MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
Click on the Cookbook for the Recipes

29.10.17

PLAIN WALDORF SALAD

No mayo or sour cream. The whole idea was to make a waldorf Jim will enjoy. It was a very good salad… fresh. We had it with franks and artisan bread. Then I noticed the celery was all lined up around his plate. Apparently he doesn’t like raw celery... only cooked. I didn’t know. Even after 50 years you can learn something new. 

Plain Waldorf Salad

2 cups sliced apples
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts


  • Add all the ingredients to a serving bowl.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Serves 4.

28.10.17

HAZELNUT CAKE SLICE

For a hazelnut cake slice without hazelnuts, this tasted amazingly hazelnut-ish. I didn’t have hazelnuts and substituted with toasted almonds, but the nutella cream somehow pulled it together. I wish we tried harder growing hazelnuts in the backyard. We ran out of time, besides it would be one more thing to leave behind. Ah the D word… downsizing. The enormous walnut tree, the various fruit trees and the fresh enjoyment they provided over the years. Leilah was only two years old when we moved to Kamloops. Back then Brocklehurst was an orchard, there were two a corn farms for walking distance… The orchards and the farms are all gone. It's still a nice street... but our backyard is the mini oasis next to the over-sized homes with small patches of green. Never mind that, next door they put in a hideous rock lawn. Across the street there are more cars than people. Nobody grows food anymore.  

Hazelnut Cake Slice

Cake
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
6 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp oil
6 Tbsp flour
1tsp baking powder
1/8 cup very finely ground hazelnuts

Cream
3/4 cup soft unsweetened butter
1-1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup nutella
1/8 cup whipping cream

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Fully line a 9X13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside.
  • Beat the egg yolks, sugar and the oil until very thick.
  • Add the finely ground hazelnuts and stir to combine.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the flour and the baking powder.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture and beat just to combine.
  • Gently fold in the egg whites.
  • Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan and place in the preheated oven.
  • Bake until cake tester inserted the middle comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool down completely.
  • Meanwhile combine butter and icing sugar and beat for 4-6 minutes until very fluffy.
  • Add the nutella and the whipping cream and beat for a couple of minute.
  • Spread the cream on top of the cake and pull a cake comb across.
  • Cut into squares. 


27.10.17

LACI STEAK - LACIPECSENYE


Authentic lacipecsenye, [translation laci steak] is a slab of pork steak fried in home rendered lard. Not always from the best of cuts either. Served on a thick slice of bread, it was the 15th century equivalent of fast food. Every open air market in Hungary had a vendor selling freshly fried pork steaks. According to the folklore Dobzse Ulászló Hungary’s then Polish king was so impoverished that his household lived on food prepared by street vendors. That's when the people began to call the eateries laci kitchens and the food laci steak. [Laci is nickname for László.]

Aba Novák Vilmos, Szolnoki Lacikonyha 

In later years, the lacikonyha and its mainstay, the lacipecsenye went through a bit of transformation. When I was a kid there were storefronts at the markets around Budapest, but in the country there still existed the open air version at fairs and on market days. The lacikonyha of today sells more than just fried meat and sausage. There are restaurants called Lacikonyha serving bistro type foods.


Laci Steak

boneless pork steaks
home rendered lard for frying
several cloves of garlic
salt and ground pepper

  • Pound out the meat with a tenderizer. Cut into them so they won’t curl up during frying.
  • Rub crushed garlic into the meat.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Wrap and chill overnight.
  • Heat up the lard and fry the meat.
  • Serve with a slice of artisan bread or between a sandwich bun.


26.10.17

PEAR STRAWBERRY PIE

If you like a tarter pie, pear pie on its own would be a mildly boring proposition. What you want is an extra layer of flavour, but nothing overpowering. I think spices would obliterate the pear flavour as would tart fruits such as raspberries or cranberries. However a cup of sliced strawberries or blueberries I thought would do nicely. I had a small bag of frozen strawberries, but in retrospect fresh strawberries would have been better. For eating pears should be lightly soft. For pies, the firm, less ripe fruits are best. Avoid overripe pears.

