MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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31.8.12

ROCOCO CREAM - ROKOKÓ KRÉM


Rococo cream is a version of Parisian cream. This recipe makes sufficient amount of cream to fill and frost a cake. It is also stable enough to fill the lúdláb.

1 cup whipping cream
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3 + 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

• Heat the whipping cream on medium heat.
• Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
• Add the sifted cocoa and briefly bring to a boil.
• Remove from the heat immediately and stir in 1/4 cup of butter.
• Force the mixture through a fine sieve into a well chilled metal bowl.
• Place in the fridge to cool down to room temperature.
• Meanwhile beat the remaining 1 cup of unsweetened butter until very fluffy.
• When the cream mixture is at room temperature, add to the whipped butter in a thin stream, beating it all the while.
• Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of sifted cocoa and beat to combine.
• Can be used immediately.

29.8.12

KOSHER DILL PICKLES


I never had a better tasting pickle in my life! No, REALLY. I am chomping away on one as I write this, it’s crispy and the taste is wonderful!!! Thank you, thank you Mr Lebovitz for sharing this recipe! It was super easy to make and the result is the most perfect kovászos uborka tasting pickle without the kovász. These pickles are so perfect; I will never make any other summer pickles as long as I live. All you need is pickling cucumbers, fresh dill, pickling salt, water, small squares of cheesecloth and rubber bands to cover the jars. Imagine, gorgeous pickles that are ready in 3 days! Could this be any easier?

The source is Arthur Schwartz’s Homemade Kosher Dill Pickle Recipe by David Lebovitz. I made adjustments, scroll down to see the Lebovitz version.

4 cups water
1-1/2 Tbsp pickling salt
2 fresh dills with the dill head
additional fresh dill weed
4 cloves of garlic
4 bay leaves
Pickling cucumbers to pack into two jars
cheese cloth and 2 rubber bands

• In a large pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil with the salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved.
• Remove from heat and add the remaining water.
• Prepare 2 large jars by running them through the dishwasher or filling them with boiling water, then dumping it out.
• Wash the cucumbers and cut off the ends. Make sure they are not bitter. Discard the bitter ones.
• Place the dills in the bottom of the jars and add the garlic and the bay leaves.
• Pack the cucumbers vertically into the jars, making sure they’re tightly-packed.
• Fill the jars with brine so that the cucumbers are completely covered.
• Cover the jars with cheesecloth, secured with rubber bands.
• Store in a cool, dark place for 3 days.
• After 3 days, taste one. The pickles can ferment from 3 to 6 days.
• The longer the fermentation, the more sour they’ll become.
• Once the pickles are to your liking, refrigerate them.

The Lebovitz recipe:
4 quarts (scant 4l) water
6 Tbsp coarse white salt (kosher, if available)
pickling cucumbers to fill two jars
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly-crushed
2 Tbsp pickling spice
6 bay leaves
1 large bunch of dill, preferably going to seed, washed

28.8.12

ALFÖLD MILK SOUP - ALFÖLDI TEJLEVES


This is not your usual sweet and bland milk soup. The first time I had this I found it odd, why is there milk in this soup? It was my dad who quietly told me that the big middle aged lady who served the two of us on a hokedli in her courtyard was from the Alföld. She cooked for dad’s second cousin who went there for his midday meals between his morning and afternoon classes. Ernő was the teacher of the village. Of course this didn’t mean anything to me at the time, later I figured out that alföldi people put milk into a lot of dishes. When Jim retired and started eating his midday soup, I recreated it from memory. There is no such recipe in my cookbooks and I just checked it, there is nothing like this on the Internet either. While saluting the friendly stranger who first served this to me and my dad, in a way this has become my soup now. I make it sometimes out of nostalgia, besides it’s rather nice with its mild but complex favours. I like it how the paprika grease droplets float among the milk. [The lady had huge red droplets though] This is best in summer when the kohlrabi is young and tender.

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 parsnip, diced
small wedge of celery root, diced
2 small very young kohlrabies, diced
1 to1-1/2 cups homemade soup stock [chicken or pork]
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup commercial spatzle or 1 cup nokedli cooked, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup freshly diced flat leaf parsley
2-3 cups whole milk as needed [Do not use leaner than 1% milk]

• If you do not have commercial spatzle or a bit of leftover nokedli, make the nokedli from 1 egg first. Rinse and drain and then add to a bowl and stir in 1 tsp of oil so the nokedli don’t stick together. Then set it aside.

• Next peel, wash and dice all the vegetables.
• Very slowly sauté the chopped onions in oil in a medium Dutch pot until soft.
• Starting with the carrots, begin to add the vegetables to the pot.
• Lightly salt and stir with each addition.
• Begin to add the soup stock as needed and keep sautéing the vegetables until soft.
• If you use commercial spatzle, cook that in a small pot of water now. Drain, rinse and set it aside.
• When the vegetables are soft, add the Hungarian paprika and stir it in.
• Continue the slow cooking until the stock is reduced to almost nothing.
• Then stir in the cooked spatzle or nokedli and the frozen peas and heat through.
• Add the milk, stir and warm up the soup. Do NOT let the soup boil once the milk is added.

26.8.12

REFREGIRATOR PICKLES


Refrigerator pickles, fridge pickles, ice cream bucket pickles, ice cream pickles, bucket pickles are some of the names these pickles are called and the variations are endless. I never heard of this thing, making pickles in your fridge until a few years ago my friend Barbara wrote out a version of it for me during one of their visits from Edmonton. I took it, but I knew I will never make it; it had way too much salt, vinegar and spices in it for my palate. However the idea intrigued me so I decided to make it using the same concept but in a milder version. I always liked pickles, but never cared for the pucker types and so it remains to be seen if I will succeed with these ones.

This morning I used up some of the cucumbers the man picked for me last night. We are in the man and woman mode when we are dog sitting, “go with the man” or “go to the woman” we tell the dogs; between the two of us we have so many names we don’t want to confuse them. I quartered the cucumbers; put them in 2 glass jars with the dill and the garlic cloves. Then I made the brine. I poured the brine over them, put the caps on and the jars went into the fridge. Now I wait 5 days to see if these cucumbers will turn into pickles. The color will tell me apparently.

It is day four and the cucumbers look like pickles. Now for the taste test… They taste pretty awful. I put them back and decide to wait for one more day. I forget to check the pickles on day five so this is day six. What a change in two days! These are pretty good! I will do a batch of kosher dills next. Then I will compare and see which one I like better.

pickling cucumbers in various sizes to fill 2 glass jars
2 heads of dill
4 cloves of garlic

Brine:
6 cups of water
3/8 cup sugar
6 Tbsp pickling salt
1-1/2 cups 5% white vinegar

• Wash the cucumbers and cut off the ends.
• Quarter them and set them aside.
• Place a head of dill and 2 garlic cloves in each glass jar.
• Arrange the cucumber on the top.
• To make the brine, boil 4 cups of water.
• Meanwhile place the sugar, pickling salt, pickling spice and the vinegar in a bowl.
• Pour the boiling water into the bowl and stir to dissolve the pickling salt.
• Divide the brine between the two jars with the cucumbers.
• Place a well fitting screw cap on the tops and put them in the fridge for 5 days.
• Pickles are ready a couple of days after the color changes. It was good by the sixth day. Now I can rest.
• Pickles will keep for 6 months in the fridge.

