a little of each

A family's cookbook

Prize-Winning Hamantaschen March 2, 2015

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 12:39 pm
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Alice’s First Place poppy seed hamantaschen!

 

Recipe adapted from the Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer.

The Jewish holiday of Purim is a little bit Halloween (costumes and sweets are involved), a little bit Mardi Gras (imbibing and parties too!), but there are a few staples: retelling the story of Esther, Mordecai, and the dastardly Haman, usually as a fun play; a drink or two, and noshing on hamantaschen, triangle-shaped cookies with a variety of fillings.

This year we hosted our first (but not the last!) Hamantaschen Bake Off with great success.  Adults and children each submitted entries in either Traditional flavors (prune, poppy, apricot, or strawberry – a recent “traditional” addition, that last one) or Gourmet, which covered everything else and then some!

I’m so proud to say that my girls who already enjoy baking have been inspired by BBC/PBS’s Great British Bakeoff/Baking Show and were more than eager to enter the contest.  We started with the same basic dough recipe, and then Adeline turned hers into chocolate chip hamantaschen with a white chocolate drizzle, and peanut butter and chocolate hamantaschen. Alice went traditional with poppy seed and strawberry.

Alice’s poppy seed entry won first place in the Kids Traditional category, and her strawberry took third!  Adeline’s chocolate chip entry tied for third in a crowded field of Kids Gourmet!

Ingredients

Dough:

3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
dash salt
For the chocolate chip and peanut butter versions, you’ll need 3 oz of chocolate, chopped to less than 1/4″ pieces.

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Filling:

1. Chocolate chip hamantaschen: mini chocolate chips, and/or chopped chocolate
2. Poppy seed hamantaschen: prepared poppy seed filling
3. Strawberry hamantaschen: seedless strawberry jam
4. Peanut butter chocolate hamantaschen: two parts peanut butter to one part powdered sugar

Directions

In a large bowl mix together eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour and salt, and mix until dough comes together. If making the chocolate chip or peanut butter version, add the chopped chocolate to the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for one hour to firm up

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two or three large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, or plan to bake in batches. Divide the dough in half. Take another two pieces of parchment and sprinkle flour on one, place the dough half on top, then sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough.

Place the second piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll on top of the parchment until the dough is about ¼ inch thick. Every few rolls, peel back the top parchment and sprinkle a little more flour on the dough. Use a 2-3 inch drinking glass or round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles.

Place up one teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough circle and then fold the three sides in towards the middle to form a triangle, leaving a small opening in the center. Pinch the three sides together very tightly. Repeat with the remaining dough and scraps, making sure to sprinkle a little flour under and over the dough before you roll.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned but the tops are still light. Slide the parchment paper onto wire racks to cool the cookies. If desired, drizzle melted chocolate across the cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days or freeze for up to three months.

 

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Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese and Honey February 26, 2015

Filed under: Fruits and Vegetables,Sides — alittlemoreofeach @ 11:50 am
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Who would’ve guessed that Brussels sprouts would become such a thing? They’ve transformed from the very bottom of the list of Delicious Vegetables, just below lima beans, to Princess of Pinterest recipes (quinoa is Queen, obvs). And this thrills me because I love those mini cabbages, especially if they are roasted or broiled, as this recipe calls for.

These were served at our Thanksgiving in 2014, and, like everything offered there, were wonderful.

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Ingredients

1 lb Brussels sprouts
1-2 Tbl oil
2 oz goat cheese
2 Tbl honey
salt and pepper

Directions

Heat oven to 375. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half and place in a baking dish. Drizzle the oil over and then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until the sprouts are beginning to color and even get crispy in parts. Remove from the oven. Drizzle the honey and sprinkle the goat cheese over the hot sprouts. Serve warm.

 

Sweet and Rich Banana Muffins April 25, 2014

Filed under: Breads,Breakfast — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:57 pm
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Sweet and rich banana muffins. A Little of Each.com

A little like cake, a little like a muffin, a lot of yum.

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Muffins, Infinite Ways recipe.

If only all produce, upon ripening too fast and becoming mushy, spotty, and gross, could be turned into deliciousness like bananas.  It goes a long way in making up for their Hobbit hole-sized window of perfect ripeness (Eddie Izzard, anyone?).  There are an infinite number of fabulous banana bread recipes (a few here even), and they can range from healthy and hearty to decadent and chocolate-filled.  This recipe, which can be made as muffins or a bread, is a wonderful middle ground, pairing not-too-sweet with a  moist yet light cake texture.  Of course, either form is best warmish with a smidge of butter and strawberry jam.