I made 25 apple pies within a week and when I got to the pears… I made only two... well so far. Oh I don’t know, maybe on the weekend after I haunt down some fresh strawberries I could make a few more pear pies. If I do I will change the photo. If not… I’ll leave it for next year. Is it going to be a next year? You never know. I feel my pioneer woman’s days are winding down, I don’t know how long my love intends to carry on with this farmering thing in the back yard… he will be 79 this December. We turned the half century mark in May, it didn’t come together for a recipe, but I keep telling myself one of these I will get my act together and recreate our wedding feast with a candle light dinner. Ours wasn’t a country wedding, but the menu left nothing out with the main course what it was, rows of Erdélyi Fatányéros. There I made the commitment, now I just have to follow through, eh?    

Pie pastry for double crust
3 cups sliced pears
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
4 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Fruit Fresh
5 Tbsp flour
1/8 cup butter

• Prepare the crust.
• Roll out the bottom crust 1/8" thick
• Lay crust in the bottom of the pie pan.
• Press crust gently into pan, leave excess hang over edge.
• Wash peel and thinly slice the pears, wash, hull and slice the strawberries.
• In a large bowl place the fruits, Fruit Fresh and sugar and toss to combine.
• Add the flour and toss to combine.
• Fill the pie pan with the fruit mixture and dot with bits of butter.
• Roll out the top layer and place over the filling.
• To seal the edge pinch and crimp all around.
• Cut several steam slits into the top.
• Bake for 50-60 minutes at 425F until pastry is golden and filling bubbles through vents.
• Let stand for 30 minutes to allow juices to settle before slicing. 



25.10.17

CHOCOLATY GRANOLA BARS

 
These chocolaty granola bars are much better than store bought and you will agree they are worth the effort. Add your favourite dried fruit, but don’t omit or substitute the chocolates. Most honey sold in the stores is not real honey, only honey-flavoured corn syrup. I have a honey man who delivers twice a year. And boy… what a difference! Did you know that bees make different flavoured honey depending on the pollen they go to? Serious beekeepers travel with their hives to take advantage of flowering trees…There is nothing better than acacia honey! The expectation is no dried fruit or honey shall ever touch her lips. Well I put in no fruit, but there it is… the honey. Except you can’t taste it from the chocolate. Our honey hater didn’t. The aim was not to make the bars overly sweet, hence the intense dark Lindt bar with the 85% cacao. This should make her eat her “parritch”!

Are you an Outlander fan? Have you read all of Diana Gabaldon’s books? Or are you waiting for the films to come out? The series is only on the third book. You will be waiting awhile for the rest. Apparently Gabaldon is writing her last book. It will be titled “Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone” I can hardly wait… and then it will be over. Do you miss the worlds you go to when you finish a book? I do… Better go and bake.  

Chocolaty Granola Bars

1/2 cup pure dark chocolate, chopped
100g dark Lindt bar with the 85% cacao, diced
1/2 cup roasted almonds, coarsely chopped  
cooking spray
2-1/2 cups small rolled oats
1/4 cup liquid honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Chop the dark chocolate and set aside.
  • Chop the Lindt bar and set aside. Do not mix the two chocolates.
  • If the almonds are not roasted, they may be swirled about in a non-stick fry pan for a few minutes. Make sure not to burn them. Set aside.
  • Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Spray the parchment with cooking spray or lightly baste it with oil.
  • Scatter the oats on top and toast in the preheated oven for 8 minutes.
  • Take the tray out and turn the oats over and put them back for 8 more minutes.
  • Meanwhile line a 9X13 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Transfer the oats and the almonds to a large mixing bowl.
  • Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan.
  • Place on medium heat and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the mixture to the bowl with the oatmeal and stir with your hands to combine.
  • Immediately add the chopped dark chocolate and stir it into the mixture. The chocolate will melt and coat the mixture.
  • Finally stir in the chopped Lindt bar.
  • Transfer the mixture to the lined baking pan and press it evenly into the pan.
  • Chill for an hour or two before slicing.
  • Lift the bar out with the parchment and place it on a cutting board and slice into bars.


