ChefUptothePlate

Food, Nutrition and Cooking


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pH(yllo) Balanced

Some of my favorite recipes happen when I am looking to use ingredients I already have on hand. This recipe evolved as I was cooking it.

Phyllo Tart

8 sheets phyllo (filo) dough (buy in the freezer section), thawed

1 large onion, rough chop

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, rough chop

10 oz package, frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

6 oz sausages (Italian (sweet or spicy), chicken and apple, chicken and broccoli rabe) of your choice. Slice sausages and cut slices into quarters.*

1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Filling: In a large skillet, heat about 2 T oil on medium high. Add onions and saute until they wilt, then add mushrooms and sausages and cook until sausage is cooked through and mushrooms and onions are golden. Add spinach and continue cooking just a few minutes more until all of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in 1/8 cup of the cheese.

Lightly oil an 8″ square baking dish or pie plate. Lay 1/2 the phyllo dough on the bottom of the dish. Note: if phyllo cracks when laying it in or on top of the baking dish, no problem, just piece it together. Top with the filling and spread evenly. Place 1 sheet of the remaining dough on top, sprinkle with a bit of the remaining cheese and repeat this until all the dough is used.

Lightly oil a piece of foil large enough to cover the tart. Press the foil oil side down on the tart and compress the tart. Bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake another 20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Serves 2-4 as a main dish or 8-10 as an appetizer

*Firm tofu that has been drained of all liquid can be substituted for sausages.

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Oh once there was a Wicked Wicked Man

Political jokes aside, here is my take on Hamantashen, the traditional cookie of Purim: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim

Note: dough requires refrigeration for 3 hours to overnight so plan ahead!

Parve* Hamantashen

Dough:

10 oz coconut oil, softened but preferably not liquid

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 t orange extract

1 T orange juice

1 large egg

2 1/4-2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

Filling: (see variations below)

1 cup walnuts, toasted (I like to do this in a toaster oven about 300 degrees for 1-2 minutes, keep an eye out, nuts burn quickly).

1/2 cup (scant) sugar

1/2 t orange extract

1 orange, zest and flesh (discard pith), cut into 1/8ths (you can also substitute 1/2 a grapefruit for a slightly tarter effect)

1 T cointreau or other orange liquor

2 T raisins or other dried fruit (prunes, figs, dates, apricots)

1/2 t cinnamon (optional)

1/2 cup orange or grapefruit marmalade or other preserves of your choice.

Dough: In the food processor using the dough blade, combine sugar and coconut oil; mix until well combined. Add remaining ingredients (start with smaller amount of flour) and process until the dough is slightly sticky but forms a ball. (if the dough is VERY sticky, add a bit more flour, up to 1/4 cup). Flatten into 2 pieces and cover well with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 3 hours – overnight.

Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, about 3o minutes depending on temperature of your kitchen. Note: coconut oil takes a bit longer to soften than butter would.

Filling: In the food processor combine all the ingredients and process to a fine chopped consistency. Set aside

Making the Hamantashen: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using 1/2 the dough, roll out to 1/8″ thickness on a very lightly floured surface. Using a biscuit cutter or a tumbler, cut into 3″ disks. If the dough has become dry and flaky, add a little bit of water, maybe 1-2 t at a time until you are able to work with it.

Place each disk onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place 1.5 t of filling in the center of each disk. Moisten the edges of the dough with a bit of water. Bring the edges of dough up to form a triangle (practice with a circle of paper first if you are unsure of how this works). Pinch the edges together leaving a small opening at the center top.

Bake 15-17 minutes until cookies are golden.

Yield 30-36 Hamantashen

*Parve indicates that there are neither dairy nor meat products in a food

Variations: Fill the dough using prune butter (lekvar) or apricot butter or a paste made of poppy seeds (mohn).IMG_2207.JPG

 

 

 

 


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Don’t Passover this recipe #1

A recipe the whole family will enjoy!

Matzo Meat Pie

1 large onion, chopped

3 T canola oil

1.5 lbs. ground chicken or turkey (can substitute beef or lamb)

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t allspice

2 T dark raisins or chopped prunes

2 T pine or walnuts (toasted till lightly browned in either a toaster oven or dry skillet)

1.5  cups chicken or beef broth

8 oz matzo farfel (or 5-6 sheets of matzo)

2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Have a 9″ pie plate of 8″ square baking pan ready.

