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MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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31.1.13

CINNAMON TWISTS


 
This wasn’t the first cinnamon twist recipe I tried, but this will definitely be my last. The most disappointing ones were made from commercial puff pastry, but once I tried Braker’s cottage cheese dough, I thought convenience be damned this is the one and only recipe for cinnamon twists. [Next in line will be the cheese twists.] Half a batch of cottage cheese dough yields 16 good sized cinnamon twists. They last well, four of them lasted beyond the first day and they were still crispy and fabulous. After that I don’t know, because they were gone by mid morning. My cinnamon twists were larger and didn’t require the fuss Braker’s petit sized twists did. Therefore I omitted a lot of what I thought were unnecessary steps and as it turned out indeed what I left out would have been superfluous.
 
1/2 batch of cottage cheese dough
 
Cinnamon Sugar:
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
 
• Adjust rack to lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350F.
• Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Do not grease.
• In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
• Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar on a work surface and start to roll the dough over the cinnamon sugar.
• Aim for a 48X7 inch rectangle and as you roll, turn the dough over several times.
• Continue to add cinnamon sugar so the dough won’t stick to the surface and that both sides are well coated with cinnamon sugar. I used up most of the cinnamon sugar.
• With a pizza cutter cut the rectangle into 16 strips.
• To twist strip, hold each end between thumb and forefinger.
• Turn one end toward you and the other one away until twisted 3 or 4 times.
• It is best to twist strip loosely rather than too tight.
• Place strips, 1 inch apart on the parchment lined cookie sheet.
• Press both ends of the strips into the parchment to anchor them.
• Bake for 15 minutes, or until light golden brown.
• Cool in pan on a rack.
• Store the strips in an airtight tin at room temperature.

29.1.13

RUGELACH


 
This was adapted from Flo Braker’s amazing Four Star Rugelach. I used her entire Cottage Cheese Dough recipe to make 24 full sized crescents. I didn’t spread cinnamon sugar on the dough, because I figured the jam would make this pastry sweet enough. So that is another variation besides the size difference. But ah, these were so good!
 
1/4 cup strained apricot jam
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 egg yolk for glazing
 
• Make the dough and divide into two halves.
• Shape each into flat discs and wrap each with plastic wrap.
• Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
• Adjust rack to lower third of oven.
• Heat the oven to 350F.
• Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
• Remove 1 dough disc from the refrigerator and set it aside for 10 minutes.
• Strain the jam through a fine sieve and set aside.
• Ground the walnuts in a food processor and set aside.
• On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
• Spread 1/8 cup of jam evenly over the dough all the way to the ends.
• Sprinkle with 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts.
• With a rolling pin, lightly press filling into the dough.
• With a sharp knife, cut the circle into 12 equal pie-shaped pieces.
• Starting with the wide end, roll up each piece.
• Place 1-1/2 inch apart, point down, on the baking sheet.
• Spread each rugelach with a thin layer of egg yolk.
• Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden brown.
• Toward the end of baking, if some of the jam oozes out and cookies begin to brown too much on the bottoms, move them to clean spots on the baking sheet. My jam was thick, so this wasn’t a problem.
• Continue to bake until done.
• Cool pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, then, with a metal spatula, transfer cookies to the rack to cool.
• Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, using fresh parchment paper if needed.
• Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container.

COTTAGE CHEESE DOUGH



Flo Braker’s cottage cheese dough is an absolutely brilliant recipe. It can be used for a whole slew of pastry creations, the latest of which I made were her rugelach and cinnamon sticks. I was floored by them both and I can’t wait to experiment making other things such as Hungarian love letters with Braker’s dough. The photo is somewhat lame, but I wanted to show the consistency the dough should have before refrigeration. Let me tell you this dough handles beautifully after it is chilled. I always loved my grandma’s version of walnut kifli, but Flo’s RUGELACH lifted me to an entire new level of pastry heaven. Jim couldn’t stop eating them. I was not able to find 4% cottage cheese, so I replaced it with 2% and it worked out just fine. However, I would not consider using a lower fat content cottage cheese, because the curds would be too rubbery for pastry dough. For every cup of curd cheese use a little more than 1-1/2 cups of 2% cottage cheese. You need a food processor to make this dough, however, it is possible to make it by hand with the technique I used for the quick puff pastry recipe, but I warn you it will be messy, because this dough is sticky. You will have to break up the curds with a potato masher and try not to touch it; the dough should not be handled at this stage.

