Martha Stewart's Individual Peach Pastries revisited:

This is a delectably sweet confection. I use strawberries, but any thinly sliced fresh fruit will do. The fruit should be paper-thin, otherwise the pastry will be soggy on the bottom. Place only 4-5  slices of fruit on each pastry; again too many slices will produce too much liquid and the bottoms will be soggy. Use only a tiny amount of brown sugar. I make them as a flat pastry, but I also make them in a tart shape by lining a cupcake tin with the filo. The effect is quite attractive, but you have to reduce the time in the oven to 8 minutes, otherwise the edge of the filo burns. The flat pastry can take up to 14 minutes or more making the caramelization process more successful.

4 filo sheets
2 Tbsp butter, melted
3 large fresh strawberries sliced 1/4-inch thick
6 tsp brown sugar

• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Paper - thinly slice the strawberries.
• Remove the filo from the package and lay it on a flat surface.
• The stack of pastry sheets are folded in half. Open the stack in the middle.
• Leaving a single sheet on the board, fold back the rest of the filo sheets and set them aside.
• Quickly brush the single filo with melted butter.
• Place the filo stack back on top of the single sheet and fold down the bottom sheet from the stack.
• Remove the remaining pastry sheets and set them aside.
• You now have 2 filo pastries on top of one another.
• Brush the top pastry with melted butter.
• Repeat the procedure twice more until you have 4 pastry sheets on top of each other and each pastry has been brushed with butter.
• With a sharp knife cut the buttered filo stack into 12 squares.
• Depending on the brand of filo you use, you cut the filo differently. Just aim to get squares if you bake them in a cupcake tin. For flat pastry you can cut the filo into rectangles. Before I place on the fruit I fold back the ends creating a bit of a wall to contain the fruit.
• Arrange the strawberry slices inside the filo lined cupcake tin or on the top of each flat pastry stack.
• Sprinkle each pastry with 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar.
• Bake the pastries in the cupcake tins for 8 minutes and the flat pastries for 14 minutes.
• Makes approximately 12 pastries
• Serve with a small dollop of yogurt cheese and whipping cream.


In the pictures below I am frying up half of a large yam. The recipe calls for one large yam, so use two fry pans or fry the yam in batches. Yams fry up pretty quick. In a larger quantity fry up the yams ahead of time and finish caramelizing them in the oven.  This is how my friend Ann used to make candied yams for her famous Christmas gatherings. Adding the mandarin juice was my idea. The mandarin juice  tames the corn syrup and enhances the overall flavour of the dish.

1 large yam
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp dark corn syrup
juice of 1/2 mandarin orange

• Peel and slice the yam.
• Melt the butter in a non stick fry pan over medium heat.
• Season the yam with salt and pepper.
• When the butter begins to foam, add the sliced yams.
• Adjust the heat to a slow, happy fry.
• Turn the yam slices over and place a lid on the top.
• Once the lid is on, it is surprising how fast the yam cooks.
• Check frequently, the yam should not brown.
• Meanwhile combine the brown sugar, corn syrup and the juice of half a mandarin orange in a small bowl.
• Uncover the yam and pour on the brown sugar mixture.
• Continue to cook until the yam is nicely caramelized.
• Serve hot.




My Swiss Carrot Cake recipe was published by the Dietitians of Canada in a book titled "Cook!" among 275 recipes that "celebrate food from field to table". I am not a dietitian, but there it is on page 348 titled as Carrot and Almond Cake. There is a full page photo in the book and a smaller one on the back cover.

When people claim “moist carrot cake” I think of heavy dampness or grease fest. My carrot cake is light and not heavy. The fat comes from the nuts and unlike other carrot cakes; it contains no butter or oil. Don't omit the lemon juice; it balances the sugar. This cake will not puff up in the middle only to cave in later, so spread the batter evenly.

I baked it in a 9x13 inch rectangular pan, but the recipe is perfectly suitable for a 9-inch two layer cake.

