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Food for Thought was created to facilitate dialogue with our neighbors and to embrace and highlight the diversity of our OWA members. Gathering together at the table promotes fellowship and provides a place of love and peace. If you have a recipe to feature in Food for Thought, send your submission to
Baccala Stew — First Course of Feast of the Seven Fishes
Grandma Maria Capaldi's Recipe with Pamela Capaldi
(Yield: A big pot of soup!)
- 5 large onions (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small bunch parsley (chopped)
- 1 bunch celery (chopped fine)
- 2 large cans Hunt's tomato sauce
- 1 small can Contadina tomato paste
- Fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dry basil
- 1 teaspoon pepper — NO SALT — there's plenty from the cod fish
- 2 bay leaves (remove from finished soup
- 2 to 3 pounds of salted codfish (baccala)
- Optional: 5 carrots and 5 potatoes
- Brown the onions in olive oil in a big soup pot!
- Add the garlic, celery, basil and parsley — continue to brown and soften.
- This fills the pot one third full or so.
- Add tomatoes.
- Grandma's recipe calls for 6 jars of her garden canned tomatoes with one can of tomato paste. My mom used 2 large cans of Hunt's tomato sauce plus 2 cans diced tomatoes.
- Add 1 can Contadina tomato paste.
- My mom added 5 carrots and 5 potatoes, both chopped to bite size.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and let simmer at least 1-2 hours.
- Then, add the 2 pounds of cod fish, cut in small chunks.
- Let this simmer for another hour.
- Mom's note: "You can add a lil water if soup is too thick."
- You buy salted cod — baccala — at the Italian Food Store or Seafood Shop.
- You must soak it for 2-3 days ahead of use.
- Change the water twice a day and keep in the fridge until you're ready to use.
Buon Natale from the Capaldi's!
Sweet & Sour Meatballs and Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Suzanne Sengel
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 2 pounds of minced meat (or turkey/chicken)
- 1/2 cup of italian breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup matzo meal
- onion powder (to taste)
- garlic powder (to taste)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cans of tomato sauce
- 2 cans of jellied cranberry
- 1/4 cup of water
Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound of sprouts
- garlic cloves, sliced
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- olive oil (to taste)
- 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Mix the base of cranberries, tomato sauce and water; whisk with a fork and set in a pot on low heat.
- Mix the meat with the seasonings, bread crumbs, eggs, and matzo meal; roll into small balls and add to the pot.
- Cover and cook on low to medium heat for 90 minutes.
Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- Clean and halve sprouts, removing the base, then put in bowl.
Add salt, pepper, and oil. Toss and lay flat on a cookie sheet, and bake at 375 for 30 min. Pour into a bowl and glaze with balsamic and syrup combination. (2 tablespoons of the glaze is usually ample unless you want it to be sweeter; I put the balance in the fridge and save for my next batch.)
Soft Pretzels (Brezeln) with Katrin Endres
(Yield: 12 pretzels)
- 2 cups warm water, 110-115 degrees
- 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 packet active yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 oz melted unsalted butter
- 5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3/4 cup baking soda + 1 gallon water
- 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tbsp cold water
- coarse kosher or sea salt for topping
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- In a standing mixer bowl, add in the water, brown sugar, and sprinkle on the yeast, whisk together and let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until it forms a foamy raft on top.
- Add the hook attachment, turn the speed to low, and pour in the salt and butter.
- Add in the flour 1 cup at a time until combined; knead the dough on low to medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Put oil into a large bowl and add the dough. Cover with a towel or lid and let it rest until it doubles in size, about an hour.
- Bring the baking soda and 1 gallon of water to a boil in a large pot while dough rests.
- To form the dough, take a small piece and roll it out until it is a 24" long rope. Form the dough into a U shape; holding each end, cross over each other and pull down to make a pretzel with the ends slightly over the other part of the dough.
- Turn the boiling water to simmer and cook the pretzels 1 or 2 at a time for 30 seconds; place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat.
- Brush the pretzels with the egg wash and season heavily with the coarse salt.
- Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Guacamole with Janine Engel
(Yield: 1 delicious bowl; Easily double or triple this recipe to serve more people)
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1/4 cup red onion, minced
- 1 lime
- 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
- 1 chili serrano pepper, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop up your onion, chili, cilantro, and tomato.
- Cut the avocados in half, In the Molcajete or a mixing bowl, place the avocado halves and begin to mash.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. Mix until combined, but do not over mix.
- Add the minced serrano pepper little by little. Taste to make sure it does not get too spicy. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
- Squeeze the lime into the mixture for extra flavor and keep it from turning brown too quickly. Mix.
