Sunday, February 26, 2017

Popover Pancake is Breakfast Magic

This pancake cooks in a cast-iron skillet in a very hot oven and puffs up stunningly, albeit briefly. Then, just moments out of the oven, it deflates. But the result is a crispy pancake with a custardy interior. It’s impressive and delicious, but to pull it off, you have to bake it in a cast-iron skillet and you must use skim milk (reduced fat translates to more crispiness). This, and the cornstarch (also known for its crisping ability), is what makes the pancake crispy. Serve with fresh fruit and cottage cheese, or with pork sausage, vegetarian sausage or bacon.

It’s important that the skillet is at just the right temperature. If you don’t think you can prepare the Popover Pancake batter in 10 minutes (the time it takes for the cast-iron skillet to get hot), prepare the batter first, then place the skillet in the oven.

4 servings

2 tablespoons neutral oil
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Butter and syrup


     1.     Preheat oven to 450°F.
     2.     Place oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Heat the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.
     3.     In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt.
     4.     In a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium high heat until pale yellow, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add milk and vanilla, and beat until well blended. Add about ⅓ of the egg/milk mixture to the flour mixture. Whisk until the mixture is free of lumps. Add the remaining egg/milk mixture and whisk until smooth.
      5.     Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully whirl the oil around the pan, and immediately transfer the pancake mixture to the skillet.
      6.     Bake for about 20 minutes. Cut into 4 wedges, transfer wedges to serving plates. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Vegetable Lasagna is a Taste of Childhood

In my rendition of vegetable lasagna, raw, moisture-rich shredded carrots and zucchini (or use whatever is in season, cooked broccoli, spinach or an abundance of fresh chopped parsley are also delicious and health-driven options) are included for their fiber content and nutrients, as well as for color. Because this has no prior cooking requirements, the lasagna can be assembled in less than 30 minutes. Happy Cooking!

6 servings
One (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded zucchini
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2½ cups tomato sauce
6 pieces no-boil (also called oven ready) lasagna noodles
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

     1.     Preheat oven to 350ºF.
     2.     In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, carrots, zucchini, salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Place 2 uncooked noodles over the sauce, side by side. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over noodles.
     3.     Evenly distribute half of the mozzarella cheese over the ricotta mixture. Top the mozzarella with 2 lasagna noodles and spoon 1 cup sauce over the noodles, spread the remaining ricotta mixture over sauce.
     4.     Place remaining 2 noodles over the ricotta, spread a thin layer of the remaining tomato sauce over noodles, top with remaining mozzarella and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
     5.     Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove cover, set oven temperature to broil, and lightly brown the top. Allow the lasagna to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

So Much Goodness In A Mother's Favorite Soup

Hard-boiled eggs are what make this soup unique and delicious. It’s the perfect comfort soup on a cold winter’s day. I hope you enjoy my mother's favorite soup as much as we have!

6 servings

5 cups water
3 cups cubed potatoes, (red or white skinned)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup julienned carrot
1 cup chopped white onion
½ cup minced fresh parsley
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt, if desired
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 hard-boiled eggs

     1.     In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and add the potatoes and cook until just slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, carrot and onion to the potatoes. Reduce the heat slightly and cook until the potatoes and vegetables are fork-tender, about 5 minutes.
      2.     Add the parsley, vegetable cubes, butter, salt and pepper.
      3.     Cut the hard-boiled eggs in half. Remove the yolks and place them in a medium bowl. Chop the egg whites and add them to the soup. Ladle about ¼ to ½ cup hot broth over the egg yolks and stir until the mixture is creamy. Add the yolk mixture to soup and stir until well blended. Serve immediately.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Crowd-Pleasing Roasted Vegetables With Creamy Herb Cheese Is The Perfect Game Day Food

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the cheese part of this dish. Crostini is a perfect accompaniment to this flavorful, crowd-pleasing appetizer. When summer tomatoes aren't in season, I rely on the delicious tasting Kumato tomatoes, available from most grocery stores nationwide.

Multi-Herb Cheese with Roasted Vegetables
Serves a crowd 

2 bell peppers, cut into 1 x 1-inch chunks
4 Kumato tomatoes, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, cut into 1 x 1-inch chunks
2 large carrots or parsnips, peeled, cut diagonally about ¼-inch thick, then julienne-sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. 
  2. In a large bowl combine the peppers, tomatoes, onions and carrots or parsnips. Lightly coat the vegetables with olive oil, season with salt and toss the mixture. Transfer the vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet. Distribute the vegetables evenly on the baking sheet. 
  3. Roast for about 1 to 2 hours or until slightly blackened. For even roasting, shift baking sheet and stir vegetables with a metal spatula about every ½ hour.  

Two (12-ounce) containers light whipped cream cheese
1 medium onion, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried basil
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cooking sherry
  1. In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese with the onion, parsley, spices and sherry. Mix thoroughly. Transfer to a serving platter and shape into a round about 6-inches in diameter. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving cover the cheese with the roasted vegetables.

Monday, January 30, 2017

This Soup Has An Oh-Wow, Jaw-Dropping Effect

A delicious creamy soup that won’t disappoint! I love to serve it as a first course, because it sets the mood for a great beginning to a wonderful dinner with family or friends.

6 servings
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
4 cups celery, cut into chunks
1 cup white onion, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup raw slivered almonds
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk

  1. In a large pot combine the milk, water, and the vegetable cube; and bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Add the celery, onion, salt, ginger and almonds. Cover and reduce the heat to simmer (mixture should be rumbling), and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the celery is tender. (When milk is brought to a boil and simmered as it is in this recipe, the milk curdles or “breaks,” so when you uncover the pot, the mixture doesn’t look very appetizing, once you blend it, it turns as smooth as cream.)
  2. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor or blender. Purée the celery mixture in batches until silky smooth.
  3. Add the coconut milk to the last batch to be puréed; transfer all the puréed soup back into original large pot and stir until well combined. Cook until heated through. Serve immediately.