Pumpkin Seed Hummus

Makes about 2 cups
Shopping List

2 cups pumpkin seeds, toasted

2 large garlic cloves

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbl Dijon mustard

1/2 cup rice vinegar

3/4 cup flavorless vegetable oil

Place in a food processor or a blender

  • 2 cups toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 large garlic cloves

Pulse until uniformly ground, scraping down the sides as needed. The mixture will be rough and sandy looking.

Add

  • 2 Tbl Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar

and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in

  • 3/4 cup flavorless vegetable oil

Drizzle in

  • 1/4 cup hot water, or more if needed

processing until it is the consistency of thick hummus. Season to taste with

  • salt and pepper

Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Potato Soup

Growing up in the Depression was bad enough (we hear), but feeding a household with 7 children, 3 or 4 adults on a meager income made it tougher. Nonetheless, my maternal grandmother kept her family fed. Potatoes were a recurring part of the menu.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Shopping List

4 large or 6 medium potatoes

1 large onion

1 carrot

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 heaping tablespoon flour

Combine in a large saucepan or small stock pot

  • 4 large or 6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and pierced in several places with a knife
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Cover with water, a couple of inches above the level of the other ingredients. Bring it to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking until potatoes are soft but whole pieces remain. This will take about 40 minutes.

When potatoes reach this stage, turn off the heat and remove the onion from the soup. In a small frying pan, melt

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

over a medium heat. Continue to stir as it starts to darken. Add

  • 1 heaping tablespoon flour

stir to make a thin roux. Cook this until it is brown, ATTNbut do not let it burn, and then remove from heat. This mixture is called an “einbrenn” and it’s what gives the soup its flavor.

Carefully add a spoonful of soup liquid to the einbrenn because ATTNthere is going to be some spattering. Add another spoonful of liquid and then start to mix the contents of the pan into the soup. You can wash out the last bits of the einbrenn from the frying pan by taking a bit more of the liquid from the soup pot. Return the soup to the heat, and cook for 30 minutes more. Stir regularly and ATTN don’t let the heat get too high or soup may scorch.

Adjust the seasoning. I like to add black pepper although the original recipe had only salt. If you like the soup a bit less chunky, use a potato masher to break up some of the pieces of potato.

Make this soup the day before you plan to serve it because it will taste much better. When reheating the soup, you may find it has gotten so thick you need to add a little water. Reheat on a low flame otherwise the soup might scorch. Or, reheat in a microwave oven.

From my grandmother’s recipe, passed down by my mother, Rita. The recipe probably came from eastern Europe, where that side of my family originated.

Colonial Poppy Seed Cake

A moist poppy seed cake with a strong taste of poppy seeds.

Shopping List
1/2 cup poppy seeds (2-ounce jar)
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup unsalted butter
11/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking power
2 cups flour

Combine

  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds (2-ounce jar)
  • 3/4 cup milk

Let stand at room temperature three or four hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Let remaining ingredients warm to room temperature.

Place all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer, including poppy seed-milk mixture

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter (should be very soft)
  • 11/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking power
  • 2 cups flour

Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for one minute, scraping side of bowl with spatula. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan (81/4-by 41/2-inch or 9- by 5-inch).

Bake at 350° F for 75 minutes or until center springs back when lightly pressed with fingertip. Insert a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes; remove from pan and continue to cool on rack.

  This cake freezes well. The recipe suggests dusting with powdered sugar, but neither Evan nor Bob recommends this. For this, or any recipe, for that matter.

Adapted from Family Circle magazine, August 28, 1979

Blueberry Sauce

Perfect with cheese blintzes, but it will work over ice cream and on other desserts.
Makes about 2 cups.
Shopping List
2 cups blueberries (frozen are fine)
1 TBL butter
2 TBL lemon juice
1/2 tsp cornstarch

This recipe makes a good topping for cheese Blintzes. See the recipe for Cheese Filling for Blintzes.

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine

  • 2 cups blueberries (frozen are fine)
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 2 TBL lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt

and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring as it comes to a gentle boil. Let simmer on a low heat, stirring regularly for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe.

