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MY COOKBOOK

29.9.14

PARMESAN CHICKEN


The preparation IS minimal. All you need to add is a loaf of French bread and a green salad. While those tasteless barbecued chickens fly off the heated cart at dinner time and you are standing in the supermarket for waiting for the next batch to come out, consider taking home a tray of skinless chicken breasts and make this delicious Parmesan chicken. How much better is this, even if the idea comes from a mayonnaise site? If truth be told, brined or salted chicken breasts would be more tasty and succulent, check out Salting Meat, but considering you were ready to take a soggy skinned barbecued chicken home, throwing together this Parmesan chicken would be a huge improvement. 

2 chicken breast pieces
salt and pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese 

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Place them in a medium bowl and coat evenly with the mayonnaise.
  • Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking dish and sprinkle the tops evenly with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. 

28.9.14

CHERRY CREAM SLICE - CSERESZNYÉS KRÉMES


I made this beautiful dessert at the height of the cherry season. I gave the pan away and kept 3 slices. When I handed Jim the last slice I regretted not keeping one more for myself. Make it from fresh ingredients or from convenience products, either way the result will be an outstanding cream slice. The one thing I believe is essential is to make the cherry pie filling from scratch. Use fresh, frozen or canned pitted cherries. If you have to buy canned cherries 2 cans will suffice. One could always resort to commercial cherry pie filling, but the fake flavour and colour would in my opinion spoil the slice. Prepare the first three ingredients and let them cool down to room temperature or prepare them a day ahead. The cream should be whipped just before assembly. These slices are simpler to make than they appear.

1 batch of cherry pie filling
1 batch of Vanilla Bean Pudding
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
2 Tbsp icing sugar
icing sugar for dusting

Or
1 pkg of frozen puff pastry thawed overnight in the fridge
2 cups of homemade cherry pie filling
1 pkg of cooked vanilla cream pie filling
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
2 Tbsp icing sugar
icing sugar for dusting

  • Bake two pastry sheets in a 9X12 baking pan.
  • Cut the first sheet while still hot into 18 squares and set them aside. These will go on the top.
  • Bake the second sheet and leave this in the pan. This will be the bottom. Follow the recipe, click on the link, or follow the instructions on the package if using commercial puff pastry. Remember not to stretch the puff pastry and roll it larger than the baking pan. Commercial puff pastry shrinks a lot during baking.  
  • Next prepare the cherry pie filling. Click on the link for the recipe.
  • Make a batch of vanilla bean pudding, click on the link, or follow package instructions. Cooked cream pie filling is better, but if using instant pudding mix, reduce milk in the recipe by 1/3.
  • When everything has cooled to room temperature, spread the cherry pie filling on the bottom pastry.
  • Spread the vanilla pudding over the cherry.
  • Whip the cream to soft peaks, add 2 Tbsp icing sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
  • Spread the whipped cream over the vanilla layer and arrange the pastry squares on the top, pressing down on them lightly.
  • Chill the pan for a couple of hours and dust the top with icing sugar before serving.




25.7.14

QUICK DOUGHNUT HOLES


Wildfires were burning all around us, it was hot and smoky in Kamloops for too long and not even central air could filter out all the smoke that seeped into the house. I did the rain dance, but nothing worked. Finally, finally a storm was brewing. Temperatures dipped and I stood on the porch inhaling the fresh air as the rain began to pour. It turned into a major storm with flash floods all around town. Yesterday was so cold we had to switch the thermostat from air to heat. The air smelt magnificent.


I put the kettle on and I made a platter of doughnut holes. The heat should return in a few days, but for the time being doughnut holes were perfect. These require no rising time and yet they are light and airy. But the best part is they were on the platter before I could have gone to Tim’s for a pack of timbits.

You scoop the dough into the hot oil, it plops down in a sausage shape, but then it grows into round balls. The funniest thing is to watch the balls flip over as they swell. I used a smallish heavy pot for frying to cut down on oil. There should be at least 2 inches of oil in the pot. I started with 2 cups of extra light olive oil and in the end 1-2/3 cup remained. The trick is to heat up the oil on medium heat and maintain the same temperature throughout the frying. When the little tentacles began to brown, the doughnut holes are cooked through.



