MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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25.10.12

SAUERKRAUT WITH MEATBALLS - SZÉKELYKÁPOSZTA VAGDALTHÚSSAL


 
This is one more variation on the theme. Like Sauerkraut Gulyas, Transylvanian Layered Cabbage, Sausage and Kraut, Sauerkraut with Meatballs leads back to the same magnificent dish, Hungarian Cabbage Rolls. I didn’t put rice in the meatballs, because rice would make them too fragile and I like to keep the meatballs small. But given that rice is a component of cabbage rolls, albeit small amount, this dish does go rather well with a serving of cooked rice.
 
2 +2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 + 1/2 cups diced onions
1 tsp caraway seeds
500 g lean ground pork
salt and ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp fine breadcrumbs
2 + 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg
3-4 cups of sauerkraut, drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 thick slices of Canadian back bacon, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
2/3 cup homemade pork or chicken stock
2 Tbsp flour 1/2 cup sour cream
 
• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large non stick skillet.
• Add 3/4 cup onions and the caraway seeds to the skillet and sauté until onions are soft.
• Meanwhile place the ground pork, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs, 2 tsp Hungarian paprika and the freshly chopped parsley in a large mixing bowl.
• Add the soft onions, minced garlic and the egg.
• With clean hands, combine the meat mixture really well.
• Drain the sauerkraut and add to an oven proof metal pot.
• Add the remaining 2 tsp oil to the same skillet.
• Slowly sauté the remaining 1/2 cup onions.
• Add the onions to the sauerkraut with the remaining 2 tsp paprika and stir to combine.
• Arrange the diced bell pepper, tomatoes over the sauerkraut mixture.
• Form 20 meatballs from the meat mixture and arrange over the bell peppers ans the tomatoes.
• Scatter the diced back bacon on the top and add the meat stock.
• Cover and place in the preheated oven for 2-3 hours.
• Remove from heat and transfer the meatballs to a platter.
• Stir in the flour and the sour cream and put back the meatballs.
• Do not stir after the meatballs are put back; only shake the pot from side to side.
• Place back into the oven uncovered for one more hour.
• Remove from the oven and serve with sour cream and rice.
• Serves 4-6

 
 

PLUM FIZZY – SZILVASZÖRP ITAL

SZÖRP is a Hungarian sugary fruit concentrate that is used to make fuzzy non alcoholic drinks. Before the days of juice and cola, Hungarians mixed their szörp, with soda water. Raspberry and orange cordials with soda water were a standard fare of large gatherings. Most popular of course was the raspberry. I can’t remember a get-together without some málnaszörp with soda water. The food would be laid out in the main room and the drinks were relegated to the kitchen. What can I say there was always some spillage with szörp traffic. The szóda szifon tended to overshot... If there were alcoholic drinks as well, the men would congregate in the kitchen... making it however tiny the kitchen was the most popular, action packed place in the house.  

plum cordial
club soda, chilled


  • Add a few tablespoons of plum cordial to a glass and top it up with chilled club soda and you have your plum fizzy.
  • How sweet you make it is a matter left to personal taste. 

I liked mine less sweet. Drop in a couple of ice cubes and you already have a wonderful beverage. Don’t substitute flavoured sodas or ginger ale for the club soda. A small amount of cordial will make the drink plenty sweet, besides you don’t want to mix unrelated flavours. 





23.10.12

BROWN BUTTER CAKE

 
Happy Birthday Simone!

When I found this cake on Completely Delicious, what sold me was the fact that it was a combination of several cakes from Alisa Huntsman’s Sky High Cakes. This is the book I used repeatedly myself and yet never without changing things around. This was the clue that I found a recipe of a cake maker. Annalise of Completely Delicious called it her Triple Browned Cake; I changed the title but then followed the instructions trusting in the outcome. I was not disappointed; this is a lovely cake and each bite is pure heaven. Recipe makes a 9-inch triple layer cake.

