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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Apple Bread

Shrug is catching on to the lingo as you can tell from the last line in this recipe. Just goes to show you. A great deal of recipes though not originally kosher can be made so, and once you get the hang of it, even a milk based Apple Bread as is described below can be also Parve!

Story & Description:

Another one of my experimental creations. I thought this bread tasted pretty good, but not quite as appley as I wanted. I substituted the apple cider drink mix for the other seasonings it originally called for. The result is an incredibly moist and yummy bread that is almost cake-like. Then I wondered what the bread would taste like if I used diced apples instead of raisins. Now I vary the breads by using any combination of the optional ingredients. Now matter which way you make it, it still tastes great.

Apple Bread - (makes two 8" x 4" loaves)

  1. 2 Tablespoon butter or margarine (softened)
  2. 1 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. ½ cup milk
  5. 1 cup applesauce
  6. 2 cup flour
  7. 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. 2 teaspoon dry hot apple cider drink mix
  11. 1 cup peeled, diced apples (optional)
  12. 2/3 cup raisins (optional)
  13. ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in egg and milk until well-combined.
  4. Mix in applesauce.
  5. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cider mix.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture until well combined.
  7. Gently stir in raisins, apples and/or nuts as desired.
  8. Fold into greased 8 x 4" loaf pans – half the batter in each pan.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before removing bread from loaf pans.
  11. Slice and serve.
(To keep this dish dairy-free (parve?), water or apple juice may be substituted in place of the milk, changing the overall consistency of the bread very little.)



Sounds Yummy! And though it seems to take a lot of ingredients they are mostly household items and does not take a special trip to the Supermarket. The baking as usual takes planning and good timing though, as all baking does. So we give this a two - cause you do need to prepare and pay a bit of attention as things go.

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Fudge Recipe

Yet another Recipe from Paula (I really should leave the kitchen)
(We will give you a few minutes for a shower Paula - then back to the kitchen and keep sending in those recipes!)

Fudge

Ingredients:

  1. 1 Bag Chocolate Morsels
  2. 1 16 oz package chopped Walnuts
  3. 2 Boxes of German Chocolate Squares
  4. 3 Tablespoons Butter
  5. 8 oz Marshmallow (fluff if available)
  6. 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  7. 1 Can Evaporated Milk
  8. 4 ½ Cups Sugar
If fluff is not available, you can melt marshmallows in a double boiler or placing a small pan inside a larger pan of water.

Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, pour morsels, walnuts, chocolate squares (broken into small pieces) and marshmallow.
  2. In a 5 quart pan, melt butter. Add Sugar and Evaporated Milk.
  3. Over medium heat, bring to a boil.
  4. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon.
  5. Boil for 6 minutes.
  6. Pour over mixture in bowl.
  7. Stir until all chocolate is melted and mix until smooth.
  8. Pour into 10 x 13 pan and let set for 4 hours



This is like too easy to believe. And Paula usually has to use a minimum of 2 zillion pots for each of her other recipes. I am beginning to think Paula has a sister - who knows how to stay out of the kitchen, and Sis sent us this one! This one is gonna make us real fat though!

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Couscous and Lentil Salad

A New Contributor has joined the ranks. Laurie has sent us this recipe for Couscous and Lentil Salad

Here is my absolute favourite summer salad to take to BBQs and Pot Lucks.

Dressing:

  1. The juice of one lemon
  2. 4 or 5 (or more!) chopped garlic cloves
  3. A third of a cup of light olive oil
  4. Salt and pepper
Salad:
  1. 1 cup of couscous
  2. 1 and 1 quarter cups of chicken stock
  3. 1 can of lentils drained and rinsed
  4. Half a peeled and chopped cucumber
  5. Half a chopped red pepper
  6. 1 carrot peeled and grated
  7. 1 green onion minced
  8. At least half cup of fresh parsley (don't skimp - this makes the salad)
Make dressing first to allow garlic to infuse.

Directions:
  1. Cook couscous in chicken stock according to package directions.
  2. Remove from heat, fluff with fork and cool.
  3. When cool add lentils and the rest of ingredients.
  4. Toss with dressing.
  5. This tastes best if allowed to sit for a few hours to let the flavours meld. I will often make more dressing and add a bit more depending on how large the lemons and how big the garlic cloves.
Enjoy!



