Friday, February 7, 2020

Anna Sultana's Cherry Pound Cake for Valentine’s Day / Full Snow Moon


We’ll be having a full moon this weekend - the Full Snow Moon, to be exact.
It will signal the end of the Chinese New Year festivities, which folks have been celebrating over the past two weeks. But, all good things come to an end, and now people are eating leftovers and getting ready for the Lantern Festival. 
After that it’s back to normal - whatever that is.


The Full Snow Moon will be the fourth-largest and fourth-brightest full moon this year. 
It’s called the Snow Moon because of the heavy snowfall we usually get in February. 

Yes, I know that doesn’t apply to folks everywhere, but that is it’s traditional name.
It will be considered a supermoon by some, since the Moon will be closer than normal. 
Some would disagree, as April’s full Moon is the true supermoon of 2020.
I know… it’s always something.


If you’re feeling sad because the Chinese New Year festivities are drawing to a close, Valentine's Day is this Friday.
This post has links for Romantic Dinners for Two, as well as the recipe for Anna Sultana's Lava Cakes.

Those recipes - or a reservation at a nice restaurant - will take care of the big day.
But we still have to eat during the next week, and it might be nice to eat something with a bit of holiday flare to it.


Hints:

Want to make this for St. Patrick’s Day? Use green candied cherries.

This is a traditional recipe for Christmas in Newfoundland.
If you’re planning on serving it for Christmas, it would be festive to have a mixture of green and red cherries.

To make a Chocolate Chip Pound Cake just replace the almond extract with vanilla and use regular or miniature chocolate chips instead of the cherries.

Do not over bake or the cake will be dry.

To store, tightly wrap the cake in one layer of foil or two layers of plastic wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. It can be frozen up to one month. 
When ready to serve, remove it from the freezer and let thaw, wrapped, at room temperature overnight. Once thawed, remove the wrap and serve.


                        Cherry Pound Cake
                        
Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt or tube pan 

Well drain and quarter
1 to 2 cups red maraschino cherries
Place them in a medium bowl and toss with 
1/4 Cup flour
Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine
2 3/4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Set aside.

Place in a large mixer bowl
1 1/4 Cups butter, softened
2 3/4 Cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
Beat at low speed until the mixture is blended, then at high speed for 5 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

Preheat oven to 350º F

Add dry ingredients to mixture alternately with
1 Cup evaporated milk
(3 dry, 2 liquid additions)
Mix lightly after each addition.
Fold in the quartered cherries.
Turn batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 55 minutes.
Cover loosely with foil and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.
Turn cake out onto cooling rack and let cool completely.
Just before serving dust with
confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Happy Chinese New Year / New Year Traditions & Fried Rice Recipes


Kung Hei Fat Choy!
On Friday the new moon with usher in the Year of the Rat, the Yang Metal Rat, to be exact.
The festivities start with the new moon and last until the full moon rises.
That’s plenty of time to party hearty!!


A New Year always means a new beginning. 
To celebrate properly one should have paid off all debts, purchased new clothes, painted the front door, and gotten a new haircut.
Maybe trying a new recipe counts, too.

There are many different food traditions observed over the New Year period:
Traditional dishes are steamed rice pudding, long noodles, and dumplings
Uncut noodles is a symbol of longevity
Fish and chicken are symbols of prosperity
Eat oranges and tangerines for luck, wealth, good health, and a long life
For happiness and wealth, eat persimmons

Two other posts that have more Chinese New Year customs:



Homes are cleaned before the beginning of the new year, so do try to give the place a quick once over.
And put away all cleaning equipment before New Year's Eve because good fortune may be swept away if you are tempted to clean on New Year's Day.
Don't use sharp knives or scissors on New Year’s Day as you may cut off good fortune.
Your behaviour on New Year’s Day sets the tone for the year.
No pressure.

Many people avoid meat on the first day to bring good luck in the New Year. 
Day seven is the birthday of human beings. Long noodles (for longevity) and raw fish (for success) are traditionally eaten on that day. 
On the 13th day, people eat rice congee and mustard greens to settle their stomachs.
The 14th day is spent getting ready for the Lantern Festival and eating leftovers. 

The first Fried Rice recipe would be perfect for Day 14, or any day when you have leftover bits of a roast, or have cooked too much rice.
Waste not, want not.

Hints:

You could also add sliced mushrooms and/or celery with the peas and carrots.

Both recipes can also be prepared with half chicken and half shrimp or all shrimp. 

About recipe #1… Have some leftover turkey, beef or pork? That would be good, too.

About recipe #2… You can prepare it with more or less garlic powder or ground ginger.
You can also use 1 cup frozen carrots, or 2 cups peas and carrots.


                        Fried Rice, using leftovers

Finely chop
1 small onion

Have on hand 
8 to 12 ounces cooked peas and carrots, or thawed  
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 Cups cooked white rice
about a pound of cooked chicken, cut in bite-sized pieces (see hints)

In a small bowl beat
3 eggs

Place in a large skillet  
2 Tablespoons oil 
Heat the oil over medium high heat. 
Add 
The beaten eggs and stir fry until cooked. 
Remove the eggs from the skillet and set them aside.

Place in the same skillet  
2 Tablespoons oil
Add
the chopped onion
the peas and carrots
the minced garlic
Stir fry until the onion is tender. 
Lower the heat to and add
the 3 Cups cooked rice
1/8 - 1/4 Cup soy sauce
The cooked chicken
Blend all together well and stir fry until thoroughly heated, about 5 minutes. 
Add the eggs back to the skillet and stir to combine.
Remove from heat.
Top with chopped green onion (optional) and serve.


