Ess, Ess/Eat, Eat



Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2001/ 29 Mar-Cheshvan 5762



Sharing comfort:
Sit-down dinners



By Ethel G. Hofman

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- IT'S two months later, and the images and horror of September 11 are still with us. Daily reports on television, radio and in the press, bring the war into our living rooms. But a new spirit of community has sprung up in our society. Neighbors, friends and family are coming together - to chat over a cup of coffee or maybe share a casual meal. It's a way of staying connected and grounded at a time when everyone is emotionally needy. Airing opinions, and expressing concerns, will go a long way in helping all of us to heal.

For children who can't fully understand what happened, the dinner table is a good venue to encourage them to talk about their feelings. At the same time, it's OK to laugh and enjoy food and company - the vital ingredient in any recovery process.


We all crave company so don't hesitate to offer an impromptu invitation --- maybe standing round the office water cooler or passing a colleague's desk. No need to fuss. Shop on the way home for prepared and ready to cook items. Roasted chickens may be brushed with a fruited glaze to reheat, stretch store-brand coleslaw, usually over-mayonnaised, by adding a package of shredded cabbage, then pack a punch with a spoonful of horseradish and dijon mustard. Parfaits are easy and pretty. Layer sliced, sugared berries and frozen lemon yogurt laced with crumbled oreo cookies. For guests anxious to contribute --- suggest a bottle of chilled wine or a loaf of artisan bread.

Here are three menus to get you started. Recipes are for four but may be doubled.

MENU 1

MANDARIN CHICKEN,
ONION FOCACCIA,
ICEBERG LETTUCE WEDGES
BAKED APPLES AND CHERRIES

In this menu, focaccia is storebought and warmed in the oven. Wash the iceberg lettuce and cut into wedges. Save the juice from canned mandarin oranges and add 2-3 tablespoons to your favorite salad dressing. Baked apples and cherries may be slipped into the microwave to cook during the main course.

MANDARIN CHICKEN (MEAT)


SERVES 4

Preheat broiler. Spray a broiler pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Set aside. In a shallow dish, combine the dressing, onion, honey and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Prick each piece of chicken several times with a fork. Place in the dish, turning to coat all sides. Marinate in refrigerate 15 minutes or longer. Preheat the broiler. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding the marinade. (protects against cross contamination.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on prepared pan. Cook 6-8 minutes each side or until juices run clear when pierced with a fork. While chicken is cooking, toss the avocado with lemon juice. Add oranges and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Spoon over cooked chicken.

BAKED APPLES AND CHERRIES (PAREVE)


SERVES 4



  • 1/4 cup ginger preserves*
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 4 red apples (such as MacIntosh), cored and cut in wedges
  • 2-3 tablespoons dried cherries

*Orange marmalade plus 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger may be substituted for ginger preserves

In a shallow, microwave dish, combine the preserves, water and apple juice. Microcook at High for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir and add the apples and cherries. Spoon some of the liquid over. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Cook at High for 5 minutes, then at Medium for 4 minutes longer. Pierce plastic wrap with a knife before removing. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

MENU 2

SAVORY TURKEY BALLS IN MARINARA SAUCE
WARM, CRUSTY ROLLS
SAUTEED BROCCOLI-WOKLY AND WALNUTS
HARVEST APPLE WONTONS.

Meatless marinara sauce, a package of pre-washed broccoli and cauliflower florets and ready to use wonton wrappers make this supereasy menu. Bring guests into the kitchen to help make the harvest apple wontons.

SAVORY TURKEY BALLS IN MARINARA SAUCE (MEAT)

SERVES 4

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick vegetable spray. Combine turkey, onion, egg, garlic powder and enough matzo meal to make a workable mixture.. Shape into 1 1/2-inch balls. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven 12-15 minutes or until browned on outside. In a medium pan mix the marinara sauce with tomatoes and lemon juice. Add the turkey balls, spooning some of the sauce over. Cover, bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with warm crusty rolls.

SAUTEED BROCCOLI-WOKLY WITH TOASTED WALNUTS (PAREVE)


SERVES 4

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (12 ounce) package prewashed broccoli and cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt and hot sauce to taste
  • 2 tablespoons walnut halves, toasted

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the broccoli and cauliflower. Stir fry until edges of broccoli are beginning to brown. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the garlic. Season to taste with salt and hot sauce. Cook 1-2 minutes longer. Scatter toasted walnuts over and serve.

HARVEST APPLE WONTONS (PAREVE)


MAKES 16

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons pareve ginger snap or cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 16 wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • confectioners sugar (optional)
  • oil for frying

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cookie crumbs, pecans, apple, currants and cinnamon. Brush the edges of wonton wrappers with beaten egg. Place a rounded teaspoon apple mixture on each wrapper. Fold diagonally, pressing edges firmly to seal. Heat about 2-inches oil in a heavy, deep skillet or saucepan (350 degrees). Fry wontons until golden, 45-60 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels. Dredge with confectioners sugar (optional) Serve warm.

MENU 4

ITALIAN FISH CHOWDER
BREAD STICKS
ZESTY CUCUMBER SALAD
FRUITED CRANBERRY COMPOTE WITH WARM TOFFEE SAUCE

Fish chowder, a one bowl main dish, may be served with a green salad or sliced cucumbers in a sweet-sour sauce. Vanilla caramels provide the base for toffee sauce. Double the recipe and use to top slices of toasted angel food cake. If refrigerated, warm before using. Fruited cranberry compote- made easy with canned cranberry sauce and fruit salad from the delicatessen To impress, spoon the compote into large wine glasses then drizzle sauce over.

ITALIAN FISH CHOWDER (DAIRY)


SERVES 4

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup frozen cheese tortellini
  • 3/4 pound fish fillet (cod, haddock, tilapia) cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2-3/4 cup light cream or milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the frozen vegetables, onion and tortellini. Saute until vegetables are beginning to thaw, 2-3 minutes. Pour the water over Add the fish and seasoning. Return to boil. Cook, covered for 10 minutes or until fish and tortellini are cooked. Stir in the cream or milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat . Do not allow to boil. If too thick, add a little more milk for desired consistency.

ZESTY CUCUMBER SALAD (PAREVE)


SERVES 4



  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cucumbers, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or frozen chopped chives

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, salad dressing and apple juice. Add the cucumbers and chives. Stir to mix. Bring to boil over high heat. Remove from heat and serve warm or at room temperature.

FRUITED CRANBERRY COMPOTE (PAREVE)


SERVES 4

  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 (8 ounce can) jellied cranberry sauce, mashed
  • 2 cups fruit salad



In a saucepan, stir together the cranberries, sugar and orange juice. Cook over high heat, stirring often until mixture is boiling and berries are beginning to burst. Add the mashed cranberry sauce. Reduce heat to low. Stir until cranberry sauce is almost melted. Add the fruit salad and mix gently. Spoon into dessert dishes. Serve with warm toffee sauce

WARM TOFFEE SAUCE (DAIRY)


MAKES 1/2 CUP

  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk or light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 10 (2 1/2 - 3 ounces) vanilla caramels
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a small bowl, heat evaporated milk or cream and coffee in the microwave at High for 1 minute. Stir to dissolve the coffee. Add the caramels. Microwave at High for 1 1/2 -2 minutes or until caramels may be stirred to make a smooth mixture. Stir in the brown sugar. Serve warm. needed.



JWR contributor Ethel G. Hofman is the former president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, whose members include the likes of Julia Child. She is the author, most recently, of Everyday Cooking for the Jewish Home: More Than 350 Delectable Recipes.


Up


© 2001, Ethel G. Hofman