1- 3/4 cup carrots, freshly grated
2-3/4 cups almonds, finely ground
3/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
6 large egg yolks
1-1/4 cups sugar
6 large egg whites
2 tsp freshly grated lemon rind
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

• Combine the grated carrots and finely ground almonds in a mixing bowl.
• Add the breadcrumbs, spices and baking powder.
• Stir to combine.
• In a separate large bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick.
• Beat in the lemon rind and the lemon juice.
• Stir the carrot mixture into the egg yolk mixture [and not the other way around].
• In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
• Gradually fold the beaten whites into the carrot mixture - do NOT over mix.
• Line a rectangular pan with parchment paper.
• Spray the parchment as well as the sides of the pan with cooking spray.
• Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 45 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
• Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely.
• Spread the top with cream cheese icing.
• Cut the cake into squares with a serrated cake knife.



The butter should be close to room temperature, but the cream cheese is to remain COLD. The trick to making cream cheese icing is to use the cream cheese right out of the refrigerator. Otherwise you end up with a gooey mess; having to add copious amounts of icing sugar and the cake will still slip slide every which way as you try to frost it. To salvage the mess you can serve it scooped into desert cups...  

1/4 cup low fat cream cheese, chilled
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1-1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted

• Quickly beat the cold cream cheese with the softened butter.
• Stir in the vanilla.
• Gradually beat in the icing sugar and beat just until smooth.
• Yields one layer of icing. To frost an entire cake, double the recipe.



Jim brought home some dried figs but didn't like them. "I will make fig bars" I said. They turned out great. We will enjoy it with afternoon tea. My source was Happy Sugar Funtime.


1/2 cup (120 g) butter
1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup (210 g) flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pinch of salt


18 dried figs
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup apricots jam
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 Tbsp cinnamon

• Combine all the pastry ingredients with an electric mixer.
• Roll into a log, wrap and let chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
• Place all the filling ingredients in a food processor and process to a smooth paste.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• On a floured surface you roll out half of the dough into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle.
• Place the filling near the center line lengthwise.
• Fold the dough over on top of itself.
• Press sides together.
• Transfer to the baking sheet placing the edge on the bottom.
• Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.
• Bake the two strips for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
• Let cool for 5 minutes and cut into desired pieces.




I came to the conclusion that nobody makes good lecsó outside of Hungary. It may have something to do with reasoning out most of the onions or the first "authentic" Hungarian recipe collection online and the copycat recipes that followed. But there it is... limp pepper chunks swimming in mouth puckeringly sour, thin broth with the excuse that "it's my version" or because "aunt Edith from Pittsburg always made it like this". Way to ruin a wonderful, iconic dish. Forget those recipes. This is how you make authentic Hungarian lecsó.

You need fleshy yellow Hungarian wax peppers, fully ripe tomatoes and lots of sweet onions.  Jim grows them giving me a few weeks of lecsó making opportunity. Keep in mind that no Hungarian pepper grown in our Kamloops garden can come close to the peppers grown in Hungarian soil. Of course most North Americans don’t even know what Hungarian peppers look like except for the tiny hot things selling in the supermarket. But those aren’t Hungarian peppers. Moving onto the tomatoes, the sweetest of tomatoes, are the round vine ripened varieties. They cost a bit more, but their flavour is superior even when in season. I have been trying to break through the availability barrier and to come up with a year around version of Hungarian lecsó, but that will be a different recipe.

In terms of volume ratio, I tend to use 1/3 tomatoes to 2/3 peppers. Using equal amounts is the first mistake. Not enough onions is the second. Onions give body to stews and in lecsó they bind the peppers and tomatoes together. Hungarian recipe wannabes are notorious for  underestimating the onion content of lecsó. This not only results in soupy consistency, the flavour and the aroma of the lecsó is altered. The natural sweetness of onions should bring sweetness to lecsó, not sugar. For every 6 Hungarian wax peppers and 5 medium size tomatoes use 2 LARGE onions. That's a lot of onions in a dish, but lecsó needs it. I also add Hungarian paprika, but only a  teaspoon or so. Hungarian Lecsó is not about paprika. You can certainly serve lecsó with sour cream, yes I have seen this, one of my granddaughters eats french fries with ice cream, but that is where the idea of lecsó with sour cream belongs... among the weird and the wonderful.

