freezable

Passover Orange Almond Cake

A few weeks ago I was going through my Passover recipes file and came across a recipe for Italian Almond Cake with Poached Fruit from the Jerusalem Post. Unfortunately, it didn't say whose recipe it was. Also I didn't have the second page of instructions.

I made some changes and figured out how to proceed based on similar cakes I've baked.

 First, I converted all the metric measurements. 

I figured out how much, in cups, came from 3/4 cup whole almonds.

I didn't use blanched almonds, figuring that almonds with skin were just as good.

I switched to coconut oil because I don't like margarine. 

I deleted the liquor and used orange juice instead, and added some freshly grated orange peel. 

I separated the eggs and whipped the whites with sugar to provide a lighter texture than I thought the cake would have without fluffed whites.

I didn't serve it with poached fruit (I used fresh oranges and sorbet).

Some would say that with all these changes the recipe is now mine, and I understand that.

Still, the cake was delicious and I would have preferred to give credit!

Btw, it's gluten free!

Here's my version of Passover Orange-Almond Cake.

Passover Orange Almond Cake

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel
  • 1/4 cup potato starch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a small amount of the coconut oil, lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Set aside. Melt the remaining coconut oil and set aside to cool. Place the almonds and 6 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir at low speed for a minute until the ingredients are well distributed. Add the egg yolks, orange juice and orange peel and beat them in at medium speed for about one minute. Stir in the potato starch. Stir in the cooled coconut oil. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites for 1-2 minutes, going from low to high speed, or until the whites stand in soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Fold them into the almond mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

Chicken Fricassee, the Un-Brisket Choice for Rosh Hashanah

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee

My friends are always surprised that I don't usually serve brisket on Rosh Hashanah. In fact, they used to tell me it is heresy. Everyone knows that brisket is the big, big, popular, festive and impressive-looking main course for the New Year! So they ask -- how come it's not what I do?

Well, my grandma always made turkey. So did my mother. So I guess turkey is the tradition in our family and I just follow suit.

But I have to confess, after all the teasing I've gotten over the years I began to think that turkey was kind of strange and that I was doing something bizarre.

Until recently.

Because I read an article by Joan Nathan in Tablet about this very thing. 

She said that before the Civil War, brisket was not the usual Rosh Hashanah specialty, and that it was only after refrigerated trains could carry meat more quickly and easily across the country that this big hunk of meat became a holiday specialty. Before that, she said, Jewish home cooks might prepare dishes such as chicken fricassee for the occasion.

YESYESYES!

It conjured up glorious memories of my mother's (and grandmother's) chicken fricassee. Did they serve that also during the holidays? I don't remember. All I know is that after I read the article I went out and bought the necessary items for chicken fricassee and made a big batch. I was going to freeze it in portions for the holidays but my daughter Gillian and her kids came for a surprise visit and my fricassee was cooling down before the big freeze.

We ate it for dinner. At first Gillian was reluctant because she and my other daughter, Meredith, refused to eat chicken fricassee when they were girls. "Too soft!" "Too wet!"

They used to make fun of me for loving it.

But that's what I had in the fridge the day of the surprise visit so that's what we ate for dinner that night.

Guess what? Gillian loved it! And said she changed her mind.

Tastes do change over the years.

That's why people eat brisket for Rosh Hashanah now, rather than fricassee. And for some terrific ideas about preparing the best brisket ever, click here.

But maybe it's time to reconsider Chicken Fricassee for the holidays? I will offer it as an option when my family comes.

Chicken Fricassee

  • 16-20 ounces chopped beef, veal, turkey or a combination
  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs or matzo meal
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 chicken wings, cut into sections
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 pound chicken gizzards
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups water, approximately
  • 4 medium all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks, optional
  • 4 carrots, cut into chunks, optional
  • 10 ounces coarsely cut mushrooms, optional

 

In a large bowl, combine the chopped meat, bread crumbs and egg and mix thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls and set aside. Pour the vegetable oil into a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook the meatballs for 6-8 minutes, turning them occasionally, or until lightly browned on all sides. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside. Add the wings and cook them for 6-8 minutes, turning them occasionally, or until lightly browned. Remove the wings from the pan and set aside. Add the onions and gizzards to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until golden and softened. Return the wings and meatballs to the pan. Sprinkle the ingredients with the paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients gently to season the meats evenly. Pour in 1-1/2 cups water. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 35-40 minutes. Add the optional ingredients if desired, cover the pan and cook an additional 50-60 minutes. Check the pan occasionally and turn the ingredients gently. Check fluid levels and add more water if needed.

Makes 8 servings

 

 

Spinach Feta Cheese Pie

Several couples I know, fellow food-bloggers, have recently had babies, one just a day or so before Mother’s Day. I’m sure their families and the friends who live close by to them will lend a hand. Life is always so hectic and emotional after a baby is born and new moms and dads can always use extra help.  In our family we have tried to anticipate a birth by a few weeks and get together to cook foods that can be packed into containers and stored in the freezer, so that cooking dinner won’t be another something to do during the first week or so after the baby is born when everyone is tired.  We’ve made  carrot soup  and something we call  "green soup"  because most of the time — but not all — we use dried green split peas and the liquid part looks sort of green. We’ve cooked  baked ziti  and our famous, family, tried-and-true  butter cookies . And more.  But the favorite is always Spinach Pie. We make a dairy version with feta cheese and a non-dairy version using sauteed mushrooms. This dish freezes well, it’s easy to defrost and pop into the oven (we freeze the pies before baking them). Spinach pie is suitable for lunch or dinner or even as a side dish.  If someone in your life has had a baby recently, why not give them a break and cook some food for them?  Here’s the family Spinach Pie recipe, dairy version:        SPINACH FETA CHEESE PIE      2 10-ounce packages frozen whole leaf spinach, thawed  2 tablespoons olive oil  1 medium onion, chopped  3 large eggs  8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled  6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese  1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill  freshly ground black pepper to taste  4 sheets phyllo dough  2 tablespoons butter, melted  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and mix well. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the eggs, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, dill and pepper. Mix well and place in a baking dish. Top with 4 layers of phyllo dough each brushed with melted butter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes 4-8 servings (as main course or side dish)

Several couples I know, fellow food-bloggers, have recently had babies, one just a day or so before Mother’s Day. I’m sure their families and the friends who live close by to them will lend a hand. Life is always so hectic and emotional after a baby is born and new moms and dads can always use extra help.

In our family we have tried to anticipate a birth by a few weeks and get together to cook foods that can be packed into containers and stored in the freezer, so that cooking dinner won’t be another something to do during the first week or so after the baby is born when everyone is tired.

We’ve made carrot soup and something we call "green soup" because most of the time — but not all — we use dried green split peas and the liquid part looks sort of green. We’ve cooked baked ziti and our famous, family, tried-and-true butter cookies. And more.

But the favorite is always Spinach Pie. We make a dairy version with feta cheese and a non-dairy version using sauteed mushrooms. This dish freezes well, it’s easy to defrost and pop into the oven (we freeze the pies before baking them). Spinach pie is suitable for lunch or dinner or even as a side dish.

If someone in your life has had a baby recently, why not give them a break and cook some food for them?

Here’s the family Spinach Pie recipe, dairy version:  

 

SPINACH FETA CHEESE PIE

 

2 10-ounce packages frozen whole leaf spinach, thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 large eggs

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 sheets phyllo dough

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and mix well. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the eggs, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, dill and pepper. Mix well and place in a baking dish. Top with 4 layers of phyllo dough each brushed with melted butter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 4-8 servings (as main course or side dish)