This of course is real simple. Even the couscous is easy to make. The one thing I really like about the way Laurie sent in the recipe is that she makes it clear that you should allow the spices to be infused into the salad. This is a good rule for when you have time and plan ahead. Especially when making meat. Always try and give time for the spices to slowly meld with the food. It is so much better that way! By the way this is one of those times where you can substitute the chicken for something else, in terms of broth or vegetables if you wish to keep this salad parve and not meat!

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Comment From Paula Our Insane, Nutty Cook

Paula our Insane, Nutty cook sent the following in as a comment on one of the recipes, which was published but I liked it so much I am going to include it as a Post as well:

You asked for it Ted. On the weekends I generally spend 12 - 14 hours a day in the kitchen.

Excessive you may think but I love to cook.

I also have a thing about fresh ingredients and dislike to take shortcuts.

I prepare a lot of my week's meals and freeze them. Another quirk for me is my hatred of the microwave. Insane as you have tagged me is fitting.

Soon I will send you a couple of recipes for canning. Time consuming yes?Worth it? Definately.

A month ago, I spent the weekend making relish and applesauce with my uncles. It was probably one of the best times I have had in a long time.

Uncle Bob is a great cook. Uncle Sonny has set his kitchen on fire but bless his giant heart he wants to help. I let Sonny do the slicing of the veggies and kept him away from my stove. We talked, we laughed and made a mess.

I have always believed that some of the best memories are born in the kitchen.

You may think how can a person spend that much time in the kitchen. I believe that feeding my family and friends is "Loving Them". I took an interest in cooking early on out of survival. My mother and grandmother were HORRIBLE cooks. From package to oven and over cook everything, they called it cooking.
Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly and know they did the best they could.
Have you ever had boneless chicken breast that has cooked for 2 hours?

You don't want it. We were thankful for the cranberry sauce which kept us from choking down this delightful meal.

I will send more humor as I find more recipes for you.

Ted this site is awesome. I love sharing my recipes with someone. None of my darn siblings want them. They find it easier to call me and place their orders.
Send in your recipes and stories. Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen loves them!

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The Kosher Kitchen - Meat, Fish, & Dairy Products

Kosher Meat & Meat Products

It is commonly known that Kosher means not eating any Pig or pig by-products. Horse-meat is out too, just in case you were wondering. What is not so commonly understood, is that all the meat we are allowed to eat, must be slaughtered in a specific way. This is called "shechitah". Though we are allowed to eat the meat from a cow, lamb, turkey, chicken and so on, if it has not been slaughtered through the method of "shechitah" it is still not Kosher. Thus there are Kosher butchers and meat in the Kosher section of the supermarket. Snakes, turtles, frogs, snails (escargot), creepy crawlers are all not Kosher. But then again, I really never wanted to feed my kids a turtle.


Fish

Here again, Kosher means only certain fish. Shell-fish, lobster and shrimp are all out, (though today there is something called kosher shrimp.) A great many other fish are really off the books too.

Once on a trip to back to my old neighborhood in Manhattan, I had to make a purchase in the kosher butcher shop. The woman in front of me was giving her order.

"Five Rib Steaks, some lean Roast Beef, and a pound of shrimp," she said.

The butcher who wore a gigantic skull cap and had ear-locks (payot) down to his chin, did not bat an eyelash.
"Sure, Mrs. Klein," he answered respectfully.

"Shrimp?" I couldn't help myself. "Shrimp?" I said again this time louder. I looked around the store to make sure I had not made a mistake.

"Yes, kosher shrimp. All the rage now," the butcher said to me as he shrugged his shoulders.

Well, if shrimp can become kosher, then I guess Oreo's are not such a big deal. So lobster lovers, hold on for a bit. Maybe they will somehow produce a kosher lobster.


Milk Products

Bet you thought this was an easy haul. What can go wrong with milk products? Well, cheese has to be certified Kosher, mostly because of the process used in making it. Though you can find an incredible amount of Kosher cheeses, they still must be marked as Kosher. Many traditional Jews will not even drink milk if it is not certified kosher. Remember this then applies to every dairy product in the supermarket - from yogurt down the line.

(See the post on: How Do You Know A Processed Product Is Kosher? for information on kosher certification and markings of a product.)


