MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
Click on the Cookbook for the Recipes

29.9.12

TEA TIME SANDWICHES


My darling used to hate finger foods. The reason he hated them is because people finger them… This is the guy who refuses to share the popcorn bowl. Oh yes, I serve popcorn in individual bowls. This goes back to his working days, the meetings, the conferences, the organized work luncheons. People touching things…. breathing over the food… double dipping… talking away… spittle floating in the air as the line up moves around the buffet table. But secretly he always wanted those finger foods. So I thought let’s have a plate of meticulously prepared tea time sandwiches; cucumber cream cheese, egg salad, and salmon.
 
First let’s talk about the bread. The most economical is the thickly sliced long loaf of square sandwich bread. The only problem is it tastes like cardboard. But if you don’t mind that, this is the type of bread most suited for cutting those little triangles. On the other hand, a much better tasting, thickly sliced bread will have more waste and the most economical way to cut them is into little squares, because the original bread is not really a square, more like a rectangular not quite square shape. The next thing is fully freeze the bread before trimming. This will take a few hours. When you freeze the bread, take care not to compress the slices, because you have to separate them in a frozen state to cut. Whole wheat bread, aside from not liking the commercial whole wheat flavour I found is harder to work with, but be my guest. The final thing is when you make the sandwiches, don’t press the slices together. I know the recipes tell you to press them together, but surprise, surprise, what you get when you press the bread slices together is a pressed looking sandwich and that is not an ecstatically sound sandwich form. We want neat looking, sharply cut, even angles, nothing lumpy or pressed out.
 
Lastly, talk about the ingredients. You can use butter or margarine; I prefer the tub type soft margarine, because it does not add flavour to the sandwich. You want your tea time sandwiches as individual as the different fillings you put into them. Spread the margarine ever so lightly, but all the way to the edge of the slice. I make a final sweep with my knife not to leave a glob anywhere. Never ever use miracle whip salad dressing in your fillings. Your sandwiches will taste better if you use real mayonnaise. As you see from the suggested amount, use the mayo sparingly. People put way too much dressing into their sandwich fillings. You need only a small amount of dressing to keep the fillings together. Now about those cucumber sandwiches, the Queen may like them, but I find them without cream cheese utterly tasteless and boring. If you only make a few, use the spreadable cream cheese spread. But for larger amounts use regular cream cheese and just soften it up with a little whipping cream or milk.

This is what you will need:
thickly sliced square sandwich bread, I used white Dempsters
soft tub non-hydrogenated margarine [I use Olivina]
and fillings of choice
 
The following recipes are sufficient for 1 whole sandwich or 4 finger size sandwich squares:
 
Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwich:
2 slices of thick white bread
12 thin slices of peeled English cucumber
salt
3 Tbsp block cream cheese
1 Tbsp whipping cream or milk
 
• Freeze the bread.
• Trim the sides with a sharp chef’s knife. [Save the trimmings for breadcrumbs.]
• Put the trimmed slices back into the freezer while you prepare the filling.
• Lightly salt the cucumber slices and let them sit for 15 minutes.
• Dab the cucumber slices dry between two sheets of paper towel.
• Combine the cream cheese with the cream or the milk.
• Lightly spread both bread slices with margarine from edge to edge.
• Spread one of the buttered slices with the cream cheese mixture.
• Lay the cucumber slices on the top and cover with the other buttered slice. Do not press the slices together.
• Cut into 4 squares with a clean and wet chef’s knife. Wash the knife before each and every cut.
 
Egg Salad Sandwich:
2 slices of thick white bread
salt
1 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp very finely diced onion
 
• Freeze the bread.
• Trim the sides with a sharp chef’s knife. [Save the trimmings for breadcrumbs.]
• Put the trimmed slices back into the freezer while you prepare the filling.
• Peel the egg and crumple with a potato masher.
• Add the remaining ingredients and combine with a fork.
• Lightly spread both bread slices with margarine from edge to edge.
• Spread one of the buttered slices with the egg mixture.
• Place the other buttered slice on the top. Do not press the slices together.
• Cut into 4 squares with a clean and wet chef’s knife. Wash the knife before each and every cut.
 
Salmon Salad Sandwich:
2 slices of thick white bread
3/8 cup canned salmon meat, flaked
1 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp very finely diced red onion
 
• Freeze the bread.
• Trim the sides with a sharp chef’s knife. [Save the trimmings for breadcrumbs.]
• Put the trimmed slices back into the freezer while you prepare the filling.
• Discard the skin and bones and place the salmon meat in a small bowl.
• Mix in the mayonnaise and the diced onion.
• Lightly spread both frozen bread slices with margarine from edge to edge.
• Spread one of the buttered slices with the salmon mixture.
• Place the other slice on the top. Do not press the slices together.
• Cut into 4 squares with a clean and wet chef’s knife. Wash the knife before each and every cut.
 

CHICKEN WITH PLUMS


As DrMatchochist was inspired by the movie Poulet Aux Prunes - it is one way to make this dish. Mine is an easier and quicker version using 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast. With the prune sauce, rice and with salad, this is plenty for two people.

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/2 white onion
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sambal oelek [chilli paste]
2 pinches of saffron
salt and pepper to taste
6 Italian plums

• Slice the chicken breast diagonally into strips.
• Sprinkle with salt on both sides and set it aside.
• Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of grape seed oil in a large skillet.
• Add the onions and sauté for two minutes over medium heat.
• Add the turmeric.
• Add the chicken strips and fry, turning over continuously until chicken begins to get a little color.
• Add the chicken stock, the tomato the chilli paste and the saffron.
• Continue cooking until chicken strips are tender.
• Adjust the salt and season with ground pepper.
• Wash the plums and slice in half removing the stones.
• Cut each half into two pieces.
• Add the prune slices to the skillet and bring it to a boil.
• Immediately remove the skillet from heat.
• Serve over rice.

BALSAMIC VINEGAR DRESSING


I became conscious of expired salad dressings last year. Did you know that if salad dressing is on sale it is about to expire? And sometimes it already is. I just never checked the dates, shame on me. Then we had one of our daughters over for dinner and she ceremoniously dumped my six bottles of salad dressings into the trash. She then asked for mayonnaise because she knew I use it regularly. I tried and tried to keep my salad dressings up to date, but it became a ridiculous exercise, I would check the expiry date before Leilah came over and kept throwing out sometimes unopened bottles. Then I stopped buying it. We use it so rarely ourselves, mostly for mixed greens, because my salads tend to be more individualistic. Commercial salad dressings always expire on me between uses and when you have to discard hardly used bottles it gets to be a little expensive. Its either that or we feast on expired salad dressings. It’s Murphy's Law that the ones I would want are in large bottles, so I just don’t bother to buy them anymore. Besides I always have the ingredients for a basic dressing and if someone asks for it, well how long does it take to measure a few things into a bottle? Not much more than rummaging through the fridge for a bottle that probably died two months ago, remember I don’t use the stuff myself. For me it is easier to throw a fresh dressing together when it’s needed. I make small amounts that we can use up. Here I mixed up only half of the following recipe.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 crushed clove of garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch salt and ground pepper
• Combine the ingredients in a jar with a well fitting lid and shake.
• Store the leftover in the fridge for up to 2 weeks if you think you can use it up.
 

