MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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30.12.11

BANNOCK


I got this recipe from a former First Nation’s classmate of mine. At the time, I did not realize how often I would use the recipe, if ever. All I needed was one try and I have been making bannock ever since. Bannock calls for basic ingredients and is much easier and faster to prepare than Hungarian lángos. I tend to make it when unexpected company drops by and there is nothing to put on the table. Bannock can be eaten as is or with sweet or savoury toppings. Some people like it with jam or with cinnamon sugar. I favour plain bannock. This recipe makes 16 six-inch bannocks. I change the oil halfway through, because the flour sediments tend to burn after a few fries. Bannock is best when fresh. I try to discourage sampling and finish the batch first. Otherwise, it is not so easy to keep up with the demand for more.

4 cups flour
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 heaping tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1+1 cups vegetable oil

• In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, water and the maple syrup.
• Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine.
• On a floured surface kneed dough ten times.
• Divide dough into 16 parts and roll into balls.
• On lightly floured board, flatten into disks.
• Roll each disk into a 6-inch circle.
• Heat 1 cup of oil in a fry pan.
• When the oil almost boils, reduce heat to medium.
• Shake off excess flour and slide dough circle into the hot oil.
• When the dough begins to bubble on top, quickly flip it over and fry until both sides are golden, but not brown.
• Place on paper towels and serve bannock.






27.12.11

TARTIFLETTE


A Potato, Cheese And Bacon Gratin

I was dreaming about this dish ever since I saw it on With A Glass last month. Then I finally made it a couple of weeks ago. What can I say except holy noodle, it was good! I could not get reblochon cheese, so I used a large package of brie. Thank you Sissi, it was magnificent! So magnificent in fact that we ate it all up and there was nothing left for me to photograph.

I decided to add less wine and to replace the cream with the crème fraiche I made last night. The one thing to keep in mind is to use white wine. The second tartiflette I made with a rose, but I did not like the colour it had. Use only white wine and use it sparingly. The reblochon is not quite as soft as the brie and to compensate I combined brie with some Asiatic shredded cheese. I used a large brie but you can use a small one just increase the Asiatic cheese. Do not slice the brie ahead of time. It will stick and you will have a hard time separating the pieces. I adjusted the original recipe to reflect all the changes and I must say this one turned out to be a rather good tartiflette! I am sure it would have been better with reblochon, but what else can one use in Kamloops? Thank you Sissi’s for introducing me to the world of tartiflettes!

1-1/4 kg red potatoes
4 strips of thick bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
salt, pepper
1 cup Asiatic cheese, shredded
Large plain brie with rind included, sliced [350 g]
1/8 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups crème fraiche

• Peel and slice the potatoes.
• Transfer potatoes to a pot.
• Pour boiling water over the potatoes. This is important, because starting to cook the potatoes in cold water will leach out their flavour into the water.
• Cook the potatoes al dente.
• Drain the potatoes and let them cool down until you can handle them.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Chop the bacon and cook them in a non-stick fry pan on medium heat.
• Meanwhile chop the onion and add to the bacon in the pan.
• Fry them together until the bacon is a bit crunchy and the onion has softened.
• Spray an ovenproof casserole dish with cooking spray.
• Add a layer of sliced potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• Arrange the mixture of bacon and onion over the potato layer.
• Place the remaining potatoes on the top.
• Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• Add the wine distributing it all over the dish.
• Scatter the Asiatic cheese on the top.
• Pour the crème fraiche over the entire dish.
• Slice the brie with the rind.
• Arrange the brie with the rind side on the top.
• Place in a preheated 350F oven and cover with foil.
• Bake for 30-40 minutes.
• Remove the foil and bake until potatoes are soft and the liquids are all absorbed.
• Before serving let the dish rest for 10 minutes.
• Serve tartiflette with a green salad.















QUICK CRÈME FRAICHE


With the richness of whipping cream and the consistency and tang of sour cream, crème fraiche is a staple in French cuisine. Crème fraiche does not curdle or separate when heated and is an excellent substitute for sour cream in many recipes. I cannot buy crème fraiche where I live so this too I have to make myself. But the good news is it could not be simpler to make. Just add buttermilk to whipping cream, shake, cover, and then leave it on the counter overnight. That is all it takes. Crème fraiche is quite delightful!

1-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream [35%]
1/4 cup buttermilk [3.25%]

• Pour the whipping cream and the buttermilk into a glass jar or container with a well fitting lid.
• Place on the cover and shake.
• Let it sit at room temperature overnight or until mixture thickens.
• Shake it, refrigerate it and use it up within a week.

