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Saturday, December 20, 2014

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Dairy as comfort food

Tags: Food
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To me, dairy food is comfort food. Cream cheese spread on almost anything from bagels to celery sticks, velvety smooth and gooey macaroni and cheese, Greek salad loaded with feta – oh, and grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches – scrumptious!
To conclude a dairy meal, or just for fun, my first choice would be ice cream. Chocolate chip is my favourite, but in a pinch, any flavour will do. If I want to better ice cream (and that would be difficult to do), I suppose I could choose a slice of cheesecake covered with fresh strawberries and drizzled with strawberry sauce, or possibly a little ramekin prepared with a very decadent vanilla bean crème brûlée. Aren’t you already feeling comforted by my soothing list of dairy foods?Dairy meals, considered a light meal choice,  are ideal for Shavuot. Similarly, dairy dishes are grand to serve before Shabbat and other holidays, in order to allow us to take a break the day before heavy, meat meals are served. Furthermore, dairy dishes are marvellous for quick and easy summer meals. They are also among the most popular Jewish recipes. Consider dairy, not as a snack or a side dish, but as playing a prominent role at your dining table.

Baked Spinach Pastries

Serve these pastries as an appetizer or as a side dish with soup or salad.

Dough
1 cup margarine or butter
1 egg
1 1/2-2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
warm water 1-2 tbsp.
extra flour for rolling

Filling
6 oz. grated cheddar cheese
cooked spinach, chopped (see note)
3 egg yolks

Garnish
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. water
sesame seeds

Melt the margarine or butter. In food processor, combine margarine and egg with 1-1/2 cups of flour and the other dry ingredients. While processor is running, slowly add water until mixture forms a ball. Remove ball from food processor and add more flour to dough if mixture is too wet to roll. Roll out the dough on a floured board, Cut into 3-4-inch rounds.

In a bowl, mix all the filling ingredients together and place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each round. Fold dough over filling, making a crescent shape, and pinch sides together. Whisk egg yolk and water together and brush each pastry with mixture. Sprinkle pastry with sesame seeds.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place pastries two inches apart. Bake in the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes until golden.

Note: Use 8 oz. fresh spinach. Wilt in microwave 1-2 minutes, then wrap spinach in a paper towel and squeeze out the water.

Supreme Egg Salad

Delicious in a sandwich, or scoop it onto your favourite salad.

12 eggs
1/2 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
1/4 cup light cream cheese
2 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 ribs of celery, small dice
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/4 tsp. pepper

Place eggs in a medium size pot and cover them with water. On a high heat, bring the water to a rapid boil and turn burner off. Place the lid on the pot and leave it on the burner for 20 minutes. Drain hot water from pot and run cold water over eggs until cool to the touch. Drain water from pot, then, with lid on, shake pot. This will crack the eggs and make them easier to peel. Peel eggs and mash. Add the salad dressing and the cream cheese and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and continue to mix until combined.

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Your family will fall in love with this cake the second they taste it. They will never ever guess that it’s made with ice cream sandwiches. You can change this cake for different occasions. Change the candy topping to chocolate chips, M&M’S, candy sprinkles or crushed cookie crumbs. Add chocolate or butterscotch syrup for an even more decadent dessert.

2 boxes of ice cream sandwiches, approximately 20
1 large container of Cool Whip
1 package of Skor Toffee Bits

Line the bottom of a 9x11-inch Pyrex cake pan with ice cream sandwiches, Use as many ice cream sandwiches as you need to completely cover the bottom of the pan, cutting ice cream sandwiches in pieces if necessary.

Spread a generous layer of Cool Whip on top of the ice cream sandwiches. Sprinkle Skor pieces over the Cool Whip. Place another layer of ice cream sandwiches over the cool whip, repeat Cool Whip layer and Skor pieces. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. To serve, cut cake into squares and lift each square out of Pyrex pan with an offset spatula. The cake cuts easily right out of the freezer.

Note: You can use any size cake pan depending on the number of guests you are feeding. Just increase or decrease the number of ice cream sandwiches.

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