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MY COOKBOOK
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28.3.16

MEATBALLS WITH KIELBASA


After a string of recent kitchen goof ups, this one turned out to be nice enough to get a spot on the blog. I made these meatballs to use up ingredients not enough on their own and a new meatball recipe was born. I can do that because we are small eaters and most of the time it’s just the two of us. The challenge of these spur of the moment dishes is that they sometimes don’t work out. That is when my darling feels like the guinea pig he sometimes is. But there is always peanut butter. 




Meatballs With Kielbasa

1/2 cup of super lean ground pork
3 Tbsp light olive oil
2 Tbsp diced onions
4 inch segment of kielbasa sausage, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
sprinkling of marjoram
1/4 cup dry fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
sprinkling of salt
1 to 2 Tbsp spice of choice [I used Greek Red Pepper Spice] 

  • Place the ground pork in a mixing bowl.
  • Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet.
  • Add the onions and sauté until translucent.
  • Reserving the oil, add the soft onions to the ground pork.
  • Put the chopped kielbasa in the food processor and pulse it a few times until uniformly minced. Don’t mash it completely.
  • Add the minced kielbasa sausage to the bowl.
  • Add the garlic, marjoram, fine breadcrumbs and the egg.
  • Sprinkle with salt. Keep in mind the kielbasa is already salty.
  • With clean hands mash the ingredients until uniformly blended.
  • Shape the meat mixture into small balls.
  • Add the meatballs to the skillet, leaving a little space between meatballs for rolling.
  • To cook the meatballs perfectly round, hold onto the skillet handle and shift the skillet back and forth. The meatballs will roll around and evenly cook in a rather short time.
  • Place your choice of spice in a bowl and roll the hot meatballs into the spice.
  • Serve the meatballs immediately.
  • These meatballs are so flavourful no sauce is required.


CHICKEN GULYAS - CSIRKEGULYÁS


Chicken gulyás is less robust than traditional gulyás. Boneless, skinless breast meat of the chicken is preferred for gulyás, the boney parts tend to fall apart. Traditional gulyás from beef or pork is made into a stew first with water added later with the vegetables. But breast of chicken cooks far too quickly to develop sufficient flavour and the solution is the addition of homemade stock. Stock is best from the darker meat and the boney parts of the chicken. I don’t recommend stock made from roasted carcass or from bouillon cubes or commercial stock.  Make the stock a day ahead; simmer it slowly for several hours to transfer all the flavour to the stock. Pressure cooker makes a wonderful stock and is a huge time saver.

I add pinched noodles about the same time I add the vegetables. Pinched noodles are made from very stiff dough. These absorb very little liquid and don’t starch up the soup. Regular pasta is no substitute and I would just as soon omit putting anything into the gulyás if I had no pinched noodles available. There are several brands of pinched noodles in the deli section of large grocery stores and sometimes European delis carry them under the name of Bavarian Spaetzle Pasta or Hungarian Pinched Noodles. What you have to watch for is the cooking instruction; this type of pasta takes about 17-20 minutes of cooking. Or you can laboriously make them just like I do. 

Chicken Gulyas

2 skinless, boneless breast of chicken
1 onion, diced
3 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, crushed
1-1/2 + 1/2 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika
1 clove of garlic, minced
6 cups of rich homemade chicken stock
1/2 yellow or red pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 parsnip, diced
1/2 celery root, chopped
2 potatoes
1/4 cup pinched noodles
salt and pepper to taste
14% sour cream

• Cut the chicken into large chunks.
• Mince the garlic, crush the caraway seeds and set them aside.
• Finely chop the onions.
• In a medium dutch pot heat 3 Tbsp oil; add the onions and sauté until translucent.
• Add the meat and braise it turning the pieces until no longer pink.
• Chop the green pepper and tomatoes; add to the pot.
• Add 1-1/2 Tbsp of paprika, the caraway seeds and the garlic.
• Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Add the stock and bring it to a steady simmer.
• Peel and coarsely chop the carrots, parsnip, potatoes and the celery root and add to the pot.
• Add the pinched noodles and bring the soup back to a steady simmer
• When the carrots are tender, adjust the salt and add freshly ground pepper to taste.
• Stir in the remaining 1/2 Tbsp of Hungarian paprika.
• Serve with sour cream.  

SCORED POTATOES


I cooked these potatoes almost as an afterthought and they were ready in 40 minutes.

1 large baking potato
drizzle of olive oil
salt and Greek Red Pepper Seasoning

  • Using a sharp knife cut each potato in half, lengthwise.
  • With the flesh facing up cut into each half, but not all the way through.
  • Place the potato halves with the flesh facing upward into a baking dish.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and Greek Red Pepper Seasoning.
  • Place in the microwave at full power for 5 minutes.  
  • Transfer to a preheated 350F oven and bake until tender.


HAM LOAF



The really economical way to cook a large ham is to cut it up and portion it out for various uses. Traditionally ham loaf was made from leftover ham, but I don’t think today’s mild hams are flavourful enough to withstand the cooking twice. When ham goes on sale my love brings home a large one and I cut it up for a variety of dishes I make with ham. The small meaty bits are put through the food processor and portioned out for ham loaf, ham patties and ham-balls. The one thing to keep in mind is that uncooked ham will burn easily so anything you may do with in the fry pan or in the oven; the heat must not be high, because ham burns easily. Also a loaf made only from ground ham will have higher liquid content and requires a little more breadcrumbs than a ham loaf made in combination with other ground meats. 



