Archive for November, 2010

Rugelach

Rugelach is one of my all time favorite cookies.  They are like tiny rolled crescents filled with a raisin & nut mixture.  Today they are easily bought in any bakery aisle but don’t let the store-bought varieties fool you.  They lack the rich flaky dough as well as the sweet and savory filling that make them so addictive.  I don’t make rugelach very often because it’s a bit time-consuming.  Years ago I started to double the recipe because it’s easier to make more than make it more often.

Rugelach רוגעלך is a Yiddish word which is interpreted as “little twists” which refers to the shape of the cookie.  There are many different recipes, some with no dairy products, some with a sour cream dough and others with a cream cheese dough.  I prefer the latter, the combination of cream cheese, butter and flour make a delicate cookie with appropriate flavors to compliment the filling.  Fillings can vary as well.  Ultimately, you can roll pretty much anything that will fit in this.

I tend to make smallish Rugelach, they bake evenly and are easier to work with.  Most often I make them for Jewish holidays.  They freeze well and actually taste great frozen.  I made a large batch to split over Thanksgiving and Hanukkah but forgot to serve them last Thursday.  It’s ok this way there’s more for me!  The recipe also works best if you make the dough, split it into balls and refrigerate for a short while.  I find the dough rolls easily then.

My Rugelach do not come out evenly sized and shaped but it doesn’t matter.   They should be similar enough in size to bake evenly.  Once I roll them out I use a pizza cutter to make the circles and then cut them into triangle pieces like a pizza.  I doubt this is the way my great-grandmother did it but it works for me.

Dough

2 cups flour

1 8 oz block cream cheese (light is fine)

1 stick of butter room temperature

Mix the 3 ingredients together and break into 6 equal sized balls, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour

Filling

This part is truly a rough guess, I’ve never measured it!

3/4 – 1 cup each raisins and chopped walnuts

8-10 oz apricot preserves or jam

1/3 cup of sugar

cinnamon to taste ( a little nutmeg if desired)

Mix these ingredients together set aside

More flour and sugar will be needed for rolling

Directions

Take a ball of dough and roll it into a circle about 1/4″ thick and approximately 10″ round, use flour and sugar as needed so dough doesn’t stick

Using a pizza cutter trim ends of the circle and cut into 6-8 even pieces depending on desired size

On the wide end of each triangle add a small amount of the filling so that it spans the width

Roll it up from the filled side to the narrow end and gently push the narrow end to stick to the dough, it should stay easily

Place on a pan (sometimes I gently grease, sometimes I don’t) and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on the outside

Repeat with each ball, I often take the scraps and toss them into the bowl in the refrigerator holding the dough, usually there’s enough scraps to make 1 last circle of cookies

~enjoy~

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

I originally found this recipe while reading Dr Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live.  The book was interesting enough but this recipe by far was the best thing I got out of it.  I don’t actually remember the original recipe, so this is my own rendition of it.  I’m not sure at this point what the specific ingredients were but I like my version quite well.

This would make an excellent main course for a Thanksgiving dinner.  I like that it’s served in perfect single sized servings!  The acorn squash with nuts, pineapple and cranberry will make any plate look festive.  I also enjoy taking leftovers to work.  It makes a great lunch and people always comment on it.

Ingredients

2 acorn squash

1 can crushed pineapple drained

1/2 cup both cranberries and chopped walnuts

4 tablespoons of chopped dried apricots

A small amount of butter or vegan spread for each half

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom to taste

Directions

Gently prick each acorn squash in 2-3 spots and microwave them for 4 minutes to soften

Cut them in half and scoop out seeds, place face down in a baking dish with 1/2 inch of water and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

While that is baking mix together the rest of the ingredients and let them sit

After baking the squash, remove from oven, drain the water, turn over the squash

Rub a little butter or spread on each piece and then add 1/4 of the stuffing to each half

Top with a little additional cinnamon and return to the oven for 20 more minutes

~enjoy~

Mom’s Saltine Stuffing Vegetarianized!

My family has been eating this stuffing recipe my entire life.  As a kid I didn’t even realize that stuffing is supposed to be made with bread!  I had never seen it done that way.  Making a saltine stuffing saves the bother of buying a nice loaf of bread and letting it go stale.  Thanksgiving morning you just open the box of saltines and get started.

There was a couple of Thanksgivings where I’ve actually made a different recipe with both cornbread and saltines.  My husband, kids, and I all liked it very much.  But once my family moved down to Florida, they took one look and wondered where the “traditional” stuffing was!  Personally, I enjoy both but this one saves a lot of time so I’m happy to make it for them.

My mom’s stuffing was made with chicken broth and drippings.  I’ve made a simple change by using Knorr’s  dry soup called Spring Vegetable which is not tomato based.  You could just use vegetable bouillon cubes in place of that.  The soup mix I use has lots of little vegetable flecks in it which I don’t mind at all.   I also use butter rather than the drippings, you can easily use a vegan butter spread in place of butter.

