Sweet & Savory

091313_sweet_savory2BUFFET MEAT SURPRISE
(sounds funny, but it turns out delicious)
4 to 5 pounds boneless chuck roast (fairly lean, if possible)
Approximately 30 to 40 ounces canned sauerkraut, drained
1-pound box dark brown sugar (brown sugar Splenda can be substituted)
28 ounces canned diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large whole onion, sliced into half rings
2 large cut-up peeled and cored Granny Smith apples

Place meat in a very large roasting pan for top of stove (or possibly a big crock pot, 5 to 6 quarts.) Dump the drained sauerkraut on top of the meat. On top of that, empty the box of sugar; next, the tomatoes and liquid. Place the onion and apple pieces around the meat. (I keep the meat on the bottom and mix everything else around and on top of it, opening the pot after half the time to mix again and break the meat up into pieces.) Place the pot on the stove, or cover and cook on low for about 4 to 5 hours or until the meat falls apart into small pieces. Most of the sauerkraut just about disappears. 8-10 servings

(This won $50,000 in a national chicken recipe contest.)
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts for 4 to 6. Clean and remove (with scissors) any white veins and fat from each breast, pound breasts some, and slice into Weight Watcher portions (the size of the palm of your hand). Figure 11⁄2 portions per person.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can (141⁄2 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, with juice
4-oz. can diced green chilies (mild or hot) or
use diced tomatoes with chilies
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄4 cup mango chutney, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 cup dried cherries, softened in hot water for
a few minutes
1 large ripe, firm banana, sliced
1 ripe, firm mango, sliced or chunks (you can use the tall fresh mango spears in a jar, which can be found in some produce departments), well drained and patted dry

Place oil in a frying pan, and heat to medium. Add chicken and cook, turning until brown on both sides. Add the tomatoes, chilies, brown sugar and allspice. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Add mango chutney, lemon juice and raisins. Cover and cook for 15 more minutes or until chicken tests tender. Remove chicken to platter. Skim off fat from sauce. Add banana to sauce and heat thoroughly. Spoon sauce over chicken, and garnish with the mango. Brown chicken the day or night before. Entire recipe can be made in advance except for the bananas and mango. Or it can be done in the oven. Freeze leftovers without the bananas and mango. 4-6 servings (I usually double this recipe)

1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs
1⁄4 cup pine nuts
6 large, ripe tomatoes
olive oil
1 zucchini, diced small (about 11⁄2 cups)
1 1⁄2 cups small fresh mushrooms, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
freshly ground pepper
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into strips or circles (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the tomatoes: Slice the top off each one and, using a knife and spoon (or a serrated grapefruit spoon) carefully scoop out the seeds from the inside so the tomatoes form little cups. Pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil. Put the tomatoes in the dish so the open end is up. Set aside. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, onion and garlic, and sauté until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly. Meanwhile, heat a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and pine nuts and toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn them). Gently stir in the Parmesan, toasted breadcrumbs and pine nuts and parsley to the zucchini and mushroom mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spoon the filling into each tomato. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and top in a lattice design, if possible, or circles with the mozzarella. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender but not blistering and the cheese has melted. 6 servings
Note: To make pareve, omit the Parmesan and mozzarella. It will still be very tasty.



1 cup regular or light mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup rice wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
7 to 8 cups cabbage, julienned
1 cup carrots, julienned
1 purple onion, julienned

Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and Old Bay in a bowl, and whisk until smooth. Combine in a very large bowl with the cabbage, carrots and onion, mixing well. Refrigerate until serving. (The secret is to julienne the vegetables as thin as possible.) 12 servings

2 pounds carrots (or carrot rounds from produce department)
1 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons nondairy or regular margarine or butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons cold water

Peel, trim and slice carrots into 1⁄4-inch rounds in food processor or by hand. In a large skillet, over moderately high heat, bring orange juice, margarine, honey, ginger and salt to a boil, whisking until blended. Add carrots and reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the apricots, and cover and cook until
carrots are tender, another 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Return to heat, and simmer until thickened, stirring constantly. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Reheat in microwave or on top of stove. 10 servings

3 tablespoons nondairy or regular margarine or butter
1 cup pearl barley
41⁄4 cups pareve or regular chicken broth
1 1⁄2 cups sliced green onions, including tops (about 2 bunches)
3 cups bow-tie noodles, also called farfalle, uncooked
1⁄2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over moderately high heat, melt margarine. Sauté barley until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in broth and bring to a boil. Transfer to an ungreased 3-quart (12-cup) round or 13-by-9-inch casserole. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Stir in green onions, noodles, and salt and pepper. Continue baking, covered, for 20 minutes or until barley is tender. Uncover and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. This can be prepared two days in advance, refrigerated, brought to room temperature and reheated in microwave. 6-8 servings

Tips & Tricks
• For the children: Make little plastic bags filled with pretzel sticks, celery and carrot sticks. For the rooftops, use curly parsley and a few tiny flowers. Let them make their own edible sukkahs, held together with hummus or peanut butter, using chopsticks or popsicle sticks for spreading.

• Create an edible tablescape of assorted nuts (in shells) interspersed with colored grapes and dried fruits.

• Use a large pizza slicer to easily cut pie or kugel servings.

• Use an upside down muffin pan as a cooling rack.

• Use a zester to finely grate fresh garlic.

• Have each child (and adult) make a thumb print on a piece of paper or poster board, using some washable paint or an ink stamp pad. Then let each embellish the print with a face and/or body and their name and age. Keep as an heirloom to hang each year in your sukkah.

Ilene Spector is a local freelance writer.

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