An Alternative Passover Menu from Merry “Corky” White, author of Cooking for Crowds

Many family memories of Passover include delicious shared food experiences. I asked Merry “Corky” White, the reigning expert on Cooking for Crowds, for advice on how to shake up the traditional fare and introduce some new flavors and ideas to the Passover table. Here is her alternative Passover menu.

white-m[1]Forget the brisket–or relegate it to a nice memory of a great aunt who did it well–and choose a Belgian beef stew– Carbonnades Flamandes. Serve with small boiled potatoes.

A second idea, equally good and homey is the Greek Beef Stifatho, made either with beef or with lamb, which has some Sephardic possibilities, in the cinnamon and cumin. Leave out the feta if you are keeping kosher. If rice can be on your menu, serve it with rice: if not, saffron-tinged mashed potatoes with olive oil.

Stuffed Cabbage would be also a nice dish, but use ground beef and substitute 3 Tb olive oil for salt pork in the version for six people.

The best possible dessert for Passover is a flourless hazelnut torte and strawberries. Unfortunately I have no flourless tortes in the book but if it is permissible to use dairy in a meat menu, then Strawberries with Sabayon Sauce will do beautifully. Or the Toasted Almond Parfait, again, if dairy is permitted.

If you try any of these recipes, please leave us a note below. We’d love to hear from you!

Princeton Cooks… Beef Ragoût

We invited our Princeton colleagues to try their hand at cooking and baking the delicious treats found in Cooking for Crowds: 40th Anniversary Edition by Merry “Corky” White. Here, Deborah Grondahl, Digital Publications Assistant at Princeton University Press, takes on a Beef Ragoût recipe, swapping out flour for a gluten-free friendly alternative. Recipe is below.  Bon Appetit!


 

Beef Ragoût

Deborah Grondahl

in bowls

After reading through the cookbook, Cooking for Crowds–this is the recipe that said “Cook Me”. Maybe it was the peppercorns, maybe it was the orange zest but I needed to make this recipe.  One problem—the recipe calls for flour. I have a gluten-free kitchen. What do I do?  After reading and re-reading the recipe, the flour is used to coat the meat, so substituting with a different type of flour is easy.  I used an all-purpose mix that has potato, garbanzo, tapioca and sorghum flours, but I’m sure you could easily use potato or corn starch.  I went with the all-purpose mix because I thought the bean flavor might lend itself to the complex flavors of the dish.

Making this seems straight forward enough—Prep, Sear, Simmer, Eat. The recipe scales easily to accommodate the crowd you are serving.  Two, is not a crowd, but I like to make extra for lunch the next day or another diner and the recipe does say its better the next day.

Prep:

I love using fresh herbs, but often don’t have them on hand. I had planned to make this so I had the thyme. Finely chopped

thyme

Half-moons of Onions—sounds so fancy

Orange zest.  This is what drew me to this recipe, strips of orange zest.

orange peel

Sear:

onions in pot

Okay, so this isn’t a picture of the meat being seared.  It’s the after picture with those fancy half-moons of onions.

Simmer:

in pot

A pot of promise.  The recipe says you can use either beef stock or red wine or both. I used stock, because I didn’t have wine. After you put everything in the pot, the recipe says to cover with additional liquid (not mentioned in the ingredients). Luckily I had additional stock on hand and there was no issue.

Eat:

Sserved over rice:

in bowls

 


 

Beef Ragoût

After watching me try several recipes for beef stew, my daughter developed this one, which is especially good because of the added orange peel. Use only the orange part: do not use white of peel as it is very bitter when cooked.