This recipe works well when you assemble it early in the morning and then cook it before serving.  You could probably assemble it the night before if you eat early enough.  There is an egg in it so I wouldn’t refrigerate more than 12 hours prior to baking.  I’m sure a vegan can easily use an egg substitute with good results.

Ingredients

1 box of Saltines

4 onions chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

1 stalk celery

1 package of Knorr Spring Vegetable soup or 4 veg bouillon cubes

1 egg or vegan equivalent

Butter or vegan spread to dot the top (up to 1 stick depending on preference)

Salt, pepper and seasonings to taste

Directions

Saute the onions until translucent or lightly browned (I prefer browned) add in the garlic and celery for the last 2 minutes

Make the soup mix according to directions (strain out veggie flakes if desired) cool

Place saltines in enough broth to absorb fully and feel moist but not overly mushy, add some water if needed,

Mix in the other ingredients and seasoning

Place in a well-greased 9″ x 13″ pan

Dot with butter or spread and add more towards the end of baking

Bake uncovered for 1 hour

~enjoy~

 

Super Easy Cranberry Dressing

I’m not even sure if this qualifies as a recipe.  It’s really just a few ingredients that work well together and there are so many possible add in’s depending on your personal taste.  I adapted this from my mom’s cranberry dressing which is made with gelatin, therefore not vegetarian.

I don’t really understand her method.  She drains out all of the canned berries liquid that had gelled on it’s own and then adds the gelatin to it.  It’s very good but not at all worth the bother.  Her version takes hours of setting etc.  My version is just as good, personally I’d say better and takes about 5 minutes.

I’m looking forward to this Thanksgiving.  My nephew and his girlfriend will be flying in to join us and I always love company.   The only part I don’t like is where I’m the one who cooks the turkey.  My mom and I actually have it worked out where she purchases it, cleans it up, and removes the utterly disgusting baggie of insides etc.  Thanksgiving morning she’ll drive it over to me and I’ll pop it into my oven.  She cooks up whatever’s in those baggies to prepare the gravy and then finishes the gravy at my house once the bird is done.  It’s not ideal for me personally but it’s a good compromise.

Thanksgiving is the one meal where I actually don’t want a main course.  Even as a kid I barely touched the turkey.  My family goes way overboard with all the yummy side dishes and I’d much rather enjoy a variety of veggie dishes than any one main dish.  This cranberry dish is a favorite of mine.  I can imagine many possible ways to change it with a few different ingredients but my family likes holiday foods the way they’re used to them so I’ll stick to the basics once again!

Cranberry Dressing

2 cans of whole berries

1 small can of crushed pineapple drained well

1/2 cup of crushed walnuts

Just a little cinnamon

 

Just toss them in a pretty bowl, give them a good mix and refrigerate until ready to serve

Possible add ins:

Chopped apple or pear

Orange segments

Jalapeno & onion for  a salsa version

Chopped strawberries or blueberries

A larger can of pineapple which is what a lot of people use, personally I don’t like the pineapple to overwhelm so I stick with the little can

Cranberry-Dijon Salad Dressing

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything simply because I haven’t been cooking anything but some of my old stand by recipes.  This is a recipe I’ve stolen borrowed from my daughters abandoned blog.  I’ve been waiting all year for fresh cranberries to be back in season so I can try it.  With the exception of the fresh cranberries all the ingredients are in either my pantry or fridge which I love.I’ve put this dressing on top of a salad made of fresh greens, sliced apple, onion, walnut, cucumber and feta.  I think it would also be a great dressing to accompany a variety of veggie sandwiches.

Sorry there are no pictures once again, but it’s a salad dressing.  You can pretty  much imagine what it looks like!  I am still very much adjusting to the hectic pace of my days and stopping to grab a camera does not seem to be in the forefront of my mind these days.  The good news is that while I’m nervous about the ever increasing pace of my job I am absolutely loving it.  I get to help people work through a troublesome experience (minor car accidents) and work to resolve their issues with as little inconvenience to them as possible.  It’s very rewarding and the busy days fly by.

Cranberry-Dijon Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • Fresh cranberries (a few handfuls, maybe 2 cups/4dl?)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard (this I did measure!)
  • White wine vinegar (probably about 1dl/0.5cup)
  • White wine (probably about 2dl/1 cup)
  • Olive oil (a couple tbsps)
  • Water (to bring to desired consistency.  Though I left mine pretty thick, I like the creamy texture.)

Cook:

  1. Put a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce pan and put on high heat.
  2. Add cranberries and put the lid on.  The cranberries will sorta ‘pop’ like popcorn, so you don’t want that oil splashing onto you.  When the popping stops lower heat and mash with a potato masher.
  3. At medium heat add wine, vinegar, and mustard.  Stir in more olive oil if desired.  Blend together.  Add water if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

~Enjoy~