24.8.12

DILL POTATOES - KAPROS KRUMPLI


Can anything be easier than boiled potatoes? Actually, they can be under cooked, overcooked and cooked apart into a slushy mess. First of all, use potatoes with low starch content. Don’t use russet potatoes they fall apart in water. Lately I have been buying Canadian White; it is delicious and behaves exactly like a red potato. After that make sure your potatoes are of the same size and no bigger than 2 inches in diameter. Cook your potatoes preferably in one row and in no more than two rows. For a lot of potatoes use a Dutch pot with a wide bottom. Your potatoes also have to be blemish free. Cook them for 20 minutes. Poke them in the middle with a sharp knife. Don’t use a fork, it is too dull and can rupture the potatoes. When the knife goes in and the potatoes are still firm, cooking time is over. Pour off the water immediately. Don’t let the potatoes sit in the water for any length of time or they will continue to absorb liquid. Let the potatoes cool down so you can handle them by hand. Peel them gently and then place them back in the pot with the melted butter. Sprinkle with chopped dill and heat up over medium heat.

5-8 low starch potatoes, no bigger than 2 inch diameter
water
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp freshly chopped dill weed

• Scrub the potatoes and place in a pot.
• Cover with water and add 1/2 tsp of salt.
• Bring to the boil.
• Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer.
• Cook slowly for twenty minutes or until sharp knife inserted in the middle goes in without resistance, but the potato is still firm. If not sure, err on the side of undercooked.
• Pour off all the water immediately.
• Let the potatoes cool down so you can handle them by hand.
• Gently remove the skin with a small paring knife.
• Place the potatoes back in the pot and pour the melted butter on the top.
• Add the chopped dill and heat up over medium heat.
• Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.

BANANA LOAF


Banana loaves often end up under baked in the middle and burned on the outside. But this is a light, spongy banana loaf. I will be making no other banana loaf from this point on. Call it a cake if you want, this is the loaf for me. I used a medium sized loaf pan. For a full sized loaf pan increase the ingredients by 50%. This is very simple except for the eggs. The solution is to use five medium eggs. If you increase the batter, the baking time will have to be increased as well. Don’t flavour this loaf with vanilla. It will interfere with the banana flavour and the whole point in making a banana loaf is to taste the bananas.

1-1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 very soft and ripe bananas
scant 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 large eggs

• Preheat oven to 375F.
• Line a medium sized loaf pan with parchment paper.
• In a bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and the baking soda. Set it aside.
• Beat the bananas, sugar and the oil on the highest speed for 2 minutes.
• One by one add the eggs beating for a whole minute after each addition.
• Beat the batter for 4 minutes longer.
• Reduce the speed to medium and gradually beat in the flour until just combined. Do not overbeat after the flour is added to the mix. The consistency should be of a cake batter. If it is runny, you either added the eggs too quickly or overbeaten the batter after the flour was added.
• Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
• Run a knife through the batter and tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove the air bubbles. Some air bubbles may remain, but don’t bang it down too hard, you don’t want to deflate the batter.
• Bake the loaf for 45 minutes or longer; until the cake tester inserted comes out clean. It will crack a little on the top.
• Let the loaf cool down a bit and then remove it from the pan.
• Discard the paper liner and let the loaf cool down completely on a wire rack before slicing.
 

CUCUMBER AND PURPLE ONION SALAD


The colors are inviting and the dressing gives these crisp vegetables a lovely flavour. Serve it right of way.

1 large cucumber, sliced.
1/2 purple onion, sliced

Dressing:
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp capers
salt and ground pepper to taste

• Wash the cucumber, cut off the ends and slice as desired.
• Peel the onion and slice.
• Place the cucumber and onion slices in a mixing bowl.
• In a small bowl, combine mustard, vinegar, oil and salt and ground pepper.
• Add the capers and mix.
• Pour dressing over the vegetables and toss.
• Transfer to a salad bowl and serve.
• Yields 4 servings
  

23.8.12

PEPPER AND TOMATO SALAD - PAPRIKA PARADICSOM SALÁTA


Here is one more minimalist brined salad, this time with Hungarian peppers and fresh ripe tomatoes. I grew up with this as a seasonal salad, but I keep making it with yellow bell peppers throughout the year. But you know what they say about imitations. They are not as good as the real thing. To make it really good, you need these huge thick valled Hungarian peppers and ripe tomatoes off the wine and literally. Not what they sell in the store as wine ripened. Bah. For now we can gorge ourselves with the best peppers in the world and with tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes. What a great time of year August is, some days we have more than one version of these brined salads! You can serve it right of way but of course the flavour will not be the same. To fully develop the flavours, make this at least 4 hours before serving. But make only what you can eat the same day. The tomatoes will be too soft by the following day.

2 large Hungarian bell peppers
3 cups of boiling water
salt to taste
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp 5% white vinegar
2 large ripe tomatoes

• Wash and core the peppers.
• Slice into rings and place in a medium bowl.
• Pour 3 cups of boiling water over the pepper rings and sprinkle with salt.
• Let it cool down to room temperature.
• Pour some of the pepper water into a small bowl and add the sugar and the vinegar.
• Stir to dissolve.
• Add back to the bowl with the peppers.
• Stir to combine.
• Wash and cut the tomatoes into wedges, removing the cores.
• Add the tomatoes to the bowl with the peppers.
• Set the salad aside on the counter for a couple of hours for the flavours to blend.


22.8.12

FETTUCCINE ALFREDO


From the Wizard and further adapted from the Olive Garden’s version. This is so good; I have no words to adequately describe it. I often have fettuccine in restaurants but they never quite satisfy. I made some fresh pasta a couple of days ago, well not everything ends up here, plus I don’t post repeats. I still had a bag of cooked fettuccine noodles in the fridge and I thought why not make a plain Alfredo? Let me tell you there is nothing plain about this one. I just ate a small bowl from this pile for breakfast and I think I fulfilled my daily quota of carbo, fat and protein all with one meal. Is this ever good!

1/4 cup white milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 cups cooked fettuccine noodles

• Place the milk and cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
• Add the minced garlic and bring it to the simmer.
• Slowly whip in the grated cheeses and then remove from heat.
• In a separate bowl, place the egg yolks and slowly whip in a portion of the hot milk and cream mixture.
• Slowly add the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining cream mixture.
• Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• Slowly simmer the sauce for 2 minutes and then set it aside.
• Cook the fettuccine noodles and drain.
• Add the chopped parsley and the cooked fettuccine to saucepan.
• Mix it up and serve it immediately.
Yields 3 servings

21.8.12

KOHLRABI STEW – KARALÁBÉFŐZELÉK


The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to the broccoli stem, but much milder and sweeter. If bigger then two inches, kohlrabi tends to be woody and unsuitable for vegetable stews. I have yet to find a tender kohlrabi during the winter, although they can still be useful for their flavor in soups. Leave them in large chunks so they can be easily removed before serving. For stew, use only seasonal, tender kohlrabi. Kohlrabi stew is also delicious with béchamel sauce and sour cream, but is better known in its everyday version thickened with either a roux or a simple flour paste.

