MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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30.11.11

MINESTRONE SOUP

A great soup to have coming inside from winter’s cold. Similar to my Everything Soup, be a little milder perhaps. Apparently, there are no set rules for minestrone; it is a thick soup with beans, tomatoes, seasonal vegetables and pasta or rice. Instead of canned beans, you can cook your own beans ahead of time. You will need about 2/3 cup of small dry beans for this recipe. It is important to soak the beans overnight, be sure to discard the water and to rinse the beans. If you have to cook the beans with the quick cooking method, make sure there is no salt in the cooking liquid, because salt will prevent the beans from absorbing water and no matter how long you cook them, they remain tough. So at no time cook the beans in the stock, because even low sodium stock will have some salt in it.

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 mild Italian pork sausages, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
1 can of small navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup small penne noodles
1 pinch dried sage
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 pinch dried thyme
1 pinch dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

• In a large non-stick fry pan sauté the sausages in olive oil until well browned.
• Add the diced onion, chopped carrots, and the celery.
• Place a lid on the fry pan.
• Cook until vegetables have a vibrant color.
• Meanwhile place the chicken stock in a soup pot and begin to heat.
• Add the sausage and vegetable mix to the pot.
• Add the canned tomatoes, garlic and bay leaf to the chicken stock.
• Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
• Meanwhile in a separate pot bring water to boil and add the penne noodles.
• Cook noodles for 6 minutes only.
• Drain the penne noodles and stir into the simmering soup.
• Add the cooked and rinsed beans.
• Add the herbs and season with salt and ground pepper to taste.
• Simmer soup for 4 minutes and then serve.
 

28.11.11

MELTING CHOCOLATE FOR DIPPING


Tempering chocolate is a long and complicated process, even the so-called quick tempering method takes 20 minutes of stirring. That is why I would never become a chocolatier, no matter how much I love chocolate.

Still there is a simple way to make that melted chocolate drip and dip-able. Add shortening. Not butter or margarine, add shortening only. For every 1/4 cup of melted chocolate add 1 tsp of vegetable shortening, heat a little longer and stir. The velvety dip-able consistency should remain for quite sometime. If you have to leave it for a longer stretch, just add a bit more shortening, stir, heat and the chocolate will be dip-able again.

Chocolate does not heat evenly. So break up large chunks into small bits and stir it frequently, otherwise, portions can begin to burn before others begin to melt. The same result can occur if you try to melt too much chocolate at a time.

Never add liquid, do not touch it with anything wet, do not let steam get into it. Those things are your enemy when you are melting chocolate. I sometimes make a quick chocolate sauce from melted chocolate by adding water or cream. But that’s just sauce and you cannot use it for dipping or for decorating. For decorating, you need smooth, shiny drip-able melted chocolate.

Never refrigerate a chocolate dipped item to speed up solidification. Refrigeration not only kills the wonderful shine of chocolate, it can actually reverse the solidification process. As soon as you take those dipped strawberries or cookies out of the fridge, the chocolate will be soft again. It can take between 1-2 hours for melted chocolate to solidify at room temperature. Ah but it is well worth the wait!

Always use good quality pure chocolate and make sure there is no vegetable shortening in it already, because for sure along with the shortening there will be a long list of less desirable ingredients.

1/4 cup good quality chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vegetable shortening [do not substitute]

• Place the chocolate pieces in a small bowl and microwave.
• Melt the chocolate and stir smooth.
• Add the shortening and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds longer.
• Stir smooth again. If chocolate does not drip easily, add a little more shortening.
• If you melt chocolate in a double boiler, make sure NOT to heat it beyond a certain temperature.

Maximum Temperatures For Melting Chocolate:

Dark Chocolate(no milk content) 88-90°F (31-32°C)
Milk Chocolate 86-88°F (30-31°C)
White Chocolate 80-82°F (27-28°C)




25.11.11

CHOCOLATE CHIFFON CUPCAKES


When I scan a cake recipe, the first thing I look for is how many eggs does it call for? Because you have to put more than 2 eggs into a cake batter to make something edible. With 4 eggs,  yolks and whites beaten separately, there is none of the heaviness of homemade cupcakes here! You can tell from the very first bite that this will not be an ordinary cupcake experience. It is light and airy, not too sweet, chocolaty but not overwhelmingly so, there is a perfect balance between texture and flavour. This is the chocolate cupcake; there is no need for another.

