Creamy Coffee Pops

When making this recipe, choose strong coffee. I used decaf to accommodate our friends. If you have already got ready-made coffee, you need about 1½ cups of coffee. Or starting from the basics, in a French press,  brew

  • ¾ cup  ground coffee (I used decaf espresso to accommodate our friends)
  • 2 cups boiling water

In a mixing bowl, combine

  • 1½ cups strong brewed coffee
  • ⅔ to ¾ 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly, adjusting the sweetness to your taste by varying the amount of sweetened condensed milk. Refrigerate the mixture for an hour and pour into a frozen pop mold.

In my mold it was enough to make 11 pops, but it will vary according to the size of the molds you use.

Jerk Chicken

This is a recipe that really demands cooking on the grill with a source of smoke, such as wood chips. The kind of wood used traditionally isn’t available where I live, so I use hickory. It’s probably okay cooked in the oven, but it won’t be the same. ATTNNote that it’s pretty spicy, but you can tone it down by reducing the number of hot peppers or substituting milder peppers such as jalapeños.

In the jar of a blender (or food processor), measure the following:

  • 6 scallions, cut into 4″ pieces
  • 1 large or 2 medium shallots, peeled
  • 3-4 habanero or Scotch bonnet chilies, stems removed but the seeds left in.
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slices across the grain
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 heaping TBL ground allspice
  • 1 generous TBL soy sauce
  • 1 heaping TBL brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp cider or white vinegar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil

Run blender until a smooth paste forms. If you taste it at this point, just be aware that it’s very concentrated and the flavors will soften somewhat when it’s on the chicken and cooked.

Trim excess fat from

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into quarters or 8-10 chicken thighs or 4-6 leg quarters

The amount of chicken the paste will service will vary with the surface area of the parts. Spread it around on all the outside surfaces and put the chicken in a bowl or zipper-sealable bag, and refrigerate for 18-36 hours.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, set up the grill and be sure to have soaked some kind of wood for smoke. I love hickory chips, but you might prefer something else. You’ll need enough fuel to cook the chicken for up to 45 minutes. If you’re using coal,  arrange them for indirect heat or cook at/under 300 if you’re using gas.  Make sure you have a lot of smoke going and place the chicken skin side up, cover the grill and let it cook for 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on it just to make sure you don’t have any flare-ups. The chicken will be a lovely color at this point. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 10 minutes. Start to check whether the chicken is cooked through. The timing will vary depending on the thickness of the meat and the temperature of the grill. The chicken is going to be dark (not burnt) on the outside when it’s fully cooked.

Maafe

Mah-fay is a stewed dish found in many countries of Africa with variation, but always having of ground peanuts in its sauce.
About 6 servings, depending on your appetites

Remove the skin from

  • 10-12 chicken thighs

You may wish to brown them in some

  • vegetable oil to coat bottom of 3 quart pot

If you do brown them, reserve the chicken after browning. If not, and I am inclined not to bother, put the oil in the pot and continue by cooking

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt

until it is softened. While it cooks, prepare

  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • ½ peeled butternut squash, cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • 3-4 jalapeno peppers, stems removed and discarded. Cut peppers half, then slice crosswise. I leave the seeds in because I like more spice in the dish. You can omit the seeds or reduce the peppers according to taste.

When the onions are soft, add the vegetables, chicken and

  • the complete contents of 1 can (32 ounces) of plum tomatoes
  • ¾ to 1 cup of peanut butter (I used smooth this time)
  • a few shakes of garlic powder or some minced garlic
  • 1 TBL grated ginger
  • 1 cup water

Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Make sure the heat is just hot enough to keep it at a simmer. Move chicken around in pot after 20 minutes and again 20 minutes later.

You can serve the dish as soon as the chicken is cooked through (about 40-45 minutes total) but ATTN it will taste much better if you reheat it and serve it the following day.

Note: this dish can be made with goat, beef or probably even firm tofu instead of the chicken. You may wish to vary the vegetables to include potatoes or other root vegetables.

Italian Clam Soup

So delicious and clammy!
Makes four servings
Shopping List

3 dozen littleneck clams

¼ cup olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic

canned anchovies

1 cup dry white wine

28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes

2 tsp dried oregano

dried basil

fresh parsley

Red pepper flakes

bread, for croutons

<

p>

Scrub

  • 3 dozen littleneck clams

At some point, make the croutons, at bottom of this recipe. Heat in 2-3 quart soup pot

  • ¼ cup olive oil

Add, keeping heat low enough it does not brown:

  • 2 TBL finely minced garlic

Cook briefly and  add

  • 6 anchovy fillets

Cook until the anchovies break down into a paste.  Add

  • 1 cup white wine

and simmer for a minute. Open

  • 28-ounce can of San Marzano or other plum tomatoes

Chop up tomatoes a bit (you can remove the seeds if you care  to), discard a gross-looking piece of basil that seems to be hidden in every can and add all the tomatoes and liquid to the pot, along with

2 tsp dried oregano

1½ tsp dried basil

½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

½ to 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes

freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

ATTN Do not add salt: the anchovies have enough. Bring the pot to a boil and stir briefly. You may work up until this point and pause the recipe until 5 minutes before you with to eat. If you do so, turn off the heat.

