Archive for the ‘ Side Dish ’ Category

Traditional Potato Latkes

I can’t believe it’s the fifth night of Hanukkah and the first time I’ve made potato latkes this holiday!  Sadly, the whole family wasn’t together but we had an enjoyable time.  Last year I veered from the traditional recipe and went with Southwest Sweet Potato Latke’s.  This year I stuck with a very traditional recipe.  I got it from http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm.  I really like this site, they’ve got some really great info that’s quite comprehensive.

I give my ancestors a lot of credit.  Making latkes before the invention of a food processor must have been an incredible task.  Hand grating several pounds of potatoes is a lot of work.  My mother remembers her grandmother standing in front of the oven frying up fresh batches of latkes while the family enjoyed them.  We always wanted my mom at the table with us so she would pre-cook them and keep them warm in the oven.  Not quite as good of a taste but a better family experience.

With my guilt I did not even invite my parents over. Up until the last-minute I wasn’t even sure if anyone would be home to bother cooking them.  I also wasn’t sure what time we would eat.  With that said, Mom if you’re reading this, sorry!  Also, Ariel if you’re reading this, there’s some leftover’s in the fridge for you and Geoff.  Stop by and grab them!  For my non-Jewish readers (most of you) this me living the phenomenon known as Jewish Guilt!

In my house we celebrate everything.  While deciding this was latke night we were also contemplating our Christmas dinner.  One holiday just flows into another.  When the kids were little there was plenty of gifts to go around.  Many were practical items such as pj’s or toiletries but always fun to have something to open.  This year everyone is grown and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to buy.  My parents, husband and I have decided no gifts.  I’m so happy with this as I am trying to minimize and get rid of stuff.  At the same time I am trying to recognize what I truly need and stick to purchasing with care.

For my kids, I would like some fun relaxing shopping trips where they can pick what they want/need and hopefully we will simply enjoy the time spent together.  In the past I have taken the items bought together, hid them (sort of) and wrapped them for either a Hanukkah or Christmas gift.  If I was lucky the forgot I bought it and were excited for something they barely remembered, or they feigned surprise which was just ridiculous.  I’m hoping the new tradition of just hanging out together and having a fun shopping trip works out well.  It’s much less work and stress for me and the kids don’t have to wait for their gifts.  Ultimately, for a non religious person as myself, it’s all about time well spent together.

Since I haven’t deviated at all from the original recipe I am pretty much cutting and pasting right from http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday7.htm, video and all.

Makes approximately 12 palm-sized latkes

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup matzah meal (flour or bread crumbs can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. each salt and black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • vegetable oil
Watch in full size on YouTube

Shred the potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Press out all excess liquid.(if using a food processor, use the chopping blade for 2 or 3 seconds after pressing out liquid to avoid stringy fly-aways). Add eggs and mix well. Add matzah meal gradually while mixing until the batter is doughy, not too dry. (you may not need the whole amount, depending on how well you drained the veggies). Add the baking powder, salt and pepper and mix well. (don’t taste the batter — it’s really gross!). Don’t worry if the batter turns a little orange; that will go away when it fries.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat. Form the batter into thin patties about the size of your palm. Fry batter in oil. Be patient: this takes time, and too much flipping will burn the outside without cooking the inside. Flip when the bottom is golden brown.

Place finished latkes on paper towels to drain. Eat hot with sour cream or applesauce. They reheat OK in a microwave, but not in an oven unless you cook them just right.

Me again, personally I only reheat in the oven, I don’t like them microwaved at all!!

~enjoy~

 

Advertisements

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

Panzanella

This is the first time I’ve ever made Panzanella and I was really pleased with the results.  The combination of fresh tomato, cucumber, onion, and bread, combined with the dressing works very well together.  The quantity I made was for 2 main course servings or approximately 4 side salads.

I really wish I had some leftover grilled asparagus to toss in it.  While not a traditional ingredient I think it would have added an excellent complimentary flavor.  Another possible toss in would be some fresh mozzarella if you don’t mind dairy.  I kept to a basic recipe for my first time but will try variations in the future.

When making this I used only 1/2 a loaf of bread.  The other half I made a small bread pudding with.  I’ll post that later.  I’m trying to cook appropriate amounts of food with the hopes of having less waste.  It seems like a simple concept yet is proving to be quite difficult.  On one hand I enjoy leftovers on the other I always end guessing wrong and still making too much.  Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it soon.

Ingredients

  • 3+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
  • 10+ large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic sliced in half

Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions

Place oil and garlic in a pan and heat on medium heat for a few minutes, remove garlic and add bread, saute the bread until lightly browned adding more oil if needed

Toss all sliced veggies, bread and basil leaves in a bowl and season

Toss all ingredients for dressing in blender and blend until smooth and pour over salad, gently toss salad until evenly coated

Serve immediately or let sit for up to 1 hour

Hoe Cakes

Hoe cakes are a tasty corn pancake with the texture of traditional cornbread.  They’re a versatile dish because depending on what you toss into the batter they can be a great breakfast or side dish for dinner.

The basic recipe is Paula Deen’s.  She doesn’t make many recipes that I cook due to her love of bacon fat and butter, but this recipe is an exception.  What I love about hoe cakes is that they need no sugary topping poured over them.  They taste great on their own.

We’re up early this morning because my husband had to take our son to the airport.  He’s going to spend a week in Seattle with my brother looking at schools.  My niece is on the east coast of Florida so it’s just me and Bill.  I’m figuring we’ll have a late breakfast so I think I’ll toss in some frozen corn, cheese & chipotle sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I use soy plus 1 teaspoon vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Oil for frying
  • Add ins: a handful of corn, blueberries, cheddar cheese & chipotle sauce,

Directions

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, heat oil in pan on medium high, drop batter in pan about 1/8th of a cup per hoe cake, Let brown on one side and flip until browned on the other side, once cooked lay on a paper towel to remove excess oil and serve immediately

Fruity Vegan Corn Muffins

I have not cooked anything new for some time now.  I find the one difficulty with having a food blog is that I’m so busy trying out new recipes that I don’t have time to cook some old favorites.  I guess it’s all about balance.

This morning I got up ridiculously early so I decided to bake some muffins.  I can’t even remember the last time I did that.  My plan was to try a vegan cornbread using applesauce in place of the egg.  To my surprise my applesauce is all gone.  Of course I discovered this after assembling 3/4 of the ingredients!  I did a quick look around and was happy to see an aging banana on the counter.  Next to the banana were some organic apples that aren’t as pretty as waxed chemical filled apples so they’re not being eaten.  For the record I’m eating them but no one else is.

The end result is a sweet healthy muffin made from good simple ingredients.  I ended up with 9 muffins using a cupcake pan and they’re an appropriate sized muffin.  I have no clue as to the calorie count but they are way better for you than the mega sized fat and sugar filled muffins that you can buy pretty much anywhere these days.  I used to love store-bought but I just can’t eat them anymore.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat white flour (or ww pastry flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon  each baking soda & baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • 1 small apple grated
  • 3/4 cup soy or rice milk
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F Lightly grease cupcake pan

Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; add in the soy milk, banana, oil and agave nectar.  Mix using a potato masher to break up the banana

Peel the apple and add into the bowl giving a gentle stir

Distribute the mixture into the pan

Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned approximately 20 minutes