Mango Dessert Risotto

Mango RisottoThis rice dessert is great served warm or cooled, and can be made with flavours other than mango. Just swap out the diced mango and juice and substitute with peaches, or cherries or raspberries. The possibilities are endless and will most definitely impress! If you find that your fruit is not sweet enough, you can always add a bit a sugar. If it’s too sweet, you can cut it with a dash of lemon juice. This recipe will serve 6 for dessert.

Ingredients:

1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups water
3 cups mango nectar or juice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups of fresh mango, diced
optional garnishes: toasted coconut, dried fruit, nuts or mint

Directions:

Heat water, mango nectar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a sauce pan to simmer. In another large saucepan, set on medium/high heat, measure out 1 cup Arborio rice and add one cup of the hot water/mango mixture, stirring constantly until all the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the water/mango mixture one cup at a time until all the liquid is used and rice is tender. (If texture is too firm, add ½ cup additional water.) The rice should take about 25 minutes to cook, and still have some sauce left. Fold in the diced mango. Garnish with toasted coconut, nuts, dried fruit or mint.

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Carrot, Sweet Potato, Apple Kugel

Carrot, Sweet Potato, Apple KugelThis recipe was passed around the office as a “keeper” on a scrap of yellowed newsprint. Wanting to track down the original source, (thank you Google!) I was able to find that the recipe was first published in the Baltimore Sun back in December of 1991*. It was part of an article written by Colleen Pierre, R.D. entitled “Veggies Don’t Have to be Bland, Boring”. While yes it is a bit old (23 years!) the article, and the recipe, still hold true. If you would like to read the original article, please click here.  This recipe will serve 8.

Ingredients:

¼ cup margarine
1 cup grated, peeled sweet potatoes (1 medium/large sweet potato)
1 cup grated, peeled carrots (2 medium/large carrots)
1 cup grated, peeled apples (1 large apple)
½ cup matzo meal
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons sweet wine
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon oil (to grease pan)

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with about 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ingredients, and then pour into your prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown on top.

* According to the article, the actual recipe comes from “Life After Schmaltz,” a book for heart-healthy Jewish holiday cooking by Rosalind Trieber, M.S., Ann Sussman and Janet Brigham, Ph.D., published in Baltimore by Trieber Associates.

Hamentashen

HamentashenThere are a million different flavours out there for Hamentashen! You can go old fashioned with prune or poppy seed, traditional with jam, or try some new modern twists! Below you’ll find a basic dough recipe, and then some new fillings to try this year! I hope you like them!

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
¾ cup margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
Filling of choice (See below for some options!)
egg wash (egg + water)

Instructions:

Sift together the baking powder, flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the margarine. Add well beaten eggs and mix together to form a soft dough. Roll out on a floured board to ¼” thickness. Cut with a large, round cookie cutter. Put a spoonful of desired filling in centre, and pinch together to form triangular pocket. Brush with an egg wash, put on a well-greased pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Poppy Seed Filling:

Ingredients:
¾ cup poppy seeds
2 tablespoons margarine
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Directions:
Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan. Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar and honey and simmer over a low flame until the sugar is melted. Pour half the hot mixture into a cup. Very slowly drizzle the hot mixture into the beaten egg, whisking constantly. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from fire. Whisk in the poppy seeds and refrigerate until fully cooled before using.

Fresh Cranberry Filling:

Ingredients:
1 (12 oz.) package fresh cranberries
1 ¾ cup white granulated sugar
1 ¼ water
Zest of one orange

Directions:
Bring water, sugar, and orange zest to a boil and continue to boil for about 10 minutes, until mixture is syrup–like. Add cranberries and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until berries pop. Remove from heat. Pour into bowl and refrigerate overnight or until chilled.

Apple Pie Filling:

Ingredients:
2 apples, very finely diced
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:
Peel and dice the apples very finely. Mix in the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss until apples are fully coated.

Coffee Cake Filling:

Ingredients:
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans or cashews
2 tablespoons melted margarine
1 to 2 tablespoons apple butter

Directions:
Mix the sugar, cinnamon and nuts together. Slowly drizzle in the margarine in, and then toss to mix with the apple butter. You may find it easier to blend in the butter if you microwave it first for about 15 seconds.

