Citrus Cabbage Salad with Crispy Tofu

Leaving the noon church service today I got into a conversation that resulted in my late arrival for lunch. As  I entered the refectory I heard happy exclamations regarding the meal…”What a great lunch!  I loved this…so fresh and beautiful so colorful and tasty.”

What was  it they were raving about?  It was a brand new crisp, crunchy tofu recipe and it was all they described it to  be! Truly sensational and remarkably satisfying.

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Citrus Cabbage Salad with Crispy Tofu
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
15-20mins
PREP TIME
45mins
READY IN
1hr (approx)

Ingredients

Instructions

Tofu
  1. Drain tofu of excess water. Let sit 20 minutes to drain.
  2. While waiting for tofu, mix together the first 7 ingredients and set aside.
  3. Heat a skillet on medium with about a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil inside. While heating, slice tofu into 1/2" slices, then cut each slice into thirds. Coat each cube lightly with cornstarch using a sifter and then place into pan until browned and crispy. You may have to turn up the heat under the pan a bit. Remove from frying pan sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and set aside on paper towels.
  4. Wipe pan clean with paper towel and add sesame oil, onions, and chopped ginger. Cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add sauce mixture to pan, bring to a boil, and simmer about 2 minutes. Add tofu back to mixture, toss to coat. Top with green onions if desired.
Cabbage Salad
  1. Put the cabbage in a large bowl, with the celery, cut the skin and pulp from the oranges ...slice them into wheels (cut out any seeds) and add to the cabbage. Whisk the oil, lemon juice, balsamic and oregano and salt and pepper and pour over the cabbage.
  2. Mix well. Let it settle then mix through a few more times so that it is completely coated. Toss prepared tofu over salad before serving.

Crepes with Lemon Ricotta Filling

Crepes are one of my favorite foods and can be quite versatile.  Used for dessert, they can be filled with a variety of ingredients: chocolate, Nutella, mascarpone to name a few.  Or served at breakfast with ricotta cheese and just a touch of sweetness.  At lunch or dinner, they can be filled with spinach, chicken and mushroom cream sauce, or thinly sliced ham and a lightly scrambled egg or even an herbed cream cheese with smoked salmon and sliced radish. Any way you serve them, they are delightful, and light on carbohydrates.

I was cleaning out our coal stoves, and discovered an old cast-iron crepe pan. I couldn’t resist! Passion took over and I set about cleaning it up, trying out recipes, and finding something that I wanted to share.  This simple breakfast crepe will be a nice change on the weekend, when you want to do something a little more special for your family.

 

Blessed New Year!

 

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Crepes with Lemon Ricotta Filling
Makes about 6 8-inch crêpes, recipe can be doubled as needed
SERVINGS
3people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
20 mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
1 hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place the flour, milk, eggs, salt, and melted butter (and optional sugar and vanilla) in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds until batter is smooth. Alternatively, whisk everything together in a bowl until thoroughly combined and frothy.
  2. Cover the bowl and let the batter sit for at least 1/2 hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Before cooking the crêpes, assemble everything you'll need by your stove top: the batter, the pan, the oil and pastry brush and a spatula. If your bowl doesn't have a pour spout, have a ladle or 1/4-cup measuring cup handy.
  4. Place the pan over medium heat and brush your pan with oil to coat the bottom. Let it sit on the flame for a minute to get hot. Pour in about ¼-1/3 cup of batter. Immediately, pick up the pan and swirl it to coax the batter into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  5. When the crêpe has browned slightly on the bottom, carefully work a spatula underneath it and flip. Cook the second side briefly, just to set the batter.
  6. Tilt the pan and loosen the crêpe, then slide it onto the cooling rack or wax paper
  7. Continue making crêpes with the rest of the batter, brushing more oil on the pan as needed to keep the crêpes from sticking.
  8. If not eating the crêpes immediately, stack them one on top of the other as they cool. If they seem sticky, place a square of wax paper or parchment between them. Place the stack in a sealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for a few months.
Lemon Ricotta Filling
  1. Whip all of the above ingredients together in a mixer until smooth and creamy. If using cream cheese, whip this first until creamy and then add the other ingredients
  2. Spoon about 2 Tbsp of the filling into one of the “corners” of the crepes and fold into ¼’s
  3. Arrange on plate and sprinkle with mixed berries and powdered sugar to serve, or serve with homemade blueberry sauce (below).
Homemade Blueberry Sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
  2. Whisk until blended, then add blueberries.
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until juice is clear and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Serve at room temperature

Lemon Cream Custard Pie

Lemon meringue pie has always been my most favorite lemon dessert, but recently I was introduced to another lemon dessert that really rivals it: Lemon Cream Custard Pie. Similar in its fresh tangy flavor, but different in texture and topped with whipped cream instead of meringue.  I have only had it once but definitely want it again.

Lemon Cream Custard Pie

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Lemon Cream Custard Pie
SERVINGS
1pie
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
pie
COOK TIME
15 mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN
12hrs.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In saucepan, mix sugar, pinch of salt, cornstarch, butter, lemon peel, lemon juice, egg yolks and milk; stir and cook until thick, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Cool.
  3. Fold in sour cream.
  4. Pour into pastry shell.
  5. Refrigerate at least 12 hours.
  6. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
  7. Garnish as desired.