1/2 cup + 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup sour cream [I used 14%]
1 egg
1 Tbsp sugar
1/8 cup milk [I used 1 %]
2 cups of extra light olive oil for frying

  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and the nutmeg.
  • In a separate medium bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, sugar and the milk.
  • Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms.
  • Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium heat. Do not heat it up quickly and then turn it down. The temperature has to be even and steady.
  • Using a regular dinner spoon, scoop up half a Tablespoon of dough and push the dough into the oil with a finger.
  • Repeat until 10 to12 dough balls are in the oil. As the dough swells, it will flip over on its own.
  • Using a slotted spoon, keep turning the dough balls in the oil until it begins to get a little colour. When the tentacles have a nice golden brown colour, quickly transfer the doughnut holes to a paper lined platter.
  • When all the doughnut holes are fried, transfer them to a clean bowl and sprinkle the top with your choice of glaze or icing sugar or grated chocolate and toss.
  • I used a vanilla glaze:
  • Stir together 1 cup icing sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla extract with 1 to 2 Tbsp of milk.


17.7.14

APPLE WALNUT SLICE - ALMÁS DIÓS PITE


I made these slices last fall when our apple tree was loaded with fresh apples, the crows ate well, and the windfalls were enjoyed by myriad of creatures that thrive in a productive garden. When I venture down I love the insect buzz, they fly, crawl and jump around like acrobats. Mosquitoes are a different story they love ME! I will never be a gardener.

This Apple Walnut Slice is simply a variation of the classic Apple Squares. You may replace the walnuts with some equally strong flavoured nuts, excluding almonds of course. Almonds would be overpowered by the apple flavour, rendering the addition of nuts unnecessary. Someone once called me a keeper of flavours and for sure I am very much dedicated to the wonderful flavours of my childhood. I am convinced that walnuts are essential ingredients of the Hungarian kitchen. I made a Somlói Galuska with pecans once; it was nice, but not nearly as nice as it would have been with walnuts.

Pastry:
3-3/4 cups flour 
3/4 cup butter, soft
2/3 cup sugar
1 pkg. vanilla sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg

Apple Filling:
6 apples
2 Tbsp sugar
juice and finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 cup ground walnuts

For Assembling The Squares:
2 handfuls of fine breadcrumb
1 egg, lightly beaten

• Rub the butter into the flour, dispersing it throughout.
• Add the sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, baking powder and finely grated rind of half a lemon.
• Whisk them together to combine.
• In a small bowl combine the sour cream and the egg with a fork.
• Add to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
• Kneed the dough for a couple of minutes and then wrap it up with plastic wrap.
• Place in the fridge.
• Meanwhile prepare the apple filling.
• Wash and peel the apples.
• If using windfalls, cut out the centers and all the blemished parts. You may have to cut the apples into pieces to do this. Grate the healthy apple chunks into a large bowl.
• If using healthy apples, grate them until reaching the cores. Discard the cores.
• By now there is a pool of apple juice in the bottom of the bowl.
• Transfer the grated apple into a large [fine] sieve.
• Take a handful of grated apples and squeeze out the juice and place the squeezed out grated apple into a clean bowl. Save the apple juice and use it for some other purpose.*
• Add the sugar, lemon rinds and the fresh lemon juice and stir to combine.
• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Cut two pieces of parchment about the size of a 13X4 inch baking pan.
• Place both piece of parchment paper on the board.
• Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into two equal pieces.
• Place a piece of dough on both parchment papers.
• Press them into rectangles.
• Sprinkle the top with flour and roll out both pieces of dough to fit the parchment papers. • You may have to cut away bits of dough and add to other parts to fit the parchment papers.
• Grasping the parchment, move one of the rolled dough and place it into the baking pan. [with the parchment paper on the bottom.]
• Poke the pastry with a fork at intervals.
• Now lightly scatter 2 handfuls of fine breadcrumbs on the top. 
•Next scatter half the ground walnuts on the top
• Scatter the prepared apple-walnut filling over the ground walnuts. 
• Top with the remaining ground walnuts.
• Grasping the parchment, take the second rolled out pastry and place it on the top of the apple-walnut filling, but this time with the parchment on the top. Remove the parchment paper and discard.
• With a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg yolk onto the top. [there will be considerable leftover egg]
• Poke the top with a fork and place in the preheated oven.
• Bake until top is golden brown.
• Yields 24 squares  





CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES


Chocolaty and perfect, here is one more recipe adapted from Cook’s Country April/May 2013. Their recipes never disappoint and are always developed to perfection. Twenty four pounds of sugar later you just know the recipe they put out is well tested. Keep in mind to cool down the melted butter and for best result use dark brown sugar. Don’t over bake. Next time I will be more generous with sugar, the cookies should be thoroughly dusted both for looks and for balancing sweet and bitter. The more you flatten the cookies the crisper they will get and the less they will crinkle. I made a mental note to be light handed next time. Yes I will make these again.

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
7/8 cup butter
1-3/4 cups brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place granulated sugar in shallow dish and set aside.
  • Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl.
  • Microwave two thirds of the butter until melted
  • Remove melted butter and sir in remaining butter until it fully melts in residual heat.
  • Let the butter cool for ten minutes.
  • Whisk brown sugar, vanilla and salt into butter until no lumps remain.
  • Whisk in the egg and the egg yolk.
  • Add the flour and stir just to combine.
  • Scoop up 2 Tbsp of dough and roll it into the sugar, forming a ball.
  • Place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  • Flatten the cookies to 2 inch diameter with the bottom of a drinking glass.
  • Sprinkle each cookie with 1-1/2 tsp of the remaining sugar.
  • Bake 1 sheet at a time for 15 minutes. Cookies will be slightly underdone in the cracks.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to wire racks. 

CHERRY CRUMBLE PIE BARS


One would think Érik A Ropogós Cseresznye is what comes to mind. Well maybe just a little. But actually it is Csekhov’s Cherry Garden. The love of plays goes back to my childhood: the story of love, loss, family and money.

If there is one thing communism can be credited with it is the accessibility of culture. Museums and art galleries were dirt cheap and we went regularly, mostly on Sundays. Instead of church people went to see world class art exhibitions. I had my favourite rooms in the permanent collection. We had season tickets to live theatre and the Philharmony. Work and school distributed them for next to nothing. That’s when I got acquainted with Shakespeare, Chekhov and Molière. I was twelve when I saw my first opera at the Budapest Opera House. The Anvil Chorus in Verdi’s Troubadour sent chills up my spine. I knew I will never be the same. 



We tried to give culture to our children, but the expense and the lack of it in Canada was wholly discouraging. Art is holy and should never be treated as profit. If there was something I can resent in this system is that culture is superfluous. Unfortunately the lack of culture has a dumb down effect. Beyond reality TV and rock concerts there is not much more.
   
These cherry bars were wonderful, some parts were neatly sliced and given away, but mostly just massacred, end strips and small corners chopped off as it sat on the counter for a day. Oops I didn’t take a photo and by next day only bits and ends remained. They were amazingly good with ice cream and whipped cream.


2 cups flour
1-1/4 cups almond meal or very finely ground almonds
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, cut up
2 cups homemade cherry pie filling or 1 can cherry pie filling
1 tsp almond extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a 13x9x2-inch with parchment paper, over the edges of the pan; set aside.
  • For crust, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, almond meal, brown sugar and salt.
  • Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  • Remove 1-1/2 cups of the mixture; set aside.
  • Press the remaining mixture evenly onto the bottom of prepared baking pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  • Spoon cherry filling over hot baked crust, spreading evenly
  • Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
  • Bake about 40 minutes more or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned.
  • Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  • Lift the baked mixture out of the pan.
  • Invert onto a baking sheet; remove foil.
  • Invert again onto a cutting board.
  • Cut into bars.
  • Makes 24 bars.

