Saturday, March 8, 2014

Soft French-Style Bread - Especially for Dana Marie





                            This recipe makes ONE loaf.  Double for the two loaves pictured above.

This is an easy and delicious recipe.  Shape it free-form on a baking sheet.


Ingredients:

1 cup warm water (no more than 110°F)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 package yeast (or 2-1/3 teaspoon if you buy in bulk)

2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon oil

3 cups flour - bread flour or winter wheat is best as it is softer and makes nicer bread

Oil for greasing the baking sheet
1 Tablespoon polenta, coarse cornmeal or grits for the baking sheet
1 egg, beaten for the top of the loaf

Method:

Pour warm water into medium sized bowl.  Add sugar and stir together.  Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand 5 minutes.

Once yeast is dissolved add salt, oil and one cup of the flour.  Mix well with a spoon.  Add another cup of flour and continue mixing.

Put one cup of flour on the counter or a board and scrape the contents of the bowl directly onto it. 
Begin kneading the dough, adding bits of flour if you find that it is too sticky.  After about 5-7 minutes you should feel the dough begin to change and it will become smooth. 

Do not add too much flour - this is a fairly soft dough but not sticky. 





Oil a medium-sized bowl and place the dough inside.  Cover lightly with a tea-towel or cling wrap.
Let rise in a warm room for abut an hour to an hour and a half.  The dough should be about double in size.















To prepare baking pan:


I prefer to use baking paper as it helps to eliminate a lot of the clean up.  If you have baking paper, cut a piece to fit a cookie sheet.  Oil it lightly and then sprinkle with Polenta, coarse cornmeal or grits.  This gives the bottom crust a nice crunch.

Remove dough from bowl and on a very lightly-floured counter knead the dough until it is back to the size it was before the first rise.  Begin shaping a long roll - it should be 8-10" long.  Place the roll on the prepared baking sheet and allow to rise in a warm room for 45 minutes. 

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F - Place rack in the centre of the oven

Beat one egg in a bowl and then gently brush the entire unbaked loaf with the egg.  Use a pastry brush or even your hands.

Cut slices about 1/4" deep, diagonally in raised loaf. (See photo of finished loaves above)

Place baking sheet in oven on the middle rack and bake for about 25 minutes.  To check to see if your bread is baked, open the oven and tap the top of the loaf.  If it sounds a bit hollow then it is done.  The colour should also be brown and shiny.

Cool on rack for a minimum of 10 minutes.

K (P)


Monday, March 3, 2014

Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce



This past Shabbat we had falafel with Tzatziki sauce.  They were delicious when warm and also excellent the next day when cold.  You can use dried chick peas - rinse well, soak and cook overnight in crockpot or in a pot on the stove until tender.  I most often used canned garbanzo beans for ours.

*This can be served for pesach (Passover) if you eat Kitniyot. Use potato starch to bind together instead of flour.  During Pesach, use lettuce leaves instead of bread.  It is really delicious.  Many Vietnamese foods are wrapped in lettuce leaves when eaten and the fresh crunch is very nice.

    Ingredients For Falafel:  

    2 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

    1 onion, chopped

    1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

    1/2 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped

    2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced/pressed

    1 Tbsp ground cumin

    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 dash pepper

    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Juice of one lemon

    3/4 cup wheat flour or fine matzah meal.  Potato starch or chickpea flour can also be substituted.

    2 eggs

    Oil for frying

Do you have a food processor?  Oh, you lucky people!  If so, now is the time to use it.  If you do not own one, don't worry.  People have been making falafel for centuries by mashing and chopping.  If you will be making without a food processor, warm the drained garbanzo beans and they will mash easier. 

Method:

Drain the garbanzo beans and put into your food processor.  Then add the remaining ingredients (Except for the eggs and the oil) and process until fairly smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning BEFORE you add the egg.

Once the falafel dough tastes right, add the beaten eggs and process again.
It should be about the consistency of play-doh or peanut butter cookie dough.  If too dry, add more lemon juice or a bit of water. 

Use a 1/8 cup measuring cup or a 2 Tbsp scoop to make individual balls of falafel mix.  Press them slightly between your hands
so they are more flat than round - they will fit into the bread easier.

Place on lined baking tray and refrigerate until ready to cook.

                                          

Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in fry pan until hot - 350ºF/175ºC if you have a thermometer

Carefully add falafel balls to hot oil and fry until the bottom side is brown.  Using a thin spatula, fork or chopsticks, flip the falafel balls over to fry the other side until brown.  Remove from oil when cooked and place on absorbent paper to drain.



Continue frying until all are cooked.

