Category Archives: Thanksgiving recipes

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Tiny Turkey Meatballs

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~

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As I’ve mentioned recently (or maybe not so recently) I’m enamoured with soup meals -that is soups with enough protein, vegetables, and starch to constitute a complete meal in one bowl.  This one came about in what is not uncommon in my kitchen – leftover stuff.

I had lots of chopped kale left from the Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad I posted last week and, due to a miscalculation on my part, way too many sliced sweet potatoes from the soup kitchen.  Further, I had purchased a pound of ground turkey at the farmer’s market (I love their turkey products) and so…Ta Ta  Sweet Potato and Kale Soup with Tiny Turkey Meatballs.

I love saying that:  Tiny Turkey Meatballs….Tiny Turkey Meatballs…. I love saying that because whenever I make meatballs of something other than beef I usually name them Turkey Balls or Lamb Balls or Pork Balls – all of which are terrible names.  However, browsing someone’s blog (can’t remember whose or I would give you a link to them) I noticed s/he made a dish with turkey balls and called it turkey meatballs…Why Didn’t I Think of That????  If only I could go back to any of my cookbooks that have recipes for some form of meatball and rename them properly…alas it’s too late for past balls – but you know all future balls will be meatballs!
Hope you love this soup – Enjoy! Continue reading Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Tiny Turkey Meatballs

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo ~~

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I belonged to a book club many years ago.  There were about 7 of us and each month one of us would pick the book and host the dinner/discussion.  The club dissolved with my friend Helen’s quick and very unexpected passing.   Without Helen (whose book choices the rest of us always questioned) it was just too hard to regain momentum.  Skip forward several years and one of the original book club members decided to revive it but with a slightly different cast of characters.  After much debate a book (My Brilliant Friend) and a date for the meeting was chosen.

I confess that, as is/was usually the case, I put off reading the book until the last minute.  Three days before the meeting I started reading – and I’m happy to report I finished it with 2 hours to spare.  The dinner was to be at the organizer’s home and then, of the seven reading the book, only 3 of us (host + me + 1 other) made it to the discussion/dinner.

All this is just leading up to the fact that our host had prepared a wonderful dinner including my new favorite-salad-ever.  She found the recipe on a blog

kale and brussel sprout salad from www.onceuponachef.com
I went to the blog only to find that the blogger, Jen Segall, took and altered the recipe from Bon Appetit  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale-and-brussels-sprout-salad
The recipes at both sites use Parmesan style cheese which, being paleo, I omitted.   They both make really big batches (Bon Appetit serves 8 to 10 and Once Upon a Chef serves 6 to 8) and I wanted a more normal sized yield (mine serves 4 to 6).  Proportionally, they both used more dressing, but I honestly feel the amount here is PLENTY!  And, I went with the Bon Appetit choice of almonds rather than walnuts.
Here are some of the things that make this my new favorite salad
It’s DELICIOUS!
It’s easy to prepare – I found already shaves Brussels Spouts and washed and chopped kale at Trader Joe’s, making this salad a snap to make.
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It’s versatile –  add cooked chicken for a whole meal salad; add chopped apples and raisins/craisons/currents for a sweeter version; add beans for a heartier vegetarian/vegan salad
It can be prepared in advance – unlike many salads that just get soggy/slimy when dressed too soon, this one gets even better when allowed to stand
Hope this becomes your most favorite new salad too!   Enjoy!

Continue reading Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Cauliflower, Carrot and Turnip Soup

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo

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I’m already into the third week of my CSA (community supported agriculture) so I am knee deep in organic vegetables.  I got lovely little white turnips, and divine basil and very fresh parsley.  I combined that with carrots and cauliflower I had on hand and made this delicious soup.  Besides being delicious an added plus is although it’s a thick, rich soup, there are no starches in it.

Just to let you know, I’m giving my apartment a facelift (restoring my floors and painting) and I’ve been just a crazy woman putting away the tons (and I mean TONS!!!) of junk that I have acquired over the years.  Of course this would have been a great time to purge and, in fact I have given away a fair amount of books, etc. but my theory is “if you have the room to store it, and you might need it in the future, keep it.”  I formed this policy when I first moved into this apartment and did a major clean out/give away only to find I had given away stuff that I needed only a month later  : (

So, I hope you enjoy this soup and that your summer is delightful.
Continue reading Cauliflower, Carrot and Turnip Soup

Basic Asparagus Preparation and Hollandaise Sauce

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As Spring approaches (though it’s hard to tell when you’re still wearing your winter down coat) the vegetable that epitomizes Spring for me is asparagus.

I really like asparagus.  I like them even thinner than pencil thin.  My mom always preferred them really fat asparagus – she liked the meatiness.  The great thing about asparagus is that size does not matter (really, I’m not just saying that).  What is important in choosing asparagus is that they be firm, no limpness.