4 cups chopped kohlrabi
2 Tbsp butter
Salt to taste
2 cups hot water
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp water

• With a sharp paring knife, peel the kohlrabi starting at the stems.
• Wash and dice into chunks.
• Melt two Tbsp of butter in a wide bottomed, deep skillet.
• Add the chopped kohlrabi and sprinkle with salt. I don’t add ground pepper, because it would mask the delicate flavour of the kohlrabi.
• Stir with a wooden spoon and add 2 cups of water.
• Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover the skillet.
• Cook the kohlrabi for 10-14 minutes. Cooking time depends on how big or small you chopped the kohlrabi.
• Meanwhile wash and chop two sprigs of flat leaf parsley and set it aside.
• In a small bowl combine 1 Tbsp flour and 3 Tbsp cold water.
• When the kohlrabi is tender, stir in the flour paste.
• Bring to the boil and immediately add the parsley.
• Cover the skillet and remove from heat.

DILL PICKLES


I pickle when my cucumbers are ready. It’s a continuous process, sometimes I have a lot of cukes and other times I have barely enough to get one jar’s worth. If you have a large amount of pickling cucumbers you may want to double or triple this recipe. I can only fit four jars into my biggest stockpot and this brine recipe is just right for four jars of pickles. Today I only made three jars and had to save the leftover brine for the next batch. Granted these are not grandma’s vizes uborka, but we can keep it well beyond the middle of winter, besides we like dill pickles all year long.

2 kg pickling cucumbers
8 large fresh dill
8 garlic cloves cut in half
2-1/2 cups white vinegar
6-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coarse pickling salt
1 long red pepper cut in for pieces or 4 red chilli peppers

• Wash and sterilize four wide-mouth 1quart jars in a preheated 225F oven for ten minutes.
• Next wash the cucumbers under cold running water. Cut off the blossom ends and place in a large bowl of cold water until packing the jars.
• Wash the dill and peel the garlic cloves. Set them aside.
• Place the vinegar, water, sugar and the salt in a large pot.
• Heat to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
• Meanwhile place 1 dill and two garlic cloves in the bottom of the prepared jars.
• Fill the jars with the pickles, leaving plenty of head space.
• Add a slice of red pepper or a small chilli pepper to the jar.
• Place the jars near the simmering brine.
• Ladle the hot brine into the jars, covering all the pickles, but leaving some headspace.
• Wipe the rims, put on the lids and screw on the caps.
• Place the jars in a hot water bath covering the tops.
• Boil for 15 minutes.
• Pour off some of the hot water and remove the jars.
• Let the jars cool and place in a cool dark place for six weeks before using.
  

BISHOP’S BREAD – PÜSPÖKKENYÉR


Not to be confused with stollen, püspökkenyér is Hungarian. Baked in a rounded bottom loaf pan called őzgerincforma, or a large bundt pan as I did, this is a soft, spongy loaf with dried and/or candied fruit. No commercial glace cherries please! The thick corn syrup they are packed in would simply overpower the delicately complex flavour of this loaf.

There are many variations though. My own grandma made a buttery piskóta, put raisins in it and called it püspökkenyér. Some people use yeasted dough, but püspökkenyér is more like a cakey loaf than a bread. It should be soft and for that reason I don’t put nuts into mine. I like mine packed with a variety of home made glace and dried fruits. I used raisins, homemade glace cherries, candied apricots and plums, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried blueberries, and dried mangoes in this loaf. The freshly grated orange zest gave it the most wonderful flavour and aroma.

Cover it with a chocolate glaze or sprinkle it with powdered sugar. My personal opinion is that chocolate would override some of the more delicate fruits. Also I would add no more than 1 cup of finely chopped fruit to the batter, to keep the bottom and the sides smooth for the chocolate glaze. Because it’s easy to prepare and you can make it with just a handful of dried fruit, püspökkenyér is generally the last Christmas confection people make.

• 2 cups mixture of dried and sugar glace fruit

Never use commercial glace cherries or fruit mix for bishop’s bread.
If planning to glaze the loaves with chocolate, use only 1 cup of fruit mix.

• 2-1/2 cups flour
• 1 Tbsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 2 cups sugar
• salt
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• finely grated rind of 1 orange

• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Next measures out the fruit mix and dice the fruits.
• Sprinkle 1 Tbsp flour on the fruit and mix it up, coating the fruit with the flour. Set it aside.
• In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set it aside.
• Butter two round bottom loaf pans or one large bundt pan and dust with flour.
• In large bowl, with mixer at medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and very fluffy.
• Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
• Reduce speed to low; add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
• Add the vanilla and the grated orange rind.
• Beat just until smooth, scraping the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.
• Add the fruit mix and fold into the batter.
• Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans.
• Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.
• Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.
• Invert cakes onto racks and let them cool completely.
• Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

  

20.8.12

STUFFED CHICKEN PIECES – TÖLTÖTT DARABOLT CSIRKE

Breast of Chicken

Hungarian style stuffing adds great flavour to chicken. Use 2 whole legs or 4 thighs or 2 halves of a chicken breast for this recipe. Remove the bones, but keep the skin attached if at all possible. You can stuff skinless deboned chicken breasts too, but the skin helps to keep the meat intact or from drying out during baking. Furthermore, the skin ads flavour to the meat. It is easy to remove the skin just before serving.

Always roast the chicken pieces in a metal pan or pot with a well fitting lid. Foil cover doesn’t seem to work that well. You need a lidded roaster or an ovenproof pot with a well fitting lid. If you roast chicken pieces this way, your meat will stay succulent.

 deboned, butteflied and stuffed thighs

  thighs rolled up in the frypan

 thighs done

Stuffed Chicken Pieces

4 half chicken thighs
salt to taste
kitchen cord
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

• Wash, dry and salt the meat.
• Keeping the skin on the chicken, remove the bones.
• Do not discard; the bones are good for stock.
• Place the meat with the skin down on a cutting board.
• Butterfly and lightly pound the meat out with a meat tenderizer.
• Lightly salt the meat and set it aside.
• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Make the stuffing next.
• Divide the stuffing on the meat and roll them up, so the skin is on the outside.
• Tie up each piece with a kitchen cord.
• Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in a non-stick fry pan.
• Heat the oil and arrange the chicken pieces in the pan.
• Cook each side for 1 minute until it browns slightly, searing in the juices.
• Transfer the meat to a lidded ovenproof metal pot or a small roaster with a lid.

• Pour the remaining juices from the fry-pan over the meat.
• Cover and place in the preheated oven.
• When the skin begins to get a bit of color, cover and continue roasting covered.
• Uncover for the last twenty minutes to crisp up the top. 
• Remove from the oven and discard the kitchen cords.
• Tent with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes before serving.