14.7.14

STRAWBERRY BARS - EPRES PITE


I always loved strawberries. I remember my mom bottling strawberries once. I watched her packing the precious fruit into the bottles and wondered about the futility of four small jars. She said it would be nice to have a taste of spring in winter. Those strawberries never made it to winter; all of it was gone in a week. But I understood.

Mami

I never would have thought that one day I will have the luxury of year around strawberries. Most of it comes up from California. They are very nice before Christmas, Valentines Day and Easter. But the very best strawberries are locally grown.


200 g fresh strawberries, chopped
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup soft butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour
5 even sized fresh strawberries cut in half for decoration

  • Wash, hull and chop 200 g of strawberries and set them aside.
  • Quarter the rest of the strawberries and set them aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Fully line a square baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Beat the egg yolks with sugar and butter and vanilla extract until frothy.
  • Lower the speed and gradually add the flour.
  • In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form
  • Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
  • Transfer the cake batter into the prepared pan.
  • Level the top with an offset spatula.
  • Drop the chopped strawberries onto the cake batter. They will sink to the bottom.
  • Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • The cake will be ready when the center springs back when gently pressed.
  • Meanwhile prepare the 5 strawberries for decoration.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
  • Lightly score the top into nine squares.
  • Sprinkle the top with icing sugar.
  • Place 9 strawberry halves in the center of each square.

CHOCOLATE CHIP GRANOLA BARS


These are soft and chewy and will keep for a week and are oh so easy to make. They sure beat those awful granola bars in the store. Instead of chocolate chips you can add 3/4 cup of dried fruit or replace 1/2 cup of oats with shredded coconut.

2/3 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 Tbsp flour
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup almond flakes
2/3 cup pure chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, partially melt the butter in the microwave.
  • Stir it smooth.
  • Add the butter, honey, egg, vanilla, salt, and flour until completely combined.
  • Add brown sugar and mix well.
  • Add oats and the almond flakes and mix well.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Transfer the mixture to a sheet of parchment paper. The dough will be sticky.
  • Place another parchment paper on the top and press it into shape by hand and roller to fit the prepared pan.
  • Transfer to the prepared baking pan and press down, making sure the surface is flat and even.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
  • Recipe yields 10 bars.





STUFFED PORK LOIN


Although I have never taken to sweet applesauce smeared on my pork, pork, garlic and apples can make for a happy union. The apple is in the stuffing and if I had to change one thing, I would have chopped the celery much smaller. I did not add any liquid to moisten the bread. The apple and the meat juices provided ample moisture. It was a bit of a challenge to stuff the pork loin, but the stuffing was just right in the end. The roast sliced nicely and didn't fall apart. After chilled, it looked especially nice thinly sliced on a tray.




1 kg boneless pork loin
3-4 garlic cloves, slivered
salt to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil

Apple Stuffing:
4 slices of sourdough bread or light deli rye
1/2 onion
2 stalks of celery
1 apple
1 Tbsp olive oil

  • Wash the meat and pat to dry with paper towels.
  • Butterfly the meat. Watch the video.
  • Place plastic wrap on the top and pound the meat to even thickness with a meat tenderizer.
  • Salt the meat and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile prepare the apple stuffing.
  • Cube 4 slices of sourdough bread or light deli rye.
  • Chop the onions and set it aside in a separate small bowl.
  • Place bread cubes in a large bowl and set it aside.
  • Chop the celery and set it aside in a separate small bowl.
  • Peel, core and shred the apple and add to the small bowl.
  • Sauté the onions in 2 Tbsp of olive oil until soft.
  • Add to the bread cubes and toss.
  • Add the celery and the apple to the bread cubes.
  • Season the stuffing and toss.
  • Preheat the oven at 350F.
  • Discard the meat juices and poke holes into the meat.
  • Stuff the holes with garlic slivers.
  • Arrange the apple stuffing along the short end of the meat and roll it up.
  • Secure the rolled up meat with kitchen twine.
  • Drizzle 1 Tbsp oil in the roasting pan and set aside.
  • Place in the meat, drizzle with remaining olive oil and cover.
  • Slowly roast in preheated oven for 3-4 hours or until roast is nicely browned and clear juices run when pierced.  [Thermometer should reach 165F]
  • Baste often for best flavour.
  • Remove from oven and cover with foil.
  • Let the roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


