan and cook, without stirring, until the sugar turns golden brown. Add the pears and sauté until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

To assemble the torte, place one of the cooled meringues in a 10-inch spring form pan. (You may have to trim the meringue fit it in the pan.) Place the pears on top of the first meringue layer, then cover with the mousse. Place the second layer of meringue on top of the mousse and place in the freezer.

To prepare the ganache, place the chocolate pieces in the food processor and process until finely ground. Heat the cream until boiling and pour over the chocolate through the feed tube while the processor is running. Continue to process until the mixture is smooth. Remove the torte from the freezer and pour the ganache over the torte. Return the torte to the freezer and freeze for about 2 hours. (If frozen overnight, let the torte come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving.) To serve, release the sides of the pan and slide the torte off the bottom of the pan onto a serving platter. Slice into wedges and serve.

Glazed Beets with Chives

glazed-bits

Serves 4

1 pounds trimmed and peeled beets, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, halved or quartered if large
1-1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted margarine
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons walnut pieces or coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Put the beets in an 8-inch-wide, 3- to 4-quart saucepan and arrange snugly. Add the margarine, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and enough water to just cover the beets (about 2 cups). Bring to a boil over high heat.

Cook over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy glaze and the beets are tender, about 10 minutes. (If the glaze is done before the beets, add about 1/2 cup water and continue to cook. If the beets are done first, remove them and continue to boil the liquid until syrupy.)

(Meanwhile, spread the walnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 8 minutes.)

Lower the heat under the beets to medium low, add the warm walnuts, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and serve sprinkled with the chives. (The glazed beets and walnuts, without the chives, can be kept warm, covered, for about 20 minutes.)