Avoid cupcake liners, the cupcake just sticks to the paper making it messy to eat. Equally unappetizing is the white layer on the bottom of chocolate cupcakes from greased and floured baking cups. Just before filling the cups with the batter, spray each cup with unflavoured cooking spray instead and every cupcake will lift out beautifully.  

1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup hot water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
cooking spray
1 batch Buttercream Frosting

• Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
• In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
• In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp sugar and oil.
• Add the hot water and whisk thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
• Place the egg yolks and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat on high for 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes pale yellow and thick.
• Add the cocoa mixture and vanilla and whisk to combine.
• Add the dry ingredients and whisk just to combine.
• Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl and beat on high stiff peaks form.
• Gradually, gently, being mindful not to crush, fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
• Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
• Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, dividing the batter evenly between the cups.
• Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
• Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and cool completely before piping Buttercream Frosting on the tops.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING


This buttercream pipes beautifully and the recipe makes just the right amount to decorate 12 large cupcakes. The shortening gives it lightness, but what I liked best was the fact that this was not an overly sweet frosting. Very versatile too, because changing the extract can create a completely different flavoured buttercream.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

• Beat the butter and shortening for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
• Add the egg and beat at high speed for 2 minutes longer.
• With 1/2 cup at the time, begin to add the icing sugar and continue beating on low speed to combine.
• When all the sugar is incorporated, add the pure extract and beat for 3 more minutes on high speed until frosting is smooth and light.

RED WINE VINEGAR SLAW


This is an oil free vinegar slaw with a very delicate flavour. People who do not like mayonnaise based salads are always happy with this one.

1/2 green cabbage, sliced very thin
1/4 purple cabbage, sliced very thin
2 medium carrots, grated
4 green onions, thinly sliced
handful of dried cranberries
2 Tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Kraft Signature Sweet Onion Vinaigrette Dressing
handful of roasted walnuts [optional]

• Wash and dry all the vegetables.
• Thinly slice, peel, grate and chop vegetables and add to a large bowl.
• Toss.
• Add the wine vinegar and toss.
• Sprinkle lightly with Kraft Signature Sweet Onion Vinaigrette Dressing and toss.
• Mix lightly to coat.
• Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
• Before serving, throw a handful of roasted walnuts on the top.
 

PISTACHIO SLICE


Not surprisingly, this used to be a very popular dessert item, because its preparation is minimal and the result is fabulous. The original version calls for cool whip, but since fake food was never my choice, early on I changed it for whipping cream. The pistachio pudding comes in either a 6 servings or a 4 servings size. The six servings size is just right, but if all you can get is the 4 servings package, get two. The last time we had this was at my youngest daughter’s rehearsal dinner. We had it at an Italian restaurant, with the family supplying our homemade wine and the dessert. I picked this fast and easy dessert, and still I ran out of time. In the last minute I had to ask best friend, Ann to make it. That was already eleven years ago…

CRUST:
2 cups flour
1 cup butter
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, ground

CREAM CHEESE LAYER:
250g light cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup milk

PUDDING LAYER:
1 pkg. 6-servings instant pistachio pudding mix [or 2 pkg. 4-servings]

TOPPING:
1 cup whipping cream
1 pkg. Whip It stabilizer*
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp icing sugar

• Make the crust; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, butter, icing sugar and walnuts.
• Press the flour mixture into a prepared 9X13 inch pan.
• Bake the crust at 350F for 25 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and let it cool.
• Make the cheese layer; in a medium bowl combine cream cheese, icing sugar, whipping cream and milk.
• Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust.
• Make the pistachio pudding according to package directions.
• Spread the pistachio pudding over the cream cheese layer.
• Make the topping; whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
• Fold in the icing sugar, pure vanilla extract and a package of Whip It.
• Spread the sweetened whipped cream over the top.
• Place in the fridge to chill through.
• Slice into squares; Dip a serrated knife into hot water before each cut.

*The slice has been in the fridge for 3 days when I took the top photo. Adding a package Whip It stabilizes the whipped cream and keeps it from liquefying.


