Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brody's "Bead for Life" Lunch

My son Brody hosted a “Bead for Life” Lunch on December 5, 2009. Brody’s bar mitzvah theme is “helping others help themselves”. This is one of many mitzvahs he will have completed before February 26, 2010 when he turns 13. Thanks to all who attended. Brody raised $1230. This is what he served.

Moroccan Couscous
by Penny Rich
Serves 6-8

2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup each chopped dates and apricots {figs also work in this dish}
¼ cup raisins
2 cups couscous
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add butter, oil, and dried fruit. Cook at a boil for 2-3 minutes. Turn heat off add couscous, cinnamon and salt. Cover and let stand for 10-12 minutes. Fluff with a fork. If the mixture seems dry add 1 tablespoon of butter. Fluff again, top with toasted almonds and parsley. Can be served warm or room temperature.

Carrot and Chickpea Salad
by Penny Rich

Serves 8-10
2 pounds carrots, chopped and blanched
2 cans of chickpeas
¼ red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
Juice and rind of one lemon
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh dill and parsley chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

To blanch carrots, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from water and place in a large bowl. While the carrots are still hot add the other ingredients and gently stir. Chill.

East African Groundnut Soup
Adapted from “The Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special”
by Penny Rich
Serves 12 people

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 onions, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 bell peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow, diced
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup brown rice
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
Juice and rind of one lime
Chopped cilantro
Chopped scallions

Heat oil in a large soup pot, add onions and celery, cook for 5-7 minutes. Add peppers, chipotle powder, curry powder, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add rice coating each grain with oil and spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and 5 cups of broth, stir to mix ingredients, reduce flame and cook for 45 minutes.
Add remaining cup of vegetable broth to a blender with ½ cup of natural peanut butter and the lime juice. Blend until smooth; add to soup pot. Cook for 10 minutes until heated through. Turn off flame add cilantro, scallions and rind of the lime. {Freezes well, make a double batch}

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Farmer's Market Okra

Curried Okra

It’s that time of the year in North Carolina when the farmer's market is over flowing with tomatoes and okra. One of my favorite okra dishes is based off the Indian dish Bhindi Ki Sabji.

Canola oil – enough to cover bottom of pan
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 onions, chopped
1-2 pounds okra, washed and cut into ½ inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon graram masala
2 cups cooked chickpeas
¼ cup white wine
½ teaspoon mango powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet. Add the cumin seeds and wait until you hear them pop. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add okra and spices up to the graram masala. Cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until okra begins to brown. Add chickpeas, white wine, mango powder, salt and pepper. Cook just until heated through. Serve on basmati rice or a bed of diced firm tofu.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

For Jake who is not feeling to well.

Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls
Penny Style

1 whole chicken (organic please) cut into 8-10 pieces
Garlic to taste
1 onion, roughly chopped
3-4 carrots, roughly chopped
2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
Pinch of whole peppercorns
Water to cover

Place everything in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, skimming scum as needed. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours. Cool before straining out vegetables and chicken. Store clear chicken stock in a container with an airtight lid. Place in fridge over night. Pull chicken off the bones and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Next day, skim the fat off the clear stock and place in a soup pot. Add 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks diced finely. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken and cook just until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley. Add Matzo Balls if desired.

Matzo Balls
Makes about 12

4 tablespoons canola oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup Matzo Meal
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoon club soda
3 tablespoons scallion, diced finely
1 tablespoon parsley, diced finely

Blend all the ingredients together. Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, turn to simmer. With a small scoop place one ball at a time into water. Cover with lid and do not peak until the timer goes off after 20 minutes. Add to soup.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brooks' Birthday Babka

Bubbies Babka
by Penny Rich
1 large, 2 medium, or 3 loaf pans loafs

Every July Bubbies Babka becomes Brooks' Birthday Babka or as she calls it "Chocolate Bread" Happy Birthday Brooks.

1 1/2 cups water, warm
2 tablespoon yeast
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon each almond and lemon extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
6 cups all purpose flour

Before the rise......

after the rise.
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter

Time for the whizzing to begin.

Roll out the dough.

Then spread the chocolate mixture on and roll up.

