My Favorite Recipes

Revised 13 June 2005

We rated with ICRA

These are a few of my favorite recipes. For the most part, they are easy to make. Most of them are hand-me-downs, and I have tried to give credit where I can.

Stove

"African" Chicken

Quick, easy, and unusual-tasting without scaring the timid, this was inspired by North African recipes. You can serve it with couscous, with potatoes, or with rice.

  Ingredients
1 14-16 ounce can of chopped or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds boneless chicken

May be reheated.


Seasoned Roasted Potatoes

Not that roasting potatoes is hard, but this is one easy way of seasoning them. There are two versions, depending upon what you like to season them with: a seasoning mix, or a salad dressing. Start by cutting your potatoes into serving size, typically something resembling lemon wedges but somewhat smaller. What you do next depends upon what you have on hand for flavoring.

First, put some water into a bowl.


Double Chocolate Chip CookiesCookie

This recipe was judged best and published in "In search of the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie." It was submitted by the Junior League of Las Vegas.

Ingredients
1 cup flour
teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

Yield: three dozen


Rose Milkofsky's Spice Cookies

Rose Milkofsky was my mother's mother, and these were my favorite cookies when I was a kid. My mother says it was original with her. Because of the use of vegetable shortening, they are kosher parve so they accompanied many family dinners. I suspect the variant with candied cherries was the original, so perhaps the recipe predates M&Ms; we always preferred the M&M kind.

Ingredients
1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco, for example)
cup sugar
1 egg
2 cup flour
teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
dash of salt
M&Ms or candied cherries (cut in M&M-sized pieces), one per cookie

Yield: seven to eight dozen


Potato Chip Christmas Cookies

These cookies are absolutely delicious, and most people can't guess the secret ingredient. Like any other shortbread variant, these are bad for you in the extreme. I got this recipe from my friend Barbara D'Angelo, whose mother and aunt used to bake like fiends for weeks before Christmas. I find it easiest to work with two cookie sheets, because the cookies are easier to handle if allowed to cool slightly before being moved.

Ingredients
1 lb. hard oleomargarine (do not use butter)
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup crushed potato chips
confectioners sugar

Yield: five to six dozen


Fudge Layer Cake

This recipe comes from Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker, but I don't think it appears in editions after 1972. Since it is copyrighted material, I will confine myself to a paraphrase of some key points and my own comments and variations.


Classic Shortbread

This is the kind of shortbread you'd have with tea. It's another cardiologist's nightmare.

Ingredients
1 cups butter
cup sugar
4 cups flour

Selma Schwartz's Pot Roast

This takes an extra day to prepare so you can cool it and skim the fat (my mother insists), but otherwise is easy and like any good pot roast can be reheated indefinitely.

Ingredients
2 lbs. flat brisket (size isn't critical, I use the biggest one that fits in my pot
cup ketchup
3 dashes of steak sauce (the brown kind, not the ketchupy kind)
dry onion soup mix (about enough to make 2 cups of soup, assuming you have about 4 cups of liquid)

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna noodle casserole was invented by (or for) the Campbell Soup Company in their kitchens, one of many ways in which they promoted their line of canned soups at the beginning of the 20th century. This variation is simple and of the "dry" style which I prefer (as opposed to the "creamy" style which a lot of cafeterias serve). I like to use water chestnuts to give it a bit of crunch; some people put peas in it, but I don't find they add much.

The quantities given will feed an army, they make 8 quarts; but you can easily adjust it up or down, freeze it, whatever. To save space in the freezer and maintain the texture of the finished product, you can freeze the prepared ingredients without the noodles. Then you can defrost the glop, boil up the noodles, combine and bake; this saves some preparation time, and the house won't smell like frying onions when your company comes. Of course, you can also freeze half of the glop if 8 quarts of tuna noodle casserole is too much to eat at one sitting.

Ingredients
2 lb. egg noodles (use heavier styles that won't turn to mush, such as egg bows)
2 cans water chestnuts
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
Variations: eliminate the garlic from the recipe and substitute cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic, and / or substitute cream of celery soup for some of the cream of mushroom soup
~1 cup milk
2 large cans of light or white tuna in water
1 large onion
teaspoon minced garlic
1 small container of fresh sliced mushrooms, or equivalent
buttered corn flakes, if desired
butter (for browning onions)

Cheesecake

This cheesecake will serve an army, and is guaranteed to get you a lecture from your cardiologist. I've been told that if you cut the recipe in half, you can make an 8" cake. Warning: I've had some trouble with the cake not quite being done when cooked according to these directions, but I don't think it is possible to overcook it. The rather elaborate directions for baking and cooling are supposed to put a nice skin on the cake and keep it from cracking. This is important, because if you decide it is too messy for company and attack it with a spoon, you'll never be able to finish it before you get sick of cheesecake - even if your spouse helps. This cake can be frozen after baking.

Tip: It can be difficult to serve this cake out of the spring-form pan's bottom, because of the lip. To get around this, you can lay a sheet of parchment paper over the bottom before attaching the sides. Don't trim the paper, you'll want handles later. Once the cake is cooled, you can remove the pan's sides and slide the cake off the pan's bottom and onto a cake plate. This gives you a chance to get under the crust when serving.

Ingredients
2 lbs. cream cheese
1 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
teaspoons salt
cup heavy cream
2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 large eggs
2 extra egg yolks
2 boxes graham cracker crust mix (1 boxes will do a 10" pan, since a box usually does an 8" pan).