24.10.17

ROASTED BABY LEEKS

If you frequent farmer markets, you probably have seen them, maybe even mistaken them for green onions. The difference is you cannot eat baby leeks uncooked. They can be sautéed, grilled or roasted, but if you want tender eating, blanch them first. There is a fine line between caramelized leeks and burned ones, so err on the side of caution rather than burning them into a limp unappetizing mess. I must say I have not been impressed with the treatment celebrity chefs give to leeks, baby or otherwise. Burning leeks is like burning eggs, a culinary sacrilege. It comes from impatient show off style cooking... like bulls in the china shop. I roasted my leeks with Roma tomatoes. First of all Roma tomatoes are small and less likely to flood the baking dish with tomato juice. Plus the short time in the oven ensures they won’t brake apart, making this into a vibrant side dish.



Roasted Baby Leeks

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
baby leeks
Roma tomatoes, cut in half [optional]
salt to taste
1-2 garlic cloves, diced

  • Preheat your oven to 400F.
  • Wash the leeks and the tomatoes.
  • Trim the leaks on both ends and peel back the top layer.
  • Drop into fully boiling water for 2 minutes.
  • Cut the Romas in half.
  • Sprinkle a baking dish generously with olive oil
  • Arrange the leeks and the tomatoes in the dish.
  • Add the garlic and sprinkle with salt and more olive oil.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.



23.10.17

MILK PIE - TEJPITE

Ah the beauty of simplicity. A wide spectrum of cakes and pastries come under the Hungarian word ‘pite’. What is a pite? Generally it can be an unadorned slice from pastry to cake and everything in between. Intended to be a square, I baked it in a round cake pan instead. Does that make it a pie or a cake? Not really. Serve it with icing sugar or with a dollop of good homemade jam. How about tea?



Milk Pie

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup whole milk
1-1/4 cups whipping cream
dash of salt
2 cups flour
 


  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Fully line a round cake pan with parchment paper.
  • Beat the eggs, sugar and the salt until the mixture stabilizes and doesn’t froth more. 
  • Scrape a split vanilla bean into the mixture and beat to combine.
  • Continue beating, gradually adding the flour alternatively with the milk and the whipping cream. It will be quite runny.
  • Transfer to the prepared cake pan and place in the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until the top bounces back when lightly touched.
  • Serve sprinkled with icing sugar.


22.10.17

ROASTED VEGETABLE CHICKEN BREAST

Roasting a skinless, boneless breast of chicken with a colourful array of vegetables is a fast and easy way to bring wholesome food to the table. While the oven heats up, chop the vegetables. Place everything on a parchment lined baking tray and forget about it for an hour. Let it crisp a bit and take it out and serve. The best part is you can use the vegetables you have on hand. Keep in mind, denser vegetables should be cut smaller, to ensure everything cooks at the same rate. It is that simple. 


Roasted Vegetable Chicken Breast

1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1 skinless chicken breast
1 smaller zucchini
1 large red pepper
1 dozen Italian baby tomatoes
1 stalk of celery
1 cup wax beans
2 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley
Sprinkle of white wine
extra virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Meanwhile line a baking tray with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Dice the onions and the garlic.
  • Place the onions and the garlic on one end of the prepared baking tray with the breast of chicken on top.
  • Chop the vegetables arrange them in a single layer next to the chicken.
  • Drizzle with a bit of white wine, followed by olive oil.
  • Last sprinkle salt on top.
  • Wrap with aluminum foil and place in the oven for an hour.
  • After an hour remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes longer or until everything has a roasted rather than cooked look about it.
  • Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper at the table.
  • Yields: 2 servings

21.10.17

SWEET & SOUR SAUSAGE

Several of my cookbooks contained a version of this recipe and time and again I would bypass all the mouth puckering contents, the pineapple, the vinegars and other fruity elements. Then yesterday I took a look at the double smoked Ukrainian sausage and thought I should just chop up some fruit and vegetables and stick them in the oven. 80 minutes later I took the pot out and we sat down to a pleasant meal. Moderation is the answer when you harbor distaste for soggy, overcooked, and over flavoured things. I do think that restraint warrants a note and depending on the ingredients I have on hand, with slight variations this shall be made again. The apples and the lemon juice added just the right amount of fruity tang, the leek retained its structural integrity that the onion would fail at, and since most of the vegetables were on the dense side, they pretty well softened at the same rate. I patted myself on the back and my partner in crime, after all he grew all the fresh ingredients, scooped up the leftovers and took them to the fridge.