Creamy Tangerine Custard

Have you noticed, how tangerines have broken into the food scene of late? Having made their debut they are now showing up in a variety of exciting new ways. I can’t think of a more pleasant or deserving fruit for this to happen to. This simple little citrus, which for so long has primarily been eaten as a plain healthy snack, with just a bit of “dressing up”, turns into a stunningly beautiful dessert with distinctive flavor and tangy zip and sparkle.

I am considering using this recipe for our Easter dinner dessert. So often I’ve chosen a light yellow lemony one for this meal but I’m thinking a tangerine creation could be a colorful, lovely and refreshing change. Of course, there’s no need to wait till Easter.  Why not try it for an early spring lunch or dinner to usher in the warmer weather?

Creamy Tangerine Custard Dessert 

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Creamy Tangerine Custard
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
3minutes
PREP TIME
READY IN
2hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a 3-quart heavy saucepan.
  2. Whisk in tangerine juice until smooth.
  3. Remove 1 (2-inch) strip of peel from tangerine, using a vegetable peeler, and add to pan.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally; boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until mixture is thick and bubbly.
  5. Remove pan from heat.
  6. Whisk eggs until frothy.
  7. Gradually whisk 1/4 cup hot juice mixture into eggs; add egg mixture to remaining hot juice mixture, whisking constantly.
  8. Return to heat, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until thickened.
  9. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; stir in butter and extract until butter is melted. Discard peel.
  10. Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly onto warm custard (to prevent a film from forming); chill 2 hours. (Mixture will thicken as it chills.)

Garnishes: any citrus slices or mandarin, mint 

Fresh Fruit Meringue

Fresh summer fruits and berries are a dessert maker’s delight.  Cool, colorful and light they are the perfect compliment to any warm weather meal without doing a thing to them.  But with a minimal amount of work they can also become a stunning offering of charm and elegance to send a meal over the top. What I am describing is a Pavlova-like cream filled meringue that showcases a few choice favorite fruits as a breathtaking jewel of a dessert, a striking finale to any lunch or dinner that can take the meal from ordinary to sublime.

Fresh Fruit Meringue
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Fresh Fruit Meringue
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
60-70mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Pour the vanilla and vinegar (if using) into a small cup.
  4. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.
  5. In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar (if using) and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/ trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture.
  7. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn’t use cream of tartar.)
  8. Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Pipe or spoon the meringue into rounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner.
  10. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.
  11. Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250° Fahrenheit.
  12. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white—not tan colored or cracked. (The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency.)
  13. Check on meringues during the baking time.
  14. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
  15. Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
  16. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week if your house is not humid.
  17. Serve topped with whipped cream and crushed or whole berries and your choice of assorted fruits.

Coconut Cake In A Glass, Or Coconut Cream Trifle

It is a sunny, slightly warm day here on the Cape, but cold weather is on its way again soon. I’m not quite ready for spring, though,  I am still waiting for the BIG snow of the season. We did have a couple of snow falls of a couple of inches, but I would really love a good 10 to 12 inches. Snow is also great for the garden, and we are already planning what vegetable seeds to buy, along with starting another plot for a garden, so please pray that we get the big storm!

I recently had a birthday and was given one of my favorite desserts — a coconut cream trifle. I have served this in little glasses, and called it coconut cake in a glass — and it is truly divine. This recipe is a little complicated and time consuming, but I promise it is well worth the effort for any event or family gathering.

Coconut Cake in a Glass, or Coconut Cream Trifle

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Coconut Cake In A Glass, Or Coconut Cream Trifle
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
30mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN
40mins.

Ingredients

Instructions

First make the simple syrup:
  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil.
  2. Stir in the coconut, remove from the heat and let sit for about 30 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, bring to a boil and let cook until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  4. Let cool.
Then the custard:
  1. Bring milks to a simmer over low heat in a nonreactive saucepan.
  2. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk in a small amount of the milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs, then slowly whisk in the rest until smooth.
  4. Return mixture to the pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened.
  5. Scrape mixture into a bowl, and whisk in the rum and vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
Now the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Generously butter and flour 2 (9″by 2″) cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk together the milk, egg whites, vanilla in a medium bowl.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  5. With mixer running at low speed, add the butter, one piece at a time, and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
  6. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  7. With mixer on low speed, add remaining milk mixture, increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more.
  8. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
  9. Divide batter between the 2 pans and smooth tops with a spatula.
  10. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 22 to 24 minutes.
  11. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, then invert onto the rack, removing the parchment. Let cool completely.
  12. Toast the 1 cup of coconut until golden for topping.
  13. Whip the 1 1/2 cups of cream, and fold 2/3 of it into the cooled custard for the filling between layers of cake, reserving the last 1/3 for the final layer of the dessert.
To assemble:
  1. Slice each cake into 2 layers, brush with the simple syrup, and then chunk up into bite size pieces.
  2. You can make these either individually in glasses, or for a crowd in a large glass bowl.
  3. Put a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of your container, then a layer of the custard mixture, continuing until your container is full, final layer being the last 1/3 of the whipped cream, and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.
  4. This is most delicious if you refrigerate it for a couple of hours so the flavors meld.