HUNGARIAN TOMATO SALAD - PARADICSOM SALÁTA


It is not for me to critique other cooking sites, but there is a tomato salad on a well known Hungarian recipe site that is not “authentic”. The real thing is much, much simpler. I suppose it isn’t easy to withstand the cultural pressure and westernize what you personally deem simplistic. The only problem I have with that is then don’t call it “authentic”. Hungarian cuisine has lots of layered and complicated dishes; so I fail to see the wisdom in overcomplicating what is simple. And Hungarian tomato salad IS a simple dish, pared down to the most basic of elements. And yet it is full of flavour and freshness.

Once again the only requirement is giving it time, time which many people don’t have a lot these days. Dump a bag of prewashed salad into a bowl and pass the salad dressing and the salad is ready. Throw half a bag of precooked chicken chunks on the top and it’s a meal. The flavour of course is gone; it’s all been processed out. That is not how Hungarian cuisine works. Even the simplest of things like this salad needs time to develop. And when you give it time, it’s delicious. As a kid, I always drank the tomato infused brine that was ladled into my salad bowl. I still do it when it’s just darling and me. In company, I take my bowl to the kitchen and hide it behind the toaster. If my “bull cook” hubby doesn’t clear it away with the rest of the dishes, I drink it after my company is gone.

4-6 large ripe, juicy fresh tomatoes
1 batch of Hungarian Salad Brine

• Assemble the brine in the salad bowl.
• Wash the tomatoes and remove stems and the white core. Remove any blemishes.
• Cut the tomatoes into bite size segments with a sharp chef’s knife.
• Add them to the brine.
• Let the tomatoes soak in the brine for 2-4 hours at room temperature.
• Serve the salad with a serving ladle and with individual salad bowls.

COCOA LOAF


This is a simple, but satisfying loaf, eat it buttered or glorify it with fruit, whipped cream or some dessert sauce. This is my favourite to take on a picnic and sometimes I bake it in a square baking pan for easy transport. I used a medium bread pan this time.

For a Medium Bread Pan:
2/3 cup butter, soft
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For a Full Size Bread Pan:
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1-1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 tsp pure vanilla extract

• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Line a medium bread pan with parchment paper. Leave a bit of overhang on two sides for easy removal.
• Beat the soft butter, sugar and vanilla until very fluffy
• Add eggs one at a time, keep beating.
• Place the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder in a medium sized mixing bowl.
• Whisk with a balloon whisk. This eliminates having to sift the dry ingredients.
• Add the flour mixture to batter, and fold in until just combined. Do not beat.
• Bake in the preheated oven until cake tester comes out clean.
• Remove from the tin, and cool on rack.
 

ORANGE BEET SALAD


The usual instruction for making beet salads is to assemble it in the last minute and sometimes on individual plates, because the beets tend to dye the rest of the ingredients. Actually, no, you can assemble the salad a couple of hours ahead and in a large salad bowl, if you follow a few simple steps. Make sure none of the ingredients are wet and the bowl and utensils you are using are completely dry. Eventually the beets will colour the orange segments, so don’t make more than you can consume with your meal.

2 medium sized beets
4 large spinach leaves
1 mandarin orange
several thin slices of red onion
sprinkling of chopped nuts of choice [optional]

Dressing:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp French mustard
salt and pepper to taste

• Wash the beets and cut off the ends.
• Peel them. Your hands will stain, but it will wash off easily.
• Dice them uniform with a chef’s knife.
• Place in a small pot and cover with water.
• Bring to the boil.
• Reduce heat to simmer and place a lid on the pot. How long you cook them will depend on the size of your beets.
• Cook them until beets can be pierced with a fork, but do not overcook.
• While the beets are cooking time to make the dressing.
• In a small lidded jar place the wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and the pepper.
• Shake it to combine.
• When the beets are ready, pour off the water and plunge beets into a large bowl of cold water.
• Drain the beets in a large metal sieve. Repeat the cold water bath and drain again.
• Keep the beets in the sieve and let them dry a little.
• Meanwhile, wash the spinach leaves and cut off the center membranes. Discard the membranes.
• Place the leaves on one half of a clean tea towel.
• Fold the tea towel over and press down to soak up the water.
• Tear the spinach leaves into smaller pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.
• Place two layers of paper towel on the counter and turn the dry beets onto it.
• Arrange the beets in a single layer and let them dry a little more.
• In the meantime thinly slice the onion and chop the mandarin orange.
• Add the onions and the mandarin orange pieces to the spinach leaves.
• When the beets are dry, add them to the mixing bowl.
• Gently toss and transfer the mix to a dry salad bowl.
• Serve the salad with the prepared dressing.





HUNGARIAN SALAD BRINE - SALÁTALÉ


Hungarian salads are celebrations of fresh, seasonal vegetables in light brines, the minimalist’s dream really. They are well balanced and require no salad dressing and only little seasoning if any. For the same reason, wine and balsamic vinegars don’t work well here; they would overpower these delicately flavoured salads. Keep in mind, how much sugar and vinegar you make the brine with depends on personal preferences. I decided to include the salad brine in my recipes, but more as a guide post, not as a constraint. This is how I like it and after forty five years of making it; I measured it out the other day. This brine is used for most Hungarian salads, so perhaps it was time I added it to my recipes. Vinegars of course differ in acidity, so use less if the vinegar’s acid content is higher than five percent.

3 cups cold water
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp 5% white vinegar

• In a salad bowl, combine dissolve the sugar.
• Add the vinegar and stir.
      

18.8.12

HUNGARIAN POTATO BREAD - KRUMPLIS KENYÉR

The 1956 Hungarian Revolution was being put down by the Russian army. We were crammed into our communal shelter in the basement with eleven other families and with no access to food except what we had upstairs. Our house was surrounded by a beautiful courtyard. Taller buildings were sheltering it, except in one corner there was a one storey building exposing our second floor apartment. Through that we could see the steeple of the Rózsák Terei Szent Erzsébet Templom. Once in a while my grandmother dared the bombs and went up to the apartment. Then a little while later she would appear with something to eat. Grandma wouldn’t let my mother go up lest our apartment was demolished while mother was up there. I never considered my grandmother heroic, I just think that in life and death situations people instinctively know who is the least expandable, and a pregnant, twenty six year old mother of two is surely one.

Toward the end of our first week in the shelter, grandma brought down the most memorable thing; a large potato bread. She must have been given some yeast by one of the neighbours, because we had no ice box and a cake of fresh yeast would have gone bad by then. That or she made wild yeast which would explain why it took her several days to make the bread. Then our super, Mrs Kiss gave us a chunk of butter. I talked about that butter for years and how good it tasted. My mother one day told me that the butter was actually rancid… I suppose real hunger can make even the least edible things taste good. We were down in the shelter for more two and a half weeks during the heavy street fighting, but I got sick so we all went upstairs even while the Russian bombs were dropping around us. But that is another story.

My grandmother’s potato bread looked more like mine, not like the original, but my instinct told me the bread recipe at Playing House had the most potential to develop into the great potato bread that it is. I regret not asking for my grandmother’s recipe. It just never came up, it didn’t seem important at the time. This is the reason I began to write down my own recipes. In a decade or two who knows if anyone would remember, including me if there was a me.

