Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Egg Roll Casserole

It's been a while since my last post, and things have changed and people have grown. We have four grandchildren now, and only two college kids at home, and there's no problem getting anyone to eat, as long as it's vegan for our youngest. When we all get together the house is full and the laughter is plentiful. This recipe is usually found at our family gatherings because Renee loves it, and so do several other family members! It's even vegan!

Egg Roll Squares for Renee

These take a bit more time and effort than many of the other things in this blog, but mastering the art of phyllo (or Fillo) dough is a great way to spend time. It’s usually found in the frozen desserts area of the store, near the puff pastry.

A food processor is nice for this recipe. It’s also possible to use the phyllo and filling to make regular egg rolls.

½ a one-pound package of phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the fridge

1 Tablespoon oil

1 cup chopped celery

1 ½ cups shredded Chinese cabbage, or packaged broccoli slaw

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 cup shredded carrots

½ cup chopped water chestnuts

¼ cup chopped onion

1 minced clove garlic, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ teaspoon ground ginger, or ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 ) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil at medium temperature. Add vegetables and stirfry briefly.

2 ) Add seasonings and stir. Let this mixture simmer for a few minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender. Cool a bit while you set up for the phyllo.

3 ) Divide phyllo sheets in half. Brush a 9 x 11 inch pan with butter, then lay a phyllo sheet in
the pan. Brush it with a bit of butter (a small amount all over, not puddles!), the add another sheet. Do this until you have used half of the sheets. Be sure to work quickly, and keep your phyllo sheets covered while you work so they don’t dry out.

4 ) Dump vegetable mixture onto the phyllo assembly. Begin layering the remaining sheets of phyllo and the last of the butter on to the top of the veggies. You may need a bit more butter.

5 ) Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is nicely browned. Serve with brown rice and fried tofu with hoisin sauce.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Roast for Kourtney

Kourtney is a friend of my sons whom I've been very happy to come to know.  She asked for one of my Thanksgiving main dishes, so here goes: it's much less trouble than it looks! I'm pretty sure that I have a picture to scan somewhere in the archives, so hopefully I'll find that and post it soon.

I'll skip my usual format on this one, since it might get a bit long. The results are beautiful, and it can be made the day before and cooked a bit longer. This recipe is for a smaller version which feeds 4 to 6. Double everything and cook about 20 minutes longer if you're expecting more hungry people.

PART 1 : The Base

1 package Morningstar Farms or Boca Chik Patties, or four homemade seitan pieces of about the same size

Lay these on your greased baking sheet. Top with Gravy :

PART 2 : The Sauce

In a microwavable bowl, stir together 3 cups of cold water and 4 tablespoons of cornstarch until the lumps are gone. Add 3 tablespoons soy sauce and a few shakes each of garlic salt, pepper, and thyme. Microwave this for 2 minutes. Stir well, then microwave for a minute more; stir again, microwave another minute until the gravy is mostly clear and a bit bubbly.

Pour about 1 cup of the gravy over the chik patties. On to :

PART 3 : The Stuffing

You can use any stuffing here. To keep it simple, buy a bag of stuffing mix, moisten as directed and add your choice of sauteed onion, mushrooms, celery, water chestnuts, etc.  Or go all the way and make your own:

Dry 6 cups of  bread, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes more or less, on the counter overnight.  Use a mixture of breads if you have them around.

Saute 1 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1 cup chopped mushrooms in a bit of oil or margarine. Add  a drained, chopped can of water chestnuts if you wish. 

Add the saute to the bread cubes along with 1 teaspoon sage and some dashes of salt and pepper. Mix 1 cup of hot water and a tablespoon of soy sauce and pour over the stuffing. Mix well and mound over the base.

Top with the rest of the gravy.

PART 4 : The Topper

This is what will set your Thanksgiving Roast apart and insure your place in the Pantheon of Vegetarian Cookery.

Choose Puff Pastry or Phyllo (Fillo) Dough. They're usually located near the frozen pies and desserts at the grocery.

For Puff Pastry: Let the pastry thaw in its' package for half an hour or so, while you make the rest of the stuff. When it's time, unwrap it and lay it on a clean counter that's been dusted with a bit of cornstarch. Roll it out to make a large rectangle (or two, if you need it to cover your roast entirely). Pick up your piece  and gently lay it over your roast. Shape it a bit to the form of the roast, then cut along the edges and remove the excess. If your want to make a grand entrance, cut the scraps into clever shapes and use a few drops of  milk to attach them to the roast.Cut a few decorative slits in the top to let out steam.

When it looks as you wish it to, place the roast into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until nicely browned.

With Phyllo, it's pretty much the same as Puff Pastry, except that you must thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight, then on the counter for twenty minutes or so before using. Keep the sheets that you are not using covered while you work. Peel off a sheet or two to cover the roast, drape it over, then brush with melted butter or margarine. Add more sheets, alternating with butter, until you have seven or eight layers of soon-to-be-crunchy goodness. Top with a last layer of butter and bake as above.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn't as much as it looks. You can make the stuffing and the sauce simultaneously a day or two before, and the topping really only takes about ten or fifteen minutes at the most. The slices look and taste delicious!