 

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour or substitute up to 1 cup with white whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

6 Tbl butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup mashed bananas, about 2 bananas worth

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/3 brown sugar

1-2 tsp Penzeys Cake Spice

 

Directions

Heat the oven to 375. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or loaf pan.

Mix together the first three dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) in a bowl. In a second bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  In another bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, and mashed banana. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, then moisten with a little of the milk. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used up, taking care not to overmix.  The batter should be lumpy, not smooth, and thick but quite moist; add a little more milk if necessary.

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Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling them about 2/3 full, or into a loaf pan. My small assistant and I used silicone molds with nice results.

 

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Spoon a generous bit of brown sugar mixed with Penzeys Cake Spice over the top.

 

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Bake for 20 minutes for muffins or 40-50 minutes for the bread.  The results are light in color, fluffy, and the brown sugar on top adds a hint of crunch.  Now to figure out if these are breakfast or dessert…

 

Feta Dip November 10, 2013

Filed under: Appetizers — alittlemoreofeach @ 8:47 pm
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If you love feta cheese like I love feta cheese – truly, madly, deeply, having once wondered if it could be made into a palatable ice cream flavor – this recipe is for you.  Garlic, salty, cheesey goodness that is balanced by fresh vegetables for dipping.  I am not exaggerating when I say that this dip had offers of dates and intimate bathing experiences when it was  recently served.  You’ve been warned.  And you can thank me later.

Ingredients

4 oz block of feta cheese

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbl Greek seasoning

1/3 cup sour cream, more or less to taste

3 Tbl mayonnaise

Directions

Chop feta into smallish crumbles. Blend with the rest of the ingredients.  Serve with pita crackers, or cucumber, red pepper, zucchini crudites. It’s probably best served after chilling for an hour, allowing the flavors to blend.

 

Southern Tiramisu (aka Nanner Puddin’) August 25, 2013

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 8:31 pm
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Sometimes it takes me a while to realize things about myself. Like discovering at the age of 35 that I really don’t care for raw broccoli. Shocking, right? I hate that you chew and chew and chew and it never gets smaller or goes away. I feel this dings my reputation as a well-rounded and healthy eater, but there we are.

Along the same, albeit less-healthy, lines, I thought I loved banana pudding. I’m not going to claim something as sacreligious as not loving banana pudding, but something about it interfered with a full-fledged adoration. And then I figured it out. It wasn’t the soggy Nilla Wafers – those are heavenly. Nor was the pudding itself troublesome, whether it was banana flavored, vanilla, homemade or from a quick mix box. No. It was the dang bananas. They get brown. And mealy. And the mouthfeel is just terrible.

So how does one go about rekindling a love with Nanner Puddin’ when the issue is with the nanners? I’ll tell you! You mash those things to smithereens and blend them with the pudding. And look the heck out, because those mashed bananas are so much sweeter and more flavorful than weak, mealy banana slices.

This method was developed by one of my dearest, most Southern friends whose dedication to tracking down the best banana pudding through tireless experimentation (one recipe called for roasting the bananas first) and testing rivals any first-class research lab. Salute her hard work with a bowl of this layered Southern Tiramisu.

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
1 box of vanilla wafers, mini ones are great
1 large box of vanilla pudding
2 cups of cold milk
1 tub of Cool Whip, softened

Directions

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Mash the four bananas with a fork or a pastry cutter until smooth. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, make pudding according to package instructions.

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Fold the mashed bananas and half of the Cool Whip into the pudding.

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In a 9 x 13 dish, neatly place the vanilla wafers in one layer. Gently spoon half of the pudding and banana mixture over the cookies.

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Place another neat layer of cookies on top of the pudding; there should be a handful or two of cookies remaining. Follow with the rest of the pudding mixture. Spoon the other half of the cool whip on top.

Crush the remaining vanilla wafers and sprinkle them evenly over the dish.

Refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably longer, until the dish is chilled through and set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Chicken Salad July 26, 2013

Filed under: Main Dishes,Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:54 pm
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Crunchy, tender, sweet, savory, and other opposites.

Crunchy, tender, sweet, savory, and other opposites.

