MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
Click on the Cookbook for the Recipes

31.7.12

MUSHROOM CHICKEN IN CREAM SAUCE - TEJSZÍNES GOMBÁS CSIRKE


A delicate dish, you may add white wine, although it is not necessary. Never add sour cream. Sour cream would make it taste like a stroganoff and the aim here is to taste the cream. This is a fast skillet dish and please don’t ruin it with canned mushroom soup.

4 chicken thighs
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup diced onions
4 cups fresh, sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup whipping cream
sprinkling of savory
2 tsp of cornstarch
2 sprigs of flat leaf parsley

• Wash and dry the chicken thighs.
• Remove skin, bone and fatty bits. Do not discard though set them aside for making stock.
• Cut each deboned thighs in two.
• Place the olive oil in a large non stick skillet.
• Add the chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt.
• Sauté the chicken pieces on medium heat until tender. Do not brown the meat.
• Add the diced onions and continue to sauté until onions for a couple of minutes.
• Add the mushrooms and cover the skillet with a well fitting lid.
• Sauté dish for two minutes and then remove the lid.
• Add the whipping cream and sprinkle with savory.
• Bring to the boil, cover and remove from heat.
• Let dish rest for 10 minutes.
• Meanwhile wash and chop the parsley leaves.
• Combine 2 tsp of cornstarch with some of the cream sauce. [it would have cooled down a bit by then.
• Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and stir in the chopped parsley leaves.
• Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute.
• Remove from heat and serve with pasta or nokedli.

LETTUCE IN BRINE - ECETES SALÁTA


In the spring and early summer, this is what graced our Sunday dinners and if we were lucky, we would get it during the week with paprikás krumpli or tojásos nokedli. I never saw mixed salads, until I came to Canada. We always had our lettuce this way, although I have seen plain lettuce served in a restaurant once, I remember asking my aunt, Ez meg mi? She said it was natúr saláta.

Always use butter lettuce, no other lettuce can give you the same wonderful flavour. Remember, brining is a minimalist treatment, other types of lettuce would be either too bland or could overpower this light sweet and sour brine. As for the brine, how sweet or sour it should be is entirely personal.

1 round head of butter lettuce
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
sugar to taste
white vinegar to taste

• Fill a glass salad bowl half way with cold water.
• Add the salt and the sugar.
• Stir to dissolve the sugar.
• Add some white vinegar to make a pleasantly sweet and sour brine. Keep tasting it and adding more sugar or vinegar as needed. Now this is important, rinse the spoon after each tasting.
• Take off the outer leaves. Cut the yellow inner leaves into four parts.
• Wash the lettuce very well and shake off the water.
• Place in the brine and let it sit on the counter for twenty minutes.
• Serve the brined letucce in individual bowls and top it off with some of the brine.

30.7.12

KRAUT STRUDLI - SVÁB STRUDLI

The Krauts are Hungary’s Germanic people, their ethnic traditions, including the food is distinct and yet part of Hungary’s heritage. There are Hungarian ultra nationalists that would disagree with this statement, but I would send them to my Sváb aunt down to Siklós to ask her if she thinks she was a Hungarian or not. I have a feeling they would sure get a good talking to, Ugyan már miket beszélsz össze fiam? – she would say. True she is my aunt by marriage, but a few years ago when my brothers assembled our family tree, I noticed quite a few Germanic names among my blood relations going back a few hundred years. I have Slav, Székely and probably Jewish blood flowing in my veins and I embrace them all. These days I am thankful to God for bringing me to Canada, where I fit in with so much comfort. And as much as my ultra nationalist relatives prefer to overlook, our family is not only Magyar, we are in fact descendents of several ethnic cultures as I suspect most people in current day Hungary are.

OK, before I begin to cry, I should move on to the strudli. As the name says it, strudli is a Sváb or Kraut dish, and throughout Hungary where pockets of Sváb groups live, they hold annual strudli festivals. Naturally, there are many recipes and each one is authentic to the person who makes it. The fillings can be savoury, mostly potato or cabbage and sometimes sweet with a túró or jam filling. Since I just made jam a couple of days ago, I made a jam strudli. For potato filling I have a recipe here and for túró I have a similar sweet ricotta filling here.