We like to eat our falafel with flat bread, avocado, cucumber, tomato, sliced red onion and lemon slices.
Homemade tzatziki sauce is very easy to make. If you will be having the dairy sauce with these, crumbled feta is also excellent with falafel. 

If you do not want dairy, serve with lots of lemon slices. 

K (D) with tzatziki sauce or (P) with lemon slices 
*Kosher for Pesach (Passover) with adjustments at top of recipe

Tzatziki Sauce

Home made Tzatziki is quick and easy to make.  Some add mint and some add dill.  Either is good.  It is excellent with falafel and also makes a nice dip.




    For Sauce:
  
    16 oz plain yoghurt (non-fat may be used) We find Greek-Style is best as it is thicker

    1 cucumbers - peeled and finely chopped

    1 teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped (or mint, if that is your choice)
   
    Juice of one lemon

    1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

    salt and pepper to taste

    Method:

    Mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasoning. 
    Let stand, covered, in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Kosher for Pesach (Passover)

K (D)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Homemade Egg Noodles - Easy and Delicious


If you have a pasta machine you know how delicious fresh, homemade egg noodles taste.  If you do not have a pasta machine you can still easily make homemade noodles.

I use a food processor to mix the dough but you can also make it by hand and simply knead it a bit on the counter or a floured board. 

An important tip is to make sure you give the dough time to rest.  This relaxation time helps the dough to roll out easier and seems to make a nicer pasta.

The ingredients are simple and you can dry them for a few minutes, an hour or dry them over a broom stick and cook them at a later time.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups flour - I use winter wheat as it is softer - This can be found as 'Bread Flour' in supermarkets
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
A tiny bit of water, if necessary

Additional flour for kneading and rolling out

Method:

If you use a food processor to mix the dough, just dump everything in and turn it on.  Process until the dough forms a ball that sticks together.  If necessary, add a few drops of water until this happens.

If you are using a bowl, mix the flour and salt together and make a well in the middle.  Crack and check the eggs and put them in the well.  Stir with a spoon until well blended.  At this point, if the dough is too dry, add droplets of water until it begins to form a ball and cleans the side of the bowl.  Turn out onto a lightly floured board or the counter and knead until the dough is soft but not too sticky.

Wrap the dough and chill it for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to the desired thickness (anywhere from 1/4 inch to paper thin). Be sure to rotate or otherwise move the dough between each pass of the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface. Sprinkle everything with flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Cut the dough with a sharp knife or even a pizza cutter.  They can be as wide or narrow as you like.  Allow them to dry until you are ready to cook them.  I have used baking racks but mostly I hang them over a dowel or broomstick.  Most like to cut their noodles perfectly but as you can see by the photo at the top, my little granddaughter prefers her free form method.





Boil the noodles in salted water or broth until tender to the bite - the timing will depend on how thick the noodles have been rolled - usually between 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Parker House Rolls - Rich and Delicious

Have you ever wanted to make homemade dinner rolls but felt they were too much work?  Do you crave that rich roll flavour but purchase them at a bakery because you want them to come out looking perfect?
Now you can make delicious Parker House Rolls - so easy even a 4-year old can shape them!

My granddaughter shaping rolls. 
She is making half a batch and using an 8x8" pan

Rich Roll Dough

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups warm milk (or milk substitute)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or sugar substitute made for baking)
2-3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or one package)

1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

13x9x2" pan, lined with baking paper

Rolls in 13x9x2" pan, ready to bake

Baked Parker House Rolls


Method:

Warm milk (to about 110°F/43°C
Pour into large bowl.
Add sugar and sti
r
Sprinkle yeast over milk mixture and let set until it becomes a bit frothy

Melt butter or margarine and pour into milk mixture.  Check egg and add to milk mixture.  Mix until combined.   Add about 2 cups of the flour and the salt and beat with a spoon or use a mixer (this helps to develop the gluten and makes a nice, soft dough) 
Put two cups of the flour on the counter or a board and make a well in the centre. Pour the mixture from the bowl on top. Knead for about five minutes, adding up to half a cup of flour so the dough is soft, smooth but not sticky.

Turn dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk - about an hour if your house is warm.

Melt the 1/2 cup of butter in a bowl.  Line your baking pan. Set on the counter where you will be working.

Using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle :) ) roll out the dough until 1/8" thick.  Using a round cutter or a glass, cut circles from the dough and set to the side.  Roll extra dough out again and repeat until all dough has been cut into circles. 

Dip each circle of dough into the butter and then fold in half.  Place in pan, folded side down.  Repeat with each dough circle, arranging them as in the photo at the very top.  Once they rise, the rolls will fill out the pan and be stuck together to form little loaf-like rolls.

Allow to rise, covered, on counter until doubled in bulk.  Pre-heat oven to 350°F/175°C. When oven is hot, bake the rolls for 15-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown and rolls are puffy.