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 medium sized starchy potatoes
2 carrots
1 smallish leek
small wedge of red cabbage
1 red pepper
2 apples
12 inch segment of Ukrainian or Polish sausage
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 heaping Tbsp liquid honey

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Place the oil in an ovenproof medium size pot.
  • Peel, core, chop and slice the vegetables and the apples.
  • Gather them into a large colander and wash thoroughly under running water.
  • Transfer them to the pot with the oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt to taste and toss to coat.
  • Slice the sausage and add to the pot.
  • Add the lemon juice and the honey and toss to coat.
  • Place pot in the preheated oven for 80 minutes or so.
  • Yields: 3 to 4 servings


20.10.17

VEGETABLE RAGU SOUP – ZÖLDSÉGES RAGULEVES

This one is the all vegetable version of Chicken Ragu Soup. The more types of vegetables you put in, the richer and tastier the ragu will be. Avoid vegetables like zucchini or leafy vegetables that turn to mush. You may put in a couple of segments of tomato at the end along with the parsley. Chop the vegetables uniformly. This will ensure even cooking and give a pleasant appearance to the dish. Begin with the denser vegetables and gradually add the softer ones. You can use a commercial vegetable stock, I find these have aftertaste so I use water. I am of similar opinion of bouillon cubes and flavour packets. Every one gives an artificial taste to the food and those of us who are not used to it will find it unpleasant. Add the vegetables sparingly; you really need less than you think you need. A bit of this and a bit of that will quickly become a lot. If you don’t wish to eat the same soup for four consecutive days, don't make more than you need. This is a bulky soup, I don't think it needs a dumpling. Don't freeze this, freeze only clear stock. Reheat as much as you can consume, that way the rest of the soup will stay close to what it was on the first day. By rule, reheat soup slowly; bring it to the boiling point, but never let it boil. Boiling destroys even the best of soups.


    


    


Vegetable Ragu Soup

3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
salt to taste
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 celery root, chopped
1 cup wax beans, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
2/3 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup broccoli florets
2 sprigs of celery leaves
1/4 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 heaping Tbsp flour 
2 pinch Hungarian paprika
4 cups of COLD water
ground pepper to taste
2 sprigs of parsley, chopped

• Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
• Turn heat down to medium and add the chopped onions. and the garlic.
• Sprinkle with the salt and sauté until transparent.
• Start adding the chopped vegetables, lightly salting them as you add them to the pot.
• Gently stir after each addition.
• Sauté until the vegetables soften, but not mushy.
• The salt and the sweat from the vegetables should provide enough moisture, but if you are concerned about browning, turn down the heat and add a few tablespoons of water.
• Add the flour and the Hungarian paprika and stir.
• Add the cold water. Not hot, because you want the flavours in the soup.
• Bring it up to a very slow simmer.
• Maintain the slow simmer; do not let the soup come to a full boil. Do not cover pot.
• Cook until the vegetables are tender.
• Adjust the salt and add the ground pepper and the freshly chopped parsley and serve. 

19.10.17

PEPPER STEW WITH MUSHROOMS - GOMBÁS LECSÓ


Lecsó is big, very big in Hungary. There are lecsó festivals all around the country. It has become fashionable to cook lecsó on the open fire, something I tried a few times back in the days when Jim and I were young and campers. There are endless variations to lecsó, but there are two things that are common to every type. One, no green bell peppers. By flavour and texture, green peppers just don't work in lecsó. Green peppers cook up soggy and the best I can describe the flavour is that it sticks out. Second, we use lots of onions. Lots! By weight, not volume, we use about the same amount of onions as tomatoes. Onions provide the bulk and the sweetness for lecsó. If you have to sweeten the lecsó you didn't put enough onions in it. Beware it is a sacrilege to eat lecsó with sour cream; there must never be a tang to lecsó. And although paprika is present, it is present in a relatively small amount. OK that was five. Or was it six?   