Strudli Dough:
1-1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup 14% sour cream
sprinkling of salt

filling of choice [I used jam]
1 l vegetable oil for deep frying [approximate amount]

• If you fill the strudli with potatoes, make the potato filling first.
• The túró filling can be prepared while the strudli dough rests.
• Combine the strudli dough ingredients and kneed until very, very elastic. A beater with a dough hook attachment makes this a breeze.
• Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
• On a well floured board roll out the dough to 2 mm thickness. The dough will be sticky, so keep flouring the rolling pin and make sure the dough is not sticking to the board.
• Cut the rolled out dough into 3X3 inch squares with a pizza cutter.
• Place 1 tsp of filling in the middle.
• Fold the dough over and press around the edges to seal the dough. Take care with the jam filled packets so they won’t open up during frying.
• Place vegetable oil in a pot. The oil should come up 1-1/2 inch in the pot. The amount of oil will vary depending on the size of the pot you use.
• Heat up the oil for deep frying and one by one slide 4-5 strudli into the oil.
• Gently flip strudli over with a fork and be mindful not to puncture the dough.
• When the first batch of strudli looks as if almost ready to come out of the oil, one by one slide in a few more strudli and then quickly scoop out the finished strudli with a large slotted spoon. Add a couple of more strudli to the oil and continue frying in this fashion until all the strudli is fried. The reason for this is if you take out all the strudli, the oil will heat up too high and by the time, you slide in the next batch it will just burn.
• Place the golden fried strudli on paper towels and serve.











29.7.12

MAKING JAM FROM JAM FOAM

Every time I made jam and discarded the skimmed off foam I felt like I was throwing away good food. It turns out I did just that. There is very little about using the foam from jam making, although I knew about adding butter. Butter reduces foaming, but unfortunately, butter treated jam does not last as well. However, I did find a canning site with a good idea here: Foam in Home Jam Making - What It Is and What To Do About It!

With six batches of jam, a considerable amount of foam will accumulate. The foam looked a little different by next morning, but it was still foam. So I followed the instructions, I think I may have microwaved it for 15 minutes one minute at a time, but don’t forget this was the foam from six batches. If you made only one batch of jam, the time needed to reconstitute is much less. But what do you know, the result will be… more jam. The texture is a bit different, but it will be still jam. I packed the reconstituted jam into a sterilized container with a well fitting lid and put it in the fridge. I will use it for breakfast and for baking.

• Place the foam in a large glass bowl and pop it into a microwave for 30 to 60 seconds or so on high.
• Be sure to watch it the entire time, or it may boil over.
• You want to get it hot again and to boil up a bit.
• Once you remove it and it cools, it will look, act and taste like regular jam again.
• Place the reclaimed jam in the fridge and use it up fresh.

APRICOT JAM



Looking at the cooked jams section of instructions inside my pectin box, it says “don’t peel” the apricots. Bad advice. The skin will be tough, chewy and tends to discolour the jam. ALWAYS, ALWAYS PEEL THE SKIN OF APRICOTS, just like you would peel the skin of peaches. Blanch the apricots in small batches for a minute and then drop them into ice water. If the apricots are ripe, the skin will just slide off. If you like fruit bits in your apricot jam, chop the fruit into large chunks, most of the fruit will fall apart during hard boiling anyway.


It is important to use sterilized jars, lids and utensils when preparing cooked jams and jellies. Jars can be sterilized in the oven at 225F for 10 minutes and should be kept warm until filling time. Lids should be placed in boiled water until ready to use.

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.

3 cups prepared fruit (2-1/2 lb. fully ripe apricots)
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1 pouch liquid CERTO*

• Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water.
• Place the jars in 225F oven for ten minutes. Keep them in the oven until ready to fill.
• Place the jam funnel, skimming spoon and the ladle in a medium large pot and add the flat lids. Pour boiling water into the saucepan. Let stand in hot water until ready to use.
• Peel the apricots. In small batches dip them into boiling water for a minute.
• Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to ice water. This will stop the cooking process and the skins will just slide off.

• Remove and discard apricot pit.
• Measure 3 cups of prepared fruit into a large Dutch pot.
• Add the lemon juice and the sugar.
• Stir well and bring mixture to full rolling boil (boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
• Boil hard for 1 whole minute.
• Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 pouch of liquid CERTO.
• Let the jam rest for 5 minutes and then skim off foam with a metal spoon.
• Remove the jars from the oven and quickly ladle the jam into the prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.
• Wipe jar rims and threads.
• Cover with two-piece lids.
• Screw bands tightly.
• Place the jam filled jars back in the oven for 2 hours.
• Remove jars and place upright to cool completely. Do not tighten caps.
• After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
• Yields: 6 cups jam

* Powdered pectin requires a different processing method. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using pectin.

27.7.12

LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN


There are stacks of air chilled, skinless chicken at my favourite supermarket, but with the skin on, not as much. So when I spot them, I buy with a few packages, because chicken tastes better cooked with the skin. Not every store sells palatable chicken, the largest ones certainly don’t, but there still is one store left with a good supplier that prevents me from joining the organic crowd. In Kamloops, it is the North Shore Coopers. I won’t buy cut up chicken anywhere else, anytime I get tempted by price or convenience I regret it in the end. This is a non-imaginative way to cook chicken, but it is fast and tasty. What gives it that extra little zing is the lemon flavoured pepper spice.