Cheese Filling for Blintzes

A classic filling
Makes enough filling for about 16 blintzes, but your mileage may vary.
Shopping List
14-16 ounces of farmer cheese
1 egg
1 TBL butter
3 TBL sugar
1 tsp vanilla

First off, the amount of farmer cheese is a range because the primary producer of packaged farmer cheese, Friendship Dairies, has reduced the size of their packages from eight ounces to seven. If you can buy farmer cheese in bulk, buy the larger amount, but also, don’t bother buying 3 packages of farmer cheese just to get to 16 ounces. This recipe isn’t that precise.

Read the notes at the end of this recipe if you would like to flavor the cheese filling differently, as my mother did, or if you can’t find farmer cheese.

In a mixing bowl, combine:

  • 14-16 ounces of farmer cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 TBL melted butter
  • 2-3 TBL sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix thoroughly. Fill the Blintzes as described in that recipe, making sure you don’t overfill them. Cook them as described there. My mother would often serve these with a Blueberry Sauce although I personally prefer sour cream.

NOTE: My mother preferred a citrus flavor, so instead of vanilla, she used 11/2 tsp lemon juice and 21/2 TBL Curacao. I’d consider using some grated lemon rind if I wanted a citrus flavor.

NOTE: If you are unable to locate farmer cheese, don’t despair. My mother often had that problem in Colorado and came up with two substitutions. For the recipe above she would drain 2 cups of cottage cheese in a strainer to eliminate some of the liquid: it probably took a 2-3 hours. Alternatively, she’d use equal parts (8 ounces each, by weight) of cream cheese and dry curd cottage cheese, which is much drier than farmer cheese.

Inspired by my mother’s recipe.

Oniony Potato Filling

Generally used to fill blintzes or knishes, but you can also just eat it as is. It is very dense. If you want a lighter potato filling, look elsewhere.
This can make as much or as little as you like.
Shopping List
3 pounds potatoes (red bliss, Yukon gold, etc.)
11/4 pounds yellow or white onions
1/4 cup vegetable oil

This is a large recipe, suitable if you are making 3-4 dozen Blintzes, I would guess. My mother would often make larger batches of this filling with 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of onions. It is dense. Very dense.

Peel and dice

  • 11/4 pounds yellow or white onions

In a large skillet, heat

  • 3 TBL vegetable oil
Onions, fully cooked
Onions, fully cooked

over a medium-high heat. Add onions and stir from time to time as onions begin to brown. Onion pieces should brown (see photos). You might need to add a little water to remove the fond from the pan. Make sure the onions are sweet and tender. Add more oil if needed, because it’s what will give moisture to the potatoes.

In the meantime, peel

  • 3 pounds potatoes (such as red bliss or Yukon gold)

and cut into large dice. Place in large pot and cover with well-salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until pieces are fork-tender, about 15 minutes once it comes to a brisk boil. Drain the potatoes and return to pot. Mash them thoroughly, tasting for salt. Add the cooked onions. If the potatoes seem dry, add a bit more oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. ATTNThe mixture should have a distinct presence of black pepper.

This is a traditional family recipe.

Blintzes

My mother made blintzes, sometimes in batches of more than 100, for big family gatherings.
Makes 18 blintzes, but scaling instructions are provided.
Shopping List
1 cup flour
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
3 TBL vegetable oil, plus more for cooking them

While this might sound like a big production, in fact you can throw these together pretty quickly once you’ve done it a couple times. The entire process consists of these steps: make the filling(s), make the batter, cook the blintz wrappers, form the blintzes, cook them, eat them. I prefer to make the filling first so it will be ready to use when as soon as the wrappers are done. Family favorites are Oniony Potato Filling and Cheese Filling for Blintzes.

Mixing the Batter

The recipe as given here is best made in a blender, but if you scale up beyond the 4-egg version, you will have to work in batches, mix it with an immersion blender, or use another appliance to mix it.

Combine in the jar of blender

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 TBL vegetable oil (ATTNDo not use olive oil or other strongly flavored oil)

Run blender to mix. Turn off, add

  • 1 cup flour

and process again to mix, scraping the blender jar (when stopped) if any flour sticks to the side.

If you want to scale the recipe up or down, use these measurements. And yes, they are not exactly linear so pay attention to the chart. 

