Sorghum Glazed Baby Carrots

1 cup hard apple cider
½ cup sorghum
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 bunches baby carrots (about 1 pound)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cider, sorghum, lemon juice, orange juice, and butter in a skillet. Bring to a simmer, then add the carrots in a single layer. You may need to cook them in batches, depending on the size of your pan.

Lightly season the carrots with salt and pepper and cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and continue to simmer the sauce until it is reduced to a thin glaze.

Before serving, put the carrots back in the pan and reheat them in the glaze.

 

Asbusas (Ancient Egyptian Cookies)

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Abusas are an ancient Egyptian cookie:

2 lbs semolina (this is cream of wheat)
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 pound butter
16 ounces of plain yogurt
slivered almond halves

Bring all ingredients to room temperature. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and semolina (cream of wheat). Rub the butter into this mixture by hand until very well blended. Add the yogurt and mix with your hands until the dough feels smooth. If it feels dry add one tablespoon of water at a time until a firm dough forms.

Butter a 13x9x2 inch pan and pat the dough into the pan. With a sharp knife slice the dough in 2 x 2 inch squares. Press one almond half onto the surface of each piece. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

Kombu No Tsukudani (昆布の昆布)

1 big piece rehydrated kombu (from making Vegetarian Dashi)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1⅔ cups water
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Cut the kombu into strips about 1½ inches wide, then julienne them. Add to a saucepan with the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, vinegar and water, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium—it should be between a simmer and a boil, and cook until the liquid reduces to a thick, sticky glaze.

Taste the kombu; it should be quite soft but not mushy. If it needs more cooking, add a little water.  There should be no liquid left; it should be a glaze as opposed to a sauce. When the kombu is ready, stir in the sesame seeds. Leave to cool before using as a filling for onigiri, a topping for rice or on its own.

 

Soymilk Mousse

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  • 1¾ fluid ounces soymilk
  • 4½ ounces silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1¾ ounces banana
  • Fruits or Nuts (optional)

Sugar Syrup

  • 1 ounce raw sugar
  • ⅔ fluid ounces water

For the sugar syrup, combine sugar and water
in a saucepan over low heat. Gently stir until all sugar is
dissolved.

Set aside to cool.

Add soymilk, tofu, banana, sugar and
maple syrup in a blender. Blend until smooth. Divide
into 4 portions and keep refrigerated for 2 hours.

To serve, add sugar syrup.

Top with fruits or nuts if desired

 

Hanarenkon (Flower-Shaped Lotus Root)

  • 3¼ ounces lotus root
  • 2 tablespoons  rice vinegar

Vinegar Mixture

  • 4 tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons  water
  • 2 tablespoons  raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons  lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients for the vinegar mixture, except
lemon juice, in a saucepan. Place it over low heat to
dissolve all the sugar and salt. Allow to cool.

Peel and slice lotus root into 1/4 inch thick rings. Soak
immediately in water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to prevent
discolouration. Make flower cuts and drain before using.

Boil a pot of water and add the other tablespoon of vinegar.
Add sliced lotus root flowers and boil for 5 minutes.
Remove lotus root and allow to cool.

Add lotus root slices to vinegar mixture and lemon juice in
a resealable bag. Remove any air from the bag, seal and
refrigerate for a minimum of 2–3 hours.

They are better on day two after the sweetness and contrasting sourness become more prominent.

Tamago No Shoyuzuke (Eggs Pickled in Soy Sauce)

8 large eggs, at room temperature (farm fresh if possible)
¾ cup soy sauce

Fill a medium-sized saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs gently into the boiling water. Boil for 6 to 8 minutes depending upon desired firmness of yolk. Set a large bowl in the kitchen sink and fill with cold water. Scoop the eggs from the boiling water and immediately plunge into the water.

Run more cold water if the water temperature feels warm. When the eggs are cool, gently crack by rapping and rolling . Return the eggs back to the cold water for a few more minutes, then peel.

Lay the peeled eggs on a dry dish towel. Pat dry, and then place the eggs in a freezer-style gallon resealable plastic bag. Pour in the soy sauce, tip the bag to distribute, press out all the air, and roll up any unused portion of bag to create a tight cylinder.

Refrigerate overnight. Serve before dinner with drinks, as a side dish for a barbecue or picnic or in Ramen.

Best the first day.

 

Passover Slow Cooked Brisket with Red Wine and Mustard

In honor of Passover I am offering the delectable version of brisket. To all of those of the Jewish faith Happy beginning of Passover. Of course this dish can be prepared anytime of year.  This version takes some time so plan ahead, it’s worth it.

  • Brisket (about 6 pounds)
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 carrots sliced into 3 chunks each
  • 4 large quartered onions
  • 6 ribs celery with the greens in 2-inch chunks
  • 5 cloves smashed and peeled garlic
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons grated horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • Mushrooms (optional)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Season the brisket with salt and pepper, don’t skimp on seasonings. Add a few tablespoons of the olive oil to a braising pan. Warm the pan over medium heat, then sear the brisket on all sides, this takes some time.  When the brisket is mostly browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set aside. Searing the brisket is really optional, but it is traditional.

There should be enough fat rendered in the pan, but if not add a few more tablespoons of oil. Add 3 of the carrots, the onions, celery, and garlic and sauté for a few minutes, stirring and sprinkling with more salt and pepper.

Stir together the wine vinegar, wine, honey, grated horseradish, and mustard in a bowl, then pour the liquid into the pan and deglaze, gently scraping up any stuck bits with a spoon (preferably wooden). Simmer for about3 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced.

Return the brisket to the pot and add enough beef broth to just cover the brisket. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and parsley and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and put in the oven for about 4 hours. At the end of the fourth hour, add the remaining carrots, and return to the oven for one more hour.

Remove from the oven and let sit until the brisket reaches room temperature.  Cut the brisket against the grain into slices about an quarter of an inch thick.

When ready to serve, remove the fat that has accumulated on top of the brisket. Heat the liquid in the pan and reduce by half, then strain out the vegetables if you want. Return the cut brisket to the pan, heat, ladle the carrots on top, pour the sauce over, and serve.

 

Kuromame (Sweet Black Soybeans)

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  • 3½ ounces kuromame (black soybean)
  • 3 ounces raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon  Japanese soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Rinse kuromame and discard any that have spoiled.  Soak it in  water for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Discard the water.

Boil kuromame with water in a pot and add sugar, soy sauce and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer under low heat for about 3 hours or until soft. Remove any white foam and impurities that form during simmering.

Remove from heat and let it cool. Refrigerate overnight so that the beans will absorb more flavor.

 

Black Magic Cake

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  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.  Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks. Cool completely.

Frost.