The original recipe includes detailed instructions for hand kneading. But to tell you the truth I don’t think I would attempt this recipe by hand, maybe if I was younger. To get the bread to look like this, [this is my second loaf in two days] the dough has to be soft and quite sticky; not from moisture content, but from the fully developed gluten. If all at once you pile the ingredients into the bowl, you will never be able to develop the same dough and your bread will not look anything like this. So don’t take shortcuts. This really is a wonderful bread!

2 large russet potatoes, with the skin on
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp dried instant yeast
3 cups bread flour
all purpose flour for dusting
spray bottle of water

• Scrub the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch chunks. Do not peel, you will loose a lot of the flavour that way.
• Place the chopped potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water.
• Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender.
• Meanwhile, measure out 3 cups of bread flour and set it aside.
• Drain the potatoes, but save 1/2 cup of potato water for use later. Set the half cup of potato water aside to cool, the rest can be discarded.
• Let the potatoes and the potato water cool down completely before proceeding with the recipe.
• After they cooled down, mash the potatoes and add to the mixing bowl.
• Add the salt, the oil, the yeast, the reserved potato water and 1 cup of bread flour.
• With the paddle attachment beat for five minutes on medium speed.
• After five minutes the dough will be very elastic.
• Change to a dough hook and begin to add the remaining flour, but only half a cup at the time.
• Beat the dough again until very elastic. Add half a cup of flour. Keep beating and adding half a cup until all the flour is gone.
• Beat the dough for 5 minutes longer. Dough should be very elastic and sticky.
• Pull the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and form into a ball. Place ball in an oiled, medium bowl and cover with a tea towel.
• Let dough proof in a warm room until doubled in size.
Place the dough on a floured surface and flatten it with your hands.
• Form dough into a rectangle and, starting with a short end, roll dough away from you into a tight log. This is the part that will give you the nice big holes.
• Stop rolling just before the log is sealed, and then flatten the remaining inch of dough with your fingers.
• Dust it with flour. This will prevent the loaf from fully sealing and will cause the seam to open slightly while baking. It didn’t do it for me the second time I tried it, because I allowed the dough to rise longer.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle it with flour.
• Place the loaf, with seam side down, on the prepared pan.
• Sprinkle the top with a little flour and let the loaf rise until doubled.
• Dough will rise slightly and feel spongy to the touch.
• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Just before moving loaf into the oven, mist the inside of oven with a spray bottle of water.
• Carefully flip over the loaf with seam side up, on the baking sheet. Since the dough didn’t open up for me, flipping the dough seemed redundant, however I really liked the funky shape I got from it so I will continue to use the same method of shaping. I was thinking it might look rather cool if I twisted the loaf mid section when I flipped it over… Maybe next time.
• Place the loaf in the oven and bake it for 45 minutes, misting the oven one more time after the first 5 minutes.
• The finished loaf will be dark brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
• My bread ended up a different shape, because I didn’t feel comfortable with the suggested raising time. In both instances I let the dough rise until doubled. The result was a larger and fluffier loaf. If you prefer a denser loaf, follow the original recipe.
• Let it cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes if you can.
• To store the bread, wrap it in a clean kitchen towel. Never put homey breads in plastic bags. Plastic changes the texture, makes everything soft and you don't want to loose the crusty, chewy wonder that this is. I wrapped mine in a tea towel last night. The end slice dried ever so little, still delicious though, but the rest of the bread retained it lovely texture.


 

FISHERMEN SOUP - HALÁSZLÉ


I take this opportunity to apologize to all of my foodie friends for ignoring their lovely seafood recipes, as I said before, I don’t like to eat anything that swims floats or crawls in water. And yet here I am with a fish soup. The last time I served this was to a happy crowd back in 1970. Yes, I have deprived my darling all these years. I make no promises for the future, but since this one happens to be one of the most popular Hungarian soups, right after the gulyás, I knew eventually I will have to make it for my cook book. So here it is, feast your eyes, or cook it up, I am told it is good. I tasted it for the salt and the salt was just fine.

Hungary is a landlocked country, and yet fish is an important part of Hungarian cuisine. There is the fishermen soup and the breaded, deep fried carp on Christmas Eve. There are regional variations of the fishermen soup and this soup is a synthesis of several. It may appear to be a large undertaking with two stages of cooking, but in fact this is a simple soup. Cook the stock for an hour, simmer the soup for 20 minutes and it is ready to serve. It is best to use a variety of fresh water fish with tails and bones for the stock and fleshy filet pieces for the soup. I did that, but only in part, I used all the parts of a fresh spring salmon. Keep in mind if you make the soup from salmon, use less salt than normally. With under salting, as I said, the saltiness was just fine.

You will need a variety of smaller fishes or a medium sized fresh salmon for this soup. The write up is for salmon.

Stock:
salmon tail, flippers, underbelly, bones, the head is optional
2 onions, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1/4 celeriac, chopped
2 garlic
2 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 tsp pepper corns
2 bay leaves
salt to taste

Soup:
2 Tbsp olive oil
fleshy filet of half [medium sized] salmon with the skin attached
6 cups of fish stock
1/3 cup white wine
1 minced garlic
1 large carrot, sliced
1 parsnip, sliced
1/4 celery root, sliced
1 sprig of fresh parsley
3 Tbsp paprika

• After the fish is gutted and if using the head, the eyes removed, cut off the tail section, the head and the underbelly. Wash them and place them in a medium Dutch pot.
• Next filet the fish. Add the bones to the pot.
• Slice one of the filets into 1 inch segments. Place on a plate and salt them lightly. Wrap the remaining filet and refrigerate or freeze for a different use.
• Peel, wash and chop the vegetables for the stock. Add these to the pot.
• Add the garlic, parsley and the peppercorns and sprinkle with salt.
• Add enough cold water to submerge the fish parts and the vegetables by about one to two inches of water.
• Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover the pot.
• Cook the stock with a slow, but steady simmer for 1 hour.
• Meanwhile peel, wash and chop all the vegetables for the soup.
• Remove the pot from heat and strain the stock into a medium pot.
• Discard all the fish parts and the vegetables.
• Make the soup next.
• Place the olive oil in a clean medium Dutch pot.
• Add the fish filets.
• Place the vegetables on the top and sprinkle with the paprika.
• Pour six cups of fish stock on the top.
• Bring to the boil slowly; you don’t want rolling boil at this stage.
• Cover the pot and slowly simmer soup for twenty minutes.
• Do not stir soup; instead gently move pot side to side.
• Remove pot from heat and discard the parsley.
• Serve the soup piping hot with sour cream, lemon slices and thick slices of rustic bread.
• This is a complete meal.



  

16.8.12

WOMEN’S WHIM - NŐI SZESZÉLY


As the name says it, how this is made is anyone’s whim, but women’s? Zsuzsa resents the patriarchal bullshit, but since this is a very old Hungarian recipe, she will let it go. Among the different versions that float around perhaps the most surprising I found was in Culinaria Hungary with túró? Admittedly, that one is a stretch. However, the most varied part of this pastry is the base, some people make it with yeasted pastry and others call for a linzer or flaky pastry base. I have one version of női szeszély among my old Hungarian cookbooks and it calls for flaky pastry, but this proves nothing. I tend to think the yeasted base could have been the original, though this is not easy to prove. Believe it or not I never actually made this before, but that could change after this batch of lovelies.