Hungarian Wax Pepper Stew

6 Hungarian wax peppers*
2 large onions,
2 cloves of garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
5 medium ripe tomatoes sliced
2 tsp Hungarian paprika

• Chop the peppers into strips.
• Chop the tomatoes, removing the green centers.
• Dice the onions into large bits, but don’t cut them too fine.
• Place 3 Tbsp olive oil in the pot on medium heat.
• Add the onions and garlic and sauté until onions are soft, but not brown.
• Reduce the heat and add the peppers.
• Add the salt and the pepper now.
• Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for a 3-5 minutes.
• Add the tomato and the Hungarian paprika.
• Simmer uncovered for 1-2 minutes.
• Serve with rustic white bread.
  Yields: 2 servings

*In terms of flavour, the yellow bells are the closest to the Hungarian wax. The smallest they are the better, the big ones release too much liquid and they tend to finish up soggy.



There are many versions of shortbread, but only one recipe that counts, from the back of the old cornstarch box. The first time I had shortbread was in the early seventies at Chatam House. Chatam House was a dilapidated old building in the Prince Rupert harbour in those days, long before the port came to town. I am not sure what it was used for at the turn of the last century, my guess it was a boarding house, but by the time I arrived in Rupert it was a rat infested venue with a daycare downstairs and a halfway house for reforming alcoholic men upstairs. And yours truly, twenty years of age was the assistant cook. Ann Eggleton and I cleared away the remains of the breakfast the guys made on their own, and then cooked lunch and dinner for them. AA had a Christmas party in the lounge one year and as one of the house mommies I was invited by the residents. That is where I had the same shortbread with candied cherries in the middle for the first time. Ever since I could never bring myself to decorate it any other way.

3/4 cup soft butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar

 Cream the butter a little but do not beat it until frothy, it should not grow in volume. Creaming the butter on its own will help the dough come together, but overbeating will make it too soft to handle.  
• Sift together the flour, cornstarch and the icing sugar.
• Combine the creamed butter with the flour mixture.
• You can flavor the shortbread with some vanilla bean scraping, but extract adds moisture and makes the dough too wet and chilling the dough will  not help much.     
• Shape the dough into 1 inch balls.
• Place 1- 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
• Flatten with lightly floured fork and decorate with candied cherries.
• Bake at 300F for 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned.



In Hungary, hunting used to be the privilege of the gentry and during the communist era only high ranking government officials and foreigners had the opportunity to hunt for game. I don't suppose a lot has changed. Not that there would be an abundance of game left, but I digress. Consequently I never tasted Hunter Stew made from wild boar, but according to my old cookbooks it used to be quite an involved preparation to get the game ready for making the stew. The average Hungarian always cooked Hunter Stew from pork. Obviously the spices that are required for preparing wild boar would be superfluous here. The Hunter Stew that I am familiar with is made from domestic pig. The recipe makes a nice, homey stew with a bit of a twist. As a child my most favored part of the "vadas" was the bread dumpling.

4 thick slices of lean pork steak
salt and pepper to taste
3 + 1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 Tbsp sugar
2 carrots
2 parsnips
1/2 celery root
1 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp flour
1-2 tsp French mustard to taste
3/4 cup 14% sour cream

• Dice the onions and set aside.
• Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper.
• Grate the carrots, parsnips and the celery root in a food processor and set aside.
• Place 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a non stick fry pan and braise the meat until golden on both sides.
• Remove the meat and place in a deep ovenproof stainless steal pot.
• Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan and stir in the diced onions.
• Sauté the onions until they are translucent.
• Add 1 Tbsp sugar to the fry pan and stir in the grated vegetables.
• Add salt and pepper to taste.
• Keep stirring until the vegetables are slightly caramelized, but they must not burn.
• Add the entire content of the fry pan to the pot.
• Add the chicken stock and place pot in the oven at 325F.
• Bake until the meat is very tender.
• Add more chicken stock if needed. Aim for stew consistency.
• When meat is tender, remove pot from the oven.
• With a slotted spoon take out the meat and set it aside.
• Ladle out a cupful of stew into a small bowl.
• Add 3 Tbsp of flour to the bowl and stir to combine.
• Put back the flour-stew mixture to the pot and stir well.
• Add the mustard and sour cream to the pot and stir to combine.
• Adjust the salt and pepper.
• Serve the hunter stew with sliced kitchen towel dumplings.



