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Cook On Favorites

Cook On Favorites

Spicy Egg Drop Soup

  • 2 cups water
  • 6 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound cooked tail-off shrimp
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup sliced scallions

In large soup pot, mix water, broth, ginger root, sesame oil, fish sauce, salt and cayenne. Cook over medium heat two minutes. Stir in spinach. Gradually add egg and gently stir one to two minutes. Add shrimp and mushrooms, and cook 10 minutes over medium-high heat. Ladle soup into serving bowls and dress with garden green scallions.

Yield: Eight servings

Hummus

  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons tahina (sesame)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • paprika

With canned chickpeas, your beans are ready to rinse. If you prefer to prepare dried beans for hummus, separate the chickpeas from their skins during the preparation process.

No worries. After an overnight water soak, bring chickpeas to a full boil in the water in which they’ve soaked, stirring occasionally, for two to three hours, until soft. During boiling, many of the beans should separate from the skins. For those that don’t, a gentle rub will lift the skin from your fiber-filled garbanzo beans.

Reserve 1/4 cup of liquid from boiled chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Remove any chickpea Mix crushed garlic, lemon juice, tahina and salt. Blend mixture with chickpeas in blender until smooth. Add reserved boiling liquid to thin hummus to your liking. Mix thoroughly and spoon onto serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil and finish with reserved chickpeas, fresh parsley and paprika. Serve with pita, crackers, fresh vegetables or pretzel rods.

Simple Soup Supper

If you’ve ever tried Sancocho, a hearty stew known to please palates in Columbia, this may look like a distant cousin. Savor your meat and potatoes, but add a splash of broth to justify this affordable meal. Don’t have all these ingredients on hand? Run an inventory of what you do have and try your own variation.

Yield: six servings

  • 32 oz. or 8 cups low sodium chicken broth ( I used two boxes of Central Market Organics)
  •  2 cups cold water
  •  1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
  •  6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  •  1 medium onion, sliced
  •  3 cloves garlic, diced
  •  1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  •  1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  •  pepper to your liking
  •  5 medium potatoes, cubed
  •  2 cups shredded carrots
  •  1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  •  1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix chicken broth and water over medium heat in large soup pan. Pinch in saffron threads. Add chicken, onion, garlic, sweet pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Mix in potatoes, carrots and corn. Cook 25-30 minutes. Serve steaming full bowls, smothered with fresh cilantro.

Festive Crab Cakes

  • (8 three-inch cakes)
  • Melt:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Add, stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes:
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • ½ cup plain bread crumbs
  • Combine and add:
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 cups fresh (or canned) crab meat
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped (Italian) parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Chill mixture for two hours. Shape into cakes. Dust cakes lightly with flour or bread crumbs

Melt in a skillet: 2 tablespoons butter

Quickly brown the cakes on both sides.

Lower the heat and cook the cakes slowly for about 4 minutes longer, turning as necessary.

Serve immediately. (Try a Dijon mustard sauce on the side.)

 

Candied Pumpkin Bread

For an intense pumpkin flavor, use half fresh and half canned pumpkin.

  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin (use sweet sugar pie pumpkins)
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup butterscotch chips

Choose a 4 to 5-pound sugar pie pumpkin. These are easy to find this time of year. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds (save these and roast them with the kids). Like baking acorn or spaghetti squash, place split pumpkin on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Cool. Scoop out pumpkin and mash or puree.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in butterscotch chips. Pour into a greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour and 20 minutes or until bread bounces back from touch. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf. (I always double this recipe because one loaf goes too quickly.)

Pumpkin Torte

Pumpkin bread rings in autumn, but this Pumpkin Torte will tempt you to skip the meal and focus exclusively on dessert. If you love your pumpkin and don’t mind leaving the bread and pie on the shelf, try this pumpkin torte family favorite.

  • 12 whole graham crackers crushed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 2 eggs, beaten 1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups fresh (or canned) pumpkin
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipped cream

Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar and margarine in bowl. Mix thoroughly. Press into 9″ x 12″ pan. Combine 2 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar and cream cheese in mixing bowl, beat until smooth and well blended. Pour over crust mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.

In a heavy saucepan, combine pumpkin, egg yolks, milk, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and salt, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and thickened. Remove from heat.

Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Stir into warm pumpkin mixture until gelatin is dissolved. Cool. Beat egg whites, adding 1/4 cup sugar gradually until stiff peaks form, fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour over the prepared, layered crust; spread whipped cream over the top. Chill for several hours or until ready to serve.

Gazpacho

Want to add a dash of hot flavor to your cold soup? Blend these ingredients for a simple gazpacho. This is my own twist on a summer favorite. The kids love it when we break out the blender. One, two, three, liquefy!

  • 16 ounces vine ripened cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 small sweet red pepper
  • ½ sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh French tarragon
  • Juice from half lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (Don’t let the kids measure this –a little goes a long way.)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce
  • 8 ounces water
  • 6 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Peel cucumber if desired. I don’t peel them. Dice all ingredients. Reserve fresh cilantro for serving time. Puree (yes, we do press the “liquefy” button) all ingredients. Transfer to storage bowl (I use a ceramic bowl) and refrigerate for two-three hours.