28.9.12

PLUM CAKE WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING


I tried several fruity cakes this past summer with almond meal, but every one of them was a disappointment. Well, until today. The only reason I made this one is because I overlooked the ground almond ingredient. But then lucky for me I still had some ground almonds in the freezer. Because oh boy, this cake is such a delight, that we are not sharing. No, really, this is an amazing cake. If I give this one away I will be in trouble.

I made a few changes though. I wanted a hint of orange so I replaced the orange juice with apple juice and added 2 Tbsp finely grated orange rinds instead. Also I made a bit more from the white chocolate glaze. Gratefully adapted from the Passionate Cook.

Plum Cake:
3 cups chopped plums
3/4 + 1/8 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2/3 cup oatmeal
1/2 + 1/8 cup finely ground almonds
8 Tbsp apple juice
2-1/4 cups self-raising flour
2 Tbsp finely grated orange rinds
cooking spray

White Chocolate Glaze:
3 squares white chocolate [28g each square]
1/4 cup whipping cream

• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Wash and stone the plums, cut them into bite sized chunks.
• Beat the butter and sugar until very fluffy.
• Beat in the eggs one at a time.
• Add the oatmeal, almonds, apple juice, flour and orange rinds and beat until fully incorporated.
• Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
• Fully line the loaf pan with parchment paper. Make sure the paper extends well over the pan. The paper will adhere to the cooking spray.
 • Bake for 65 - 70 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
• Place the loaf pan on a wire rack to cool.
• While the cake is cooling, melt the chocolate and the whipping cream in a pot on the stove, continually stirring.
• When half of the chocolate is melted, remove pot from heat and keep stirring until the residual heat melts the remaining chocolate chunks.
• Grasp onto the parchment overhangs and carefully remove the cake from the loaf pan.
• Carefully transfer the cake to a tray. [The cake is fragile]
• Now cover the bottom of a small funnel with a little piece of parchment paper and secure it with an elastic band. This will allow you to fill up the funnel without loosing any of the glaze.
• Position the funnel over the cake and remove the parchment and the elastic band.
• Move the funnel over the cake in close zigzags; drizzling the top with the white chocolate glaze.
• Let the glaze dry before slicing.
 

APPLE AND PLUM SAUCE


When I made the plum apple sauce yesterday, the thought occurred to me to make an apple sauce with plums. The amounts are arbitrary. My apples were large and the plums were small but their overall volume was pretty much the same. However, use the apples and plums in any ratio you want. If you use fewer plums the applesauce will be lighter.

8 apples
40 Italian plums
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp Fruit Fresh

• Wash the apples and the plums.
• Peel and core the apples and de-stone the plums.
• Slice the apples and chop the plums into a heavy bottomed pot.
• Add the water, sugar and the Fruit Fresh.
• Bring it to boil, and then reduce heat to maintain a low simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Meanwhile wash the jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. • Place the jars in 225F oven for ten minutes. Keep them in the oven until ready to fill. • Meanwhile place the jam funnel and the ladle in a medium large pot and add the flat lids. • Pour boiling water into the saucepan.
• Let stand in hot water until ready to use.
• As the fruit begins to soften, the sauce will start to reduce. At this point you will have to stir it very often.
• When the fruit is soft, mash and puree. I used a blander.
• Remove the hot jars from the oven and ladle the apple and plum sauce in, filling to within 1/8 inch of the tops.
• Wipe the jar rims and threads.
• Cover with the lids.
• Screw the bands on tightly.
• Place the jars in the preheated 225F oven for 2 hours.
• Remove jars and place upright to cool completely. Do not tighten the caps.

SPICY PLUM APPLE SAUCE


Serve this sauce chilled as a dessert with a small dollop of whipped cream or serve it warm to accompany meat or fish.

2 apples
12 Italian plums
1 cup apple cider [or apple juice]
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 stick of cinnamon
5 cloves
1 Tbsp chopped crystalline ginger [optional]

• Wash the apples and the plums.
• Peel and core the apples and destine the plums.
• Slice the apples and chop the plums into a heavy bottomed pot.
• Add the apple cider, the sugar, lemon zest and the spices.
• Bring it to boil, and then reduce heat to maintain a low simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Mash and puree the fruit.
• The sauce will keep up to one week covered and chilled.
• Yields about 2.5 cups
  Adapted from eCurry.com
 

26.9.12

HUNGARIAN APPLESAUCE - ALMAMÁRTÁS

Hungarian applesauce is an amazing accompaniment to pork roasts, pork chops, and for pork meats of any kind. Taste this apple sauce once and you will never go back to sweet applesauce. There really is no comparison. Hungarian applesauce is in a class all by itself. With a hint of parsley, this sauce is a combination of slightly tangy and sweet apple flavour… it truly is divine. Serve it with pork and alongside of rice or mashed potatoes.

4 apples
2 fresh parsley sprigs
1 + 1/4 cups water
sprinkling of Fruit Fresh
1 Tbsp sugar
salt to taste
1/2 cup 14% sour cream
1 Tbsp cornstarch

• Wash and peel the apples.
• Cut into quarters and remove the cores.
• Cut the quarters into 1/2 cm thick slices.
• Place the apple slices in a pot.
• Add 1 cup water, a sprinkling of Fruit Fresh, 1 Tbsp sugar and salt to taste.
• Bring to the simmer and slow cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
• Combine the cornstarch and the sour cream.
• Add 1/4 cup of water and whisk to combine.
• Place a fine sieve over the skillet with the apples and force the sour cream mixture through the sieve.
• Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the apple liquid and return to heat.
• Bring to the boil and slowly simmer for 1 minute.
• Remove from heat.
• Discard the fresh parsley and serve the sauce.

PUMPKIN LOAF


The first pumpkin loaf I ever had was at the Snyder cabin in Prince George back in the seventies. This recipe makes two loaves, to use up a small can of pumpkin puree. But it is well worth making the two, because these are surprisingly delicious loaves. The texture is cake like, soft and slices thinly and evenly. Freeze the second loaf for use later or better yet, spread the goodwill and give one loaf away.

