Glowing with thoughts of Chanukah…
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Glowing with thoughts of Chanukah…

These two recipe books make lovely gifts for Chanukah – enjoy some of the featured recipes and remember to check my Cooking With Beth Blog at www.jstandard.com for some others.

The first two recipes come from “Temptations: Modern Kosher Recipes for Every Occasion,” published by ATARA (the sisterhood of Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck). The cookbook is designed for today’s home chef and includes recipes (and spectacular photos of recipes) that are certain to produce mouthwatering dishes. The recipes are clearly marked meat, dairy, or pareve, and have step-by-step, easy-to-follow directions. There are also Pesach recipe conversions to make your favorite recipes available for the Festival of Unleavened Bread. There are wine pairings, too. “Temptations” can be purchased online at www.ketertorah.org/cookbook or at local establishments and Judaica emporia, including Glatt Express in Teaneck.

Here are a couple of fabulous recipes from the book to use for Chanukah or anytime. The first two are for a healthier latke and sour cream topping. The third is for a healthy salad to serve with the dairy dinner, or another time with a meat dinner.

Rosti-style potato latke
with caramelized onions

This no-fry latke pie is a gourmet, lower-fat version of the classic Chanukah treat.

Ingredients
2 onions, divided
oil

3 large potatoes, peeled and grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons matzah meal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Slice one onion into thin rounds. Sauté onion in oil until translucent. Add brown sugar and continue to sauté until onions are browned. Set aside.

Combine potatoes with eggs, matzah meal, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Finely chop remaining onion and add to potato mixture.

Coat a 12-inch ovenproof sauté pan with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat; when hot, add potato mixture. Continue to cook until bottom has browned, about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and place in oven. Bake latke for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Transfer latke to a large serving platter and cut into triangular wedges. Cover with caramelized onions and top with scallion and herb sour cream (see recipe) or with plain sour cream.

Yield: 10-12 servings.

If sweet onions are used, the brown sugar can be omitted.

Scallion and herb sour cream

1 pint sour cream (editor’s note, you can use reduced fat)
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups.

Mango avocado salad
with slivered almonds

So colorful, so delicious – assemble immediately prior to serving for the freshest flavor.

1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
pinch allspice
2 heads lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
1 mango, cubed
1 avocado, cubed and sprinkled with lemon juice
1 red pepper, cubed
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup Craisins

Combine honey, mustard, olive oil, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, and allspice in a cruet or container with a tight fitting lid. Cover tightly and shake well. Set aside.

Mix together the lettuce, mango, avocado, red pepper, almonds, and Craisins in a large bowl. Toss salad with enough dressing to coat.

Yield: 8-10 servings.

The next two recipes come from another new book, “Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients, Extraordinary Meals” (Artscroll). “A recipe doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious, nor exclusive to certain kitchens,” writes author Leah Schapira, co-founder of the culinary website, www.CookKosher.com. Inspiring everyone from traditional kosher cooks to everyday working women and moms, the book shows how to use simple, fresh ingredients to create time-sensitive, tasty meals for all to enjoy.

The first recipe would be a perfect side dish for the latkes. The second, a fabulous dessert (can also be pareve), is portion-controlled (right up my alley) and would be fun to make with children.

Tri-color fruit puree

Yield 3 cups

Pareve

Most dessert lovers indulge in chocolate treats and velvety cakes, but some dessert lovers prefer simpler sweet endings like applesauce and fruit compotes.

Basic applesauce

6 apples (any kind but preferably green)
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons lemon juice, from one lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
6-7 tablespoons sugar
Strawberry variation –
1 1/2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
Kiwi variation –
3-4 kiwis, peeled
Pineapple variation –
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks

Peel, core, and cut the apples into large chunks. Place the apple chunks into a saucepot and pour boiling water over them. Sprinkle with lemon juice and sugars and return to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook until the apples are completely soft, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let apples cool. Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the cooled apples with the cooking water.

Strawberry/apple variation: Add 1 1/2 cups of strawberries to the pot. Fresh strawberries should be added with the apples. Frozen strawberries should be added halfway through the cooking process.

Kiwi/apple variation: Blend 3 or 4 kiwis until smooth and add them to the blended applesauce.

Pineapple/apple variation: Add chunks of fresh pineapple to the pot while cooking.

NOTE: Cooking time varies, depending on the size of the pot and variety of apple, so keep an eye on the apples as they cook and test for doneness.

Deep-dish
chocolate chip pies

Yield: 6-8 servings

Dairy or pareve (depending on use of pareve chocolate chips and ice cream)

If you find chocolate chips dull, chop up a bar of rosemary chocolate and add it to the batter. If you are going to serve this on Friday night, do not leave the pies sitting on the hot plate for very long, as they will dry out. Warm them up a few minutes before serving. Number of servings depends on the size of the ramekins.

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
2 eggs
dash salt
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the margarine and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs. In a second bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to the mixer and mix to incorporate. Add in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to ramekins, filling halfway. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until tops just start to turn golden brown; they should be slightly underbaked. Serve warm.

Note: These little pies are even better topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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