Carrot Soup with Cloves

Carrot soup is a classic for Rosh Hashanah. One year I cooked some with harissa and coconut and my husband said it was the best soup he ever tasted. There's a slightly different version in my cookbook, The Modern Kosher Kitchen.

But I'm always trying new recipes -- because for us, carrot soup is beyond holiday festive. It's a healer, a comforter. Ok, not like chicken soup.  But still -- it's a dish I make for new moms or when someone isn't feeling up to par or when anyone I know is a little grumpy or sad.

This carrot soup recipe welcomes even before you taste it with its scent of cloves and cinnamon. I used Aleppo pepper for heat, but if you don't like spicy, you can leave it out.

 

CARROT SOUP WITH CLOVES AND PEPPER (P)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium all-purpose potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the carrots, potato, ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick and Aleppo pepper. Stir to mix the ingredients. Pour in stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick. Puree the soup. Add the coconut milk, stir to blend the mixture until it is uniform in color and heat through.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

Carrot Bread with Raisins for Rosh Hashanah

Somehow Labor Day is over and the food thoughts in my head go straight from tomato salad and grilled chicken to pumpkin soup and baked apples

Of course there's still time to enjoy the last of the summer fruits and vegetables, still time for outdoor-cooked grilled, marinated steak

But I'm thinking forward. It's almost a new season and -- yikes! -- the High Holiday season is only two weeks away.

Which leads toady's food thoughts to: carrots, because carrots are traditional during Rosh Hashanah. I usually cook them in soup -- one version or another. But last year I decided to experiment with a few recipes for carrot quick bread.

This is the one we like best. It's moist and sweet, so it can be dessert, and because it is parve, it is a good choice after a traditional holiday meat meal.

But also makes a good snack either by itself or smeared with cream cheese (softened is best and maybe even mixed with some lemon juice).

CARROT BREAD(P)

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-1/2”x4-1/2” loaf pan. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl. Set aside. Beat the brown sugar, white sugar and vegetable oil in the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the lemon juice and peel. Add the dry ingredients and blend them into the egg mixture. Fold in the carrots and raisins. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely. 

Makes one loaf  

Roasted Potato Salad

Although my Mom was a really good cook, there were a couple of recipes of hers that I absolutely didn't like. For example, her potato salad, made with cooked, cut up all-purpose Eastern potatoes mixed with onions and Miracle Whip.

And because I didn't like that potato salad or even that style of potato salad, I have spent years experimenting with different recipes.

A while ago I tried making potato salad using roasted potatoes and it opened up a whole new range of options. Roasting gives an entirely different texture and flavor to potatoes and, of course to any salad you create with them.

There's a wonderful recipe for Roasted Lemon-Rosemary Potato Salad in my book, The Modern Kosher Kitchen.

This one was a big hit recently at a buffet get-together at my house. A good choice for a Labor Day picnic.

Roasted Potato Salad

  • 2-1/2 pounds small red bliss or baby Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, savory, rosemary, marjoram (or a mixture)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wash and dry the potatoes and cut them into bite size pieces. Place the potatoes on a baking tray. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the potatoes and toss to coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast the potatoes for about 25 minutes or until tender. Remove the tray from the oven and place the potatoes in a bowl. Add the red onion and pour in the white wine. Toss the ingredients and let cool slightly. Whisk the remaining olive oil, white wine vinegar and mustard and pour over the potatoes. Add the parsley and herbs, toss and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Ah! Summer Blueberries!

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It's impossible to lose weight during the summer. Not when there is so much glorious fruit around and it tastes so good just out-of-hand but SO SO delicious in crisps, pies, muffins, galettes and quickbreads.

Like this blueberry bread. Spiked with orange.

A nice snack all by itself. Sliced for sandwiches smeared with cream cheese. Dessert when topped with ice cream.

Blueberry Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x5” loaf pan. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange peel and vanilla powder together into a bowl. Add the coconut oil in chunks and cut it into the dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry blender. If you use an electric mixer, set it at low-medium speed. In a second bowl, beat the egg and orange juice together until well blended (if you use vanilla extract, add it here). Add to the flour mixture and stir to blend ingredients. Fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes one loaf

Fresh Tomato Puff Pastry Pizza

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Year after year I failed at growing tomatoes. They bloomed too late because I planted them too late, so by the time the tomatoes on the vine were big and green, a frost would come and everything was ruined. 

Last year I decided to plant them earlier than usual. Also in a different spot in my garden.

Perfecto!

So this year I did the same.

Perfecto again!

I got lots and lots of tomatoes! Enough for salad and sandwiches. Enough for homemade sauce.

And also these fabulous puff pastry pizzas.

So easy, such a good lunch, brunch or even hors d'oeuvre (cut smaller). 

Fresh Tomato Puff Pastry Pizza

  • 3 large or 4 medium tomatoes, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • salt
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes slices on a board, sprinkle with salt and let rest for about 30 minutes. Wipe the slices dry. Place the puff pastry on a floured surface. Cut lengthwise once and widthwise twice to make 6 smaller pieces. Place the pieces on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with equal amounts of the mozzarella cheese, leaving a border of about 1/2-inch. Top with equal amounts of tomato slices. Sprinkle with equal amounts of Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with equal amounts of basil. Drizzle with olive oil. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 6

 

Three Tomato Three Pepper Salad

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IMHO, three of the best things about summer are these:

1. fresh, local, tiny, sugary, fragrant strawberries

2. fresh, local, plump, fragrant peaches and nectarines

3. fresh, local (like my garden!), tender, fragrant tomatoes.

Yes, you can get strawberries, peaches and tomatoes all year, but they don't taste like strawberries, peaches and tomatoes.