2 cups small-curd cottage cheese [4% milk fat preferably, but 2% will do]
2 cups unsifted flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• Spoon the cottage cheese into a sieve over a bowl; drain for at least 2 hours.
• Do not press down; you do not want any of the whey in the bowl.
• Remove 1 cup of the cheese for the dough; reserve the rest for another use. To make the dough:
• In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt just to combine.
• Scatter the butter over the flour; pulse on and off until the butter seems to disappear into the mixture.
• Scatter the cottage cheese, in bits, over the mixture; pulse on and off just until a cohesive ball is formed.
• Divide the dough into two halves. [Braker divided her dough into quarters for making petit miniatures. However, I wanted the dough for regular sized pastries.]
• Shape each into a flat disc and wrap each in plastic wrap.
• Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


28.1.13

SKILLET PORK PAPRIKASH – SERPENYŐS SERTÉS PAPRIKÁS


 
This is an excellent quick recipe for two people. It is nice with nokedli, rice or with any type of buttered pasta. It calls for pork tenderloin so it is ready in a few minutes. The downside of using tenderloin is the expense and of course the lack of flavour. You know no fat, no flavour. So other means are needed to make it tasty. It helps if you lightly salt the meat, allowing it to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. But since the whole point of this dish is speedy preparation, the homemade stock [or a good quality commercial one] becomes one of the key ingredients. Authentic Hungarian paprika is a crucial element. Slice, don’t dice the onions; they add body to the sauce. Use full fat sour cream, light sour cream just makes the sauce into slush.
 
200 g pork tenderloin
salt to taste
-1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium sized onion, sliced
1-1/2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika and no other
6-8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1-1/2 + 1/4 cups of pork or chicken stock [preferably homemade]
2 Tbsp flour
1 garlic, minced
1/3 cup 14% sour cream
 
• Slice the tenderloin into medallions and sprinkle with salt.
• Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.
• Slice the onion and add to the oil.
• Lightly salt the onions and sauté until translucent, but not soft.
• Add the tenderloin medallions and braise them on both sides until no pink is showing. Use a wooden spoon or a kitchen thong to turn over the meat; do not puncture meat with fork.
• Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute stirring often.
• Add 1-1/2 cups of stock bring to a slow simmer, cover and continue to cook.
• Measure 2 Tbsp flour into a small bowl and slowly whisk in the remaining stock.
• Add the flour mix to the skillet and bring it back to a boil.
• Reduce the heat and slow simmer for 2 more minutes.
• Stir in the sour cream and serve the paprikás immediately.

27.1.13

MAGIC COOKIE BARS


 
This Eagle Brand bar cookie was an old favourite when our kids were growing up. It's quick to prepare and chocolaty. Even those who don’t normally get excited about coconut will love these cookies. They are best with large flakes of coconut and with roughly chopped walnuts. If you use a food processor, chop the nuts with short spurts of pulse action. Use only sweetened condensed milk, the type of canned milk that is thick and syrupy. These bars are nice warm, but for best presentation and flavour serve them the following day if you can stand the wait.
 
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 [14 oz] can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups pure chocolate chips
1-1/3 cups large flaked coconut
1 cup roughly chopped nuts
 
• Heat the oven to 350F.
• Coat a 13x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
• Combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter.
• Press into bottom of prepared pan.
• Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumb mixture.
• Layer evenly the chocolate chips, coconut and the nuts.
• Press down firmly.
• Bake the bar for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
• Cool.
• Cut into bars or diamonds.
• Store covered at room temperature.
 