22.12.11

APRICOT BARK

This is the master recipe but there is a lot of leeway with making this bark. I tend to make it at the end of my Christmas baking frenzy from the last bit of chocolates I have left. In this instance, I still had a large block of white Callebaut and one square of semisweet and one square of bitter chocolates left. I used more apricots, because I like them. Considering that, bittersweet chocolate is more expensive, combining the semisweet and the bitter chocolates was a great idea. I may do that again. It is important to use good quality chocolate, either Callebaut or Ghirardelli or at the very least Baker’s chocolate squares. Do not add anything to the chocolate; melt it, but just barely! Then let it solidify at room temperature and the chocolate shine is sure to stay.

6 squares of white chocolate, chopped
6 squares of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup dried apricots

• Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
• Place a layer of dried apricots in the pan.
• Place a non-stick fry pan on medium heat.
• Add the white chocolate to the pan.
• Continually stirring melt the chocolate partially, with chunks remaining.
• Remove from heat and stir until the remaining chunks have melted.
• Spoon the melted chocolate over the apricots. A flexible rubber spatula will ensure there is no waste.
• Add the chopped dark chocolates to the fry pan and continually stirring partially melt that too.
• Remove chocolate from heat and stir until all the chunks have melted.
• Spoon the dark chocolate over the white chocolate at intervals.
• With the end of a knife, draw the white and dark chocolate together to give a marble effect.
• Let bark chill and then brake into pieces.



21.12.11

TURTLE CLUSTERS


On my way back from Kelowna I left my purse at the Petro Can washroom in Falkland. I did not miss the purse until the following morning, and I just about lost my mind when I finally realized where my purse could be. The “Coach” purse, which was a gift from one of my daughters, had my entire life in it, my driver’s licence, bank cards, check book, credit cards, cell phone, digital camera and a very expensive camcorder!!! There are good people in this world, because after a frantic drive to Falkland I had my purse back with all of its contents. What can I say to loose some of the stuff so close to Christmas would have been a minor disaster? So… taking the photos of this sweet confection was doubly sweet.

I have several recipes for turtle candy. This is turtle number 1. My thinking is eventually I will add the best one to the cookbook. The first pitfall was, oh, there were several, that it made too much soft caramel and not enough chocolate. The chocolate set up, but the caramel stayed gooey and it all pooled around the base. Therefore add the caramel ever so sparingly; just a few dabs really, do not attempt to pile it over the pecans, because it will spread out no matter what you do with it. The chocolate was just enough to spoon a small scoop for the bottoms; I had nothing left for the turtle shells. Instead of melting more chocolate, I rolled some leftover ganache and pressed it onto the tops. This of course changed the appearance of the turtles; freshly melted chocolate would have looked shinier and smoother then the reconstituted ganache I used. I adjusted the recipe, but I will have to make it again to be certain about the amounts. Just to experiment, I assembled a few turtles in muffin tins, but even though I sprayed the tins, the caramel stuck and the turtles came out in chunks. Therefore, it is best assembling them on parchment-lined trays.

6 individually-wrapped caramels, unwrapped
cooking spray
1/4 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups pecan halves
2 1/2 cups pure baking chocolate, chopped
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp glycerine
whipping cream

• Preheat the oven to 350°.
• Place the pecans on a cookie sheet; toast for 10-15 minutes.
• Remove from oven and set them aside.
• Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
• In a Pyrex bowl, combine caramels, condensed milk, and butter.
• Microwave for 1 minute and stir.
• Microwave for 1 more minute and stir.
• Continue stirring until the caramels completely melt.
• Drop 1/2 tsp caramel on top of each pecan cluster.
• Freeze the trays for an hour or two.
• Pull the parchment paper with the off
• Melt the chocolate, butter, and glycerine in a double boiler.
• Add a little whipping cream, this makes it easier to spoon the chocolate.
• Line a tray with fresh parchment paper and lightly spray with Pam.
• Arrange the pecans in clusters of threes Count clusters and set aside.
• Spoon 1 tsp melted chocolate over each pecan clusters.
• Return tray to the freezer for 15 minutes.
• Remove the first tray from the freezer.
• Pull the pecan clusters off the paper and drop them in the chocolate.
• Repeat with the remaining candies.
• Spoon the remaining melted chocolate on the tops.
• Let the candies set for several hours. Makes 36 candies





17.12.11

MARZIPAN BON BON


To use up leftover marzipan, I made 24 marzipan bon bons. I rolled it into a log with a filling from two types of dried fruit. You can also roll the marzipan jellyroll style, but you will need more marzipan for that. I barely had enough marzipan to enclose the fruit. I sliced it and then dipped it into white chocolate. Amazingly, this did not turn into an overly sweet confection.