2nd rise

Egg Wash – 1 egg, 1 tablespoon water

Mix water, yeast, and sugar together in a bowl of a stand mixer. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Begin mixing in the rest of the ingredients through the butter, slowly. Add 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough forms a smooth mass. Turn mixer off and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Mix again for 5 minutes and remove to an oiled bowl. Cover and allow dough to rise for 1 hour. Make the filling by whizzing all the ingredients in a food processor until it forms a loose paste. Hand knead the dough and form one two or three rectangles. Cover with chocolate paste and roll into log shape sealing the sides and end. Place on a baking sheet or loaf pans and cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise for 30 minutes. Before baking top with egg wash. Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes for a medium loaf, 60 minutes for a large loaf. Cool before slicing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Recipe of the Day -Angel Hair Pasta with Chickpeas and Almonds

Angel Hair Pasta with Chickpeas and Almonds
4 servings

Easy dinner on a hot North Carolina night. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
6-7 cups of vegetable broth
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound angel hair pasta
1 can chick peas
1 cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup slivered almonds
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add broth, red pepper and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook, stirring for 5-6 minutes until broth is almost all absorbed. Add chickpeas and parsley. Divide into 4 bowls, top with almonds and cheese.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Recipe of the Day - Grilled Cheese Tomato Chutney Sandwich

Tomato Chutney
by Penny Rich

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion, finely diced
1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated on fine rasp
2 cloves garlic, grated on fine rasp
2 pounds tomatoes, skin removed and diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced
¼ cup raisins
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons sugar
4 Cardamoms pods, grind in mill
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Heat oil in a medium pot on high heat. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When seeds begin to pop, lower heat to medium high and add onion, ginger and garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes to release flavors. Add tomatoes, peppers, raisins, slat and pepper. Cook until tomatoes begin to break down about 15 minutes. Add sugar, crushed cardamom and vinegar. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to chutney. Cook for 5 minutes and turn heat off. Cool to room temperature before serving or store in a glass container in the fridge for up to one week.

We had a wonderful sandwich at the Chatham Market Friday night with Hinda. Brody and I just had to re-create this Grilled Cheese and Tomato Chutney sandwich. We made chutney, recipe above and then added cheddar cheese, fresh baby spinach and left over London Broil for Mikko and Chris. Yum! New favorite in our house.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Recipe of the Day - Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms
by Penny Rich

4-6 servings

Had to whip up something fast for my committee meeting. The remaining mushrooms disappeared quickly when I asked my son to help me clean up. Wonder where they went?

25 medium sized mushrooms, washed and stem removed [save stems]
½ onion
12-16 mushrooms, washed
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
¼ cup panko bread crumbs or fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon basil, chiffonade
1 teaspoon olive oil

Place mushrooms up side down on a cooking sheet lined with foil in a 350° oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes to release juices. Remove from the oven and cool.
Place the onion, mushrooms, mushroom stems, and garlic in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until the mixture is chopped finely.
Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan and add the mixture from the processor, cooking for 10-12 minutes until the juices are release and evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in panko, Parmesan, basil and olive oil. Stuff each mushroom cap and place on a cooking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking oil. Bake on 350° for 15 -20 minutes. Remove from oven to serving platter. Top with parsley.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Scallop Scampi with Lemon Parsley Pasta
By Penny Rich

4 Servings

1 pound linguini
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
5 scallions, chopped in ½ pieces
1 ½ pounds bay scallops
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup dry vermouth
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon parsley

Cook paste to direction on package. Drain and toss with butter, oil, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper. Place on a serving platter.
Heat butter in a large frying pan on a high flame. Add scallions and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add scallops and cook for 5-7 minutes until they turn opaque. Remove from heat and place on top of lemon pasta. Return the pan to heat and add garlic, vermouth and lemon juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes and pour over scallops and pasta. Sprinkle with parsley, serve.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Recipe of the Day - Vegetable Samosa

Vegetable Samosa
Makes about 12

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yogurt or buttermilk
Salt and pepper
Flour for kneading
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, small dice
2-3 potatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons dried coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup peas, frozen, thawed
1 table cilantro, chopped

In a food processor fitted with the blade, add all the ingredients. Pulse until the dough forms and them pulse a few more times just till it all comes together. Turn out on a floured surface and knead 10-12 times. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. You can make this early in the day and keep in the fridge.
Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and cook just until they are translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients except the peas and cilantro, and sauté until potatoes begin to soften. Add ½ cup of water and cover for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into a medium bowl. Mash potato mixture to a chunky consistency. Stir in peas and cilantro. Adjust salt and pepper.