I made a linzer base, spread it with a thick apricot jam and for the meringue topping I went to my lemon meringue pie recipe, oops I have not made that for the blog yet. So that is where it’s at, please don’t ask where I got the recipe, because it only exists among my clippings and from various things I jotted down over the years. It almost cries for some crushed walnuts, but then it would not be női szeszély any longer. It feels right to add this to my Hungarian pastry collection, because it’s delicious.

Base:
1/2 cup butter
4 egg yolks
4 Tbsp sugar
1-3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Jam Spread:
2/3 cup thick apricot jam

Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar

• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Whip the butter and 4 Tbsp sugar until very fluffy.
• One by one add the egg yolks and continue beating.
• Gradually incorporate the flour and the baking powder to form dough.
• Cut a sheet of parchment paper with an overhang on the shorter sides to fit a 9X13 inch baking pan. This will allow easy transfer of the rolled dough.
• Place the parchment on the board and spread the dough on the top.
• With a rolling pin spread it out to fit the baking pan. [There is no need to flour the rolling pin]
• Lift up the parchment with the rolled out dough and transfer into the baking pan.
• Poke the dough with a fork.
• Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and spread the pastry with apricot jam. Use less jam if your jam is runny.
• Next prepare the meringue.
• Whisk the egg whites and the vinegar with a beater on slow setting for about two minutes or until there are lots of bubbles in the mixture.
• Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form.
• Gradually add the sugar, but keep whisking at medium speed.
• After all the sugar is incorporated switch to the highest speed.
• Keep whisking until the egg whites are in stiff peaks.
• Keep a close watch now, do not overbeat. The last few seconds are important; the meringue will quickly grow into a fluffy substance resembling a marshmallow cloud. However, there is a fine line between a well beaten meringue and a grainy overbeaten mess. If that happens, don’t use these egg whites, discard them and start over again.
• Spread the meringue evenly over the jam layer, covering it all the way to the sides of the pan.
• Place in the oven and bake from 20-30 minutes until the top begins to get a little color. It should not brown though.
• Remove from heat and cut the pastry into 15 squares using a wet chef’s knife. Rinse the knife between each and every cut. [otherwise the meringue will cling to the knife]
• As the pastry cools, the meringue will shrink a little. For company, trim the base for an even look. Otherwise it’s all good.


15.8.12

MASHED POTATO BAKE


It starts out like an ordinary mashed potato. The addition of cheese, breadcrumbs and 30 minutes in the oven will elevate these spuds to a fine side dish. You can even forgo the meat; with a nice salad these mashed potatoes will make a fine meal.

4 cups chopped potatoes
2 + 1 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup white bread crumbs
2 cups grated old white cheddar

• Peel and chop the potatoes.
• Cook the potatoes until soft.
• Preheat the oven at 375F and generously butter a 9X5 inch oven proof baking dish.
• In a non stick fry pan slowly melt 2 Tbsp butter.
• Add the minced garlic and cook slowly for 1 minute.
• Remove from heat and stir in the chopped parsley and set aside.
• In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs and the grated cheese and set aside.
• Drain the potatoes and mash with a potato masher.
• Season with salt and pepper.
• Add the garlic and parsley mix and the whipping cream and stir to combine.
• Spoon the mashed potatoes into the prepared baking dish.
• Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top.
• Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese melts.
• Serve immediately.

13.8.12

PURPLE CABBAGE SALAD


This lovely salad was adapted from Amee’s Savory Dish. I adjusted to better suit our tastes and changed the nut due to the simple the fact that I could not find the pine nuts I bought for this and I found some sliced almonds instead. Oh I am sure the pine nuts would have added an extra dimension to the flavours, but overall the salad was most enjoyable and it is a keeper.

8 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
3 carrots, julienned
1 shallot, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 packet of Bovril chicken flavoured instant bouillon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Juice of 1 mandarin orange
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1 mandarin orange, in segments
1/4 cup chopped or sliced nuts [I used almonds]

• Remove the outer layers of cabbage.
• Wash and cut the cabbage into four parts.
• Cut out the hard stem.
• Slice into very thin strips and cut the strips into 1-2 inch segments
• Place in the bowl.
• Wash and peel the carrots and cut off the ends.
• First julienne the carrots and then chop them into 2 inch segments.
• Add to the bowl.
• Finely chop the shallots and add to the bowl.
• Add salt and pepper to taste; and toss.
• Add the brown sugar, bouillon packet, garlic powder, mandarin juice, red wine vinegar and the olive oil.
• Toss well.
• Add the dried cranberries, raisins and the mandarin segments and toss.
• Sprinkle the top with the nuts and serve.

11.8.12

CHUNKY TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD


In the height of summer when tomatoes and cucumbers are plentiful, this chunky salad is a refreshing alternative to just serving a plate of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Avoid field cucumbers with seeds and of course mushy tomatoes or the salad will look like a dog’s breakfast instead of what you see in the picture. The most brilliant salads are minimal accompaniments to our meals and texture being just as important as the taste. Personally I think of mint as a toothpaste flavour and not as a kitchen herb. But a lot of people like mint and toss aside the parsley sprig which is why I included mint as an alternative to parsley. I have a sense that mint could work with this salad if you liked mint.

3 ripe but firm Roma tomatoes, diced
1 English cucumber, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
small bunch of parsley or mint
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

• Chop the vegetables and the fresh herb of your choice.
• Place in a salad bowl and sprinkle it with lemon juice and olive oil.
• Season with salt and pepper, gently toss.
• Let the flavours mingle for half an hour and then serve.

10.8.12

LEMON HERBED RICE


My grandmother wasn’t very good at cooking rice, hers was watery, but she did put a lot of fresh parsley in it when it was in season. I carried on with the tradition with my own version of herbed rice. I can buy fresh herbs throughout the year, I don’t grow them, plants always die on me, and the grower of the family is not interested in wintering herbs. He grows them and dries them for me. End of story. But dry herbs don’t compare to the fresh, so I sneak a package or two into the house every week and then keep it in the fridge bundled up in paper towels inside a plastic bag. They last longer that way. But in summer it is so easy. I just walk down to the garden and cut what I need. I love the summer… heat and all. When we lived in Prince Rupert, I remember every vacation was about chasing the sun; we would just drive until we found blue skies. We often ended up in the sunny Okanagan. Imagine my delight when we finally got a transfer to Kamloops. That was thirty three years ago and after that we never left.

1 batch of cooked rice
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs: parsley, dill and chives
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, very finely minced

• Prepare the rice.
• Meanwhile wash and chop the herbs and mince the garlic.
• When the rice is ready, remove from heat.
• Add the herbs and the garlic.
• Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the top and toss.

8.8.12

ICED COFFEE



All I have to say is… move over Starbucks! Depending on the size of your serving glasses, this recipe will make 2-4 servings. One of my glasses could hold 3/4 cup of liquid up to the rim, so I assembled three servings, yes there was one extra, but who’s complaining? The preparation was minimal. Just to see if I could put it together without a blender, I whisked this together in a bowl using a balloon whisk. It was so fast and easy to assemble; I think this would be the perfect after dinner treat for company.