2 trimmed chicken breasts with skin on
salt to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sprinkling of lemon pepper spice

• Lightly sprinkle the chicken with salt and let it brine for an hour at room temperature.
• Transfer to a small roaster with a well fitting lid.
• Spoon the lemon juice and the olive oil on the top.
• Sprinkle with lemon pepper.
• Cover and place in the oven at 375F.
• Bake until tender.
• Remove lid and let the skin crisp up a little. Keep an eye on it not to them out.
• Remove from the oven, tent it with foil for a few minutes and serve.

 

HONEY LEMON YOGHURT CAKE


When Ann brought over a tub of honey flavoured Greek yoghurt, saying she found it too rich, I knew it right of way what I will do with it. Too rich? Bah, it’s all for the better, besides it was no way as rich as if I made the cake with cream cheese. I waited a few hours before cracking the spring form pan and … oh my! It tasted every bit as good as it looked. There is nothing to cook, except the base. Everything else is whipped or combined and then chilled for this delicious cake.

Base:
1 cup honey graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup butter

Yoghurt Cake:
500 ml honey flavoured 10% Greek style yoghurt
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
3 pkg. Knox gelatine
1/3 cup cold water
250 ml whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar

• Butter the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form cake pan.
• Combine base ingredients and press into the bottom of the prepared cake pan
• Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.
• Remove from oven and set it aside to cool.
• The yoghurt cake requires little preparation, so do not start on it until the base and the cake pan cooled down.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice and lemon rinds with a whisk.
• Pour 3 packets of Knox gelatine into a small bowl.
• Add 1/3 cup of cold water and stir.
• As soon as the gelatine mixture “blooms”, add to the yoghurt mixture and whisk to combine.
• In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks from.
• Gradually add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
• Add the whipped cream to the yoghurt mixture and whisk to combine.
• Pour on top of the base and place it in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
• Remove from fridge, move a blunt knife around the edge and unhook the spring mechanism.
• Cut the cake and serve with fresh fruit.

26.7.12

APPLE BLUEBERRY SALAD


Blueberries are in season, but since we have access to fresh blueberries almost year around, this is not really a seasonal salad. It is very refreshing served alongside a spicy dish. Serve it with poppy seed dressing. This amount makes two to four servings.

1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
sprinkling of Fruit Fresh
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese

• Wash the apples, core and chop.
• Place the apples in a salad bowl.
• Sprinkle Fruit Fresh on the top and toss.
• Wash the blueberries and drain.
• Add to the salad bowl and toss.
• Shave the parmesan cheese on the top and serve.

VEGETABLE WITH SPLIT PEAS DAL


Of all the cuisines, the Indian kitchen makes the tastiest dishes from split peas, chickpeas and lentils. With at least 30 different languages, India has a diverse population. I lack even the most basic knowledge and experience to determine authenticity and I am certain nothing I make will come close to authentic Indian food. Besides I am not able to eat anything hot, so for sure any Indian style dish I may cook will be mild even by North American standards. But boy, was this ever tasty! Cook the dal first, sauté the vegetables [in this case wax beans], add the dal, heat through and serve. This is a crunchy dal, if you like it mushy, cook the split peas longer. If you like heat, add crushed up chilli pepper. You can make the dal from lentils too and replace the wax beans with broccoli, green beans or cauliflower. The possibilities are endless. This is a mild version.

Split Peas Dal:

3/4 cup yellow split peas
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Light sprinkling of chili flakes [I put in 4 flakes]
1/4 cup chicken stock

The Vegetable:
2 cups wax beans, cleaned and chopped
2 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp tiny dark brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
sprinkling of cilantro

• Cook the split peas in water for 15 minutes.
• Drain and place in a food processor.
• Add 2 garlic cloves, chili flakes and 1/4 cup chicken stock
• Pure and set the dal aside. The dal should have some crunchy bits in it.
• Place 2 Tbsp oil in a non-stick fry pan.
• Add the wax beans and 1/4 cup of chicken stock.
• Sauté beans on medium heat. Do not add more liquid.
• When the chicken stock is cooked away, add the mustard seeds and the cumin.
• When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the reserved dal.
• Heat through and serve.
 

24.7.12

BIRTHDAY CAKE for SISSI


This one is a unique cake. It is the beloved cake my foodie friend’s mum makes for her birthday every year. The ingredients might seem a little unusual, but the flavours and the crumb are lovely! Sissi recipe is here, I simplified it and increased the amounts to accommodate a pair of 9-inch cake tins. In essence, I believe I remained faithful to Sissi’s birthday cake. Here is the story in a nutshell: Make the ganache first and refrigerate it for a couple of hours. Cook the poppy seeds next, drain and let them cool. Preheat the oven, prepare the cake pans, and then make the cake. Let the cakes cool, cut them in half and sprinkle them with rum. Finally assemble the cake, chill it and decorate it with walnuts. Use only good quality chocolate for the ganache.