PORK ROAST STUFFED WITH DRIED FRUIT


I generally stuff pork loin with spicy Hungarian sausage. Then a friend told me about the dried fruit filled pork roast she makes. We just had a couple of slices for dinner and well… it was delicious. This was the first time I seasoned pork with marjoram too. I was impressed with the flavour it gave to the roast. I have always been concerned about not letting pork loin get dry. I brined it first and the combination of brining and searing cut the roasting time considerably and in the end the meat was juicy and tender. Next time I will make a larger roast; this would be delicious on a cold plate or stuck between two slices of good bread. Check out Sissi’s original recipe titled Pork Roast Stuffed with Dried Apricots at With a Glass. 

To make the brine:

1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 garlic cloves
3 black pepper corns
2 cups water

• Place 1/2 cup water in a saucepan.
• Add the salt, sugar, garlic and the peppercorns.
• Bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
• Remove from heat and add 1-1/2 cups of cold water.
• Let the brine cool.

PORK ROAST STUFFED WITH DRIED APRICOTS AND PRUNES

1 kg boneless pork loin
20 dried apricots [cut in two]
8 prunes [keep these whole]
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp marjoram
black pepper to taste
light sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
3 Tbsp olive oil

• Place the pork in the brine, turning it around once and cover.
• Let pork sit in the brine overnight.
• Next day take the meat out of the brine and discard brine.
• Pat the pork dry with paper towels.
• With a sharp knife, cut a hole into the center of the meat and poke it all the way through to the other side.
• Twist the knife to create a small hole.
• Stuff the hole with pitted prunes and dried apricots and push with the end of a wooden spoon all the way to the center.
• Repeat procedure from the other side.
• Cut small holes into the pork all over and stuff with fresh garlic slivers.
• Rub with marjoram, black pepper and dried chilli flakes.
• Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in a non-stick fry pan.
• Heat the oil and place the roast in the pan.
• Cook each side for 1 minute until it browns slightly, searing in the juices.
• Place in a baking pan and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
• Cover and roast at 375F for 1 hour.
• Remove from oven and cover with foil.
• Let the roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
 

24.11.11

APRICOT LINZER BAR - RÁCSOS LINZER


In memory of Joyce

The grand old lady we so looked forward to seeing at family functions, passed away two days ago. She lived a good, long and productive life; raised her children and loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her family would be the first to attest to her talent in the kitchen. Family and food can intertwine in unexpected ways. Last summer we sent Joyce a box of ripe apricots. Canning was becoming increasingly difficult for her, but I think she could not ignore the golden ripe goodness so she made a few jars of jam. Yesterday we received a gift bag with two jars of her last jam. Today I used some to make an apricot linzer bar. Rest in peace Joyce, you will be missed.




Apricot linzer bar looks something like this, with just a thin layer of jam on the base.

The jam quantity depends on the size of baking pan used as well as on the thickness of your jam. Originally designed for a 9X13 inch baking pan, I rolled out the dough quite a bit thinner, to accommodate a rimmed jellyroll pan. The linzer dough would not have been strong enough to transfer to the baking pan, so I cut a parchment to fit the pan first and rolled the dough on the parchment. Then holding onto the parchment, it was relatively easy to slide the base onto the baking pan. Because the base was thin, I spread it with a thin layer of jam. If I were to use a 9X13 baking pan, the base would have been thicker and could have supported a thicker layer of jam. Hence, the amount of jam used is arbitrary. There is a set formula for linzer dough by weight, [3 parts flour, 2 parts butter and 1 part sugar] For this recipe I reduced the sugar to accommodate for the sweetness of the jam.

3-1/3 cups flour
1 cup less 1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 scant tsp baking powder
1 egg
3 Tbsp sour cream
apricot jam
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely ground

• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• In a large bowl, combine the flour, butter, sugar, baking powder, egg and the sour cream.
• Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit a rimmed jelly pan.
• Place the parchment on a flat surface.
• Roll out 2/3 of the dough on the parchment to equal thickness and covering the entire sheet of parchment paper.
• Gently move the parchment with the rolled out dough onto a rimmed jelly roll baking pan.
• Spread the top with a thin layer of jam.
• Shape the remaining dough into long strands and place over the jam layer diagonally.
• [if you use a 9X 13 inch baking pan you should have ample dough left to make a lattice pattern]
• Sprinkle the top with coarsely ground almonds.
• Place in a preheated 375F oven and bake until linzer is lightly browned.
• Cut the linzer into squares.