3-1/4 cup flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cups golden raisins

• Preheat your oven to 350 F.
• Spray two 9 inch loaf pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, oil, 1-1/2 cups brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and the buttermilk.
  • Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and gently fold into the dry ingredients. As with all sweet loaves, do not over mix or beat the batter. Just combine the dry and the wet mixtures so there are no dry parts remain.
• Fold in the raisins.
• Divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans.
• Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. [Do not go by how the loaves look. They could appear to be ready and the middle could be still runny.]
• Cool the loaves completely and then let them rest for a couple of hours before slicing. They will slice like a dream.

25.9.12

ROASTED NEW POTATOES


The following recipe is for new potatoes. New potatoes cook a lot faster than mature potatoes. Mature red and Yukon Gold can be prepared pretty much the same way. The only difference is the increased cooking time mature potatoes require. Cook them halfway, a knife inserted should go in easily, but do not cook them fully tender. From then on proceed as with new potatoes. This recipe is a flavourful alternative to fries.

12 medium sized new potatoes
cooking spray
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Greek seasoning

• Preheat oven to 450F.
• Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
• Using a scrub brush, scrub the potatoes and then quarter them.
• Place the chopped potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water.
• Bring the water to a full boil; remove from heat, and drain.
• Transfer potatoes into a mixing bowl.
• Add the olive oil and toss to coat the potatoes.
• Add the breadcrumbs and the grated Parmesan to the potatoes and toss to coat.
• Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish.
• Sprinkle with Greek seasoning.
• Place in the oven and bake until potatoes are tender and crispy.

 

45 MINUTE PIZZA


My original pizza recipe makes two perfect pizzas, but it requires time to rise and to grow. I was thinking that instead of letting the dough rise twice; I would stretch the dough by hand and bake it at a slightly lower oven temperature. From start to finish, in just 45 minutes I got a lovely thin crust pizza. How long have you been waiting for that pizza guy to arrive? I just pulled mine out of the oven [haha the pizza] and it’s delicious.

1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/8 cup oil
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
desired toppings

• Place flour sugar, salt and instant yeast in a large bowl.
• Add the oil and the lukewarm water.
• Mix to combine.
• On lightly floured board kneed for a couple of minutes until soft and pliable.
• Preheat oven to 375F.
• Begin to flatten the dough into a shape that corresponds to the baking sheet you will be using.
• I used a round pizza stone, so I shaped mine into a round.
• Leave a small ridge around the perimeter and stretch the dough very thin.
• Lightly oil your baking pan and lay in the dough.
• Spread lightly with pizza sauce.
• Place the desired toppings on the top. [I used thinly sliced fresh red pepper, a finely chopped ripe tomato, and a handful of crumbled feta cheese.]
• Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
• Top with a Tbsp of chopped herb. [I used fresh parsley]
• Bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until golden.
• Yields 1 large thin crust pizza.

 

24.9.12

CHOCOLATE WAFERS


These chocolate wafers are thin, crispy and lend themselves to accompany a wide variety of desserts. If crushed, they can be used wherever chocolate cookie crumbs are called for. To cut them very thin, place the cookie log in the freezer for an hour. If refrigerated, this recipe will yield about forty cookies. I like them thin and crispy. Although they grow a little during baking, they require only about 1.5 cm spacing on the baking sheet. Interestingly, thicker or wafer thin, the baking time doesn’t vary much.

3/8 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg white
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

• In a mixing bowl beat the butter, sugars, vanilla extract and egg white until light and fluffy.
• In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and the salt.
• Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter, scraping the sides of the bowl until fully incorporated.
• Continue to beat until the dough forms.
• Roll the dough into a log and wrap it plastic wrap.
• Place in the freezer for an hour
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• [Place in the fridge for 1 hour if you want thicker, softer cookies.]
• Remove the plastic and slice the log into the desired thickness.
• Place the cookies 1.5 cm apart on a prepared baking sheet.
• Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.
• Put the remaining dough back into the freezer or the fridge.
• They will be soft when you remove them. Let them solidify before moving to a wire rack to cool.
• I baked 72 cookies in three batches.

 

23.9.12

TOMATO ROAST POTATOES


This is a surprisingly delicious side dish. The preparation is minimal and at 400F the potatoes are ready within 40 minutes. However, it is imperative to prepare the baking dish with cooking spray. You can grease the baking dish or add copious amounts of oil; in fact your potatoes could be swimming in grease and they will still stick to the dish without the cooking spray. Use fresh thyme leaves or dried, both work fine. I wouldn’t add basil though; basil would overpower the delicate flavours. Use fresh tomatoes with their skin on, the skin keeps the tomato pieces intact.

4-6 red or Yukon Gold potatoes with the skin on
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced with the skin on
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
cooking spray
1/4 tsp thyme

• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
• Scrub the potatoes and chop them.
• Wash and dice the tomatoes, do not discard the juice.
• Place the potatoes and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.
• Add the oil, salt and toss to coat. Resist the urge to add more oil, it’s not needed.
• Sprinkle the top with thyme and bake for 35-40 minutes.
• Remove when the potatoes are tender.

22.9.12

POTATO AND CHIVE SOUP


 
It is handy to have a stick blander, but a potato masher can be used if the vegetables are cooked very soft. In either case the finished soup should be forced through a fine sieve before serving. This is to catch the stray chive pieces and to remove the tiny potato skin bits, which although give added flavour to the broth, but floating about in a cream soup is not so pleasing.

3 healthy potatoes, with the skin on
3 Tbsp olive oil
little salt
1/2 cup chopped chives
3 cups chicken or pork stock
1 + 2/3 cups of milk
3 Tbsp flour
1/3 cup sour cream
2 thick slices of bacon [optional]
ground pepper to taste

• Scrub the potato skins.
• Chop the potatoes into small pieces.
• Place a medium stock pot on medium heat.
• Add the oil and the potatoes.
• Sprinkle a little salt on the top, not too much because the stock is salted already.
• Sauté for a few minutes and than add the chopped chives.
• Add the soup stock and bring it to a simmer.
• Cook slowly until the potatoes are tender.
• Meanwhile chop the bacon into small bitts.
• Place in a small non stick skillet and fry them crispy on medium heat.
• Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate and set it aside for use later.
• Combine 1 cup of milk with 3 Tbsp flour and add to the soup.
• Bring it to simmer and slow cook for 4 minutes.
• Combine 2/3 cup of milk with 1/3 cup sour cream and add to the soup.
• Puree soup with a stick blender or use a potato masher to mash the potatoes. You will not be able to mash the chives with the potato masher though.
• Force the soup through a fine sieve and discard what remains in the sieve.
• Place the soup back into the pot and bring it to a simmer, but just.
• Season with ground pepper and add the bacon bits.
• Serve with saltines.
 