Resume the recipe by bringing the soup to a boil. Add the cleaned clams and cover the pot for 5 minutes (or until all the clams open). Serve the soup, leaving the clams in the shells. Garnish with Garlic Croutons (see next paragraph).

To make the croutons, toast 8 slices of a baguette. When toasted, rub one side with the cut surface of a garlic clove you have cut in half.

Adapted from  More 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey.

 

Cheese Straws

Cheesy, in the good sense.
Enough for a small dinner party. You might want to double this.
Shopping List

6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese

4 TBL butter (half a stick)

¾ cup flour

crushed red pepper flakes

1 TBL milk

<

span style="line-height: 1.5;">

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grate

  • 6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese

In food processor, combine cheese,

  • 4 TBL butter (cut up into pieces)
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes

and pulse until it forms crumbs, then add

  • 1 TBL milk

Pulse for a few seconds and it will form a ball. Roll out on floured board to form an 8- x 10-inch rectangle.  Cut into strips, about ¼-inch wide. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet(s), ATTNleaving space between the dough as it will spread slightly.

Bake about 12-15 minutes, making sure they get a golden color and the edges begin to brown. Cool entire baking sheet on rack, then gently transfer to a drinking glass to serve. Leftovers should be kept in a sealed container.

Adapted from  Smitten Kitchen.

 

Harissa

Simple enough.

 

Combine in a small bowl

  • ¼ cup red pepper flakes (with seeds)
  • ¼ to ½ tsp  cayenne

Add just enough boiling water to cover and place a plate over the bowl.  Meanwhile, prepare

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced

After 30 minutes, drain peppers, if needed.  In a food processor, combine pepper flakes, garlic and

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin

Blend to form a smooth paste.

Green Chili

Adapted from my cousin Irene's recipe.
Makes 2 quarts

Coat with flour

  • ¾ pound boneless turkey, chicken or port butt

Brown in

  • 2 TBL oil

Cook until meat is well browned. Meanwhile, in a 2-3 quart saucepan on medium heat, add

  • 2 TBL oil
  • 1 small onion diced

When the onion is tender, add the browned meat and

  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 15-ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 3 4-ounce cans of chopped green chilis
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 chopped jalapenos, or a mix of peppers of your choice (See note below.)
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp chili powder (or more to taste)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin

Let simmer over low heat for 40 minutes. If  needs adjustment of seasons, have at it. If it’s not thick enough, use some oil and flour to make a thin roux, and use that to thicken it up a bit. It should have the consistency of a thin gravy or a thick soup. Alternatively, you may want to add finely minced potato at the beginning of the cooking to help thicken it a bit.

NOTE: For peppers, you may want to roast some milder peppers like Anaheim, use habaneros if you want it spicier, etc. It is all up to you!

Eggplant Soup

Cool, delicious and creamy.
Makes 6 cups
Shopping List

2 pounds eggplant

¼ cup olive oil

2 large onions

6 garlic cloves

Cayenne

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1-2 lemons

liquid smoke (optional)

herbs to garnish (za’atar or parsley)

<

p>

Prick holes in

  • 2 medium eggplants

Roast on grill very dark. If using an oven, blacken under broiler (4 minutes per side), turning as needed. When the eggplants are cool, remove flesh and discard skins. Chop flesh a bit and reserve.

In large saucepan, saute

  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook 7 minutes, until onions are soft. Add

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cayenne to taste (non, a pinch or more!)

Add the reserved eggplant and cook for a minute. Then add

  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 cups water

Bring to simmer for 10 minutes, check seasoning and adjust salt, pepper and cayenne.

Puree soup in batches in blender. ATTN Hot liquids expand a lot in the blender and can be almost explosive, so either leave the lid ajar or work in very small batches. Alternatively wait for the soup to cool before using the blender.

ATTNGrate a small bit of lemon rind and reserve it for the garnish.

Strain soup through a fine strainer to remove seeds, if any remain after the blender. Add

  • 3 to 4 TBL lemon juice, to taste

If you want a smoky flavor, consider adding

  • ½ tsp liquid smoke

Mix the lemon zest with 1 TBL olive oil for a garnish. For each bowl of soup, top with a tsp of the lemon-flavored oil and some zaatar or chopped parsley.

ATTN I liked this so much served cold, but I guess you could serve it hot.