I never heard of kitchen towel dumplings before. Austrians know it as Serviettenknödel. It’s the Austrian-Viennese equivalent of the Hungarian zsemlegombóc. The first time I saw it was on a cooking video; Ferenc Gyarmati, Hungarian chef was preparing szalvétagombóc as an accompaniment to Hunter Stew. The reason for the name of course is in the rather original method of preparation; the dumpling used to be rolled and tied into a kitchen towel and boiled in pre aluminum foil and plastic days. This is the video; you might find it helpful to watch the chef preparing it. I was truly surprised how good this dumpling tasted and considering how much less mess I made in the kitchen, kitchen towel dumpling quickly replaced the traditional Hungarian zsemlegombóc for us.

6-8 slice of light rye
3 Tbsp oil
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, chopped fine

• While assembling the dumplings, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
• Cut all the bread into cubes.
• Place 1/3 of the bread cubes in a large bowl.
• Quickly fry 2/3 of the bread cubes in the oil to get a golden color, but not brown.
• Remove fried bread cubes and set aside on a paper towel.
• In a separate bowl whisk the eggs.
• Add the water, salt and pepper to the eggs and whisk to combine.
• Add the egg mixture to the un-fried bread in the large bowl.
• Combine well.
• Add the finely chopped fresh parsley combining well.
• Finally stir in the fried bread cubes.
• Cut a 12 inch strip from the aluminum foil.
• Place a strip of heavy plastic wrap on the top.
• Arrange half of the bread cube mixture along one end of the foil/plastic wrap.
• Shape it into a log and roll it into the foil/plastic wrap burrito style.
• Tuck the ends under.
• Repeat the wrapping with the remaining bread cube mixture.
• Gently place both packages in the boiling water.
• Reduce heat to continuous simmer and cook dumplings for twenty minutes.
• Set aside cooked dumplings until serving the meal.
• Remove the foil/plastic wraps and slice dumplings.
• Serve the dumplings with Hunter Stew.




With a few exceptions, North American Chinese food is a grease fest and authentic Chinese food is a bit weird for my European taste buds so once again here is another example of Chinese European fusion.

250 g ground chicken
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 package wonton wrappers
4 cups chicken broth
1 carrot, matchstick sliced
4 green onions

• Combine first four ingredients.
• Wrap one teaspoon of meat mixture in each wonton wrap.
• Lay out a wrapper and place 1 tsp of  meat mixture in the center.
• Dip your finger in water and spread along two edges of each wrapper.
• Fold each in half on the diagonal to form a triangle and press the seams to seal securely.
• Place on a baking sheet.
• Repeat until all the stuffing is used. Refrigerate wontons until needed.
• In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil over high heat.
• Add the carrots and cover the pot and turn off the heat.
• At the same time, bring a large soup pot half-full of water to a boil.
• Carefully drop some wontons into the boiling water.
• Make sure the wontons are not crowded.
• When the water returns to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer.
• Cook the wontons until the filling is cooked through in 4-5 minutes.
• With a slotted spoon, transfer the wontons to the chicken broth.
• Cook the rest of the wontons and transfer them to the broth.
• Add the green onions and bring the broth to slow simmer.
• Simmer until the onionst wilt, for about 1 minute.


I always make these for Christmas. Fits into the Christmas theme; has nuts, on the other hand it balances out all those chocolaty treats. Looks good on the tray of assorted goodies and freezes remarkably well. I put in walnuts, I have a tree, but it doesn't have to be walnuts, whatever nuts you fancy will be yummy. Let it cool about 4 minutes before rolling them into the icing sugar. If the cookies are too hot they absorb twice as much icing sugar than need be and if you let them cool, the icing sugar will not adhere to the surface. So set the timer.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup icing sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

• Cream the butter.
• Add 1/2 cup icing sugar gradually.
• Add the flour, salt and vanilla.
• Pinch off small pieces of dough and shape into balls.
• Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
• Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.
• Peek under a cookie, if its pleasantly browned, the cookies are done.
• Remove cookies from the oven and let them cool and solidify for 4 minutes.
• Roll cookies into the remaining icing sugar while warm.


