Hazelnut Macaroons

Hazelnut Macaroons

I was looking through both of my grandmothers books, “The Art of Good Cooking” and “The Art of Fine Baking” for an appropriate holiday recipe – either Easter or Passover. I skimmed over Gefilte Fish convincing myself that I would make it at some point but that now just wasn’t the time. Instead, I found a quick and simple recipe for Soft Filbert Macaroons, which I quickly renamed Hazelnut Macaroons. A twist on the traditional coconut or almond macaroons, hazelnuts are one of my favorite nuts and I used this recipe to try a couple of different versions: Hazelnut Coconut Macaroons, Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Macaroons, and Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Coconut Macaroons. Any of these versions are good ( I of course prefer anything with chocolate – especially chocolate hazelnut combinations). If coconut is added, make sure to cut the amount of sugar in half. Also, the recipe calls for blanched whole filberts – as you can see from my photos, I used whole hazelnuts with their skin, but I’m sure these would be prettier with blanched ones.

Ingredients:

3 cups ground hazelnuts
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
3 to 4 egg whites
30 blanched whole filberts
sweetened shredded coconut (optional)
melted/tempered bittersweet chocolate for dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet well or line with parchment paper.

Combine ground filberts, sugar, vanilla, and spices in a bowl. Add coconut if using. Add enough egg white to make a medium-firm dough. Pinch off pieces slightly smaller than a walnut. Roll into balls.

Place on prepared baking sheet. Flatten balls slightly. Stick a whole filbert into center of each cookie.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops of cookies are firm.

Dip in melted chocolate, if using.

Yield: approximately 30.

Adapted by Megan Peck

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Punjabi Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

Adapted from “The Art of Good Cooking”

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Indian style recipes in “The Art of Good Cooking.” This was the first one I tried from the book and to be honest, I was skeptical. I first experienced well made tasty Indian food in high school. I say “well made” because prior to this, my experience with Indian food consisted of overly spicy burning your entire mouth to the point that you can’t taste and might as well be eating canned dog food mixed with oil and heavy cream. My stepmother introduced me to healthier, flavorful dishes, mostly of north Indian decent.
This recipe uses curry powder which was more available than spices such as turmeric, cumin, and ground coriander that curry powder can (but not always) be essentially comprised of.
A vegetarian dish that if served with rice and a side of Raita is easily a full satisfying meal. It has over 5 different vegetables which makes the dish more lively, and each one is easy to find and inexpenive. Like most curries, a fair number of ingredients are needed for this recipe. I find that each one creates a distinct layer of flavor within the dish that contributes to the overall highly spiced (but not necessarily hot and spicy-that’s up to you) multi-fascited profile. This is no boring dish.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 large onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated or minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder (or 1 tablespoon each ground coriander and cumin, 1 /2 tablespoon turmeric)
1 fresh serrano pepper or cayenne pepper to taste
1 small cauliflower cut into florettes
2 red potatoes peeled and diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup stock (or as needed)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 pound fresh green beans trimmed and cut in half (or 1 package frozen green beans)
1 package frozen peas
1 lemon juiced
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When seeds begin to pop, stir in green pepper, onions, garlic, serrano pepper if using and ginger, and saute until tender. Add curry powder, cayenne if using, salt, and pepper. Add cauliflower and diced potatoes and toss in spice mixture. Add stock and tomato sauce. Cover pot and simmer over medium low until potatoes and cauliflower are tender – add more stock if needed. Add green beans, then peas. Continue to cook until all vegetables are tender. Do not allow to dry out too much. Alternatively, you may turn up the heat at the end if there is too much liquid – there should not be too much sauce surrounding the vegetables. Add lemon juice. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and shredded coconut. Serve with fluffy steamed basmati or jasmine rice and Raita.

Serves 6-8

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Turkey Sausage with Sauteed Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Turkey Sausage with Sauteed Apples and Sweet Potatoes

A rustic seasonal dish that combines the comforting flavors of fall and Thanksgiving. For the apples, I use granny smith which are very tart and require slightly more sugar, but any firm crisp apple may be used. The brown sugar helps brown and caramelize the apples almost like an apple pie. The original recipe from “The Art of Good Cooking” did not have sausage but I found that the saltiness balances the sweet and acidic flavors from the sweet potatoes and apples. The sausage also rounds out the dish to make it a complete lunch or small dinner.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound sweet turkey sausage
1 1/2 – 2 sweet potatoes or yams peeled and cut in 1/2″ cubes
3 semi-tart, hard apples peeled cored and sliced 1/4″ thin and halved
1/2 stick of butter (4 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
pinch of salt
crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Heat a medium sized skillet large enought to hold all of the sausages in one layer over medium heat. Add oil. Place sausage in pan and brown on all sides and remove. Add about half the butter. When butter has melted, add sweet potatoes and sautee until crisp and tender all over

While sweet potatoes cook, heat a large skillet over medium low heat. Add remaining butter. When butter has melted, add apples, sugar, and lemon zest. Sautee for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the sausage at an angle in 1-2 inch pieces.

When apples are slightly browned and dry but not quite soft, add orange juice. Add the sweet potatoes and sliced sausage to the pan. Cook until orange just evaporates and sausage is cooked through.

Serve and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 4

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