Postscript:
We had a slice exactly twenty-four hours later. I was bowled over by the perfection of this cake. I should have thought of it that light soaking with rum would take awhile to mature the crumb. Next time I make it, I am serving it the following day. Matured and with the rum permeating the cake layers, Sissi’s cake became nothing short of extraordinary! Oh, we are having this again!

Chocolate Ganache:
12 squares of semi sweet dark chocolate [altogether 336 g]
300 ml heavy cream (25% fat or more)

Cake:
2 cups [250 g] poppy seeds
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
12 high heaped Tbsp fine bread crumbs
8 egg whites
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup + rum for soaking the cake layers
walnut kernels for decoration

• Place the chocolate and the whipping cream in the top of a double boiler.
• Melt it slowly, stirring occasionally.
• Remove from heat and place ganache in the fridge for two hours.
• Meanwhile place the poppy seeds in a pot and cover with water.
• Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer.
• Simmer poppy seeds for 15 minutes.
• Drain well and set aside.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• To prepare two 9-inch cake pans: Spray the pans with cooking spray. Line the cake pans with parchment paper. Spray the lining on the top, sprinkle lightly with fine breadcrumbs, and then set aside.
• Beat the egg yolks and the sugar for 4-5 minutes until very fluffy.
• Add the cooled and well-drained poppy seeds and the fine breadcrumbs to the beaten egg yolks alternatively.
• In a separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
• Gradually, not all at once, fold the beaten egg whites into the poppy seed mixture.
• Gently fold in the chopped walnuts.
• Divide cake batter between the prepared pans and place in the preheated oven.
• Opps, I failed to record baking time… again.
• Remove cakes from the oven and let them cool.
• Gently cut around the edge and remove cakes from the cake pans.
• With a serrated knife cut both cakes in half.
• Sprinkle the cake layers with the rum. I used a little more than 1/2 cup. :-)
• Thinly spread the layers with chocolate ganache and spread remaining ganache on the top and the sides.
• Chill the cake for 3-4 hours or overnight.
• Place the walnut kernels on the top, slice and serve.



 
 

22.7.12

CANNING SALMON


Pressure cooker and pressure canner is essentially the same thing. A pressure canner is just a really big pressure cooker, but the mechanism isn't any different. The pressure canner is not safer than the pressure cooker. The only difference is the price and the number of jars you able to process in one batch. My hubby uses a large pressure cooker, with an aluminum liner. If you don't have a liner for your pressure cooker, use a disposible aluminum pie plate instead. The pie plate ensures that the jars will not have direct contact with the bottom of the pot. Hubby cooks up eight 250-mil jars with each batch. So as you see this is a guest post and I am only the photographer.

For safe canning of salmon, please follow the directions carefully. Processing salmon in a pressure cooker is essential to eliminate the risk of Botulism. Do not attempt to home can fish in 1 L jars; use 250 or 500 ml jars only. Use properly eviscerated fish. The spices, if used, are a matter of personal preference. We are Hungarian born and raised so we prefer the flavour of paprika. The source of canning instruction is Bernardin. The recipe is ours. The photos round out the story. When we open up a jar, I will add a new picture.

fresh salmon

For each 250 mil jar use:
1 Tbsp crushed bay leaves
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 pinch pickling salt
1 tsp vinegar

• Chill cleaned fish on ice or refrigerate until ready to can.
• To prepare salmon, remove and discard salmon head, tail and fins.
• Wash fish carefully, removing all blood. (If desired, remove skin and/or bones).
• Cut fish into pieces suitable for jars.
• Wash the required number of 250 or 500 ml jars.
• Set screw bands aside; heat snap lids sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep sealing discs hot until ready to use.
• NOTE: Do NOT heat jars prior to filling.
• Add the spices, salt and the vinegar to the jars.
• Pack the salmon tightly into the jar to within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of top rim (head space).
• Using non-metallic utensil, remove air bubbles.
• Wipe jar rim clean with a wet paper towel moistened with vinegar (clean rims are essential to good seals).
• Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim.
• Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
• Return filled jar to rack in pressure cooker.
• Repeat for remaining salmon.
• As each jar is filled, set it on the liner in the pressure canner or cooker.
• Arrange jars allowing space for steam to flow around jars.
• If stacking jars, place a second liner between layers of jars.
• When pressure cooker is full, add room temperature water to level as directed by cooker manufacturer.
• Lock the lid in place and follow manufacturer’s heating instructions.
• Vent cooker to allow steam to escape.
• When cooker reaches full pressure, turn heat down to medium and maintain full pressure. 
• Process the at maximum pressure for 100 minutes.
• When processing time is complete turn off heat.
• Allow pressure cooker to stand undisturbed until pressure drops completely.
• Wait 2 minutes longer, and then remove cover, tilting it away from your face.
• Remove jars without tilting.
• Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
• After cooling check jar seals.
• Sealed discs curve downward. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars.
• Label and store in a cool, dark place.
• For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.