1/3 batch of quick marzipan
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dried plums
6 squares [6 oz] white chocolate
salt for sprinkling

• Lay a sheet of parchment paper on the counter.
• Place the marzipan on the parchment paper.
• Roll the marzipan into a thin rectangle.
• Arrange the chopped fruit along the longer side.
• With the aid of the parchment paper, roll up the marzipan.
• Pinch the ends together enclosing the fruit.
• You now have a marzipan log with fruit inside.
• Wrap the fruit log and freeze for one hour.
• Remove log from freezer and slice into 24 rolls.
• Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
• Meanwhile place the white chocolate in a fry pan.
• On very low heat, partially melt the white chocolate.
• Remove from heat and continue stirring until all the chocolate has melted.
• Dip the chilled rolls into the white chocolate.
• Place on the parchment to solidify.
• Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
• Take out of freezer and turn the bon bons over.
• Spoon the remaining melted chocolate on the top.
• Sprinkle salt on the top and set aside.
• Since the bon bons are chilled, the white chocolate will harden quickly.
• Place the bon bons in small confectionary cups.


16.12.11

RUM BALL COOKIES


These cookies start out exactly like rum balls except you add 1 cup of Graham crumbs to the mixture. I used unsweetened chocolate, because the icing sugar and the Graham crumbs are already sweet. The first bite is bitter, but then the cookie is less so, which is a nice surprise.

1 cup icing sugar
1 cup finely ground almonds
3 squares [3 oz] unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/3 cup dark rum or your choice of hard liquor
1 tsp vanilla
unsweetened cocoa to roll into

• Line trays with waxed paper and set aside.
• Place a fry pan on low heat and add the chocolate.
• Stirring continuously, partially melt the chocolate.
• Remove from pan from heat and stir until chocolate is fully melted
• In a large bowl, combine the almonds and the icing sugar.
• Add the melted chocolate, the rum and vanilla.
• Add the Graham crumbs and stir to combine.
• Press together with clean hands.
• One by one roll mixture into 24 balls.
• Roll each ball into unsweetened cocoa and place on the prepared tray.
• Let rum ball cookies dry on the tray for 1 hour.
• Serve or place cookies in Tupperware containers until needed.
• Rum ball cookies freeze well.

STOLLEN


Stollen is a German Christmas fruit bread. I made 4 small loaves, this gives me a better opportunity to share and to slice the stollen for Christmas tins. I added a roll of homemade marzipan to each stollen and 1/2 cup of Hungarian rum cherries. However, these are optional. The rest of the ingredients all come from the supermarket. Feel free to substitute with different types of dried fruits. As long as the fruit mix is colourful, the stollen will work out just fine. My source was a somewhat convoluted recipe, and charming video, Martha Stewart’s mom, Mrs Kostyra is making stollen with her famous daughter.

1 cup currants
1 cup dried mangos, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup rum cherries, chopped [optional]
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3/4 cup chopped citron
Grated zest of 2 oranges
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup cognac
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup + 2-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
6 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 tsp quick instant yeast
1 1/4 cups blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
1 batch of marzipan, rolled into 4 sticks [optional]
1+2 Tbsp melted butter
icing sugar, for dusting

• Place the currants, diced mangos, cranberries, diced apricots, citron, orange zest and lemon zest in a large bowl.
• Add the cognac and the orange juice and toss. Set aside.
• On low heat, melt the butter.
• Add the milk and just heat until lukewarm. Remove from heat and set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl place the flour, sugar, salt ground mace grated nutmeg and the instant yeast and whisk to combine.
• In a medium bowl lightly beat the eggs.
• Add the milk mixture and the beaten eggs to the flour mixture.
• Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead until fairly smooth.
• Transfer dough to a large bowl.
• Add the fruit mix with their liquid and the chopped almonds.
• Work them into the dough with your hands.
• Transfer dough to work surface, and knead for about 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky, knead in more flour, but be careful not to overwork.
• Butter a large bowl with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
• Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat.
• Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
• Preheat oven to 375F.
• Punch dough down, and gently pat into four rectangles 1/4 inch thick.
• Using a rolling pin, make an indentation just off the center of the dough and lay the marzipan on top.
• Roll and press down on the edges to seal the marzipan in the dough. One side will be larger than the other.
• Carefully transfer dough parchment-lined baking sheet
• Cover with a clean kitchen towel; set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
• Dough will rise only a little bit.
• Brush dough with 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
• Bake until golden brown and crusty, about 45 minutes, rotating halfway through.
• Place baking sheet on a wire rack to cool.
• Dust with icing sugar before serving.











15.12.11

CANADIAN BUTTER TARTS


Butter tart is true Canadiana. Butter tart did NOT descend from the American pecan pie and what you put in it has become the source of several national debates. Butter tarts supposed to taste buttery; hence the name: “BUTTER tart”? The purist approach is no nuts or raisins, because it would have to be a nut or a raisin tart, would it not? I have to confess I like mine with raisins. However, I stop there, because adding molasses, corn syrup, or even maple syrup would be a sacrilege. Americans put out far more cookbooks than Canadians do, so it is not surprising that most cookbooks insist on using corn syrup. I myself think that corn syrup is the absolute worst in a butter tart; it overpowers the delicate taste of butter and makes it sickly sweet. If your preference is runny and syrupy, well that is quite all right, but then please stop calling it “butter tart”, because it is not. One more thing, butter tarts are more attractive if made with light brown sugar. Light brown sugar melts better and gives a golden hue to the tarts. This brings me to the pastry. We can buy frozen tart shells in Canada just for our butter tarts.


