Sunday, December 7, 2014

not my grandma's noodle kugel


Growing up on the Lower East Side, I spent every Sunday at my grandmother's house. My memories of these days include very specific events but no connecting themes.

My sister and I would play Spit in front of a very large piece of furniture, which was her television set, watching Abbot & Costello reruns. There was plastic on all of the ornately decorated couches and chairs and it was dark, curtains perennially drawn. Other than that I remember only the food. We were always given a handful of hard sucking candies to enjoy with our show. In addition we were treated with apple pie, sponge cake, and noodle kugel.

I've been meaning to duplicate these recipes, but alas, they stayed with my grandma to the grave. I have a cousin who found a recipe she thinks is the one my grandma used for her sponge cake, but nothing is for certain, and that one is so labor intensive that I fear it will remain on my bucket list for eternity.

At this time of year when people cart out their traditions, I thought I'd make an attempt at making at least one of her dishes. And of course, in all matters of culinary tradition, I referred to Deb at Smitten Kitchen. I've changed it up a bit making it lighter, since I remember noodle kugel being a light, subtly sweet, eggy dish and I didn't feel like buying the proper egg noodles for it (yes I am that lazy).

Despite all my deviations this dish seems pretty close the real deal. My memory sensors are saying so, in any case.

Not My Grandma's Noodle Kugel
Makes 8x8 pan of kugel, adapted from Smitten Kitchen's My Family's Noodle Kugel

Ingredients
  • 3/4 pound fusilli noodles (traditional requires egg noodles)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 stick melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • Dash of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Parboil the noodles (five to seven minutes).
  2. In a very large bowl beat eggs until fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, then the ricotta cheese, butter and vanilla. Stir in the drained noodles.
  3. Pour into a 8x8-inch pan. Bake for 1/2 hour, or until kugel is set. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

maple pecan pie



When deciding what to bring to Thanksgiving this year I went immediately to this pie. Mostly because I was curious about substituting brown rice syrup for corn syrup. But then, with all else going on in my life... Turkey Raffles, SLT meetings, PTA meetings... I forgot to secure the syrup and couldn't find it at my local place.  I almost said, What the heck, and used corn syrup... but then I thought, Why not maple syrup? I have a ton of it in my fridge.

It worked out great - and added that wonderful maple flavor. Nice when things work out.

We had the good fortune to spend our Thanksgiving day upstate with friends in a winter wonderland - so majestic and stunning. Good food, good people, what more can a person ask for?

I hope you Thanksgiving was just a wonderful.


Maple Pecan Pie
Makes one 9 inch pie, adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients
  • One 9-inch pie crust (I used Mark Bittman's Flaky Crust and substituted in white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla extract
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups pecan pieces, lightly toasted 
Instructions
  1. Melt the cubes of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix the sugar, vanilla in abowl. Add melted butter. Add maple syrup, eggs and salt. Beat until smooth.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the pecans to the prepared pie shell. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Brush the edges of the pie crust with egg wash and transfer to a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet/and pie in the oven to bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the center has set (it may rise slightly) and the crust is golden brown. Be sure to check on it periodically throughout the baking process—if at any time the crust gets too brown, you can place a piece of foil over it to protect it from browning more.
  3. Completely cool before serving. Garnish with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

thanksgiving skillet corn bread {bread bakers}




Yes, here it is... Thanksgiving... already! Seems like this year is flying by - but I guess that is what everyone says every year.

Two months into the school year and I am entrenched in meetings, organizing, planning. I love it! We've planted a winter bed of lettuce in the front school yard - hoping we can make it last the whole winter and be harvested for the kids' lunches. The sustainability Committee is getting reved up - and there's been talk of solar panels on the roof!! How awesome is that?! The Maker's Space my friend Diane organized and made beautiful is ready for use - we plan on creating a Pinterest baord full of craft ideas to implement learning the curriculum in all grades Pre-K to 5th.

And in just a few weeks we will eat more food than we can manage in a bucolic location, hopefully involving some snow (although that is not looking likely). Here is new take on the corn bread - sweet with frozen corn kernels scattered around. Makes for a nice surprise when you bite into it.