Heat over to 425°
To make samosa, rip off about an inch size ball of dough. Flatten with a small rolling pin to a 5 inch circle. Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center. Wet the outside edge of the dough with water and fold the edges together. Crimp the edges to get a tight seal. Place on a greased baking sheet.
Bake 15 minutes at 425°, flip the samosa over and cook an additional 10 minutes on 375°. Turn oven to warm and leave samosa in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with your favorite chutney.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Recipe of the Day - Parsnip Bisque

Parsnip Bisque with Smoked Paprika
By Penny Rich
6 Servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups half-and-half
2-3 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large soup pot. Add onions and celery, cook 5 minutes until just tender. Add parsnips and broth and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. With an emersion blender, carefully puree the mixture to a creamy consistency.

Add half and half, paprika, and salt and pepper. Return to flame and heat to a simmer. serve

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Recipe of the day - Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake
by Penny Rich
Inspired by Nick Malgieri
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 powdered sugar

Preheat to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 10-inch bundt pan, shaking out the excess. Combine butter, sugar, flour and baking powder in mixer with paddle. Beat on low speed 2 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients and add to mixer in 3 additions, beating 1 minute between each addition. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour. Place cake on a rack in pan. Cool. Remove from pan onto a cake plate. Sprinkle with powered sugar.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recipe of the Day - Cioppino

Mother's Day Dinner for my mother was a wonderful feast staring with her favorite salad, farmer's market local tomatoes, local mozzarella cheese, basil from my garden, olive oil, salt and pepper. The big pot of Cioppino was the main dish and we all enjoyed dipping the crusty bread in the broth. YUM!

by Penny Rich
Serves 8

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
4 cups fish stock
2 pinches saffron
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound bay scallops
1/2 pounds cod, ½ inch chunks
1 pound clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded

Place clams and mussels in a large bowl and cover with water. Add 2-3 tablespoons of corn meal and let the fish sit for 10-12 minutes. Rinse 5-6 times to remove all the sand and debeard mussels.
Heat the oil in a very large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt, sauté 2 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and saffron. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes. Add the shrimp, scallops and cod, cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the clams and mussels, cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5-7 minutes. Serve with 2 large loafs of crusty bread.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fresh Pea Soup

After 4 days of beautiful spring weather we now have had 3 days of cold wet rain. Time for some fresh spring peas to be turned into a warm comfort soup.

Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot
Nine days old.
Just a rhyme to us, but if you were a young peasant child growing up in sixteenth century England, your meals were often peas porridge served hot, cold and anything in between. Peas were one of the earliest cultivated cool-weather crops. Believed to have origins in Asia, the crop moved through Europe and became popular with royalty in France. Thomas Jefferson, an avid farmer, loved peas so much that on one of his trips to France he brought his slave-chef with him to be trained on how to grow and cook peas.
Peas are a legume containing protein, fiber, and are low in fat. They taste great raw, and can be steamed, boiled, added to a stir-fry or salad, and make a great soup.

Fresh Pea Soup
by Penny Rich
6-8 servings

Serve Hot in the cool months, Chilled in the warm months.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (olive oil for a vegan soup)
1 medium onion diced
3 cups vegetable stock
6 cups peas, fresh or frozen
1 ½ cups milk (unsweetened soy milk for a vegan soup)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped fresh basil and parsley 3-4 tablespoons
Chopped fresh mint, use for soup served cold

Melt butter in a soup pot. Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add the peas, lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. With an emersion blender, puree the soup until smooth adding the milk, salt and pepper, as you blend. If you are serving the soup hot, return to the simmer, adjust salt and pepper and add herbs. If you are serving the soup cold, allow the soup to cool before refrigerating. Top with fresh herbs before serving.

Small diced onions will cook faster.

While onions are cooking measure out the rest of the ingredients. Today I made a vegan soup so I cooked the onions in olive oil and used soy milk. I am also serving this hot so I went with the basil and parsley. If you plan on chilling it and serving cold, use chopped mint.

After the peas cook for 15 minutes, it is time to blend.

An emersion blender works best. Add milk as you blend.