17.1.13

HUNGARIAN PORK JELLY – KOCSONYA


 
The last time I made pork jelly was back in 1968. It was the first New Years Day I spent in Canada. I haven’t kept up with this tradition, because even though Jim was amazed with my pork jelly making abilities, he didn’t really like the “chilly soup”. After more than 45 years of togetherness he didn’t feel the same obligation and the “Would it be at all possible to heat this up just a little bit” translated into warming up his carefully arranged and fully gelled kocsonya in the microwave!!! Apparently the pork jelly tastes delicious piping hot. So even though I love kocsonya I am not sure when I will make it again.
 
I remember Hungarian bistros selling the same pork jelly in salads, over sandwiches, and of course one of my all time favourites, kaszinótojás used to be covered with a thin layer of pork jelly too. But this is different. This jelly is not an appetizer or a garnish. Eaten with a chunk of rustic bread this was the New Years meal of my childhood. On New Years Eve my grandmother used to line up the soup plates with the stock by the kitchen window and left the window open a crack so the stock could gel. Some people got fancy with it; they put all sorts of decorations inside the jelly, from onion slices to hard boiled egg slices. I have even seen slices of dill pickles “floating” in the jelly. I kept to the basics and decorated my jelly with what I cooked in the stock. People make pork jelly from pork feet, ears, tongue, pork rinds and tenderloin. I used a good sized pork hock and a chunk of tenderloin for mine and as you can see mine jelled perfectly. It is not necessary to cook vegetables in the stock, but I like them in mine. The basic requirement is pork meat, bone and rind and of course lots of garlic. Pork jelly is not a lot of work; it just takes a long time to cook. Slowly simmer it for a whole day and then eat it on the next. Do NOT cover the pot; the liquid has to reduce to about 1/4 of the original amount. People who complain about not gelling reduce the stock only part of the way. I started out with 16 cups of cold water and ended up with 4 cups of clear stock. As you can see mine gelled very well. In retrospect, I regret adding the paprika to the stock; because you cannot really see how clear my pork jelly was as most of the paprika sank to the bottom. I just dumped in the paprika when I remembered my grandmother sprinkling paprika on top of the finished pork jelly. Ah well…To keep the stock clear, you must simmer the stock ever so slowly; a little faster than erőleves, but it must not come to full boil at any time, because boiling makes the stock cloudy and unappetizing. I made 6 servings of kocsonya.
 
The first day we ate it with rustic homemade bread. The second day we had it with Eva’s naan. The Hungarian kocsonya and the East Indian naan went so well together it was as if they were made to compliment.
 
2 lb pork hock
250 g pork tenderloin
2 carrots
2 parsnips
1 large onion cut into halves
6 cloves of garlic
1 tsp pepper corn
sprinkling of chilli pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
salt [very sparingly]
16 cups cold water
Hungarian paprika for sprinkling