Pecan Pie Filling:

Ingredients:
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup almond milk
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¾ cup pecan pieces
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Whisk together the maple syrup, almond milk, salt, and cornstarch in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep stirring continuously with a whisk until the mixture boils and thickens. Once boiling, turn off the heat and stir-in pecan pieces and vanilla. Allow to fully cool.

Lemon Bar Filling:

Ingredients:
½ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
4 lemons, juiced (just under 1 cup juice)
zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
¾ cup honey
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:
Combine arrowroot or tapioca, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, palm sugar, and maple syrup. Whisk wet ingredients into dry until dry ingredients are completely dissolved. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan on low-medium heat, and whisk continuously for 8-10 minutes until a thick custard forms. Be very careful to continue whisking on a lower flame or the eggs might scramble. Allow to completely cool.

Hello Dollies Bars

Hello DolliesIngredients:

¾ cup butter (or 1 ½ sticks)
1 cup crushed saltine crackers
⅛ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (I like my walnuts toasted first)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in 9”x13” baking pan. Mix together in a bowl the cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the crumb mixture evenly over melted butter, and push down so that the mixture becomes the crust. Pour the condensed milk over the crust, and then spread the coconut evenly over the milk. Scatter chocolate chips evenly over coconut. Spread walnuts over chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes*. Cool completely and cut into bars.

*If using a dark coated pan lower temperature to 325 degrees, as the edges tend to get dark.

Sauce 2 – Béchamel Sauce

bechamel-sauceThis is a basic béchamel sauce recipe that is used for dishes like moussaka or the base for an Alfredo. This recipe will make about 2 cups.

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons clarified butter or ¼ stick unsalted butter
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ onion, peeled
1 whole clove
kosher salt, to taste
ground white pepper, to taste
pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally and taking care not to let it boil. Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it’s liquefied. Don’t let it turn brown, though — that will affect the flavor. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving you a pale-yellow-coloured paste. This paste is called a roux. Heat the roux for another minute or so to cook off the taste of raw flour.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the hot milk to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps. Now stick the pointy end of the clove into the onion and drop them into the sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about 20 percent, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it’s too thick, whisk in a bit more milk until it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the sauce from the heat. You can retrieve the clove-stuck onion and discard it now. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth. Season the sauce very lightly with salt and white pepper. Be particularly careful with the white pepper — and the nutmeg, if you’re using it. A little bit goes a long way! Keep the béchamel covered until you’re ready to use it.

Mornay SauceMornay Sauce Recipe

The Mornay Sauce is a classic cheese sauce made by enriching a standard Béchamel sauce with Gruyère and Parmesan cheese. The Mornay Sauce is an ideal accompaniment for eggs, vegetables, pasta or fish. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint Béchamel sauce
½ cup Gruyère cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup whole milk, hot

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the Béchamel to a simmer. Add the Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses and stir until the cheese has melted. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and adjust consistency with the hot milk if necessary. Serve right away.

cheddar cheese sauceCheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe

The cheddar cheese sauce is a classic cheese sauce for vegetables made by enriching a standard Béchamel sauce with cheddar cheese, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. It’s an ideal accompaniment for vegetables, pasta or fish. Oh, and did I mention nachos? Or macaroni? I mean, honestly, it’s a cheddar cheese sauce. Is there anything you can’t serve it with? This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint Béchamel sauce
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup whole milk, hot

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the Béchamel to a simmer. Add the cheddar cheese and mustard powder and stir until the cheese has melted. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat and adjust consistency with the hot milk if necessary. Serve right away.

Soubise SauceSoubise Sauce Recipe

The Soubise Sauce is a classic cream sauce for vegetables made by sautéing onions and then puréeing them before adding to a basic Béchamel sauce. The Soubise Sauce is an excellent accompaniment for vegetables, eggs or chicken. Note: For a simple variation on the classic soubise sauce, add some tomato purée to the sauce just before serving. This recipe will make about 1 quart of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 lb onions, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 quart Béchamel sauce
2 cups tomato purée (optional)

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onions until soft and translucent, but don’t let them turn brown. Transfer cooked onions to a food processor. Purée briefly and then return them to the pot. Whisk the Béchamel into the puréed onions and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add optional tomato purée and serve right away.

