MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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19.10.17

PEPPER STEW WITH MUSHROOMS - GOMBÁS LECSÓ


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

   

6 Hungarian sweet yellow wax peppers 
[Hungarian wax can be substituted  with yellow or red bells]
2 LARGE onions,
2 cloves of garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
5 medium ripe tomatoes sliced
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
2 cups sliced mushrooms

• Wash the vegetables.
• Chop the peppers into strips.
• Chop the tomatoes, removing the green centers.
• Dice the onions, but don’t grate them.
• Slice the mushrooms.
• Place 3 Tbsp olive oil in the pot on medium heat.
• Add the onions and garlic and sauté until onions are soft, but not brown.
• Reduce the heat and add the peppers.
• Add the salt and the pepper now.
• Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for a 3-5 minutes.
• Add the tomato and the Hungarian paprika.
• Simmer uncovered for 1-2 minutes.
• Add the sliced mushrooms and bring back to simmer.
• Simmer until mushrooms have reabsorbed their liquid.
• Serve with rustic white bread.
• Yields: 2 servings




18.10.17

RASPBERRY LAYER CAKE

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

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

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


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



Raspberry Layer Cake

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

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

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




17.10.17

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PLATE

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

Chocolate Mousse Plate

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

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

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

Raspberries
1 cup of raspberries [small basket] 

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

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

16.10.17

FOAMY CREAM OF WHEAT - HABOS TEJBEGRÍZ

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

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

and speaking of families

Foamy Cream of Wheat  

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

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

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


15.10.17

SHAVED ROASTED BEETS

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


Shaved Roasted Beets

2 larger beets
4 Tbsp olive oil
Sprinkle of salt

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


14.10.17

PEROGY CASSEROLE

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

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

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

Perogy Casserole

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

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

13.10.17

STEAM DUMPLING - GŐZGOMBÓC


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

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


   

   

   

   

Steam Dumpling

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


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

         video
One of my earlier efforts with Olivia back in 2010

  

12.10.17

MAPLE CUPCAKES

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

Maple Cupcakes

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

Cream Cheese Maple Icing

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

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

  

11.10.17

SEMOLINA AND FARINA - GRÍZ

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

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

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

  • Semolina is made from durum wheat.

  • Farina is made from hard wheat.

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

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

10.10.17

YOGURT MUFFINS

It is velvety, not too tart, and good enough to eat with a spoon plain and unflavored. Greek yogurt is amazing, as long as you stay away from the no fat and low fat varieties. Greek yogurt is the ingredient that gives these muffins the lightness they have. Seriously avoid the low fat variety; go for the richest plain Greek yogurt you can find. The vanilla frosting is a classic. Add more or less table cream for a softly draping consistency.  Yum.

Yogurt Muffins

1-1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt, with higher fat content
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, lightly melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pure chocolate chips or berries

Vanilla Frosting

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, soft
1-1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2+ Tbsp table cream

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Line the muffin tin with large parchment cup liners or spray with food spray.
  • Combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lightly melted butter and the vanilla. Beat well.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda and the salt.
  • Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the yogurt mixture until just combined. Do not beat.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips or the berries.
  • Fill the prepared muffin tins 2/3 full.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  • Let the muffins cool down completely.
  • Remove the parchment liners if using.
  • For the frosting, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla and 2 Tbsp of table cream for 4 minutes or until very soft.
  • Beat in more table cream, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin add more icing sugar.
  • Spoon the frosting over the muffins and serve.

6.10.17

HORTOBAGY STRUDEL - HORTOBÁGYI RÉTES

Even those of us who enjoy trying new things possess a certain tendency to draw back on the familiar.  Food is more comforting when familiar rather than exotic. I was thinking I should use up the rest of the filo sheets and with that in mind I bought a package of ground chicken. I looked at various recipes and considered Greek, Italian and even Moroccan chicken strudel, but failing to have spinach, mushrooms and several of the spices, I did a Hungarian search. That is when I found the recipe and surprise, surprise my pantry held everything I needed. Reminiscent of Hortobágyi Palacsinta, it tasted the same except maybe for the pastry.  This is a simple and effortless recipe. We had it as a main course, but it would be just as good as an appetizer or as a cold snack. Even though I think grating an entire onion doesn't follow as a time saver, not to mention how oniony the strudel would have been, it did go well with beer. I added rice, tomato and red pepper and they weren’t superfluous. Inspired by Stahl Konyhája, my Hortobagy Strudel is similar, though I suspect is quite different. Never sacrifice taste for convenience.  

