Two Heads of Lettuce

Simple recipes for vegetarian potlucks. Would you like to join the Two Heads of Lettuce team? Contact twoheadsoflettuce at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

From Latkes to Lattes

Twoheadsoflettuce is very excited about this conference on Jews and food, and we encourage you to check it out! If you wind up attending, please drop us a line (or a recipe) about it and maybe we'll post it here.

From Latkes to Lattes: Hazon’s Conference on Jews, Food, and Contemporary Life

December 14-17, 2006 at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center (Falls Village, CT)

Jewish food traditions are rich and ancient. And today, growing numbers of people are also beginning to think about contemporary food issues. Hazon is at the forefront of the emerging movement at the intersection of Jewish life and contemporary food issues. Our conference will examine questions such as:

· How do we add a distinctly Jewish flavor to today’s healthier food?

· How do we eat sustainably while maintaining Jewish food traditions?

· What would it take to bring shleimut (wholeness) into eating, both at home and at Jewish institutions?

· How can we gain a more direct connection to where our food comes from?

Please join us for a rich and varied program with family-friendly activities, a diverse and inclusive Shabbat and Chanukah celebration and wonderful food. For more info, a list of confirmed presenters, or to REGISTER, go to and contact with questions.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Polenta Casserole

This is a delicious and super speedy recipe. I use premade, hechshered polenta to cut down on time, and it tastes great! The recipe feeds a ton of people and it's
relatively inexpensive.

2 TB olive oil
2 16-oz. rolls of polenta, sliced ¼" thick
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 jars pasta sauce (better with veggies)
½ lb. shredded mozzarella
¼ cup grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 450*
2. Oil casserole
3. Line pan with ½ of the polenta slices; ok to overlap
4. Stir basil into pasta sauce; reserve some sauce to heat and serve on the side; pour half the remaining sauce over the polenta
5. Sprinkle with ½ the mozzarella
6. Make another layer of polenta slices; cover with remaining reserved sauce
7. Sprinkle with parmesan and then remaining mozzarella.
8. Bake until hot and bubbly
9. Heat remaining sauce and serve on the side.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Two Heads of Apikorsus

Elf from Apikorsus Online has sent us a number of links to potluck-friendly recipes:

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sukkot Potatoes!

This recipe was known in a former incarnation in the New York Times as "Autumn Mashed Potatoes." Nine years ago I decided that they would be the perfect thing to bring to a Sukkot potluck, and voila-- Sukkot Potatoes were born. Sukkot Potatoes have since obtained near-legendary status in many households across the East Coast (thanks to the recipe, not to anything I did) and there are a number of people who would never think of hosting a Sukkot yom tov meal without them (unless they're carnivores). They are unbelievably good, and definitely a once-a-year kind of thing from a nutritional perspective...

Double the recipe for a large meal because this only (only?!) makes eight large servings (though you don't have to completely double the butter).

2 pounds small red potatoes, skins on, quartered
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut
into small cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream (though milk or half milk and half cream works just as well)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened a little
2+ teaspoons kosher salt, to taste

1. Place the potatoes in a pot with water to cover by at least one inch and turn heat to high. Five minutes after beginning to heat the potatoes, add the squash. Bring both to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft (about 15 minutes for the potatoes and 10 minutes for the squash).

2. Warm the heavy cream (or whatever you're substituting) in a small saucepan. Drain the potatoes and squash and return them to their pot. Over very low heat, coarsely mash the vegetables (you can leave large chunks of potato if you want, or make them smoother), gradually adding the cream and the butter. Stir in the salt.

Yield: 8 large servings

Zucchini, Feta, and Tomato Couscous

This recipe is my partial recreation of a dish I was served at a dinner party hosted by one of AE's friends in Toronto a number of years ago. It's way more delicious than its ho-hum ingredients might suggest, and it tastes great either hot or room temperature.

3 medium zucchinis, diced
1 box grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 large onions, diced
1 bunch scallions, white parts and small amount of the greens cut into rings
8 ounces (approximately, or one Israeli box) of feta, Bulgarian, or other salty/tangy hard-ish cheese, crumbled or diced
1 cup couscous
oregano, salt, and pepper
olive oil for sauteeing

Cook couscous according to package directions. The recipe probably works best if you can time it so the couscous is still warm when you combine it with the other ingredients, but it's not a big deal if you can't.

In a large skillet, saute the onions in olive oil until soft. Add the zucchini and cook until tender but still firm. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to soften and wilt. Add the scallions and cook until they soften a little.

Season the vegetable mixture with salt, pepper, and lots of oregano.