• Clean and wash meat products and wash and peel the vegetables.
• Set aside 2 cloves of garlic for use later and place the rest of the ingredients in a stockpot.
• Add salt, but sparingly. Remember you are starting with 16 cups of liquid, but in the end the salt that you add now will be concentrated into 4 cups of liquid.
• Add the cold water and bring it to a simmer.
• Do not let the soup come to full rolling boil, this makes the stock cloudy. Also, it is the rapid boiling that brings up foam to the surface and with slow simmer this will not be an issue.
• Maintaining a slow simmer, cook the soup uncovered for 10 hours.
• After ten hours the stock has reduced considerably.
• Take the pot off the heat and let it cool down somewhat.
• Take out the pork hock and place it in a bowl to cool.
• Take out the carrots and the tenderloin and set it aside to cool.
• Pour the remainder vegetables with the stock through a fine sieve catching the stock in a container. Do not press down on the remaining vegetables; this would make the stock cloudy. At this point you will have about 6-7 cups of stock.
• After everything cools down to room temperature cover the pork hock and the vegetables that you set aside and place it in the fridge for the night.
• Cover the stock and place it in the fridge.
• The following day, cut the hock into smaller pieces and place them in a clean stock pot.
• Dice the 2 cloves of garlic you set aside and add to the pot.
• Take out the stock and you will see it has jelled, but not enough. Remove the fat layer and discard.
• Add the stock to the pot and bring it to a slow simmer again.
• Let the stock simmer for 2 hours longer.
• After 2 hours of slow simmer you will have 4 cups of stock left.
• Adjust the salt content. But be careful not to over-salt, because you cannot add more water to the stock.
• Remove the hock pieces and either discard or cut out the meaty bits for consumption. [I didn’t keep it.]
• Place a large fine sieve over a bowl and line it with a clean, wet muslin.
• Pour the hot stock through the lined sieve.
• Your stock is the bowl, clear and wonderful. This is when I added 1 tsp of Hungarian paprika to the stock, but this was a mistake.
• Next is setting up the plates for the jelly. If you don’t have Hungarian soup bowls, pasta bowls are the best for serving the pork jelly.
• Remember the tenderloin and the carrots you put in the fridge last night? Take them out and slice them neatly and arrange them in the bottom of 4 to 6 soup plates. Ladle the hot stock over them carefully, not to disturb the meat slices or the carrots.
• Let everything cool down to room temperature and then carefully transfer the plates to the fridge and let them chill for 2-4 hours.
• Just before serving sprinkle authentic Hungarian paprika on the top and serve the pork jelly with a chunk of rustic bread.
 
 
 

11.1.13

AUTHENTIC WAYS OF THE PAPRIKA CUISINE



pörkölt or paprikás?
 
“A pörkölt paprikás hús szafttal,
a paprikás ugyanez tejföllel,
a gulyáspörkölt hosszúlével és krumplival,
gulyásleves is a soup,
a tokány hús szafttal de nem jellemző rá a paprika.”

This all makes sense in Hungarian. Except I call my csirkepörkölt paprikás csirke. My father would have said “mert trehány vagy fiam”. Except that I am still not sure how to translate csirkepörkölt into English without adding to the confusion. I call my csirkepörkölt chicken paprika when in fact it isn’t a paprikás. If you can figure out the differences... I welcome a different opinion.

So what is it pörkölt or paprikás? And what is gulyás? Is it a soup or a stew? Both actually... And what is tokány?  The paprika cuisine all starts with meat, fat, onions, salt and of course paprika. Later on other stuff can be added or not. The essential difference between paprikás and pörkölt is that paprikás has sour cream and maybe flour for thickening, while pörkölt does not have thickening or sour cream. However sour cream is always served alongside the pörkölt as well. But I still don’t know what to call my csirkepörkölt.
 
 
PÖRKÖLT
This is the type of dish that the whole world calls “gulash”. But this is incorrect. Pörkölt is always cooked on the stove. You can use beef, veal, pork, chicken, lamb; it has to be dry stewed with minimal additional liquid. Basically you are aiming to cook the meat in its own juices. Pörkölt is NEVER thickened; the sauce should be quite thick though and never add anything else to the sauce. But this is not a stew. The thick juice, what we call “szaft” is just thick juice and not a gravy. Always serve pörkölt with sour cream on the side.
 
PAPRIKÁS
This starts out being a pörkölt, but in the end sour cream and flour is added for thickening.
 
GULYÁS
Gulyás, gulyáspörkölt or bográcsgulyás is not a soup, it is a stew. This is essentially pörkölt with vegetables. It can be cooked on the stove or in a cauldron. Always serve them with sour cream on the side.
 
GULYÁSLEVES This is a soup, that starts out as a pörkölt and then considerable water or stock is added along with various vegetables and chopped potatoes. It can be cooked on the stove or in a cauldron. Always serve it with sour cream on the side.
 
TOKÁNY This is like ragout. The meat is cut into long, thin slices. The spice is usually black pepper, marjoram and very little paprika if any. Once again, this is cooked with the dry stewing method, just like pörkölt.

All of this aside, I still don’t know how to translate csirkepörkölt into a language that has no paprika culture to speak of. The confusion continues.
 

