MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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31.3.14

COCONUT LOAF CAKE


A week away from Christmas happens to be a busy time and not the greatest time to have a birthday. For Leilah’s last birthday we only managed to get together for breakfast. But a lovely breakfast it was. I took a video, but no photos were taken aside from the cake. I served up the cake at the beginning of our breakfast so we started off with the singing of Happy Birthday. This just marked the occasion and the slightly warm cake went well with the rest of the meal. I picked a coconut loaf cake and made the presentation a little more festive by serving it on a cake platter. The thick coconut glaze gently rolled down the sides… it was lovely. 

When Leilah was a wee little thing we forgot her birthday one year. She got her cake for her first birthday, but the following year somehow we got waylaid with Christmas. Several months passed when one day I realized we failed to mark this very important event. I told my husband and his reaction was that this was just terrible. Leilah was too young to care of course, but her sister and brother never let me live it down. I really felt bad, actually I still do. And as one of great ironies of life, the extra kid is the one who sticks close to home and despite her own busy family and carrier she still makes time for her parents. 

Birthdays are important; they give us the chance to celebrate the important people in our lives. Egyptians started celebrating the birthday of the pharaoh. Greeks added candles to the cake. Ancient Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays for the common man [not for women] Birthday cakes were invented by German bakers. In 1893, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill wrote a tune called “Good Morning to All” which we all know as “Happy Birthday To You.”

LET US ALL EAT CAKE! 

Cake: 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened 
1 cup sugar 
4 large eggs 
1-1/2 cups flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
2 Tbsp milk 
1 Tbsp coconut extract 

Vanilla Glaze: 
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup icing sugar, sifted 
1 Tbsp milk 
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract 

• Line a 7-inch round cake pan or a loaf pan with parchment paper. 
• Preheat the oven to 350F. 
• In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
• Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides. 
• Sift the flour and baking powder together. 
• Fold in the flour mixture, milk and vanilla essence until the mixture is smooth. 
• Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when gently pressed. 
• Let the cake to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool. 
• Meanwhile make the Vanilla Glaze. 
• Beat the butter until fluffy. 
• Add half of the icing sugar and the milk. 
• Beat to combine. 
• Add the remaining icing sugar and the vanilla extract and beat for 5 minutes. 
• When cake cools down substantially top it with the Vanilla Glaze.

30.3.14

BACON ORZO


Food bloggers, unless they rig up a white box with some skookum set of lights are in constant fight with the light. The light is either too bright or simply not enough for taking a good shot. I cooked this up last fall, when the light was slightly diffused, but still workable in the evening. Back in our Rupert days, the lamp in the sky kept us bright even longer. Jim didn’t have a darkroom and during the summer months he had to wait way past midnight to develop his films. Of course Prince Rupert is way up north. But as further south we go [in the northern hemisphere], the quicker the Sun will dip below the horizon during summer. I recall chatting with our granddaughter on Skype one evening when she noticed that our office was flooded with light and all the while her window was already pitch dark. We live in the same time zone, but she is down in California and we are up here in Central B.C.

Have you ever looked at the Moon closer? We used to have a crude homemade telescope. The legs of the stand were held together by rope, but the lenses worked just the same. When the kids were teens we spent many a summer nights looking at the night sky. The first thing we always looked at was the Moon. We never saw the man on the moon. We only saw craters. I remember my dad telling me once never to look at the Moon, that it would give me bad vibes. But off course I looked at the Moon! Looking at the moon always filled me with gladness and wonder. The Moon is beautiful.

 

This dish was adapted from Orzo with Bacon and Summer Vegetables from Bev Cooks. The dish is simple, vibrant and delicious. The best part, it doesn’t take long to prepare and easily adjusts to personal tastes. I like the vegetables and the orzo al dente, so I reduced cooking time considerably.



1-1/2 cups orzo 
1/2 small red onion, diced 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup diced broccoli florets 
1 cup diced red pepper 
2 roma tomatoes, diced 
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped 
2 cups diced bacon [I use block bacon] 
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes 
salt and freshly ground pepper 
freshly grated parmesan cheese [optional] 

• Boil the orzo until al dente, orzo cooks very fast. 
• Meanwhile prep all the vegetables and set them aside. 
• Drain the orzo and place it in a large mixing bowl. Cover to keep warm. 
• Meanwhile render the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, until crispy. 
• Remove bacon pieces and reserve. 
• Drain all but 2 Tbsp of bacon fat. 
• Add the onions to the pan and sauté until they start to soften. 
• Add the garlic and the tiny broccoli florets and sauté for a couple of minutes. 
• Add the diced red pepper, the diced tomatoes and the fresh parsley and sauté for one minute. 
• Stir in the reserved bacon. 
• If the orzo cooled down, quickly heat it up in the microwave. Mine was still piping hot. 
• Add contents of the skillet to the reserved orzo. 
• Add the crushed pepper, salt and ground pepper. 
• Give everything a good toss. 
• Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

LAMINGTONS - KÓKUSZKOCKA


There goes a popular Hungarian sweet; it turns out to be Australian after all. I just found out what I always thought of as Hungarian kókuszkocka is Australian lamingtons. AllllRighty Then.