   

6 Hungarian sweet yellow wax peppers 
[Hungarian wax can be substituted  with yellow or red bells]
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
2 cups sliced mushrooms

• Wash the vegetables.
• Chop the peppers into strips.
• Chop the tomatoes, removing the green centers.
• Dice the onions, but don’t grate them.
• Slice the mushrooms.
• 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.
• Add the sliced mushrooms and bring back to simmer.
• Simmer until mushrooms have reabsorbed their liquid.
• Serve with rustic white bread.
• Yields: 2 servings




18.10.17

RASPBERRY LAYER CAKE

Nothing spectacular, oh but the two flavours, sweet and tart meet up in just the right proportions between the downy layers of this white cake. It comes from the large file I socked away for more than a year. A food blogger keeps on cooking despite times of suspended blog activity.  One of these days I may just fade away for good, for what it’s worth I figured out a few things. Everyone is welcome to my blog, but with no desire for self promotion I left the blogosphere with its back and forth commenting. Someone called it blog whoring.

What I really wanted was to organize my recipes from the haphazard biweekly posts into a logically arranged format. Consequently, many of my old links no longer work, the recipe was moved or relabeled or remade. One of these days I will do a major purge, removing recipes for one reason or other, keeping only the best and the most important. This was my original intent all along.

Grandma I left too early to learn from you, but I learned to cook anyway. I am still learning, because it’s never too late to learn something.


 Back in her kitchen in 1972
Nagymama, my Mom and my Mother in-law



Raspberry Layer Cake

Cake
4½ cups cake flour [for the lightest cake use Swans Down]
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, very soft
1-1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs + 1 egg white
3/4 cup 14% sour cream
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup 2 % milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Raspberry Meringue Buttercream
3 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp raspberry jam
1 cup fresh raspberries

  • Preheat oven 325F.  
  • Fully line two 9 inch cake pans.
  • Wisk together the cake flour, baking powder and the salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer beat the soft butter and sugar together until very fluffy.
  • Gradually add the eggs and beat well to combine.
  • Stir in the sour cream, vanilla and combine.
  • Gradually add half of the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add the milk first and last the remaining flour.
  • Stir until the flour is fully incorporated.
  • Divide the batter into the prepared baking pans.
  • Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool completely.
  • Meanwhile make the Raspberry Meringue Buttercream
  • Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl and whisk to combine.
  • place a saucepan on medium heat and add about an inch of water.
  • Place the mixing bowl on the top.
  • Heat, whisking until the egg mixture is hot to the touch [160F]
  • Carefully transfer mixture to the mixing bowl of a standing mixer.
  • Beat on high speed until the mixture cools down to room temperature.
  • Reduce speed to low medium and add the vanilla and the butter.
  • Beet until fully incorporated and fluffy.
  • Remove 2/3 of the buttercream and set it aside.
  • To the remaining buttercream, add the raspberry jam and beat to combine.
  • Reserve a few raspberries for decoration and add the remaining raspberries to the buttercream.
  • Whip just to slightly break down the fresh raspberries.
  • Divide the cooled cakes horizontally.
  • Spread 3 layers with the Raspberry Meringue Buttercream. 
  • Place the remaining cake layer on the top and frost the cake with the reserved vanilla buttercream.
  • Place the reserved fresh berries on the top.
  • Chill for 20 minutes for easier slicing and serve.
  • This cake is best served at room temperature.




17.10.17

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PLATE

The chocolate mousse was divine, but I should have used the round tip on the whipped cream and the star tip on the chocolate mousse. The pastry was delicious and most magnificent, but there was pastry left on every plate. I would say a small wedge would have been better. By the time I remembered to take a photo I was left with the least successful arrangement. Food design is complicated.

Chocolate Mousse Plate

Chocolate Mousse
4 large egg yolks
4 Tbsp sugar
2 cups heavy cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Hungarian Flaky Pastry 1/2 batch
1 cup + 1 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp chilled hard margarine
3 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp vinegar

Whipped Cream
500 ml whipping cream
1/4 cup icing sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Raspberries
1 cup of raspberries [small basket] 

Also Needed
parchment paper
2 piping bags
1 very large star and 1 very large round tip.