  6 12 20 50
butter 2 tbs 4 tbs 7 tbs 1 c
cooking oil 1 tbs 2 tbs 3 tbs 8 tbs
stewing beef, preferably chuck,cut into ½ -inch chunks 1½ lbs 3 lbs 6 lbs 12 lbs
medium onions, sliced 2 4 7 16
all-purpose flour 2 tbs 4 tbs 7 tbs 1 c
dry, red wine 1 c 2 c 3½ c 7 c
or        
beef stock 1 c 2 c 3½ c 7 c
carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 2 4 7 16
garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 2 4 7
fresh thyme, finely chopped 1 tsp 2 tsp 1 tbs 1½ tbs
or        
dried thyme ½ tsp 1 tsp 1½ tsp 2 tsp
bay leaves 1 2 4 8
tomato paste 1 tbs 2 tbs 3½ tbs 1½6-oz cans
2-inch, thin strips of orange peel 2 4 7 12
peppercorns 6 12 20 40
salt 1 tsp 2 tsp 3½ tsp 2 tbs

Melt the butter and oil together in a large, heavy saucepan. Have a large casserole at hand.

Over medium heat brown the meat, several pieces at a time, and as they are browned, remove them to the casserole. Add the onions to the pan and cook until soft over a medium flame.

Add the flour to the beef and toss to cover well, add the browned onions to the beef. Add the wine or stock, and bring to a simmer, stirring. Then add the carrots and the remaining ingredients. Add extra stock, wine, or water to cover all the ingredients.

Reduce the heat to very low, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the meat is soft to the touch or the fork. Do not let it cook too much or the meat will disintegrate. And watch the liquid, so that it doesn’t boil away. Let the ragoût cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Reheat slowly and serve with whipped potatoes, boiled noodles, or rice. Or just crusty French bread and salad.

NOTE: This is 100 percent better the next day, so be sure to make it ahead.


This recipe is taken from:

bookjacket
<align=”center”>

Cooking for Crowds
40th Anniversary Edition
Merry White
With a new foreword by Darra Goldstein and a new introduction by the author

“[Merry White's] book, made up of recipes she collected as the caterer for the Harvard Center for European Studies, suggested a new way of entertaining, with self-serve spanakopita, petite shrimp quiche and that savior of the anxious cook, the casserole that can be made a day ahead. Edward Koren’s woolly illustrations set the tone: vegetables are our friends, and food tastes best in groups. Even though pesto and vindaloo are no longer exotic, during the holidays her attitude (and her meatballs) may be what every stressed-out host needs.”–Alexandra Lange, New York Times

Pi Day Recipe: Brandy Alexander Pie from Cooking for Crowds

This recipe is presented as part of our Pi Day celebration. For more Pi Day features from Princeton University Press, please click here.


Brandy Alexander Pie

This pie is as sweet and delicious as the drink for which it is named, and a great deal less alcoholic. It is light and fluffy, but very filling.

6 12 20 50
unflavored gelatin envelopes 1 2 4 8
cold water ½ c 1 c 2 c 4 c
granulated sugar ⅔ c 1⅓ c 2⅔ c 2 lbs
salt ⅛ tsp ¼ tsp ½ tsp 1 tsp
eggs, separated 3 6 12 24
Cognac ¼ c ½ c 1 c 2 c
Grand Marnieror ¼ c ½ c 1 c 2 c
creme de cacao ¼ c ½ c 1 c 2 c
heavy cream 2 c 4 c 4 pts 8 pts
graham cracker crust 1 2 4 8
Garnish
4-ounce bars semisweet chocolate 1 2 3
heavy cream 1 c 2 c 3½ c 6 c

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a saucepan. Add ⅓ cup [⅔ cup, 1⅓ cups, 2⅔ cups] of the sugar, the salt, and egg yolks. Stir to blend, then heat over low heat, stirring, until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture thickens. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the Cognac and Grand Marnier (or creme de cacao). Chill in the refrigerator until the mixture mounds slightly and is thick.

Beat the egg whites until stiff (use a portable electric mixer in a large kettle). Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and fold into the thickened mixture. Whip half of the cream until it holds peaks. Fold in the whipped cream, and turn into the crusts. Chill several hours, or overnight. To serve, garnish with the remaining cream, whipped. Using a vegetable peeler, make chocolate curls from the chocolate bars and let drop onto the cream.


cookingFor additional recipes for feeding the masses, please check out Cooking for Crowds by Merry “Corky” White.