3-3/4 cups cake flour
1-3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
5 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
• Line three* 9-inch round cake pans with parchment and grease with butter and flour. • In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter completely.
• Then let it continue to cook until it turns golden brown in color. Don’t stir it, but swirl the pan periodically to ensure it browns easily. Keep your eyes on it; you don’t want it to burn.
• When sufficiently browned, put the butter in the fridge to solidify. This will take about 20-30 minutes. You want the butter to still be soft, but no longer liquid.
• In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and the salt.
• Add the brown sugar, brown butter, and 1 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
• In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and the remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk.
• Add to the mixer in three additions, mixing after each until just combined.
• Then turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for a few minutes until smooth.
• Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans.
• Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes.
• Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before inverting onto a cake pan to cool completely before icing.
• For a truly nice looking cake, spread even amount of icing between the layers. The outside of the cake does not need as much icing in my opinion as between the cake layers.
 
*I only have 2 matching cake pans. So I did a little math and used a scale to determine the weight of the batter. Then I divided it into thirds and filled the 2 pans. When those were done, I poured the remaining one third into a pan and baked it separately.


 

BROWN SUGAR MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM


 
This is not the easiest buttercream to make, but the result is well worth the effort it requires. I would not attempt this without a candy thermometer. If you have one of those medium saucepans with a pouring spout, it will be of great help. If not, pour it from the same pot the caramel was cooked in. If you transfer it to another vessel for easier pouring, it will cool it down too fast and a lot of the caramel will solidify before you have a chance to incorporate it into the beaten egg whites. Beat the eggs to a soft peak stage first, before starting to cook the caramel.
 
5 egg whites
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes. Make sure the butter is not too soft and not too cold!
2 Tbsp rum
 
• Beat the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form, and set it aside.
• In a medium saucepan, combine the water and the brown sugar.
• Bring it to a boil on low heat, stirring occasionally.
• Once it reaches a boil, stop stirring and add a candy thermometer.
• Continue to cook the sugar slowly until it reaches 238 degrees F, or the soft ball stage.
• Once the caramel is ready, slowly add it to the egg whites while the mixer is on medium speed. Be careful to pour the sugar in a small steady stream without letting it hit the side of the bowl or the beaters.
• Once the caramel is all incorporated, increase the speed to medium high and beat the mixture until it cools down to room temperature.
• Begin to add the butter a tablespoon at a time while the mixer is still on medium high. • Once all the butter is added, continue to beat until smooth.
• Note: before the butter is fully incorporated, it will look as if the icing separated.
• But keep beating on medium high and it should come together, even though it may take several minutes.
• Beat in the rum.
• Spread this icing on the cake immediately.
• Makes 5 cups

20.10.12

APPLE SQUARES - ALMÁSPITE


Almáspite is a soft, moist pastry slice; a true Hungarian classic. This is the only fruit filled confectionary I do not put Fruit Fresh into. I love how the golden brown apple filling looks between the soft pastry layers. I have been dreaming of them since I made the plum squares last month. Then yesterday’s weather forecast for the night was a little under zero, so Jim picked the apples, leaving only a few on top of the tree. The birds will need them when the snow comes. So the first thing I made this morning, even before I had my breakfast, was a nice big flat of almáspite. Jim said that it really agreed with him. As for me, I died and gone to heaven. 

I used a large rimmed baking sheet, but for a 9X12 inch baking pan I would cut the ingredients in half. It is possible to make the squares with a thicker apple layer, but the true Hungarian almáspite is a fairly flat square.
*The apple juice should be drained off, but not discarded. 2 kg of grated apple yielded me 3 cups of pure apple juice. I froze it, labelled it and will use it for baking whenever the recipe calls for apple juice. Or drink it up, it is a delicious juice, but it cannot be kept for longer than a day or two before it goes bad. To preserve apple juice you have to boil it, and I would rather leave the juice fresh. Grating the apples is the surest way to remove the juice. After the juice is removed, you don’t need any thickeners for the filling, not only that, you will be adding the juice of half a lemon to it.