13.7.14

BEETROOT FETA AND WALNUT SALAD



Roasting the beets is essential for the flavour and texture to develop. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall used a mortar and pestle to pulverize the garlic and the walnuts. I found it simpler to put the garlic and walnuts between two sheets of plastic wrap and hitting it with the blunt side of a meat tenderizer. I have a mortar and pestle too, but I don’t use it for food preparation, its one of the few family heirlooms I have from Hungary.


It used to belong to my great grandmother. My great grandfather was a musician [he played the clarinet] and my great grandma was wildly eccentric. They lived in the outskirts of Makó, where people had outhouses and used potties for the night. One day great grandma went to the market to buy sour cream, but she forgot the jug at home, and since she needed a new potty anyway, she bought a potty and got it filled with sour cream. Grandma, who was a young girl at the time, was absolutely mortified walking through the village with her mother carrying the sour cream filled potty.  

Nice girls used to be chaperoned and great grandma insisted that both parents follow grandma and her sister on dates. The girls talked nonstop to drown out the goings on behind them. Grandma said she was never sure what scared off the prospective suitors, the two of them blabbering or their father’s back drafts. Despite of these undignified events or perhaps because of them, grandma married early.  

 My great grandmother
József Fehérné, Mária Ürge 1880 – 1949


6 beetroots
2 garlic cloves
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts
pinch of salt
1/3 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Scrub the beetroots, peel and chop into same size pieces.
  • Lay them on the prepared baking pan and drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Bake until tender.
  • Meanwhile crush the garlic and 1/4 cup walnuts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap with the blunt side of a meat tenderizer.
  • Mix in 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  • Remove beets from the oven and arrange on a serving platter.
  • Scatter feta cheese over the beets.
  • Distribute the crushed walnut mixture and the coarsely chopped walnuts on top.

FLAKY ALMOND SQUARES


A good recipe just keeps on giving; it is the case with HungarianFlaky Pastry. It’s the beginning of all sorts of wonderful confectioneries and it’s so easy to make, I sometimes wonder why I bother with puff pastry. I made these, I think, in the spring.

I had grandiose baking plans for last Christmas, but only a fraction was accomplished and here we are in July and I am still trying to use up some of the ingredients before they get stale or freezer burned. The chocolates are all gone, boohoo, and I had to buy some almond flakes last week. That’s when I remembered I had photos of flaky almond squares in the write me up folder.

I recall past Christmases with immense baking efforts and the times I went to M&M Meat Shop for some flats of frozen bars. We tried various bakeries over the years at great cost with equal measure of disappointment, but the best of times were when I baked and baked and gave boxes and boxes of buttery, chocolaty confectioneries to anyone we knew. I am less inclined to do that these days, baking with butter and good quality chocolate became expensive, heck flour is expensive, plus it’s a lot of work for a fastidious, germaphobe like me. What I wouldn’t touch myself, I won’t unload on others. But it’s been years when I bought cookie tins and a variety of tiny confectionery papers. If I live long enough it will all come to an end and then I hope someone with clean habits will take pity on me. That or back to M&Ms.     

1 batch of Hungarian Flaky Pastry
1 egg lightly beaten
2 cups flaky almonds

  • Prepare one batch of Hungarian Flaky Pastry.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the chilled pastry.
  • Cut to fit the parchment lined baking pans.
  • Place the pastry on the prepared pans.
  • Spread the tops with the beaten egg and scatter flaky almonds on top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown. Keep an eye on it, flaky pastry can bun very quickly.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Immediately cut to the desired shapes. Once the pastry cools, it is not possible to cut pastry without  breaking it apart.