 

Lamingtons are squares of sponge cake coated in a layer of chocolate sauce and then rolled into desiccated coconut. It is an easy enough confection. I dipped the cakes into the chocolate sauce by hand and immediately rolled them into the coconut. It was a bit messy, but fun. If you don’t time it well, the chocolate sauce can solidify and will not be dip-able. Melt it slightly in the microwave; do not add more milk, because the additional moisture will soak your cakes. 

For the sponge cake: 
1/4 cup butter 
1 cup sugar 
1 egg 
2 Tbsp honey 
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract 
2 cups self rising flour
200 ml milk 

For the Chocolate Sauce: 

scant 1 cup butter 
1 cup sugar 
1/4 cup milk 
scant 1/2 cup cocoa 
1 Tbsp rum 

1 cup medium unsweetened coconut 

• Preheat the oven to 350F. 
• Line a square baking pan with parchment paper. 
• Whip the butter, sugar, egg and the honey for 4-5 minutes. 
• Stir in the vanilla. 
• Fold the flour into the egg mixture and stir in the milk. 
• Beat to combine only. 
• Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. 
• Remove from oven and let the cake cool completely. 
• When cool, transfer cake to a cutting board and remove the parchment. 
• Cut the cake into squares. 
• In a small pot melt the butter. 
• Add the sugar, milk and the cocoa. 
• Add the rum and whisk to combine. 
• Place the coconut into a shallow baking dish. 
• Using your hands to dip the lamingtons into the chocolate sauce, rolling them around to make sure each side is coated. 
• One by one roll the lamingtons into the coconut, tossing them around gently to get them coated on all sides. 
• Place the lamingtons side by side on a wire rack and let them stand until the coatings firms up a little bit.

SEMOLINA – GRÍZ




Semolina, Farina, Wheatlets, and Cream of Wheat all come from the wheat kernel’s endosperm. Off-white or yellow, or with brownish flecks mixed in, fine or medium or course grained, these products are interchangeable. They are all gríz or otherwise known as búzadara. The only exceptions are the over processed and flavoured instant types. In Hungarian cuisine there are many uses for semolina. We use them in porridge, soup dumplings, cakes, yeast breads and desserts.  For simplicity’s sake henceforth I will call all the versions semolina.

Making  fluffy, yummy soup dumplings was always a challenge. I am not alone in this. I recall conversations about the various tricks cooks use to get these dumplings consistently large and fluffy.  Depending on the size of the egg and the type of semolina you use, the dumplings sometimes turn out hard and sometimes they are so soft they fall apart. I had my share of failures over the years and I came to the conclusion that nothing replaces time and experience. I tried to think how to translate experience into a foolproof recipe. But aside from measuring out everything in grams, including the egg white and the yolk separately, I don’t think the tricks will work every time. 
 

Check out SEMOLINA SOUP DUMPLINGS and

29.3.14

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

Zsuzsa likes them too

“Did you make something today?” is the hello I get when Liv climbs into the car after school. What she means is did I bake some cookies? “Is there something to bite on?” asks the man. What he means are there any cookies left? These people are always looking for cookies. Milk and cookies, cookies for snacks, the freezer always has a couple of tin cans with various cookies unless I get wrapped up in some other project and fall behind with the supply. Of course nothing beats the happiness when those cookies are hot out of the oven and the house fills with the promise of sweetness. Around here cookies are it! I can make the loveliest cake or the most elaborate dessert, but their mainstay remains the cookie. 

These are soft and crispy and the white chocolate chunks just melt in your mouth. The dough is my basic cookie dough I developed years ago for my chocolate chippers. It’s so versatile, you put in something else and it becomes a different cookie. The secret is to scoop up a chunk of dough and just plop it down on the parchment. Do not press the dough together, keep it loose. Don’t flatten it or shape it, the cookies will rearrange themselves into perfectness as they bake. Here, have a cookie! 

