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Carrot Souffle

14 Jun

Boiling Carrots

This recipe is not unique to The Bais Yaakov Cookbook. I have seen similar carrot kugels and carrot souffles’ in almost every Kosher cookbook, with small variations. For instance I have crushed everything from Chex to Cheerios while making the crispy topping. Most of these recipes, however, use baby food carrots. This recipe asks the industrious cook to boil and mash their own carrots. Is it worth the effort?

 

Ingredients: carrots, eggs, oil, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, cornflake crumbs, brown sugar, margarine, chopped nuts, cinnamon

Carrot Mash    

Substitutions: I use Earth Balance instead of margarine. For chopped nuts I used almonds because that is the only nut nobody in my home is allergic to. I suspect pecans and walnuts may have worked better.

The Process: You start by boiling the carrots so that they can be easily mashed. I found I needed longer than the suggested 15 minutes. I had to boil the carrots for a full 30 minutes before I could easily mash them. While I used a fork you might get a smoother mash with a food processor (this is not suggested in the recipe).

I then preheated the oven and started adding ingredients to the carrot mash. All of this was poured into an oven to table baking dish. The recipe allows for either one large dish or a few small ramekins. While the ramekins might be prettier the one large dish was easier to handle and serve.

I mixed the cornflakes, sugar, Earth Balance and nuts to make a topping. This crumble was spread over the top and the entire thing was baked for 40 minutes.

The Results: It tasted like most other carrot kugels I have tried, except slightly sweeter and slightly more gritty since I hand mashed the carrots. My kids seemed to love it, with one notable exception – they asked me to remove the sugary cereal topping! Is it worth the extra time to mash the carrots? Probably not. It turned a 15 minute process into a 45 minute affair.

                                Carrot Souffle

Quick Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry

9 Jun

I grew up on pasta, my husband grew up one rice. Rice and meatballs, rice and beans, rice on Passover. While I definitely enjoy the liberalized Passover diet, I still haven’t quite gotten used to the substitution of rice for pasta. Therefore when I saw this Stir Fry recipe in the Bais Yaakov Cookbook call for rice OR orzo I immediately whipped out a box of orzo and got cooking.

Broccoli also happens to be one green vegetable that my kids will actually eat. Combined with the one pan, stove-top nature of this recipe I practically HAD to try it.

Ingredients: chicken breast, salt, Italian dressing, water, teriyaki sauce, garlic powder, frozen broccoli florets, uncooked rice OR orzo

Substitutions: None

The Process: The Italian dressing is used to sauté the chicken strips. I will admit the smell of heated Italian dressing is mildly revolting. Luckily it dissipates quickly. I then stirred in the water and teriyaki sauce, greatly improving the smell, and the garlic powder. Everything is brought to a boil and the broccoli and orzo are added. I placed the lid on and cooked over low heat for five minutes. That’s it. Done!

The Results: I was skeptical that everything would finish cooking in five minutes, and indeed I found I had to add a little more water water and cook for another few minutes before the orzo was done. However all in all this was a very fast one pot meal with minimal clean up. It also tasted great and was very filling. Containing a starch, protein and vegetable all in one, I found this to be the perfect meal to pack up and take to work. My kids however refused to try it. I think if they had, they would have liked it.

Personally I enjoy the smoother and less dense texture of orzo to rice. I do not know if I would like this dish as much had it been made with rice.

Quick Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry

White Chocolate Chip and Macadamia Nut Cookies

25 Mar
Bais Yaakov Cookbook

White Chocolate macadamia nut cookie

From the moment I opened the Bais Yaakov Cookbook I was itching to make these cookies. The photo jumped off the page and made my mouth water. I also love white chocolate chips way more than standard run of the mill chips. I was simply waiting for the ideal moment.

The ideal moment never came. Working long nights and waking up extremely early doesn’t leave much time for anything else. What time I do have gets spent with family or studying. So instead of the perfect time, I stayed up late one night to bake. I decided to stop studying, give up a little sleep and make cookies so that hte next day, while running around the emergency department seeing consultant patients, I would at least have snacks. In a hospital with limited Kosher food, that made all the difference. The residents didn’t mind the extra snacks either.

