It’s Yogurt Time!

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I know that Greek Yogurt is supposed to be very healthy, but the only one who likes it in our home is my husband. The rest of us are really creeped out by the texture. I don’t even want to linger on the thought of it for too long; it’s like something out of a Steven King novel.
But I love Kefir (especially in Birthday Cake flavor, which is ridiculously difficult to find) and regular yogurt.
Have you ever made your own yogurt? It’s so yummy, and easy. Give it a try!

Homemade Yogurt

1-1/3 cups whole milk
¼ cup plain yogurt with active cultures
2/3 cup heavy cream

Heat the milk and cream until they just boil. Then remove from heat and let cool to about 115-degrees (slightly cooler than tap water). Whisk in yogurt then strain (I used a dishcloth). Pour mixture into a 2-cup container and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and leave for 8-10 hours.
I know I shouldn’t admit this, but I add sugar (what my health-conscious sister used to call “white poison”) to mine. I just sprinkle it on top and dive in. Delicious!

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Celebrity Recipes

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Many years ago, while I was still working as a journalist, I did a story about the favorite Jewish foods of celebrities. What fun that was! I remember that golf great Jack Nicklaus wrote to tell me how much he liked bagels, and TV legend Aaron Spelling told me he loved blintzes. I also heard from Dick Clark, Mr. “American Bandstand,” who sent me his recipe for brisket.
I’m a vegetarian, but everyone for whom I prepare this absolutely adores it. I use the same recipe for tofu, and it works well, too.

Dick Clark’s Brisket

2 packets onion soup mix
2 Tbsp. each oil (any kind), red vinegar, sugar, dry mustard and paprika
4 cloves garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients and spread on both sides of the meat. Wrap meat in foil so that it is thoroughly covered on all sides.
Refrigerate overnight.

The next day:
Slice four onions. Add to the meat, then reseal foil, making certain it’s tight.

Place in a 350-degree oven for four-five hours. Meat will be very tender!

Note: You should check on the meat about halfway into the cooking time. If necessary, add a bit of water, though probably the meat will be doing just fine in its own juices.

The Best Potato Kugel You Will Ever Eat

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So Pesach (Passover) ended last week. It’s a pretty demanding holiday if you do it right (which is why I haven’t been posting anything). Clean, cook, eat – that was basically my schedule for eight days.
But I loved the seders, held the first two nights, when we tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. All my children were here, and we stayed up talking late into the night. (Well, they stayed up, anyway; I’m always the first to fall asleep.)
Most people know about matzah and Pesach, but for me, the potato is the most important food of the holiday. It substitutes for everything (like pizza crust), there are a zillion ways to prepare those babies, and who doesn’t like potatoes?
Potato kugel is one of my favorite fool-proof Pesach recipes. We also often enjoy this on Friday night, for Shabbat.

The Best Potato Kugel You Will Ever Eat

½ cup oil (we like olive, but you can use just about any kind)
8 medium potatoes, peeled
1 small onion
2 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3 Tbs. sugar
5 large eggs, beaten (or you can whip them up in a food processor, which is what I like to do)

Preheat oven to 425-degrees.
Place oil in a 9×13” baking pan and set in the oven.
Meanwhile, puree onions and potatoes in a food processor, then add other ingredients and mix until just combined.
Once the oil is sizzling hot, carefully remove from the oven.
THIS IS THE CRITICAL STEP: Carefully (I can’t say that enough, obviously) pour potatoes into the hot oil (yes, oil MUST be hot) and gently stir until oil is absorbed into mixture. This hot oil is what makes the kugel soft and fluffy.
Cook uncovered for one hour.

Sweets for Little Sweets

I found this recipe in Hadassah magazine, which adapted it from the Naomi Cookbook.
It’s very sweet, but also yummy.
According to the magazine, this candy was made in Ukrainian orphanages during WWII, using condensed milk sent by Jews from the United States.

Ukrainian Orphan Candy

1 12-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Place sweetened condensed milk in a non-stick, 10” sauté pan. Add salt, then sift cocoa over pan. Stir to incorporate. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until cocoa is dissolved, then until liquid thickens and becomes difficult to stir (about 12-14 minutes). Remove from heat, add walnuts and completely cool mixture, about 30 minutes. Working in batches, roll about 3 Tablespoons of cooled mixture in confectioners’ sugar. Form into a ball, then roll out on lightly sugared countertop, forming 1” longs. Cut logs into 1” pieces.

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Chomp, Chomp, Chomp

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When you’ve got a really monstrous appetite but don’t want to consume, say, an entire woman from the 1950s, here’s a great salad (and I do mean great!) with a long history.
This recipe is more than 100 years old, and the story is that it first became popular with men working the iron furnaces in Pennsylvania. What a terrible job that must have been, spending all day in the charcoal dust and smoke and heat.
At lunch, finally, a break – and this salad would have been the perfect treat. Supposedly the name for Chomp comes from the sound made when consuming it.

Chomp

2 large cucumbers, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 green pepper, diced
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
½ cup vinegar
¼ tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine vegetables. Mix remaining ingredients for dressing, then add to vegetables. Chill at least an hour before serving.

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Herbert Hoover was not the most popular president, but he had good taste when it came to soups.
This was one of his favorite recipes, and it’s both easy to prepare and delicious.

President Hoover’s Favorite Mushroom Soup

1 pound mushrooms, diced very small
1 cups cold water
2 cups stock, seasoned to taste
2 cups light cream
1 Tbsp. flour
Cold milk
3 Tbsp. whipped cream
Paprika

Immerse mushrooms in cold water for two hours, then simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Strain liquid and add seasoned stock. Blend cream and flour with a little cold milk until perfectly smooth. Add to mushrooms and stock. Sieve through a very fine strainer. Serve cold or hot.

Quiches for You

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Don’t you love vintage milk bottles?
I have two, and I keep my coffee creamer (I’m a big coffee drinker) in one of them.
I wish you could still get milk delivered to your home, and it would have that pure cream at the top that all the kids wanted. I imagine it would have been wonderfully sweet and rich.
There are three vegetarians in my family, so we eat many dairy dishes. Here’s an easy and delicious dairy meal that’s perfect for anyone with celiac disease, too.

Crustless Quiche

5 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup milk
2 cups grated cheese (we like a mix of mozzarella and cheddar but really, any kind will do)
1 cup mixed veggies (we like mushrooms and broccoli)
Seasoning, to taste (salt and pepper, of course, but also dill, garlic, rosemary)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Mix ingredients and bake about 45 minutes, until puffy and golden.