1/2 cup butter, softened 
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 
1 tsp vanilla 
1 egg 
1-1/2 cups flour 
1/2 tsp soda [no more] 
1/2 tsp salt 
2 cups good quality white chocolate chunks 

• In a large bowl beat the butter, sugars, vanilla and egg light and fluffy. 
• In a separate bowl sift together the flour, soda and salt. 
• Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine. 
• Stir in the white chocolate chunks. 
• Drop 2 inches apart with a heaping tablespoon, on parchment lined baking sheets. 
• Bake at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. 
• Allow cookies to solidify before moving them to a wire rack. 
• Makes 20

28.3.14

SMOKED PORK PICNIC SHOULDER BAKED


As nice as city hams are, they lack the flavour I want in a ham. Country hams are hard to find these days. I settle instead on a smoked pork picnic shoulder. It doesn’t quite bring back the wonderful country hams my uncle served when we showed up in Siklós. Jenő bácsi went to the kamra and would bring out a magnificent fully smoked ham and started to slice off pieces with his bicska [pocket knife]. Then Irmuska néni’s fress vekni [bread loaf] was brought to the table, which looked similar to the sourdough bread I make, except hers was baked in a kemence [wood fire earth oven]. If you ever tasted fully smoked, well aged country ham and sourdough bread baked in a wood fire earth oven… you will never forget it. Many decades have past since, but the memory of this feast still lingers.

Siklós

Smoked pork shoulder is processed just like a ham and can be prepared in similar ways. It is less expensive and a little fattier and can range from 2.5 kg to 4 kg [five to roughly 9 pounds]. Mine was 3.70 kg. The hams in North America are prepared glazed and fancied up with pineapple and cloves. I don’t bother with it, because glazing and decorating the ham does not alter the flavour dramatically. But if you want a fancied up ham, just cut off the skin and trim the fat off half an hour before the ham is done. Score it up to the meat, glaze it and when the ham is finished baking, arrange pineapple slices and cloves on the top and then bake it for an additional 25 minutes. Scroll down for the ingredients if you want a decorated ham. Click HERE to my friend Elisabeth’s blog for a lovely fancy baked ham. 

 3-1/2-4 kg Smoked Pork Picnic Shoulder, smoked but not cooked 

• Preheat oven to 350F. 
• Place the whole pork shoulder package in a deep roasting pan. 
• Carefully cut the outer plastic packaging and remove it entirely. 
• Leave the netting on the meat; do not remove it at this time. 
• Place the meat skin side up in the pan. 
• Put the lid on the roasting pan and place it in the oven. 
• The ham should cook about 22 minutes per pound of weight or until the meat thermometer registers 170F. • My 3.7 kg ham took 4.5 hours to reach 170F. 
• During the last half hour, take out the ham [be careful it’s hot] and place it on a tray. 
• With a pair of kitchen shears carefully cut away the netting and discard. 

For an Undecorated Ham: 
• At this point crosscut the skin through the fat layer. 
• Stick the meat thermometer in the ham at the thickest part, but not touching the bone. 
• Return the ham to the roasting pan and place in the oven uncovered and roast until the temperature reaches 170F. 
• Remove from oven, cover and let the ham rest for 15 minutes before carving. 

For a Decorated Ham: 
• Or if you want a decorated ham, using tongs and a knife, carefully remove the layer of skin and most of the fat layer from the ham. 
• Make the glaze: combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 Tbsp mustard. 
 • Brush half of the glaze over the entire ham. 
• Return the ham to the roasting pan and place in the oven uncovered and roast until the temperature reaches 170F. 
• Remove the ham from the oven and remove the meat thermometer 
• With a sharp knife score the meat about every inch and about 1/2 inch deep. Basically you crosscut the again. 
• If using cloves, place one clove in each of the squares made from the cuts. 
• Use toothpicks to attach one can of drained pineapple slices to the ham and drizzle the remaining glaze on top. 
• Return the meat to the oven, uncovered and bake for about 25 minutes longer. 
• Remove from oven, cover and let the ham rest for 15 minutes before carving. 

For a decorated ham you will also need: 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
2 Tbsp mustard 
1 can of sliced pineapple 
whole cloves [optional]






25.3.14

TEN LAYER CAKE



As long as I can remember every Sunday afternoon there was the same cake on our table; three thick layers of piskóta with thin layers of cocoa buttercream in between. I looked forward to my Other Grandmother’s Sunday visit. She always brought us a large bag of fresh popcorn.