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup chilled chocolate syrup
1 cup very strong cold coffee
1 cup good quality vanilla ice cream [I used vanilla bean Häagen-Dazs]

  • Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
  • Add the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Place the chocolate syrup and the cold coffee in a blender.
  • Cover and blend on high speed.
    Add the ice cream, cover and blend until smooth.
  • Fill the serving glasses 3/4 way up with the iced coffee.
  • Spoon the whipped cream on the top.
  • Add a straw and serve immediately.

HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE SYRUP


This is the perfect homemade chocolate syrup. Rich and chocolaty, and far better than any commercially made syrup. Adapted from DIY the recipe is very simple. Use it as a topping or as a decorating tool when serving desserts. Or make delicious chocolate milk; just stir 3 Tbsp into a cup of cold milk. Use good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder. Nothing could be simpler.

1/2 cup cocoa powder, sieved
1 cup water
2 cups sugar

• Combine the cocoa powder and water in a larger saucepan.
• Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa.
• Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve.
• Boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, constantly stirring. Do not let it let it boil over.
• Let cool and pour into a sterilized glass jar and store it in the refrigerator.
• Syrup will keep for several months. Yields two cups.

CHICKEN CORDON BLEU


Here is something French with a Hungarian memory. The first time I had this was up in the Vár in Budapest in a lovely medieval themed restaurant. Guszti, one of my brothers ordered it for me and my girls. He said you will all like this and he was right. For years I classified cordon bleu as an exotic French dish, until a popular North American frozen food manufacturer made it into an every day thing. I never actually bought a package, me being a sworn enemy of over-ingredienced convenience foods. I make this occasionally for nostalgia’s sake, even though Jim would rather forgo the cheese and the ham. Because of this, I switched the cooked ham for a slice of smoked prosciutto, it is thinner and seems to blend into the chicken meat. Also I use thin slices of Canadian Swiss Cheese, that too is a milder cheese and the man finds it more agreable with his meat than the traditional gruyére. The recipe is for two servings, increase the ingredients as needed.

2 pieces of boneless chicken breast
salt
2 Swiss cheese slices
2 ham slices [I use smoked prosciutto]
1/2 cup flour
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
oil for frying

• Remove fatty bits and any bone that may be lodged in the chicken.
• Set each chicken breast on a cutting board on its side and butterfly [cut each to half its original thickness].
• Cover with plastic wrap and pound each breast peace until it is 1/4 inch thick.
• Lightly salt it.
• Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss cheese on one half of each breast meat.
• Fold the meat over enveloping the ham and cheese.
• Press them together between the palms of your hands and set them aside.
• Line up 3 plates side by side.
• Add flour to the first, egg to the second and fine breadcrumbs to the third plate.
• Hint: You will want a well sealed envelope of breading around the chicken pieces to keep the cheese from running out during frying. It is important therefore to drench the chicken pieces at each stage of coating, not leaving any part uncovered. Use your hands transferring the chicken from flour to eggs and then to the breadcrumbs. You could use two forks, but I find it easier to use my hands. This allows me to press the breading into the meat and thus forming a well sealed crust around the chicken.
• Dip one of the prepared chicken pieces into flour first, coating it completely and press together.
• Next dip it into the beaten egg, once again coating it completely.
• Finally, place the chicken into the breadcrumbs; coat it completely and press together.
• Coat the remaining chicken.
• In a deep skillet place about 3/4 inch of oil.
• Place it on medium heat and heat up the oil for frying.
• Carefully slide the breaded chicken pieces into the oil and fry them uncovered until golden and crispy on both sides. Turn the chicken a few times, gently, with two forks, but do not puncture the meat.
• Transfer the golden crispy fried chicken pieces to a paper towel lined plate for a couple of minutes and then serve.

PURPLE SLAW

I was looking for a new take on purple cabbage with all those purple heads waiting for me in the garden and then I saw this recipe. The first obvious thing was the simplicity of preparation and the minimal ingredient list. I took the photos, I have a myriad of photos of various things I made over the years, some I have to guess by now what they were haha, it is always a challenge for me to take photos of my meals; a fight with the light. I thought this would be one of those food experiments that I would never actually do a write up for. We had it last night with our meal, I checked on the leftovers this morning and decided this was definitely a worthwhile addition to my recipes. The dressing permeated the salad within an hour and after an overnight stay in the fridge it is still crunchy and enjoyable.

4 cups purple cabbage finely sliced.
2 large carrots grated
1 bunch flat leaf parsley roughly chopped

DRESSING:
1 crushed garlic clove
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
1-1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

• Thinly slice the purple cabbage and grate the carrots and chops the flat leaf parsley.
• Place in a bowl and toss.
• Add the crushed garlic, squeeze the lemon on the top and drizzle with the olive oil.
• Toss and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
• Serve and save leftovers in a covered container. It will be good for a couple of days.

6.8.12

BROCCOLI AND BACON PASTA


This was very tasty; though I have to confess I fried the onions with the bacon and thus included the bacon fat. Even though Jim is not a pasta man and the second generation of broccoli florets were a little overripe, the dish was still a success. It must have been that bacon flavour! I used marble cheddar; it gave the dish color without overpowering the rest of the flavours. It was such a simple dish to make, we sure to have this casserole again.

2 cups pasta bowknot, penne or shells
2 cups broccoli florets, washed and drained
1 cup frozen peas
4 thick slices of bacon, chopped
1/2 cup diced purple onion
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 egg
1-1/2 cups marble cheddar, grated

• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Cook the pasta, NOT according to packet instructions; cook it tender. Drain and place it in a mixing bowl.
• At the same time the pasta is cooking, blanch the broccoli florets.
• Add the frozen peas to the broccoli and remove from heat.
• Drain the broccoli and peas mixture and then add to the same mixing bowl.
• At the same time, slowly fry the bacon until it begins to crisp a little.
• Add the onions to the bacon and sauté until onions are soft.
• Transfer the bacon-onion mixture to the same mixing bowl.
• Place 1/2 cup of whipping cream in a measuring cup.
• Add the egg and whisk them together with a fork. Add to the same mixing bowl.
• Add 1 cup of grated cheese to the same mixing bowl.
• With cooking spray, spray a 9X9 inch casserole dish.
• Gently combine contents of the mixing bowl and transfer to the casserole dish.
• Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until golden and the kitchen fills up with the delicious aroma.

PARIS CUTLETS – PÁRIZSI KARAJ


Paris cutlets are pork chops, dipped into flour, eggs and flour again, without the use of bread crumbs. What this has to do with Paris I really don’t know. I looked it up and all I got was crepe recipes. I used to make this floury batter when I ran out of breadcrumbs; on the other hand, it gives a completely different taste to breaded cutlets, so it is worth making if nothing else for variety.