Princeton Cooks… Pumpernickel Bread

You can only work on a cookbook for so long before you want to try every single recipe in the book! To spare our blog editor the effort and calories, we invited our  Princeton colleagues to try their hand at cooking and baking the delicious treats found in Cooking for Crowds: 40th Anniversary Edition by Merry “Corky” White. This guest post is from Terri O’Prey, Associate Managing Editor at Princeton University Press, who was brave enough to try Corky’s surprising pumpernickel bread recipe. This pumpernickel actually features in the story of the smoked borscht/Julia Child rescue we posted about earlier, so I thought this was a a particularly opportune time to post this cooking demo.


Pumpernickel Bread

Terri O’Prey

 

This recipe intrigued me from the start of production. I love to bake, and I really wanted to see how the surprising (to me) ingredients—chocolate and mashed potatoes!—would play out in pumpernickel bread. I began by gathering ingredients, most of which I normally stock in my pantry (caraway seeds and rye flour were the only outliers). I usually pile everything I’ll need for a recipe haphazardly on the counter, but for this baking experiment I decided to organize myself cooking show style and premeasured everything. I enjoyed moving efficiently through the steps with each ingredient ready to go, so in the end I didn’t mind the extra dirty dishes.

01_Ingredients

First I melted the chocolate in a homemade double boiler. It became smooth and glossy, just the way melted chocolate should.

02_Step_1

03_Melted

Next I combined most of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. The result was not beautiful, but knowing that baking transforms mixtures helped me remain optimistic.

04_TheBigMix

When I first decided to try this recipe, I wondered what to use for the very large bowl required for the next step. I don’t have a 5-gallon kettle, but my gigantic stainless steel mixing bowl stood in perfectly. (Until now, I’d never had a good reason to use it. Many thanks to my good friend Alex “All Things Kitchen” for knowing I’d need this bowl someday!) With the warm water and yeast activated, I was ready for the dough stage.

05_Yeast

First I stirred in the cornmeal mixture and rye flour and then added 3 cups of all-purpose flour until I had a soft dough.

06_WetDough 07_AddFlour 08_AddMoreFlour

09_BeforeKneading

Next came my favorite step, kneading the dough. I didn’t end up using all of the remaining flour because my dough reached the smooth, elastic stage after about 4 cups. One thing I’d change about my approach next time: use more finely mashed potatoes. Mine were on the chunky side, and while kneading I discovered some unsightly lumps (which I discarded).

10_Kneading1 11_Kneading2

I greased my clean and dry bowl with butter and readied the dough for rising.

12_ReadyToRest

I let the dough rise in the covered bowl on my sunny kitchen table. I resisted peeking because I like surprises.

13_Resting

After an hour the dough had indeed changed.

14_Rested

So I punched it down and let it rise again.

15_PunchedDown

After a half hour, I got to work dividing the dough into 3 loaves. I doubted my oven could accommodate loaves on 3 sheet pans, so I decided to make 1 large loaf and 2 smaller ones on a shared pan. The dough smelled great and was the perfect consistency for dividing. I had no trouble forming it into rustic rounds.

16_ReadyToSPlit 17_3Loaves

I let the loaves rise on covered baking sheets before brushing them with the egg wash. (Note my dog Hazel in the background. She tried assisting me but really just got in the way.)

18_EggWashedWithHazel

Next I placed the pans in the preheated oven. Knowing my oven is not precise, I set the temperature at 375°, which worked well. (I probably should invest in an in-oven gauge.) I tried not to think about the heat I was letting escape while I snapped a photo.

19_InTheOven

I checked the loaves at 50 minutes (in case my oven tinkering had gone wrong) and they weren’t quite ready. After 10 more minutes tapping produced that hollow sound, and I moved the loaves to the cooling rack.

20_FreshlyBaked

I wasn’t too concerned about slicing neatly so tasted the smallest loaf when it had cooled a bit. The pumpernickel flavor was very nice, and the caraway seeds seemed to have dissolved into the dough. Wanting to stay true to the recipe recommendations, I wrapped and refrigerated the completely cooled loaves. The next day I proudly shared my cooking with the PUP crowd by setting out hearty pumpernickel slices with butter in the office kitchen.