My "Other Grandma", Jolán

I ate the popcorn, but I don’t think I ever touched the cake. First of all, you can’t have the same thing all the time, because it becomes boring. Plus the thickness of the cake should be in balance with the buttercream. Too much buttercream and the cake is revolting. Not enough buttercream and even the best piskóta will be dry. When it comes to cake, balance is everything. 

I looked over several versions of ten layered cakes, but I learned from experience that not every picture will match the recipe. I wasn’t sure how evaporated milk will taste in the cream, so rather than taking a chance, I opted for one of my own recipes. I baked ten 7 inch piskóta layers and made a batch of simple cocoa buttercream. I put them together and there you have it a ten layer cake. If I can add one more thing to the recipe, the layers should be VERY thin. 

1 batch of piskóta for the recipe click HERE 
1 batch of cocoa buttercream for the recipe click HERE 

• So just spread everything very, very thin.







24.3.14

BOSTON CREAM PIE


Boston cream pie is actually a cake, more specifically 2 layers of yellow cake filled with rich pastry cream and topped generously with chocolate ganache…Yes, it is good. Three decades ago when the Brock Shop had a Safety Mart in Kamloops, right in the store the baker used to make these marvelous little Boston cream pies for five bucks. The Safety Mart closed its doors and we haven’t had Boston cream pie since. When I saw the recipe in Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman, I decided it was high time I made one myself.

blast from the past

The cakes were delicious. But I didn’t like the custard, it was runny and the vanilla flavour was bland. The chocolate glaze wasn’t great either and the suggested amount barely covered the top of the cake. After recalculating the recipe for two 9 inch layers, and filling it with my own pastry cream and covering it with ye old standby chocolate ganache, I was finally done. My Boston cream pie turned out as good if not better than Safety Mart’s. Whatever happened to that baker?

We sorely need a good baker in this town. Nobody uses real ingredients anymore. I can see people getting used to the artificial ingredients and those who never had the real thing actually enjoying the new fare. My son in law was ranting and raving about the apple strudel he had at the new coffee shop. Ever so hopeful my love and I went for tea and strudel the following afternoon. Unfortunately the strudel was made from frozen filo. It was so tough; you could barely sink your fork into it. With the industrialization of restaurant foods I predict more and more people will get back to cooking at home. If you want a cheap supermarket cake you will have to settle for imitation ingredients. Might as well take it in pill form. But if you are a foody you will want real butter, real eggs, real chocolate and real cream in your cake. So fork out that forty bucks for a miniature cake or bake a cake yourself. 

CAKES:
1 -1/2 cups cake flour 
1-1/2 Tsp baking powder 
1 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar 
6 eggs yolks 
1 Tbsp lemon juice 
4-1/2 Tbsp oil 
2 Tsp vanilla 
6 egg whites 
1 batch of Pastry cream – recipe HERE 
1 batch of Chocolate Ganache – recipe HERE 

• Make the pastry cream first and refrigerate. 
• Make the two cake layers next. 
• Preheat the oven to 350F. 
• Line two 9 inch round spring form cake pans with parchment paper. 
• Spay the parchment paper and the side of the pans with cooking spray. 
• Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. 
• Set these aside. 
• In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, oil and vanilla until blended. 
• In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. 
• Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and continue beating until moderately stiff peaks form that droop slightly. 
• Fold a quarter of the whipped whites into the yolks. 
• Then carefully fold the yolk mixture back into the remaining whites. Do not over mix. 
• Now sift about a third of the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and carefully fold in. Repeat this step with 2 more additions. 
• Handle batter gently; do not dump a large quantity of flour into batter all at once. 
• Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. 
• Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched lightly. 
• Place pans on wire racks. 
• Let the layers cool completely before turning out. 
• While the cakes cool make the chocolate ganache. 
• When the cakes are completely cooled down, remove from their pans. 
• Run a blunt knife around the edge of the pans and unhook the spring form mechanism. 
• Gently lift cakes and carefully peel off the paper liners. 

 TO ASSEMBLE BOSTON CREAM PIE 
• Place one cake layer on a platter, flat side down. 
• Spread with the pastry cream, smoothing out to the edge. 
• Place the second cake layer on the top, flat side up. 
• Pour the chocolate ganache on top, smoothing and spreading so it drips over the sides.

23.3.14

CORN PUDDING


Corn pudding is classic comfort food; it goes really well with roast turkey or ham. The last time I made it was for Christmas and I make no apologies for all the cream and butter I used in it. Corn is a starch so I might as well go all out when I make this. 

