Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cookie Cutter Sugar Cookies--Make Turkey Shapes for Thanksgiving! (recipe, pareve)

Every Thanksgiving I pull out this recipe to make Turkey cookies. Young children (and some adults) often don’t like the fruit pies traditionally served at this time. These cookies are a nice, plain not too sweet treat. Naturally, you can use this dough to make any shape you want. You can frost them with multi-colored icing or just sprinkle them with decorating sugar or sprinkles as I do.
2 sticks non-dairy margarine-softened            
1 cup golden brown sugar-tightly packed       
1 teaspoon vanilla extract              
1 egg                          
2 2/3 cups flour plus extra flour for kneading      
1 teaspoon baking powder              
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
optional: colored decorating sugar, sprinkles

  1. Beat margarine and sugar in electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until well blended. Pour in dry ingredients. Beat until completely mixed. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl while beating.
  2. Sprinkle any flat surface with flour. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for two minutes. Keep adding flour to the surface and to your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick. It will be very soft. Shape dough into a thick rectangle, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate several hours. This dough will never get really stiff so you won’t have to soften it before rolling.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Cover cookie sheets with baking parchment.
  5. Sprinkle flour on flat surface. Remove dough from refrigerator. Cut off 1/3 of the dough. Roll it in flour and then roll it quickly into a 1/8 inch rectangle. Cut out cookies with cookie cutter. Remove excess dough from around cookies and transfer them with a large spatula onto cookie sheet.* These cookies don’t spread so that you can leave only ½ inch between them.
  6. Reroll dough and repeat process until cookie sheets are full. Bake in middle level of oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool for five minutes before removing cookies to cooling rack.
*NOTE: Sprinkle decorating sugar or sprinkles on cookies at this point before baking them. Bake the cookies first if you plan to decorate them with icing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wild and White Rice Stuffing with Pearl Onions and Dried Fruit (Recipe, Pareve)

Wild and White Rice Stuffing with Pearl Onions and Dried Fruit P SERVES: 10
What a delicious alternative to bread stuffing! The caramelized onions, apricots and cranberries give a wonderful flavor to the rice mixture. Serve this with turkey, Cornish hens or plain chicken.  Your guests will all want seconds.
Prep time: 20 min.  Cooking time: 45-60 min.

8 ounces wild rice
1 ½ cups long grain white rice
4 ½ cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons dried thyme
16 ounces frozen white pearl onions- defrosted and drained
6 tablespoons pareve margarine
6 ounce package dried apricots- sliced into 3-4 pieces each
1 cup dried cranberries
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Add broth and 2 tablespoons thyme to saucepan. Bring to a boil and add wild rice. Stir once and return to a boil. Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  2. After wild rice has been cooking 30 minutes, add white rice. Stir once. Cover saucepan and simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. This should take about 15-20 minutes .
  3. Prepare onions while rice is cooking. Melt 2 tablespoons margarine in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until browned- about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove cover from saucepan and stir rice. Add sautéed onions (with remaining margarine from skillet), apricots and cranberries to mixed rice. Stir well. Taste. Add thyme, salt and pepper as needed.  Add the remaining four tablespoons of margarine to the stuffing before you spoon it into a serving dish if you are serving the stuffing right away. Otherwise, allow stuffing to cool completely, and then refrigerate it. Add the margarine to the stuffing  right before you heat it up. Serve hot.