Place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes then turn out from the pan onto a serving platter or rack. 

Enjoy!

K (D) or (P) if margarine and milk substitute are used

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Individual Cheesecakes in Muffin Cups - Easy and Fun! Perfect for Shavuot!



These individual cheesecakes are just so cute.  My daughter used to make these when she was abut eight years old. They are easy to make and also delicious.  The basic cheesecake recipe is used.  However, instead of a crust, you just pop one Nabisco Nilla Wafer in the bottom of a cupcake liner and bake in a muffin/cupcake pan.  Just before serving top each cheese cake with the fruit of your choice (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, or mandarin orange sections), lemon curd, canned pie filling, etc. 


Guaranteed to disappear!

Ingredients:

Cheesecake batter:

1 cup  sugar

3 pkg.  (8 oz. each)  **Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup  good quality Sour Cream or thick Greek Style Yoghurt

2 tsp.  vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon Almond extract/essence
Juice of one lemon

3 eggs, beaten

Crust:

1 Nabisco Nilla Wafer per cupcake paper

Topping:

Choose one or a few!
Fresh Fruit - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peeled and sliced kiwi etc.
Canned pie filling - cherry, blueberry, strawberry, etc
Lemon Curd

Additional supplies:

Cupcake or Muffin tins
Cupcake/Muffin paper liners

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F/175ºC

Crust:

Place paper cupcake liners into cupcake/muffin tins
Place one Nabisco Nilla Wafer into the bottom of each liner

Filling:

In a mixing bowl or food processor beat SOFTENED cream cheese and remaining sugar until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla or vanilla/almond combination.  Add juice of one lemon. Mix well. Add beaten eggs, and mix until blended.

Using a cup with a spout (for ease) pour filling into each cupcake liner - 2/3 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until almost set.  You may want to check them after 15 minutes - if they seem to be done, remove the muffin tin to a cooling rack.  Cool 5 minutes and then carefully removed each individual cheesecake to a rack to continue cooling.  Once completely cool, cover and refrigerate.

Just before serving, top with your choice of fruit or filling. (Leave the cupcake liners on - easier to eat) 

Enjoy!

K (D)
These mini cheesecakes can also be made Kosher for Pesach if you omit the Nilla Wafer crust.


Monday, November 11, 2013

New York Style Cheesecake - Baked

This is an easy and foolproof recipe for New York style cheesecake as long as you follow the directions.


Do you have a dairy springform pan?  If not, you should get one.  They are indispensable - Dairy tortes and dairy desserts (such as Chocolate Mousse Pie) can be made using the same pan.

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups  Graham Cracker Crumbs or other crisp, plain cookie crumbs
1/3 cup  butter, melted
1-1/4 cups  sugar, divided
3 pkg.  (8 oz. each)  **Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup  good quality Sour Cream
2 tsp.  vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon Almond extract/essence
Juice of one lemon
3 eggs, beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 350°F/175ºC

Crust:

Mix together graham or cookie crumbs, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar; press onto bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely. 

Filling:

In a mixing bowl or food processor beat SOFTENED cream cheese and remaining sugar until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla or vanilla/almond combination.  Add juice of one lemon. Mix well. Add beaten eggs, and mix until blended.

Pour into cooled crust and then bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 min. or until centre is almost set.
Turn off the oven but leave cheesecake inside oven with door held open for one hour (use a tea towel to help keep it ajar if necessary) before removing to cool completely on a rack.  If a crack appears in the centre of the cheese cake when cooling do not worry - this happens more often than not.

Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours minimum before serving.

Toppings: 

My daughter loves raspberry sauce on her cheesecake.  I often just melt a good quality seedless raspberry jam in a pan, adding a bit of water, until it is the consistency of a sauce. 
Drizzle on plate before serving cheese cake and drizzle a bit of the sauce on the top. 

Lemon curd can also be spread on top of the chilled cheesecake before serving.  If you prefer strawberries, sliced fresh strawberries would be nice or a sauce made from strained and thinned strawberry jam would be lovely. Blueberry is good but will turn the top of the cheesecake a blackish colour - best to serve as a drizzle on the plate and on top on individual servings. 

To serve:  When cutting creamy-textured desserts, such as cheesecake, it helps to have a thin sharp knife and to chill it ahead of time.  Carefully wipe off the knife blade between cuts with a clean damp towel. This prevents the creamy filling from building up on the blade, ensuring nice clean cuts.
 
**I use Neufchatel Cheese - it is a lower fat version of cream cheese but the results will be the same.

Recipe makes 16-20 servings - depending on the appetites of your guests
This cheesecake can be make Kosher for Pesach if the crust is omitted.

K (D)