So feast now, while the feast lasts. This fruit is perfect, as-is, without anything. Not one of them needs sugar or salt or dressing or whipped cream. On the other hand -- if you have a hankering for more, try these:

1. chocolate dipped strawberries

2. Roasted Nectarines with Oat Crumbles

3. This salad:

 

THREE TOMATO THREE PEPPER SALAD

  • 4 cups halved mixed cherry or grape tomatoes, or cut up regular tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 2 finely chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut up the tomatoes and place them in a bowl. Place the Sichuan peppercorns in an unoiled pan and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan often, for about 2 minutes, or until they are fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and crush the peppercorns on a flat surface with a rolling pan or with the bottom of a glass or mug. Sprinkle the crushed Sichuan peppercorns over the tomatoes. Add the Aleppo pepper, scallions, mint and garlic and toss the ingredients. Whisk together the olive oil, wine vinegar and mustard and pour over the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Toss ingredients. Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

Roasted Nectarines or Peaches with Oat-Almond Crumbles

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Mistakes happen. Sometimes it works out well.

Take this dessert, for example. I wanted to grill peach halves and serve them with whipped cream and some sort of crunchy topping. But I couldn't find good peaches, so I bought nectarines. But they weren't freestone, and when I tried to cut the fruit in half the flesh clung to the pit.

No halves.

I had to cut the nectarines into pieces.

That meant no grilling. So I roasted the pieces instead.

All I can say is I wish I had more of this dessert. It was so good that a recipe that is supposed enough servings to feed 8 people only served 4.

But maybe you will all be more abstemious.

 

Roasted Nectarines with Oat-Almond Crumbles

Oat-Almond Crumbles:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix the flour, almonds, oats, brown sugar, salt and melted butter. Spoon the mixture onto a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Roasted Nectarines and Cream:

  • 8 firm, but ripe nectarines or peaches
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the nectarines into chunks and discard the pits. Place the chunks in a bowl. Add the melted butter and all but one teaspoon of the sugar. Place the fruit on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes to caramelize the fruit. Place equal quantities of the baked fruit on serving dishes. Whip the cream with the remaining teaspoon sugar and the vanilla extract until it is thick. Top the fruit with equal amounts of whipped cream. Scatter the crumbles equally on top.

Makes 8 servings (unless you can't control yourself, in which case, maybe 4-6)

Blueberry Yogurt Pie

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When life gives you blueberries you make pie. Also crisp, cake, muffins, jam, soup, tea bread.

The possibilities are awesome.

So recently, when I had lots of extra blueberries hanging around I decided to make cream pie. Sort of. There's no cream in it. This dessert actually began with an old recipe of my Mom's. Her version was made with dairy sour cream. I used plain (non-fat) yogurt. Hers had raspberries, mine was to be blueberries, which are sweeter than raspberries so I cut down on the sugar.

It is still mighty sweet! Enough to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. But also cool, creamy and refreshing and nice for anytime you want a rich dairy dessert.

Blueberry Yogurt Pie

Crust:

  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chilled shortening
  • milk (about 3 tablespoons) orange juice, or water

Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Work the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the ingredients resemble crumbs (use your hands, a pastry blender or the pulse feature of a food processor). Add the liquid and gather the pastry into a soft ball of dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it stand at least 30 minutes. Roll the dough on a floured pastry board and fit into a 9-inch pie pan. 

Filling:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Beat the eggs and sugar in a mixer set at medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until thick, well blended and pale yellow. Add the cooled melted butter and yogurt and mix briefly to blend them into the batter. Add the flour, orange peel and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Place the blueberries inside the unbaked pie crust. Pour the batter over the berries. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and the filling set.

 Makes 8 servings

 

 

 

Eggplant, Mashed Potato and Portobello Gratin

Whenever I need a meatless or dairy meal -- for a meatless Monday (or any other day of the week when I am not in the mood for meat), or for during the Nine Days, or a Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast, or during Passover -- this is one of the recipes I turn to. It's filling enough for dinner (served with a salad) yet not heavy.

Another benefit? Set it up ahead and bake just before you need it.

I change the recipe occasionally, because -- why not! This dish is versatile. Sometimes I use zucchini instead of or together with eggplant. Sometimes I add feta cheese or a layer of cooked kale or spinach or some cooked carrots. But basically this is it.

 

Eggplant, Mashed Potato and Portobello gratin

  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 medium eggplant (or 2 medium zucchini)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large Portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and cook them in simmering water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash them in the pot. Stir in 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and the eggs. Season lightly with salt and pepper. While the potatoes are cooking, trim the ends from the eggplant. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Brush both sides with the olive oil. Broil or grill the eggplant for 2-3 minutes per side or until softened and lightly browned. Place half the eggplant slices in a rectangular baking dish. Cover with the mashed potatoes. Layer the remaining eggplant on top. Slice the mushroom caps about 1/4-inch thick and place them on top of the eggplant. Slice the tomatoes and place them over the mushrooms. Scatter the basil and parsley on top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook for 45 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned on top.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

Two Cabbage Cole Slaw

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We're now in the dog days of summer.

Cole slaw weather.

I remember my grandmother making the stuff by hand. She used one of those old grater/shredders and by the time she was done preparing the cabbage and carrots, her hands were rough and red.

This recipe was much easier. It's basically hers, except I use two kinds of cabbage, which I think makes the dish prettier.

And of course, I use a food processor (slicing disc). Better on the hands! Much less time. Much less mess. Tastes the same as I remember.

TWO CABBAGE COLE SLAW

  • 6 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 3 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 scallions, shredded
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the cabbages, carrots and scallions in a large bowl and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar and celery seed together and pour over the vegetables. Toss the ingredients, sprinkle with salt pepper to taste. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings