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Kitchen Witch - Homemade fake food

I owned a Snoopy lunchbox in the first grade. I remember its contents like it was yesterday: bologna sandwich on white; a waxy, Red Delicious apple from Acme; and the highlight of my meal, a surprise snack food item.

I was the great arbiter of processed snack foods. Truth be told, I would have died happy getting a bag of Fritos in my lunchbox every day. But life as a middle-class 6-year-old was tough. Sometimes, my mom threw in something sweet instead. Second-place contenders included the foil-wrapped Ring Ding or a wax paper-lined duo of butterscotch Krimpets. I wrinkled my nose at a Devil Dog (way too dry) or a Twinkie (too much cream center).

But the worst thing you could do to my lunch was throw in a scooter pie. Also known as a Moon Pie, the scooter pie was an escalloped, chocolaty-coated marshmallow cookie thing that promised culinary pleasures with its glistening chocolate exterior. One bite, and the gag reflex kicked in, protecting me from that mixture of saw dust and the stuff that painters use to cover up holes in walls.

In fact, the scooter pie got in my way of enjoying the quintessential American childhood experience: s'mores. When it came time for campfires at Girl Scout sleepover camp, I succumbed to the pressure of roasting marshmallows and squishing them in between graham crackers. Secretly though, I preferred the warmth of the softened chocolate mingling with the crunch of my graham crackers.

It took me 37 years to get over my disdain for the marshmallow. Last fall, I took matters into my own hands and decided to make marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows. I know, it sounds as funny as "jumbo shrimp." And the verdict is: For fake food, they ain't bad. You can really taste the vanilla, the texture is chewy rather than squishy, and they are terrific Halloween party treats. And to make things even more festive, don't forget the food coloring. (Oh, come on. You're already eating corn syrup, gelatin and sugar.)

Marshmallows Adapted from The Ultimate Candy Book by Bruce Weinstein

Equipment needed: Candy thermometer, electric mixer

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (vegetarian brands: Pangea and Vegan Essentials)

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Food coloring (optional)

Confectioner's sugar for coating the candy

Smear the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch pan with vegetable oil; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 3/4 cups cold water. Cover the bowl and let it soften until ready to use.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, 3/4 cups corn syrup and 3/4 cups water. Cook over medium heat; stir until sugar dissolves completely and mixture comes to a boil. Clip candy thermometer to the inside of the pan and cook syrup WITHOUT STIRRING until it reaches 240 degrees (known as the soft ball stage). Remove pan from heat and add remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup.

With an electric mixer (or Kitchen-Aid standing mixer), incorporate the hot syrup into the large bowl containing the softened gelatin in a slow, steady stream. Beat for 10 minutes, or until mixture triples in volume and becomes stiff. Add vanilla. (For a touch of Halloween or any other festive occasion, add five drops of food coloring).

Spread mixture into the oiled pan. Smooth the top as much as possible using a rubber spatula. Set aside, uncovered, for 8 to 10 hours, at room temperature, or until mixture is cool and firm. (Great to let set overnight, while you have marshmallow dreams.)

When ready, run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen up the marshmallow. Invert onto a cutting board or another flat surface that is dusted with confectioner's sugar. You may need to pry candy out of the pan with your fingers. Sift more confectioner's over the marshmallow once unmolded.

Score with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to a few weeks. Makes 36 3-inch squares.

kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com

Kim O'Donnel, the host of What's Cooking on washingtonpost.com, tests all the recipes so you don't have to. Send questions and comments to kim.odonnel at creativeloafing.com.



More By This Writer

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  string(3327) "The world is small. One day back in 2002, I received an e-mail from a man named Bill Addison. He wanted to take my distance-learning food-writing course through UCLA but he kept getting turned away due to low registration. Would I teach him one-on-one, he wanted to know.

In less than two years, Addison went from being my student to being my editor at this very newspaper. He and I gave birth to the Kitchen Witch in August 2004, a weekly recipe column dished up with a story and musings about life. Addison moved on to points west and then looped back to Texas, where he is doing just fine. His shoes were filled by the savvy Besha Rodell, whom I'd never met in person until earlier this month.

I guess you've figured out I'm trying to say goodbye. This kitchen witch has some new cauldrons to stir, so I've got to pack the broom and bid you farewell.

It's been my goal over these three-and-a-half years to teach without being too teachy, that one new recipe a week would feel manageable within the context of our crazy lives on the freeway, runway and Internet superhighway. As a parting gift, I share with you a killer recipe for banana bread that's completely vegan but you'd never know it. Credit goes to Ania Catalano, author of a new book called Baking with Agave Nectar. A plant-based sweetener from the agave plant (you might know it as the tequila plant), agave nectar is a wonderful, low-glycemic, vegan alternative to sugar, honey and all the other sweet stuff out there. You won't believe how seamlessly it translates in baked goods, and this banana bread is as good as the slap-your-momma variety with the butter and eggs – for real.

Think you might miss me? Stop by Realsimple.com, where I'll be cooking up words three times weekly. If not, be good and keep the spirit of cooking alive.

Banana date bread

Adapted from Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano

12 ounces firm silken tofu (nonrefrigerated varieties in aseptic packaging are best)

1/2 cup light agave nectar

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)

1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice (alternatively, water)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups sprouted spelt flour or sprouted whole wheat flour (alternatively, whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour)

1 tablespoon baking powder

KW addition: 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup pitted dates, chopped (about 10 dates)

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (alternatively, pecans)

2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Coat a 4- or 5-by-8-inch loaf pan with nonstick canola oil spray and flour lightly.

In a food processor, combine tofu, agave nectar, bananas, juice, vanilla, spices and canola oil. Blend until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add tofu mixture and incorporate into flour until integrated.

Fold in dates, nuts and, if using, flax seeds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes (KW note: It took my loaf closer to 60 minutes) or until a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Store in refrigerator, tightly wrapped.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com."
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In less than two years, Addison went from being my student to being my editor at this very newspaper. He and I gave birth to the ''Kitchen Witch'' in August 2004, a weekly recipe column dished up with a story and musings about life. Addison moved on to points west and then looped back to Texas, where he is doing just fine. His shoes were filled by the savvy Besha Rodell, whom I'd never met in person until earlier this month.

I guess you've figured out I'm trying to say goodbye. This kitchen witch has some new cauldrons to stir, so I've got to pack the broom and bid you farewell.

It's been my goal over these three-and-a-half years to teach without being too teachy, that one new recipe a week would feel manageable within the context of our crazy lives on the freeway, runway and Internet superhighway. As a parting gift, I share with you a killer recipe for banana bread that's completely vegan but you'd never know it. Credit goes to Ania Catalano, author of a new book called ''Baking with Agave Nectar''. A plant-based sweetener from the agave plant (you might know it as the tequila plant), agave nectar is a wonderful, low-glycemic, vegan alternative to sugar, honey and all the other sweet stuff out there. You won't believe how seamlessly it translates in baked goods, and this banana bread is as good as the slap-your-momma variety with the butter and eggs – for real.

Think you might miss me? Stop by [http://realsimple.com/|Realsimple.com], where I'll be cooking up words three times weekly. If not, be good and keep the spirit of cooking alive.

__''Banana date bread''__

Adapted from ''Baking with Agave Nectar'' by Ania Catalano

12 ounces firm silken tofu (nonrefrigerated varieties in aseptic packaging are best)

1/2 cup light agave nectar

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)

1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice (alternatively, water)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups sprouted spelt flour or sprouted whole wheat flour (alternatively, whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour)

1 tablespoon baking powder

''KW'' addition: 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup pitted dates, chopped (about 10 dates)

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (alternatively, pecans)

2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Coat a 4- or 5-by-8-inch loaf pan with nonstick canola oil spray and flour lightly.

In a food processor, combine tofu, agave nectar, bananas, juice, vanilla, spices and canola oil. Blend until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add tofu mixture and incorporate into flour until integrated.

Fold in dates, nuts and, if using, flax seeds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes (''KW'' note: It took my loaf closer to 60 minutes) or until a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Store in refrigerator, tightly wrapped.

''Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at [mailto:kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com|kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com].''"
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In less than two years, Addison went from being my student to being my editor at this very newspaper. He and I gave birth to the Kitchen Witch in August 2004, a weekly recipe column dished up with a story and musings about life. Addison moved on to points west and then looped back to Texas, where he is doing just fine. His shoes were filled by the savvy Besha Rodell, whom I'd never met in person until earlier this month.

I guess you've figured out I'm trying to say goodbye. This kitchen witch has some new cauldrons to stir, so I've got to pack the broom and bid you farewell.

It's been my goal over these three-and-a-half years to teach without being too teachy, that one new recipe a week would feel manageable within the context of our crazy lives on the freeway, runway and Internet superhighway. As a parting gift, I share with you a killer recipe for banana bread that's completely vegan but you'd never know it. Credit goes to Ania Catalano, author of a new book called Baking with Agave Nectar. A plant-based sweetener from the agave plant (you might know it as the tequila plant), agave nectar is a wonderful, low-glycemic, vegan alternative to sugar, honey and all the other sweet stuff out there. You won't believe how seamlessly it translates in baked goods, and this banana bread is as good as the slap-your-momma variety with the butter and eggs – for real.

Think you might miss me? Stop by Realsimple.com, where I'll be cooking up words three times weekly. If not, be good and keep the spirit of cooking alive.

Banana date bread

Adapted from Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano

12 ounces firm silken tofu (nonrefrigerated varieties in aseptic packaging are best)

1/2 cup light agave nectar

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)

1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice (alternatively, water)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups sprouted spelt flour or sprouted whole wheat flour (alternatively, whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour)

1 tablespoon baking powder

KW addition: 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup pitted dates, chopped (about 10 dates)

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (alternatively, pecans)

2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Coat a 4- or 5-by-8-inch loaf pan with nonstick canola oil spray and flour lightly.

In a food processor, combine tofu, agave nectar, bananas, juice, vanilla, spices and canola oil. Blend until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add tofu mixture and incorporate into flour until integrated.

Fold in dates, nuts and, if using, flax seeds.

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Allow to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Store in refrigerator, tightly wrapped.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.             13026986 1272741                          Kitchen Witch - A parting gift "
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Article

Wednesday April 2, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Kitchen Witch gets on her broom and flies... | more...
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    Continue reading Kitchen Witch."
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    [http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/get_more_from_your_mash/Content?oid=423870|Continue reading ''Kitchen Witch'']."
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    Continue reading Kitchen Witch.             13032926 1353938                          Omnivore - Kitchen Witch: Get more from your mash "
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Wednesday March 5, 2008 05:10 pm EST
http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/ImgPopup?oid=423871The girlfriend of a mashed-potato lover somewhere in the great online beyond needed culinary counsel. They're in a "mixed" relationship — she's an omnivore, he's a vegetarian — and for her, the ultimate companion for a mountain of mashed is a pool of gravy made from unctuous meat drippings. What, she wondered, could she... | more...
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The things we do for love.

My first thought was to build upon ye olde potato puree (not that there's anything wrong with that), enhancing it with like-minded, easily boiled and mashed cold-weather crops such as cauliflower, parsnips and turnips. The result is undoubtedly more nutritious, but from a taster's point of view, more complex in both flavor and texture. (Not to mention it's a brilliant tactic if you've got recalcitrant vegetable eaters at home.)

Then I remembered a recipe scribbled in an old notebook, a mashed-potato casserole kind of thing with green beans that I have served at Easter in years past. Polpettone di patate e fagiolini is its long Italian name; traditionally, a "polpettone" is a filled meatloaf, but this version, from the northwestern coastal region of Liguria, is meatless. It's also not really filled or stuffed, but more like a potato pie that's gone to heaven.

Last week, I revisited this recipe, and I remembered why I loved making it in March, when spring is oh so close yet winter continues to nip at our heels. We still need a cozy blanket of mash, but the green beans, studded throughout with specks of fresh herbs, give us hope for the promise of warmer, longer days.

Polpettone di Patate e Fagiolini

1 pound potatoes, quartered (about 5 medium potatoes; I really like the creamy quality of Yukon golds for this dish)

Salt

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup Parmigiano cheese, grated

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an oven-proof baking dish, about 9 inches in diameter (for more of a "pie" effect, use a round dish).

Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until fork-tender. Mash and cover.

In a separate saucepan, cook beans in salted water for about 10 minutes, until nearly tender. Drain, finely chop and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add both cheeses, whisking until integrated. When potatoes are cool, combine with egg-cheese mixture.

Place bread crumbs into a small bowl and pour milk on top, allowing bread crumbs to soften.

In a saute pan, cook garlic in olive oil for about 20 seconds, then add herbs and beans, tossing with tongs until well-mixed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow beans to cool. Add to potato mixture, and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add accordingly. With a rubber spatula, scoop filling into prepared baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake about 40 minutes, until golden. Serve hot.

Makes about 4 servings.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com."
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The things we do for love.

My first thought was to build upon ye olde potato puree (not that there's anything wrong with that), enhancing it with like-minded, easily boiled and mashed cold-weather crops such as cauliflower, parsnips and turnips. The result is undoubtedly more nutritious, but from a taster's point of view, more complex in both flavor and texture. (Not to mention it's a brilliant tactic if you've got recalcitrant vegetable eaters at home.)

Then I remembered a recipe scribbled in an old notebook, a mashed-potato casserole kind of thing with green beans that I have served at Easter in years past. Polpettone di patate e fagiolini is its long Italian name; traditionally, a "polpettone" is a filled meatloaf, but this version, from the northwestern coastal region of Liguria, is meatless. It's also not really filled or stuffed, but more like a potato pie that's gone to heaven.

Last week, I revisited this recipe, and I remembered why I loved making it in March, when spring is oh so close yet winter continues to nip at our heels. We still need a cozy blanket of mash, but the green beans, studded throughout with specks of fresh herbs, give us hope for the promise of warmer, longer days.

__''Polpettone di Patate e Fagiolini''__

1 pound potatoes, quartered (about 5 medium potatoes; I really like the creamy quality of Yukon golds for this dish)

Salt

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup Parmigiano cheese, grated

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an oven-proof baking dish, about 9 inches in diameter (for more of a "pie" effect, use a round dish).

Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until fork-tender. Mash and cover.

In a separate saucepan, cook beans in salted water for about 10 minutes, until nearly tender. Drain, finely chop and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add both cheeses, whisking until integrated. When potatoes are cool, combine with egg-cheese mixture.

Place bread crumbs into a small bowl and pour milk on top, allowing bread crumbs to soften.

In a saute pan, cook garlic in olive oil for about 20 seconds, then add herbs and beans, tossing with tongs until well-mixed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow beans to cool. Add to potato mixture, and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add accordingly. With a rubber spatula, scoop filling into prepared baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake about 40 minutes, until golden. Serve hot.

Makes about 4 servings.

''Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at [mailto:kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com|kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com].''"
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  string(3396) "    Polpettone di Patate e Fagiolini   2008-03-05T05:04:00+00:00 Kitchen Witch - Get more from your mash   Kim O'Donnel 1306509 2008-03-05T05:04:00+00:00  The girlfriend of a mashed-potato lover somewhere in the great online beyond needed culinary counsel. They're in a "mixed" relationship — she's an omnivore, he's a vegetarian — and for her, the ultimate companion for a mountain of mashed is a pool of gravy made from unctuous meat drippings. What, she wondered, could she mix with the mashed and make her meatless guy happy?

The things we do for love.

My first thought was to build upon ye olde potato puree (not that there's anything wrong with that), enhancing it with like-minded, easily boiled and mashed cold-weather crops such as cauliflower, parsnips and turnips. The result is undoubtedly more nutritious, but from a taster's point of view, more complex in both flavor and texture. (Not to mention it's a brilliant tactic if you've got recalcitrant vegetable eaters at home.)

Then I remembered a recipe scribbled in an old notebook, a mashed-potato casserole kind of thing with green beans that I have served at Easter in years past. Polpettone di patate e fagiolini is its long Italian name; traditionally, a "polpettone" is a filled meatloaf, but this version, from the northwestern coastal region of Liguria, is meatless. It's also not really filled or stuffed, but more like a potato pie that's gone to heaven.

Last week, I revisited this recipe, and I remembered why I loved making it in March, when spring is oh so close yet winter continues to nip at our heels. We still need a cozy blanket of mash, but the green beans, studded throughout with specks of fresh herbs, give us hope for the promise of warmer, longer days.

Polpettone di Patate e Fagiolini

1 pound potatoes, quartered (about 5 medium potatoes; I really like the creamy quality of Yukon golds for this dish)

Salt

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup Parmigiano cheese, grated

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an oven-proof baking dish, about 9 inches in diameter (for more of a "pie" effect, use a round dish).

Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until fork-tender. Mash and cover.

In a separate saucepan, cook beans in salted water for about 10 minutes, until nearly tender. Drain, finely chop and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add both cheeses, whisking until integrated. When potatoes are cool, combine with egg-cheese mixture.

Place bread crumbs into a small bowl and pour milk on top, allowing bread crumbs to soften.

In a saute pan, cook garlic in olive oil for about 20 seconds, then add herbs and beans, tossing with tongs until well-mixed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow beans to cool. Add to potato mixture, and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add accordingly. With a rubber spatula, scoop filling into prepared baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake about 40 minutes, until golden. Serve hot.

Makes about 4 servings.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.             13026797 1272350                          Kitchen Witch - Get more from your mash "
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Article

Wednesday March 5, 2008 12:04 am EST
Polpettone di Patate e Fagiolini | more...
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  string(31) "(Pennsylvania) Dutch Crumb Cake"
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  string(3182) "Jersey, New York, Philly, Bal-TEE-more, they all know about the crumb bun. A yeasty sweet roll with a streusely topping, the crumb bun is a miniature version of the crumb cake (aka Streuselkuchen), a breakfast and late-morning coffee staple among East Coasters who grew up with diners, old-school bakeries and second- and third-generation German immigrants.

My mother, whose ancestors were of Bavarian descent, fancied a crumb bun. We lived in a Welsh-sounding town outside of Philadelphia, mostly among Jews, but there was a bakery for us Gentiles called Woehr's, and it made crumb buns. Sometimes after church, Mom would putter along in her Pinto hatchback with me and my two brothers, and she'd pull into the parking lot that was on a hill, and she'd let us come in and smell the magical perfume of powdered sugar.

She'd order a half dozen from the lady behind the counter, who would cut six from a big tray and place them in a square white box tied with a string. I loved to carry the box. At home, Mom would cut us each a piece. Inevitably, the powdered sugar that was packed on top of the cinnamony streusel like snow would coat our lips and maybe even get into our eyes, but we were stalwart, plowing through the dust storm until every last crumb was accounted for. The next day, the leftover buns would be hard as rocks, but that didn't deter my mother, who'd dunk a crumby brick into her coffee until it was soft enough to eat.

A recent brunch at a neighborhood restaurant near my home in Arlington, Va., brought these stored crumb-bun memories out of the vault. The chef, who grew up in a little town near Pittsburgh, Pa., leaves out the yeast of yesteryear and brings on the buttermilk, which yields a tender, cakey crumb on the bottom and a crunchy, streusely crumb on top. It is one of the tastiest flashbacks I've had in a long time.

(Pennsylvania) Dutch Crumb Cake

Adapted from Liam Lacivita, executive chef, Liberty Tavern, Arlington, Va.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter or shortening, diced (I used Earth Balance shortening with success)

1 beaten egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan or similarly sized rectangle pan or baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. With the tips of your fingers, work fat into mixture until completely integrated. It's OK to see flakes of fat. Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture for the topping, to be used later.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine egg, buttermilk and baking soda. If using vanilla, add now. Using a rubber spatula, fold wet ingredients into dry until well-combined.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar with the reserved flour mixture. Pour batter into pan. Top with crumb mixture and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Note: Amounts may be doubled for two cakes.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(3235) "Jersey, New York, Philly, Bal-TEE-more, they all know about the crumb bun. A yeasty sweet roll with a streusely topping, the crumb bun is a miniature version of the crumb cake (aka Streuselkuchen), a breakfast and late-morning coffee staple among East Coasters who grew up with diners, old-school bakeries and second- and third-generation German immigrants.

My mother, whose ancestors were of Bavarian descent, fancied a crumb bun. We lived in a Welsh-sounding town outside of Philadelphia, mostly among Jews, but there was a bakery for us Gentiles called Woehr's, and it made crumb buns. Sometimes after church, Mom would putter along in her Pinto hatchback with me and my two brothers, and she'd pull into the parking lot that was on a hill, and she'd let us come in and smell the magical perfume of powdered sugar.

She'd order a half dozen from the lady behind the counter, who would cut six from a big tray and place them in a square white box tied with a string. I loved to carry the box. At home, Mom would cut us each a piece. Inevitably, the powdered sugar that was packed on top of the cinnamony streusel like snow would coat our lips and maybe even get into our eyes, but we were stalwart, plowing through the dust storm until every last crumb was accounted for. The next day, the leftover buns would be hard as rocks, but that didn't deter my mother, who'd dunk a crumby brick into her coffee until it was soft enough to eat.

A recent brunch at a neighborhood restaurant near my home in Arlington, Va., brought these stored crumb-bun memories out of the vault. The chef, who grew up in a little town near Pittsburgh, Pa., leaves out the yeast of yesteryear and brings on the buttermilk, which yields a tender, cakey crumb on the bottom and a crunchy, streusely crumb on top. It is one of the tastiest flashbacks I've had in a long time.

__''(Pennsylvania) Dutch Crumb Cake''__

Adapted from Liam Lacivita, executive chef, Liberty Tavern, Arlington, Va.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter or shortening, diced (I used Earth Balance shortening with success)

1 beaten egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan or similarly sized rectangle pan or baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. With the tips of your fingers, work fat into mixture until completely integrated. It's OK to see flakes of fat. Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture for the topping, to be used later.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine egg, buttermilk and baking soda. If using vanilla, add now. Using a rubber spatula, fold wet ingredients into dry until well-combined.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar with the reserved flour mixture. Pour batter into pan. Top with crumb mixture and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Note: Amounts may be doubled for two cakes.

''Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at [mailto:kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com|kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com].''"
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  string(3439) "    (Pennsylvania) Dutch Crumb Cake   2008-02-27T05:04:00+00:00 Kitchen Witch - Recipe for a crumby morning   Kim O'Donnel 1306509 2008-02-27T05:04:00+00:00  Jersey, New York, Philly, Bal-TEE-more, they all know about the crumb bun. A yeasty sweet roll with a streusely topping, the crumb bun is a miniature version of the crumb cake (aka Streuselkuchen), a breakfast and late-morning coffee staple among East Coasters who grew up with diners, old-school bakeries and second- and third-generation German immigrants.

My mother, whose ancestors were of Bavarian descent, fancied a crumb bun. We lived in a Welsh-sounding town outside of Philadelphia, mostly among Jews, but there was a bakery for us Gentiles called Woehr's, and it made crumb buns. Sometimes after church, Mom would putter along in her Pinto hatchback with me and my two brothers, and she'd pull into the parking lot that was on a hill, and she'd let us come in and smell the magical perfume of powdered sugar.

She'd order a half dozen from the lady behind the counter, who would cut six from a big tray and place them in a square white box tied with a string. I loved to carry the box. At home, Mom would cut us each a piece. Inevitably, the powdered sugar that was packed on top of the cinnamony streusel like snow would coat our lips and maybe even get into our eyes, but we were stalwart, plowing through the dust storm until every last crumb was accounted for. The next day, the leftover buns would be hard as rocks, but that didn't deter my mother, who'd dunk a crumby brick into her coffee until it was soft enough to eat.

A recent brunch at a neighborhood restaurant near my home in Arlington, Va., brought these stored crumb-bun memories out of the vault. The chef, who grew up in a little town near Pittsburgh, Pa., leaves out the yeast of yesteryear and brings on the buttermilk, which yields a tender, cakey crumb on the bottom and a crunchy, streusely crumb on top. It is one of the tastiest flashbacks I've had in a long time.

(Pennsylvania) Dutch Crumb Cake

Adapted from Liam Lacivita, executive chef, Liberty Tavern, Arlington, Va.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter or shortening, diced (I used Earth Balance shortening with success)

1 beaten egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan or similarly sized rectangle pan or baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. With the tips of your fingers, work fat into mixture until completely integrated. It's OK to see flakes of fat. Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture for the topping, to be used later.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine egg, buttermilk and baking soda. If using vanilla, add now. Using a rubber spatula, fold wet ingredients into dry until well-combined.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar with the reserved flour mixture. Pour batter into pan. Top with crumb mixture and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Note: Amounts may be doubled for two cakes.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.             13026757 1272265                          Kitchen Witch - Recipe for a crumby morning "
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Wednesday February 27, 2008 12:04 am EST
(Pennsylvania) Dutch Crumb Cake | more...
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  string(3417) "I think I figured out why so many fish eaters consider themselves vegetarians. It's a Catholic thing, y'all.