20.9.12

BACON PASTA - SZALONNÁS TÉSZTA


This is a simple and yet delicious meal, especially good with the pepper salad I made last night. This was adapted from a femina.hu recipe. Bacon fat is a little heavy and replacing it with olive oil is a healthier alternative. The additional flavour from the olive oil fried peanuts gives this dish an extra punch.

8 cups water
salt
spaghetti for two
4 thick slices of bacon, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted raw peanuts
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

• In a medium sized dutch pot, bring to boil 8 cups of salted water.
• Add the spaghetti and cook until just tender.
• Meanwhile fry the chopped bacon in a non stick skillet on medium heat, stirring often.
• When the bacon has a little color, with a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Discard the bacon fat.
• Place the olive oil in a clean non stick skillet and place it on medium low heat.
• Add the peanuts and slow fry, turning often until the peanuts start to get a little colour.
• Remove the peanuts with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl.
• Add the minced garlic to the skillet the peanuts were fried in and sauté until you smell the garlic.
• Remove the skillet from the heat and put back the fried peanuts.
• Chop the parsley.
• Drain the spaghetti and put back in the same pot.
• Add the chopped parsley and the peanut garlic mixture.
• Add the bacon and toss.

YELLOW PEPPER SALAD – PAPRIKASALÁTA

I used to wait until we had sweet Hungarian peppers, but since yellow bells are available year around, we started to have pepper salad winter and summer. It is traditional to use Hungarian yellow peppers, but who is to say you couldn’t use a mixture, especially when there is a four pack on sale with all the colors. You could slip in a small segment from a hot one, but don’t be tempted to use all hot Hungarian peppers, even if you like HOT, it could not be eaten as a salad anymore.

4 yellow sweet Hungarian or 2 yellow bell peppers
salt to taste
2 cups boiling water
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp vinegar [5%]
1 cup cold water
 
• Core the green peppers, cut into rings and place in a salad bowl.
• Season the peppers with salt.
• Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the pepper rings.
• Add the sugar and the vinegar and stir it into the hot liquid.
• Set the bowl aside for a couple of hours to cool down to room temperature.
• Add 1 more cup of cold water and stir it into the brine.
• Cover and let the flavours mature overnight.
 

19.9.12

HOMEMADE NILLA WAFERS


“Leave the Box on the Shelf” Amanda Clarke on her homemade nilla wafers. This is her recipe.

I made a brand name pudding the other day and we couldn’t eat it. What’s going on? Boxed and canned foods are getting worse year after year. Really, have you noticed how really bad commercial boxed cookies are tasting these days? Did I spoil us with butter so I can’t stand a brownie made with margarine? Or is the commercial stuff really getting worse? I didn’t have any homemade cookie crumbs left in the freezer so I bought a box of Nilla. I used what I needed for the vanilla crumbs. There was some left, but after 3 months in the cupboard and nobody wanting it finally I threw the leftover nilla away. I should have made my own to start with. This recipe makes 56 crunchy wafers. Freeze it and use it as needed. The flavour is intense vanilla. The dough rolled nicely so I don’t see the point in dragging out the pastry bag and attachments and then washing them. Just roll them by hand. I guarantee that these crunchy little wafers will make the best vanilla crumbs ever.

Nilla Update: None of THESE will ever make it to crumbs; husband and granddaughter were both horrified at grinding them up. She is walking away with whatever husband failed to secure for himself. I guess I am baking again tomorrow.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
1 large egg white
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk
1-1/3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder

• Preheat oven to 350F.
• With an electric mixer, cream butter, salt, sugar and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy.
• Beat in egg white until incorporated.
• Beat in extract and milk until incorporated.
• Whisk together flour and baking powder and add to butter mixture.
• Mix just to incorporate and press together until dough forms.
• Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
• Roll 56 balls between the palms of your hands and place on the prepared cookie sheets.
• Leave room for expansion.
• Bake for 15 minutes.
• The cookies will be soft at first, but they will firm up as they cool.
• Remove from heat and let cookies cool down completely before storing.
• Cookies will keep in an airtight container for at least a week and for several months in the freezer.

18.9.12

POACHED PEARS - KÖRTEKOMPÓT


Lovely poached fruit with an intensified fruit flavour that mingles with the vanilla... the house smells like heaven and you can never wait for it to cool down, it is so good. Unfortunately poached fruit is often overcooked, contain way too much sugar and is sometimes so over spiced you cannot even taste the fruit only the spices. All that my mom ever used for poaching fruit was a little sugar and one vanilla bean. That’s because she had to poach more fruit for a family of seven plus three. I use only half a vanilla bean that I reuse several times for all kinds of dessert thingies requiring vanilla bean. As kids we used to drink the poaching liquid, but I prefer to boil it down and serve it with the fruit.

8 large pears
4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp Fruit Fresh
1 vanilla bean [keep it whole]

• Cut the pears in half and peel them.
• Scoop out the seeds with a melon scoop and neatly slice out the stringy part with a sharp pairing knife.
• Place the pears with the cut side down in a large skillet and cover with water.
• Add the sugar, Fruit Fresh and the vanilla bean.
• Place a metal pot liner or an aluminum pie plate on the top and weigh it down with a small saucepan. This will keep the pears submerged in water. [Bits of fruit not covered with water will turn brown.]
• Cook for 5 minutes.
• Remove fruit with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving bowl.
• Remove the vanilla and set it aside to dry for some other use.
• Boil the poaching liquid down until almost syrupy. After 10 minutes keep a very close eye on it so the syrup won’t burn.
• Pour the reduced syrup over the pears and serve.

15.9.12

PLUM SQUARES - SZILVÁS PITE


This is the Hungarian version of a fruit pie. The pastry is linzer. Most of the pite variations occur in the way you handle the fruit, to cook it or not to cook it and what to use in the way of thickening. Other than that everyone makes the pite pretty much the same way. Another way to prepare the filling is to slice the fruit either by hand or on a mandolin and let the fruit sit in a bowl for an hour with a couple tablespoons of sugar mixed into it. After that it is easy to squeeze out the juice before making the fruit filling. But I don’t like to discard fruit juice; instead I add a thickening agent and a little butter to my fruit fillings. This way the whole fruit is used and I never once had a runny fruit filling. I cut these still hot. If you wait until the pite cools down you will have neat squares.