Thanksgiving Is My Favorite Holiday! Gloria Kobrin's 2010 Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I don’t  know if it’s because I was born on Thanksgiving day and so it’s ingrained in my DNA , or because I adore all the various foods I choose to prepare for the feast, or because I love the informality of the day –probably a combination of all the above. We have established our own traditions for Thanksgiving including my husband’s cornucopia overflowing with unusual fruits and bittersweet branches. Every year he does something dramatic that outdoes the year before.
In terms of food, I have a long list of recipes that I have worked on over the years. Each year, I try to add something new thinking that I’ll replace an old standard; but no- I just add on. When I leave something out, my kids say- where is the…So I do it all. For the last 20 years or so, we have had the same family come for “leftovers” the Friday night dinner following Thanksgiving. The adults are close and the children have grown up together. Our friend’s husband died three years ago and we miss him terribly. That Friday night dinner is now not just a wonderful time together but a time to remember.
We are fortunate to have a Thanksgiving guest list that runs the gamut from Great Grand Parents to great grandchildren with siblings, nephews, nieces, and friends in between. There is so much for which to be grateful. We often lose sight of the good stuff while we’re obsessing over  the frustrations and annoyances that definitely impact our daily life but shouldn’t become the focus of it. Thanksgiving gives us a chance to stop for a minute and express gratitude in a casual unscripted way.
The following is a list of hors d’oeuvres, turkey, vegetables, starches and desserts that I prepare. One added note: My Mother is allergic to green, yellow and orange vegetables-thus I have a number of red and white vegetables on the table. My daughter is vegetarian-but as you can see the turkey is almost an afterthought in this meal. I also make a separate vegetarian gravy for her. My grandson is allergic to nuts so I remove the nut toppings I usually put on top of sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.  And now on to the food...

Mushroom Ears
Pigs ‘n Blankets (mustard)
White Bean Dip
Fried Olives
Sliced Turkey- Gravy
2 Cranberry Sauces
Cornbread Stuffing
Wild & White Rice with Dried Apricots , Dried Cranberries, & Pearl Onions
Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy for Jessica
Sweet Potato Casserole
Smashed Root Vegetables with Caramelized Onions
Candied Parsnips
Roasted Butternut Squash
Brussel Sprouts with Dill
Pearl Onions, Chestnuts & Celery
Pecan Pie, Spiced Apple Pie, Pear-Currant Turnovers, Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pot Pie Dough for Chicken or Vegetable Pot Pies (recipe, pareve)

This dough is easily and quickly made in an electric food processor. If you have a large bowl you can make it all at once; otherwise you can halve the recipe and make it twice. The dough is firm and easy to roll and forms a tight crust over any filling, keeping it hot for a long time.
4 cups flour                electric food processor
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pareve margarine
1 egg
½ cup cold water
  1. Place flour and salt in bowl of processor with steel knife in place. Process one minute. Cut margarine into tablespoons and add to flour. Pulse one and off until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Beat egg with water. With machine on, pour liquid slowly through feeding tube. If mixture seems too dry, add more water a little at a time. When dough has formed, scrape it out of mixing bowl and wrap in waxed paper. Chill for at least two hours or overnight before using.

Chicken Pot Pie--the Ultimate Comfort Food! (recipe, meat)

Chicken /VeChicken or Vegetable Pot Pie M Yield: Serves: 12-14

I have always loved Chicken Pot pie. As my children were growing up, there was always an argument as to how thick the sauce should be. Everybody like the sauce better the second day-meaning that they liked it thicker. Thus, I now make the sauce thicker on the first day. We like a thick creamy sauce but if you prefer it thinner, use the lesser amount of flour and you’ll be happy. The amount of sauce you will need depends on the size casserole you use and how many of each. After you make this the first time, you will be better able to gauge quantities. You can always make an extra batch of sauce and add it in if you don’t feel you have enough. As to the topping- my Pot Pie Dough is a cinch to prepare in a food processor and just as easy to roll out. Add to that, it forms such a tight seal, the pies stay hot at least 20-30 minutes after baking. Frozen pareve puff pastry is also easy to work with but doesn’t retain the heat the same way. Many people enjoy mashed potatoes on top which is delicious; but again, they don’t retain the heat very long and are not really great the next day as leftovers.

Prep time: Chicken: 45 min. Vegetables: 20-30 min. Sauce: 30 min.