Latkes – 3 Ways

Potato LatkeRegular Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

4 medium potatoes
1 onion
2 eggs
½ cup flour or matzo meal
1 teaspoon chicken soup mix (bullion)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Oil for frying

Directions:

Shred potatoes in a food processor. Rinse and drain the potatoes shreddings very well. Take half of the shreddings and puree them along with the onion. Add the eggs, flour, chicken soup mix, baking powder, salt and pepper to the puree. Mix the puree together with the remaining portion of shredded potatoes. Pour oil to about ⅛” depth into a large skillet. When hot, drop in potato mixture by large spoonfuls to form pancakes. Brown well on both sides. Drain well on paper towels. Yields about 2 dozen or 5 dozen miniatures.

Sweet Potato LatkesSweet Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

2 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams
2 tablespoons matzoh meal or flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon (to taste)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
Oil for frying

Directions:

Shred potatoes in a food processor. Rinse and drain the potatoes shreddings very well. Take half of the shreddings and puree them. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, and spices to the puree. Mix the puree together with the remaining portion of shredded potatoes. Pour oil to about ⅛” depth into a large skillet. When hot, drop in potato mixture by large spoonfuls to form pancakes. Brown well on both sides. Drain well on paper towels. Makes about 18 – 20 pancakes.

Zucchini LatkesZucchini Latkes

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini
1 large potato
1 small onion
3 tablespoons matzoh meal or flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Oil for frying

Directions:

Shred the zucchini and potato in a food processor. Rinse and drain the potato shreddings very well. Remove the excess water from the rinsed potato shreddings and the zucchini shredding as well (you can put them in dish towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out moisture). Take half of the shreddings and puree them along with the onion. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, and spices to the puree. Mix the puree together with the remaining portion of shredded potato/zucchini. Pour oil to about ⅛” depth into a large skillet. When hot, drop in batter mixture by large spoonfuls to form pancakes. Brown well on both sides. Drain well on paper towels. Makes about 12 – 18 pancakes.

Banana Orange Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Orange Banana BreadThis is a good use of a few leftover items hanging around your kitchen: Cranberry sauce, bananas and an orange! In fact, when you start to see your bananas heading south, stick them in the freezer for when you wish to make banana bread at a later date, as you’re gonna need the dark overly-ripe ones for the recipe! The original recipe makes 2 – 9×5 inch loaves.

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
3 eggs
3 mashed bananas (very ripe)
1 orange, peeled and mashed
1 cup cranberry sauce
½ cup milk (you can use soy or water as well)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup chopped walnuts (or nut of choice)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, and mix in bananas, orange, cranberry sauce, milk, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually blend flour mixture into the banana mixture. Fold in walnuts. Pour into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, and cool completely.

Moroccan Cigars – 3 Ways

regular morrocan

Moroccan Pastilles

Ingredients:

2 pounds Ground meat
½ cup water
6-7 bay leaves
Salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ cup oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pound fyllo dough
Melted margarine (for between fyllo layers)

Directions:

In a medium size sauté pan, brown the meat along with the water, 4 – 5 bay leaves, salt, pepper, mace, nutmeg and turmeric. Reduce heat, and let rest until all of the moisture has evaporated. Let the meat mixture cool to room temperature, and then grind it along with 2 bay leaves, oil and lemon juice. Once fully ground and combined, form the meat into small flat balls. Refrigerate the balls until they have completely cooled. On a clean work surface lay out a sheet of the fyllo dough. Using a pastry brush, baste the melted margarine on the dough sheet. Place a second sheet of dough on top of the first sheet.
Triangle Fold

Using scissors, divide the sheets length wise into 2” strips. Place one of the meat balls at the base of the dough strip. Fold the dough, alternating angles, until the entire strip is used, and the pastille is shaped like a triangle. Repeat this process with the rest of the meat. Once all the meat has been used, place the triangle pastilles on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cigar