21_TheNextDay

 


 

Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel is a bread with a secret. Some say it is prunes that distinguish it; this recipe claims it is chocolate. It will make three round loaves, which, thinly sliced, should provide appetizer portions (with chopped chicken livers, for instance) for 50.

Dough
unsweetened chocolate squares (1 oz each) 2
yellow cornmeal ¾ c
cold mashed potatoes 2 c
warm water, 115° 3½ c
molasses ¼ c
salt 2 tbs
butter or margarine 1 tbs
caraway seeds 2 tsp
active-dry-yeast packages 2
rye flour 3 c
all-purpose flour 8 c
   
Glaze  
egg yolk 1
water 3 tbs

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Then, in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, potatoes, 3 cups of the warm water, chocolate, molasses, salt, butter or margarine, and caraway seeds.

In a very large bowl (I use a 5-gallon kettle) place the remaining . cup of warm water and sprinkle on the yeast, then stir to dissolve.

Stir in the cornmeal mixture and rye flour and beat hard until well mixed. Stir in 3 cups of the all-purpose flour to make a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured board or tabletop and knead in additional flour, to 5 or more cups, to make a smooth, elastic dough. This will take about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl—or wash out the kettle and dry and grease it—then turn the dough to grease the top, cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch down, then let rise again for 30 minutes.

Punch the dough down and turn onto a lightly floured board or table. Divide into three equal parts, shape into round loaves, and place on greased baking sheets. Cover with tea towels and let rise until double—about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°.

Mix the water and egg yolk for glaze and brush the loaves with the egg-yolk

liquid. Bake loaves for 1 hour, or until tapping on the bottom of the loaves produces a hollow sound. Cool thoroughly on racks, then wrap well and refrigerate. This recipe makes 3 round loaves.

NOTE: This bread slices best when one day old. It can also be successfully frozen.


This recipe is taken from:

bookjacket

Cooking for Crowds
40th Anniversary Edition
Merry White
With a new foreword by Darra Goldstein and a new introduction by the author

“[Merry White's] book, made up of recipes she collected as the caterer for the Harvard Center for European Studies, suggested a new way of entertaining, with self-serve spanakopita, petite shrimp quiche and that savior of the anxious cook, the casserole that can be made a day ahead. Edward Koren’s woolly illustrations set the tone: vegetables are our friends, and food tastes best in groups. Even though pesto and vindaloo are no longer exotic, during the holidays her attitude (and her meatballs) may be what every stressed-out host needs.”–Alexandra Lange, New York Times

Julia Child saves the day. Corky White describes a culinary near-miss on BBC Radio 4

 

bookjacket

Cooking for Crowds
40th Anniversary Edition
Merry White
With a new foreword by Darra Goldstein and a new introduction by the author

“[Merry White's] book, made up of recipes she collected as the caterer for the Harvard Center for European Studies, suggested a new way of entertaining, with self-serve spanakopita, petite shrimp quiche and that savior of the anxious cook, the casserole that can be made a day ahead. Edward Koren’s woolly illustrations set the tone: vegetables are our friends, and food tastes best in groups. Even though pesto and vindaloo are no longer exotic, during the holidays her attitude (and her meatballs) may be what every stressed-out host needs.”–Alexandra Lange, New York Times

Ice Cream Social at Princeton University Press

photo

(left to right, Betsy Litz, Dimitri Karetnikov, Jessica Pellien, Peter Dougherty, and Leslie Flis)

Thanks to Corky White, author of Cooking for Crowds, the team here at Princeton University Press had a sweet treat this afternoon–ice cream from Toscanini Ice Cream in Cambridge, MA. We sampled some delightful flavors like pink peppercorn (lightly sweet and dotted with cracked peppercorns, spicy and satisfying), Ginger Snap Molasses (literally gives you the feeling of licking the bowl after your mom made molasses cookies, swirls of ginger snap dough in a molasses ice cream), and B-cubed which was Brownies, Brown Butter, and one other B which is on the tip of my tongue (probably the crowd favorite).

We are all so proud to work with Corky and appreciate this gesture so much.

The Dinner Party Is Back!

What does cooking for crowds look like?