SKILLET RED CABBAGE


I love Hungarian purple cabbage, but it requires brining in salt. But time is of essence when half an hour before dinner your darling comes upstairs with a purple cabbage from the garden. I grab the skillet and make a skillet version. He gets the cabbage and we eat before nine. The amounts are arbitrary, keep tasting as you add the ingredients to find the right sweet and sour taste right for you. Use salt sparingly, too much of it will spoil the dish. Most of all sauté the cabbage slowly, it will quickly burn on high heat.

1/2 purple cabbage
2 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

• Wash the cabbage and then slice very thinly.
• Place a deep non-stick skillet on medium heat.
• Add 2 Tbsp olive oil.
• Add the cabbage and the sugar.
• Stir it with a wooden spoon to coat the cabbage with oil and sugar.
• Add a pinch of salt, but handle it sparingly.
• Add the red wine vinegar.
• Slowly sauté the cabbage and stir it occasionally.
• Reduce heat if needed.
• When the liquid cooked away, the cabbage is ready.
  

BREAD CRUMB WAX BEANS


The thing with having a kitchen garden is when something is ready; you eat it and eat it until it is gone. I am not a fan of frozen vegetables, not since you can get most of them fresh all year around, so we try to give it away and eat it up. Steamed wax beans are swell for a few days, but after awhile you start looking for different ways to serve it. This is the reason for these beans and I must say they are refreshingly new way to prepare when wax beans are in season.

5 cups fresh wax beans
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup of fine breadcrumbs
salt to taste

• Trim the wax beans and chop them into one-inch pieces.
• Place in a colander and wash them under running water.
• Steam the beans until almost tender but still quite crunchy. The beans will soften more in the frying pan, so it is important not to cook them fully.
• Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan over slow medium heat. Be careful not to brown the butter.
• Add the wax beans and toss to coat with the butter.
• Add the breadcrumbs and gently fold into the beans.
• Continue to cook and lightly toss around the frying pan until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted.
• Sprinkle with salt to taste.
• Serve immediately.

 

CREAMED BROCCOLI


This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation from Gourmet Magazine. Looks like baby food, but in fact, this is a tasty adult dish. When was the last time you licked broccoli off your blender? Because… I did before I put the blender jar in the dishwasher… The original seasoning would have been too strong for my tastes. I don’t cook my vegetables to the death but I would have had to in order to mash the broccoli bits with a potato masher as the original recipe suggested. Besides, it would have still looked like a dog’s breakfast. Therefore, I emphasise using a blender, 3/4 cup of cream and not reducing it. The parmesan has to be freshly grated and 3 Tbsp is not enough, I used about 1/3 cup plus. Fresh lemon juice is necessity, do not use bottled lemon juice, it would spoil the taste. As a side dish, this makes 4-5 lovely servings.

4 cups diced broccoli
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 pinch grated nutmeg
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

• Wash the broccoli thoroughly.
• Peel the stems, and then finely chop the stems and the florets.
• Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water, until just tender, it will have an intense green colour.
• Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop cooking.
• Bring to the boil cream, garlic and nutmeg.
• Simmer for 1 minute.
• Add broccoli and remove from heat.
• Puree in several batches in a blender.
• Place in a heatproof serving dish.
• Add 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and the lemon juice.
• Stir to combine and heat up in the microwave.
• Sprinkle the top with the remaining parmesan cheese and serve.
 

15.7.12

BREADED MUSHROOMS - RÁNTOTT GOMBA


If I had to be a vegetarian, breaded mushrooms would be my replacement of meat, probably because my all time favourite meat dish happens to be breaded cutlets. Deep fried breaded mushrooms is an anytime treat. They go particularly well with cheesy pasta. As appetizers, they are nice dipped into tartar sauce. Hungarians tend to use the caps only, probably because they like to peel their mushrooms. My grandmother always peeled hers. I did an image search and it looks as if nothing changed. Hungarians still peel their mushrooms. On the other side of the spectrum, there is a North American practice not even washing, just wiping the mushrooms. Knowing what mushrooms actually grown in, they ought to be washed well, but peeling them seems a bit of overkill. It is always good idea to wash fruits and vegetables, even the “prewashed” kind or even if you end up peeling off the outer layers. Bacteria can spread from the peel to hands and from there to the mouth. Our food comes from all over the world these days and the standards of food production and our resistance to bacteria are not uniform.

4 cups medium to large mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
1 well-beaten egg
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
oil for deep frying
salt

• Wash the mushroom and slice them thickly. Do not salt them yet, salt would soften them.
• On three separate plates, place flour, an egg, and fine breadcrumbs.
• Beat the egg with a fork until slightly frothy.
• Roll the mushroom slices into the flour; coat well.
• Next dip them in the beaten egg; coat well.
• Finally dip them in the breadcrumbs, coating well.
• Set out a plate with paper towel and a slotted spoon nearby.
• In a large skillet, place enough oil for deep-frying.
• Heat the oil to medium hot and drop in the breaded mushroom slices.
• Do not crowd the pan, leave room between the mushrooms.
• Flip them over without puncturing them and fry on both sides. The mushrooms will fry up very quickly.
• Fry them to a golden crisp.
• Remove mushrooms with the slotted spoon and place them on the paper towel lined bowl to drain.
• Sprinkle with salt and serve.
  