Corn is native to the Americas. It is a basic starch like wheat, rice and potatoes. The only way we ate it in my family was corn on the cob with salt. We never put butter on it. Corn had many other uses in Hungary besides feeding the pigs. I have a feeling the corn in the old days was not as tender as it is today, I remember we boiled the corn for a long time. But since I learned to cook in Canada I learned the mantra, “from garden to table to boil for 8 minutes, salt it and slap lots of butter on it”. Yum! The puliszka or polenta was basically a peasant dish and nowhere did they do so much with cornmeal outside of the Americas than in Hungary. Again, it wasn't something my family ate, not because I was so well born, [my ancestors were trades people, musicians and service people], but because in all likelihood my grandma did not care for it. 

 2/3 cup flour 
1/2 cup yellow corn meal 
3 Tbsp sugar 
1 Tbsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
2 eggs whisked 
1 cup sour cream 
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
2 Tbsp vegetable oil 
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1-1/2 cups water 
2 cup frozen corn 

• Preheat the oven to 350F. 
• In a large bowl combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
• In a medium sized bowl combine the eggs, sour cream, whipping cream, oil and melted butter. 
• Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk to combine. 
• Add the water and stir to combine. 
• Add the frozen corn and stir to combine. 
• Lightly oil a medium deep casserole dish and pour in the pudding. 
• Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle.

21.3.14

APPLE STRUDEL - ALMÁSRÉTES

Apple strudel might be the national dish of Austria, but Austrians never invented it. It all started with the baklava. The filo came from Greece through the Turks and from filo Hungary created the strudel. When the Turks invaded Hungary in the sixteenth century they stayed for 150 years. There was an understanding that as long as they spared Vienna the Turks could stay in Hungary. That was a really bad deal for us. At the same time we were introduced to filo and that was the beginning of the strudel. Hungarians called it rétes. Now if life was fair rétes would be the word world famous. But life is not fair. 

I watched my grandma make rétes. You see I know exactly how to do it. I just never got into it; I was told we didn’t have the right flour in Canada. But that’s not true. I went on line to Cheftalk and asked the opinion of North American experts how to make strudel without rétesliszt [strudel flour]. Yes, Hungarians developed a specific flour for strudel making. Not every chef knew about it. One chef even told me he can make strudel from all purpose flour. Of course THAT would not be strudel. The best advice pointed me to Greg Patent’s video. It was a start, I admit, but still it was not the real thing. Eventually I came to the realization you have to have hard wheat [bread flour] for structure so the dough can stand the stretching. But you also need softer wheat [all purpose flour] so the dough can stay soft and doesn't harden into a crispy monument. I arrived at the ratio of bread and all purpose flour arbitrarily. And then finally after two years of procrastination I opened up Margit néni’s 150 year old cookbook and read up on rétes. Here is my first real strudel. I think I will make a video of the entire process one of these days. In the meantime I can at least show you the soft consistency of the dough required for strudel. My grandmother did it all by hand, but I have grown soft too haha… it is not a task a Canadian is willing to do without a Kitchenaid.

 

You will need both bread and all purpose flour. You cannot hurry the strudel, there are no shortcuts. The dough has to become incredibly soft and pliable. After that the dough needs time to rest for 2 hours. Strudel dough must be pulled by hand. You can’t use a roller. It should be so thin that you can see through it. Use fresh fruit to fill your strudel if you can. The fillings should not be watery. If you must use frozen fruit, make sure it’s completely thawed out, sugared and squeezed out of all its juices. The melted butter has to be dribbled onto the pastry. The pastry brush must not touch the dough. It’s OK if you end up with an irregular sheet of dough. It will even out in the end. Holes are OK too, even large holes. As the dough is rolled up the holes are covered up by the following layers. That’s it for strudel. The rest is just recipe. 

1-1/2 cups bread flour 
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 cup very soft unsalted butter 
1 egg 
1-1/4 cup lukewarm water 
1/2 tsp vinegar 
flour for flouring the tablecloth 
12 apples, pealed, cored and grated or sliced very thin 
1/2 cup sugar light sprinkling of cinnamon 
1 cup melted butter [to drizzle and brush. You will need it all and maybe more] 
1/2 cup ground walnuts or almond meal or breadcrumbs [it's your choice] 