Spicy Moroccan Pastilles

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground meat
½ cup water
6-7 bay leaves
½ cup oil
2 heads of garlic
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1 heaping teaspoon paprika
1 heaping teaspoon salt
2-3 hot chilies
1 pound fyllo dough
Melted margarine (for between fyllo layers)

Directions:

In a medium size sauté pan, brown the meat along with the water, 4 – 5 bay leaves, salt, cumin, paprika and hot chilies. Reduce heat, and let rest until all of the moisture has evaporated. Let the meat mixture cool to room temperature, and then grind it along with 2 bay leaves, oil and garlic. Once fully ground and combined, form the meat into small flat cigars. Refrigerate the cigars until they have completely cooled. On a clean work surface lay out a sheet of the fyllo dough. Using a pastry brush, baste the melted margarine on the dough sheet. Place a second sheet of dough on top of the first sheet. Using scissors, divide the sheets length wise into 3” strips. Place one of the meat cigars at the base of the dough strip. Fold the sides into the centre, and then roll up the length of the dough, creating a cigar look. Repeat this process with the rest of the meat. Once all of the meat has been used, place the cigar pastilles on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sweet Chicken

Sweet Chicken Moroccan Pastilles

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground chicken
1 onion
1 heaping teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup raisins (optional)
1 pound fyllo dough
Melted margarine (for between fyllo layers)

Directions:

In a medium size sauté pan, brown the meat along with the water, onion, sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and let rest until all of the moisture has evaporated. Let the meat mixture cool to room temperature, and then grind it along with the almonds and raisins. Once fully ground and combined, form the meat into small flat balls. Refrigerate the balls until they have completely cooled. On a clean work surface lay out a sheet of the fyllo dough. Using a pastry brush, baste the melted margarine on the dough sheet. Place a second sheet of dough on top of the first sheet. Using scissors, divide the sheets length wise into 2” strips. Place one of the meat balls at the base of the dough strip. Fold the dough, alternating angles, until the entire strip is used, and the pastille is shaped like a triangle. Repeat this process with the rest of the meat. Once all the meat has been used, place the triangle pastilles on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

Creamy Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

3 ¾ cups milk
½ cup Arborio rice
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

In a medium size pot, add all of the ingredients, save the vanilla, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture has reached temperature, reduce to low and cover the pot. Stir the mixture every few minutes, so that the rice does not burn. Once the rice is tender and the mixture is thick, about 15-20 minutes, remove from the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve warm or cool, as is or with a sprinkling of cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Stress Relief Needed?

Stressed

So did you know that stressed spelled backwards is desserts? Ergo, to solve stress, one must eat dessert! I’m sure my logic is faulty somewhere in there, but right now, I’m thinking of the warm, creamy rice pudding that I have as today’s recipe. It is filled with great fall flavours, like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and cardamom. These warm flavours actually do physically warm you up! Here are some of the health benefits that the spices in today’s recipe promote:

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) is a member of the Lauraceae (Laurel) Family. It helps dry dampness in the body and warms people that are always cold and suffering from poor circulation. Cinnamon is antiseptic and an excellent digestive tonic. Chewing cinnamon flavoured gum or just smelling the sweet spice has been found to improve brain activity. Cinnamon enhances cognitive processing and was found to improve test subjects scores related to attention, memory and visual-motor speed when working at a computer.

Nutmeg (Myristica Fragrans) is a member of the Myristicaceae Family. During ancient times, Roman and Greek civilizations used nutmeg as a type of brain tonic. This is because nutmeg can effectively stimulate your brain. As a result, it can help eliminate fatigue and stress. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, nutmeg may also be a good remedy. Nutmeg can also improve your concentration so you can become more efficient and focused at work or at school.

Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) is a member of the  Orchidaceae (Orchid) Family. Vanilla is rich in antioxidants which prevent and reverse skin damage caused by free radicals. It helps to slow down signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. Certain neurological studies have proved that vanilla extract can have a positive effect on those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), a member of the Zingiberaceae (Ginger) Family, is an expectorant, thus helping to open the respiratory passages. Cardamom oils can be added to baths as a form of aromatherapy that fights depression and reduces stress. Ground Cardamom seeds can be made into a tea for similar benefits.

So there you have it, straight from the doctors, you NEED to eat rice pudding! It’s for your health!