STUFFED MUSHROOMS


I don’t think that boiling some frozen thing in a pot of water is a satisfying way to eat my vegetables. It takes a bit of an effort to make vegetables interesting, but the good news is though they tend to require a bit of prep work; vegetable based dishes cook a lot faster than meat based meals. No I haven’t gone over to the green side, but we eat less meat of late. Stuffed Mushrooms is one of several vegetable based sides I’ve been making regularly.

After one gloriously failed stuffed mushroom recipe, I decided to stuff the mushrooms my way. The taste tends to vary with the ingredients I have on hand. But whatever ingredients I use, the breadcrumbs, onion, garlic and the fresh parsley is a constant. You need only TINY AMOUNTS to stuff even the largest mushrooms. Sometimes I put diced red bell peppers or bits of white cheddar into the stuffing. The stuffing should be a bit crumbly, never soggy, soft or pliable. Use only hard, white cheeses, avoid orange cheddar.

Unless you bake a larger amount of mushrooms, baking three is a frivolous waste of energy. Bake these in a toaster oven or try to combine it with some other food item. In this case I baked the mushroom caps toward the end tale of a large Baked Sweet Potato.  






3-4 large mushroom caps
diced mushroom stems
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 cup diced onions
1 diced garlic clove
2 Tbsp fine bread crumbs
3-4 sprigs of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste [I used Chef’s Salt]
1 Tbsp heavy cream
sprinkling of of Parmesan cheese for the top

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Wash off the dirt and dry the mushrooms with paper towel.
  • Cut off the stems, dice and place in a small bowl.
  • Heat the oil in a non stick skillet and add the onions.
  • Cook on medium heat until soft.
  • Add the onions and the remaining ingredients to the bowl and combine.
  • With a small spoon, fill each mushroom cap with the stuffing.
  • Place in a baking dish and bake in preheated oven until cheese on top is slightly browned.
  • [If using a metal pan, line it with parchment paper.]


12.7.14

RED WINE RICE WITH DUCK


From the roasted duck of past I saved the shredded leftovers and this was the most memorable dish I made from it. I know this, because I took photos and saved the recipe. It has been awhile, but I also recall Jim being happy meeting up with the duck again. So here it goes, the recipe was inspired by Good Food magazine, January 2009. I took a few key photos of the process to jug my memory and obviously I didn’t follow the recipe. Stir fry recipes tend to produce overcooked vegetables and this dish was anything but. Indeed it was a fitting end for the duck.
 



cooked Basmati rice for 2 to 4 people
4 Tbsp butter
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 to 4 green onions [do not discard green stalks]
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 to 2 cups leftover duck meat, shredded
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock as needed
thyme
green stalks of the green onions used, chopped

  • Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a non stick skillet on medium heat and add the celery.
  • Braise until vibrant green and then add the green onions and the garlic.
  • Gently cook until onions begin to wilt. It will take less then a minute.
  • Transfer the onions and the celery to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Melt the remaining butter and add the shredded duck meat and heat trough.
  • Add the mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms release their liquid.
  • Add the cooked rice and heat through.
  • At any time you run out of moisture, add from the red wine.
  • Once the red wine is gone add from the chicken stock as needed. Amount of chicken stock will depend on the amount of cooked rice and duck meat used.
  • When the rice is heated through add back the celery and the onions.
  • Stir in the chopped green onion stalks.
  • Season the rice with thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve right away.