Ingredients: 

margarine, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, old fashioned oats, white chocolate chips, chocolate bar, macadamia nuts, dried cranberries (optional)

substitutions: Earth Balance baking stick instead of margarine

The Process:

This is a one bowl cookie recipe. I threw everything but the delicate ingredients into a large bowl and mixed. I used my hand mixer because the recipe calls for “creaming” the sugar and margarine, but honestly you could probably get away without it. Then I folded in the chips, nuts and cranberries. I dropped spoonfuls onto my silicone mat lined cookie sheets and popped them into the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

The Results:

The cookies looked like the ones in the cookbook photo, except more rounded. If you like a flat cookie I suggest pressing down on the dough ball to flatten it as the dough seems to retain its shape when baking. The photo shows a crunchy cookie, and they were. If you are like me and prefer a chewier cookie then shave off some time from the baking time.

While the recipe says the cranberries are optional, I feel they are not. They added a lot to the taste of the cookie. Instead, the macadamia nut should be optional. I personally did not enjoy the flavor and crunch they added. Plus they meant the cookies were off limits to all people with nut allergies. It’s a great cookie without the (overpriced) nuts! white choc macadamia cookie 2

 

Wholesome Breakfast Muffin

10 Feb

Lately I’ve been getting up at the horrific hour of 5am – way too early to eat my usual cereal and milk breakfast. This results in considerable hunger in the middle of my commute, especially when fellow commuters whip out such aromatic breakfast items as onion bagels and flavored yogurts. To combat my mid-commute starvation and envy I need breakfast items that are easily eaten on the run and don’t take forever to prepare. I also want an element of health – sure that onion bagel smelled great but I  imagine eating an onion bagel heaped with cream cheese everyday isn’t all that good for me. I’ve heard rave reviews about the wholesome breakfast muffins featured in the Bais Yaakov cookbook and decided to give them a try. I was attracted by the use of whole wheat flour (which I admit I rarely use) and alternative sweeteners and fats like applesauce and apple juice. Plus what’s easier to grab on the way out that a muffin?

Ingredients:

whole wheat flour, quick cooking oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, applesauce, apple juice, egg, vanilla extract, chocolate chips

The Process:

The recipe is fairly simple. Preheat the oven, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, spoon into muffin Wholesome Breakfast Muffin battercups and bake for 20 minutes. Not exactly rocket science (which is a selling point in my opinion!). The one variation I found was that I needed 13 muffin cups when the recipe called for “12 standard muffin cups”. Maybe our definitions of standard are just not that standard.

I baked these in silicone stand alone muffin cups as opposed to a muffin tin because I find that I never have issues with muffins sticking or having to grease the pan with these cups. They have also never burnt a muffin and the same cannot be said for tins in my experience.

During the baking process I kept thinking I smelled something burning and running over to check the oven, but it turns out thats just the way whole wheat baked goods smell when baking. It’s a richer, earthier smell that white flour. Nothing was burning and I just needed to calm down.

The Results:

Wholesome Breakfast Muffins

I was fairly disappointed in these muffins. I had heard such rave reviews I was expecting something special. Instead I got a fairly dense muffin that was hard on the outside while still remaining chewy on the inside. The taste was nothing special and if you are looking for a fluffy cake-like muffin, this is not the recipe for you. On the other hand, they did not taste bad, and for whole wheat baked goods they were not as heavy on the stomach as expected. One small muffin was surprisingly filling keeping me full for several hours in the morning. They also don’t expand that much so don’t worry about filling your cups to exactly 3/4 full.

Would I make these again? Maybe. They are filling and easy to make. However I would swap out the chocolate chips for craisins which might give this muffin a lighter flavor than dense chocolate chips. The tanginess would also contrast well with the whole wheat.

Wholesome Breakfast Muffin from Bais Yaakov Cokbook