  • Make the chocolate Mousse first. Click HERE for the full recipe.
  • Next make half a batch of flaky pastry.
  • Roll the pastry out on parchment paper.
  • With a sharp knife cut 6 randomly shaped half circles. You can let you imagination run, what shape you end up with doesn’t really matter. It can just as easily be a triangle.
  • I cut through the paper around the pastry and slid the whole thing onto a baking sheet.
  • Poke around on the pastry with a fork. It will still bulge up in a few places during baking, so open the oven door and poke it down. 
  • Click HERE for the full recipe.
 Assembly:
  • Just before serving, wash the raspberries and lay them out on a paper towel lined tray to dry.
  • Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Fill the piping bag [with the star tip] with the chocolate mouse.
  • Fill the piping bag [with the round tip] with the whipped cream.
  • Assemble the plate as shown.
  • Yields: 6 servings

16.10.17

FOAMY CREAM OF WHEAT - HABOS TEJBEGRÍZ

Foamy? You would think that picking out the right translation from 116 synonyms would be easy. It isn’t. There is no exact word for it that could stir up an identical response. I am afraid that foamy just doesn’t describe it. There are many such cases in culinary translation, just try to explain a pie to a Hungarian. It is as difficult as explaining lepény to a westerner. This is the reason for the many mistranslated Hungarian recipes that float around aiding and abetting the confusion and then we haven’t even arrived at the regional differences in language and practice. Once again the word “habos tejbegríz” is it foamy? No it isn’t foamy, but it’s lighter and airier in texture than ordinary tejbegríz. Adapted from ReceptNeked.

Grandma made it once for a neighbor lady’s ailing love interest, who by her own words was no cook. I looked at it with interest, but my six little brothers wouldn’t stand for deviating from the norm. During one of my visits I requested my grandmother's stuffed peppers for Sunday. What followed was an uproar when the little monkey's realized they won’t be getting breaded cutlets. They now range from 54 to 50 but they are still an interesting bunch. Except now the famous Hungarian inflexibility comes out… in politics. Imagine my sibling relationships, myself branded a “libsi” people lover and the six of them ultra right wing… even white supremacists… When people ask me how often I visit the Old Country I laugh… hysterically. 

and speaking of families

Foamy Cream of Wheat  

4 cups 2% milk [skim would burn]
3 egg whites
sprinkle of salt
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp real vanilla extract
6 Tbsp cream of wheat*

top with dried or candied fruit or maple syrup or with shaved chocolate.
* more about cream of wheat here

  • Place the milk in a wide pot on medium heat.
  • Meanwhile whip the egg whites and salt by a standing beater until stiff peaks show.
  • Transfer the stiff egg whites to a medium bowl.
  • Beat the egg yolks with sugar until very thick.
  • Once the milk comes to the boil slowly add the cream of wheat.
  • Continuously stirring, slow simmer until cream of wheat thickens.
  • Remove pot from heat.
  • Scoop a cupful of hot cream of wheat and gradually beat it into the whipped egg yolk mixture.
  • Add the egg yolk mixture to the pot and put it back on the medium heat.
  • Continuously stirring, simmer it for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat and fold in the stiff egg whites.
  • Put it back on medium heat and continuously stirring cook for 2 minutes longer.
  • Serve it in large cups with dried or candied fruit or maple syrup or with shaved chocolate.
  • Yields 4 servings.
  • We really liked it.


15.10.17

SHAVED ROASTED BEETS

The mother of invention…With a row of pickled beets in the pantry, 40 more pounds in the ground and my concern were a couple of large beets in the fridge. Something must be wrong with me. These won’t feed “the starving children of India” as the saying goes, bad bad Zsuzsa, so why am I worried? This surely is the last curse of abundance. I dealt with the zucchinis and the flow of eggplants, only the beets are left now. Old habits die hard, I could have sent it out with the compost, what I really wanted was something green. Instead I cooked beets, correction, roasted beets again. Time was of essence and beets being notoriously hard vegetables… I shaved them on the mandolin. A change in preparation and you get a fresh new experience. 25 minutes later we ate it up with dinner. Maybe it’s my palate, but the beets were sweet enough and flavourful enough not to season them beyond the salt. I overheard Jim tell a friend on the phone that he eats really well being my guinea pig food tester and that I cook so well. I could easily turn it around and say he overplants and I have to think up new ways to use all the stuff, but I won’t. I said something about the cucumbers last year and this year he planted none. But 40 more pounds of beets?