According to the Christian calendar, Lent, the 40-day fasting period leading up to Easter, is currently underway. For Catholics, that means giving up meat, particularly on Fridays and designated holy days. Their definition of meat, however, applies only to land-dwelling animals; therefore, fish (and other creatures of the sea) is not flesh, and as such, considered acceptable Lenten (and for some, vegetarian) fare.

When I was a kid, Friday night was fish-stick night in the five or so weeks before the Easter bunny arrived. In my house, it was a box of Mrs. Paul's rectangles, dumped ceremoniously onto a baking sheet and warmed up just enough to be dunked into a pool of ketchup.

These days, I don't observe Lent, but I do like the idea of culinary abstention periodically throughout the year. Giving up what you love makes you stronger, perhaps a little bit wiser – and undoubtedly more creative. If you're already sick of the fish-stick routine, consider making your own filet o' fish patties, with a Southeast Asian twist.

Friday fish night will never be the same – thank the Lord.

Thai Fish Cakes

Adapted from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater

1 small hot red chili, stemmed and seeded (Thai bird or 1/2 habanero)

3 scallions, cleaned, root removed

2 cloves garlic, peeled

6 kaffir lime leaves (available at an Asian or Indian grocer), stems removed

1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Thai fish sauce (aka nam pla)

1 pound white fish (cod, haddock, hake, flounder, tilapia, turbot), removing skin if necessary

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper

Flour for dredging

Vegetable oil for frying

Roughly chop chilies and scallions and place into the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic, lime leaves, cilantro and fish sauce. Process into a smooth paste, then scoop out of food processor into a medium mixing bowl.

Cut fish into chunks and pulse in food processor, until you have a rough paste. Scoop fish out of food processor and add it to spice paste, mixing until well-combined. Add egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and cover with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set up.

Flour your hands and shape mixture into small, flat patties about the size of a gingersnap. Return to the fridge for an additional 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat skillet over medium heat and add at least 3 tablespoons of oil. Dredge patties in flour and evenly coat on both sides. Place patties in skillet and fry patties until golden on both sides. With a spatula, turn gently, as patties are delicate. Drain on paper towels; keep in a warm oven until ready to serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

2 large medium-heat red chilies, diced (remove seeds if you like a milder result)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

7 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

7 tablespoons superfine sugar

Thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled, chopped and pulverized

Juice of 2 small limes

1 1/4 soy sauce

In a small saucepan, combine fish sauce, water, rice vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Add ginger and allow mixture to boil until it has begun to slightly thicken.

Let sauce cool, then add lime juice, chopped chilies and soy sauce.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(3474) "I think I figured out why so many fish eaters consider themselves vegetarians. It's a Catholic thing, y'all.

According to the Christian calendar, Lent, the 40-day fasting period leading up to Easter, is currently underway. For Catholics, that means giving up meat, particularly on Fridays and designated holy days. Their definition of meat, however, applies only to land-dwelling animals; therefore, fish (and other creatures of the sea) is not flesh, and as such, considered acceptable Lenten (and for some, vegetarian) fare.

When I was a kid, Friday night was fish-stick night in the five or so weeks before the Easter bunny arrived. In my house, it was a box of Mrs. Paul's rectangles, dumped ceremoniously onto a baking sheet and warmed up just enough to be dunked into a pool of ketchup.

These days, I don't observe Lent, but I do like the idea of culinary abstention periodically throughout the year. Giving up what you love makes you stronger, perhaps a little bit wiser – and undoubtedly more creative. If you're already sick of the fish-stick routine, consider making your own filet o' fish patties, with a Southeast Asian twist.

Friday fish night will never be the same – thank the Lord.

__Thai Fish Cakes__

Adapted from ''The Kitchen Diaries'' by Nigel Slater

1 small hot red chili, stemmed and seeded (Thai bird or 1/2 habanero)

3 scallions, cleaned, root removed

2 cloves garlic, peeled

6 kaffir lime leaves (available at an Asian or Indian grocer), stems removed

1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Thai fish sauce (aka nam pla)

1 pound white fish (cod, haddock, hake, flounder, tilapia, turbot), removing skin if necessary

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper

Flour for dredging

Vegetable oil for frying

Roughly chop chilies and scallions and place into the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic, lime leaves, cilantro and fish sauce. Process into a smooth paste, then scoop out of food processor into a medium mixing bowl.