Heat oil in saute pan, add onions and cook until golden. Add meat and spices. Cook about 10 minutes, meat should be browned but retain moisture. Add raisins and nuts to combine and set aside.

Soak matzo farfel in broth to absorb liquid.

Press about 1/2 the soaked farfel in bottom of prepared pan. Place meat filling on top of bottom crush, Top with remaining farfel. Brush with beaten eggs.

Bake ~ 1/2 hour until top is golden. Serves 4-6

Can be made a day ahead . Cover with foil, reheat at 325 degrees F.

Note: Use your leftover meat from the seder in place of ground meat. Chop leftover meat in food processor and combine with cooked onions, raisins and nuts and spices. Follow remainder of recipe as is.

 


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The Pesto Pizza Variations

Pesto Pizza

This makes a delicious appetizer or a meal depending upon any additions you top it with. It’s so easy, it’s almost embarrassing, but oh, so special. You can do this without a pizza stone but using one is highly recommended.

1 pizza dough, uncooked (usually available in grocery stores in the dairy section or the pizza section of larger stores OR some pizzerias will sell you one- failing that check the freezer section of the grocery store).

4 T shredded or grated Parmigiano Reggianno or Grana Padano cheese

1.5-2 cups prepared pesto (see my prior post)

8 oz mozzarella cheese (or soy mozzarella), shredded

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a pizza stone (or cookie sheet if you must) with cooking spray. Stretch dough to fill stone.

Poke multiple holes in dough to help reduce the dough from puffing up. Sprinkle Parm on top of dough and bake for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it to be sure cheese is not burning.

Remove dough from oven, spread pesto on pizza, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake another 10 minutes.

Serve HOT!

Variations: Add a defrosted and drained 10 oz box of chopped spinach between pesto and mozzarella.

Add some sliced and cooked sausage or chicken or anything your imagination and taste buds like. Cook as above.

Serves 3-4 as a main meal, 8-10 as an appetizer.

 


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Yes to Pesto

Basil Pesto

Nothing smells as good as fresh basil and its natural destiny Pesto. Don’t limit pesto to pasta. IMG_2131.JPGPesto is great on eggs, toast, chicken, fish. The flavor is deep and earthy and a little goes a long way.

2 cups (packed) washed and dried fresh basil, stems removed

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 cup walnuts or pine nuts or a combination of both

1/2 extra virgin olive oil

1 cup grated Parmigiano Regianno

salt and black pepper to taste

In a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, combine the basil, garlic and nuts. Chop until almost a puree. With the food processor motor running, add the olive oil in a stream. Then add the cheese until just combined to the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yields ~ 1.5 cups of pesto: refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.


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Soup ‘n’ Salad

Salad Soup

Ever have leftover tossed salad that has gone a bit past its prime? Still, it’s edible but, well, not as appetizing as you’d like. Have you got a food processor (EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A FOOD PROCESSOR)?  Make your leftover salad into soup

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

8 cups leftover salad (including just about anything imaginable), chopped to a fine consistency in a food processor.

1 T hot sauce (or to taste)

3/4 cup lentils or split peas or the like

2 T olive oil

Heat broth, add finely chopped salad, hot sauce and lentils. Cook on medium heat about 30 minutes (till lentils/peas have softened). Garnish with olive oil drizzled over top.

Serves 8


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Birds of a feather nest together

Baked chicken breasts in a Spaghetti Squash Nest

This recipe is deliciously fragrant.

1 large spaghetti squash

3-4 cloves minced garlic

3-4 T olive oil or more as needed

1/3-1/2 grated Parmesan cheese

salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup raw slivered almonds

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, medium thick

Prepare the spaghetti squash: Microwave whole squash for about 5 minutes until it is soft enough to easily cut through. Then cut squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds (save for toasting if you’d like) and microwave about 5 minutes more until squash is thoroughly cooked. Let squash cool enough to handle. Using a fork or spoon, remove all the spaghetti from the shell of the squash and set aside in a bowl.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat, add garlic, cook for a few minutes, then add the squash. Let the squash cook about  ~7  minutes, then add about 1/2 the cheese, cook ~ 7 minutes more. Add more oil as needed. Stir the squash around, add the remaining cheese, and let the squash continue to cook until the color deepens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet with foil or use a 9″ x 11″ baking dish.

Spread the squash to cover the bottom of the baking dish to form the “nest” and place the chicken breasts on top of the nest.

Bake about 30 minutes, then sprinkle on the almonds and bake another 5 more minutes or until the almonds have toasted.

Serves 6