22.11.11

HOMEMADE GRANOLA


This is an unbelievably good granola! The only drawback is this will not last you for months. It is that good. The other reason is there are no added preservatives in it and no preservatives if you use home dried fruit to make it. About the fruits and nuts used, that too is changeable to suit individual preferences or food allergies. With minimal preparation, you can make 12 cups of this wonderful breakfast cereal.

1 cup unsalted roasted nuts*
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups almonds, sliced
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1-1/2 cups dried apricots, diced
3 cups of dried fruits**

* Use roasted cashews or walnuts, or pecans or almonds or a mixture of nuts. Just be sure to use unsalted nuts.

** Use only 1 cup from each type of dried fruit. You can use diced figs, chopped cherries, cranberries, blueberries, raisins, dried tropical fruits. The varieties are endless.


• Place the nuts in a small baking pan and move it into the oven.
• Turn the oven to 350F.
• Meanwhile toss the oats, coconut, and sliced almonds together in a large bowl.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and honey.
• Add the liquids to the large bowl and stir to coat.
• Scatter the granola into a rimmed baking sheet.
• Do not line the pan with parchment paper. The lining will make it awkward to stir the granola.
• Bake for 5 minutes and then remove the pan with the walnuts. Set aside.
• Set the timer for 40 more minutes and continue baking the granola.
• Stir occasionally with a spatula.
• During the last ten minutes, stir more often. There is a tendency for the granola to brown around the perimeter of the pan. As you stir it, try to mix the browning parts into the main body.
• Remove granola from the oven and let it cool down, stirring occasionally.
• Add the dried fruits and the roasted nuts and toss.
• Let it cool completely and then store it in a glass jar with a well fitting lid.

CHEESE BALL


Party season is upon us and for a quick hors d’oeuvre; nothing beats a box of crackers and a cheese ball. Of course, you can get it from the deli cheaper, but then those walnuts on the top are rancid, were never toasted in the first place and what’s more, they have softened up from sitting on the cheese too long; not only that but the cheese tastes funny. So make your own cheese ball! It will cost slightly more, but taste makes it all worthwhile. This amount makes exactly one cheese ball. As a hors d'oeuvre or as one of the ‘appies’ you won’t need more, not unless there is a large crowd. Almost any cheese ball or savoury cheese-tort recipe I tried in the past made more than needed. This will all go first because it is delicious and because it is just the right amount for a moderate group of people. Serve it with plain crackers.

125 g light cream cheese [the small package]
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 red pepper, diced
1 tsp parsley
cooking oil for the hands
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

• Place the cream cheese in a bowl and let it soften.
• Shred the cheddar cheese and add to the bowl.
• Add the lemon juice and the Worcestershire sauce.
• Combine ingredients well.
• Stir in the diced bell peppers.
• Chill the cheese mixture.
• In a non-stick pan, lightly toast the walnuts for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
• Keep shifting the nuts with a spatula to avoid burning.
• Remove pan from heat and let the nuts cool completely.
• remove the chilled cheese mixture from the fridge.
• Oil both hands and shape the cheese into a ball.
• Roll the cheese ball into the toasted walnuts.

21.11.11

BAKERY CRESCENTS - PÉK KIFLI


Food availability slightly improved after the 1956 Revolution and from about the age of seven I remember having a cup of hot cocoa and a fresh buttered kifli for breakfast. Every morning my grandma would go down to the Dohány utcai Tejcsarnok [it was a milk store] to buy us fresh milk and kifli. Grandma stood in line by 7AM or shortly thereafter. It was the time for the morning truck to come with baskets full of freshly baked crusty kifli, buns and a few specialty items like brioche. Timing was of essence, because half an hour later all the kifli was gone. When grandma arrived home with the kifli I just had enough time to eat one and I was off to school.

Jenőke, Nagymama and Zsuzsa with kifli

Different from French croissant, kifli is from yeasted dough, [containing butter] and shaped into a thin crescent. I have seen a few giant kifli in my time, some the size of 2 kg bread, but these are novelties. This one is your everyday vajas [butter] kifli.