I made this when the grand kids came to Kamloops from California. The adults had seconds, the kids, well the kids ate the chocolate ice cream I made.

Donvier ice cream maker
650 g plain Greek style yogurt, 11% MF
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

• Freeze the Donvier aluminum cylinder overnight.
• In a medium bowl gently combine 1/4 cup of yogurt with the honey.
• Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
• Spoon the remaining yogurts into the prepared aluminum cylinder.
• Add the yogurt-honey mixture.
• Process the ice cream according to Donvier instructions.


I have seen Bread Pudding recipes in my English cookbooks, but I used to pass them over thinking “what is the deal with eating bread for desert?” I had no clue what a glorious dessert it was. The first time I tried this recipe I thought I died and went to heaven. Bread Pudding is too rich after a full course dinner and be forewarned that you will likely eat a little more of it than you need to… but here it goes.

This one here was my breakfast/brunch version I called Bread and Butter Pudding. You might find the photos useful before assembling this one. The method of assembly is essentially the same.

10-12 slices of French bread
3 Tbsp butter
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
Apricot Sauce and more whipped cream to serve with the pudding

• Slice the bread, and butter each slice.
• Beat the eggs, sugar and salt until well blended.
• In a saucepan bring the milk and cream just to boil.
• Stir this mixture very gradually into the egg mixture.
• Add the vanilla extract.
• Butter a square baking dish.
• Arrange the bread slices in the prepared dish with buttered sides up.
• Strain the custard mixture on the top.
• Set the dish in a roasting pan.
• Fill the roasting pan with hot water to a dept of 1 inch.
• Bake at 375F for until a knife inserted comes out clean.
• Scoop some hot pudding on a plate and pour hot Apricot Sauce on top.
• Top with a large dollop of whipped cream.
   Serves 8



This one is a lighter version of my old cheesecake.

1 cup graham crumbs
1/2 cup almonds, ground
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp almond extract.

2 packs Knox Unflavoured Gelatine
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup boiling water
250 g package of light cream cheese
250 g ricotta cheese
250 g dry curd cottage cheese, crushed*
1 Tbsp vanilla
250 ml whipping cream
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
spring form cake pan
parchment paper

• Line the bottom of the spring form cake pan with parchment paper.
The parchment paper will help with sliding the cake off onto a platter.
Use no larger than a 9 inch cake pan; mine is 7-1/4 inches.
• Combine the crumbs, almonds, butter, and almond extract.

• Press in a spring form pan.
• Freeze for 1/2 hour.
• Crush the dry curd cottage cheese in a food processor. Set aside.

• In a small bowl combine the gelatine and 1/2 cup of sugar.
• Add 1 cup boiling water; stir constantly, until gelatine completely dissolves.
• In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta and crushed dry curd cottage cheese smooth.
• Add the whipping cream and continue beating.

• Slowly beat in the dissolved gelatine, remaining sugar, vanilla and the zest.
• Pour mixture on the prepared crust.
• Chill for 6 hours.
• Serve with chocolate chip glaze or with berry sauce.

Chocolate Chip Glaze:

Place 1 cup of chocolate chips in a cup. Add enough water to come up to the level [almost] of the chocolate chips. Microwave it until melted; stirring at intervals. Put through a sieve. Spoon over cheesecake and chill until chocolate solidifies.


Berry Sauce:

Simmer 1 cup fresh or frozen berries with 3Tbsp sugar until sauce thickens.


This was my old cheesecake recipe, long before I started experimenting with light cream cheese, dry curd cottage cheese or with no fat cheeses. I still make it for festive occasions, but I no longer double the recipe, we can’t eat like we used to.