1 batch linzer pastry dough
1 Tbsp butter for greasing the pan
1/4 cup ground almonds or fine breadcrumbs
1 egg for the egg wash

Fruit Filling:
5 cups diced plums
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp cold butter,

• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Prepare the plums and place them in a medium bowl.
• Add the sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves and the flour.
• Stir to combine.
• Butter an 9X12 inch baking pan.
• Knead the linzer pastry dough for a couple of minutes and divide into two parts.
• Roll one part into a slightly larger than the baking pan. Set aside the remaining dough.
• Place the rolled out dough inside the cake pan.
• Arrange the plum mixture on the bottom layer.
• Dot the top with cold butter.
• On floured board roll the remaining dough slightly larger than the baking pan.
• Place on top of the fruit filling and press down lightly.
• Lightly poke the top layer with a fork and brush egg wash over it.
• Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown.
• Remove from the oven and let the pastry cool down.
• Cut into squares and serve sprinkled with icing sugar.



LINZER PASTRY – LINZER TÉSZTA


Without linzer pastry there is no Hungarian pite. Linzer provides the base and the top for a wide variety of fruit and túró squares. Linzer is based on the 1-2-3 linzer rule, 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter and 3 parts flour. This is in weight mind you so the parts are not easily distinguishable in cup measurements. But for the cook who uses a kitchen scale this is an unforgettable formula and so the pite whatever fruit it may have in it tends to be made from memory rather than recipes.

There are three things to keep in mind when making this pastry. The first one is always use room temperature butter. If you don’t have room temperature butter, use chopped up cold butter. It is harder to work with cold butter, but under no circumstances use melted butter. The second is always make linzer pastry by hand, if you use a mixer, your pastry will be crumbly and not so enjoyable to eat. The third thing to keep in mind is to always chill the pastry for 1/2 hour or longer before rolling it out. By the time you prepare the filling the pastry should be ready to roll.

1/2 cup sugar
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
sprinkling of salt
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp room temperature butter [not melted]
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sour cream or kefir or yoghurt, buttermilk or heavy cream

• In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder and the salt.

• Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture. If you have a hand held wire pastry blender it works really well.
• Add the egg yolk and the sour cream and knead until the dough comes together. Resist the urge to add more liquid. If you keep working on it you will have a wonderful textured pastry that will not stick to the board.
• Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap it with plastic wrap.
• Place in the fridge for 1/2 hour or longer.
• After chilling the dough knead it on a floured board for a minute or two to warm it up a little.
• Lay a sheet of parchment paper corresponding in size to the baking pan you will be using.
• Place the dough on the paper and with lightly floured roller roll out the dough to 1 cm thickness.
• Transfer to the baking pan and reserve the paper for rolling the second layer.
• Linzer pastry bakes at 375F.

14.9.12

POPPY SEED SALAD DRESSING


I made this salad dressing the other day. At first I found its sweetness way too much for my liking and the flavour was rather raw and undeveloped. But after a couple of hours sitting on the counter it mellowed into a rather pleasant salad dressing. Still, for my palate less sugar is better so I reduced the half cup to one third of a cup and for the same reason I put less onion into the second mixture. This is something you have to experiment with, but keep in mind that we consume salad dressing with a salad and not on it’s own. This can be made the old fashioned way, whisked up with a balloon whisk. Adapted from Food. People.Want.

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp French mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/8 cup finely grated red onion
1-1/2 tsp poppy seeds

• Pour the olive and canola oil into a measuring cup and set it aside.
• Add the sugar, mustard, red onion and salt to the jar of a blender.
• Pour in the vinegar and blend on high until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
• With the motor still running, remove the lid from the blender and pour in the combined oils in a steady stream until emulsified.
• Pour the dressing into sterilized jar, add the poppy seeds and shake to combine.
• Seal the jar and refrigerate until use.
• Makes about 2 cups


12.9.12

PASTA CARBONARA


The minute I saw this dish at a-boleyn’s live journal, I knew I will have to make it for Jim. He is not a fan of lovely delicious cream oozing pasta and I wanted to see if he will pull a face when I put an Italian style pasta in front of him… again. Well he didn’t. This is the second run and this time I made a batch of homemade fettuccine and used bacon and Parmigiano-Reggiano. With commercial pasta, one egg yolk is sufficient, but homemade pasta soaks up two eggs greedily. I wanted to use peas but after reading the original recipe, haha, I didn’t dare. This was a good and simple dish and fast too; all it took was twelve minutes. The recipe is for two people, divide or multiply it as needed.

4 cups water
1 tsp oil
pasta for two
1/2 tsp salt
3 slices of thick bacon
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
black pepper to taste
additional shaved parmesan cheese for garnish


• Bring the water to boiling and add the salt.
• Add the pasta and cook to package directions.
• Meanwhile chop the bacon and slow fry on medium heat.
• Discard the bacon fat and set aside the bacon.
• Next grate and shave the parmesan cheese, and chop the parsley.
• In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks with the grated parmesan cheese.
• Drain the cooked pasta, but reserve some of the pasta water.
• Put the pasta back into the same pot.
• Stir in the yolk and cheese mixture.
• Stir in the bacon and the chopped parsley.
• Add the reserved pasta water and stir to combine.
• Adjust the seasoning.
• Finally sprinkle with the shaved parmesan.
• If pasta is too dry add a little more pasta water.

10.9.12

KETCHUP


My best friend used to be a ketchup addict; I pretended not to see when she doused everything on her plate with ketchup. In fact the first time I saw her do it to my breaded pork chops I was a little insulted. Then as I got to know her better and I realized it wasn’t my cooking she was obliterating, she did it that to all her food. This went on for several decades then one day she just stopped doing it. Just like smoking. One day she just stopped. Ann has tremendous willpower.

The problem I had with homemade ketchup was the flavour. It didn’t match the brand we learned to like. Granted the second time I made ketchup I burned it. I was freezing tomatoes, making tomato chutney, tomato sauce and ketchup. How much multitasking can one do? That was fifteen years ago and I haven’t made ketchup since.

Then I saw on with a glass that Sissi cooked up a really lovely ketchup and she said it tasted just as good. I thought I will use more or less the same spices and just see what happens. Sissi likes heat, mine is considerably milder, but oh IS THIS EVER GOOD! Thank you Sissi for helping me overcome one of my kitchen failures.

One more thought. One kilo of tomatoes yielded less than a cup of ketchup. This made me wonder what could be the tomato and filler ratio in a bottle of commercial ketchup. If they made the ketchup like this, the price would have to be at least ten times as much and I don’t think most of us could afford that. So what are we actually eating in that ketchup?

