Archive for April, 2010


So, my recipe for you today is not very original. Rather, it’s a slight variation on a previous recipe that is one of my favorites. But, this variation is great. And I had it for dinner tonight.

No, I didn’t eat biscotti for dinner! But I was in a baking mood this weekend. First, I made some almond biscotti. Then chocolate hazelnut, with brown sugar instead of white, pretty similar to my old stand-by. And I learned a great trick for skinning hazelnuts — to wrap the hazelnuts in a towel for about 5 minutes, allowing the trapped steam to separate the skins from the nuts.

Finally, I baked bread. With a bit of a sweet tooth, I turned to another favorite recipe that I adapted ever so slightly to my palate. Whole wheat cinnamon bread. I made the dough in my bread machine, then rolled it out and filled it with a cinnamon and (brown) sugar mixture. As the loaves were cooling, some of the melted cinnamon sugar dripped down, pooling beneath the rack, a harbinger of the gooey flavors to come. I cut in to the still-warm bread, the sugar sticking to the knife, and ate a slices (ok, two slices). The next day I toasted a couple more and slathered them with butter for breakfast. And tonight, dinner.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Toast

makes 2 loaves

– 1 1/4 C warm water

-1/4 C vegetable oil

– 1 egg

– 1/4 C white sugar

– 2 C bread flour

– 2 C whole wheat flour

– 1 t salt

– 2 1/4 t yeast

– 2 T cinnamon

– 1/4 C brown sugar

Prepare the dough. Add the liquid ingredients to the bread machine followed by sugar, flours, salt, and yeast, making sure that the salt and yeast do not touch. Run the dough cycle – this takes 90 minutes.

Add the cinnamon. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll up each loaf and place on cookie sheet, seam side down. Cover with cloth and allow to rise while preheating oven to 350ºF.

Bake. Bake loaves for 20 minutes on a cookie sheet. Cool on rack for a few minutes before slicing.

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No recipe today, just a little picture from this evening’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration held by the Israeli Consulate to New England. It was a bit more low key than last year but the flowers were just as lovely — roses this year instead of tulips. And, of course, I couldn’t resist bringing one home.

Chag Sameach everyone!

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last all week

With a rainy Sunday and a long week of work ahead, today was a day for cooking. In an effort to break my eating out every lunch habit, I set to work on a hearty last all week soup. The recipe is  simple, hearty, and plentiful. And that’s it. Happy almost Monday, everyone!

Red Lentil Soup

This soup reminds me of one that I had when I was in Cairo a few months ago. I based it on one I found in the NYT and then I upped the Middle Eastern factor with a more than liberal sprinkling of cumin and the addition of sumac which adds a sour note. The lemon juice at the end adds extra freshness.

Serves 6-8.

-3-4 T olive oil

– 2 onions, chopped

– 4 cloves garlic, chopped

– 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste

– 1 heaping T cumin

– a few pinches cayenne pepper

– 1 heaping t sumac

– 6-7 C vegetable broth

– 1.5 C red lentils

– 1 C brown lentils (not French/de Puy lentils)

– salt and pepper to taste

– lemon juice

Heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic about 4-5 minutes until soft.  Add tomato paste, cumin, cayenne, and sumac, sauteing for another 5 minutes. Add broth and lentils and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until lentils soften. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a few splashes of lemon.

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When I was in high school (yes, that all-girls’ school with the honor code), one of my teachers told us never to raise a hand and start a question or a comment with an apology. But I’m going to break that rule just this once, and apologize for having neglected you quite a bit of late. Here’s the scoop. I started a new job. I get home and flop on my sofa. I eat a whole head of roasted broccoli for dinner. Or a bowl of cereal. Or maybe a salad. Then fall asleep and wake up only to start all over again.

About a month ago, I went to a 2 1/2 hour dance class (!) on a Sunday morning and ended up in the ER with a torn meniscus. Not that I knew that at the time. All I knew at that point was that I wasn’t going to make it to the Idan Raichel concert that evening. Fast forward past weeks on end taking taxis to work every day (that is, when I was able to get to work rather than working from home), limping and limping and limping some more, trying out knee brace after knee brace (the one the ER gave me kept falling off) to Good Friday when I was in the OR for arthroscopic knee repaired.

Lucky for me, some friends took me in for the next few days — practically the entire Chol Ha’moed (the intermediate days of Passover), making sure I was well-fed (recipes to follow, don’t you worry) and -rested and didn’t need to worry about anything other than sitting in the sun that graced us over the weekend.

Now that Passover is behind us, every time I eat bread, I feel a little jolt of happiness that I can eat whatever I want. And each day as I can walk a little farther and straighten and bend my knee just a little bit more, I remember how good it feels to be healthy. It’s one of those things that I rarely think about until a little bit is taken away from me.

So, with this in mind, and now that I can stand long enough to be in kitchen, I figured I’d bake you an apology cake.

Almond Yogurt Cake

Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini’s Gateau au Yaourt and Raspberry Yogurt Cake. I upped the almond content using both ground almonds and almond oil. This cake is not too sweet and the taste of the orange flower water (which I love with almonds) is present without being overpowering.

– 1 C lowfat plain yogurt

– 1 C sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1/3 C vegetable oil (or 1/2 vegetable oil, 1/2 almond oil for a really almond-y flavor)

– 1 t orange flower water

– 1 2/3 C sifted flour

– 1/3 C finely ground almonds

– 1 1/2 t baking powder

– 1/2 t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°

Mix. Mix together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, oil(s), and orange flower water. Add flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and baking soda.

Bake. Slip greased pan (I used an 8X12 glass rectangle) into oven and bake for ~45 minutes.

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