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Fried Rice

Our Insane Cook Keeps On Going! - Paula just loves that kitchen!
(This can go great with Paula's Sweet & Sour Chicken)

Fried Rice



Ingredients:
  1. 2 Cups Rice
  2. 1 Cup Celery ( chopped small)
  3. 1 Bunch of Scallions (chopped small)
  4. 1 Red Pepper (chopped small)
  5. 1 Green Pepper (chopped small)
  6. 1 Cup Bean Sprouts ( cut in half)
  7. 1 ½ Cups Warm Water
  8. 1 Stick of Margarine (as usual Teddy's kitchen would use Extra Virgin Oil here and not margarine - but that is up to you.)
  9. ½ Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  10. 2 Eggs Scrambled (optional)
***Rice is made while raw. Do not pre-cook.

Directions:
  1. Melt stick of margarine in pan (with deep sides) over medium heat.
  2. Add Celery, Scallions, Peppers, and Bean Sprouts.
  3. Saute until veggies become transparent or less crisp.
  4. Add Rice and mix well. Add water and mix well.
  5. Lower heat and cover pan.
  6. Checking rice frequently, cook until water is gone.
  7. Add Soy Sauce (and scrambled egg) and mix well.


What can be said? This will give you great fried rice. It is easy, and has all the fresh ingredients that make up a great dish. It is also healthy and cheap to make.

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Sweet & Sour Chicken

Our Insane Cook Does It Again - Paula just loves that kitchen!

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ingredients:

  1. ½ Cup Flour
  2. ¼ Cup Cornstarch
  3. ½ Cup Water
  4. 1 Large Egg (lightly beaten)
  5. 2 lbs Boneless Chicken ( Cut into ¾ inch pieces)
  6. Canola Oil for frying
Sauce:
  1. 1 20 oz Can Pineapple Chunks (do not drain)
  2. ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  3. ½ Cup White Vinegar
  4. 2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  5. 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  6. 1 Cup of Water
  7. 2 Tablespoons Water
  8. 2 Tablespoons Canola oil
  9. 1 Cup shredded carrots
  10. 1 Red or Green Pepper (seeded and cut to thin slices)
  11. 1 Bunch of Scallions (diced small)
  12. 1 Clove Garlic
Directions:
  1. Combine First 4 ingredients in a bowl. Stir with wire whisk until blended.
  2. Add Chicken and mix until coated. ( this is called dredging)
  3. Pour Oil into fry pan and heat to 375 degrees.
  4. Place coated chicken into hot oil and fry for 5 minutes (until golden brown)
  5. Drain on paper towel.
Sauce:
  1. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice in a bowl. Set pineapple aside.
  2. Mix juice with 1 cup of water. Add brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Stir until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  3. Combine 2 Tablespoons of water with 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
  4. You can use a deep sided fry pan if you do not own a wok.
  5. Pour 2 Tablespoons of canola oil in pan and heat on medium for 2 minutes.
  6. Add carrots, peppers and scallions.
  7. Stir fry for 3 – 5 minutes. Stir in juice mixture. Bring to a boil. Continue boil for 1 minute.
  8. Stir in cornstarch mixture, stir constantly until sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and add chicken.





Difficult - yes. Worth it - definitely! Paula does it again with this recipe. Maybe she will write in and tell us just how much time she spends in the kitchen!

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Take Me Out To The Ballgame

When I was a kid growing up in New York, Pop and his brothers for their business had one incredible "treat" for me. We had season seats to the Jets, Giants, Knicks and Rangers, while one of my aunts had a whole box smack on the Third Base Line, first row, for the Mets. If you are a sports fan you can just imagine what heaven that was for my friends and myself.

Oh, don't think I had seats for any game I wanted to go to either. They were for "business clients" and I usually got to pick 2 Giant games (football) 1 Jet game (football) and a lot of Met games. The Knicks (basketball) and Rangers (hockey) well let us say, Pop and I went to a lot of those, while Mom loved to go to Hockey. She loved the fights in Hockey and would scream like a banshee when they started. That was my Mom!

But there was one really yucky thing for me especially for the Baseball and Football games. We were kosher, and therefore all we could eat at the games were Peanuts, Crackerjacks and Coke. Now mind you, that is great, but when you are sitting next to a bunch of people eating stadium hot dogs and that smell hits your nostrils, and you are all of ten years old, well, it kind of bums ya out that you could not eat the stuff.