• Place the flours and the salt in a bowl of a standing beater. 
• With the whisk attachment, start beating the flours just under medium. Continue beating at this speed. Don’t stop the beater even while you are gathering the rest of the ingredients. 
• Add the soft butter and continue beating. 
• Add the egg, the vinegar and the lukewarm water and continue beating. 
• When the dough comes together, take off the whisk attachment and put on the dough hook.
• Continue beating just below medium speed for 10 to12 minutes. 
• Take out the dough, it will be sticky, and place it on a floured board. 
• You don’t want folds and air pockets, so knead the dough gently until it no longer sticks to the board. 
• Form the dough into a mound. 
• Lightly butter the top and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. 
• Let the dough rest for a full two hours. 
• Meanwhile prepare the filling. 
• Peel core and very thinly slice or grate the apples on a mandolin.
• Place them in a large bowl with the sugar and stir to coat evenly. 
• Leave the apples until it’s time to fill the strudel. 
• Place a clean white tablecloth or an old sheet on the kitchen table. Don’t use your good linen, because it will stain from the fruit and the butter. 
• Scatter some flour all over the tablecloth and spread it around with your hands. 
• Pick up the dough and stretch it a bit with the back of your hand to every direction. 
• Place the dough on the center of the cloth. 
• Pat it gently to flatten it slightly. 
• Now reach under the dough with the backs of your hands against the dough and gently pull your hands apart slightly and toward you, stretching the dough as you do so. 
• Work your way around the table repeating this process. 
• Stretch the dough further by grasping the outer part of a thick edge and gently tugging on it. 
• When the dough has been stretched a few inches more on all sides, repeat the hand movements described above. 
• In a few minutes of stretching, a paper thin dough will have reached the edges of the table so you will have a few inches of overhanging dough on every side. 
• Rip off the thick edges by hand. Don't use scissors. 
• If the dough tears at any point, just leave it alone. If you try to patch it first of all it won't work and secondly it will harden the dough. Any tears will be covered up when the strudel is rolled. 
• Use a pastry brush to drizzle the dough with melted butter. Do not let the brush touch the dough and be generous with the butter. 
• Turn on the oven to 450 F. 
• Scatter the ground walnuts or almond meal or fine breadcrumbs all over the dough. 
• Pour the apple mixture into a large colander to drain off the liquid. 
• Press down on the apples and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. 
• Arrange the drained apple mixture in a haphazard log three inches from the edge. 
• You may sprinkle a tiny amount of ground cinnamon on the top. 
• Using the tablecloth flip the dough over the apples and drip some melted butter on the top. 
• Now slowly lift the tablecloth and let the dough slowly roll over the apples. My dough was not a perfect rectangle with lots of tears and I ended up with a fair amount of dough scraps. But that’s OK, nobody will know it in the end. 
• Roll over all the dough, cut the extra ends and tuck the ends under. 
• Place the strudel on a buttered baking sheet and shape the strudel to fit the pan. 
• Brush generously with melted butter. 
• Bake in the preheated oven at 450 F for 15 minutes. 
• Then lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for further 30-35 minutes. 
• Dust with icing sugar and serve the strudel warm, cut into slices 
• Cover up leftovers with a clean kitchen towel and store on the counter or in the cupboard. It will keep for a couple of days. However strudel is best on the day it was made.

20.3.14

RASPBERRY BUTTERMILK CAKE


And down the Rabbit-Hole she went: 

It wasn’t anything spectacular, it was quite ordinary really. It was just a bit of Eat Me cake.


“Her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words “Eat Me” were beautifully marked in currants. “Well, I’ll eat it,” said Alice, “and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door: so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!” 

So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.”*

She finished it in less then a day! Nothing was left by next day, except some crumbs. The “Eat-Me” cake was actually a very simple piece of thing to complete. Just as it was on Tasty Kitchen and with nothing changed.

1/2 cups soft butter 
 1 cup sugar 
2 eggs 
1/2 cups buttermilk 
1-1/3 cup cake flour 
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoons salt 
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen 
powdered sugar for dusting 

• Preheat the oven to 350F. 
• Prepare a 9” round cake pan with a round of parchment paper in the bottom and some cooking spray. 
• In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
• Add the eggs one at a time, and combine well. 
• Add the buttermilk and mix until combined. 
• In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. 
• Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until it is a smooth batter. 
• Gently fold in the fresh raspberries.
• Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 30 minutes at 350F, or until just done. 
• Let cool before turning out onto a platter and dusting with powdered sugar. 
• Slice and serve warm or at room temperature. 

 *Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

19.3.14

CREAMY PARSNIP

What a feast!

    The old Garay Piac back in 1966. Exactly one year before I came to Canada.

I recall the stalls were laden with carrots and white carrots. Yes there is a white carrot Hungarians use in soups and stews. White carrots grow to the same size and are as dense as carrots. But they taste different. White carrots are not sweet. White carrot leaves are the actual flat leaf parsley. I can get Italian parsley during the summer. But their roots are unusable and are nothing like the lovely white carrots that grow in Hungary. Speaking of parsley, during winter all we have is curly parsley which has a faint parsley taste. I have to dump loads of this thing into a dish to get a bit of flavour. But like many immigrants before us, we adjusted to substitutes. Instead of white carrot, we use parsnip.