Hortobagy Strudel

6 sheets of filo pastry
oil for spreading
2 heaping Tbsp fine breadcrumbs

Filling:
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
250 g extra lean ground chicken
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic
1-1/2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup sour cream

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a non stick skillet, heat three Tbsp olive oil on medium heat.
  • Add the onions and sauté until soft.
  • Add the ground chicken and break it up with a non abrasive spatula.
  • Sauté until no pink remains.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the garlic, the Hungarian paprika and give it a stir.
  • Add the tomato and the pepper and stir.


5.10.17

BUTTERMILK CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI LOAF

Adapted from Taste of Home. What attracted me to the recipe was the use of 3 eggs. So many zucchini loaves use only 1 egg and they always end up dense. The other reason was the use of buttermilk. If a loaf recipe calls for milk, it is always a good idea to substitute it with buttermilk as this always improves the crumb. You can substitute buttermilk with a combination of sour cream and milk or yogurt and milk, but there are so many types of milk, sour cream and yogurt on the market, the substitution is not guaranteed to work. The chocolate chips play an integral role in the flavour as well, if omitted the granulated sugar should be increased to 3/4 cup. The brown sugar and the additional instant coffee granules enhance the chocolaty experience. There were spices in the original version, but they would muddle up the flavour in my opinion. This is a most wonderful chocolaty zucchini loaf. Not a cake mind you, but still a great loaf.

Buttermilk Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup oil
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated zucchini, drained
2-1/2 cups flour
4 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup real chocolate chips
If you omit the chocolate chips, increase the sugar from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup.

  • Grate the zucchinis and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, cream the sugars, butter and the oil.
  • Add eggs one by one and beat well after each addition.
  • Add the salt, baking soda, and the coffee granules and beat to combine.
  • Add the vanilla and the buttermilk and mix well.
  • By hand squeeze out the zucchini juice.
  • Discard the juice and add the drained zucchini to the bowl and stir to combine.
  • Gradually add the flour and the cocoa and stir to combine.
  • Add the chocolate chips and using a wooden spoon fold into the batter.
  • Transfer the batter to the parchment lined loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350 until cake tester comes out clean.


4.10.17

POTATO PIE


There are several ways to approach potato pie. Slice the potatoes extremely thin or lightly sauté them in butter or blanch them in stock before layering in the pie. If you sauté or blanch first, you will have to wait until they cool down for ease of handling. I sliced the potatoes fairly thin and then sautéed for a short time in butter. I didn’t cook them, just sort of started the cooking process. Use a sharp cheese. Aged cheddar works well. Be sure to salt and season every layer. Potatoes on their own can be boring, add some flavour to it, like diced ham or crumpled up sausage meat or peas or a few asparagus tips. Wanting to keep it vegetarian, I added shoestring sliced red pepper and freshly chopped parsley. Potato pie is a great snack on its own or as a side dish. The shortcut pastry makes just enough for one pie.

*Use only waxy potatoes. Waxy potatoes hold their shape while cooking and yet they are firm with a creamy texture.  The starchy type with the thick skin would just fall apart. You can tell if a potato is waxy by the thin skin. 



Shortcrust Pastry:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup lard
1-1/3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten

Filling:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
4 waxy potatoes* peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 red pepper, shoestring sliced
3-4 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup sharp cheese, grated
1/4 cup flaked parmesan cheese, [1/8 cup only if finely grated]
1 egg for glaze

  • Make the pastry first.
  • The butter and the lard should be at room temperature.
  • Whip until light and fluffy.
  • Add the flour and the salt and stir to combine.
  • Add the beaten egg, and stir to form a dough.
  • Divide into two parts and set them aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Next prepare the potatoes. Peel and slice thinly.
  • In a non-stick skillet melt the butter with the oil. The oil is important, butter on its own would burn.
  • Add the finely chopped onion and sauté until soft.
  • With a slotted spoon scoop out the onions and set them aside.
  • Add the sliced potatoes to the remaining butter in the skillet and on medium heat lightly sauté for a few minutes, shaking the skillet, but not stirring the potatoes much. Make sure the potatoes do not start to brown.
  • Remove from heat and distribute the onions over the potatoes.
  • Let the potatoes cool down until they are comfortable to the touch.
  • Meanwhile slice the red pepper and chop the parsley.
  • Grate the cheddar and flake the parmesan.
  • Roll out one part of the shortcrust pastry on a floured surface.
  • Line a pie plate, leaving the excess hanging over the edge.
  • Layer up the potatoes, the cheeses the red pepper slices and the chopped parsley.
  • Season each layer with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry and lay it over the top.
  • Press down around the edges and crimp around or press a fork into it to make a pattern.  
  • Brush with the beaten egg.
  • Score lines into the top pastry to allow steam to escape.
  • Place the pie in the preheated oven for about 1 hour.
  • When the top is starting to get colour, lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the top.
  • Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling feels soft when a sharp knife is pressed inside.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and serve hot or let it to cool down and serve it cold. 