14.7.12

SPINACH LASAGNA


This one is my own recipe. I came up with it many years ago after we had something similar at a catered wedding reception. I looked for the recipe for years, but never found anything closely resembling it. The original dish had mixed vegetables in the cheese sauce, and yes, it was delicious. I tried duplicating it with varying success, and then one day it dawned on me to try it with spinach. I have been making it this way ever since. Back in 1997, I filled an enormous pan with it for my oldest daughter’s garden wedding. I made my own pasta for it and the amount of cheese I used was incredible. A lucky neighbour had to finish baking it; their oven must have been on for hours.

This is indeed a rich and wonderful dish. I don’t make it often, a lower fat version was up on my blog for a couple of years. I am taking it off now, because there are things that should be left alone. That or have an apple.

CHEESE SAUCE
1/3 cup flour
1-3/4 cups milk
cup milk
4 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

SPINACH LAYER
1/2 pkg. spinach
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

PASTA
10 to 12 lasagna noodles depending on the shape of your dish

TOPPING
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

• Combine 1/3 cup of flour with 1 cup milk.
• In a large skillet melt 4 Tbsp butter. Add the flour-milk mixture to the pan and stir in the remaining milk.
• Cook on low heat, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens.
• If lumpy, force through a sieve.
• Season sauce with salt and pepper and add a pinch of grated nutmeg.
• Stir in the grated mozzarella cheese.
• When the mozzarella melts, add the Parmesan cheese and set it aside.
• Cook the spinach, and drain.
• Squeeze out all the spinach juice, and chop finely.
• Place the finely chopped spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl
• Combine well.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water.
• Cook until tender.
• Drain and plunge cooked pasta into a pot of ice-cold water, with 1Tbsp of oil.
• Keep the noodles here until assembly.
• Oil a large square casserole dish.
• Spoon a bit of cheese sauce into the dish.
• Place a layer of lasagna pasta in the dish.
• Spread the spinach mixture on the pasta.
• Place a layer of pasta on the top.
• Spread half of the cheese sauce on the top.
• Cover with the remaining pasta.
• Top with the remaining cheese sauce.
• Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.
• Bake the lasagne at 350F until the cheeses bubbles, and the top is golden brown.
• Remove from heat, cover and let the lasagna settle for 15 minutes before serving.





 

11.7.12

BROCCOLI PENNE ALFREDO


I was preoccupied with the cherries when the broccoli was ready, but I had no time to get creative with it, so we gave them away, otherwise ate steamed broccoli for a week. Now that I have the time, the broccoli is pretty well gone and I will have to wait for the secondary crop to grow. If you like pasta, this dish is for you. Penne rigate has ridges, the better to hold sauces, but don’t expect a thick cheese sauce here. Still this is delicious. The preparation is minimal; this is one more dish that can be made on the stove. Kamloops is in a middle of heat wave.


2 cups of penne rigate
salt
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 cups slivered Canadian back bacon [it’s lean, cured ham]
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

• Bring a medium Dutch pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
• Boil the pasta according to package directions.
• While the pasta is boiling, wash and chop the broccoli.
• Cut the back bacon into slivers, mince the garlic and dice the red onion.
• When the pasta is al dente, add the chopped broccoli to the pot.
• Bring to the boil and immediately remove pot from the heat. Set the pot aside, the residual heat will continue to cook the broccoli, but will not soften the pasta significantly.
• Place the oil in a non-stick fry pan and fry the slivered back bacon for a couple of minutes on medium heat to crisp it up a little.
• Transfer the back bacon to a bowl.
• Add the garlic and the onion to the remaining oil and sauté for a minute or two.
• Add the cream and the milk and bring it to a boil.
• Reduce heat and simmer slowly for a couple of minutes.
• Meanwhile drain the pasta and the broccoli and place it back to the pot.
• Add the Parmesan to the sauce and remove from the heat.
• Add the reserved back bacon to the pasta mixture.
• Add the sauce stir to combine.
• Cover and let dish rest for five minutes before serving.




  



ULTIMATE BREAKFAST


Our first pepper. It could have grown much bigger, but couldn't wait. This is the ultimate summer breakfast, zöld paprika és szalámi. I am in love.

  

10.7.12

CHINESE BROCCOLI VEAL


This is a fast and tasty Chinese style stir-fry. The veal is very thinly sliced. Can be replaced with beef roulanden. If all you can get is stir-fry cut beef, mince it with a very sharp knife. It is easier to slice the meat thinly if partially frozen. Use only fresh vegetables and avoid overcooking. The vegetables should have an intense color, if they are dull, they have been overcooked.