Hungarian Carrots and White Carrots

Native to Europe and Asia, parsnip was brought to Canada in the seventeenth century by the French. Parsnip looks a lot like white carrot, but the taste is vastly different. Plus it can grow to gigantic sizes. Parsnip is a pretty magical vegetable if you ask me. 

Parsnip takes all summer to grow, but is really a spring vegetable. The ones we pick in September cook up bland and mushy. I put them in soups and stews for a bit of flavour and then discard them. But the roots left in the ground until next spring become sweet, nutty and delicious. With the ground finally thawing we harvested the first batch of parsnips yesterday. Oh my! It was unbelievably good.

Parsnips from the Spring Harvest

6 parsnips 
1 cup whipping cream 
1 cup buttermilk 
4 garlic cloves, crushed 
1 cup mashed potato or 2/3 cup of potato flakes 
salt and pepper to taste 
1-1/2 cups cheddar, grated 

•Preheat the oven to 350F. 
• Peel and slice the parsnips. 
• Put the cream and garlic in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 
• Add the sliced parsnips and simmer for five minutes. 
• Remove pot from heat. 
• In a small bowl combine the mashed potato with the buttermilk. 
• Add to the pot and stir to combine. 
• Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 
• Butter an ovenproof dish and pour in the parsnip mixture. 
• Top with grated cheddar. 
• Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Magnifique!



17.3.14

SAUTÉED GREEN BEENS WITH ALMONDS


Happy Green Day to everyone! This is an uncomplicated, simple vegetable side; I made it with green beans as well as various leafy greens. The aim is to get the vegetables tender without loosing their crispness or bright green color. 1/8 cup water may be added to green beans, but it isn’t needed for the leafy vegetables. It is paramount to use fresh and tender vegetables, avoid wilted greens or stringy, overripe beans. 

drizzle of olive oil 
1 Tbsp butter 
1/4 cup slivered almonds 
2 handfuls of fresh green beans, trimmed, washed and drained 
salt and pepper to taste 

 To cook GREEN BEANS: 

• In a non stick skillet, melt olive oil and butter over medium low heat. 
• Add the almonds and sauté until almonds get a little colour. 
• With a slotted spoon scoop out the almonds and place them in a small dish. 
• Add the green beans to the skillet and salt it to taste. 
• Sauté the green beans, stirring often for 3 minutes. 
• Add 1/8 cup of water, sauté until the water is cooked away. 
• Immediately cover with a lid and turn the heat off. 
• Let the green beans cook in the residual heat for 4-5 minutes. 
• Uncover, add the almonds and heat through until piping hot and serve.


To cook LEAFY GREENS: 

• In a non stick skillet, melt olive oil and butter over medium low heat. 
• Add the almonds and sauté until almonds get a little colour. 
• With a slotted spoon scoop out the almonds and place them in a small dish. 
• Add the leafy greens to the skillet and salt it to taste. 
• Sauté leafy greens for a minute and then turn them over and sauté for one more minute. 
• Add the almonds, shake to combine and season with pepper and serve.





16.3.14

MAPLE MUSTARD SALMON


Originating from a certain fake butter advertisement, this salmon recipe is absolutely brilliant. My man and I have a low threshold of tolerance when it comes to the media. We don’t watch TV – the programming is idiotic and the commercials are nothing but lies. It is hard enough to decipher the news; I don’t wish to broaden my mind with the inns and outs of popular culture. This brings me to the remake of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos by astrophysicist’s Neil deGrasse Tyson. I waited for it for months and then last Sunday we turned the TV on to watch Cosmos. It was a bit of a letdown. Always a disappointment when someone we like says something biased or misinformed. My heart sank when Tyson credited Fred Hoyle with the Big Bang. Hoyle may have come up with the expression, but by then it wasn't an original idea and certainly not his.


Einstein and Lemaitre in 1933

The originator of the Big Bang theory and the man who changed the mind of Albert Einstein on the true origin of the created Universe was a Belgian priest, mathematician and physicist, Father Georges Lemaitre. I will be watching to see how Tyson deals with Galileo, because there too the real reason he was put in jail has been largely misrepresented by popular culture. He wasn't jailed over his support of Copernican astronomy. The Pope allowed him to publish the heliocentric model, but since Galileo had no proof, he was ordered to give equal time to the geocentric model. This he did. Except that he also presented the Pope as an imbecile. Heads rolled for less in those days. Back to the fake butter commercial. I saw it before the Cosmos. With one disappointment down one good dish made an appearance on Friday. 