Eggs2346810
Milk (cups)
1/31/22/3111/22
Water (cups)1/31/22/3111/213/4
Oil11/2 TBL2 TBL3 TBL1/4 cupscant 1/3 cupscant 1/2 cup
Flour (cups)1/23/4111/221/423/4
Yield9
1318263750

Cooking the Wrappers

To make the blintz wrapper, you need one or two skillets that have a flat bottom about 6 to 7 inches across. It’s better if the sides curve up to a wider width (like an omelette pan) or the sides are very low, like a round, small griddle. It’s harder with a pan with straight vertical sides, but it can work. Two skillets will make the work go faster, but one is fine if that’s all you have.

Heat the pan(s) but when you start working make sure they’re on a low heat. If the pan is too hot, the batter will bubble and the wrappers will develop holes. While the pans heat, spread out a clean dish towel on a counter near the range.

In a small bowl, pour

  • 2 TBL vegetable oil (or margarine or butter)

With a folded paper towel, pick up a little oil and spread it liberally on the bottom of the skillet. It takes a little more than 2 TBL of batter to make each wrapper and you can easily measure this by using a half full 1/3-cup measure, but whatever works for you is fine. If you’re lucky, you have a ladle that’s just the right size.

Making a Wrapper Animation
Making a Wrapper Animation

Grab the skillet handle with your dominant hand, quickly pour the measured batter into the center and start to move the pan in a tilting circle to spread the batter out into an ever-widening circle until it reaches the edge of the flat area of the pan. If you reach the desired size and there’s still some batter you can keep circling to distribute the batter or pour the excess back the bowl/blender jar containing the unused batter. Set the pan back on the heat and wait for the wrapper to cook.

If there’s a hole or two, you can always use a spoon to drip a few drops of batter to fill in the problem area. If the wrapper is dotted with many small holes, it means the pan was too hot. Don’t despair, such wrappers work for more solid fillings like potato, but will be problematic for moist fillings like cheese and fruit.

When it’s done cooking, the wrapper will have no wet areas on the surface. Run a butter knife around the edge of the wrapper to release it from the pan. Invert and knock the pan onto an empty spot on the towel. The wrapper should release easily and hopefully it has a bit of color to it. (If it doesn’t, just move on and let the next one cook a bit longer.) Return the pan to the burner immediately. ATTNBe sure to remove any attached crumbs from the pan and grease the pan before making the next wrapper.

As the wrappers are made, you can overlap cooled ones on the towel, but don’t put them right on top of each other completely as it will be hard to separate them.

If you want to make a lot of blintzes or delay the filling operation to, store the wrappers. To do so, tear a square of waxed paper and place it on a dinner plate. Place 3 wrappers offset enough that they barely extend past the edge of the plate and don’t overlap completely. Repeat layers of waxed paper and 3 wrappers until they are all stacked. Put the entire plate in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate. ATTNDo not wait more than 24 hours to fill them as they tend to stick as they are somewhat moist.

Forming a Blintz

To roll up a blintz,  follow these steps. Keep in mind that it’s a little easier to learn with a solid filling like potato rather than a looser filling like fruit or cheese.

Rolling a Blintz Animation
Rolling a Blintz Animation
  1. Put one wrapper in front of you on a flat dry surface. ATTNBe sure the browned side (the cooked side) is UP and the uncooked side is down. Re-read the last sentence!
  2. If the wrapper has uneven edges or holes on one side, put that area closest to you as it will wind up on the inside of the finished blintz.
  3. Put about 2 to 3 TBL of filling in an area about 1 by 3 inches crosswise, about 2 inches from the closest edge.
  4. Lift the edge closest the filling and fold it over the filling.
  5. Bring in the side edges making sure that as you do, it folds over the ends of the filling and that the longer edges are parallel or actually come in a bit. (If blintz gets wider as it rolls up, you will not be able to close the blintz completely: disaster awaits.)
  6. Roll the entire assembly, gently and set it aside with the open edge down so it doesn’t try to unroll. If it tears as you roll, it means you tried to force too much filling into the blintz.

If you run out of space for the blintzes, stack them with waxed paper between layers and leave a little space between them if you can.

When you have formed all the blintzes, you have a couple choices. You can cook them immediately (see below), you can refrigerate them (wax paper between layers, space between the blintzes on each layer and stored sealed in the refrigerator for up to a couple days) or freeze them on wax paper-lined trays leaving space between each blintz. After they are completely frozen they can be transferred to bags (no wax paper needed). Frozen blintzes can be defrosted in the refrigerator before proceeding with cooking.

