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My mom makes the best matzo ball soup. Ever. Part of the reason it’s probably the best is because she only makes it once a year at Passover. I think the recipe is a combination of one from Cooking Light and several family recipes from friends. It’s amazing. Since the first Passover J attended, he’s tried to recreate my mom’s recipe. We use the same ingredients and follow her directions, but it never turns out the same. After our trip to New York this summer, J decided to find the Carnegie Deli recipe. He finally succeeded with a few modifications of this recipe.
1 pound chicken necks, backs, and wings (we just used wings since that’s what we had in the freezer)
1/2 ounce chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 small white onion, quartered
Salt and pepper, to taste
For matzo balls :
8 large eggs
1 cup liquid shortening or olive oil plus more for rolling matzo balls ( I think my mom uses vegetable oil)
about 1 cup water
4 cups matzo meal
1/4 teaspoon Maggi Seasoning
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Optional: top with fresh dill.
Make stock : Combine first four ingredients with 6 cups water. Add Maggi seasoning (we found it in the Asian isle, it’s made by Nestle) and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for at least an 1 hour.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, oil, water, matzo meal, Maggi, salt, and pepper until just incorporated. Oil hands, then, working as gently as possible, form round balls about the size of a golf ball (but try to keep them loose or the middles won’t cook). Boil matzo balls in stock until cooked through and soft, at least 45 minutes. Divide matzo balls evenly between four bowls, allotting two matzo balls and two cups stock per serving. Sprinkle with fresh dill and enjoy.
It’s really close. The only part that wasn’t was J rolled the matzo balls too tight, so the middles didn’t cook quite through.
Jason had been craving this for a solid two weeks before we had a chance to make it from this recipe. Despite the hot oil concerns, it was pretty easy and absolutely delicious.
2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided (leave 1 teaspoon for the gravy)
1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided (leave 1 teaspoon for the gravy)
4 (4 ounce) cube steaks
38 saltine crackers, crushed (we used a whole sleeve in a ziplock bag with a rolling-pin. Great for aggression relief!)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1/4 cup is for the gravy)
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 3/4 cups milk, (divided into 4 cups and 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil (you want enough to cover at least half the coated steaks)
Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over steaks. Set aside. Combine cracker crumbs, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper, and baking powder into a shallow dish. Whisk together 3/4 cup milk and eggs. Dredge steaks in cracker mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge again in cracker mixture. Pour oil into a 12″ skillet; heat to 360 degrees (do not use a nonstick skillet, we used the cast iron skillet). Fry steaks 3-4 minutes.
Turn and fry 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove steak to wire rack over a cookie sheet to let it drain. Keep steaks warm in a 225 degree oven.
Carefully drain hot oil, reserving cooked bits and 1 tablespoon of oil in dripping in skillet. Whisk together remaining 4 cups of milk, 1/4 cup of flour, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add milk mixture to reserved drippings in skillet; cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, or until thickened. You’ll think this is never going to come together. Keep whisking. After about 5 minutes it should start to come together. Whisk for a few minutes after you think you should stop. Should be a light grey color at first and darken slowly. Serve gravy with steaks.
Disclaimer: Be careful draining the oil. And don’t send it down the sink! Find a metal coffee can or other receptacle to help with this. Obviously, hot oil is hot. Be careful! As for the dish, it’s the right amount of salty and rich. I don’t normally love gravy, but topping the steaks with this gravy makes the dish. It’s even better the next day, though not as crispy.
While this originally started out to be Bombay Shrimp, I accidentally purchased the wrong type of tamarind paste so the dish ended up more like a curry. The end result was quite delicious and I was disappointed there wasn’t enough for seconds!
1 pound raw shrimp, medium (we used 26-31 size)
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon fresh, crushed ginger
4 tablespoons tamarind paste (we accidentally used tamarind cooking concentrate, which is not paste)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (cayenne)
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
3 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup Coconut milk
2 medium Jalapenos, chopped (ours were disappointingly mild)
1 tablespoon cilantro finely chopped
Peel the shrimp and place in a large bowl. Add ginger, garlic, and tamarind paste, turmeric powder, chile powder and salt to the shrimp. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add garlic cloves and stir until brown. Add shrimp and stir for 2 minutes, so that the shrimp begins to brown and curl. Add coconut milk, cilantro and jalapenos.
Turn the heat off when the gravy begins to simmer. Serve with steamed Basmati rice.
As I said before, I wish there were left overs. We will definitely be making this again. With the mild jalapenos, the dish could have used a bit more spice.
J fell in love with the granola at Turtle Bay when we visited Hawaii. A recent note from the general manager reminded me to try to get the recipe because while travelling to Honolulu every time J wants the granola sounds lovely, that is absolutely not going to happen. Luckily for me, Danna is super nice and got me in touch with Ceci in the Food and Beverage Department. Ceci sent the ingredients and from there I was able to cobble together the recipe below.
3 cup oats (we used Quaker)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds (we went with the ones from the bulk food section)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
about 3 cups tropical fruit trail mix (We used HyVee brand with papaya, pineapple, coconut, raisins and bananas, but left out the bananas)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the oats and nuts. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and honey. Combine both mixtures and pour onto a sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color and keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom (you may want to consider spraying the pan with your favorite cooking spray, just in case).
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add fruit and mix until evenly distributed.
Somehow I was more obsessed with the fresh fruit in Hawaii and missed this granola completely, but it is amazing. Good with milk as a cereal, good on yogurt, ice cream and just out of the container.
I’ve mentioned before, my sister, C, has a knack for perfecting baked goods. She did it again with this super delicious, never dry (even after three days!) recipe. It’s a combination of Joy of Cooking and our Mom’s family recipe.
Ingredients and Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature, about 70 degrees f. Pre-heat the over to 375 degrees f. Grease a 13×9 pan. if you don’t have the pan, you can use 2 round pans for an 8×11 pan and a loaf pan (the pan isn’t the most important part).
Whisk together in a large bowl until well blended:
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Combine in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly:
1 cup strong, black coffee (apparently, this is Mom’s secret ingredient)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
Pour the hot mixture over dry ingredients and stir together just until smooth. Let cool slightly (about 3-5 minutes), then work in:
2 large eggs
1/2 buttermilk (regular milk works, too)
1 tsp vanilla
Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 3-5 minutes (until the cake is just warm) and spread on the icing.
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Mix together and spread over warm sheet cake.
I might like this better than regular chocolate cake. Hard to believe, I know, but it is so good. I can’t wait for the next time C has a reason to make it!