1 kg tomatoes
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 tablespoon salt
1-1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

• Wash and roughly chop the tomatoes.
• Put them in a pan, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
• Strain through a fine sieve, pressing out all the pulp.
• Place the strained tomato in a saucepan and add the remaining ingredients, except the sugar.
• Bring to slow simmer, cover and cook slowly for 25 minutes.
• Remove from heat and strain, discarding the spices, onion, garlic, etc.
• Slowly simmer for 15 minutes stirring often.
• After 15 minutes stir continuously until you obtain the desired ketchup consistency, (keeping in mind that hot ketchup is a bit more liquid than when it cools down).
• Stir in the sugar and adjust the taste if necessary.
• Pour the ketchup, into a sterilised jar.
• Let it cool down, screw on the lid and place in the fridge. It will last for two weeks.
• Ketchup preserves well if canned, but I would want at least 4 times the amount to make it worth my while to process in jars.

9.9.12

RIBBON DOUGHNUTS - SZALAGOS FÁNK


My mother made the best doughnuts! Sadly, I never got mom’s doughnut recipe and I had to experiment to recreate it. This is the result, I would have to make it a half a dozen more times to really perfect it and a doughnut press could make it easier.

Most people fry their doughnuts in oil, something I tried to do but did not like the result. All those instructions regarding the frying temperature of doughnuts are useless, because the home cook has no access to commercial deep frying oils. I found that shortening is much, much better than oil and the temperatures need not be anywhere as high as the recipes suggest. The other very good thing about shortening frying is that doughnuts do not soak up the shortening. None of my shortening fried donuts are greasy or have oily aftertaste. So frying the doughnuts in shortening is the first important criteria.

Hungarian doughnut recipes all call for 4 g of cake yeast. Consequently, I have seen recipes calling for 4 Tbsp of dry yeast in several doughnut recipes, just try them these will not be palatable. You do use a little more yeast for doughnuts just not quite as much. I am an avid bread flour user, but I would not use bread flour for doughnuts. For reasons I cannot explain, all purpose unbleached, [white] flour makes the best doughnuts.

To get the ribbon effect, you have to let the doughnuts rise to about an inch and a half in height during the final rising. Doughnuts are best on the same day, so included at the end is a recipe for a smaller batch of doughnuts.

To make 26 doughnuts:
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs
5-1/2 cups flour
2 pkgs. instant dry yeast
1 egg yolk
1/8 cup melted butter
2 lbs shortening for frying

• Place a small saucepan on low heat and add the shortening.
• Melt it slightly and then remove from heat.
• Add the milk and stir to combine.
• Add the shortening mixture to a large mixing bowl with the cold water, sugar, sour cream and the eggs [and the egg yolk in the large batch].
• Add 1 cup of flour and the instant dry yeast.
• Mix to combine.
• Gradually add the remaining flour and kneed with a dough hook on high speed for 5 minutes.
• [If kneading by hand, shape into a ball and kneed the dough for 10 whole minutes. The dough will stick a little, but you don’t need to add more flour.]
• Dough should be very pliable and very, very elastic.
• Form into a ball, place into a buttered bowl, turn the dough over and let it rise until almost doubled.
• Punch down, but do not handle dough much. Put dough back in the bowl for 20 minutes. Not longer, you do not want the dough rising too high at this stage.
• Then turn onto a floured surface, handle the dough minimally. Roll it into 1/2 inch thickness, not thicker.
• Cut rounds with the largest round cutter. Cut the donuts economically, close together.
• Cut the doughnut holes out with a tiny round cutter or with a floured shot glass.
• Place the doughnuts and the doughnut holes on parchment lined baking trays.
• Leave lots of room between the doughnuts. If they rise into each other, they will stretch when you separate them. This will result in uneven doghnuts.
• Spread the tops with melted butter and let them rise until doubled.
• Fold up the scraps and put back into the buttered bowl for 20 minutes.
• Roll out the remaining dough and cut more doughnuts and doughnut holes. Place these on the parchment lined trays and lightly butter them too. These will rise about the same time as the first batch.
• Whatever dough remains at this point, re-roll it and cut it into doughnut holes.
• Place a large pot on medium heat and melt the shortening.
• When the shortening appears hot enough for frying, drop in a doughnut hole to test it.
• Once the doughnut hole fries up on both side, the shortening is ready for the rest of the operation.
• Slide the doughnuts into the hot shortening one by one. Observe the order of the doughnuts. Do not crowd the pot.
• When the bottom half has a nice golden colour, flip the doughnuts over in the same order they started to fry; first one first and last one last.
• Remove them one by one in the same order and place them on a paper towel lined tray for a few minutes.
• After the doughnuts are done, fry up the doughnut holes.
• Dip the still warm doughnuts into the prepared glaze half way and twist as you remove them from the glaze.
• Then place the doughnuts on a wire rack with a catch tray underneath to drain off excess.
• The doughnut holes can be rolled into cinnamon sugar or chocolate shavings Yields 26 doughnuts and a few more doughnut holes.
• Discard the shortening after use.

To make 13 doughnuts:

1/8 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups flour
1 pkg. instant dry yeast
2 lb shortening for frying




SPANISH RICE


Spanish rice should not be slushy; ideally the juice from the fresh tomatoes and the stock should have been absorbed by the rice grains. The key to cooking Spanish rice is attention and treating the softening rice grains with a gentle hand. Spanish rice is not really American or Mexican, read a little bit of history on Spanish rice here.

1 cup good quality rice, I use Basmati
2 Tbsp light vegetable oil, I use grape seed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2 medium large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1-1/2 cups chicken or pork stock
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 sprigs of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

• Add the oil to a deep skillet and place over medium low heat.
• Pour in the rice and pan fry it, continually stirring until the grains are beginning to get a lightly toasted light brown colour. Make sure not to char any of the rice grains.
• Add the onion and the green pepper and the tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.
• Add 1 cup of chicken stock, cover and sauté over low heat for 3-4 minutes.
• Uncover and bit by bit add more stock as needed.
• Season with salt and pepper and add the minced garlic and the chopped parsley.
• Gently stir to combine.
• Avoid stirring the rice from here on, shake the skillet instead.
• When the stock is absorbed by the rice, cover and remove from heat.
• Let it rest for a few minutes and then gently fluff it up with a fork and serve.
 

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESE CAKE SQUARES


Once I got over the fact that these little squares cannot be sliced to my neat freak standards I turned my attention to taste. Delicious! I used the least amounts from the rich ingredients and cut 16 small squares, hoping for portion control, except its hard not to have a second or a third. These would look great on a squares platter among nanaimo bars, lemon squares or brownies. It is a good thing our woodworker bachelor friend dropped by and helped destroy all that remained from yesterday.