Cooking the Blintzes

To fry the blintzes, obtain an electric frying pan with a pink handle. Yes, an electric frying pan set to 375º F is ideal for cooking these, but if you don’t have one, use frying pan(s) on the range, but once they heat up, keep an eye on the heat so the blintzes don’t brown too quickly or burn. Use vegetable oil (or margarine or butter) to grease the pan, then add the blintzes, leaving space between them. I try to cook them on 3 sides (the ends never get cooked), which means after the first side cooks I have to prop them up against one another (see photos).  I think my mother just cooked them on two sides. Once they’re nicely golden all around, serve them.

I like to eat the onion or cheese ones with sour cream, but my mother served Blueberry Sauce on the side with the cheese blintzes. You can eat them plain if you like. And I encourage you to try coming up with your own fillings. (But do not attempt to serve me a jalapeño, blueberry or other modern bagel!!)

From my mother’s recipe, who started with Jenny Grossinger’s classic recipe.

Summer Squash with Mint

Simple and delicious. Best served at room temperature.
Makes one portion, but easily scaled up.
Shopping List
very small summer squash (generally one per serving)
1 glug olive oil
shallot (to taste)
fresh mint (generally 1-2 stems of mint per serving)

The measurements in this recipe are vague. Don’t let it throw you. When shopping, look for the squash with the smallest diameter. They should be cylindrical in shape more than bulging or the seeds will overwhelm the results.

Using careful knife skill, a mandoline or other gadget, cut

  • very small summer squash (1 per serving)

into very thin slices. Heat a large skillet on a high flame. Add

  • a glug of olive oil

and add the sliced square although ATTNcook in batches if you are making a sizable quantity (relative to the surface area of the pan being used). Stir to coat with oil and then let the squash brown a bit before stirring. When it’s cooked enough, set aside in a bowl. Cook additional batches of squash.

Lower temperature on heat and add

  • thinly sliced shallot, to taste

and cook without browning. Add to cooked squash in bowl.

Pluck mint leaves from 

  • stems of fresh mint (1-2 per serving)

Combine the mint and salt to taste with the squash and cooked shallots. Serve at room temperature.

Inspired by several different restaurants in and around Bologna, Italy.

Roasted Banana Ice Cream

To be clear, the bananas are roasted, not the ice cream!
1 quart
Shopping List
4 bananas, lightly speckled
2 TBL vegetable oil
2 TBL brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup coconut milk
11/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice

  • 4 bananas (ripe, with a few speckles), cut into 1/4-inch slices

Toss with

  • 2 TBL vegetable oil
  • 2 TBL brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

Spread on parchment paper and bake until caramelized, about 15-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

In a small saucepan, combine

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Heat over medium heat just until sugar and salt dissolve. Let cool to room temperature. In a blender jar, combine the cooked bananas, sugar syrup and

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 11/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

♦︎If your blender can’t handle all of this, just blend what it can accommodate and stir in the rest in a bowl. Alternatively use an immersion blender. Pour the liquid through a fine metal strainer or cheesecloth.

Lightly toast and reserve

  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces, if desired

Chill the mixture for 2 hours and then process in an ice cream maker. Near the end of processing, before the ice cream is too hard, add the walnut pieces.

Inspired by a vegan banana ice cream recipe from the book Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream.
.

Cullen Skink

Don't let the strange-sounding Scottish name for this delicious soup scare you away. It's smoked-fish chowder. Perfect for a cold winter's day.
4 servings

Shopping List

16 ounces smoked haddock fillets

3 cups milk

1 bay leaf

2 large potatoes

2 large leeks or 1 large onion (or a mixture)

3 TBL butter

3/4 cup heavy cream

parsley for garnish

In a shallow broad (frying) pan, place

  • 16 ounces smoked haddock fillets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups milk

and heat until it’s steaming but don’t let it boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the fish is fully cooked. Turn off the heat, remove the fish to a cutting board, and reserve the milk and bay leaf.

In a 2-quart sauce pan over medium heat add

  • 3 TBL butter

and when it is foamy add

  • 2 large leeks, finely sliced and cleaned (or 1 large onion, minced)

Add back in the bay leaf and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup water

cover and let steam until potatoes are just cooked through. Add the reserved milk. Simmer 5 minutes. Meanwhile flake the fish, removing any skin or bones.