Be sure to take pictures!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Corn Fritters

These were Claire's favorite for several months when she was eleven, probably because she could make them herself.

Corn Fritters

2 cups corn - fresh, frozen, leftover or canned

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

few shakes pepper

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon oil or melted margarine or butter

more oil for frying

1 ) If needed, cook corn in the microwave or on the stove until tender. Drain and set aside.

2 ) Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir eggs, milk and oil in a measuring cup, then dump into the flour mixture. Mix gently, leaving lumps. Add corn with just a few strokes. Allow to sit a few minutes.

3 ) Heat a tablespoon of  oil in a large frying pan for a few minutes, until a drop of water skittles on the surface of the pan when dropped on. Drop large spoonfuls of batter on the pan, leaving a bit of space between fritters. Cook until golden on each side. Drain on newsprint or paper towels and serve with sour cream, BBQ sauce, salsa...

Monday, July 11, 2011

More Chocolate for Renee

Recently I accidentally created a major onset of Chocolate Lust during a phone conversation with Renee. I was describing the taste and texture of this decadent dessert!

Hershey's Dark Chocolate Fudge Torte, Adapted Version

1 cup - 2 sticks - of butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla 

3 eggs, separated

2/3 cup cocoa powder * see note at the bottom!

1/2 cup flour

3 tablespoons water

1 package chocolate or vanilla chips, or a mix

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar  (this can be omitted if need be, but it helps the structure a bit)

1 ) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 or 10 inch Springform pan, a 9 x 11 inch pan, a Bundt pan, or something similar. remember that your pan shape will affect the cooking time and maybe even the texture somewhat. 

2 ) Melt the butter in a glass bowl or measuring cup, then stir in the cocoa powder. Let it all stand a bit until it has cooled. This will develop the cocoa flavor.

3 ) In a large mixer bowl, combine butter/cocoa, sugar and vanilla. Add egg yolks and beat very well. Gently add flour, chocolate chips and water. 

4 ) In another mixer bowl, beat egg whites with optional cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. This means that you can turn the mixer off and pull the beaters out and the egg white will stay standing in peaked mountains where the beaters were removed. 

5 ) Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Folding means that, instead of stirring as usual, you should use a spatula and pass it gently from the top to the bottom and around the sides. Here is a video about folding, if you want it.

6 ) Pour your exceedingly delectable batter into your pan and bake it. Bake from 30 to 45 minutes, until the top begins to crack a bit. The cake will not test done in the center.

7 ) Cool for a while on the counter, then refrigerate for a few hours until firm and chilled. Remove the side of the pan if you used a Springform, or gently loosen and dump the cake if it's Bundt. Let the others sit in their pans or take out if you wish.  Decorate with powdered sugar, melted chocolate chips, or whatever else strikes your fancy. This cake does not need icing!

* Cocoa Powder Note : For the cocoa powder I use Hershey's Special Dark. It adds a much stronger, more intense flavor. Too much is too much, though, so I mix it half and half with regular cocoa powder. We all love it so much that we get it Subscribe-and-Save from Amazon every three months. On the other hand, if you use regular cocoa powder, it will still be delicious, just in a lighter, gentler way.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Frozen Yogurt Pie

This is a very fast, very easy dessert, perfect for hot summer days. It’s also great for beginners,

since there are so few things to mess up! It’s healthy, too.

Part One: Crust

About 20 graham cracker squares

¼ cup butter or margarine

Smash crackers a bit with your hands into a small food processor or a plastic bag. Process until crumby or smash with a rolling pin. Add butter and process again or smush together until well mixed. Press into a pie pan or an eight-inch square pan.

Part Two : Filling

16 ounces of yogurt, any flavor. Vanilla is really good.

8 Ounces cream cheese. Light works fine.

½ cup powdered sugar

Mix it all together with a mixer on low speed. Turn it up to medium high for a minute or two to get out the lumps and make it creamy and light.

Dump into the pie crust.

Freeze the pie for a few hours, then serve and eat. The pie is best if taken from the fridge ten or fifteen minutes before eating to allow a bit of softening. It does well in the fridge also.

While it’s freezing, make this sauce, which is good over pies and cakes, in milk, or wherever else you want a strong hit of chocolate without lots of fat. and remember, chocolate is good for your circulatory system, so this is actually health food! ( I keep telling myself that, anyway....)

Part Three : Chocolate Sauce

1 cup cocoa powder. I use part Hershey’s Special Dark and part whatever usual cocoa I have

1 ½ cups sugar. Brown sugar works well here.

Dash salt

1 ¾ cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix everything together well. Microwave for three minutes, then stir. Microwave at half power for three more minutes, then stir (or microwave for three minutes, stirring every half-minute or so.) Repeat. 

Other sauces can be used, of course. Raspberry and chocolate sauce both play very nicely with the chocolate. A bit of jam or preserves can be melted in the microwave and poured on top. Fresh fruit is great, too.