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We’ve all played the old party game where someone asks “what one food would you pick if you were stranded on a desert island?” 
ONE dish. Do you pick your favorite? Something nourishing that will keep you healthy until the next cruise ship comes along? Something plain or fancy? Hot or cold?
I made the rounds recently. 
Some of the answers I got were predictable. It didn’t surprise me, for example, that a friend’s husband, one of those shoot-first-aim-later type, had an immediate answer. Of course. (He wanted Memphis Dry Rubbed Ribs). And another man I know, who always second-guesses his decisions, decided on a Meatball Hero, but only after agonizing about it.
Then there was the long-married couple who do everything together and have even begun to look alike. Neither could pick just one dish. She asked for Sushi plus Bagels with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon. He assumed that the “ONE” food meant an entire meal (Minestrone Soup, grilled steak, baked potato, salad and apple pie).
Lots of people asked questions before they could answer.
Questions about time: “How long am I on this island?” from Robbie, a personal trainer who knows all about nutrition so he chose meatball pizza (“it has protein, carbs, fat and vegetables”).
About health (“does cholesterol count?”) from a friend who said he could be happy with old fashioned chopped liver (made with schmaltz) on rye. 
About practical matters such as “do I have to cook?” from a friend who wanted Chinese Chicken with Cashews and Hoisin Sauce if it could be served to her as if by magic but picked peanut butter and jelly if she had to prepare the meals herself.
My very practical friend Jack said: “I’ll catch fish and have sushi.” His wife, my friend Val, who is always on one kind of diet or another, said she’d have grilled fish and salad because she’d probably still be on a diet.
For some reason that I can’t explain, everyone assumes that the island will be some tropical paradise. Someone wanted ice cream but said it would melt in the hot sun, so she picked French bread with cheese because that’s even better when it’s warm and runny.
I guess I could tell them the desert is Deception Bay in Antarctica, but why stress them out?
Most people also think they will be all alone, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, except for the few who think they’ll be someplace like Gilligan’s Island and wonder if they can share everyone else’s food.
One thing I find fascinating is that no one ever asks me what my choice would be.
Well, now that you ask ….. I’ve spent so many years posing this question to others that I am at a loss to answer it myself. Hmm. Is it hot there? (a whole grain salad). Or cold? (Bean Soup). Is there an oven? (baked potato). Can I switch on my birthday? (fried chicken). Do I get dessert with it? (Fried chicken and apple pie). Is it a whole meal? (Add corn fritters to that fried chicken and apple pie). Is Ed there and if so, can we share? (Chinese egg rolls and fried rice).
I can’t decide right now. But I’m leaning towards potato latkes because it combines two of my most favorite food things: fried (anything) plus potato. 
If I can have more than one item I’d like some smoked salmon to drape over those latkes and also a dollop of real, full-fat dairy sour cream because I’m not worried about the cholesterol on this island. If money’s no object I’d like a blob of caviar on top too. Maybe a scattering of chopped chives. Sprinkle of lemon juice.
Perfect.
Mmmmm. Nice for brunch, don’t you think? Hanukkah. Whenever. Why wait to be stranded on a desert island!?

Potato Latkes
 
4 large peeled baking (Idaho, russet) potatoes
1 large onion
3 tablespoons matzo meal, breadcrumbs or potato starch
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
vegetable oil for frying
 
Grate the potatoes and onion into a bowl or, if using a food processor, shred the potatoes and onion together, then replace the shredding disk with the S-blade and process the vegetables to a fine consistency. Either squeeze the vegetables in a kitchen towel over a bowl or place the mixture in a rigid strainer set over a bowl and press out as much liquid as possible. Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the matzoh meal or breadcrumbs or use the solid potato starch that remains at the bottom of the bowl containing the squeezed liquid. Stir in the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder. Heat about 1/4” vegetable oil in a cast iron or other heavy heat retaining skillet over medium-high heat. Drop some of the potato mixture into the pan, using equal amounts to make each pancake. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until the pancakes are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. 

Makes about 12
Reheat: preheated 450 degree oven on a baking sheet (single layer)

 



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We’ve all played the old party game where someone asks “what one food would you pick if you were stranded on a desert island?” 

ONE dish. Do you pick your favorite? Something nourishing that will keep you healthy until the next cruise ship comes along? Something plain or fancy? Hot or cold?

I made the rounds recently. 