cold serving

3.10.17

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Ah silky smooth chocolate mousse! This isn’t your everyday chocolate pudding. It’s airier and more velvety. You savour every spoonful... but once you start you cannot stop until the dish is scraped clean. Like every great chocolate dessert, chocolate mousse starts with great chocolate. The higher the chocolate is in cocoa solids the better the mousse will be. So use the best, the richest bittersweet chocolate you can find. I used Baker’s Bittersweet and oh my!

Chill it from 4 to 24 hours, before serving. Type chocolate mousse into a search engine, you won’t find too many variations, it seems every recipe leads back to Martha Stewart. As I said, the only variant is the chocolate.

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

  • In a medium sized pot, whisk the egg yolks, 2 Tbsp sugar and the 3/4 cup from the heavy cream.
  • Cook over low medium heat, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Do not boil.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the melted chocolate and the vanilla.
  • Strain into a bowl.
  • Cover and chill through.
  • Beat the remaining 1-1/4 cups cream with the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into cooled custard mixture, then gently fold in the rest with a rubber spatula.
  • Spoon it into serving dishes and chill.
  • Bring to room temperature before serving.

2.10.17

FRUIT BUNS



The various homemade glacé and candied fruits, supplemented with commercial dried fruits sold from dry bins give both colour and flavour to these buns. They are rolled up with the chopped fruit like cinnamon buns. Be sure to use white bread flour and kneed the dough very elastic. Don’t cut the recipe or you will be sorry, these are really delicious.


Chopped candied, glacé and dried fruits 

*Do NOT use "glazed fruits" sold in tubs, swimming in thick syrup. These are colourful enough but quite indistinguishable in flavour. The fruit flavour is all but gone and all you taste is sweet.

Fruit Buns


3-1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1-1/2 cups chopped candied, glacé, and dried  fruits*
zest of 1 lemon
melted butter for brushing
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp hot water


    • Combine the bread flour, salt, sugar, eggs, milk, heavy cream and the melted butter.
    • Add the instant yeast and kneed the dough until very, very elastic.
    • Place in a buttered bowl, flip over and cover with plastic wrap.
    • Let the dough rise until doubled. 
    • Line the bottom of two baking trays with parchment paper.
    • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an 18x12 inch rectangle.
    • Sprinkle with the chopped fruits and the lemon zest.
    • From the longest edge roll up the dough in jelly roll fashion.
    • Cut into 12 equal portions and arrange on the prepared baking trays. 
    • Leave a 2 inch space around the buns, hence the use of  two baking trays.
    • Brush the tops with the melted butter.
    • Let the buns rise until doubled in size. 
    • Preheat the oven to 375F.
    • Place the buns in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped.   
    • Place the icing sugar in a bowl.
    • Add hot water and stir to make smooth paste with drizzling consistency. 
    • Drizzle icing over the buns.



1.10.17

FRESH APPLE COMPOTE

Fresh apple slices with the sweet aroma of vanilla bean... just like my mom used to make it. They say you eat with your eyes first. But it’s true. Brown apple compote is not very appetizing. Never cook apple compote with cinnamon, fruit juice or brown sugar. One other thing, always under-cook the apples slightly as they will continue to soften while they cool.  




Fresh Apple Compote

2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 Tbsp sugar or more to taste
1 vanilla pod
water to cover apples

  • Add apple slices, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla pod to a medium sized pot.
  • Cover apples with water.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat to steady simmer.
  • Simmer until apples are almost tender.
  • Remove from heat and let the apples steep with the vanilla bean until they come to room temperature.
  • Pour into a medium sized bowl, cover and chill.
  • To serve ladle the chilled fruit with some juice into serving sized bowls.
  • Rinse the vanilla bean under cold running water and air dry it for another use.



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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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