Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hadassah Charoset

Over the years, I have slightly modified this recipe which was passed down to me by my mom via the Hadassah cookbook (c. 1982).

When multiplying the ingredients to make a batch for a large crowd, be gracious with the apples and walnuts and extremely stingy with the rest. If it's underseasoned or underflavored, you can always add more spice, lemon, sugar/honey, or wine; however, you can't take any of those away if you've added too much.

Hadassah Charoset
Serves 4

1 apple (Fiji, Gala, Macintosh, Macoun, etc. - I'd stay away from Red Delicious and Granny Smith)
½ cup chopped nuts (I like shelled walnuts the best)
1 TBS sweet red wine (kosher for Passover if making for a seder)
1 tsp grated lemon rind
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sugar or honey (honey is a better binder)
1 dash powdered ginger
Fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste

Peel, cut, core, and chop the apple. Shred or chop finely with a food processor (both textures combined can be nice, too - just be careful not to over process or you'll end up with apple sauce). Squeeze over fresh lemon juice (zest the lemon first to save on lemons) and toss to prevent browning.

Pulse the nuts in the food processor until you've reached your desired consistency (pebble sized is nice). Mix in with the apple.

Add wine, lemon rind, cinnamon, sugar/honey, ginger, and salt. Toss and taste, adjusting as you'd like. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This can be made a day or two ahead, and is delicious on matzoh with horseradish!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pantry Meal: Beans and Rice (Among Other Things)

This meal - which I am pleased to say I made up as I went - is hearty, delicious, inexpensive, convenient, and great for leftovers.

Beans and Rice with Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, and Green Bell Pepper
Serves 4-6

1 cup Carolina rice (though you can use whatever rice you like)
1 TBS butter
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt

1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
1 yellow onion, minced
4-6 stalks celery, minced (leaves included)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small green bell pepper(s), diced
To taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, dried oregano, paprika, cumin, cayenne
2 Roma tomatoes, diced (could sub 1/2 14.5 oz can of diced tomato, drained)
1 14.5 oz can kidney beans (almost any bean will do), rinsed and drained
1 large link fully-cooked Andouille sausage, diced (if frozen, defrost in microwave)
2 cups chicken stock
1 TBS cornstarch
1 dozen small shrimp, shelled and cleaned (if frozen, defrost in a bowl of cool water)

1 handful parsley, stems removed, minced
1 lemon, 1/2 for juice, 1/2 cut into wedges for serving
Extra butter, if desired
Hot sauce, for serving

Boil two cups of water with 1 TBS butter and 1 tsp salt. Add 1 cup of Carolina rice and 1 bay leaf. Stir, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Shut off the heat and leave the lid on until ready to serve. If using a different type of rice, just follow the directions on the package, and if making brown rice, be sure to start it far enough in advance (it usually takes 40-50 minutes total).

Heat 1 TBS oil and 1 TBS butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices (feel free to experiment here) and stir. Add tomato, kidney beans, and sausage and stir, cooking for 5 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Dissolve 1 TBS cornstarch in 2 cups of chicken stock in a glass measuring cup and pour into sauté pan. Bring to a bubble, raising heat if necessary. Add shrimp and nestle into sauce, cooking until pink and curled, 3-4 minutes.

Squeeze half a lemon over the pan and stir in the minced parsley and extra butter, if desired (it's worth it). Turn off the heat and taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary.

Uncover the rice and fluff it with a fork. Add it to a bowl and smother with the beans and rice. Enjoy!