Apple Squares - Almáspite


Pastry:
3-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup butter, soft
2/3 cup sugar
1 pkg. vanilla sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg

Apple Filling:
8-10 apples
2 Tbsp sugar
juice and finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For Assembling The Squares:
2 handfuls of fine breadcrumb
1 egg, lightly beaten

• Rub the butter into the flour, dispersing it throughout.
• Add the sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, baking powder and finely grated rind of half a lemon.
• Whisk them together to combine.
• In a small bowl combine the sour cream and the egg with a fork.
• Add to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
• Kneed the dough for a couple of minutes and then wrap it up with plastic wrap.
• Place in the fridge.
• Meanwhile prepare the apple filling.
• Wash and peel the apples.
• If using windfalls, cut out the centers and all the blemished parts. You may have to cut the apples into pieces to do this. Grate the healthy apple chunks into a large bowl.
• If using healthy apples, grate them until reaching the cores. Discard the cores.
• By now there is a pool of apple juice in the bottom of the bowl.
• Transfer the grated apple into a large [fine] sieve.
• Take a handful of grated apples and squeeze out the juice and place the squeezed out grated apple into a clean bowl. Save the apple juice and use it for some other purpose.*
• Add the sugar, lemon rinds and the fresh lemon juice and stir to combine.
• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Cut two pieces of parchment about the size of the baking pan.
• Place both piece of parchment paper on the board.
• Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into two equal pieces.
• Place a piece of dough on both parchment papers.
• Press them into rectangles.
• Sprinkle the top with flour and roll out both pieces of dough to fit the parchment papers. You may have to cut away bits of dough and add to other parts to fit the parchment papers.
• Grasping the parchment, move one of the rolled dough and place it into the baking pan. [with the parchment paper on the bottom.]
• Poke the pastry with a fork at intervals.
• Now lightly scatter 2 handfuls of fine breadcrumbs on the top.
• Spread the prepared apple fill on the pastry layer.
• Grasping the parchment, take the second rolled out pastry and place it on top of the apple filling, but this time with the parchment on the top. Remove the parchment paper and discard.
• With a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg yolk onto the top. [there will be considerable leftover egg]
• Poke the top with a fork and place in the preheated oven.
• Bake until top is golden brown.
• Yields 28 squares
 

17.10.12

HAM AND BREAD PUDDING


 
For the best texture of this bread pudding, use commercial white sourdough. Don’t use deli ham, leftover ham will give the best flavour and texture. Unlike other breakfast puddings [wifesavers] this can be assembled and baked on the spot. Great when unexpected guests or “pie eaters” drop by.
 
8 thick slices of commercial white sourdough
soft butter
4 thick slices of cooked ham
6 eggs
3/4 cup milk [I used 1%]
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese [optional]
 
• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Spray an ovenproof dish with cooking spray.
• Butter each slice of bread on one side.
• Make 4 ham sandwiches.
• Cut each sandwich into two halves.
• Arrange the sandwiches in the prepared dish in one layer.
• In a bowl beat the eggs with the milk, season with salt and pepper and stir in the mustard.
• Pour the egg mixture over the sandwiches and top with the cheese if desired.
• Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

 

SWEET BEET CITRUS SALAD


 
If you never had raw beets before, you will be amazed how delicious this salad is. Adapted from Meghan Telpner’s recipe, I couldn’t believe how good this simple salad turned pout to be. This one is a keeper.
 
2 carrots
1 long beet
little juice from a fresh orange
little juice from fresh lemon
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
sesame seeds for garnish
 
• Peel the carrots and the beet, cutting off the tops and discard.
• Using a manual grater or the grater attachment of a food processor, grate the carrots and beets separately.
• Place the grated carrots and the beets in a salad bowl.
• Cut an orange and a lemon in half.
• Squeeze some fresh orange and lemon juice over the vegetables.
• Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with raw or lightly toasted sesame seeds.
 and serve.
• This can be served right of way, but will get even better in a couple of hours.

 

16.10.12

BLACK BEAN TOMATO SOUP


 
The measurement for beans and tomatoes are estimated. After all, this is a soup and there is lots of room for variations. I cooked dry beans, peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes. But I realize there is not always time to do that. So in the recipe I listed 1 small can of black beans and 1 small can of diced tomatoes. If you cook your beans, soak 1 cup of black beans and cook them tender. If you use fresh tomatoes, aim for about 1-1/2 cups of peeled and diced tomatoes. It is important to soak the beans, discard the soaking liquid and cook them in clean water. Never salt the beans until they finished cooking. Salting during cooking toughens them.
 