Look for asparagus with tips that are closed – and certainly avoid any that are starting to look wet and dark or slimy.

The bottoms of many asparagus can be tough which is why we snap them off.  Chose ones that are green all the way to the bottom as white on the bottom is definitely going to be tougher and you will be discarding more of the asparagus when you snap it – but that does not affect the flavor or mean the rest of the asparagus will be tough as well.

The proper way to prepare asparagus is to let the plant tell you where the tough part starts.  Do this by holding the asparagus with one hand on the bottom and the other in the middle or slightly towards the top.  Bend the asparagus until it snaps, leaving the bottom part to be discarded and the top to eat.

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My favorite way to prepare asparagus is to roast them.

Preheat your oven to 400F.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.  Now remember the Misto olive oil sprayer I recommended some months ago?  Now is the perfect time to use it.  Spray the pan with a light film of olive oil.  Add the asparagus and give a light spray.  Using the Misto prevents the asparagus from getting too greasy.  Bake 15 minutes or until softened (the timing will vary depending on how thick your asparagus are), turning once during baking – and that’s it.

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If you like, you can serve them with Hollandaise sauce.
Continue reading Basic Asparagus Preparation and Hollandaise Sauce

Macaroon Thumbprint Cookies

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Passover * Parve

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I’ve been making these macaroons for about a billion years (okay, slight exaggeration).  I found the recipe in one of those cookbook/pamphlets that you could send a dollar to the company and they send the booklet to you.  This one was from Baker’s and it was chocolate and coconut recipes.  I don’t think I own the booklet anymore, but I liked the recipe so much that I copied it (by hand because in those days you had to go to a store to make copies) into a blank book that  now contains most of my favorite recipes from various (non-online) sources.

There is no doubt that these are very sweet cookies.  If you are one of the “I don’t like stuff too sweet” people, skip this recipe but forward it to anyone you know who adore sweets.  Needless to say, these are perfect for Passover.
Continue reading Macaroon Thumbprint Cookies

Organic Shortening – and Dairy-free Flourless Chocolate Torte Revisited

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I always thought shortening was evil.  That is until I found out that my favorite food in the world (birthday cake frosting) was made of shortening and confectioners’ sugar and maybe vanilla (I like my birthday cakes all white – no chocolate for me) – and that it makes for a very flaky pie crust.   But still, it’s one thing to buy a cake or pie from a bakery and another to use the stuff at home.  So why am I devoting a post to shortening?

For one thing, I’m talking about organic shortening.  It’s not hydrogenated oils (evil) like the kind you find in supermarkets.  It’s palm oil (the oil from a palm seed) and nothing else – more importantly – it’s not hydrogenated (a process that turns oil that is naturally liquid at room temperature into shortening that is solid at room temperature).  The flavor is very neutral which is a great deal better than the other options.  As for its health benefits or lack thereof – I’m not too sure as I’ve seen some articles that praise it and others that say it’s downright bad for you.  But to be honest now that “science” has declared butter and eggs okay, I’m not sure anyone knows anything about foods anymore.

I’ve never really been thrilled with my butter replacement choices since going dairy free.  Ghee (clarified butter) has a flavor that overwhelms the delicate flavors of baked goods.  Non-dairy margarine has too stuff in it and I’m not overly in love with the flavor.  Coconut oil leaves everything tasting slightly coconutty and further the consistency can be tricky depending on the room temperature – in the summer it’s liquid and in the winter it’s rock solid.  Oil tends to be…oily.  But this particular shortening is solid but soft like butter that’s been allowed to soften.

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I’ve been playing around with this shortening since I purchased it and find it to work pretty well in any of the recipes that I’ve used coconut oil in.  Here’s the Chocolate Torte  made with shortening.  It’s denser and chocolate-ier than the original I posted last year.  Here’s the recipe: Continue reading Organic Shortening – and Dairy-free Flourless Chocolate Torte Revisited

Gluten-free Dairy-free Sweet Noodle Pudding (Kugel) for Passover

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Parve ~~~

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In my last post I told you about great gluten free, kosher for Passover noodles and I promised you a recipe for noodle kugel (noodle pudding), so here it is.

In the olden days I used to make a spectacular noodle pudding with sour cream and cottage cheese and pineapple (although the pineapple had to be omitted a long long time ago when I became violently allergic to it).  So, I was a little worried about how a non-dairy, gluten free kugel would come out.  The answer is GOOD – really good.