Some of the answers I got were predictable. It didn’t surprise me, for example, that a friend’s husband, one of those shoot-first-aim-later type, had an immediate answer. Of course. (He wanted Memphis Dry Rubbed Ribs). And another man I know, who always second-guesses his decisions, decided on a Meatball Hero, but only after agonizing about it.

Then there was the long-married couple who do everything together and have even begun to look alike. Neither could pick just one dish. She asked for Sushi plus Bagels with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon. He assumed that the “ONE” food meant an entire meal (Minestrone Soup, grilled steak, baked potato, salad and apple pie).

Lots of people asked questions before they could answer.

Questions about time: “How long am I on this island?” from Robbie, a personal trainer who knows all about nutrition so he chose meatball pizza (“it has protein, carbs, fat and vegetables”).

About health (“does cholesterol count?”) from a friend who said he could be happy with old fashioned chopped liver (made with schmaltz) on rye. 

About practical matters such as “do I have to cook?” from a friend who wanted Chinese Chicken with Cashews and Hoisin Sauce if it could be served to her as if by magic but picked peanut butter and jelly if she had to prepare the meals herself.

My very practical friend Jack said: “I’ll catch fish and have sushi.” His wife, my friend Val, who is always on one kind of diet or another, said she’d have grilled fish and salad because she’d probably still be on a diet.

For some reason that I can’t explain, everyone assumes that the island will be some tropical paradise. Someone wanted ice cream but said it would melt in the hot sun, so she picked French bread with cheese because that’s even better when it’s warm and runny.

I guess I could tell them the desert is Deception Bay in Antarctica, but why stress them out?

Most people also think they will be all alone, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, except for the few who think they’ll be someplace like Gilligan’s Island and wonder if they can share everyone else’s food.

One thing I find fascinating is that no one ever asks me what my choice would be.

Well, now that you ask ….. I’ve spent so many years posing this question to others that I am at a loss to answer it myself. Hmm. Is it hot there? (a whole grain salad). Or cold? (Bean Soup). Is there an oven? (baked potato). Can I switch on my birthday? (fried chicken). Do I get dessert with it? (Fried chicken and apple pie). Is it a whole meal? (Add corn fritters to that fried chicken and apple pie). Is Ed there and if so, can we share? (Chinese egg rolls and fried rice).

I can’t decide right now. But I’m leaning towards potato latkes because it combines two of my most favorite food things: fried (anything) plus potato. 

If I can have more than one item I’d like some smoked salmon to drape over those latkes and also a dollop of real, full-fat dairy sour cream because I’m not worried about the cholesterol on this island. If money’s no object I’d like a blob of caviar on top too. Maybe a scattering of chopped chives. Sprinkle of lemon juice.

Perfect.

Mmmmm. Nice for brunch, don’t you think? Hanukkah. Whenever. Why wait to be stranded on a desert island!?

Potato Latkes

 

4 large peeled baking (Idaho, russet) potatoes

1 large onion

3 tablespoons matzo meal, breadcrumbs or potato starch

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

vegetable oil for frying

 

Grate the potatoes and onion into a bowl or, if using a food processor, shred the potatoes and onion together, then replace the shredding disk with the S-blade and process the vegetables to a fine consistency. Either squeeze the vegetables in a kitchen towel over a bowl or place the mixture in a rigid strainer set over a bowl and press out as much liquid as possible. Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the matzoh meal or breadcrumbs or use the solid potato starch that remains at the bottom of the bowl containing the squeezed liquid. Stir in the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder. Heat about 1/4” vegetable oil in a cast iron or other heavy heat retaining skillet over medium-high heat. Drop some of the potato mixture into the pan, using equal amounts to make each pancake. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until the pancakes are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Makes about 12

Reheat: preheated 450 degree oven on a baking sheet (single layer)

 

I discovered a new apple. New for me anyway. It’s called Pound Sweet (a/k/a Pumpkin Sweet) and it’s actually a very old heritage apple first known in Connecticut in the early 1800s.
I’d never heard of this one, but at Clarkdale Fruit Farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts, where I drove recently to buy my yearly supply of Rhode Island Greening apples for pies (my Connecticut source didn’t have any this year) they pointed them out and so I bought a bagful.
Turns out (as they told me at the farm) that Pound Sweet are not the best eating-out-of-hand apple — they’re mild tasting and not especially tart/acidic — but they are terrific for baking.
So I baked some. They certainly hold their shape very well and don’t become as mushy as some apple varieties. I found that baking them also took slightly longer than the more usual Romes and Cortlands do.
But the result was really good. If you can find a bunch of Pound Sweets, wonderful, but of course this recipe will be fine when made with any baking apple (if you use other varieties, do not cover and bake for the 10 minutes suggested).

Baked Pound Sweet Apples
 
4 large Pound Sweet baking apples (or use any baking apple)
half a lemon
1/3 cup raisins 
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 cup mango juice 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the apples and remove the core with an apple corer or small knife, leaving about 1/2” of the core on the bottom. Peel the apples halfway down from the top and rub the peeled surfaces with the cut side of the lemon. Put the apples in a baking dish.  Mix the raisins and cranberries and stuff them into the apple hollows. Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon sugar. Place 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil on each apple top. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes. Pour the juice over the apples. Bake for another 40-45 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, or until the apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
 
Makes 4 servings
 

 

I discovered a new apple. New for me anyway. It’s called Pound Sweet (a/k/a Pumpkin Sweet) and it’s actually a very old heritage apple first known in Connecticut in the early 1800s.

I’d never heard of this one, but at Clarkdale Fruit Farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts, where I drove recently to buy my yearly supply of Rhode Island Greening apples for pies (my Connecticut source didn’t have any this year) they pointed them out and so I bought a bagful.

Turns out (as they told me at the farm) that Pound Sweet are not the best eating-out-of-hand apple — they’re mild tasting and not especially tart/acidic — but they are terrific for baking.

So I baked some. They certainly hold their shape very well and don’t become as mushy as some apple varieties. I found that baking them also took slightly longer than the more usual Romes and Cortlands do.

But the result was really good. If you can find a bunch of Pound Sweets, wonderful, but of course this recipe will be fine when made with any baking apple (if you use other varieties, do not cover and bake for the 10 minutes suggested).

Baked Pound Sweet Apples

 

4 large Pound Sweet baking apples (or use any baking apple)

half a lemon

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup dried cranberries

3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

2 teaspoons coconut oil

1 cup mango juice 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the apples and remove the core with an apple corer or small knife, leaving about 1/2” of the core on the bottom. Peel the apples halfway down from the top and rub the peeled surfaces with the cut side of the lemon. Put the apples in a baking dish.  Mix the raisins and cranberries and stuff them into the apple hollows. Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon sugar. Place 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil on each apple top. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes. Pour the juice over the apples. Bake for another 40-45 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, or until the apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Makes 4 servings

 

 

I saw the most beautiful Empress plums at Fairway supermarket and couldn’t resist them. Empress are the ones that look like giant Italian prune plums and they’re sometimes called President plums. In my opinion they are the best variety for pies and crisps.
I bought several pounds because they have a short season and frankly I was surprised there were any left. 
Got my freezer packed with a plum pie and a plum cake plus a couple of plum crumble/crisps, including this one:

Plum Crumble with Coconut and Bread Crust
 
Filling:
 
2-1/2 pounds Empress plums or Italian prune plums
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 
Topping:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
 
 
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and halve the plums and remove the pits. Cut the plums into pieces. Combine the plums with the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and lemon juice and mix well. Stir in the flour and place the fruit mixture into a baking dish. Set aside. Make the topping: Melt the butter and set it aside in a bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a bowl. Add the coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the melted butter. Mix to coat the crumbs. Sprinkle over the plums. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crusty. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
 
Makes 8 servings
 

 

I saw the most beautiful Empress plums at Fairway supermarket and couldn’t resist them. Empress are the ones that look like giant Italian prune plums and they’re sometimes called President plums. In my opinion they are the best variety for pies and crisps.

I bought several pounds because they have a short season and frankly I was surprised there were any left. 

Got my freezer packed with a plum pie and a plum cake plus a couple of plum crumble/crisps, including this one:

Plum Crumble with Coconut and Bread Crust

 

Filling:

 

2-1/2 pounds Empress plums or Italian prune plums

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 

Topping:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated coconut

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

 

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and halve the plums and remove the pits. Cut the plums into pieces. Combine the plums with the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and lemon juice and mix well. Stir in the flour and place the fruit mixture into a baking dish. Set aside. Make the topping: Melt the butter and set it aside in a bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a bowl. Add the coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the melted butter. Mix to coat the crumbs. Sprinkle over the plums. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crusty. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Makes 8 servings