A can of beans and a small can of tomatoes can be anywhere from 385-425 ml. If the labelling is in ounces it is generally around 14 oz. It doesn’t really matter if you put a little less or a little more beans or tomatoes into the soup. If you use canned beans rinse them really well under cold running water.
 
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 small can of diced tomatoes [juice included]
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups of homemade chicken stock
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
sour cream
 
• Place a medium dutch pot on medium heat.
• Add the olive oil, onions, garlic and the celery.
• Sauté until onion begin to get a little color.
• Meanwhile peel the tomatoes and chop finely.
• Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot.
• Add the chilli powder.
• Add half of the black beans, and reserve the rest for use later.
• Add the chicken stock and the chopped parsley.
• Season with salt and pepper, but keep in mind the stock, and in case you are using canned beans and canned tomatoes, these will contain salt as well.
• Bring the soup to a boil.
• Reduce the heat and maintain a steady slow simmer for ten minutes.
• Meanwhile puree the remaining black beans and 1/2 cup of water.
• Add the bean pure to the soup
• Add 1 tsp sugar and bring the soup to a boil.
• Remove from heat and serve the soup with a slice of homey bread and with sour cream.
 
 

COOKING LARGE NEW POTATOES


 
Large new potatoes can be tricky to boil. They are more fragile than regular potatoes. Consequently they cook faster and fall apart rather quickly. Never salt the cooking water of new potatoes. Try to select similar sizes for even cooking. Always bring the water to full boil before adding the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot. Depending on the size new potatoes can be ready from 5 to 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes of cooking time is the most you will ever need to cook new potatoes. Start to check on them after 5 minutes. Aim to undercook them, if the knife meets with a little resistance in the middle, remove from the heat, pour off the water, cover and let them soften up in the residual heat. Wait 15-20 minutes before peeling them. Sprinkle them with salt and pour melted butter on the top. Do not leave new potatoes soaking in water before or after cooking; the nutrients will seep out into the water and the cooked potatoes will soak up water and then they fall apart as you serve them.
 
large new potatoes
salt to taste
melted butter
 
• Select similar sized potatoes.
• Wash and scrub them if need to.
• Place a pot of water on the stove and bring it to full boil.
• Add the potatoes and bring it back to boil.
• Reduce heat for a slow steady simmer and cover the pot.
• Begin checking the potatoes after five minutes. Aim for slightly undercooking. Use a sharp knife, not a fork.
• When the knife meets with a little resistance in the middle, remove from heat.
• Pour off the water and cover the pot immediately.
• Wait 15-20 minutes and no peeking!
• Peel off the skin with a sharp pairing knife and place the potatoes in a warmed serving dish.
• Sprinkle with salt and pour melted butter on the top and serve.

NEW POTATOES WITH CAPERS


 
New potatoes are good with virtually nothing on them. Thanks to my friend Ann, I had a steady supply of new potatoes for a couple of weeks last month. Some of them were huge, some were tiny, but all of them were delicious. New potatoes have a unique flavour. Their season is short-lived but quite memorable. Not to be confused with the baby potatoes supermarkets sell in plastic bags, those tend to be very old, thick skinned and are not particularly flavourful. I cooked these with capers, they added a unique flavour, but in all fairness the capers are not necessary. Omit the capers and you still have a lovely side dish with fresh herbs. Sometimes the simpler things end up being the more flavourful. The trick to cooking these potatoes is not to hurry, don’t leave them and keep the heat to a low medium.
 
500 g new potatoes
1 Tbsp capers
1 cup water
few fresh rosemary sprigs
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
 
• Wash the new potatoes and scrub them if need to.
• Cut the large ones to make them uniformly sized with the smallest potato. Leave the small ones whole. This will ensure even cooking.
• Place the potatoes in a deep non stick skillet.
• Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
• Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook the potatoes until all the water evaporates. New potatoes should be tender by then. If this is not the case, add a little more water and simmer until the potatoes are tender. With the water evaporated sauté the potatoes in the remaining olive oil until all sides are lightly browned. Do not stir, just gently shake the pan.
• Discard the herbs and serve the new potatoes.