2 slices of lean veal [beef works too]
1 + 3 Tbsp soy sauce [I use China Lily]
1/2 cup water
2-1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2+1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups small broccoli flowerets
1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 shallot thinly sliced
2 stalks of young bok choy with greens, sliced diagonally

• Wash the veal slice and dry them with paper towels.
• Slice them as thin as possible.
• Place the veal in a medium sized bowl, and toss it with 1 Tbsp soya sauce. Set it aside.
• In a bowl combine the water, soy sauce, cornstarch and the grated ginger and set it aside. Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan or wok on mid high heat.
• Add the broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper shallot and cook for two minutes.
• Stir in the bok choy and immediately move the vegetables into a clean bowl.
• Add the remaining olive oil to the frying pan.
• Add the marinating veal slices and stir fry until veal strips are pink in the center.
• Add the soya sauce mixture cook the sauce with the veal, stirring all the time, until the sauce thickens.
• Return the vegetables to frying pan.
• Stir and heat through.
• Serve over rice.

9.7.12

POACHED SALMON WITH DILL SAUCE


This is a quick dish, so start on the side dishes early. Fresh dill is better of course, but this dish will still be tasty if made with dried dill. I am not a fan of seafood, salmon, trout and halibut is pretty much what I willing to eat from the water, but even I enjoyed a small piece of this wild sockeye tonight. It was a hot day and I wanted minimal cooking so the choice fell on a fish recipe from my 2000 edition of Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. The sauce also called for an egg yolk, but I felt it would have been a superfluous addition. So in the end, it is even lower in fat than the original. I forgot to measure out the fish stock, so I am not sure if I used less than or more than 1 cup for the sauce. Sometimes I fall back on my intuition and fail in accuracy.

2-4 servings of dressed salmon
4 thick slices of fresh lemon
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1 bunch of fresh dill weed or 1 Tbsp dried

• Rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels.
• Place the lemon slices, bay leaf in a large skillet.
• Place the salmon with skin down on top of the lemon slices.
• Add enough water to come halfway up to the salmon.
• Sprinkle with salt.
• Bring to a steady simmer and cover the pan.
• Salmon cooks rather fast, so keep an eye on it.
• Aim for slightly undercooked fish. With a fork, gently pry open the thickest part of the fish. If you see a little bit of pink, but most of the fish is cooked through, remove skillet from heat.
• Quickly pour off about a cup of liquid into a small bowl and set it aside.
• Replace the lid; and set the fry pan aside. The salmon will cook through from the residual heat from the pan.
• Next, make the dill sauce.
• In a separate medium sized skillet, melt the butter and stir in the flour.
• Add the sugar and the dill weed.
• Pour in the reserved salmon broth and mix to combine.
• Bring to a slow boil and adjust the salt.
• Remove dill sauce from heat.
• With a large slotted spoon, gently move the salmon pieces onto plates or to a serving platter.
• Pour the dill sauce on the top and serve immediately.

CHERRY JELLY


If you don’t have the time now, freeze the juice or even better, freeze the cherries and extract the juice sometime later. Cherry retains its lovely color and later on, you can make wine from it or jelly. Lovely, smooth, crystal clear cherry jelly…

3-3/4 cups cherry juice (2.5 QT)
7 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 pouches CERTO Liquid Pectin
Jelly bag

To make own jelly bag, use a square meter of cheesecloth, 3 layers thick.
Wet cloth and spread over a colander or strainer in a bowl.
Add fruit.
Bring corners of cloth together.
Twist bag or cloth and squeeze to extract juice.

• Stem, hull and puree fully ripe fruit in the food processor.
• To extract juice, place prepared in jelly bag and squeeze.
• For clearer jelly, use 1-1/2 times fruit called for and let juice drip through without squeezing.
• Meanwhile bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer.
• Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water.
• Drain jars well before filling.
• Pour 3-3/4 cups cherry juice into a large Dutch pot.
• If insufficient juice, add up to 1/2 cup of water.
• Add the and the lemon juice.
• Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat.
• Boil for 1 minute.
• Remove from heat and stir in the pectin.
• Stir and skim off foam with metal spoon for five minutes.
• Meanwhile to soften the seals, pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan
• Let stand in hot water until ready to use.
• Ladle jam immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.
• Use a jam funnel; it will save you from mucky jars and endless wiping up.
• Wipe jar rims and threads.
• Cover with two-piece lids and screw bands tightly.
• Process the jars by the canner method or the Oven method or by the Dry Pack Method. [Included here]
• Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely.
• After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger.
• If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.