Spoon gazpacho into serving bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serves six.

Spinach Strawberry Salad

  • 1 bag rinsed fresh baby spinach (9 ounces)
  • 1 cup cleaned and sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon light sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (I used red wine vinegar this time around-not bad!)

Place spinach and strawberries in salad mixing bowl. In small mixing bowl whisk all ingredients for dressing. Pour over spinach and strawberries and stir thoroughly to dress leaves as dressing texture should be thick.

Santiago Shrimp Salsa

  • One pound cleaned shrimp
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Four cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 large sweet red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Three small or two large plantains

Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Peel and slice plantains. Place slices on oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake 20 minutes. Turn the plantain slices over once during baking. (Look for crispy results.)

Dice garlic. Chop shrimp and sweet red pepper into small pieces. Cover bottom of sauté pan with olive oil. Add cayenne pepper and garlic. Stir and cook one minute. Add shrimp and red pepper. Sautè three to four minutes or until shrimp is fully cooked. Add a dash of salt and pepper and parsley. Mix and serve warm shrimp salsa with baked plantain chips.

Bruschetta

  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 medium avocadoes
  • 1 sweet (orange) pepper
  • 3 stalks green onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Diced feta/provolone/parmesan or fresh goat cheese
  • 2 medium baguettes

Dice all vegetables. Mix all ingredients except cheese and bread. Thinly slice baguettes and toast lightly if desired. Gently fold cheese into vegetable mixture and spoon onto sliced bread. Serve immediately.

Crab Quiche

  • 1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 package reduced fat crescent rolls (eight rolls-look for these in the refrigerated section)
  • 4 medium eggs, beaten
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Asiago or Ramano cheese
  • 6-8 ounces shredded white crab meat (fresh or canned)
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • twist of fresh ground pepper

1. In small skillet, cook sweet peppers and onion in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until crisp. Drain.

2. Separate low-fat crescent rolls and press into 9-inch quiche dish. Press dough firmly together and crimp edges.

3. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Pour mixture into quiche dish lined with crescent roll crust. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until top sets. Cut into 10 wedges. Serve warm.

 

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Fire up the vegetables and feast on this Middle Eastern stew. A food loving gentleman introduced me to this modest dish and although it’s fantastic as is, he also recommends adding a little cubed lamb or beef to embellish for a special meal. I’ve made it with all of the variations. Excellent!

Hazi’s Stew

  • 6 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 large green pepper, cut in thin strips
  • 1 large or two medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups (cooked or canned) chick peas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Heat half of the olive oil in heavy pan. Sauté onions until lightly browned. Add remaining olive oil, eggplant and green pepper. Add additional ingredients. Stir thoroughly and cover. Cook over low heat 20-30 minutes. Break out the bread and enjoy. This dish serves my family of four and two guests!

 

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Lavender Bread

  • 1/2 ounce quick-rise fast acting dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup dark honey
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons crushed lavender (flowers or leaves)
  • extra virgin olive oil

In mixing bowl, mix yeast and water. Add honey and stir thoroughly. Add dry ingredients. Mix completely and work dough with hands. Knead 5 minutes. Cover bowl with cloth and set aside for 30 minutes. Work dough once more and let rise again 30 minutes. Lightly oil baguette baking pans. Stretch dough into pans and dust tops of dough with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees 25 minutes until tops appear golden.

Yield: 2 loaves

 

2 Responses to "Cook On Favorites"

  • Ginny
    February 23, 2008 - 9:49 pm Reply

    How about this for a suggestion? A spring ” zing”, to add flavor to your salad, soup or desert. The taste of fresh lemon, and “wala”, a true burst of freshness for springtime. I have tried a recipe, that I would like to share with you:

    ** Zesty Lemon and Artichoke Soup **

    2 parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
    2 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
    4 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon salt
    3 artichokes,trimmed and quartered(Soaking in water with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.)
    5 lemons, zested and segmented, divided use.
    6 cups water
    1 pint heavy cream
    mixed chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, thyme, etc) for garnish

    Make a mire poix of the parsnips, onion, and celery by sauteing them in the olive oil with the salt over medium heat in a covered pot, stirring often, for fifteen to twenty minutes or until just tender. Add the artichoke quarters and cook for fifteen more minutes. Add lemon segments and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the artichokes are tender, about forty-five minutes. Add the cream. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender or countertop blender and strain through a conical sieve or food mill. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with lemon zest and chopped herbs.

    Mire poix is traditionally a sauteed or roasted blend of aromatica–fifty percent onions and twenty-five percent each carrots and celery. For the lighter stock used in this soup, parsnips replace the carrots.

  • cookerycontent
    February 23, 2008 - 9:54 pm Reply

    Bring on the sunshine! I can’t wait to rotate this into my lemon mix.

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