Do not try it; it is not possible to make a large kifli with dry yeast. Dough from dry yeast can never get as high and lofty as from fresh yeast. At a certain size, kifli made with dry yeast just spreads out into a flattened shape. Don’t use bread flour for kifli, instead use all purpose flour. Kifli should be crunchy when bit into, but all soft on the inside. The consistency of the dough, the size and the thickness rolled into all influence the kifli’s texture. This dough is firm, but not stiff. After kneading, you will not have to flour the board to roll it and shape it. Therefore, you would not want added flour stiffening the dough. This in turn reminded me of the importance of exact measuring. For interest, I measured out 4 cups of all-purpose flour into my largest measuring cup. Then I measured it again with the 1/2 cup scoop-and-sweep method. Would you believe I had 3/4 cups of excess flour in the large measuring cup? Now imagine how stiff this dough would have been with 3/4 cup of extra flour! So to have it just right, follow the recipe.

4 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 package instant dry yeast
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp sour cream
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter for brushing
1 egg yolk for egg wash

• In a large bowl measure out the flour with the 1/2 cup scoop-and-sweep method .
• Whisk together the flour, sugar and the instant dry yeast.
• Add the lukewarm milk, melted butter, sour cream and the salt. [Add the salt last, because it can inhibit the yeast action.]
• Combine ingredients; the dough will be firm but not stiff.
• Kneed the dough until smooth and elastic.
• Shape the dough into a ball and cover with the bowl.
• Let the dough rise until it doubles in size.
• Meanwhile line 2 baking sheets with parchment and lightly brush with butter.
• When the dough has doubled in size, divide into two equal parts.
• Roll the first dough to a 32 inch X 8 inch rectangle.
• Cut into 8 squares.
• Repeat with the remaining dough. You now have 16 squares.
• Place a square on the board and with a rolling pin stretch the 4 inch square to a 5 inch by 5 inch square.
• Turn the square on its end; you now have a fat diamond shape.
• Stretch out the closest corner with the rolling pin.
• Roll it up starting from the top and curve it into a crescent.
• Place on a greased baking sheet.
• Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the squares.
• Brush the tops with melted butter.
• Let crescents rise until doubled in size.
• Then glaze the tops with egg wash.
• Preheat oven to 400F.
• When the oven temperature is at 400F, place the crescents in the oven and bake until light golden brown.
• These are best fresh; eat them on the same day.










20.11.11

YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS


These are not doughy inside, will not flop or stick to the pan. I bake great Yorkshire puddings to the accompaniment of two screaming fire alarms. The secret of Yorkshire puddings is very hot oil and room temperature ingredients. Make up the batter and let it sit on the counter for two hours. The batter has to rest and the ingredients must be at room temperature or they will not puff up. I have tried different recipes but I keep going back to the same one. The batter must be thin, thinner than a crepe batter, and part of the liquid should always be water. That is how my best friend’s British [very] mother in-law, the late Mrs. Eggleton used to make it. Mrs. Eggleton was the one who insisted on the thin consistency. I could not believe it when this first worked for me. Now you have these celebrity chefs running about with their 6-egg Yorkshire puddings. Contrary to popular opinion, you do not need many eggs to make the Yorkshire puddings. Assemble the pudding from room temperature ingredients early and then bake them after you tented the roast. While the Yorkshire puddings bake, make the gravy. By the time the Yorkshire puddings are ready the roast will be ready too. Recipe yields 12 large ones.

1 cup plain flour [150 g]
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup milk [150 ml]
1/3 cup + 1/8 cup water [110 ml]
6 tsp lard or shortening for the tins

• Mix up the batter at least 2 hours before cooking.
• Whisk the eggs and then whisk in the rest of the ingredients.
• Batter should be thin.
• Do not refrigerate batter. Let batter rest for 2 hours at room temperature.
• Preheat oven to 425F.
• Add 1/2 tsp of cold lard or shortening to each muffin tin.
• Place muffin tin in the hot oven for a couple of minutes at 425F.
• When oil is very hot, remove muffin tin from the oven and quickly pour in the batter. Muffin tins should be 3/4 full of batter.
• Return muffin tins to the oven and bake at 425F for 20 minutes.
• Do not open the door while puddings are baking.
• When puddings are puffed up and golden brown remove them from the oven.
• Serve Yorkshire puddings immediately.


ROAST BEEF


Roast beef is a British specialty, but don’t be mistaken, there is a Hungarian way to cook roast beef so it’s tender and succulent and yet with no blood on the plate. The secret is in the preparation and slow cooking. Fast roasting beef means the blood runs or shoe leather. We don’t do that because we don’t like it either that way. I have a bottom round roast slightly more than 1 kilo that would be roughly about 2 and a quarter in pounds. Now follow this recipe, we are cooking something delicious.