Thanksgiving Skillet Cornbread
Makes 6-8 servings, adapted from Cookie + Kate

Ingredients
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup coarse grind cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen corn
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the middle of the oven. Place the stick of butter in a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet or 9-inch square baking dish and place in the oven to melt for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and syrup until smooth. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until moistened through.
  3. When the butter is melted and golden brown but not burnt, carefully remove the sizzling skillet from the oven and swirl to coat with butter. Pour the melted butter into the batter, add the cranberries and stir just until incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the hot skillet or baking pan. Return the skillet to the oven and bake until the bread is brown around the edges, springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs, 25 to 35 minutes. Invert the bread onto a wire rack to cool. Slice into squares or wedges and serve.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

Here is what everyone came up with for a new take on the Thanksgiving traditional breads:

Brown Butter Sage Biscuits by Sophia at Sweet Cinnamon & Honey
Butterflake Rolls by Anshie at Spiceroots
Buttermilk Rolls by Renee at Magnolia Days
Cast Iron Parker House Rolls by Veronica at My Catholic Kitchen
Cheese & Mustard Pull Apart Bread by Laura at Baking in Pyjamas
Classic Anise Dinner Rolls by Kathya at Basic N Delicious 
Crusty French Bread Rolls by Robin at A Shaggy Dough Story
Gruyere Gourgeres by Nicole at The 2nd 35 Years
No Knead Dinner Rolls by Heather at Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Parker House Rolls by Tara at Noshing With The Nolands
Parmesan Garlic Knots by Lauren at From Gate to Plate 
Pumpkin and Rosemary Bread by Rocio at Kidsandchic
Pumpkin Pani Popo by Kelly at Passion Kneaded
Pumpkin, Sage & Cheddar Pull Apart Rolls by Mireilee at Chef Mireille's East West Realm Overnight Rosemary Rolls by Holly at A Baker’s House
Skillet Cornbread by Sandra at Meadows Cooks
Soft and Tender Dinner Rolls by Stacy at Food Lust People Love
Sourdough Cornbread Rolls with Sage by Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories
Sweet Potato Rolls by Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writings 
Tomato Herb Loaves by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Zopf bread by Carola at En la Cocina de Caro 
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

pumpkin dip with apple chips {joanne's bridal shower}


Joanne Bruno is my absolute favorite food blogger. She is marvelously funny and real, her recipes are seasonal and healthy, and her photography is gorgeous. What more could you ask for. She is what I aspire to be in a food blogger... if only my prose were more off the cuff, or just plain funny. Writing is the hardest part of blogging for me.

Joanne is a med student and a marathon runner. And she finds the time to write a blog post EVERY DAY. I mean, this girl is awesome.

Pumpkin Dip with Apple Chips


Ingredients
  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin pureed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder (depending on how hot you like it) - optional
  • Apples of your choice, finely sliced
Instructions
  1.  Mix all ingredients except apples in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Place in a bowl and surround with apple slices (chips)
  3. Garnish with cinnamon. Enjoy! 

... and she's is getting married this month, so a bunch of us food bloggers have gotten together a virtual bridal shower for her. No embarrassing presents, no drunken displays, just food - virtual food. Join us!! And check out the menu:


Cocktails</ strong>:
Warm Apple Pie Cocktail - Miss In The Kitchen
Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail- Cook Like A Champion
Snacks/Savory:
Roasted Pumpkin Crostini - Annie's Eats
Sweet:
Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake - The Baker Chick
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake - The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake - Chocolate and Carrots
Coconut Pecan Tarts - Bake or Break
Cranberry Margarita Cupcakes - Baker by Nature
Gingerbread Truffles - Dinners Dishes and Desserts

Thursday, November 6, 2014

cinnamon pumpkin muffins {leftovers club}



Ever wonder how an evening without electricity would be?

That was my evening last night due to my over ambitious husband and some crazy wiring in our apartment. We had this faulty light switch in the kitchen. It worked but you had to press really hard to get the light on. This bothered my husband. He decided to open it up to see if he could fix it.