Now, I have been told, and also saw on a couple of my trips back to the old hunting ground, that in Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium there was a Kosher concession stand now. And though that is a great thing for all the people who eat kosher, I truly wondered how the hell they make money? I mean how many people at each game are going to insist on buying Kosher food and can afford those prices to boot?

So of course, an old friend sends me this article entitled: "Growing kosher market arrives at stadiums to feed hungry fans" printed in the Boston Herald.

I drooled. And drooled again while screaming, "It is NOT fair!"

Talking about Jeffrey Striks, who opened a company seven years ago, Strikly Kosher, it tells how he is offering kosher food at concession stands at Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium in New York and how he now operates kosher stands at Giants Stadium and Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, Nassau Coliseum in Long Island and the Yankees’ minor league ball park in Staten Island.

The article goes on to say:

His core market is the most observant Jews who follow the laws of kashrut, which restricts what food can be eaten and how it is prepared.

But he’s also attracting customers who aren’t Jewish and perceive that kosher food is healthier. They are buying his knishes, chicken nuggets and “knockwurst” - not the traditional German sausage but a chicken product designed to look like a hot dog.
That is interesting. Kosher is seen as healthier food. I don't really think this is true, but let us go on a bit shall we?
Since typical stadium fare is hot dogs, selling kosher food at sports venues is a logical market, said Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior research analyst at Mintel, a market research firm in Chicago which estimates the American kosher food market to be $40 billion.
That is a lot of money - $40 Billion. And certainly that is not only being eaten by Kosher observant families.

But I know from experience it is true that Kosher food is percieved as being better and healthier. And if I had been smarter I should have jumped on this hint.

While in high tech, I used to fly into the US and Europe quite often for meetings and to give seminars. Indeed, during the course of a couple of years, I thought I was living in airports. One time I ended up in the Las Vegas Convention Center. I was not a particularly happy dude during that period, and to make it worse I was starving. I am also incredibly lucky as I can live on tuna and mayo for days on end. But for some reason I was starving during this convention.

For those of you familiar with the Convention Center in Las Vegas, it is a huge affair. Not as huge as Berlin but big enough. So there I was giving a seminar, and I mentioned during the seminar that I was going to shrink to nothing in the middle of the most gluttonous city in the world.

So some nice person comes up to me and says, "Just wanted to tell you that there is a kosher stand all the way over at the other end of the grounds."

So I make a beehive over to the Kosher stand, where all the food stands are. And I get there, and see that every other food stand is serving maybe 1-2 people and the Kosher stand has a line of no less than around 50 people. So like a good boy I stand in line, but I realize there is no way that all these people are kosher observant Jews or Muslims. So I ask the lady behind me why she and everyone else is on line for the Kosher food, which by the way, was being microwaved, covered in all sorts of covers, and looked to me absolutely horrible!

She says, "Everyone knows Kosher food is better. Tastes better than the rest of this crap too."

I shrug and figure you know what? When people get to Las Vegas they loose their marbles. I would have given anything for a nice, thick Rib Steak right then and there.

I guess, the lesson is, whether true or not, Kosher food is looked upon as a grade above. I do not understand why, perhaps people think we do things to clean out the food better (partially true). And Jewish law demands a healthy animal and certainly a clean and very divided kitchen.

Well folks. If anyone out there wants to take me to a ballgame..
Tickets are on you. Kosher Hotdogs and Coke are on me!!
And boy are you going to eat and eat and eat. Let me tell you.
I have many lost years to make up for!

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Banana Bread

Another Bread Recipe From Our Totally Insane Cook - Paula

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  1. 3 ½ Cups Flour
  2. 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  3. 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon ( I add 3 Teaspoons because I love cinnamon)
  4. 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  5. 2 Cups Sugar
  6. 1 Cup Canola Oil
  7. 4 Eggs
  8. 2/3 Cup Water
  9. 3 – 4 Ripened Bananas (mashed with 2 teaspoons of vanilla)
  10. 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  11. 1 Cup chopped nuts (optional)
Directions:
  1. Mix Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Mix well with a spoon.
  3. Make a well in the center of the bowl ( push dry mixture along the sides)
  4. In the center of the bowl add Oil, Eggs, Water and Bananas.
  5. Mix together with dry ingredients until well blended.
  6. Grease either 2 - 9x5 loaf pans or 1 – bundt pan
  7. Bake for 1 hour on 350 degree oven.
  8. Toothpick inserted in center should come out clean.
Note: This recipe works with Zucchini, Carrots or Pumpkin as well. Or you can use more than one and the flavor is great.