I suspect my family will miss my matzoh kugel this year, but honestly the gluten free matzoh – even though it tastes quite good – just disintegrates and turns to mush when I add the broth to the veges and matzoh.  So I hope they will forgive me or even better learn to love this noodle pudding instead.  Oh yes, it freezes (which is why I could make it today and plan to serve it at seder) well; just reheat before serving.
Continue reading Gluten-free Dairy-free Sweet Noodle Pudding (Kugel) for Passover

Jammin’ Collard Greens and Leeks

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo~~~

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I never really ate collards until I started working on a cookbook for Sylvia Woods (of Sylvia’s Restaurant fame in Harlem).  She needed a recipe tester for her book “Woods Family Cookbook” (which is really a great book) so I sat with her at her corner table and when she asked about my experience with soul food I confessed I had none.  BUT, I assured her, I was a quick study and once I’ve tasted something I can cook it – and more importantly, create a recipe for it.  So began a great romance – actually two romances…my love of Sylvia, her husband Herbert and their family and my love of soul food.  In her 20’s, Sylvia came up to New York from Hemingway, South Carolina and worked as a waitress in a small diner in Harlem.  Eventually she bought the dinner and started to grow the business to the world famous restaurant and catering business it currently is.

The recipe development process started with me tasting all the dishes Sylvia served at the restaurant – and culminated with one of the greatest weekends of memory.  The theme of the book is recipes from not just Sylvia but also from all her friends and family.  I would test a few in my kitchen and then every Tuesday I would go up to the restaurant and Sylvia would taste them and let me know if they tasted “right” or needed more work.  After about a month, we (Sylvia and her family, the publisher, the public relations person, and I) boarded a plane for South Carolina and we were off for the weekend.  The high point of the weekend was the Sunday lunch at the church where everyone who had submitted a recipe cooked it and brought it with them.  I got to get a real feel for what these recipes were supposed to be and who the people were behind the recipes.  It was  a truly remarkable and memorable experience.  I came back to New York feeling like a real member of the family – and what a wonderful family it is.

We lost Herbert in 2001 and Sylvia in 2012…but just so you get a sense of who they were…in addition to being wonderful people and exceptional hosts, greeting guests making sure everyone was enjoying themselves; every year on the anniversary of the restaurant, Sylvia’s set up a free buffet right outside the restaurant for anyone in the neighborhood who wanted to eat.

Sylvia prepared her collards with smoked turkey wings for seasoning.  I developed this vegetarian recipe which, although different from Sylvia’s is just as good in it’s own way.
Continue reading Jammin’ Collard Greens and Leeks

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo

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I Love blizzards. When I went out shopping this afternoon the snow was coming down so hard that the flakes were more like micro-snowballs and some were even flower and star shapes.  I was so excited I stopped a stranger on Broadway and asked him to photograph my glove and email the photo to me – which you can see he did – aren’t New Yorkers the greatest people on earth??? (okay I am biased on that subject).  I was so amazed by these flakes I stopped several people on the street and in Zabar’s to show them. They probably thought I was a nut, but they all praised my flakes and enthusiasm…and then they (the flakes) melted and that was that.

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By 6 when I walked Bella the snow had tapered off to almost nothing I was thinking this is going to end up a dud blizzard  : (  But here it is 1a.m. and I’m giving Bella her last walk of the day and it’s snowing pretty hard : )

Bella Bleu Cheese
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The last blizzard we had I sat in my living room reading three Twilight books (it snowed for 3 days and I read one book each day).  It was pure heaven.

In addition to marathon reading, I love to make soup when it’s snowing.  BP (before Paleo) I would make hearty bean soups – split pea or lentil, now I make hearty vegetable soups.  This one is pretty simple and straight forward and delicious.  Everyone who has tasted it has asked for the recipe.  If you have a cabbage in your refrigerator, you probably also have everything else you need to make this soup without having to go to the store.

Here’s hoping I’ll wake up tomorrow to a winter wonderland.  Happy Snow Day!
Continue reading Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Intermezzo: Apple Fennel Salad with Lemon Sorbet

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So I hosted a fund raiser for my synagogue this past Saturday night.  If I must say so myself; the food was quite excellent.  My personal favorite of the evening was a dish that came about unexpectedly.  I had decided that I wanted to make a salad with fennel and apple, but once I put the menu together I just couldn’t figure out when to serve it.  I already had an appetizer (Salmon Tartare) and I didn’t think that kind of salad belonged at the end of the meal.  But just as I was about to let it go I had the inspiration to serve an intermezzo (small palate cleanser – usually sorbet).  I already had the lemon sorbet (Sharon’s my favorite brand), but what if….what if I serve it on top of a refreshing fennel and apple salad?  Perfection! (Except for my friend Dori, who hated it.  I don’t accept responsibility for that since she doesn’t like fennel to begin with.)

You don’t have to serve this salad with sorbet, although the sorbet certainly does enhance the salad.  Or, you can change the flavor of the sorbet if you like – I’m quite sure that pear, mango, or passion fruit would work just as well.  Either way I think you will love it (unless, of course, you don’t like fennel to begin with – in which case substitute celery for the fennel).  Enjoy!
Continue reading Intermezzo: Apple Fennel Salad with Lemon Sorbet