                        Easy Fried Rice, without leftovers
Cut into bite-sized pieces
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about a pound

Finely chop
1 onion
You want to have 1 Cup of chopped onion.

Thinly slice
carrots
You want to have 1 Cup of sliced carrots.
Place in a large skillet  
1 Tablespoon oil 
Heat on high heat. 
Add 
the cut up chicken
Stirring constantly, cook 8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. 

Add 
1 Cup frozen peas
1 Cup finely chopped onion
1 Cup sliced carrots 
Cook and stir 3 minutes. 
Stir in 
4 Cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons soy sauce 
1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 
2 Cups white rice, uncooked 
Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Remove from heat, stir and serve.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

German Potato Pancakes and Crispy Latkes - Margaret Ullrich

Happy New Year!
I hope this will be the start of a great year and an even better decade for you.


I’ve noticed that the post ‘Hoito Restaurant’s Finnish Pancake Recipe’ has regularly been a popular one.
I’m glad you’ve been enjoying it, and I’m going to post more pancake recipes.
In fact, today I’ll start with two!

Every Jewish family has its own latkes recipe - some produce pancakes that are flat and lacy, while others give pancakes that are thick. 
They’re all good, so think of this recipe as a starter.


Tomorrow’s full moon is the Full Wolf Moon, so named because in midwinter the wolves howled hungrily outside native villages. 
Sometimes it was also called the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. 
There will also be also a full Wolf Moon Eclipse, which will be visible in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa. 
North Americans will not be able to see it since it takes place during our daytime.
Oh, well, there’s bound to be one we’ll be able to see, too.


Hints:

For both: Don’t crowd - you want the pancakes to brown and be easy to flip.

About the German Potato Pancakes…
If this is your first time making potato pancakes, relax. 
German potato pancakes are a bit more forgiving than latkes, and have ingredients most folks have in their pantries.
Don't bother patting to dry the potatoes. The flour takes care of any remaining liquid. 
If a little seeps while it’s frying it will add a bit of crispiness to the edges.

They can be served with fried apple slices and maple syrup for a brunch.
They are also good with cranberry sauce. 
Good to know if you’re serving them as a side dish with poultry. 

Leftover pancakes can be used in sandwiches. 
Just butter the bread, layer the pancakes, and season with salt and pepper.

                                                        ~~
About the Latkes…
Latkes recipes demand that the potatoes be as dry as possible. 
Russets, high in starch with a dry, mealy texture, work best since their dryness helps to create a crispy texture.
You can use the large shredding blade on your food processor to grate the vegetables.

Matzo meal is made by grinding matzo, an unleavened cracker, into coarse crumbs. 
Give the matzo crumbs a few minutes to absorb the liquid before frying.
Use your fingers to blend the potato starch into the potato mixture.

Traditional recipes call for latkes to be fried in a blend of half oil and half schmaltz, which is clarified chicken or goose fat.
It is sometimes flavoured with onion, and is a staple of traditional Jewish cooking.
You can also just use an oil like peanut, canola, or olive.
When you flip the latkes they should hold together and not break apart.

After frying latkes can be kept warm in a 200° F oven for up to 30 minutes.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.
Recrisp in a 300° F for 5 to 10 minutes. 


                        German Potato Pancakes

Peel and shred
6 medium potatoes
Place in a colander over a bowl to drain away excess liquid.

Finely chop
1 medium onion (enough to have 1/2 Cup)

Place in a large bowl
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
Beat together and mix in the shredded potatoes and finely chopped onion.

Place in a griddle
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
Allow the oil to heat to 350º - 400º F.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the potato mixture into the griddle.
Press each mound to flatten and let brown on one side, about 3 minutes.
Flip the pancakes over and cook for another 3 minutes. 
The pancakes should be browned and crispy. 
Drain on paper towels, then remove to warmed plates and keep warm.
Repeat until all of the mixture is used.

They are traditionally topped with sugar and served with applesauce on the side.
For more of a meal, serve with bratwurst sausage and boiled cabbage.


                        Crispy Latkes

Makes 12 (4-inch) latkes

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 200° F. 
Line 1 rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. 
Fit a wire cooling rack into another baking sheet. 
Set both aside.

Scrub 
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes 

Peel and quarter
1/2 medium yellow onion

Line a bowl with three layers of cheesecloth.
Grate into the cheesecloth lined bowl
the prepared potatoes and onion
Gather the corners of the cloths and tie around the handle of a wooden spoon. 
Hold the bag over the bowl and squeeze the liquid from the vegetables. 
Squeeze as hard as you can until no more liquid comes out of the vegetables.
Set the vegetables aside and give the liquid a few minutes so the starch will settle.
Pour off and discard the liquid but leave the potato starch in the bowl.

Add
the dried potatoes and onion
1 large egg
2 tablespoons matzo meal or unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
Mix well, making sure that the potato starch is evenly distributed. 
Set batter aside for 10 minutes.

Place in a large skillet
1 cup canola oil or chicken schmaltz, or a combination of both
You want enough to have a depth of 1/4 inch of fat.
Heat over medium-high heat until a piece of the latke mixture sizzles immediately.

Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture, drop into the skillet, and flatten to make 4-inch patties.
Repeat until the skillet has a few pancakes in it.
Cook until a dark brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side, adjusting the heat if necessary.
Place the latkes on the paper towelilined baking sheet to drain for 2 minutes.
Transfer the latkes to the wire cooling rack set in the other baking sheet.
Keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes while you cook the remaining batter.

Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!! Welcome 2020!


Happy New Year, everyone!
Sending you and yours wishes for a happy year filled
with health, prosperity, love and loads of fun!

Thank you for visiting ~
Hope to see you throughout 2020!

~ Margaret