4 thin slices of pork chops
salt
1 cup flour
2 well-beaten eggs
oil for deep frying

• Trim off all the bones and the fat.
• On a board pound the meat with meat tenderizer very thin.
• Sprinkle with salt.
• Place the flour and the eggs on separate plates.
• Beat the eggs with a fork until slightly frothy.
• One by one dip the cutlets in the flour; coat well.
• Next dip them in the beaten eggs; coat well.
• Finally dip them in the flour again, coat well and press firmly.
• To avoid cutlets from sticking, separate them with plastic wrap.
• In a large heavy pot, place enough oil for deep frying.
• Heat the oil to medium hot and drop in one or two cutlets.
• Fry cutlets one by one or two at a time depending on the size.
• The oil is hot enough when bubbles form around the cutlets.
• Fry the cutlets to golden crisp. Do not cover the pot.
• To minimize oil absorption, flip cutlets only once.
• Drain cutlets on paper towel.

Leftover cutlets are best eaten cold. But if you must reheat them, place them side by side in an ovenproof dish and bake them briefly at 320F.

4.8.12

GOLDEN THAI CURRY WITH FRESH BEANS


Adapted from Eats Well With Others who adapted it from Vegetarian Times March 2012. I almost left out the peanut butter - I loathe peanut butter, but I tasted the dish and something was missing. So... reluctantly I added the peanut butter and voila, it was not only complete but I couldn't even taste the peanut butter yey! I thought the vegetables would require far less cooking time than suggested; had I followed the instructions I would have ended up with mushy vegetables. This was perfect and delicious and I will make it again.

2 cups cubed sweet potato
1 cup cubed carrots,
1 cup chopped fresh wax or green beans
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup chopped onions
3 minced garlic cloves
1 cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp Thai curry sauce
1 large Tbsp peanut butter
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped


• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
• Meanwhile chop the vegetables. Cut the sweet potato twice as big as the carrots.
• Add the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots and beans to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.
• Meanwhile, slowly cook the onions and garlic in oil.
• Transfer the blanched vegetables to the onions. Do not discard the vegetable stock.
• Add the coconut milk, the curry sauce, 1/3 cup of vegetable stock and the peanut butter and bring to the boil.
• Reduce to slow simmer and cook for two minutes.
• Adjust the salt. If you need pepper, add a light sprinkling of white pepper.
• Add the chopped bell peppers and the parsley and remove from heat.
• Let it rest for 2 minutes and serve.
 

2.8.12

APRICOT VINAIGRETTE DRESSING


This is a lovely salad dressing, but it will not last you as long as commercial salad dressings. Make only as much as you can use within a couple of weeks. I used flat leaf parsley but a different herb or a little minced shallot will change the look as well as the flavour of this dressing. It might be tempting to just throw everything in the blender, but it will give you a very different result. Whisk it together by hand, using a small balloon whisk and add the chopped herb at the end. It is a good idea to put it in the fridge for a night so the flavours can blend. Keep it refrigerated and shake it up before use.

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup apricot jam
4 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley
2 sprinkling of salt

• Measure the olive oil into a medium sized bowl.
• Add the apricot jam next. The jam will easily slide out of the measuring cup after the olive oil.
• Add the white wine vinegar.
• Using a balloon whisk, whisk the mixture for a couple of minutes.
• Next, chop the flat leaf parsley and sprinkle it with salt.
• Chop some more. The salt will help you chop it up very fine.
• Add to the apricot mixture and whisk to combine.
• Using a funnel, pour the dressing into a salad dressing decanter.
• Chill overnight to blend the flavours, but essentially the dressing is ready to use.

1.8.12

HUNGARIAN WALNUT CAKE – DIÓTORTA


Hungarian walnut cake deserves to be preserved. Yet it is often mistaken with another famously good Hungarian confection, the five layered Eszterházy. In the end, there are many claims to being an Eszterházy or walnut cake, but most often these cakes are a synthesis of two distinctly different types of cakes. The original walnut cake was made with cooked buttercream, but it was a buttercream nevertheless, and not a custard cream, which is the filling used in the Eszterházy. The other confusing element is what nuts to use, the Esztreházy is made with finely ground almonds and the walnut torte is obviously made with finely ground walnuts. Of these two cakes, neither has chocolate in them, or rum for that matter. Ah yes, there is a third cake, the Chocolate Walnut Cake, this also adds to the confusion.

My oldest cookbook lists every variation of walnut cake with ground walnuts and fine breadcrumbs with no additional flour in the batter. The newer cookbooks all call for flour. I favour using a little from both line of reasoning and I always add a little flour to the batter. Make sure the walnut cake is in three layers.

Internet recipes sometimes advise to roast the walnuts before grinding. Almonds and hazelnuts are fine, but roasting walnuts is not a good idea. I tried it, don’t do it because you won’t be able to sleep at night. There must be a chemical change in roasted walnuts and remember you are using a fair amount of walnuts in the cake and in the cream too. Interestingly none of my old Hungarian cookbooks advises roasting the walnut meat either. There has to be a reason for this. For grinding up the walnuts, you need a food processor or one of those small grinders with the bottle attached. Any other grinding mechanism is torture to use. Otto’s deli sells a Hungarian metal walnut grinder, I think I used it once with my husband’s help and then it went into the trash. I have no idea how they can justify selling them. In all probability, Otto never used one.

I suspect bakery walnut cakes have lots of fillers and this allows the lavish decorations on top. But this homemade version is rich already, so piping rosettes on the top would be too rich. A thin layer of cream is more than enough. Hungarian walnut cake is often the base for the sarokház dessert.

6 egg yolks
6 Tbsp sugar
8 Tbsp ground walnuts
3 Tbsp fine breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp flour
6 egg whites

Walnut Buttercream:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
10 Tbsp ground walnuts
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Spray the bottom and the sides of two round spring-form cake pans. {or 3 if you happen to have 3 same sized cake pans]
• Line the cake pans fully with parchment paper.
• Spray the top of the parchment lining with cooking spray and set aside.
• Beat the egg yolks with sugar for 4-5 minutes until very fluffy.
• Gradually beat in the ground walnuts, breadcrumbs and the flour.
• In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until very stiff peaks form.
• Gradually and very carefully fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter.
• Divide the batter between the cake pans. Divide equally if you have 3 pans. If you only have 2 pans, add twice as much batter to one of the pans.
• Bake the cakes in the preheated oven until cake tester comes out clean. The single layer will be done first.
• Let the cakes cool in the pan and then remove the parchment paper from the bottom.
• Cut the larger cake into two layers.
• Meanwhile make the walnut buttercream.
• Place the milk, sugar and 10 Tbsp ground walnuts in a pan.
• Bring to the boil and reduce heat.
• Cook the walnuts until milk reduces to almost nothing. Set aside to cool. Place in the fridge to chill.
• Beat the unsalted butter until very fluffy.
• Gradually add the chilled walnut mixture and beat a little longer until very fluffy.
• Place the walnut buttercream in the fridge for 15 minutes.
• Spread the top of each cake layer with walnut buttercream.
• Arrange the layers and spread the side with the remaining walnut buttercream.
• Sprinkle the sides with finely ground walnuts.
• Carefully place the cake on a platter and chill the cake.
• Slice and serve.


 

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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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