From My Kitchen to Yours

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In the winter doldrums?  Here's a super recipe for Savory Asian Chicken Soup with Shrimp Balls and Straw Mushrooms.  It's flavorful but light…enjoy!

SAVORY CHICKEN SOUP WITH SHRIMP BALLS & STRAW MUSHROOMS-Serves 6 to 8

6 ounces raw, shelled deveined shrimp

l ounce pork suet or fat from pork chops

l/2 teaspoon cornstarch

l/2 teaspoon salt

l/4 teaspoon black pepper

l/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

l egg white

l-1/2 cups canned straw mushrooms

l tablespoon peanut or other vegetable oil

6 cups chicken stock

2 slices of fresh ginger,1/4" thick,or 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

l-1/2 teaspoons dry white wine or dry sherry

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

6 green onions, cut into diagonal shreds

l. Pat shrimp dry and chop into a fine paste with pork suet. Mix

with salt, pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch & egg white. Form into small balls.

2. In large wok or stockpot heat l tablespoon oil. Add stock, wine, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil and add mushrooms and shrimp balls.  Cook over high heat until shrimp balls float to top. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with the green onion shreds.


How about a great main course that's easy enough to make for a weekday, but dressy enough for company?  Try my Lemon Pasta with Grilled Shrimp....Delish!

LEMON PASTA WITH GRILLED SHRIMP-SERVES 8

1 lb. angel hair or thin spaghetti

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2/3 cup grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for topping

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

24 jumbo raw shrimp, defrosted if frozen

salt, pepper, olive oil and Italian seasoning

  1. 1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but still firm to the bite (al dente) stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice to blend.

  2. 2. While the pasta is cooking, dry the shrimp, heat a grill pan

    and brush it with olive oil, then place the shrimp on top, basting

    with olive oil and seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic powder and 

    Italian herbs. Grill just until done, about 2 minutes per side, then

    take off the grill and reserve.

  1. 3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce and the reserved cooking liquid, adding ½ at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and black pepper and garnish with the lemon zest and chopped basil. Top with the grilled shrimp and sprinkle with extra Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese. Serve right away.

Here is a Traditional Honey cake that Jewish people prepare for the Jewish New Year, which begins this year at sundown this coming Wednesday, September 4.  If you eat this cake, you will be sure to have a sweet year!  I always quadruple the recipe to share with friends and family. We also enjoy dipping slices of apple into honey for the same reason.  You don't have to be Jewish to love this cake!


HONEY CAKE FOR JEWISH NEW YEAR - MAKES 2 9" X 4" X 3" Loves, or more 

1 and 3/4 cups honey

1 cup coffee

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

3 and 1/2 cups flour

dash of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice, OR cardamom or cloves or nutmeg

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped


1. Bring the honey to a gentle boil then cool. Add the coffee. Reserve.


2. Beat the eggs until light and lemon-colored, then add the oil gradually, beating well to blend. Beat in the sugar gradually.


3. Sift together the dry ingredients, then add them to the egg mixture alternately with the honey-coffee mixture, about one third at a time, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix well. Add nuts.


4. Pour batter into greased pan(s) and bake in a preheated 325°F. oven for about 1 hour, or until cake tester comes out clean when inserted into center. Invert onto a cooling rack to cool in the pan, then loosen around edges and remove from pan. This cake keeps well and freezes well. Can be doubled, tripled, etc. Depending on the size of your pans, you could get enough batter for a few extra small cakes.



Aunt Betty’s End of Summer Chowder-Serves 8

My Aunt Betty was a phenomenal cook, and we always enjoyed this flavorful soup chockfull of summer’s bounty! It is rich, but worth it! If you prep all the ingredients ahead, it’s a snap to put this together.


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium onions, diced

1 sweet red pepper, diced

4 large tomatoes, peeled (immerse in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain), cut in half and remove seeds with your thumb

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

4 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob

1-1/2 cups or more whipping cream, to thin to desired consistency

sugar, salt and pepper to taste

fresh herbs, coarsely chopped-thyme, oregano, basil

  1. In a medium stockpot melt the butter and sauté the onions, red pepper, tomatoes and potatoes about 10 minutes at medium heat.
  1. Add the corn kernels and cook another 5 minutes. Add the whipping cream and seasonings and cook until heated through. Serve right away, or refrigerate and reheat.

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It's tomato season, and here's a delicious way to enjoy them!