Cut fish into chunks and pulse in food processor, until you have a rough paste. Scoop fish out of food processor and add it to spice paste, mixing until well-combined. Add egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and cover with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set up.

Flour your hands and shape mixture into small, flat patties about the size of a gingersnap. Return to the fridge for an additional 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat skillet over medium heat and add at least 3 tablespoons of oil. Dredge patties in flour and evenly coat on both sides. Place patties in skillet and fry patties until golden on both sides. With a spatula, turn gently, as patties are delicate. Drain on paper towels; keep in a warm oven until ready to serve with dipping sauce.

__Dipping Sauce__

2 large medium-heat red chilies, diced (remove seeds if you like a milder result)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

7 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

7 tablespoons superfine sugar

Thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled, chopped and pulverized

Juice of 2 small limes

1 1/4 soy sauce

In a small saucepan, combine fish sauce, water, rice vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Add ginger and allow mixture to boil until it has begun to slightly thicken.

Let sauce cool, then add lime juice, chopped chilies and soy sauce.

''Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at [mailto:kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com|kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com].''"
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  string(3652) "    Thai Fish Cakes   2008-02-20T05:04:00+00:00 Kitchen Witch - Fish Fridays, Thai-style   Kim O'Donnel 1306509 2008-02-20T05:04:00+00:00  I think I figured out why so many fish eaters consider themselves vegetarians. It's a Catholic thing, y'all.

According to the Christian calendar, Lent, the 40-day fasting period leading up to Easter, is currently underway. For Catholics, that means giving up meat, particularly on Fridays and designated holy days. Their definition of meat, however, applies only to land-dwelling animals; therefore, fish (and other creatures of the sea) is not flesh, and as such, considered acceptable Lenten (and for some, vegetarian) fare.

When I was a kid, Friday night was fish-stick night in the five or so weeks before the Easter bunny arrived. In my house, it was a box of Mrs. Paul's rectangles, dumped ceremoniously onto a baking sheet and warmed up just enough to be dunked into a pool of ketchup.

These days, I don't observe Lent, but I do like the idea of culinary abstention periodically throughout the year. Giving up what you love makes you stronger, perhaps a little bit wiser – and undoubtedly more creative. If you're already sick of the fish-stick routine, consider making your own filet o' fish patties, with a Southeast Asian twist.

Friday fish night will never be the same – thank the Lord.

Thai Fish Cakes

Adapted from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater

1 small hot red chili, stemmed and seeded (Thai bird or 1/2 habanero)

3 scallions, cleaned, root removed

2 cloves garlic, peeled

6 kaffir lime leaves (available at an Asian or Indian grocer), stems removed

1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Thai fish sauce (aka nam pla)

1 pound white fish (cod, haddock, hake, flounder, tilapia, turbot), removing skin if necessary

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper

Flour for dredging

Vegetable oil for frying

Roughly chop chilies and scallions and place into the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic, lime leaves, cilantro and fish sauce. Process into a smooth paste, then scoop out of food processor into a medium mixing bowl.

Cut fish into chunks and pulse in food processor, until you have a rough paste. Scoop fish out of food processor and add it to spice paste, mixing until well-combined. Add egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and cover with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set up.

Flour your hands and shape mixture into small, flat patties about the size of a gingersnap. Return to the fridge for an additional 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat skillet over medium heat and add at least 3 tablespoons of oil. Dredge patties in flour and evenly coat on both sides. Place patties in skillet and fry patties until golden on both sides. With a spatula, turn gently, as patties are delicate. Drain on paper towels; keep in a warm oven until ready to serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

2 large medium-heat red chilies, diced (remove seeds if you like a milder result)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

7 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

7 tablespoons superfine sugar

Thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled, chopped and pulverized

Juice of 2 small limes

1 1/4 soy sauce

In a small saucepan, combine fish sauce, water, rice vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Add ginger and allow mixture to boil until it has begun to slightly thicken.

Let sauce cool, then add lime juice, chopped chilies and soy sauce.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.             13026704 1272157                          Kitchen Witch - Fish Fridays, Thai-style "
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Article

Wednesday February 20, 2008 12:04 am EST
Thai Fish Cakes | more...
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