1 cup graham crumbs
1/2 cup almonds, ground
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp almond extract

2 packs Knox Unflavoured Gelatine
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup boiling water
1-1/2 cups cream cheese*
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
spring form cake pan
parchment paper

• Line the bottom of the spring form cake pan with parchment paper.
The parchment paper will help sliding the cake onto a platter.
Use no larger than a 9 inch cake pan; mine is 7-1/4 inches.
• Combine the crumbs, almonds, melted butter, and almond extract.
• Press into a spring form pan.
• Freeze for 1/2 hour.
• In a small bowl combine the gelatine and 1/2 cup of sugar.
• Add 1 cup boiling water; stir constantly, until gelatine completely dissolves.
• In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, and ricotta cheese smooth.
• Add the whipping cream and continue beating.
• Slowly beat in the dissolved gelatine, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla and the zest.
• Pour mixture over the prepared crust.
• Chill for 6 hours.
• Serve with chocolate chip glaze or with berry sauce.

*1 cup of cream cheese = 8 oz = 225g

Chocolate Chip Glaze:
Place 1 cup of chocolate chips in a cup. Add enough water to come up to the level [almost] of the chocolate chips. Microwave it until melted; stirring at intervals. Put through a sieve. Spoon over cheesecake and chill until chocolate solidifies.

Berry Sauce:
Simmer 1 cup fresh or frozen berries with 3Tbsp sugar until sauce thickens.


In terms of food safety, oven processing fruit and fruit jams is no more risky than the hot water bath method. The reason for that is simple. No open cattle will reach above the boiling point of 100°C or 212°F. Keep in mind though that low acid or non-acid foods should never be processed by any other than the pressure canner method. However oven processed fruits and fruit jams are just as safe as those processed in the hot water bath.

25 medium apples
1-1/2 cups water
1/8 cup lemon juice
Fruit Fresh

• Peel, core and cut up the apples.
• In large sauce pan place the apples and add the water and the lemon juice.
• Heat to boiling and then turn heat down to medium low.
• Cover and simmer until very tender.
• Mash the apples until smooth.
• Alternatively puree in a food processor.
• Ladle hot apple sauce into hot, sterilized jars.
• Add 1 heaping teaspoon of Fruit Fresh to every jar.
• Wipe the top of the jars with a wet paper towel and put the hot lids on.
• Screw the rings on tight.
• Place jars in a 212F oven for 2 hours.
• Remove from oven and let jars cool.
• Label and put away all the jars that has sealed.
• If one fails to seal, keep it in the fridge and start using it right of way.



This was a version of my regular turkey dressing, but after having this I don’t think we can go back to the old one, not for a holiday meal. We gathered at Leilah’s place on Sunday for Thanksgiving dinner. I brought the dressing, roasted vegetables, beet salad, cheesecake and the dobos. [Dobos is a tort] Keeping with tradition there were fabulous apple and pumpkin pies as well, but those were made by Leilah’s mother in law, Heather. Back to the dressing, I added 3/4 cup of pan roasted chopped almonds, a whole package of freshly chopped parsley leaves, 3 fresh leaves of chopped sage and 1 Tbsp of dried cranberries. The dressing was already tasty when I assembled it. I don't want to mislead with the above photo, what you see here is more than double of the amount the recipe makes. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, but here is a section from the movie clip I made at the table.

It is well worth to make the dressing the day before.
Put it in the fridge for the night.
Take it out next morning to let it come to room temperature.
Then bake it for 30 minutes while the turkey rests.

8 slices of deli style light rye, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
[don't use soft, fluffy bread]
1/2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 package fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 large or 2 small eggs
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 Tbsp dried cranberries
1/4 cup dry wine
about 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth [exact amount will vary]
cooking spray

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
• Arrange bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

• Bake until crisp but not browned.
• Meanwhile prepare the vegetables.
• Chop the onions and set aside.
• Chop the celery and set aside.
• Mince the garlic and set aside.
• Chop the fresh parsley and the fresh sage and set aside.
• Coarsely chop the nuts with a chef’s knife.
• Place 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a non stick fry pan.
• Add the chopped almonds and roast them crisp, stirring occasionally.
• Set the roasted nuts aside.
• Melt 2 Tbsp butter on medium heat.
• Sauté the onions until translucent, stirring them occasionally.
• Add the celery and continue to sauté until celery is almost tender.
• Meanwhile transfer the bread to a large bowl.
• Add the onion and celery mixture to the bread.
• Add the chopped parsley and sage to the bread.
• Season with salt and pepper
• Add the minced garlic, parsley and the egg[s].