Shaved Roasted Beets

2 larger beets
4 Tbsp olive oil
Sprinkle of salt

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Line a heavier baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Peel the beets and thinly slice on a mandolin.
  • Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Then spread it out in a single layer as possible.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until crispy and slightly brown.
  • Be sure to watch it closely so they don’t burn.
  • Remove from oven, sprinkle with the remaining olive oil, toss and serve.
  • Very tasty.


14.10.17

PEROGY CASSEROLE

With homemade pasta sheets, baked until heated through and cheese is melted...

Use waxy potatoes, they slice thin and for the best flavour use only fully cooked potatoes. Bake them in the oven or cook them in their jackets. Precooking the potatoes will be a huge time saver, because the casserole requires only heating through and once the cheese melts it is ready to eat. This has all the flavors of lazy day perogy without the butter. Correction... without a lot of butter! I always liked lazy day perogy's flavour, but couldn't wrap my head around all that butter... Whoever dreamed it up didn't have the constitution of an aging lady ha! Seasoned with salt only, this is true comfort food. Good when the north wind blows out there and you are stuck inside with a head cold. 

Still green but chilly. Looking out the backyard. Oh and that's my enormous walnut tree.

Perogy Casserole

2 waxy baked potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
9 lasagna noodles
Salt to taste
3/4 cup 2% cottage cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
cooking spray

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Boil a large pot of water and cook lasagna noodles to package directions. Set aside.
  • Put the cottage cheese through the kitchen processor.
  • Add the creamcheese and pulse it to combine. Set aside.
  • Spray square casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Lay 3 noodles in the bottom and sprinkle with salt.
  • Arrange the cooked potato slices on top and sprinkle with salt.
  • Lay 3 noodles on top of the potatoes and sprinkle with salt.
  • Spread the cottage cheese mixture on top.
  • Lay 3 noodles on top and sprinkle with salt.
  • Arrange the gated cheddar on top and bake in preheated oven until everything is heated through and the cheese melts and bubbly.

13.10.17

STEAM DUMPLING - GŐZGOMBÓC


The last time I had Nagymama Jolán’s gőzgombóc was back in 1967. She made it with apricots, not with plums and we ate it with sugared ground walnuts instead of ground poppy seeds. She would pick a bowl of apricots and send us older kids to the store for freshly ground walnuts. The store was a good 2-3 km away and by the time we trudged home stopping along the way to pick wild flowers and sampled some szeder, two pots of steaming gőzgombóc was waiting for us. Many years after Nagymama crossed the rainbow bridge, I tried getting the recipe from my mother and from various aunts, I even contacted a cousin I thought would know, after all she grew up with Nagymama… but no luck.

The story doesn’t end there. I now have an obsession with gőzgombóc. None of the online recipes come close to Nagymama’s gőzgombóc and as soon as the apricots ripen I start “thinking” about it. By the end of the apricot season Jim will be offering apricots to the neighbors, even to passers-by.  At one point he would say, would it be possible to freeze those for another day? This past summer’s efforts may not have solved my gőzgombóc problem, but I made sufficient improvements to the recipe to write it down. If perfecting krémes took me 10 years, who knows how long this will take?


   

   

   

   

Steam Dumpling

2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup very soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup rich Greek yogurt
8 apricots
2 tsp sugar
Cinnamon
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup walnuts, finely ground
1/3 cup sugar