8.7.12

GLACE CHERRIES


Glace or candied fruit is made by removing 50-60% of the water from fruit and replacing it with sugar. The fruit is then dried. Fruits that glace well are apples, cherries, citrus peel, peaches, pears, pineapple and prunes. I have a traditional Hungarian [14-day] recipe, which makes ridiculously good glace fruits. But then… I found this and it only takes 5 days! The recipe comes from Deanna DeLong’s How To Dry Foods. Commercial glace cherries is one of the most hideous food product that tastes like nothing what it was made from. I highly recommend making these. The taste is vastly superior!

Day 1:
2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
2 cups prepared cherries

• Wash cherries and remove the pits.
• In a large Dutch pot combine water, sugar and corn syrup.
• Bring to a boil.
• Add the prepared fruit.
• Heat the mixture to a full rolling boil. It will register 180F on a candy thermometer.
• Remove from heat.
• Cool.
• Cover and let stand for 24 hours.

Day 2:
1-1/4 cups sugar

• With a slotted spoon remove fruit and set aside.
• Add 1-1/4 cups sugar to syrup in the saucepan.
• Bring to a full rolling boil.
• Remove from heat.
• With a large metal spoon, skim off foam from the surface of syrup and discard.
• Add back the fruit and bring to a full rolling boil again.
• Remove from heat.
• Cool.
• Cover and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 3:
2 cups sugar

• Repeat the process of Day 2, but add 2 cups of sugar to remaining syrup after removing the fruit.

Day 4:
1 cup sugar

Repeat process of the second day, but add 1 cup sugar to remaining syrup after removing fruit.

Day 5:

• Remove fruit from syrup and transfer to a colander.
• Rinse with cold water.
• Dry on parchment lined drying trays at 120-140F until fruit is leathery and has no pockets of moisture.
• Drying time of glace fruit is 25% faster than fresh fruit, because so much moisture has been replaced by sugar.
• The fruit flavoured syrup is delicious over pancakes. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam and pour hot syrup into hot sterilized canning jars and process.

 

7.7.12

CHERRY JAM


I never cared for it you know. No matter how much I cooked the cherries, there were these limp skins that would not soften up like strawberries or apricots do. A few years ago, the kids gave me a food processor for Christmas, which then took me 2 years to figure out how to use, but that’s a different story. I now puree the cherries in my food processor and simply LOVE cherry jam. I love the color, the taste, but most of all I love its smooth texture. One more thing; I went back to using pectin. So as the fruits ripen in the backyard, I will be reposting my jam recipes. They are too runny without pectin and plus they don’t last as long. Follow the instructions and make sure the pectin hasn’t expired. I prefer Certo Liquid Pectin. Generally, jams should last 3-4 years without loosing their lovely colour. Here is my new cherry jam.

4 cups prepared fruit [3 lb. cherries]
7 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 pouches CERTO Liquid Pectin

• Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer.
• Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water.
• Drain jars well before filling.
• Stem and pit cherries.
• Puree in a food processor.
• Place 3-3/4 cups pureed cherries in a large Dutch pot.
• Stir sugar into prepared fruit.
• Add the lemon juice.
• Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat.
• Boil for 1 minute.
• Remove from heat and stir in the pectin.
• Stir and skim off foam with metal spoon for five minutes.
• Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat.
• Let stand in hot water until ready to use.
• Ladle jam immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.
• Use a jam funnel; it will save you from mucky jars and endless wiping up.
• Wipe jar rims and threads.
• Cover with two-piece lids and screw bands tightly.
• Process the jars in by the canner method or the Oven method or by the Dry Pack Method.
• Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely.
• After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger.
• If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.

Canner Method:
• Place jars on elevated rack in canner.
• Add boiling water, if necessary. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches.
• Cover; bring water to gentle boil and process for 10 minutes.

Oven Method:
• Or the jars in a 212F oven for 2 hours.
• Remove from oven and let jars cool.
• 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.

Dry Pack Method:
• Place the jars in 210F oven for 40 minutes or until jars are very hot to the touch.
• Prepare a dry pack: line a basket or a box with tea towels.
• Remove from the hot bottles from the oven and transfer them to the prepared dry pack.
• Encase the dry pack into an old quilt or several blankets and leave it to cool.
• By evening the jars will still be warm; they will also be completely sealed.

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.

CHERRY PIE


I made only four. Two goes to our pie-eating friend and two will be put in the freezer. Eventually he may walk away with one of those too, because for now we are pied out, I already made a couple of cherry pies last week.

1/2 recipe of pie pastry
2 cups fresh or frozen cherries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter
1 beaten egg yolk and 1 Tbsp sugar

• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Place the cherries in a medium sized bowl
• Add the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, and mix to combine.
• Line a 9-inch pie plate with pie pastry.
• Pour the fruit mixture into the pie shell.
• Dot the top with butter.
• Cut the remaining dough into 3/4” strips.
• Lay the strips down in a weave fashion
• Crimp the edges of the pie.
• Glaze the pastry with the egg yolk wash.
• Sprinkle with sugar.
• Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes.
• Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 25 minutes longer.
• Yield 1 pie
 

Translate

me

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

Blog Archive