Monday, September 26, 2011

Butternut Squash Kugel

Raise your hand if you can explain what a kugel is....

any takers?

I have a clear memory of my class in third grade trying to describe the definition of a "kugel" to my teacher. Is it a soufle? A casserole? A pie? A combination of all three?
There really is no right answer here- every kugel is different. I think the best way to describe a kugel is any side dish that contains eggs and is baked in a pan. But what I love about the word "kugel" is that it's magical. How you ask? Easy peasy-
Take any dessert you like, and change the name of it to Kugel, and BAM you got yourself a healthy side dish!
Here, let me show you:

Carrot Cake? Guess again- its Carrot Kugel
Apple Betty? Nope, its Apple Kugel
Blueberry Pie? Uh uh- Blueberry Kugel
Peach Crisp? Not really- its Peach Kugel

Do you see where I am going with this?
 I think we draw the line at Chocolate Kugel, but even that I'm not entirely sure of. The point is, some of you may think that this recipe is Butternut Squash Pie. But if you've been any paying attention, you would know, its not. Its: 

(all together now)
Butternut Squash Kugel
Ahh, the beauty of it all...

Butternut Squash Kugel
2 butternut squash
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
8 oz. Rich’s whip or heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla
2 graham cracker pie crusts or 2 recipes Pat-A-Pie crust (unbaked)

Peel and cube squash. Boil in medium sized pot until soft; drain water. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into two 9 inch graham cracker pie crust.  Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes (until set).Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

By popular demand- Honey Cake

So I like to ramble about random and non-relevant ideas quite often. Sometimes I find myself going on and on about something, and I don't even remember how I started. I also start sentences way to often with "So" but that's a whole other issue. Anyways, see I'm off on a tangent here, and I barely even started. 
So let me focus : (See  there it is again! "So"Arrrrgghhhh!)

 1. There are no pictures today. I need to be up front with you guys, and if anyone is severely disappointed, please come back on Monday for your edible pictures. And if you are really desperate for pics go to Foodgawker and feast away my friend!

2. Back to my original point here, some people find it annoying that the week before Rosh Hashanah I am rambling on about cookie dough, and not posting relevant Rosh Hashanah recipes! That may be because my Rosh Hashanah menu at this exact moment is non-existent, but apparently no one cares! They want recipes! So by golly, recipes you shall get!

Here is my favorite, and only recipe for Honey Cake. Its from my friend and coincidentally my first neighbor that I had- you know, the "can I borrow a cup of sugar at 2AM, I only knocked because I saw your lights were on" type of neighbor....anyways, if a recipe is from DT, you can be sure its a good one! Until I tasted this honey cake at her house, I always associated honey cake with a dry loaf cake that came in those cardboard loaf pans from the grocery store. The type my grandmother pulled out of the cupboard when we came to visit. And the next time, and the next time, and the time after that too. The same cake. Actually, not sure if that's true, its just the image that it brings to my mind.  The point is, this recipe is NOT like that. In fact, it will blow that image right out of your mind, and straight into the Atlantic Ocean. Unless of course you live in California. In which case it would be in the Pacific ocean. Or possible the Mediterranean Sea if you live near there. My gosh, I am rambling today. Ok, please make this honey cake, and you will see what I mean:

Honey Cake
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs 
1 cup dark coffee (2 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 1 cup hot water)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup honey
3 cups flour

Combine all ingredients together, and mix until smooth and there are no lumps. Pour into a greased 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake in a preheated oven, at 350° for 45 minutes. 

And back to our usual sane programming on Monday.....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cream Pie

I love surfing food blogs. Although I am sure you know that about me already. If there could be a full time job that would require you to surf food blogs and drool all day, count me in! I see a bazillion recipes a day, and some are just nice recipes to make one day. Some are interesting ideas, but not my cup of tea. And some are absolutely amazingly brilliant. Which brings me to:
Spotted on and brilliantly executed by Love & Olive Oil. I always knew this recipe was a coming together of all things divine, but I just never got around to making it. Most likely because if I would, I would eat the whole thing, and they'd have to pull me out of my front door, kind of like this:
Yep, thats because Big D. does not like cookie dough. 
The horror of it, I know. But that still leaves me with the job of eating the entire pie by myself, with the help of three little monkey sized tummies. So when my fellow cookie dough enthusiast and awesome sister in law came for the weekend, this pie was top priority. And its a good thing she was there to help me. Because otherwise I would be stuck at the moment, and unable to share this goodness with you:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cream Pie