 

15.10.12

BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA


 
This is ready in record time; there is no need to thaw the corn or refrigerate the assembled salsa. It turned out to be a summery dish, but I was making black bean soup and I cooked more beans then intending to. So I thought why not make a salsa and combine the beans with some frozen corn. It is delicious, but the cumin and the Tabasco both add heat so handle them with care. I know people who would be just as happy to omit the cumin and the Tabasco. Then again others would chop an entire chili on the top.
 
1 can black beans [or 1/2 cup of soaked and cooked black beans]
2 cups frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Tabasco sauce [optional]
juice of 1/2 lime
4 ripe baby tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
 
• Rinse the black bean under cold running water and drain.
• Place the drained beans in a medium sized salad bowl.
• Add the frozen corn and mix to combine.
• Chop the red onion
• Add the chopped red onion, cumin seeds, salt and pepper to taste, Tabasco sauce and the juice of half a lime.
• Toss the gently.
• Chop the tomatoes and add to the salsa.
• Finally; drizzle with olive oil.
• Lasts rather well, but you may serve it immediately.

 

ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE



This is a really special tomato sauce. It can be served on top of buttered pasta or used as a pizza sauce. The recipe yields 4 cups.  I roasted a red bell pepper with the tomatoes, but a peeled and chopped carrot would have worked just as well. For maximum sweetness try roasting both red pepper and carrot with the tomatoes.  
 
1+2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 cups tomatoes, cut in half [large ones quartered]
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 red bell pepper
3-4 sprigs of fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped basil leaves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp golden brown sugar
 
• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Add the 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large baking dish.
• Wash the tomatoes, removing stems and centers. Cut out any blemish.
• Cut each tomato in half or quarter them if the tomatoes are large.
• Measure 8 cups of cut tomatoes into the baking dish. Make sure the tomatoes are in one layer for maximum roasting.
• Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper.
• Peel the onion and the garlic cloves.
• Coarsely chop them and add to the tomatoes.
• Wash and coarsely chop the bell pepper and add them to the tomatoes.
• Wash several sprigs of fresh parsley and add these to the tomatoes.
• Sprinkle the top with a selection of fresh and dry herbs.
• Drizzle the top with the remaining olive oil.
• Bake for 1 hour.
• Remove from the oven and with a slotted spoon transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor.
• Pour the remaining liquid through a fine sieve into a pot.
• Boil the liquid until it reduces to a jam like consistency. Keep an eye on it, this won’t take long and if you forget about it can burn quite easily.
• Add the reduced liquid and 1 tsp of golden brown sugar to the tomato mixture and puree until smooth.
 

14.10.12

TOMATO LAYERED POTATOES - PARADICSOMOS RAKOTT KRUMPLI


 
Jim cut the grass for the last time. The walnuts are drying in the sun. A lost squirrel is running around the yard building his various nests, outraging the neighbourhood cats with his flurried activity. They all think they own our yard. The crows are beginning to feed on the walnuts still on the tree. Al next door is putting his vegetable garden to sleep. It’s still pleasant to sit out with a cup of coffee, but I am thinking of lighting a fire in the living room. Fall is upon us and I am in need of comfort; this end of things was never my season. So I made this. Not as well known as layered potatoes but truly a homey sort of comforting kind of thing to eat with a sad heart. Oh but just wait for the snow to fall and you will wish back this autumn gold was still warming your bones. Look, the iceman is not far behind.
 
6 red potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste and pepper is optional
4 ripe, but firm tomatoes
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp cornstarch
6 thick slices of bacon
 
• Boil a pot of water.
• Scrub the potatoes and cut into them.
• Put them in the boiling water and cook them almost tender, but not quite.
• Pour off the water and fill the pot with cold water.
• Peel the skins and rinse off the potatoes.
• Slice them fairly thinly, but not so thin they would fall apart.
• Slice the tomatoes very thinly. You really don’t want overripe tomatoes for this.
• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Oil the bottom of the dish.
• Arrange a layer of potatoes and lightly sprinkle with salt. Pepper too if you wish.
• Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Lightly salt these too.
• Add one more layer of potatoes and finish with the tomatoes, lightly salting each layer. • In a bowl combine the whipping cream with the cornstarch.
• Pour the cream on the dish.
• Top with thickly sliced bacon and place the dish in the preheated oven.
• Bake it for 1 hour or until bacon is golden crispy on the top.
• Remove from the oven and let the dish rest for a few minutes before serving.
 