Depending on the size of the roast, it can take 1-2 days to defrost. Mine came out of the deep freeze yesterday morning. It sat on the counter thawing until last night. I wiped it, salted it and I drizzled it with a little vegetable oil. Then I placed it in a covered casserole dish and put it in the fridge for the night. I just took it out and put it on a fresh platter. It’s now coming to room temperature and in less than 2 hours we will be having roast beef.

1 kg boneless bottom round
salt to taste
1 + 3 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots
2 parsnips
1 celeriac
2 beets, optional*
2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
pepper to taste
1 cup water
1/3 cup red cooking wine
1 cup of meat stock or water
[The amount will vary and will depend on the size of the roasting pan you are using. Mine is large roasting pan and I added 1 cup of meat stock. Use chicken, pork or beef stock, but don’t use turkey. ]
1 Tbsp tomato puree

• It will take about an hour or two for the beef to come to room temperature.
• When you see the meat is just about there preheat the oven to 300F.
• Now wash and peel all the vegetables.
• Drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil over the bottom of the roasting pan.
• Arrange the vegetables in the roasting pan.
• Lightly salt the vegetables.
• When the meat is at room temperature, wipe it well with paper towels.
• Lightly rub it with ground pepper.
• Place a non-stick pan over medium heat and add 3 Tbsp of oil.
• When the oil is hot, put the roast in the pan. It should sizzle when the meat touches the pan. If there is no sizzle, wait a bit before adding the meat. If the pan is not hot enough, the meat will stick. Turn the meat to sear all sides. This could take up to 15 minutes. Do NOT pierce the meat. Use a pair of thongs or 2 wooden spoons to turn it.
• Transfer the well-seared meat to the roasting pan and place it on the top of the vegetable bed that you have prepared.
• It is time to deglaze the fry pan and save all those little brown bits the meat left behind.
• Add 1 cup of water and with a spatula scrape off the brown bits.
• Pour the contents of the fry pan beside the vegetables, not on the top.
• Reserve the fry pan as is for use later.
• Add the wine and 1 cup of meat stock.
• The liquid should not be more than 2 inches high in the pan.
• Place a meat thermometer into the meat, cover and put into the preheated oven.
• Roast to the desired internal temperature. Keep in mind the meat will continue cooking a bit longer after you remove it from the oven. Temperature guide is at the end of the recipe. My roast had an internal temperature of 160F when I removed it from the oven.
• Tenting the roast will let the meat settle and the juices remain inside.
• With a slotted spoon scoop out all the vegetables and transfer them to a warm serving platter.
• Place the roasting pan lid over the vegetables to keep them warm.
• After 15 minutes of tenting, move the roast to a cutting board.
• With a sharp knife, cut the meat against the grain and into thin slices.
• Arrange the slices on the serving platter on top of the vegetables.
• Cover with the top of the roasting pan to keep warm.
• Now quickly transfer all remaining juices from roasting pan to the fry pan.
• Stir in 1 Tbsp of tomato puree and heat through.
• Pour the au Jus into a gravy boat. This is what we call “rozsdás lé”.
• If you prefer to make gravy instead, omit the tomato paste and thicken the juices with flour or cornstarch. For rich, brown gravy, I use Bisto gravy thickener.
• Roast beef time!

*I like to add beets to the vegetables, because I like the flavour, they give to the au Jus. Be aware though, the beets will give the Jus a purple tint.

TEMPERATURE CHART FOR BEEF:

120F for rare; 130F for medium rare; 145F for medium; 155 for well done.









PEANUT BUTTER MELTAWAYS


I have not made this for ages! I used to make peanut butter meltaways for my kids before Christmas. I wanted to add the recipe to the family cookbook and a good thing I made a batch. I forgot I used to have to tweak the recipe. The original topping was scant, and I am sure now I used to add more caramels and more whipping cream to the pot. Finally, the recipe is just right for a 13x9 inch baking pan. If you wanted to change it for a smaller batch and bake it in a square pan, just cut the crust ingredients in half and for the topping use 26 caramels, 1/4 cup of whipping cream, 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and about 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts. Somebody is going to be very happy when she comes over today.