Adapted from The New York Times, August 14, 2013

 

Caponata

Makes 8 servings
Shopping List

2 medium eggplants

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 large onion

2 stalks celery (or fennel)

½ cup tomato puree

¼ cup capers

16 stuffed green olives

¼ cup wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

ATTN Prepare this a day before you want to serve it.

Rinse and cut

  • 2 medium eggplants, making ¾” cubes (leave skin on)

In a large saucepan, heat

  • ¼ cup olive oil

and saute eggplant until colored. Remove from pan. Add

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

to pan. Saute until golden

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery (or fennel), diced

Add

  • ½ cup tomato puree

and simmer 2 minutes. Return eggplant to pan and add

  • ¼ cup capers
  • 16 stuffed green olives, halved

In another pan (or microwave oven) heat

  • ¼ cup wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

and pour into eggplant mixture. Season with

  • salt and black pepper to taste

Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature with lemon wedges and toast.

Adapted from The International Dinner Party Cookbook, by Jan Bilton

Key Lime Pie Pops

No key limes in mine, but the taste is wonderful.
Makes 10 &frac13;-cup or 3-ounce popsicles

Shopping List

4 large limes or 7-8 key limes or 1 bottle key lime juice

14-ounce can of sweetenend condensed milk

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup milk

1 box graham crackers

<

p>

Zest limes to make

  • 2 tsp lime zest

Juice limes to make

  • ¾ cup lime juice

Combine juice, zest and

  • 14-ounce can of sweetenend condensed milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • pinch salt

Stir to mix and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until solid.

Coarsely crush graham crackers to make

3 cups of graham cracker crumbs

To serve, dip mold in lukewarm water for 10 seconds. Unmold each popsicle,   press each side into graham cracker crumbs, coating thoroughly.

ATTNUse gluten-free graham crackers if you want a gluten-free dessert. The pops are also delicious without the coating.

From Smitten Kitchen who republished it from Paletas by Fany Gerson

 

Old Jew Cake

We served these bar cookies at a large party. Over the next few days we received several requests for this recipe, and all the callers had two things in common: they were over 45 and Jewish. We renamed the recipe shortly thereafter. But what age is “old” these days, anyway?
Makes 20 bars

Shopping List

1 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

⅓ cup packed almond paste (about 3 ounces)

5 eggs

½ pound (2 sticks) margarine

2 tablespoons corn syrup

¼ cup milk

1½ teaspoon almond extract

1¾ cups finely chopped unblanched almonds (see tips)

1 cup yellow cake crumbs (see tips)

½ cup seedless raspberry jam

Powdered sugar

<

p>

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 10½- by 15½- by 1-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan) with heavy aluminum foil, letting the foil extend over the edges of the pan. (If you don’t have a pan that size, you might have to adjust the baking time: I have made this in a 9 x 13 x 1 inch pan successfully.) Grease the foil by ATTNputting a pat of margarine on the pan and placing the pan in the warm oven for 30 seconds, and brushing the softened margarine around.

Sift together and set aside.

  • 1 cup cake flour (or 1 cup less 2 tablespoons of sifted all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Whip together to form soft peaks

  • 3 egg whites (reserve yolks for next step)

Reduce the speed to medium and slowly beat in

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Reserve egg whites for use at end of recipe.

In the mixer beat on medium speed until blended smoothly, about one minute

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup packed almond paste (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 egg

Add and mix until blended, about one minute

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) cold or slightly softened margarine, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Add, one at a time

  • 1 egg (yes, the remaining whole egg)
  • 3 egg yolks (reserved above)

Beat for one minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl during the process. Decrease the speed to low and add

  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1½ teaspoons almond extract

The mixture may look curdled: fear not. Add

  • 1¼ cups finely chopped unblanched almonds
  • 1 cup yellow cake crumbs (see note below)

Also add the flour mixture, and mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter looks smooth. ATTNDo not overbeat.

Using a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the almond batter, working just until no white streaks remain. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes.

Cool thoroughly in the pan. Use the overhanging edges of aluminum foil to lift the bars out of the pan, then peel the foil away from the sides. Invert the bars onto the back of the baking pan and remove the foil carefully. With the bottom side up and the long side facing you, cut the bars in half. You will have two pieces measuring about 10 by 7½ inches each. Spread one piece with

  • ¼ cup raspberry jam

Use the removable bottom of a tart pan to invert the remaining piece and slide it, top side up, on top of the jam-covered layer. Spread

  • ¼ cup raspberry jam

over the top. Sprinkle with

  • ½ cup finely chopped unblanched almonds

evenly over the top and dust the top with

  • powdered sugar

You will have one double-layered piece measuring about 10 by 7½ inches. To cut into 20 pieces, cut four rows the long way and five rows across. This makes 20 bars, 2 by 1½ inches.