Last week, Merry “Corky” White assembled a dream team of friends, family, and Boston area chefs to celebrate the publication of Cooking for Crowds: 40th Anniversary Edition. The chefs each offered up their own twist on one of the recipes from the book and as you’ll see in the video below, everyone had a fantastic time. Does this make you want to grab a copy of Corky’s cookbook and host your own festive gathering? Here’s a Baklava recipe to get you started.

 

Thank you to Cat who taped this video and gave permission for us to use it here.

Warm up with Lentil Soup with Mettwurst from Cooking for Crowds

Plummeting temperatures means hot soup for dinner, so I wanted to share this delicious recipe for Lentil Soup with Mettwurst from Cooking for Crowds: 40th Anniversary Edition by Merry White. The image is taken directly from the book so you can see the layout and cute Edward Koren illustration that accompanies the recipe in print, but a text version is below, too, in case you need it.

Also, you might enjoy this interview Merry gave over the winter break.

soup

 

Lentil Soup with Mettwurst

A rich and filling soup, with which you will need only bread, salad, and dessert to make a good lunch or supper. Try it with other sausages or cooking salamis, too. Any uncooked (but smoked) fine-grained sausage may be substituted.

6 12 20 50
dried green lentils 1 c 2 c 3 ½ c 7 c
butter 2 tbs 4 tbs 7 tbs 2 sticks
large onion, finely chopped 1 2 3 ½ 8
celery stalks, finely chopped 1 2 3 8
carrots, peeled and thinly sliced 2 4 7 14
bay leaves 1 2 3 5
thyme Pinch ½ tsp 1 tsp 2 ½ tsp
bouillon, or rich chicken stock 1 qt 2 qts 3 ½ qts 7 qts
mettwurst ½ lb 1 lb 2 lbs 4 lbs
salt & pepper (to taste)

Soak the lentils in water to cover overnight.

The next day, drain the lentils well. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots, then the bay leaves and thyme. Let simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Add the bouillon or stock, lentils, and sausage and cook at a gentle simmer for about 2 hours, or until the lentils are tender.

Remove the sausage and set aside. Put the soup in a blender in small batches and blend until smooth. Leave about one-quarter of the soup unblended and add to the smooth soup for “texture.”

Slice the reserved sausage and add to the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE: The soup can be reheated, but more stock or water will be needed because lentils thicken as they stand. It can also be kept in a cool place, unrefrigerated.

Looking for something to do with all those fall apples? We recommend Senegalese Soup from Cooking for Crowds

Senegalese Soup

Senegalese soup is a smooth cream of chicken with curry. A classic French adaptation of Oriental tastes, this soup is elegant and smooth, and acceptable as a beginning to any meal.

6 12 20 50

onions, chopped 2 4 7 15
celery stalks, chopped 2 4 6 10
apples, peeled and chopped 2 4 7 10
butter 3 tbs 6 tbs 10 tbs 3 sticks
curry powder 2 tbs 4 tbs 8 tbs ¾ c
all-purpose flour ¼ c ½ c ¾ c 2 c
chicken stock or broth 4 c 8 c 4 qts 8 qts
salt (to taste)
chili powder (to taste)
cayenne (to taste)
heavy cream 2 c 4 c 5½ c 10 c

Garnish
fresh parsley, chopped
or
avocado, peeled and chopped

In a large saucepan (or two kettles) sauté the onions, celery, and apples in the butter until the mixture is soft but not browned. Add the curry powder and sauté for 2 minutes more, then add the flour, stirring well. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so more. Gradually stir in the chicken stock or broth and cook the soup until it thickens. Add the salt, chili powder, and cayenne to taste.

Puree the mixture in a blender or put through a food mill, a few cups at a time, until smooth. Chill the soup, if serving it cold. Just before serving, stir in the cream and garnish each portion with parsley (hot) or avocado (cold).

note: While the soup can be served hot or cold, it is best (and easiest for a crowd) if served cold.


White_CookingForCrowdsF13This recipe is taken from Cooking for Crowds by Merry “Corky” White. We are publishing a 40th edition of this classic cookbook in December.