Add the fish back to the pan and add

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Remove the bay leaf. Season with black pepper to taste. (It probably won’t need any salt, but check.) When serving, you may want to garnish with some chopped parsley.

Cranberry Walnut Buckwheat Shortbread

Tasty, simple, and quite delicate. Also vegan and gluten-free.
Makes about 30 cookies

Shopping List

1/2 cup coconut oil (or substitute Crisco, vegan margarine, etc.)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350º F and lightly grease five 4-inch tart pans (see note at end).

In a stand mixer, combine

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix until the dough is smooth. Add

  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

and mix on low to incorporate. Press the dough into the tart pans and bake for 20 minutes, or until starting to get dark around the edges. Slice each into 6 triangles while still warm, then let cool completely.

Note: The original recipe (adapted from Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays by Jennifer Katzinger) calls for one 9-inch tart pan, sliced into 10 triangles. These light, fragile cookies break easily which is why I suggest smaller pans and cookies.

Fresh Herb Kuku

Tons of herbs create a delicious flavor and a vivid green color.
40 to 60 pieces, depending on how you cut it.

Shopping List

6 to 8 eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cumin

3 cloves garlic

1 bunch scallions

2 bunches fresh parsley

2 bunches fresh cilantro

2 bunches fresh dill

1 TBL dried fenugreek leaves

1 TBL flour

2-3 TBL olive oil

1 cup full-fat yogurt or labneh

1-2 tsp dried mint

1/2 tsp dried rose petals

lavash bread (quantity varies according to size of pieces)

Preheat oven to 400º F. Wash and dry the following fresh herbs.

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 bunches fresh parsley
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro
  • 2 bunches fresh dill

For the parsley, discard the stems and keep the leaves. For the cilantro, trim away the bottom part of the bunches, keeping the remaining stems. For the dill, remove the very thickest stems. For each herb, place separately in food processor and operate until it is finely chopped. You should have about one cup of each herb. As you finish each batch, add it to a large mixing bowl. Add

  • 1 TBL dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 TBL flour (or rice flour for a gluten-free version)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 6 beaten eggs

NOTE: You may need an additional egg or two if the mixture is very thick.

Oil a 9×13 baking sheet with sides (half-hotel pan or jelly roll pan preferred to a cake pan). Line with parchment paper and oil that too. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

Bake at  400º F for 25-30 minutes until done. (A toothpick inserted will come out clean.) While the pan bakes, make the following mixture:

  • 1 cup full-fat yogurt or labneh
  • 1-2 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 clove garlic, crushed or minced very fine
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle top with

  • 1/2 tsp dried rose petals

When the kuku is baked and cooled, cut it into pieces. I like to cut it into 13 1-inch strips and then cut the strips in anywhere from 3 to 6 pieces depending on the size of the servings. Cut lavash into pieces that are the same length as the kuku pieces and a little more than twice as wide wide.

To serve, put out the room-temperature kuku, lavash and the yogurt mixture. Encourage your guests to spread the yogurt mixture onto a piece of lavash and fold it around a piece of the kuku. (The kuku can be served without the lavash and dipped in the yogurt mixture.)

Note: Leftovers need to be kept refrigerated.

Adapted from Silk Road Cooking by Najmieh Batmanglij.

Curried Cauliflower & Potato Soup

Roasting the cauliflower first adds depth. Some tomato and coconut milk give the broth a rich, silky texture.
Makes about 3 quarts

Shopping List

2 tsp coriander

2 tsp cumin

11/2 tsp cinnamon

11/4 tsp turmeric

pinch cayenne pepper

1 small head cauliflower

2 TBL olive oil

1 large onion

1-2 carrots (for 1 cup diced)

3 large cloves garlic

11/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp red chile pepper flakes

1 (14-16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, or no-salt tomato sauce

4 cups vegetable broth

2-4 russet potatoes (3 cups diced)

2-4 sweet potatoes (3 cups diced)

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

1 large lime

1 bunch cilantro

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

In a small bowl, combine

  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 11/2 cinnamon
  • 11/4 tsp turmeric
  • 11/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, toss

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
  • 1 TBL olive oil

Sprinkle with 1 TBL of the spice mixture and toss again. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower until the edges are browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large pot heat the remaining

  • 1 TBL olive oil

over medium-high heat. Add

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrot

and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook a few minutes more, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Add

  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 11/2 tsp grated (or minced) fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp red chile pepper flakes
  • the remaining spice mixture

Cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.