Brownie Crust:
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder

Cookie Dough:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature
3/8 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons milk or soy milk
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
For Filling:
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups non dairy whipped topping or whole milk
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup non dairy whipped topping
3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 . To prepare the brownie crust, melt the margarine in a medium bowl. Cool
slightly and add sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir just until combined. Pour into a greased 9'' pie pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
Set aside to cool. To prepare the cookie dough filling, beat margarine and sugars using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt on low speed, or by hand. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Gently press the dough onto the cooled brownie crust. To prepare the cream: In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, flour and salt. Stir in 1 cup of whipped topping or milk, mix until smooth, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining cup of milk. Temper the egg mixture with a small amount of the slightly cooled milk mixture then blend this into the larger saucepan with the cooling milk mixture. Return saucepan to the heat and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly, lower heat and simmer until mixture is the consistency of thick pudding, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in butter and vanilla. Spread cream evenly over cookie dough layer. Whip remaining whipped topping until stiff. Add in sugar and vanilla. Spread evenly over the cream layer. Garnish with extra cookie dough or mini chocolate chip cookies. Enjoy!

Oh, and by the way- here's the kicker:
Big D. LOVED it! 
You can never win....

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Empty Space

My husband is lucky to work for a small, friendly company that appreciates its employees. So last week we were invited to go on a Sunset Cruise of Manhattan, aboard the Rendezvous Yacht for their 
Annual Employee Appreciation Event. 
Rendezvous Charter Yacht
Thanks to my friend DK and this creepy mind reader guy that was the on-board entertainment, we had an absolute rockin' time. (Do you hit a point when you are too old to use the term "rockin"? Well, at least my kids don't read my blog, so for the time being I'm safe) 
Being the cake-a-holic that I am, here's what we brought with us:
(Photo Credits: Elliot Grama)

The cake was based on the companies logo: 

You know you are not quite normal when you go to social events, and people come up to you and say "Hey, I can't believe you guys didn't bring some cake with you!" And then you go "Heh heh, actually we did."
 ( And it sounds exactly like that: Heh heh.)
Yep, my life, Ladies and Gentlemen. 
Anyways, onto a more somber note. It was coincidental that this cruise was right before 9/11. I know lots of bloggers posted on where they were, and how the world has changed since then. But honestly, when we passed the skyline of the missing Twin Towers, the only thing that I could think of was this great emptiness, and I was really speechless. I remember when talk of rebuilding the site was buzzing around, and everyone was tossing ideas out there, on how to honor and memorialize those who were lost. But passing the skyline last week, I think the way it is now is the way that it should stay:
(Photo Credits: Elliot Grama)

I don't go to Manhattan often, and certainly not on a cruise, so this was the first time that I saw the Tribute in Light. I just felt right away, this huge absence of something and a huge sense of loss. The effect was really very chilling, and I think that is an amazing way to remember what happened.

On to more cheerful things next week!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sweet Dinner Rolls

When I think of the word "Dinner Rolls" this is the first image that comes to mind:

That's me. Can you see the resemblance? 

Dinner rolls are so 1950's, no? I speak from experience, obviously. But seriously, you say dinner rolls, I think " dinner party." You say "dinner party" I think 1957. But that's just me. Could be you go to dinner parties every week. And bring a pan of fresh dinner rolls along with you. And in case you do, here's a wickedly amazing recipe for fresh sweet dinner rolls:

Oh, and in case you don't go to weekly dinner parties, your family and friends will be forever in love with you for introducing them to this delicious idea. 

Sweet Dinner Rolls
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk or soy milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place warm water, and warm milk in a large bowl. Add sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture starts to "foam." Add remaining ingredients, and knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Divide dough into 12 even balls, and place in a 9x13 pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. 
 Its a good idea to double this recipe, because if you do not, there will not be any left for the kids to take for lunch on their first day of school. 
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