ATTNYou can process the almonds in the food processor until some are ground but larger pieces up to ¼ inch in size remain. A combination of ground and finely chopped almonds gives the best results.

ATTNGrate ⅓ of a Sara Lee or other commercial pound cake to make 1 cup of cake crumbs.

You can also assemble this as a single-layer cake. Either way, ATTNthe top layer looks best if you put the nuts on 6 hours or less before serving. The cake keeps up to a week in a cool kitchen, but it won’t sit around that long.

Adapted from 125 Cookies to Bake, Nibble and Savor by Elinor Klivans

Lemon Rice Cake

A gluten-free lemon cake we love to serve. The cake has a distinct texture from the rice flour, somewhat like that  of cheesecake.
Make about 20 pieces

Shopping List

½ pound butter

2 cups sugar

6 eggs

3-4 lemons

2¼ cups rice flour

<

p>

Grease and flour an 9x9x2-inch pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grate 3-4 lemons to make

  • ¼ cup lemon rind

Juice lemons to make

  • 3 TBL lemon juice

Reserve juice and rind. Separate

  • 6 eggs

Beat and reserve yolks. In a mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. ATTN Slowly add

  • 1 cup sugar

beating until egg whites form soft peaks.

Reserve egg whites and in mixer bowl, cream

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (or use ATTN unsalted Fleishman’s margarine to make a dairy-free version)
  • ¼ tsp salt

light and fluffy. Gradually add

  • 1 cup sugar

Add beaten egg yolks, lemon rind and lemon juice to mix. Add

  • 2¼ cups rice flour

Fold egg whites into batter. Place batter into the greased pan and bake for 55 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove.

When cool, cut into 20 pieces.

 

Lemon Bars

For Paul Chazan, who can’t get enough of them.

Makes one 9- by 13-inch pan, or 36 bars

1 cup unsalted butter

2½ cups sifted powdered sugar

2¼ cups sifted flour

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons grated lemon peel

ATTNThere is an alternate crust recipe below if you prefer something with a bit of crunch from some cornmeal.

Preheat oven to 350° F. To prepare crust, beat

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sifted powdered sugar

until creamy. Stir in

  • 2 cups sifted flour

until evenly blended. Spread evenly into an ungreased 9- by 13- by 2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Beat

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar

until light and fluffy. Stir in

  • ¼ cup sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon grated lemon peel

Pour filling over hot crust. Return to oven and continue baking for 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Make glaze by combining

  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hot water

Stir until sugar is dissolved. This makes a sweet, fairly thick white glaze. We prefer a thinner, translucent glaze. Start with 1 cup of sugar and add water, or more sugar, as desired. Spread over top and finish cooling. Cut into bars. They keep well wrapped in foil or in an airtight container.

Adapted from The Old-fashioned Cookbook, by Jan McBride Carlton

I recently discovered an alternate crust I like for lemon bars, from the wonderful book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy, by Alice Medrich.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9- by 13-inch pan with aluminum foil. In a bowl, combine

  • 1⅓ cup flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda

In mixer bowl, beat together

  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • ⅔ cup sugar

Add

  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 TBL buttermilk or yogurt
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Beat the least possible amount of time on the lowest speed to combine in the flour. Knead by hand to ensure flour is incorporated. Press into lined pan, prick everywhere with a fork, then bake for 25 minutes until deep golden brown. Continue by pouring filling over hot crust as describe above.

Cold Pea Soup

Delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day. And easy to make, too.
4 servings

1 pound frozen peas (3 cups)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

¼ cup sour cream (or more to taste)

Parsley, for garnish

In a saucepan, combine

1 pound frozen peas (3 cups)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until peas are bright green and tender, 10 minutes or so. Cool for a few minutes. Pour the cooked peas into a blender and carefully blend them until they are pureed. Do this in several batches. Add

Salt and pepper, to taste

Force through a fairly fine strainer, discarding solids. Stir or whisk in

¼ cup sour cream (or more to taste)

You may substitute heavy cream if you prefer a less tangy flavor. Refrigerate (for up to two days) before serving, cold. Garnish with some

Chopped parsley

Dollop of sour cream, if desired

Adapted from Mark Bittman in The New York Times

Hot Fudge Sauce

This started with a recipe from marthastewart.com, I am embarrassed to say.
Almost 2 cups

Chop into small pieces

  • 6 ounces of chocolate

Martha recommended semisweet chocolate, however I used dark chocolate (70%) from Trader Joe’s and the result was not too sweet.

In a medium saucepan over a medium high setting, heat until boiling

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup clear corn syrup

Reduce the heat and add all the chocolate. Whisk until it is completely melted and a smooth sauce forms. Remove from heat and add

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Let cool to a bit before serving as it’s a bit thin while still hot. The leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated. It won’t keep forever like the commercial stuff, but I’m sure it will be gobbled up well before that’s an issue. It’s delicious.