12.10.12

ROASTED PIZZA TOMATOES



These are delicious canapés and you can make a lot rather quickly. The recipe was adapted from Chef Linda Weiss: Pepperoni Pizza Tomatoes. Not being overly fond of pepperoni, I replaced it with a Hungarian salami look alike, not as good as the original, but still better than a pepperoni. I had really nice mozzarella, but you can use white cheddar or a mixture of Italian cheeses as Weiss have done. Made in larger tomatoes, one of these with a green salad will make a meal. I used smallish wine ripened tomatoes. In winter I would use Roma tomatoes cut lengthwise with a little slice off the bottom to make them stand up straight. The scooped out portion is worth saving for soups or stews; freeze, date and label.
6 small wine ripened tomatoes
salt to taste
1/2 fresh garlic, diced
6 slices of dry salami
1 cup mozzarella cheese, crumpled
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumpled
• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Spray an ovenproof baking dish with cooking spray.
• Cut the tomato tops off and scoop out the seeds and the pulp. Reserve these for some other use.
• Lightly salt the inside of the tomatoes and add a couple of pieces from the diced garlic.
• Place 1 slice of dry salami inside the hollowed out tomato. If the tomato is larger, you may need more than one slice of salami.
• Place a bit of crumpled up herb inside. I used home dried oregano leaves.
• Divide the crumpled up cheese on the top. Pile it up, the cheese will settle down inside as it bakes.
• Bake the tomatoes for 20 minutes or until the cheese tops are bubbly. • Serve immediately.
• Can be eaten as a canapé or smeared on toasted baguette slices.

11.10.12

CROSTINI WITH OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES

 
The word crostini means “little toasts” in Italian. Crostini are made by slicing bread and toasting or grilling until crispy. The slices can be drizzled with olive oil and served plain with salt, or dressed up with a variety of toppings. In this case, the crostini showcases oven roasted tomato slices.
 
Crostini:
 
sliced day old baguette
olive oil
 
Toppings:
herbed cream cheese spread
sliced white cheddar
crumbled mozzarella
roasted tomato sauce [or pizza sauce]
crumbled feta
shaved parmesan
salami
oven roasted tomato slices
 
• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Brush or spray bread slices with olive oil and place them with the oiled side up on a baking sheet.
• Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until bread rounds are barely toasted.
• Turn them over and toast for five more minutes.
• Remove from the oven and arrange the toppings on top and serve.
 

OVEN ROASTED TOMATO SLICES


Zsuzsa was rediscovering the wheel again and decided to roast some tomatoes. It’s that time of year again. I was getting my camera when I thought… eh, I will look it up how others do it. The first one that caught my eye was the Lebovitz recipe. I had to laugh, he is such a boy the way he cooks, effortlessly just throws it together. Me? I slice it and even in the baking dish the tomatoes are lined up neatly… Perfectionism is a curse I know and the end results do not always justify the means. However… here is my take on it. Serve it with meat as a side dish or use it for crostini. Either way, it will be deliciously tomatoey.
 
4 wine ripened round tomatoes
cooking spray
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp of fresh finely chopped herbs [I used 1 Tbsp parsley and 1 Tbsp oregano]
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray.
• Wash the tomatoes and slice each tomato horizontally into 3 parts.
• Set aside the very bottom and the top section for a different use.
• Arrange the tomatoes in the baking dish, leaving space in between the tomato slices.
• Season the tops with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the freshly chopped herbs.
• Drizzle with olive oil.
• Roast in preheated oven for 35 minutes.
• Remove from heat and with a spatula immediately transfer tomato slices to a serving tray. • Do not let the tomatoes reabsorb any liquid.
• Add the remaining liquid to soups or sauces or discard.
• Serve immediately or reserve roasted tomato slices for a different use.