Assembly: about 45 min. for individual pies-- 20 min. for one large casserole

8 chicken cutlets-about 4 pounds
1 large onion-peeled & quartered
2 bay leaves

1 head broccoli- about 4 cups florets

½ pound carrots-peeled & cut into ½ inch pieces

¾ pound green beans-trimmed & cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup corn kernels (use frozen and defrost)

1 pound white pearl onions-(use frozen and defrost)

1 cup peas-(use frozen and defrost)

24 ounces tri color small new potatoes –rinsed and quartered

1 large red pepper- cored and diced

4 cups chicken/vegetable broth (reserved cooking liquid plus low salt boxed broth or water)

4 cups regular non dairy soy milk

1 cup pareve margarine

1 ½ cups flour

Sea salt + hot pepper sauce-to taste

1 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley

Pot Pie Dough/non-dairy frozen puff pastry

1 beaten egg

Large saucepan with lid
Large skillet
Large colander
2 large mixing bowls
12 cup casserole+individual casseroles
Rolling pin
Pastry brush
Cookie sheets
Directions: Chicken and Vegetables

  1. Rinse chicken cutlets and place in saucepan with onion, bay leaves and water to cover. Bring water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook chicken until done- about 30 minutes. Remove cooked cutlets from the liquid (reserve liquid if you are going to use it in sauce) and let them cool. After they have cooled, take a sharp knife and cut them into small cubes. Set aside. Strain cooking liquid and reserve for use in white sauce.

  2. Prepare vegetables while chicken is cooking. Bring about two inches salted water to boil in skillet. Add broccoli, string beans and carrots, cover skillet and steam them two minutes. Place large colander over a larger mixing bowl and drain vegetables-reserving cooking liquid. Use the same liquid (adding more water if needed) to steam potatoes for 8 minutes. Add peas, corn and onions to steamed potatoes and steam 2 minutes longer. Drain vegetables, in colander over mixing bowl reserving liquid; and add these vegetables to the others in the mixing bowl. Add cubed red pepper. Toss vegetables lightly. Set aside.


Use a mixture of reserved liquid from cooking chicken and vegetables plus more low salt chicken broth to make white sauce if you have no vegetarians to consider. If you have vegetarians, use just the liquid from cooking vegetables plus water or prepared vegetable broth to make sauce.

  1. Melt margarine in skillet over medium high flame. Add 1 cup flour and stir vigorously so that a smooth paste forms. Slowly, pour in 4 cups cooking liquid, stirring constantly as a sauce forms. Then, slowly, pour in 4 cups soy milk, continuing to stir constantly to form a white sauce. At this point, you make a decision as to how thick you want your sauce to be. I added an additional ½ cup flour ( I scooped out 2 cups liquid and mixed flour in that before returning it to skillet and incorporating it with the rest of the sauce.) to make the sauce thicker. Season sauce with sea salt and hot pepper sauce to taste. Start with 1 teaspoon of each and taste from there. Strain sauce if you think you might have any flour lumps. When sauce is done, stir in chopped parsley.


  1. Remove dough from refrigerator or puff pastry from freezer 30 minutes in advance.

  2. Fill large casserole or individuals with vegetables if you have vegetarians. Mix remaining vegetables with cubed chicken. Divide mixture evenly amongst casseroles or pour into one large one. Pour sauce over casseroles. The sauce should cover no more than ¾ of the casserole.

  3. Divide potpie dough into quarters. Roll out one quarter at a time (for individual casseroles) on a floured surface. Roll out large piece of dough for larger casseroles. Dough should be about 1/8 inch thick. Cut pieces large enough to cover casserole and overlap about ¼ inch all around. Press dough around the top to seal. Repeat process until all casseroles are covered. (The puff pastry can be done the same way.) The covered casseroles can be refrigerated until baking time. Before baking, let casseroles return to room temperature for 30 minutes.

  1. Preheat oven to: 400 F.

  2. Take a sharp knife and lightly score tops of casseroles-making any pattern you like. Brush tops and sides of casseroles with beaten egg. Make any decorations you like with extra dough and place them on top of casseroles. Brush again with beaten egg. Place them on cookie sheets and bake 30-40 minutes or until pastry has browned.