Combine the vegetables and the couscous over low heat and add the cheese. Stir gently and cook for another minute or two until the cheese softens/melts just a little.

The recipe can easily be doubled, but just make sure to use a very big pan.

Easiest, Yummiest, Quickest (and Most Homemade) Brownies in the Universe

Courtesy of Mark Bitman, these brownies take about 7 minutes to assemble and 20 minutes to bake (i.e., they're just as fast and easy to make as brownies from a box, but they don't have any hydrogenated oils or other nasty things in them). And people swoon over them.

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 stick butter (plus more for greasing the pan)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla (optional, and I usually leave it out)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and 8-inch square pan.

Heat butter and chocolate together in the microwave until almost completely melted. Stir to blend them together completely. (Remember to cover your bowl so the contents don't splatter your microwave! You can, of course, also do this on the stove, but it gets another pot dirty.)

Stir in the sugar.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Add flour, salt, and vanilla (if using). Stir until there's no trace left of the flour.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until the brownies are set and barely firm in the middle.

One recipe makes about 12-ish medium brownies, or more smaller ones. The recipe can easily be doubled.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Great Dressing - NO MAYO!

This is seriously the best dressing EVER. Really. And picnic and potluck friendly, as it has no mayo. It is my SIL's mother's friend's recipe. Dor l'dor :-)

SILMF's Dressing:

4 cloves garlic
2 tsp pepper
4 tsp ground mustard
4 tsp salt
4 tsp honey
½ cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or less, depending on your taste)

Crush the garlic with a knife or use a garlic press, and put in a bowl. Add the pepper, mustard, salt, honey, and vinegar. Whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the EVOO, whisking as you go to emulsify the dressing. You can also do this in a food processor for a more mayonaise like consistancy. Whisking in the bowl gives the dressing a more vinegrette like consistancy.

Use with basically everything, but here is a corn salad that I make to take to Shabbat potlucks, as it tastes BETTER if you make it Friday morning and let it sit in the fridge until the evening or the next day (it is also parve and friendly to other more complicated main dishes):

EK's Corn Salad:

1 bag of frozen corn, defrosted (10-16 oz depending on how many you want to serve)
1 can of sliced black olives
1 quart container of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 scallion, chopped on the bias (makes it prettier :-))
salt and pepper to taste
SILMF's Dressing to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Pour about 1/8 of a cup of dressing over the salad to start with. Taste, and adjust seasoning and dressing to your liking. Let sit for a couple of hours in the fridge before serving to let everything blend.


challah and wine

I had another question about the two table system. What do people do with challah and wine? At first we thought it would be nice to put bottles of wine on each table along with two covered unwrapped challahs. But that puts people who don't want to use unhechshered wine for kiddush or unhechshered challah for hamotzie in an uncomfortable situation of having to go to another table for these preliminary rituals-- or worse it steers people towards sitting at a table with the wine/challah of their preference, such that people who prefer hechshers will cluster together, and people who prefer not hechshers will cluster together. Then we thought that we would put each wine bottle on the proper table and ask everyone to fill their cup (at whatever table they prefer) before we start. With challah we thought that we would leave the wrappers under each challah-- so that they will be identifiable-- and make sure to have two hechshered whole bread things (which can include pita or whatever) at each table. This solution has so far been workable but clunky. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Onion on potlucks

Grapes 'Big Hit' At Area Picnic

Said Polonski: "If people hadn’t started cutting back as the party wound down, we certainly would have run out. It just goes to show you that people generally gravitate towards simple, good-tasting food."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Tahini Sauce

to accompany bgp's mujadera.

1/2 cup yoghurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste

just mix it all together. If you want to give it a bite you can add raw garlic or even a little cayenne. To make it pretty and green add some chopped flatleaf parsley.
This recipe easily multiplies and if you dont want to make a big lentil rice thing goes very well with this rice salad:

3 cups brown rice
2 tomatoes
2 carrots
2 sticks celery
1 can chick peas

Put the rice in a pot with 5-6 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn the burner to low. Cook until the rice has absorbed the water.
Meanwhile chop up the vegetables.

It's meant to be eaten by putting the vegtables and chick peas over the rice and topping it with the tahini sauce.
If you have a wealth of containers you can bring the vegetables in all separately so people can pick and choose, If not just mix it all together and people will still be happy. Keep the tahini sauce on the side so people can add their own.

Beans and Rice

1 onion
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans
2 cups of brown rice

Chop up the onion. Heat oil in a pan and when it's hot add the onion. Open the tomatoes and the beans, drain the beans. When the onion is soft add them both with the rice and add water to cover the rice (2 or 3 cups). Cover the pan and cook until the rice is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cumin is also very good.