• Add the roasted nuts and the dry cranberries.
• With clean hands, gently stir to combine ingredients.
• Sprinkle dressing with the wine, gently moving the bread to coat it evenly.
• This is crucial: bit by bit sprinkle a little broth over the dressing. Total amount will depend on the type of bread used. Stuffing should be lightly moistened, but NOT wet.
• Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
• Pour in the prepared dressing, press it down lightly, neatly arranging the top.
• Cover the dish with a lid or with foil and set it aside.
• If dressing is made the day before, refrigerate it overnight.
• If dressing was refrigerated, remove from the fridge as soon as the turkey goes in the oven.
• When the turkey is removed from the oven to be tented, place the still covered dressing in the oven.
• Bake the dressing for 15 minutes at 400F until dressing is warmed through.
• Reduce heat to 375F, uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer or until golden.
• Baking time will increase for larger quantities.



Plum Leather

Use very ripe fruit only. I don’t generally peel the fruits; the skin is nutritious and contains fibre. Puree fruit in a food processor or in a blender. The drying time of course will increase with the additional water or juice that will be required if you use a blender. So be diligent and add as little liquid to the fruit as possible. The puree should be very smooth. If you combine different fruits, puree each fruit separately and mix together afterwards. Berries and plums retain their brilliant color, but add a bit of Fruit Fresh to fruits that tend to oxidize. Although some berries require a bit of sweetener, most well ripened fruits do not require additional sugar.

food processor or blender
4 mil thick heavy plastic wrap

• Wash fruit thoroughly and drain off all the water.
• Remove stems and stones.
• Puree thoroughly.
• Line a rimmed baking sheet with a sturdy, microwave safe plastic wrap. [4 mil thick]
• Pour the puree into the lined baking sheet to 1/8 inch thickness.
• Place the baking sheet in the oven; do not let plastic wrap touch the sides of the oven or the oven racks.
• Make sure the plastic wrap doesn’t fold back over the puree. [The puree cannot dry out where the plastic falls back over the fruit.]
• Heat the oven to 140°F.
• Let the fruit dry in the oven for as long as it takes to form fruit leather.
• I find 6-8 hours is sufficient drying time.
• Because my oven rack has a slight slant, parts of the fruit leather dries out faster.
• I cut the dry parts out with a pair of clean kitchen sheers and return the rest to the oven.
• The fruit leather is ready when the fruit no longer sticks to the finger; instead it has a solid surface.
• When the fruit leather is ready, you can easily peel it up from the plastic wrap.
• Cut up to serving sizes or roll it in its plastic wrap, put it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Ready for the oven

You can sprinkle the fruit puree with chopped nuts or spices. Garnishes will stick to fruit leather if it is still moist. This plum leather was sprinkled with chopped walnuts - and it's simply delicious!




6 medium beets
Vinegar Brine*
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
2 slices of fresh horseradish [optional]

• Wash the beets.
• Remove both ends and peel off skin.
• Place peeled beets on a plastic cutting board. [Beets stain.]
• With a sharp chef’s knife cut beets in half.
• Place beets on the cut [flat] side and slice them thinly uniform.
• Bring a pot of salted water to boil and plunge in the sliced beets.
• Cook the beets until still crisp, but tender.
• While the beets cook, make the Vinegar Brine.*
• Add 1 tsp caraway seeds and the horseradish to a medium large bowl.
• Remove beets from heat and drain.
• Add the drained beets to the bowl.
• Pour the brine over the beets.
• Let dish cool, wrap and place in the fridge for a couple of days to mature.
• After two days, the beet salad is ready to eat.

*Vinegar Brine:

4 cups water
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar

• Place 2 cups of water in a salad bowl.
• Add tha sugar and the vinegar.
• Stir to dissolve sugar.
• Brine should be fairly strong; tangy sweet.


These cookies are the perfect snack on a hike.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

• Thoroughly cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla.
• Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture.
• Shape into 1 inch balls.
• Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
• Press the cookie balls with a fork; dipping fork into flour each time.
• Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
• Cool slightly and remove from pan.
Yields 4 dozen


Privacy & Cookies

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy



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. Happy cooking!