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup with Stephanie Mai
(Yield: 6 to 8 servings)
Broth for 8-quart Instant Pot
- 3 lbs of beef marrow bones or oxtails
- about 1/2 lb of daikon, optional, peeled and halved, optional but highly recommend to give the broth a natural sweetness
- 1 large onion, white or yellow, peeled and toasted to slightly charred
- 1 large knob of ginger, about 1/4 lb, peeled and toasted to slightly charred
- 1 bag of Spice Pho Seasoning, toasted in the oven or on stove top pan on medium heat for about 1 minute to release fragrance
- If you are collecting the spices separately here is a list:
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 piece of casia bark (aka Saigon cinnamon) 4-5 star anise
- 2 Amonum Costatum
- 2 tbsp of coriander seeds 2 tbsp of fennel seeds
- 1 tsp of cloves
- about 2 tbsp size of rock sugar, roughly 16 grams
- 6.5 tbsp of Quốc Việt Beef Pho Soup Base
- 18 cups of boiling water, using boiling water will help speed up pressure building time
- mushroom seasoning
- 3 green onion, use white bottom part only to add to broth at the end
Protein Options — pick one or all, more or less of each depending on what you like
- 1-2 lbs of eye round beef, fillet mignon or rib eye (thinly sliced)
Condiments and Garnishes
- 2 bags of fresh Pho noodles, typically in the refrigerated section at Asian stores (1 bag makes 4 bowls), boiled/blanched according to package instruction
- 2 limes, cut to wedges
- green onion and cilantro, chopped
- 1 large white or onion, thinly sliced
- basil and cilantro, washed well
- bean sprout, washed well
- jalapeño pepper or your favorite fresh chili pepper, thinly sliced
- black pepper, optional
- Hoisin sauce
- Sriracha sauce
- Wash then parboil beef bones on stove top pot for 10 minutes. Rinse well and add to inner pot.
- Toast onion and ginger until lightly charred. For the Pho Seasoning, toast for about 1 minute and add to the filter pouch. Add toasted items to inner pot along with rock sugar, 6.5 tbsp of Quốc Việt Beef Pho Soup Base, daikon and 8 cups of boiling water (just enough to cover the ingredients). Close lid and make sure knob is on Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook, High Pressure, 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes NPR or full NPR. It would take a little more than 30 minutes for the IP to fully NPR with the ingredients above.
- Release remainder pressure if you are doing a 30 minutes NPR and open lid. Cancel Keep Warm and switch to Saute mode. Remove onion, bones, daikon then add 10 cups of boiling water. Use a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits from the broth. If you are using the soup base cater to your taste if needed by adding mushroom seasoning and/or more rock sugar to balance out the taste. If you are omitting the soup base please add 3 tbsp of mushroom seasoning. Taste the broth again and add more as needed. Lastly, add the white part onion.
Claxton Family Watermelon Summer Salad with Tiara Claxton
- Honey Goat Cheese, crumbled
- Fresh Basil
- Salt & Pepper
Prepare watermelon as seen in the video, cutting it into bite-size chunks. Add honey goat cheese crumbles, fresh basil, and salt / pepper to taste.
Serve & enjoy!
Macaroni and Cheese with Janna Neal
(Yield: 6 to 8 servings)
- 1 ½ boxes of elbows (22 oz)
- 1 cup of salted butter
- 20 ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese (2 ½ packs)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- Paprika to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Macaroni baking — Prep large pot of water to boil (add salt).
- Add 1 ½ boxes of elbows.
- Drain noodles (let the noodles sit to cool down).
- Add butter (softened).
- Add tablespoon of salt (teaspoon of pepper).
- Add 2 eggs (mix very well). Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Baking tray (9x12) — layer the bottom with cheese.
- Add small layer of macaroni.
- Top off this layer of macaroni with another layer of shredded cheese.
- Mix the macaroni and cheese together.
- Add final layer of cheese on top of the macaroni.
- Bake in the oven for 50 minutes (25 covered / 25 uncovered).
Food for Thought — May 6 LIVE with Celebrity Chefs
Food for Thought went LIVE on May 6 with four optical "Celebrity Chefs" in celebration of Mother's Day and the women we love everywhere. It was a party not to be missed — great food, great stories, great networking, and lots of giveaways!
Our famous chefs scoured their memories for favorite family recipes and shared their private collection with us.
Check out the recipes from:
Alessandro Baronti, DeRigo Rem
Dr. Millicent Knight, Essilor
Ollie's (mom's) Food for the Soul
Kathy Cruz, Ocular Innovations
Tres Leches Cake
Mimi Friedfeld, Founding Partner of ClearVision Optical
Brisket to Nurture the Soul
Koulourakia or Greek Easter Cookies with Robyn Crimmins
(Yield: Depends on shape and size)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp whiskey
- 1 large egg + 1 tbs water
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- Measure the flour by lightly spooning into cup and leveling off.
- In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks one at a time beating until well combined.
- Stir in vanilla and whiskey.
- Add flour gradually and stir just until a soft but not sticky dough forms. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a small bowl beat remaining egg with 1 tbsp of water; set aside.
- Taking 2 tsp of dough, roll into 1/3-inch thick rope about 6 inches long, form into a tight U shape and then into a twist.