  • Combine flour, eggs, egg yolk, very soft butter, sugar, yeast Greek yogurt.
  • Beat the dough for several minutes until very, very elastic.
  • Shape into a ball.
  • Place on lightly floured surface and sprinkle flour on the top.
  • Cover with a large bowl and let it rise for an hour.
  • Meanwhile wash the apricots and remove the stems.
  • Slice into each apricot without cutting and carefully remove the stones.
  • When the dough has risen, punch it down and divide dough into eight parts.
  • Roll into balls and flatten down by the hand.
  • Place an apricot on every flatted dough circle.
  • Spoon 1/4 tsp of sugar and a small dash of cinnamon inside the apricots.
  • Close up the dough around the apricots and form them into balls. 
  • Use a larger steamer pot or rig up to pots as in the picture.
  • Add cold water to the lower pot, not touching the insert.
  • Spray the insert with cooking spray and arrange the dumplings inside.
  • Brush the tops with melted butter.
  • Cover with lid and bring the water to the boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and steam the dumplings for 25 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile grind the walnuts very fine in the food processor or in a small coffee grinder.
  • Combine it with 1/3 cup of sugar.  
  • Serve the dumplings with the walnut mixture.

        
One of my earlier efforts with Olivia back in 2010

  

12.10.17

MAPLE CUPCAKES

I brought home a neat little book from the library titled Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I picked the moist, luscious maple cupcake recipe, it is perfect for fall, indeed it now feels like fall. When the wildfires were burning I said I could hardly wait for winter, but now I am not so sure. O maple sweetness help me with my melancholy. Also thank you Library. I made half the recipe. The piping job was hasty but the cupcakes are delicious.

Maple Cupcakes

3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, soft
2 Tbsp vegetable shortening, don’t ask me why
2 cups PURE maple syrup, the real stuff
3 egg yolks
1 large egg
1-1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped [I left these out]
parchment paper liners or butter

Cream Cheese Maple Icing

3/4 cup unsalted butter, soft, make sure unsalted
226g cream cheese
4 icing sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp maple syrup

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Line two 12 cup cupcake pans with parchment paper liners or butter them generously.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, and the salt.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer beat the butter and shortening until fluffy.
  • Turn the beater to low and gradually stream in the maple syrup.
  • Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg yolks and the egg, one at a time and beat to combine.
  • Add half of the flour mixture, combine and then add the milk.
  • Add the remaining flour and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  • Fold in the walnuts if using.
  • Fill the prepared cupcake pans.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Please note, these cupcakes take longer to bake with the maple syrup.
  • Let them cupcakes cool for 15 minutes and then transfer them to wire racks to cool down completely.
  • Prepare the Cream Cheese Maple Icing.
    Beat the soft butter and the icing sugar until completely frothy. Add the cream cheese and beat until just combined. Do not overbeat once the creamcheese is added.
  • Store the cupcakes in the fridge but let them come to room temperature before serving.

  

11.10.17

SEMOLINA AND FARINA - GRÍZ

I was surprised when I found out a relative of mine living on Long Island used to have her parents send bits of GRÍZ in every letter which she painstakingly collected. She wasn’t alone though; apparently there are Hungarian immigrants who settled down to the fact that GRÍZ was an unobtainable commodity in North America. I messaged her to ask her Italian mother in-law for semolina. Italians use them in desserts and to make pasta. In the West semolina and farina are porridge foods. In Hungarian cuisine GRÍZ or as sometimes called Búzadara is a staple item with a wide range of applications. I use semolina and farina interchangeably as they are all good replacements for GRÍZ.  

There are differences of course, both in texture and in colour. Some are fine and some are coarsely ground. Some are yellow and some are almost white. Some may contain a bit of bran and germ. Some are finely sifted and are uniform. But they all work as far as I am concerned.

Both semolina and farina come from the endosperm of the wheat kernel.

  • Semolina is made from durum wheat.

  • Farina is made from hard wheat.

Farina may also be labeled as wheatlets.
Cream of Wheat is a brand name for farina and is a registered trademark. So wheatlets and Cream of Wheat are both Farina.

Whatever you use, beware of instant products. These generally won’t taste all that good, contain a lot of chemicals, besides they were designed for a specific purpose and most likely won’t work in your recipe. Which is a problem; because different stores carry different brands plus they keep changing them. So weather you get semolina, farina, wheatlets or a box of Cream of Wheat, look for the least processed version. When all else fails, look for semolina or farina in a Health Food Store. They will be unprocessed and either packaged or in bulk bins. But they all will work in Tejbegríz, Gríznokedli and Túrógombóc
Different versions of semolina and farina

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!