10.10.12

HUNGARIAN WATER PICKLES - VIZES UBORKA


Crunch and Yum! Holy Cow these are good pickles, just like my grandma used to make them. The only problem is… I haven’t figured out how to preserve them for winter. Grandma put down 72 bottles every summer that went cloudy and then cleared up and stayed clear until we finished the last bottle sometimes in late January. I only made 2 bottles, because I have limited room in my fridge and could not figure it out how to preserve these pickles. Consequently, my pickle juice remained stubbornly cloudy, which was the sign of continued bacterial activity. Finally I put a stop to the fermentation after 5 weeks; by then the pickles tasted great. I boiled the brine to kill the bacteria, let it cool down and then poured it back into the bottles. I am not sure what grandma used, she added something to her bottles before she covered them, but I cannot remember what that was. I read in various recipes to use szalicil, timsó, borkénpor, borkősav, borkén and even aspirin. I am sure there are equivalents to these products here in Canada, but since I am not a chemist and Google translation is quite useless when it comes to the finer points of Hungarian to English translation, I have no way of determining what would be a safe substitution for any these products. Besides the Internet is a confusing place when it comes to recipes, people call dishes by the wrong name all of the time. I often get responses from readers writing how their mom or auntie used to prepare a particular dish differently, which often has no relation to the dish I just posted.
 
This I know. Vizes uborka is made with water, salt, tiny pickling cucumbers, slices of fresh horseradish and maybe a few spices. There is no vinegar, no sugar in it whatsoever, which is why they are called “vizes” or water pickles. With only half a bottle left I thought I better take a photo of these pickles. I made several different pickles this last summer, the kosher pickles and these water pickles by far were my favourites. Of course I have to store them in the fridge which poses restrictions.
 
Naturally fermented pickles are healthy probiotic foods. Vinegar brined pickles, because they don’t ferment, have no real food value other than they taste good. Now if I could just figure out how to preserve these wonderful fermented pickles for at least six months – would that not be great? That would be a discovery I did not have since I figured out how to make turó.
 
For each bottle use: 1 jar worth of tiny pickling cucumbers
5 cups water
2 tsp pickling salt
2 garlic cloves
2 heads of fresh dill
2 slices of fresh horseradish
 
• Select healthy blemish free, freshly picked pickling cucumbers.
• Cut off the blossom ends and wash them well.
• Place the prepared cucumbers in a large mixing bowl.
• Cook the salt brine next.
• Estimate how many jars can be filled with cucumbers.
• For each bottle pour 5 cups of water into a dutch pot.
• Place the pot on the stove to boil.
• Add pickling salt to the water bit by bit and stir to dissolve it. Taste it, if it is too salty add some more water. If it needs more salt, add more to the pot. Aim for a pleasantly salty brine. I used about 2 tsp of pickling salt for every 5 cups of water.
• Bring the brine to a boil.
• Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers and let it cool down.
• Put the brine back in the dutch pot and bring it to the boil again.
• Remove from heat and let it cool down completely.
• Meanwhile wash the dill and set it aside.
• Peel the horseradish and the garlic cloves.
• Cut the horseradish lengthwise into long strips; about 1/2 inch in diameter.
• Pack 2 cloves of garlic and 2 heads of dills into each bottle.
• Arrange the cucumbers in an upright fashion in two rows. If there is no room for two rows, your cucumbers are too large. In that case, slice them into halves or quarters.
• When the brine is at room temperature, pour it over the cucumbers and be mindful to cover them with brine.
• Cover the jars with a square of parchment paper and fasten them with an elastic band. • Place the remaining brine in a clean jar, cover, and set it aside for use later.
• As the cucumbers ferment, you will have to top off the jars with the reserved brine. If you run out of brine, you can top them up with cold sterilized water. The important thing is to keep the cucumbers submerged.
• The pickles will be ready between 4-6 weeks.
• Taste the pickles periodically and when it’s to you liking, pour the brine into a pot.
• Bring it to a boil, remove from heat and set it aside to cool down to room temperature.
• Meanwhile repack the pickles into clean sterilized jars.
• Pour the brine over the pickles, put on a lid and a screw cap.
• Refrigerate, these pickles should last for six months.
 