Stir in herbs and serve hot with some crusty bread or garlic croutons.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

February is “Heart Healthy Month”, which means it is time to check in with yourself and make sure you are eating a healthy diet that is beneficial for your heart and overall health. Eating a “whole-foods diet” meaning foods in their natural form as they come from the ground and not processed, is the cornerstone for a heart healthy diet. Locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, fish and green teas all help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Fresh produce helps wipe out free radicals in the bloodstream, protecting the blood vessels, while grains, nuts, fish, and tea, provide phytonutrients, which promote health. Protecting your heart by modifying your eating habits or fine tuning your diet will not only give you more energy, but eating properly will bring your whole body in balance. Start by limiting unhealthy fats and cholesterol and remove trans fats completely. Switch to low-fat protein choices. Lean meat, poultry, fish, low-fat cheese, egg whites, beans, legumes and substitute soy protein for animal protein. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Eat more fiber. Choose whole grains. Reduce your salt intake. Moderation – control your portion size. Avoid last minute meal decisions by planning ahead. There are many choices when it comes to choosing foods that protect your heart and blood vessels and variety is important when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The following heart healthy foods list is a foundation to help build your own recipes.
Salmon – Flaxseed – Oatmeal – Kidney or Black Beans – Almonds – Walnuts – Red Wine – Tuna – Tofu – Soy Milk – Brown Rice – Blueberries – Carrots –Spinach – Broccoli – Sweet Potato – Red Bell Peppers – Asparagus – Oranges – Tomatoes – Acorn Squash – Cantaloupe – Papaya – Organic Tea – my favorite, Dark Chocolate 70% or higher cocoa.

Basic Granola
by Penny Rich
Oatmeal – Grandma called it roughage. Oats are nourishing whole grains and a great source of vitamins, minerals and cholesterol lowering fiber.

2 cups rolled oats, not instant
1 cup almonds, raw
½ cups sun flower seeds, raw
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup canola oil
¾ cup honey

Mix the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss until everything is evenly coated. Pour the ingredients on a baking sheet with a lip or roasting pan. Bake for 30 minutes in a 300F oven, stirring every 10 minutes until golden brown. If you like dried fruit in you granola add it now. Mix and allow to set. Store in an airtight container.

Creamy Spinach Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 8
Spinach is the powerhouse of the vegetable kingdom. The dark green color comes from the multiple phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals including folate and iron that fight disease, protect against heart disease, and preserve your eyesight. Soy is an inexpensive, high-quality protein containing fiber and vitamins, assisting in lowering triglycerides.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound red potatoes, diced
2 leeks, washed, cleaned and diced
Salt and pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups unsweetened soymilk
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish
10 cups fresh baby spinach

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add potatoes and leeks. Cook until slightly tender about 7 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add broth, milk, thyme and horseradish. Cook for 20 minutes. Add spinach and cook for about 1 minute just until the spinach wilts. Puree with emersion blender. Adjust seasoning. Serve hot with crusty bread or homemade garlic croutons*.

*To make croutons, dice 2-3 slices of day old bread and toss with minced garlic and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread on baking try and toast in a 350F oven for 5-7 minutes.

Salmon with Blueberry Salsa
by Penny Rich
Serves 4
Salmon is a cold water fish, a great source of protein and packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

½ cup blueberries*
½ cup diced mango
3 scallions, diced
½ red pepper, diced
2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno, finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Fish
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds salmon**
Salt and pepper

In a medium bowl mix the salsa ingredients together. Set aside. Heat Olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over high flame. Cut the salmon into 4 servings, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook3-5 minutes on each side.
*local blueberries can be frozen in the spring for winter time use. Blueberries top the list as one of the most powerful disease fighting foods. They contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant that provides the blue color. Packed with fiber and vitamin C, add blueberries to your regular diet by adding them to cereal, muffins, waffles and sauces.
** Salmon is versatile, easy to cook and tastes great. Try using salmon in pasta dishes, soups, salmon cakes, salads or spreads.

Dark Chocolate Fondue
By Penny Rich
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that are responsible for lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, defending against free radicals and assisting in digestion.

1 pound premium 70% cocoa dark chocolate, well chopped
1 ½ cups organic heavy cream

Heat the cream in a medium saucepan. Do not let the cream boil. Just at the simmer add the chocolate. Stir until it is melted. Transfer to a fondue pot and enjoy with chunks of fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts.