New Year's resolution: Enjoy a treat

Heather Sheedy

Cooking Corner

Now New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are on our minds, the house may still be full of company and sweet treats are always a hit or try the Enchanted Broccoli Forest or Spicy Baked Beans. Wishing each of you the best of times. Enjoy!

(These recipes came from "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest" by Molly Katzen, a book borrowed from Pat Hammett.)

JEWISH NEW YEAR HONEYCAKE

1 cup light honey

1 large egg

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup cold black coffee

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Dash or two of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Beat the honey at high speed with an electric mixer for about five minutes, until it becomes frothy, white and opaque. Add egg, butter and coffee, then beat well.

Sift together dry ingredients; with nuts, fold the dry ingredients into the honey mixture. Spread into a medium-sized loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining nuts on top. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a probing knife emerges clean.

Traditional toppings: 1 cup dried apricots or 1 cup dried prunes. Place chosen fruit in a bowl. Pour two cups boiling water over them; cover and let stand for several hours. A fruity syrup will form. Spoon fruit syrup over each serving.

Non-traditional topping: 2 cups sliced apples, 2 tablespoons sweet butter, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and cinnamon to taste. Saute apple slices in butter over low heat. Add lemon juice and some dashes of cinnamon. Cook until apples are soft. Remove from heat; add honey. Stir well then spoon onto slices of honeycake.

SPICY GINGERBREAD

5 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons freshly grated gingerroot

1/2 cup light honey

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup firm yogurt

1 large egg

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Saute butter and ginger root lightly, about 3-4 minutes. Beat honey and molasses vigorously for five minutes, then beat in butter and gingerroot mixture. Mix together yogurt and egg, then blend with honey, molasses, butter and ginger root.

In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients: flours, sod, salt, and seasonings. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add the honey mixture. Mix thoroughly, but minimally.

Spread batter into a well-buttered 8-inch square pan. Bake 30-35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. It's done when the top surface is springy to the touch, or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

THE ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST

1 bunch of broccoli

2 cups raw brown rice

3 cups water

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 large clove crushed garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

Lots of black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried mint

Cayenne pepper

3 large eggs

1/4 cup freshly minced parsley

1 1/2 cups packed grated cheddar or

swiss cheese

Lemon butter:

Juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 325.

Cut off several inches from the bottom of the broccoli stems. Shave off the tough outer skin and cut the broccoli into spears with the tops that will form trees approximately 3 inches tall. Set aside.

Combine rice in water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover. Cook until just done, 20-30 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile: Place butter in a large skillet over medium heat and saute onion, garlic salt, dill, black pepper, mint and cayenne pepper until translucent, 8-10 minutes. Then add to cooked rice and mix well.

Beat eggs with parsley and grated cheese, then add to rice mixture. Spread evenly into buttered 10x6-inch pan.

Steam broccoli until bright green and crisp tender. Rinse immediately in cold water; drain. Arrange broccoli trees upright in the bed of the rice mixture and drizzle the trees with lemon-butter. Cover gently, but as firmly as possible with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Makes four servings.

SPICY BAKED BEANS WITH RUM AND MOLASSES

2 cups raw navy beans

3 cups chopped onion

3 cloves crushed garlic

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

2 teaspoons dill weed

1 teaspoon allspice

Black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons dark mustard, Dijon or Poupon

4 tablespoons dark molasses

3 cups tomato juice

3/4 cup dark rum

2 teaspoons tamori sauce

1 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 or 2 diced carrots

1 or 2 stalks minced celery

1 chopped bell pepper

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, optional

Sour cream

Place the beans in a large kettleful of water. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and cook over medium heat until the beans are tender, 60-90 minutes. Check the water level during cooking and drain if necessary.

While beans are cooking, saute onions and garlic in butter in a large saucepan. Add salt and cook until onions are soft, 5-8 minutes. To the onions, add seasonings and other ingredients - withholding beans, vegetables and sour cream. Simmer covered for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine cooked beans, sauce and the raw, chopped vegetables in a large casserole. Cover tightly and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Top with a dop of sour cream. Makes four main-dish servings or more if served as a side dish.

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