Made ahead of time, they freeze well in air tight packaging.




What can I say? Paula the Insane Cook does it again. Easy, good and yummy!

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PASTA WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE

Submitted by: Karen P. - A great cook with a great sense of humor

PASTA WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE

***Special Requirements:

Blender or Electric Hand Beater or Really really really strong hands and arm muscles!


Ingredients:

  1. 1 package sweet Kosher Italian sausage (grocery packs it in 20oz packages)
  2. 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes *(fresh onion is great here)
  3. 1 teaspoon dried garlic flakes *(fresh garlic is great here too!)
  4. 1 teaspoon basil *(fresh is great)
  5. 1 teaspoon oregano *(fresh is great)
  6. 1 teaspoon rosemary *(fresh is great)
  7. ¼ sweet red bell pepper , finely diced.
  8. 1 big fresh tomato, well chopped.
  9. 1 28 oz can of stewed tomatoes
  10. 4 tablespoon (at least Virgin preferably Extra Virgin) Olive oil
  11. 2 tablespoon red wine
  12. ½ teaspoon sea salt
  13. ½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
  14. 1 pinch of black pepper
  15. ½ pinch turmeric (if you like Turmeric then a bit more is great!)
  16. the barest sprinkle of nutmeg
  17. 1 box of whole grain pasta ( Or spinach pasta-linguine)
* When using FRESH SPICES (as I have said you should when you can for the taste) use more than a teaspoon, probably a 1 1/2 teaspoon of fresh for every teaspoon of packaged spices is a good formula.


Directions:
  1. Place sausage in skillet (iron skillet if you have one)
  2. Add ¼ cup of water, cover and simmer for 10-12 min ( until water is gone)
  3. Remove lid and continue to stir-fry for 5 more min until lightly browned on the sides.
  4. Remove from pan, put on paper towels to drain.
  5. Pour olive oil into pan turn up heat.
  6. Add onion, garlic, basil, oregano and rosemary.
  7. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  8. Add fresh chopped tomato and bell pepper.
  9. Stir fry for 5 minutes.
  10. Add red wine, salt, sugar, pepper, turmeric, and nutmeg.
  11. Reduce heat and simmer covered.
  12. Using a sharp knife slice sausage at an angle so you have thin ovals and not rounds. (Ovals are nicer looking when you serve this, you see.)
  13. Toss this into your simmering sauce.
  14. Take the can of stewed tomatoes, and dump it into your blender.
  15. Hit *puree* for 2 min.
  16. Dump the resulting mixture into your simmering sauce.
  17. Stir. Taste. Some of you may like more salt or more pepper or vice versa. (This recipie also tastes good with HOT Italian sausage and a fresh cayenne tossed in to make life interesting. If you do that, double the turmeric and nutmeg.)
  18. Boil the water for your pasta.
  19. Prepare your pasta.
  20. While pasta is preparing, continue stirring your sauce, make sure it is happily simmering but not so high it sticks to your pan as the moisture evaporates.
  21. As soon as the pasta is ready serve it up along with a nice green salad and some garlic bread on the side. Since the bottle of wine is open anyway, serve that too. (Unless you used it to make salad dressing)
This serves 2 adults and 3 kids or 2 adults and 1.5 teenagers. ( Or 1 teenager who has just completed a 10 mile run.)





Karen was nice enough to submit this recipe to Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen and she promises a great deal more. Karen has a very finely tuned sense of humor and I am 100% sure that the wine would also be gone with the Pasta by the end of the meal. This requires patience and a watchful eye more than anything else. Also fairly good stocked spice shelf or spices in the fridge. Gets a three in difficulty due to concentration requirements and the need to be fairly good with the short term simmering and boiling. By the way, preparing Pasta means boiling it in water until soft. Not soggy! I said Soft! (I will teach you all how to do this in another post!)

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