GANACHE SANDWICH COOKIES


These are crispy shortbread cookies with a rich ganache. Sometimes I wonder how long I can keep this up. I think I must have made every chocolaty cookie under the sun that Liv is willing to munch on and then I find one more or concoct another. There are numerous criteria to adhere to; it cannot be just any chocolaty cookie. I either make a fraction of a batch; yes you can divide an egg, or sock the leftovers away in the freezer for the other sweet toothed nut in my life. The assortment of stuff I can conjure up in a short notice when I don’t bake for a week can be quite interesting. I myself was never a cookie fan. If I think of sweets I think of dessert or cake. When I feel down I bake a cake. As I spread the icing I feel strangely happy inside. I can hardly wait to slice into it; it’s a magic moment. I could not have been a baker, watching my cakes fly out the door without ever having the chance to admire the insides. So here is one more cookie. I had one, it was nice.

Cookies:
1-7/8 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla
1 egg

Ganache:
2 squares [8oz] of pure semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream 

  • Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
  • Add the butter and rub into the flour dispersing it.
  • Add the sugar, vanilla and the egg and kneed to combine.
  • Wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour to chill.
  • Meanwhile make the ganache.
  • Partially melt the chocolate and stir to truly melt it.
  • Stir in the cold whipping cream and set it aside.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Place the chilled dough on a floured surface and roll it out to 3/8th of an inch thickness.
  • With the smallest cookie cutter cut rounds and place them on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Do not let them brown.
  • Let the cookies cool down completely.
  • Lay a clean sheet of parchment paper and set out the cookies in pairs.
  • Spread one cookie with the ganache and stick its pair on top.
  • Set the sandwiched cookies on a tray not touching.
  • I used a clean slightly damp kitchen towel to wipe my fingers between handling the cookies.
  • Let the cookies rest for a couple of hours before serving.

11.7.14

EASY CHERRY DANISHES


Now that finally science is popular, there is a new saying making the rounds: Everything has a reason and the reason is generally physics. Well maybe a little chemistry too. The original recipe has been running as Overnight Cherry Danishes. Calling these overnight may have been a mistake. I kept looking at the recipe year after year, mostly in cherry season, and thinking that they must be laborious, when in fact they aren't. The recipe is quite brilliant actually. And it’s all science folks, at least the reason why it works, even though it may have evolved by pure accident, for some random reason nobody knows or remembers. It had to be evolution pure and simple. The dough rests in the fridge over night, that is quite true, but what’s so remarkable about it is the minimal effort required to turn it into danishes!

You have seen something similar before, bakeries sell them with a wide variety of pie fillings and call them danishes, but they are more like very soft, very fluffy sweet rolls. These however were more aptly called danishes, in this part I have to agree with the title, these are definitely more like danishes than sweet rolls.

Commercial pie fillings make them even less complicated to make. Plus they will be brighter, thanks to red food coloring. Sorry I couldn't resist that. So despite what you may think this recipe makes a great weekend brunch item for the working stiff. All you need is one small and one medium sized bowl and a couple of cookie sheets. Literally just throw the ingredient into a bowl, mix it up and place it in the fridge for the night and next morning roll it, let it rise, spoon some pie filling on top and bake. The drizzled icing is superfluous, not really needed, even though it could delight a child, so yes it’s included as in the original recipe. Very nice. Long live Taste of Home!








DANISH:
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm milk 
6 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1-1/2 cups lukewarm half-and-half cream 
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup homemade cherry pie filling or 1 can cherry pie filling


ICING:
2 Tbsp soft butter 
3 cups icing sugar
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
dash of salt
4 to 5 Tbsp half-and-half cream


  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in milk.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Cut in butter, using a pastry blender.
  • Stir in cream and egg yolks to form sticky dough.
  • Cover dough and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, divide the dough into quarters.
  • Roll each quarter to an 18×4 inch rectangle and cut into 18 1-inch-wide strips.
  • Twist two strips together and coil into a roll shape.
  • Place on two parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Repeat with remaining strips.
  • Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
  • Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a 1/2-in.-deep indentation in the center of each roll. Fill each with about 1 tablespoon pie filling.
  • Bake the danishes in a preheated 350F oven for 14-16 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • For icing, beat butter until fluffy and stir in sugar, vanilla, salt, and cream.
  • Drizzle over top of danishes.
  • Recipe makes 3 dozen, I cut it in half and made 16 small danish.


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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 800 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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