But if you live somewhere else or it is getting close to Christmas and you can no longer find them in the stores, it is not hard to make your own pie pastry. However, try to avoid stretching the dough. Stretching the dough will shrink the pastry during baking considerably. Then the filling spills over and you have a mess. If you follow the instructions to the letter, you will not have any problems with your butter tarts.

1/2 batch of pie pastry [makes 20 four inch tart shells]

Filling:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup raisins or chopped walnuts

• Make 1/2 batch from this recipe
• Wrap the dough and chill for 30 minutes.
• On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out thin. If you cannot get 20 rounds, your dough is too thick.
• With a 4 inch round pastry cutter cut out 20 rounds.
• Re-roll all the scraps you need them. I only had a tiny bit of dough left over, about the size of a walnut. If you have a 12-muffin tin, cover the extra rounds with plastic wrap and set them aside to use later.
• Line the muffin tin with the pastry rounds. Lightly press the dough into the corners of the pan, leaving no space between the dough and the pan or the tart will shrink as it nestles into the pan during baking.
• Next, place the pan with the empty dough shells into the fridge for 20 minutes.
• Meanwhile prepare the filling.
• Chop the butter into chunks and place them in a saucepan.
• Add the light brown sugar.
• On moderate heat, begin to melt the butter stirring continuously.
• Before all the butter melts, remove saucepan from the heat. You are not making toffee so do not overheat.
• Continue stirring away from the heat until all the butter melts.
• Transfer mixture to a medium sized bowl.
• Add the whipping cream and the vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
• Whisk in the eggs one at the time.
• Pour mixture into a measuring cup with a spout scraping out all the contents and then set it aside.
• Take the chilled tart shells out of the freezer.
• Drop 4-5 raisins or bits of chopped walnuts into each tart shell.
• Whisk the butter filling one more time and then pour it into the tart shells filling them only 2/3 of the way.
• Bake the tarts at 375F for 14 minutes, or until the filling is puffed up.
• Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
• Let the tarts cool before removing from the muffin tins.
• Yields: 20 tarts



QUICK MARZIPAN


Most of the time you can’t even find it, but when you do how do you know its real marzipan? These are the reasons I make it myself. You can use marzipan dipped in chocolate, coloured, flavoured or formed into candies and decorations, or sometimes in recipes like stollen.

1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups ground blanched almonds (the finer the ground, the better)

• Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves.
• Add the almonds and cook it until the batter stops sticking to the pan.
• Remove from heat and place on a flat surface.
• While still warm, knead first with a spatula and then by hand until smooth.
• Wrap the marzipan in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight plastic bag.
• If marzipan is dry, soften it with a small amount of syrup. If too soft, add icing sugar to it.





12.12.11

OLD FASHIONED LEMON BARS


One of my old standbys for the Christmas cookie tins. They pack well, freeze well, they are delicious and they provide good contrast to the nutty, chocolaty treats we tend to have. With a couple of exceptions, I only make one batch from each cookie; when you bake half a dozen or more varieties, you only need 4-6 samples from one type of cookie. I always keep a couple of tins, the rest I give away to family and friends. Once in awhile we have to go the bakery rout for Christmas. But sitting down to a tray of bakery goodies is not the same, I always have this feeling that something is missing. It may be different in some parts of Hungary or Europe or maybe even in the Greater Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal areas, but in Kamloops? The last time this happened was two years ago. I bought an exclusive tray of assorted goodies from one of the local bakeries, but the quality and quantity of some ingredients was sadly lacking. The tray looked good, but after picking out the few star cookies, the remaining ones were so boring I ended up dumping them a few days later. Then of course, there was nothing to give away. OK well that is one way not to put on the Christmas pounds! But have no fear it should be all well this year, the 2011 Christmas tins will be as delicious as ever!

BASE:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest

FILLING:
4 eggs at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Icing sugar for dusting

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
• Fully line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, extending it for easy removal later.
• In a large bowl cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until light.
• Add the flour and mix to combine.
• Press the dough into the prepared pan.
• Bake the base for 15 minutes.
• Meanwhile make the filling.
• Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and the flour.
• Remove base from the oven and pour the filling over the hot crust.
• Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the filling is set.
• Let it cool down to room temperature.
• Grasping onto the extended parchment ends, careully remove the bar from the pan.
• Trim off the edges.
• Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar.


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

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