TOMATO, BASIL AND CHEESE TART-SERVES 8


Crust:

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons)cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 tablespoons cold solid vegetable shortening

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water


Filling:

4 large firm-ripe tomatoes (about 2 pounds) sliced 1/3” thick

1 teaspoon salt, DIVIDED
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed, plus basil sprigs for garnish

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 lb. (4 ounces) whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

liquid vegetable oil to brush tomatoes


1. Make the crust: In a large bowl blend the flour, butter, shortening and salt with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture resembles small peas. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, enough to form a dough, tossing mixture just until water is incorporated. Knead dough lightly with heel of hand on a flat work surface for a few seconds to distribute the fats evenly, then form into a ball. Flatter slightly, dust with flour, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour or up to overnight.


2. When dough is chilled, roll into a 1/8” thick round on a floured surface and fit into a 9” tart pan with a removeable bottom. Prick shell lightly with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and chill again for 30 minutes to prevent shrinkage in baking.


3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove shell from refrigerator, line with foil, fill with raw rice, dried beans or pie weights and bake 15 minutes. This French technique is called blind baking.  Remove the foil and weights carefully, then bake shell for 4 to 5 minutes more, or until pale golden color. Let cool in its pan on a rack.


4. Make the filling: Sprinkle the tomato slices on both sides lightly with ½ the salt and let them drain on paper towels. In a food processor puree the basil leaves with the ricotta. Add the eggs and blend to combine. Add remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the mozzarella, Parmesan and pepper. Pulse until just combined. Pat tomato slices dry with paper towels and line bottom of the partially-baked shell with the end slices, then spoon the cheese mixture over the tomato layer, smoothing the mixture. Arrange remaining tomato slices in one layer, overlapping them slightly. Brush tomatoes with vegetable oil, then bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until cheese mixture is set. Transfer to a rack and let it stand for 10 minutes, then place tart pan on an overturned bowl or large glass and outer rim will fall down onto counter without burning your arms. Garnish tart with the basil sprigs if desired and serve hot or at room temperature.

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BLINTZ SOUFFLE-SERVES 8


Here is an easy but delicious way to serve brunch. The recipe is a make-ahead, so you only have to put it into the oven just before your guests arrive. Prepare a simple fruit plate and some store-bought rolls and you’ll have a meal to be proud of!

2 packages (13 ounces each) frozen cheese blintzes

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

4 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1-1/2 cups sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9” x 13" glass or ceramic casserole melt the butter in the microwave, covering with waxed paper to avoid splattering.

2. Place the frozen blintzes in the casserole in one layer.

3. In a large bowl beat the eggs vigorously with a whisk. Add the sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Transfer to a large pyrex measuring cup for ease of pouring and pour over the blintzes in casserole. (Can prepare a day ahead and refrigerate overnight, covered.)

4. Bake in the preheated oven 45 minutes or until golden and puffed, then serve right away.

Spring is here, and we've got a great simple dinner option for you!


PASTA PRIMAVERA-SERVES 8


6 cloves garlic, mashed

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cups fresh chopped tomatoes (Roma are very good in this dish)

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch matchstick pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch matchstick pieces

1 bunch broccoli, cut into flowerettes

2 small zucchini, cut into 2 inch matchstick pieces

1/3 lb. snow peas, washed and ends cut on diagonal

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

12 ounces fettucine pasta

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese


1. Bring a large pot of water (that has a colander insert if possible) to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute the garlic in the olive oil for about 2 minutes, but do not brown. Add the tomatoes and wine and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the basil and red onions, cover and remove from heat.


2. When the water is boiling, blanch the vegetables in the following order: first put in the carrots. After 1 minute add the red pepper and broccoli. After 1 more minute add the zucchini and snow peas. Drain and add the vegetables to the tomato-wine sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste, cover and reserve.


3. Meanwhile, in another large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with 3 tablespoons of the cheese and some of the cooking water to keep it from sticking. Top with the vegetables and toss. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and serve immediately with Focaccia bread.


Here's an easy recipe for Saint Patty's Day. Grill some lamb chops, add a green salad, and you've struck gold!


COLCANNON-SERVES 8


6 medium all-purpose potatoes, about 2 pounds, peeled and cubed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

3 cups green cabbage, chopped

3 scallions, green part included, chopped

3 tablespoons or more water

about 3/4 cup milk, warmed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


1. Place potatoes in large saucepan, cover with salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer until fork-tender, about 25 minutes. 


2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and cook the cabbage and scallions 3 to 4 minutes, stirring. Add 3 tablespoons water, cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes until cabbage is soft, stirring occasionally.


3. When potatoes are tender, drain them and place in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until mashed. Add the warm milk and salt and pepper. Continue to beat until smooth, be careful not to overmix or the potatoes will be gummy. Fold in the cooked cabbage-onion mixture and the parsley. Spoon into serving dish, spread top with a tablespoon of softened butter and serve hot.

More recipes to come, check back soon!!!