Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Real Shabbos Menu

This week, The Huz and I stayed in for shabbos lunch and had my brother over. I did a little food experimentation, and some of it was good, some of it not so much.

So here's the menu:
1) Homemade challah
2) Baked gefilte fish
3) Beef minestrone soup
4) Butternut squash stuffed with quinoa salad
5) Vanilla cake


Challah


I've discussed my challah recipes with you guys. I think I make some pretty tasty challah. But this week, I didn't feel up to making something that time-consuming. Instead, I experimented. Remember that pizza dough recipe? Well, I decided to try it for making a small batch of challah. Truth be told, if I cut my normal challah recipe to 1/4 it would probably be about as easy. But I didn't have the patience for math. So I went with what I had. The main thing I enjoy about the pizza dough recipe is that I don't have to leave it rising for hours. I did give it 30 minutes to rise after forming the dough and another 20-30 minutes to rise once shaped. I baked it in the oven with a pan of hot water on the bottom rack.

Results? It came out as a pretty good dipping challah. It was really moist, too. I actually was pretty impressed with it. I think that any time I need challah on short notice and don't feel like making enough to do hafrashas challah, this will be my go-to recipe. It definitely wasn't as good as my usual recipe, but it does the trick.


Baked Gefilte Fish


Baked gefilte fish is an idea I got from my magnificent mother-in-law. My favorite thing about baking it instead of boiling is that the texture is a little less...well...mushy. It also makes it easier to season. So for this recipe, I cut up some carrots, celery and onion and put them on the bottom of the pan. I unwrapped the log fish (DO NOT DEFROST) and placed it on top. Then I seasoned it with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. I also placed some slices of onion on top. Put a little water in the bottom of the pan and bake it at 350 for about 2 hours.

Result? Tastes like gefilte fish. Only better.


Butternut Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Salad


This was two firsts for me. I've never baked fresh butternut squash and I've never made quinoa as a side dish. The only way I've ever made quinoa was in cholent.

The first thing I did was to cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and remove all the seeds. then I placed it in a pan, sprayed it with a little Pam, and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a little powdered sage. (I got that idea from a butternut squash soup recipe I saw once. Maybe not my best move.) I put it in the oven, covered, at 350 for about an hour until it was tender enough to eat.

For the quinoa, I cooked it in vegetable stock instead of water. I got that tip from Mrs. B. a bit ago. I made it according to the package directions for the stove top, but I added in some frozen mixed vegetables and spinach. I also seasoned it with a little salt and sage.

When the squash was done, I scooped the quinoa into the center.

Result? Eh. It wasn't bad, but not really fantastic either. I think I should have used acorn squash, left off the sage, and added some onion into the quinoa. Maybe next time, right?



So that was shabbos, ladies and gents.

Have a lovely week! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Because it's been a while...

This shabbos, I decided we were due for some time at home. So, I decided to make a soup shabbos, for simplicity. I made a huge pot of chicken soup (with kreplach) and some fish for dinner. I have enough of that left over to last quite a while, so I'm going to freeze some of it for later.

For lunch, I took the minestrone soup recipe from this post but made a couple changes. First, I halved the recipe, because I needed it to fit in my crockpot. Second, I added some beef. Third, I took out the beans, green beans, and spinach, because I didn't really like them in the original soup. So what I ended up with was a REALLY good, hearty soup. It's perfect for Fall and Winter, and was really quick and easy to throw together. This is a meal soup, not a starter course. Here's the new-ish recipe:

Beef Minestrone Soup


Ingredients:
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion OR half of one large onion, diced
  • 1 lb flanken beef, cubed
  • 3 carrots, chunks
  • 2 zucchinis, chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, chunks
  • 2-3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup water (I actually just used about 2 cups of stock, because I had it)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup red wine (I may have used a bit much of this for the amount of soup I was making because I eyeballed it, but the soup came out delicious, anyway)
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on the stove over medium-low heat.
  2. Sear the beef in the oil, and remove the beef to your crock pot.
  3. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent, then add to crock pot.
  4. Throw in all the other ingredients. Cook on low until lunch (or whatever temperature you'd usually cook cholent on in your crock pot. I've noticed that pretty much all crock pots are different, so know yours and adjust accordingly.)
  5. {Note: When I woke up in the morning and went to check on this soup, it was boiling slightly, so I removed it to the blech instead of leaving it in the crockpot until lunch.}