This is easy to turn into a cheesecake, just use a small spring form cake pan. No need for a topping, the white chocolate perfectly rounds out the flavours. Use vanilla wafer crumbs for the base, the honey grahams would be too overpowering. For the same reason, don’t add lemon juice or vanilla extract, for these would upset the delicate balance of flavours.

1 cup vanilla flavoured cookie crumbs
2 Tbsp melted butter
3/4 cup cream cheese
1 Tbsp sugar
3 white chocolate squares, barely melted
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites

• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Combine the cookie crumbs with melted butter and press into an 8×8x2 inch baking pan.
• Bake the base in the preheated oven for 12 minutes or until edges begin to brown lightly.
• Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
• Turn the oven down to 325F.
• Place the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and the egg yolks.
• Partially melt the white chocolate squares in a small pot on medium low heat.
• Remove from heat and stir until the remaining chunks melt from the residual heat.
• An alternative is to melt the chocolate, continually stirring, in the top half of a double boiler. it up until doubled in size.
• Gradually pour in the melted chocolate into the cream cheese, beating all the while.
• Beat for 4 minutes or until mixture doubles. Set aside.
• In a clean bowl and with clean beater, whip up the egg whites until stiff peaks fold.
• Gradually fold the beaten egg whites into the cream cheese mixture.
• Pour this over the baked crust.
• Select a rimmed baking pan the 8X8 pan will easily fit into.
• Fill the larger pan with about and inch of water and place it in the 325F oven.
• Place the pan with the cheesecake in the middle of the larger pan.
• Shot the oven door and bake for 25 minutes or until the sides are starting to get a little color.
• Remove from heat and let the bar cool. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours and then slice into 16 squares.
 

6.9.12

CELERY ROOT CREAM SOUP - ZELLERKRÉM LEVES


Celery root cream soup, parsnip cream soup, kohlrabi cream soup, mushroom cream soup, I make all of these soups the Hungarian way and each one is delicious. They are best if made with homemade stock, but if I don’t have homemade stock, I prefer to use water. All right, I will use a Bovril packet if I have to, but I will not use commercial stock, because I really don’t care for that canned soup taste canned stock gives to foods. Besides why bother with cooking, you might as well just warm up a can of soup right?

These soups are really delicious with heavy cream, but if you can’t allow the calories, use table cream or milk. I use a blender to puree my cream soups, just be careful with it, if it’s too hot or if you fill up the jar it can splatter and make a mess and potentially burn your hands and face. If I have time, I wait until the soup cools down and puree in small batches, otherwise I hold down the top with all my might when I turn on the blender. You can use a stick blender of course, but this will not give you that lovely smooth consistency. Not many of us use mechanical vegetable strainers anymore, but it is possible to puree with a wooden spoon and a large sieve. The only drawback is you have to slightly overcook the vegetables and loose food value.

1 large celery root
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh parsley
2 cups homemade chicken or pork stock
2 cups cold water
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp flour
1/3 cup cold water
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

• Peel the celery root with a sharp paring knife.
• Rinse and chop into 1/2 inch strips or cubes.
• Place the olive oil in a non stick skillet and add the chopped celery roots.
• Sparingly sprinkle a little salt on the celery root. Keep in mind the stock you will use is salty already. It is better to add salt at the end if needed.
• On medium low heat lightly sauté, stirring often until the celery root is lightly caramelized.
• Meanwhile add the stock and the water to a medium Dutch pot and bring to a simmer.
• When the distinct celery root aroma begins to rise, add the onions and sauté, stirring for one more minute.
• Add the celery root onion mixture to the Dutch pot and cover with a lid.
• Slow simmer soup for 5 minutes or until celery root is tender.
• Remove from heat and let soup cool down a little.
• In the meantime whisk together the egg yolk, 2 Tbsp of flour and 1/3 cup cold water in a small bowl until no lumps remain. If lumps should form, force it through a fine sieve.
• Puree soup in a blender and then place back in the same Dutch pot.
• On very low heat, slowly heat up the pureed soup.
• Ladle a little bit of hot soup into the egg yolk mixture. This will temper the egg yolk so it will not curdle in the hot soup.
• Then gradually add the egg yolk mixture to the soup.
• Slowly simmer for a couple of minutes.
• Adjust the salt and add ground pepper to taste.
• Stir in the heavy cream and serve immediately.
• Some people add a couple of tablespoon of butter to keep skin forming on the top. This is not necessary if you keep the soup covered.
• Keep leftover soup covered and refrigerate it.
• Heat up leftover cream soups slowly just under the boiling point. Do NOT boil once the cream or milk is added to cream soups.



2.9.12

NEW POTATOES IN PARSLEY – PETREZSELYMES ÚJ KRUMPLI


If you can get your hands on some tiny new potatoes, they really are a treat. What is special about them is their unique flavour. Once they grow beyond an inch in diameter, they taste different. Not every small potato is new, the bagged ones available year around most certainly aren’t. The way you can tell the new potato is you don’t have to peel them; the skin is thin and comes off easily when scraped with a paring knife.

When I was a kid we sometimes bought our new potatoes from a tiny produce store next door. The store had a potato scraper rigged up and kept a ready supply of them in a large bin of water. New potatoes used to be big business and the smaller they were the better.

Use a mixture of olive oil and butter to sauté the new potatoes. The butter adds flavour and the oil prevents the butter from burning. Cook it over medium low heat and don’t stir them too much. New potatoes cook up surprisingly fast, so don’t salt them until you roll them into the chopped parsley.

2-4 servings of small new potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley [but not cilantro]
salt to taste

• Place the new potatoes in a large bowl of water.
• Let them sit in the water for 30 minutes.
• Scrape the skin off with a paring knife.
• Rinse them and chop the larger potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Leave the small ones whole.
• Place the oil and butter in a non stick fry pan over medium heat..
• When the butter melts, add the potatoes.
• Turn heat down just a little and place a lid on the fry pan.
• Meanwhile rinse the fresh parsley and chop. Sprinkle with salt and chop very finely.
• Sauté the potatoes until they start to get a little color. By then they will be tender.
• Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer potatoes to a serving bowl.
• Add the chopped parsley and gently toss.
• Serve immediately.


PAPRIKA KOHLARABI – KARALÁBÉ PAPRIKÁS


Use the kohlrabi in place of meat and make a rich paprikás. Because of its mild flavour, kohlrabi really takes on the flavour of the sweet onions, the paprika and the sour cream. The bacon and homemade meat stock enhance it, but this can be easily made into a vegetarian meal. In fact, this could be as close as one can get to experience the wonderful flavour of paprikás without meat. It is essential to use tender new kohlrabi; once it’s woody, the kohlrabi is good to flavour a soup stock, but eating it is no longer enjoyable.