Resulting in no electricity for the entire night.

To his credit he did restore the electricity the following day but it was a bit touch and go there - considering the fact that my son's 5th birthday party is this Saturday and we're having it at our house.

But what I want to say is that I really enjoyed being without electricity for the evening (we were able to plug in our fridge and had one light in the kitchen). Not being able to check my email was kind of pleasant. I need to try that more often.

In preparation for many a bake sale I am envisioning in my future, I have made cinnamon pumpkin muffins for this month's Left Overs Club. They are seasonal and lovely. I hope Kathia @ Basic and Delicious likes them.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice (or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ginger + pinch of ground cloves and allspice)
  • 1 1/3 cup pumpkin*
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*Take a small pumpkin and halve it and seed it. Place halves skin up on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Roast at 400 F for 35-45 minutes. Scoop flesh out of skin. Blend until smooth.

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with papers.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients in medium bowl. Mix in a large bowl pumpkin, eggs, oil, and sugar. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined. 
  3. Divide between muffin cups. Mix left over sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until puffed up.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

apple turnovers







I have been writing this blog for a little over 4 years. It began as a way to express my joy of baking and my ability to learn how to cook. You see, I started off not being a very good cook, and not wanting to know how to be one. I trusted my partners to make our daily sustenance. In fact an ex-boyfriend called me recently, he'd seen my blog posts and queried, "So, now you cook?

So, now I cook. But my husband makes the lion share of the meals. He makes dinner almost every day and I am eternally grateful for it. I am slowly learning ho to make things without a step by step recipe to follow, and it is a huge relief. I am living proof that anyone can learn how to cook. And feel so much better for it.

I have always been a baker, but never been able to make flaky pie crust... until now. The trick, I discovered a few weekends ago, is do not mix the butter in. Do no use a food processor. Use two knives and keep it chunky. It will melt when cooked and become the wonderful crust you wish for. Truth.

Apple Turnovers
Makes 15, adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything cook book

Filling Ingredients
  • 4 tart apples, cored, peeled, and grated
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Crust Ingredients
  • Scant 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 15 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
Instructions
  1.  Combine dry crust ingredients. Add butter, cut into small bits. Take two butter knives and chop up butter further until they resemble peas.
  2. Add water one tablespoon at a time and work together with hands until combined. Place in fridge for 1/2 hour or freezer for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients. Taste and add more sugar, cinnamon or lemon as needed.
  4. Roll out dough to 1/4 thickness. Cut into 4-inch squares, or any shape that works.
  5. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in center of each square, cover with dough. Score on top two or three times for air vents. Brush with water and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Place on parchment covered baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 40-55 minutes.
  7. Serve hot or room temperature.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

real banana pudding








In the past two months I have had the pleasure of getting to know the parents at my son's new school. The energy and enthusiasm I am witness to as we all work to make a fabulous school even more fabulous is inspiring and awe provoking.

I have been sitting on every committee meeting I can manage, we've been in conversation about grant writing, discretionary funds, government council members and policies, and through it all we are forming a marvelous community. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this process and to be able to get to know these amazing people.

Did you see the recent Sunday NYTimes Magazine article written by Mark Bittman about teaching our children to eat well? This has further inspired me to think about how food is presented in schools and how we can offer healthier options for children when they are not under the supervision of their parents. I for one remember using all my lunch money to buy candy and am worried that if the schools do not offer only healthy options children will follow their taste buds and not their parent's guidance.

The fact that the DOE offers chocolate milk as an option, because they are being strong armed by the dairy industry, blows my mind. Hopefully we can remedy these issues. If not for all school than just one at a time. 

Now that I am writing this I wonder if my banana pudding recipe would taste okay without the added sugar. I should try it out. I have only tried this with cows milk but I don't see why it couldn't be made with soy or almond.

Real Banana Pudding
Serves 3-4

Ingredients
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk of your choice
Instructions
  1. Mash bananas well.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a saucepan. Add wet ingredients. Heat pan on medium heat and stir continuously until pudding boils and thickens. 
  3. Pour into bowls and refrigerate until cooled.