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Appetizers & Sides

Sweet Potatoes and Raisins with Maple Syrup Glaze

This dish is so easy to make and tastes almost like candy but in a delicious savory way. A perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving feast or any winter meal, this is my mom’s recipe and while it isn’t the most healthy for you (actually quite UNhealthy!) it is so delicious I can’t resist wanting to make it again and again. The raisins and potatoes soak up butter and maple syrup in the oven to get plump and juicy with a little bit of a crust so when you finally bite into them at the table they are just the perfect amount of crispy caramelized outside and soft sweet inside… I would suggest freely adding or adjusting amounts of maple syrup (haha I know I must have added more than this recipe calls for!).

Sweet Potatoes and Raisins with Maple Syrup Glaze

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. After washing, boil the potatoes until soft. Remove from water, peel and cut into small coins.

2. Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer on a baking tray. Sprinkle raisins on top. Combine maple syrup, butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt in small pot and melt. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.

3. Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.


Crispy Traditional Potato Pancakes

Since I had overloaded on roasting potatoes for another meal I thought I would try to find a creative way to make use of the sack of potatoes I had left over… Granted, this recipe didn’t use up too many of them, but it was delicious and definitely something I would make again. I served my potato pancakes on a bed of mesclun greens dotted with craisins (love those!) and a simple balsamic vinagrette. A dollop or two of plain yogurt also tastes delicious and is a good substitute for the more traditional sour cream or apple sauce.

Crispy Traditional Potato Pancakes

2 pounds russet (baking) or Yukon Gold potatoes

1 medium onion

1/2 cup chopped scallions, including the green part

1 large egg, beaten

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

1. Peel the potatoes and put in cold water. Using a grater or a food processor coarsely grate the potatoes and onions. Place together in a fine-mesh strainer or tea towel and squeeze out all the water over a bowl. The potato starch will settle to the bottom; reserve that after you have carefully poured off the water.

2. Mix the potato and onion with the potato starch. Add the scallions, egg, and salt and pepper.

3. Heat a griddle or non-stick pan and coat with a thin film of vegetable oil. Take about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten as best you can. Place the potato mixture on the griddle, flatten with a large spatula, and fry for a few minutes until golden. Flip the pancake over and brown the other side. Remove to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately. You can also freeze the potato pancakes and crisp them up in a 350-degree oven at a later time.

Variation: If you want a more traditional and thicker pancake, you can add an extra egg plus 1/3 cup of matzah meal to the batter.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apples, Pine Nuts and Raisins

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apples, Pine Nuts and Raisins

Another easy fall dish that makes the house smell good and makes use of autumn apples and squash! This dish is so easy that I don’t even use a recipe… You could probably get away with just using whatever is in your pantry and it would still come out great.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apples, Pine Nuts and Raisins

One acorn squash (one half per person)
Two small apples
Pine nuts
Brown Sugar

Cut the apples into small pieces and combine in a bowl with raisins and pine nuts to taste. Sprinkle on cinnamon, honey and brown sugar to desired sweetness. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add apple mixture. Cook for a few minutes over low heat until fragrant. Set aside. Cut squash in half and scoop seeds out. Fill hollow with apple mixture. Place on unlined baking sheet with high edges and add 1-2 cups boiling water (essential if you want squash to cook properly). Cover baking sheet with foil and place in oven at 300°F. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until squash is able to be dug out with spoon.

Zucchini, Tomato and Pine Nut Bruschetta

Zucchini, Tomato and Pine Nut Bruschetta

Made from a big round zucchini that looks more like a melon from my backyard (pictured above with walnuts from our walnut tree and fresh oregano) this delicious bruschetta was easy to make and not done according to any recipe. Make sure you have bread with a nice thick crust and fresh vegetables and you can’t go wrong. The pine nuts and parmesan were last minute additions that really made a difference and by adding cheese you don’t need to salt the vegetables.

Zucchini, Tomato and Pine Nut Bruschetta

3-4 garlic cloves (1 clove per 2 pieces of bread)
6 slices good, thick crusted bread, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1 zucchini
1 fresh, ripe tomato (or two smaller ones)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon oregano
Extra virgin olive oil
Grated parmesan cheese to cover

Dice tomatoes and zucchini into small pieces and chop garlic finely.

Heat a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a skillet, add in garlic and cook until you can smell the garlic. Then add zucchini and cook until translucent. Add pine nuts and tomatoes and cook for one more minute. Pour vegetable mix onto a plate.

Add more olive oil into skillet and place bread slices in. Keep over a low flame until toasted and then turn onto the other side (adding more oil if necessary). Remove from pan and place on plate. Top with the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately.



Sandwich Foccacia with Rosemary

The smell of fresh bread baking in the oven is delicious and this foccacia bread is easy to make (though it takes a little bit of time to let it rise twice) and delicious. I added oregano I brought back all the way from a small village in Turkey overlooking the Aegean sea but any fresh herbs will add flavor. A sprinkling of sea salt on the top would also be really nice.

Sandwich Foccacia with Rosemary

Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 cups warm water

2 1/4 teaspoons (one envelope) active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons fruity olive oil, plus extra for the top

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 to 2 tablespoons finely minced rosemary

1 cup whole wheat flour {I just used flaxseed meal, see below for blueberry flaxseed meal muffins}

5 cups all-purpose or bread flour

cornmeal for dusting pan

1. Stir the yeast into 2 cups warm water with the sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes {see above bottom right for photo of foaming yeast}. Meanwhile oil a bowl for the dough.

2. In a larger mixing bowl, mix the water with the yeast, stir in the olive oil, salt, rosemary, and whole-wheat flour {or flaxseed meal}. Gradually add the remaining flour until it’s too heavy to work, then turn out the dough and knead until smooth. Place it in the oiled bowl, turn it once, then cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.

3. Lightly dust a counter with flour. Lightly oil a sheet pan and dust it with fine cornmeal. Roll out the dough to more or less fit the pan. Press it so that the thickness is more or less even. Cover and let rise for another hour or until tender to the touch. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Dimple the dough by poking it with your fingertips, then brush generously with olive oil {see bottom left photo above}. Bake in the bottom of the oven until browned, about 30 minutes.


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