1/2 cup diced bacon
1 onion
salt to taste
4 very young kohlrabis
1 to 1-1/2 cups of soup stock as needed
1 tomato, peeled and crushed
1 Hungarian yellow pepper or 1/2 yellow bell, chopped
1 -2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup 14% sour cream

• Dice a small piece of block bacon.
• Slow fry it in a non stick skillet until transparent. If you prefer crispy bacon, do it ever so slowly and make sure you don’t scorch the bacon or the remaining fat.
• Meanwhile dice the onion.
• Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside for use later.
• Add the onions to the bacon fat and slow fry until transparent.
• Meanwhile peel the kohlrabi and chop them into 1/2 inch cubes. Do not use even slightly woody kohlrabi flesh.
• Add the kohlrabi and stir it in with a wooden spoon to coat with the fried onions.
• Add a little bit from the stock, tomato and pepper and bring it to a slow simmer.
• Stir in the Hungarian paprika and cover the pot.
• Reduce the heat a little and slow cook until the kohlrabi is tender. Occasionally stir the pot, and keep adding more stock as needed. The smaller you chopped the kohlrabi the less stock will be needed. Do not let the liquid reduce completely; always keep a little bit of liquid under the kohlrabi.
• When the kohlrabi is tender, combine the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of cold stock.
• Add to the skillet and stir it into the liquid.
• Bring it to the boil and simmer slowly for a couple of minutes until the liquid thickens.
• Stir in the sour cream.
• Add the fried bacon and serve with nokedli or buttered pasta.




SUMMER SQUASH WITH MAPLE SYRUP


I asked for marrow squash and the man brought home a yellow squash. As it turns out it is not yet time for marrow squash until the end of September. I wasn’t too disappointed because we had several eats from the summer squash and it was delicious. I don’t think you can cook winter squash this way; they need to be roasted for best flavour.

1/2 yellow summer squash
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
salt to taste
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup pure maple syrup

• Cut the ends off the squash and cut it into 2 pieces. Wrap and refrigerate the piece you don’t use.
• To make bite-size pieces, cut the remaining half lengthwise.
• Remove the seeds and the pulp with a spoon and discard.
• Peel and then slice the squash crosswise to 1/2 inch thickness.
• Finally chop them into 1/2 inch cubes.
• Place the olive oil and the butter in a non stick fry pan over medium heat.
• When the butter melts, add the squash and salt it to taste.
• Stirring with a wooden soup, sauté the squash for a couple of minutes searing the sides with the fat, but be careful not to brown it. Scorched squash doesn’t taste very nice so you have to keep the temperature fairly low, because squash can burn very fast. I had to discard the first batch I made.
• Add the water and bring it to a slow simmer. Do not cover and keep an eye on it so there remains a bit of water under the squash. It will be ready soon; there is a fine line between tender and mushy squash.
• When the squash is tender, stir in the maple syrup and simmer for 1 more minute and then serve.

BACON AND EGGS THE HUNGARIAN WAY - SZALONNÁS RÁNTOTTA


This is very different from western bacon and eggs and if you are into stiff, super crispy bacon you won’t like it. But this is how they like it in Hungary, and most often it is made for the evening meal. I don’t remember ever having eggs for breakfast as a kid, although customs change and with westernization come new things, maybe even rántotta for breakfast.

1/2 cup diced slab bacon
1 Hungarian yellow pepper [optional]
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkling of Hungarian paprika

• Slow fry the diced bacon until transparent in a non stick skillet.
• Add the sliced Hungarian pepper and sauté until transparent.
• Pour off the excess bacon fat.
• Whisk well the eggs and season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Pour into the skillet, tilting the pan.
• Make sure the temperature is at a low medium. There must not be browned spots on the egg as it cooks. If needed pull the skillet off the heat periodically. Gently turn over parts and when the egg is no longer runny remove from heat. There still be residual heat left and the egg will continue to cook even after the skillet is removed from the heat.
• Sprinkle it with Hungarian paprika and serve it immediately with a chunk of rustic bread.


1.9.12

GOOSEFOOT – LÚDLÁB


I read some explanations, but I haven’t been convinced as to why this confection was called goosefoot in the first place. If I had to describe it, this is the Hungarian equivalent of death by chocolate. The lúdláb is a thick layer of rococo cream sandwiched between two thin layers of chocolate cake with a dozen rum soaked sour cherries hidden within the cream layer and then topped with a layer of dark chocolate glaze. Decorated with sour cherries or not. This is an adult dessert, not only because of the rum content, but obviously finding cherries among the rococo cream would not be to a child’s delight. I remember picking it once at the old Hauer, only to be terribly disappointed when I got a rum soaked sour cherry in a bite. But all grown up and lúdláb becomes something else altogether.


Cake:
4 egg yolks
4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp cake flour, sifted
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa, sifted
4 egg whites

Filling:
2 cups pitted sour cherries
1/3 cup rum
1 batch of rococo cream

Chocolate Glaze:
3 squares of bittersweet chocolate
2 Tbsp butter

• Soak the pitted sour cherries in rum.
• Make the cake next.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Fully line a round spring form cake pan with parchment paper.
• A dab of butter will keep the paper in place.
• Beat the egg yolks and sugar for 5 minutes.
• Add the sifted cake flour and the sifted cocoa and beat to combine.
• In a separate bowl with clean beaters beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
• Gradually fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.
• Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
• Bake the cake in the preheated oven until the middle springs back.
• While the cake bakes, make the rococo cream.
• Remove cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
• Gently cut along the edge and open up the springs.
• Remove the cake from the pan and place back on the wire rack to cool down completely.
• Place the cake on a platter.
• With a serrated knife cut off the upper 1/3 of the cake and place the top back on the wire rack.
• Drizzle 3-4 Tbsp from the soaking rum over both layers.
• Carefully flip over the top cake layer, placing the rum soaked top on the bottom.
• Place a baking pan under the wire rack. This will act as a catch tray.
• In a double boiler, slowly melt the bittersweet chocolate squares with 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter. Do not overheat the chocolate.
• Spread the top layer with melted chocolate and set it aside to cool down.
• Spread the bottom layer with 1/3 of the rococo cream.
• Arrange the sour cherries on the top.
• Cover the cherries with half of the remaining rococo cream.
• Place the chocolate glazed cake layer on top of the rococo cream layer.
• Spread the remaining rococo cream on the outside, leaving the bottom cake layer exposed.
• Decorate the top with rum soaked sour cherries.
• Chill the cake for half an hour and then score the top for easy slicing later.
• Chill the cake thoroughly before slicing.


Translate

me

My photo
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.

Blog Archive