Matzoh Farfel Muffins (fewer eggs)

Matzoh farfel is really not much more than crumbled matzoh. During Passover, observant Jews are rather limited in the starches they can use, so matzoh gets used for all sorts of things. Leavening of any kind is forbidden, so unless you want to turn matzoh into more matzoh you have to use eggs to get some loft. These muffins are more like popovers than anything else. The original recipe I had used almost one egg per muffin, so they were rather fattening and high in cholesterol. My brother Jon was kind enough to supply this recipe as a substitute.

I strongly suggest a non-stick muffin tin!

Ingredients
2 cups farfel
2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
3 eggs

Passover Sponge Cake

As I mentioned above, Passover is a challenge because matzoh does not offer much variety. Because eggs can give loft to baked goods without the use of forbidden leavening, they are a major ingredient in most Passover baked goods. This is my favorite recipe for sponge cake, and it can create a mile-high cake. The biggest challenge is to find big enough bowls to mix the ingredients. Because the cake often bakes up higher than the pan, even with its legs, I used to balance the tube on a large bottle of soda while it cooled. These days, it's hard to find large glass bottles of soda so be prepared with a bottle of wine or some such; I don't want to think about the consequences of using a plastic soda bottle.

Remember, the small bowl that comes with a typical mixer can handle only six egg whites. Also remember that you won't be able to beat the whites successfully if you get any yolk in them, so you'll have to wash the beaters well between steps.

I've never tried the variant with nuts in it, but it sounds interesting.

Ingredients
9 eggs, separated
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
cup lemon juice
teaspoon salt
cup unsifted Passover cake meal
cup unsifted potato starch
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, if desired

Honey Cake

This is another of my grandmother Rose's recipes. I don't know where it came from, originally, but honey cake is a classic Eastern European item.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons shortening
1 cup brown sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 lb. honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon cloves
3 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon strong coffee
sliced almonds, if desired

Blender Hollandaise

Hollandaise sauce is one of the two essential toppings which can rescue almost any culinary disaster. (Whipped cream is the other one.) With enough hollandaise sauce you can make shoe leather finger-licking good. In case the other recipes haven't given you a coronary, here's one that should be served with a defibrillator. The trick is to get the butter about as hot as you can.

Ingredients
2 egg yolks
lb. butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper (powdered cayenne, if you have it) to taste

Ruggelach

This is another classic Eastern European Jewish recipe; I don't know if it is common among non-Jews in Poland or Russia, but I've never seen it except in Jewish-style bakeries. Perhaps the Jews brought it up the Danube from Romania or someplace. This is unusual among Jewish desserts because it contains dairy products, and therefore can't be eaten at a meat meal.

This is a two-day operation!

Ingredients for Dough
2 cups flour
lb. butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sour cream
pinch of salt
Ingredients for Filling
(sorry, no proportions - almost anything will work)
sugar
cinnamon
chopped nuts
raisins or other dried fruits (what could be bad?)

Clotted Cream

Clotted cream is served at cream tea over in England, especially in Devonshire. It is spread on buns and scones. In this country (USA) it is sometimes available commercially as "Devon Cream."

Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream

Praline Banana Cake

This recipe came from my friend and once-upon-a-time bridge companion Penny Johnson. I'm ashamed to say I still have the plate it came on.

Ingredients (cake)
2 cups flour
1 cups sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 fairly large)
cup shortening
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Ingredients (topping)
1 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon milk

Home-Made Chocolate Pudding

If you share my belief that chocolate pudding just doesn't taste the way you remember it, try making it from scratch. If you have the ingredients, it shouldn't be any harder than opening a box. I like to make this in the microwave, because my arm doesn't get tired from stirring it and it won't scorch.

Ingredients
cup sugar
2 cups milk (low-fat, skim, or lactose-free will work but might take longer to set up)
cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons cocoa

Overcooking or overstirring anything based on cornstarch will keep it from setting up properly.

Stovetop method:

Microwave method:

Will cool enough in refrigerater to eat in about one hour.


Cheater's Indonesian-style Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)

Indonesia is a country of zillions of islands, and every island big enough to have more than one family living on it has more than one native cuisine. They do have certain elements in common: rice, seafood, and intensely hot spice served on the side. This recipe is an imitation of a generic fried rice, just exotic enough to be interesting but not enough to frighten the children.

Ingredients
1 quart of vegetable, chicken, or shrimp fried rice (see comments below)
1 cup cooked, diced shrimp or large can of tuna fish
teaspoon ground cumin
teaspoon dried ground chili peppers
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cashew nuts (see comments below)
4 tablespoons peanut butter
(optional) shrimp or cuttlefish chips (you find these in Asian groceries, they look like multicolored potato chips and smell fishy)

When choosing your fried rice, make sure that it comes from a Chinese restaurant that doesn't load it up with soy sauce and oil. It should be the color of whatever broth was used to cook the rice, not brown and salty.

Although fresh cashews would be ideal, you can use the regular salted cashews. Just rinse the salt off before grinding or finely chopping them.

You can add diced ham, cooked chicken (julienne-cut or diced), or anything else you have lying around.

Simply combine the peanut butter, cashews, and spices; then mix in the shrimp or tuna. Now combine this glop with the fried rice. Bake it in the oven or heat it in the microwave until heated through.

Garnish with the chips.


Lobster Salad with Red Devil Dressing

I haven't tried this one yet, but it intrigued me. Somehow I got onto a lobster mailing listing, and I get recipes several times a week.

Ingredients
1 pounds cooked lobster tails peeled, shredded and chilled
1 medium head garlic
large onion
salt to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large red bell peppers
1 large Portobello mushroom, chopped
lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespool cider vinegar
ground black pepper to taste
4 cups mixed salad greens