CRUST

1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp water

TOPPING

39 caramels (10.5 oz)
1/4 +1/8 cup whipping cream
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pure chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts

• Line and lightly butter 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
• In a small mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
• In a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugar until fluffy.
• Beat in the egg and the water.
• Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.
• Pour into the prepared baking pan and spread out evenly.
• Bake at 375F for 20 minutes until light brown and center is firm.
• Place the hot pan on a baking rack to cool.
• Place the caramels and cream in a medium saucepan over low heat.
• Melt the caramels stirring occasionally. Mixture should be smooth.
• Remove pot from heat and stir in the vanilla.
• Carefully spread hot caramel mixture over the cooled crust.
• Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips and chopped peanuts and press them lightly onto the caramel layer.
• Cool in pan on a baking rack.
• Place in the fridge until bar is chilled and completely firmed up.
• Grasp the ends of the parchment paper and gently remove bar from the pan.
• Peel off and discard parchment paper.
• Gently slide the entire bar onto a large cutting board and slice.

18.11.11

CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP


My granddaughter called it velvet soup today. The flavor is as delicate as it looks. After tasting this, you may not want it from a can again.

1 pkg. fresh asparagus
3 cups chicken stock
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1-1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup whipping cream

• Wash the asparagus, but do not remove the woody ends.
• Place the asparagus and the chicken stock in a medium sized pot.
• Bring to the boil.
• Reduce heat, cover pot and slowly simmer until asparagus is very tender.
• Meanwhile make a roux from 3 Tbsp butter and 3 Tbsp flour.
• Remove roux from heat and gradually stir in the cold milk. Set it aside.
• When the asparagus is tender, remove 1 cup of the asparagus and set it aside.
• Remove pot from heat and add the milk and roux mixture.
• In batches, put the pot’s contents in a blender or food processor.
• Puree the soup.
• After each batch is pureed, press it through a fine sieve and into a clean pot. This will remove all the unwanted fibers.
• When the entire soup has been pureed and put through the sieve, chop the reserved asparagus discarding the woody ends.
• Put the chopped asparagus pieces back into the pot.
• Bring to a boil and slowly simmer for a couple of minutes.
• Adjust the salt and add ground pepper to taste.
• Remove pot from heat and stir in the whipping cream.
• After you add the cream, do not let soup come to a boil. If you need to reheat, just until steam begins to rise from the surface.

CARAMEL SAUCE


Drizzled over ice cream or a bowl of fresh apple slices this will sweeten things up a bit. There is a brand name caramel sauce on the market, but the only thing it has in its favour is that it can last in the fridge for months. Homemade sauce will never last that long, but then it is so much better!

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar

• Combine cream, brown sugar in saucepan.
• Bring to rapid boil.
• Boil 1-1/2 minutes stirring continuously.
• Remove from heat.
• Cool caramel sauce slightly before serving.

16.11.11

FRESH APPLE CAKE


The very first spoonful brought back a flood of memories from my childhood. My mom used to have a glass apple grater; we used it to make fresh apple sauce for the babies. Babies were plentiful in my family so the old apple grater was used at regular successions. Back in the days in Hungary when we never even heard of baby food.

an old apple grater

So if you like the taste of freshly grated apples this cake is for you! Imagine fresh apple sauce in an ethereal cake form and yet stable enough to slice! Serve it with vanilla flavoured sweet whipped cream and you have an irresistible dessert. As promised, this was very easy to make. I changed the layering a little. I lightened the top layer; this gave increased stability to the apple layers. I reduced the butter, because I figured a thinner top will not need quite as much butter. I also added Fruitfresh to keep the apple sauce a light golden color. Otherwise I kept to the original recipe. Thank you Sissi for sharing this delicate cake.