- Place on baking sheet 2 inches apart and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Charcuterie Board with Jameson Manhattan Cocktail with Debbie Myres
- Salami slices
- Corned beef slices
- 2 Green bell peppers
- Thinly sliced carrots
- Sweet/hot red peppers
- Spicy brown mustard
- Seasoned pretzel braids
- Seasoned almonds
- Marinated green and Kalamata olives
- Sliced cucumbers
- Small celery sticks
- Green or red grapes
- Dried mango, apricot, & banana slices
- Yellow and white cheese cubes
- Hummus & Cheese Spread, your choice
- Large slice of Havarti cheese
- Rye (or wheat) bread crisps
- Mints and small container of toothpicks
- 1 1/2 oz Jameson whiskey
- 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes aromatic bitters
- Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherries
- Divide each group of ingredients across board.
- Place spicy mustard / red peppers / olives in small glass dip cups w/ parsley garnish.
- Hollow out 2 green peppers to hold cheese spread and hummus dip.
- Use a shamrock cookie cutter on Havarti cheese block, place in center of the board.
- Have fun!
- Pour whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters into a mixing glass, which has been filled with ice.
- Stir and strain into a martini glass.
- Garnish with cherries.
Nut Butter Cookies + Nuts and Berries Cocktail with Sandra Mohr
(Yield: One Dozen Cookies + One Cocktail)
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, separated
- 1 cup flour (all purpose or almond)
- ½ cup nuts, finely chopped (walnuts or pecans work best)
- Candied cherries
- 1 oz Chambord raspberry liqueur
- 1 oz Frangelico
- 2 oz half and half
- Cream together butter, brown sugar, and egg yolk. Once mixed well, add in flour until blended, then make small balls of dough.
- Roll the dough balls in the egg white, then roll into chopped nuts & place on greased cookie sheet, making a small indentation in the middle of the cookie.
- Bake at 350 deg for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place a piece of candied cherry in the middle. (can also use chocolate pieces)
- Combine all liquids, pour over ice, and enjoy!
Homemade Applesauce with Rachel Hettler
(Yield: 64 ounces)
- 12 medium apples (any variety)
- 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Wash and quarter apples; cut out cores
- Bring a pot of water to boil
- Once boiling, add apples and boil for 8 minutes or until soft (you want the apples to be transparent)
- Once soft, remove apples with slotted spoon and place in an ice bath
- Once cooled, peel the skin (not necessary if you want chunkier applesauce), and place in pot
- Blend apples. I use an immersion blender, but you could also use a blender or potato masher
- Add in sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to taste — my apples were sweet and didn't need much added
- Refrigerate and enjoy!
Jamaican Oxtails with Alysia Gradney
- 2 lbs oxtail
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp powered onion
- 2 tbsp powered garlic
- 2 whole onion cut in half moon slices
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (chopped and de-seeded)
- 2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 sprigs of Rosemary
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 3 tsp paprika
- 4 stalks of green onions
- 10 whole allspice seeds
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 beef bullion cube
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 cups water
- Trim excess fat of the oxtails with a knife.
- Combine lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Soak oxtails lemon juice and water for 45 minutes. Rinse oxtails with fresh water.
- Combine black pepper, paprika, powdered onion, powdered garlic, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle over the oxtails evenly. Rub seasoning into oxtail on all sides. Place in a bowl and let sit overnight in the fridge.
- Place olive oil in heated pan. Brown oxtails on all sides.
- Place oxtails and 1 beef bullion cube in crockpot.
- Combine ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and pour over oxtails.
- Layer your chopped onion, green onions, chopped garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, tomatoes, and allspice seeds.
- Add 2 cups of water and let cook on low heat heat for 6-8 hours.
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Barbara Schroer
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients
- 1 Cup Canned Pumpkin Puree
- 8 oz. Cream Cheese
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- ¼ Cup Sour Cream
- 2 tbsp Kara/Corn Syrup
- ½ tsp Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Prickly Pear Syrup to drizzle on top
Homemade Crust Ingredients
- 1/3 Cup Melted Butter
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 1 ¼ Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
Directions for Pie Crust
- Mix butter, sugar, and graham crumbs until well combined
- Place in 9" pie pan and press along sides and bottom
Directions for Cheesecake Filling & Baking
- Preheat over to 350
- Create filling by placing all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
- Pour into prepared crust up to ¼ from the top
- Bake 45 minutes
- Let cool for 4 hours in the fridge before serving (very important)
- Top with whipped cream or Prickly Pear Syrup
Pansit Bihon with Dr. Beverly Bianes
Ingredients for Large Platter of Pansit
- 2.2 lbs. bihon noodles (Pamana brand)
- 1 head of cabbage — cut in fourths and then cut in long strips
- 3 large carrots (7 regular) — cut julienne
- 1 celery bunch — cut in same size as the carrots
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 package Chinese sausage
- 1 large onion, diced
- 7 cloves of garlic minced
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 32 oz chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- In a large skillet heat up the canola oil and sauté the onions, garlic and chicken. Salt and pepper to the chicken to add flavor and add a little of the chicken stock to prevent the chicken from drying.
- Add the julienne cut carrots and celery, add the cabbage last and add more chicken stock. Remember to salt and pepper as you are adding the ingredients.
- Rinse the bihon noodles in cold water then add the bihon noodles, the rest of the chicken stock, and soy sauce.
- Continue to stir fry until the noodles are incorporated into the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the Chinese sausage at the end since the sausage is already cooked.
- Kain Na Tayo — Let's Eat!