Stir in

  • 1 (14-16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, or no-salt tomato sauce

scraping up any browned bits and breaking up the tomatoes, and simmer for 1 minute. Add

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups diced peeled russet potatoes (1/2-inch)
  • 3 cups diced peeled sweet potatoes (1/2-inch)
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 TBL lime juice

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, partially cover and stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

Stir in

  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • the reserved roasted cauliflower

Return to a simmer to heat through. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Hazelnut Sticks

Crunchy with a strong hazelnut flavor. And they're easy: the nuts don't have to be toasted or skinned.
Makes about 40 cookies

Shopping List

2/3 cup raw hazelnuts

11/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

scant 1/2 cup sugar

6 TBL unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Line the bottom and sides of a 9×5 loaf pan with foil. (See note at the end of these directions for how to do this painlessly.)

In a food processor, combine

  • 2/3 cup raw hazelnuts (with skins still on them)
  • 11/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pulse until the hazelnuts are finely chopped. Cut

  • 6 TBL cold unsalted butter

into 1/2-inch cubes, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Combine

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBL cold water

and drizzle into the processor bowl. Pulse just until the mixture resembles damp crumbs – it shouldn’t be a smooth mass, but it should stick together when pressed. Dump the mixture into the lined loaf pan and spread it evenly. Press it very firmly and compactly. Fold the foil over the dough and wrap it tightly. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Grease two cookie sheets.

Unwrap the dough and transfer it to a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife to cut the dough crosswise into 1/4-inch (or thinner if possible) slices. Use the knife to transfer each slice to the greased cookie sheets, placing the slices 1 inch apart. The slices will be fragile and require the support of the knife in transit.

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, until the cookies are golden with golden brown edges. Rotate top to bottom and front to back halfway through for even baking. With a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. May be kept in an airtight container for several days.

Variation: Almond Sticks

I just substituted 2/3 cup raw almonds for the hazelnuts. But I didn’t think the almond flavor was strong enough; next time, I’m going to use almond extract in place of the vanilla, or half almond/half vanilla.

NOTE: ATTN To line pan with foil: Invert the pan, cover it with a piece of foil 4 inches longer and wider than the bottom of the pan, and with your hands press down on the foil around the sides and the corners to shape it like the pan. Dampen the inside of the pan slightly. Without tearing, press the foil into place in the pan.

 

Peach-Sweet Tea Sherbet

I'm not a fan of sherbet but I really loved this: captures the taste of fresh peaches perfectly, and it's not icy.
1+ quart sherbet

Shopping List

3  large fresh peaches (or frozen)

1/2 cup buttermilk

almond extract

1 tsp citric acid

11/2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

3 TBL black tea leaves (loose, not from tea bags)

2 tsp tapioca starch OR 4 tsp cornstarch

The book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream is an outstanding source of information and recipe ideas for ice cream. I found the amount of almond flavor overwhelming and suggest a smaller amount here.

Peel

  • 3 large fresh peaches

If using frozen peaches make sure they are peeled.

Cut the peaches into chunks and heat in a small saucepan, mashing. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool and strain through a medium-to-fine sieve. You need to obtain 11/4 cups peach puree and to it add

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 couple drops (1/8 tsp) almond extract
  • 1 tsp citric acid

Refrigerate this mixture.

In a saucepan, combine

  • 11/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (The book provides other options)

Over medium heat, cook and stir until it comes to a full boil.  I prefer to use tapioca starch, but ATTNif you are using cornstarch, add

  • 4 tsp cornstarch dissolved completely in 2 TBL water

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

If you are using tapioca starch, add

  • 2 tsp tapioca starch dissolved completely in 2 TBL water

Add

3 TBL black tea leaves (not from tea bags)

Steep for 6 minutes, but ATTN no longer as it will impart a bitter taste. Strain the hot base through a fine sieve and cool in an ice bath. When the temperature is cool to the touch (50º F), combine with the peach mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (to get a better texture). Churn in ice cream freezer. While  you can eat it right away, it’s much better packed and frozen for at least 4-6 hours.

Dana Cree’s excellent book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream