Ess, Ess/Eat, Eat

Jewish World Review Feb. 1, 2000 /28 Shevat, 5760

The Ultimate Comfort Food

By Ethel G. Hofman -- Feeling blue, getting over the flu... in need of some old fashioned comfort? The antidote is right in your kitchen; warm, homey dishes that have never gone out of style. Too many calories or too complicated? No problem. Some cosy recipes such as the Rice Pudding with Raisins have been adjusted in calories and fat without sacrificing the irresistable flavors and aromas that jumpstart the tastbuds. Others such as the old-fashioned Apple Dumplings are made with new century ease using frozen, pre-rolled puff pastry.

New century home cooking is an easy 3-step procedure...measure, mix and cook. For a pot of thick, warming soup there's no need to start off a stock pot. Excellent canned or prepared broths, available in low fat and low sodium varieties, are infused with fresh flavor when ready to eat carrots, frozen chopped vegetables, and a dash of fresh lemon juice are added.

The lusty Vegetable Soup below may be made pareve by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Leftovers, if you have any, freeze well but use within 4 to 6 weeks.Ground turkey and egg whites along with low sodium products such as low sodium mushroom soup make for a healthier Tuna Noodle Casserole which traditionally is high in sodium and calories.

If you want to increase the fiber in your diet, whole wheat pasta contains about 4 times the amount of fiber than regular pasta. Although dried pasta can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place almost indefinitely, dried whole wheat pasta should be used within a month of purchase. Keep a carton of non-dairy creamer on hand for dishes such as "cream" soups and Garlic Smashed Potatoes. This pareve dish dish has a creamy texture without added butter or milk. Home made desserts were not too sweet but were satisfying and nourishing. Rice pudding is an all-time favorite.

Prepare this recipe with low fat milk but a little undiluted evaporated milk adds just the right degree of richness. Apple dumplings, a baked apple wrapped in tender pastry, are making a brilliant comeback in pastry shops. Popular in the 1950's (you could pull one out of the Horn and Hardart's automat), they all but disappeared with nouvelle cuisine and pastry chef creations. Cortland or Golden Delicious are best for cooking as they hold their shape without breaking down but you can use whatever is on hand. For the ultimate treat , serve with warm custard sauce poured over.

Hearty, healthy vegetable soup (Fleishig)

Serves 6 to 8