I strive for peace on Friday around dinnertime.  I strive, and I hope, and sometimes it’s a big, fat failure with bickering or takeout pizza (sins of equal weight somehow). And tonight, the mister was still at work, and I had no meal planned after just arriving home at the time I’d prefer to be blissfully blessing the wine and gazing at my dressed and brushed children over a lovingly prepared meal that they’d eat with the gusto reserved for macaroni and cheese.  The only saving grace was I knew I had some frozen challah.

So, yeah, it was a bust already, right?  So me and my what-the-hell attitude rummaged in the kitchen. And I came up with a practically defiant chicken salad.  My ladies have never seen chicken salad before, but it’s a trifecta of pickiness – a (1) mixture of ingredients (2) touching each other (3) in a sauce.  Oh lord.  To the table, I added the challah, a plate of grapes, and cheese sticks so that when faces recoiled in disgust, I couldn’t be accused of starving my children.

Hands washed, hairs unbrushed, still in summer camp clothes, we lit the candles, we blessed the bread, and you know what?  They didn’t recoil in disgust when they saw their plates.  The big one ate her challah, some grapes, and then she gingerly tried a bite.  She said, you’ll never guess, “Mmmm.”  I said, “I’m so glad you like it.  I hoped you would.”  And then she tried a piece of chicken with a grape, and then a piece of cucumber with a grape, and then chicken and celery, and with each combination, she exclaimed, “I didn’t think I’d like this, but it’s so yummy.”  And then the kicker, “And I love how it looks so fancy on the lettuce all spread out.  You should make it again, and soon!”

Now the little one gave a good college try of two solid bites, and only one slight gag.  I call that a homerun.

We watched the candles standing tall with only a very occasional flicker, we talked about the giant pile of garbage floating in the Pacific, and we laughed at the little one’s potty jokes.  Just as Shabbat is meant to be.

Go easy on the dressing, and don’t leave out that brown sugar – it’s a definite secret ingredient sort of enhancement.

Ingredients
Half of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed and diced
Half of a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
Half of one celery stalk, chopped small
One cup of red grapes, cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayonnaise
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl brown sugar

Directions
Whisk together ingredients for the dressing. In a separate bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add half of the dressing, stirring gently, and then add more to your taste, careful not to oversaturate the salad. Lay some Romaine leaves on a plate, and serve a scoop of the salad in the center.  The leaves can be used like taco shells, and just like that, chicken salad is a finger food!

Variation
For a tropical flavor, try these ingredients:
Half of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed and diced
Half of a mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup cashews
One cup of red grapes, cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayonnaise
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl coconut milk powder
1 Tbl sweet curry powder

 

Berry Crumb Bars June 11, 2013

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 10:39 am
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Blueberries and raspberries are good friends in this crumb bar.

 

Raspberries taste like Connecticut to me.

More specifically, my grandparents’  backyard in a tiny town in Connecticut in June. It was the first time I remember eating raspberries – I was nine.  The berries were picked from the canes, sun-warmed, sweet, and just tart enough.  My siblings and I monitored the raspberry bushes that delineated the edge of the backyard and a woodsy area from which bunnies would emerge in the late afternoons, and we heard a rumor of a bear once.  Those few summertime visits – with their endless trips (no matter our age) down the Giant Hill in the 50-year-old Radio Flyer wagon that was my dad’s when he was little, an outing to UConn’s dairy farm and ice cream shop, helping (or I should say “helping”) my grandfather in his large vegetable garden with its oddly dirty dirt, not the sandy stuff I was used to – are encapsulated in those delicate, jewel-hued berries.

So when Publix has raspberries, normally such a extravagance it still seems, on sale for $2.50 a container, a few (or more) go in my basket, and I am transported.

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I adapted a smittenkitchen recipe for crumb bars that is so darn wonderful.  (What does that lady do that *isn’t* wonderful?  Nothing, that’s what!) The crust is like a shortbread – not too sweet, just a bit crumbly, and a lot buttery. While the original recipe calls for a combination of blueberries and lemon (both the zest and juice), I counted on the tartness of the raspberries and omitted the lemon with no regrets.  I also added some whole wheat flour for flavor and better health. (Although, c’mon, we’ve got two sticks of butter in this…)

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, and/or diced strawberries (I used blueberries and raspberries.)
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsp cornstarch

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, both flours, and baking powder. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the berries. Sprinkle the berry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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