6.1.13

CRANBERRY SAUCE


 
Try this once and you will never touch canned cranberry sauce again. Homemade cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries is easy to make and the flavour is incomparably superior to the canned varieties. Cranberries are full of natural pectin and the sauce will thicken itself, as long as there is not too much liquid in the recipe. A version of this recipe is making its rounds with double amount of water and sugar. Yes, it jells, but as soon as a scoop is placed on the hot plate, the sauce turns to liquid. With only 1 cup of water, the sauce was perfect. You can cut the recipe in half, just don’t increase it. This has something to do with the pectin action.
 
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp finely grated orange rind
 
• Wash cranberries and drain.
• In a medium sized saucepan, combine cranberries with the remaining ingredients.
• Place on medium heat and bring to a boil.
• Simmer until the skin of the cranberries split with a popping sound.
• Continue to simmer, stirring often on low heat until the sauce thickens. Make sure it does not burn.
• Remove from heat and let it cool.
• Transfer to a serving dish, cover and chill overnight.
 

5.1.13

ALMOND ROCA


 
Thank you Ann for one of the many recipes you shared with me over the years.
 
Christmas came in a fashion, but considering I was fighting off a cold for two weeks prior, and then we had this kitchen flood, my annual Christmas bake off went by the wayside. Then on the 23rd I rushed out and bought a flat of goodies from the bakery. Most disappointing it was; it looked good but tasted less than exciting and most of our favourites were not among them. There was a certain déjà vu in the whole experience. Such as the almond roca was missing. It was a good call though, because by Boxing Day I was feeling rather unwell and my wretchedness peeked over New Years. I couldn’t even manage a happy new year post. I am still hacking and miserable, but finally feeling on the mend with a little more energy. I brought out my Norwex paraphernalia yesterday and started to clean the kitchen. Today it will be the fridge and under the sink that will get a good all over. Later I will phone my far away new friend and then make a small batch of almond roca for my old love since we are all out of Purdy’s chocolates our daughter and son in law so generously supplied us with for the holidays. My Christmas rerun post did not really count, so this is recipe #700. The intention was 400 recipes and look where it got me. This just means loads of editing when the time comes. I hope I will live long enough to actually get some of this printed. The recipe collection has grown to such proportions that the cookbook will have to be broken up into two books at the very least... and still I have plans to cook a little bit more. But don’t expect me to get back on a cooking spree just yet, I still don’t have a working dishwasher. The kitchen flood we had in December is still drying out between three layers of floorboard and we are just crossing our fingers that no cabinets or floor tiles will have to be raised. Ahhh... almond roca! There should be no Christmas without you.
 
18 squares of honey graham wafers
1 cup flaked almonds
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups pure, dark chocolate chips
 
• This is a no bake confection, but just trusts me: and turn the oven to 350F.
• Fully line a 9X13 inch baking pan or a small, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Paper all 4 sides and leave two overhangs for easy grasping. Don’t omit this step or the roca will have to be hacked apart and broken up by hand.
• Line the pan with honey grahams.
• Sprinkle the top with flaked almonds.
• Place the butter and the brown sugar in a saucepan.
• Bring to a boil.
• Reduce heat to medium and boil for exactly 3 minutes. Keep stirring continuously. Be careful you are cooking candy.
• Pour the hot candy over the almond layer.
• Drop the chocolate chips on the top.
• Here comes the secret for a lovely smooth top.
• Place the baking pan in the preheated oven for 5 to10 minutes.
• Remove from oven and spread the melted chocolate with a wide icing knife. Be mindful not to disturb the almond flakes.
• Fully chill the roca.
• Remove the pan from the fridge.
• Grasp the parchment overhangs and lift the roca onto a cutting board.
• Cut to desired shapes with a sharp chef’s knife. Wipe the blade between each cut, otherwise you will drag cookie crumbs on top of the chocolate.
• Store the roca in a metal cookie tin between layers of wax or parchment paper.
• Place in the fridge. You may freeze the roca, but it will loose it’s shiny lustre.

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