2 small salmon fillets 
1/8 cup butter, melted 
1/4 cup pure maple syrup 
1 tsp Dijon mustard 
1/4 tsp soy sauce 
salt and pepper to taste 

• Preheat oven to 425F. 
• Arrange salmon in a baking dish. 
• Melt the butter in microwave. 
• Combine with mustard, soy sauce and maple syrup. 
• Pour mixture over the salmon fillets. 
• Bake for 12 minutes or until salmon flakes with a fork. 
• Serve hot with extra sauce over the top.


15.3.14

GOLDEN DUMPLING – ARANYGALUSKA


This is a delicious Hungarian Jewish yeasted sweet bun, the name literally means golden dumpling. It consists of layers of tiny butter dipped buns. The walnut-sugar mix on the top is optional. I arranged the layers in a small cake pan. If a larger batch is made, you can use a regular baking pan. Three layers of these buns will produce the most delectable soft inside, although I am not sure what I like best, the soft inside or the crunchy outside. Lots of cookbooks talk about the addition of vanilla custard, either with or within the dumpling. I cannot phantom why, this is great as is, but if I had to serve it with something; I would serve it the Jewish way, with White Wine Applesauce. [Scroll down for the recipe] Hungarian immigrants brought Golden Dumpling to North America in the middle of the 20th century and the Jewish bakers popularized it. The first recipe for Aranygaluska was published in the Betty Crocker book in 1972 and was referred to as the Hungarian Coffeecake. Americans tend to confuse it with monkey bread. The dough will be a little stiff – therefore the order in which the ingredients are added is important as is the resting time before each kneading. The preparation and the flavour both remind me of challah, [here and here]. But then you end up with the loftiest and most wonderful tasting sweet buns. This is not your average bun recipe, this one is really special! 

Problems in yeast baking often times are the result of either insufficient kneading or over rising. It takes practice to know the right consistency and the right amount of rising. If you follow the order of preparation and use the same sized baking pan, it won’t be hard to get a sense how far the dough needs to rise. Notice I said how far and not how long. Conditions change all the time and as a result so does the rising time. What is given in recipes is only an approximation, not a rule.

1/4 cup very soft butter
1 egg
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 cups flour
1/8 cup melted butter for dipping
3 Tbsp ground walnut for topping
3 Tbsp sugar for topping

• Place the soft butter, egg, egg yolks, sugar and salt in a bowl and beat with the whisk attachment until thick.
• Gradually add the lukewarm milk.
• Add the vanilla and the instant yeast and beat to combine.
• Half a cup at a time, start adding the flour.
• After the dough formed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
• Change to a dough hook and start beating the dough.
• Beat for 5-6 minutes on medium high speed or until the dough is elastic.
• If kneading by hand, I would estimate 10 minutes of fairly vigorous kneading.
• Transfer the dough to a small buttered bowl and turn it over.
• Let the dough rest for 30 minutes for the second time. The dough will rise a little.
• Beat the dough again [it will deflate] on medium high for 5 more minutes.
• Butter the bowl again and put the dough to rise, turning the dough over once to butter the top.
• When the dough is doubled, butter a deep 7 inch round cake pan.
• Melt the 1/8 cup butter.
• Form walnut-sized balls and then dip each ball into the melted butter.
• Arrange the buttered balls inside the prepared cake pan. There won’t be enough to make three whole layers, so arrange them in a pyramid fashion.
• Combine the ground walnut and the sugar and sprinkle on top of the dough balls.
• Let the dough rise and fill the entire cake pan to the top.
• Preheat the oven at 375F.
• Place the risen dough in the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
• Ease the entire dumpling out of the cake pan by running a blunt knife around the perimeter.
• Place the dumpling on a plate. If you didn’t sprinkle the walnut mixture on top, sprinkle it with some icing sugar.
• If desired serve it with White Wine Applesauce.
• Golden Dumpling is best out of the oven, but it will be still delicious when it cools to room temperature. 

WHITE WINE APPLESAUCE – FEHÉR BOROS ALMAPÜRÉ

6-8 apples, depending on the size
2/3 cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon
5 Tbsp sugar
small piece of cinnamon
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cloves

• Peel, core and slice the apples.
• Place the water, wine, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and cloves in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
• Add the apple slices and cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes.
• Purée and serve hot with the Golden Dumpling.









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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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