7.10.12

BROCCOLI CARROT SALAD


It was the colourful photos that initially attracted me to this salad. The first time I made it I was really disappointed in the outcome, but then I stopped to think what I didn’t like about it, it was overly sweet and quite soggy. So I cut out the sugar and reduced the dressing components and didn’t add them until serving. This time the salad turned out great.

1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup coarsely grated broccoli stalks
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup sliced red bell pepper
1/4 cup grated onion
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

• In a large mixing bowl, gently combine the broccoli florets, grated broccoli stalks, grated carrot, sliced red pepper, grated onion, raisins and the sunflower seeds.
• Season the salad with salt and pepper.
• Just before serving sprinkle with cider vinegar and add the mayonnaise. • Gently combine.
• Add the white cheddar and serve.

6.10.12

LENTIL STEW – LENCSE FŐZELÉK


 
This is a repost with a motto. If your lentils and green peas end up in the same jar, separate them or discard the whole lot, because nothing good can come from cooking them together.
 
“Még nyílnak a völgyben a kerti virágok,
Még zöldel a nyárfa az ablak előtt,
De látod amottan a téli világot?
Már hó takará el a bérci tetőt.”
Petőfi Sándor, Szeptember végén
 
The flowers still bloom in the valley gardens.
The tree is still green outside the window.
But over there can you see the winter’s world?
Mountain tops already wrapped in snow.
Sándor Petőfi, September’s End
 
Yes fall is upon us. Bitterly cold air blew two weeks ago when grandchild and I embarked on a bit of shopping. I don’t know why but I thought of lentil stew as we made our way from the car to the mall. And so here is what I made from a new bag of lentils. Now that’s much better. This is real lencsefőzelék. I don’t cook it for New Years out of principle. Nobody can accuse me with superstitions, because knock on wood, I don’t have one.
 
1 cup green lentils
2 thick slices of bacon, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced onion
2 minced garlic cloves
2 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried parsley
3-1/2 cups homemade chicken or pork stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 pinch of baking soda
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
 
• Place a cup of lentils in a medium dutch pot.
• Fry the chopped bacon in a non stick skillet until it gets a little color.
• Add the onions and the garlic and sauté until translucent.
• Stir in the parsley.
• Remove skillet from the heat and with a slotted spoon transfer the bacon mixture into the pot that has the lentils in it. Discard the remaining bacon fat.
• Add the meat stock, bay leaves, sugar, paprika and the baking soda to the pot.
• Season with salt and pepper, but be mindful that the stock is already salty.
• Cover and slowly simmer the lentils until tender.
• Make a smooth paste from the flour and cold water.
• Add to the pot and bring it back to slow simmer.
• Slowly simmer for 3-4 minutes longer.
• Adjust the seasoning and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on the top.
• Remove from heat, cover and let the stew rest for half an hour before serving.

 

1.10.12

ROASTED BUFFALO TURKEY LEG


Succulent, tender turkey leg for the brown meat lover who gets short-changed year after year with dried up incinerated turkey legs just so the bird can be roasted whole to recreate that iconic Norman Rockwell moment. It’s American, but we follow, oh do we follow, and yes, I will be having one of those birds again, I will be a guest for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. So I thought why not be pro active and enjoy a nice tender turkey leg before the turkey breast dinner?

1 turkey leg [2 pounds]
salt to taste

Buffalo Sauce:
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 pinch ground pepper
2 Tbsp liquid honey

• Salt the turkey leg and place it in a dish. Cover and refrigerate it for the night.
• Place the dish on the counter for one hour before roasting.
• Combine buffalo sauce ingredients.
• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Discard the juice that collected in the dish and place the turkey leg in a roaster.
• Smother the turkey leg with the buffalo sauce.
• Put the lid on the roaster and place the roaster in the preheated oven.
• Roast the turkey leg covered for 1-1/2 hours.
• Remove the lid and finish roasting until the skin crisps up, basting it occasionally.
• Remove from the oven and tent it with aluminum foil for 15 minutes.
• Slice and serve.
 

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!

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