5 cups grated apples [will need about 1-1/2 kg of apples and more if you use windfalls]
1 Tbsp Fruitfresh
1 cup semolina
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1Tbsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup butter

Serve cake with:
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

• Set the oven between 375F and 400F and preheat.
• Peel the apples, removing the core, stems and ends.
• Rinse and drain the apples and then grate them or put them through the food processor.
• Mix in the Fruitfresh. This will keep the apples from turning brown.
• In a large bowl combine the flour, the semolina, the salt, the baking powder and the sugar with a balloon whisk.
• Line a 9 inch spring form cake pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray.
• Reserve 1/2 cup from the flour mixture for use later.
• Divide the flour mixture into two equal layers.
• Put 1/2 of the flour mixture in the pan. This will be the base.
• Cover with half of the grated apples
• Cover the grated apples with the remaining flour mixture.
• Cover with the remaining apples.
• Sprinkle the top with the reserved 1/2 cup of flour mixture. This will be the top.
• Melt the butter and drizzle over the top. Try to cover the entire top with the melted butter.
• Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake until the entire top is golden.
• Remove pan from the oven and let it cool down.
• Unhook the spring mechanism and take off the ring.
• For neat slices cut and serve this cake right off the baking pan base.
• Cake is not stable enough to transfer in its entirety onto a platter. One alternative is to freeze it first, remove the parchment paper from the bottom and then place the frozen cake on the cake platter. Or slice it frozen with a chef’s knife and then arrange the cake slices as they were on the platter. Either way let it fully thaw before serving.
• Serve cake with a generous dollop of vanilla flavoured sweet whipped cream.

fresh apple sauce

  

13.11.11

HUNGARIAN CREAM PUFFS – KÉPVISELŐ FÁNK


Ah the magnificence of képviselő fánk! It translates into English as “representative doughnut”? This is standard fare in Hungarian coffee houses and with home bakers alike and no French choux pastry can ever come close to its splendour. In a class all by itself, in size, presentation and general magnificence, képviselő fánk is far superior to profiteroles or éclairs. The small chocolate ganache covered cream puffs have been aptly named indianers, because they resemble turbans, but by far képviselő fánk is the preferred choice. I made it yesterday in honour of two dear old friends, for Jan who was visiting us from Victoria and for Ann who loves pastry. There was chatting and a lot of multitasking, except I am not so good at that anymore, oh not the chatting part hehe, so my pastry cream got scorched. There was no time for a repeat so I grabbed a package of vanilla instant pudding and some whipping cream from the fridge and whisked it together for the vanilla cream. This turned out so good; I just might use it again. I froze one of the magnificence’s so I can take a photo of it in daylight and it surprisingly retained all its splendour in the freezer, so yes, you can prepare it ahead of time and just bring it out an hour or two before serving. The recipe makes 9 pastries, one per person is all most people will handle. This is your basic Hungarian képviselő fánk. Nothing is better.

1. Pastry:

1 cup water
sprinkle of salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

2. Cream Layer:
1 batch of Pastry Cream – the recipe is here. You can replace the pastry cream with an instant vanilla cream. Recipe for Instant Vanilla Cream is included at the end.

3. Whipped Cream Layer:

• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Place water, salt, butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
• Reduce heat to medium and add the flour all at once.
• Start beating with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pot.
• Remove from heat.
• With the wooden spoon start adding the eggs, one at a time and keep beating until the egg is fully incorporated.
• Repeat the same process with the remaining eggs.
• Spoon the dough into 9 piles; [aim for height] onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
• Leave lots of room between the dough piles for expansion.
• Bake the pastries in preheated oven until puffed up, light, dry, and golden.
• Do not open the door, because the pastry can fall.
• Meanwhile make the pastry cream or in its place whisk together the instant vanilla cream.
• Cover and set aside in the fridge.
• Whip up 1 cup of whipping cream to soft peaks.
• Add 1 Tbsp sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
• Add 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
• Cover the whipped cream and place in the fridge.
• When the pastries have a deep golden color and are crispy in appearance, turn off the heat and open the oven door a little.
• Let the pastries cool down in the oven a bit. This way you won’t have to scrape out the insides before the fillings are added.
• Transfer the cooled pastries to a tray and slice the tops off.
• Spoon or pipe the vanilla cream around the perimeter of the bottom pastries. Divide the remaining cream in the middle of the pastries.
• Spoon the whipped cream on top of the vanilla cream.
• Place on the tops.
• Sprinkle the tops with icing sugar just before serving.

INSTANT VANILLA CREAM

1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whipping cream

• Whisk together instant pudding with the whipped cream.
• Cover and refrigerate.

[Next time I will try it with half and half instead. I may not be able to use 2 cups though.
You don’t want pudding consistency, because the vanilla cream is best piped.]




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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. This is to my old on-line friends and visitors: policing the comment section for spam and answering questions has become a chore. Good wishes to you all, happy cooking and keep on feeding your people with good food.

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