Ham Loaf

300 g fresh ham, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1-1/2 cups fine soft breadcrumbs
1 egg
few sprigs of fresh or frozen parsley, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to the suggested temperature. Cook’s ham requires 325F.
  • Sauté the onions on olive oil until very soft. Do not brown.
  • To assemble the ham loaf, place the ground ham in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the soft onions and the remaining ingredients.
  • Do NOT add salt.
  • With your hands, mash together everything.
  • Form into a loaf and place it in a small greased baking dish.
  • Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake it until the internal temperature reaches 140F.
  • Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Ham loaf is also nice chilled.

 

COOKED MAYONNAISE


My first batch was strangely reminiscent of a certain salad dressing. But I was never a fan. I prefer real mayonnaise. Leilah developed an allergy to commercial mayonnaise recently. We were not sure what it was in the mayo that made her react. Already concerned, I thought homemade mayo contains raw egg yolks, besides it doesn’t last long so I looked for an alternative. I tried out several cooked mayonnaise recipes with varying success. This holds the most promise so far, now if we could just get passed the sweetness. The mustard and vinegar content was bang on, but I will play around with the sugar, I think the sugar content is the one that needs a bit of fine-tuning. I don’t think you need more than 2 Tbsp of sugar for one batch and perhaps not even that. Instead of adding butter at the end, I replaced some of the milk with heavy cream. Already, this would be a good substitution in a mayo-based salad. Recipe was adapted from Food.com. Yields 2-1/2 cups of salad dressing.

Cooked Mayonnaise

2 large eggs
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp dry mustard
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup hot water

  • In a microwavable bowl, whisk the two eggs.
  • Whisk in the flour and the dry mustard.
  • Add the milk, sugar and the salt.
  • In a separate bowl, combine vinegar and hot tap water.
  • While whisking the egg mixture, add the vinegar mixture.
  • Place the bowl in the microwave uncovered and cook at full power for 4-1/2 minutes.
  • Give the dressing a whisk and put it back in the microwave for another 4-1/2 minutes longer.
  • Remove the bowl and place plastic wrap right on top of the dressing while it cools.
  • Transfer to a large jar with a well fitting cap and store in the fridge.

23.3.16

COCONUT LOAF



We like cookies, cakes and loaves with coconut. Never having tasted coconut off a tree, our devotion to coconut flavour is exemplary. The challenge baking with coconut is either crumbliness, from desiccated coconut or elusiveness of coconut flavour. It will be full of coconut flavour on the first day and by the next, you wonder where the coconut went. I have been experimenting with coconut loaves and finally I came up with a coconut loaf recipe that has a nice crumb, nut heavy on the butter and has lasting coconut flavour. This one is worth repeating.


Coconut Loaf

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tsp coconut extract
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup flaked coconut

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Butter or spray the corners of the loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Fully line a 4x8-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving overhangs for easy grasping.
  • Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating with each addition.
  • Add the coconut extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add to the butter mixture alternately with coconut milk, mixing only to incorporate. Do not beat.
  • Gently fold in the coconut.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Place the loaf pan on a wire rack to cool.
  • When lukewarm grasp the parchment overhang and remove loaf from pan.
  • Peel off the parchment a let the loaf cool completely before slicing.


PARMESAN ENCRUSTED BREADED PORK TENDERLOINS


As the name says, tenderloin is a tender cut of pork, though it can be a little on the dry side. Fat gives flavour and moisture to everything and that is why tenderloin tends to be served with some type of sauce. Slow frying adds both flavour and moisture to drier cuts of meat and the parmesan cheese gives yet another layer of flavour. Use real flaked parmesan cheese; the “parmesan” granules sold from the dairy case are not suitable.




Parmesan Encrusted Breaded Pork Tenderloins

250 g pork tenderloin
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup large flaked parmesan cheese
2/3 cup flour
grape seed oil for frying

  • Slice a small section of pork tenderloin.
  • Tenderize the slices with a meat mallet.
  • Next, season the slices with salt.
  • Set out a bowl of lightly beaten eggs, a bowl of large flaked parmesan cheese and a bowl of flour.
  • Dip the tenderloins into the eggs first coating both sides.
  • Next, dip them into the parmesan coating both sides.
  • Finally dip them into the flour coating both sides.
  • Add 1/2 inch of grape seed oil to a large non-stick skillet.
  • On medium heat, slow-fry the tenderloins until evenly browned on both sides.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

22.3.16

HUNGARIAN ALL PURPOSE CRACKERS - HÁZTARTÁSIKEKSZ

 The Perfect Graham Cracker Substitute

Butter gives these crackers a fine flavor. They are a tasty treat on their own, at the same time they are bland enough for multiple applications. The first bite took me back to times past except these were much, much better! 



Hungarian All Purpose Crackers

1-1/2 cups of flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 sprinkling of salt
1/2 cup butter, soft
1 egg

  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the soft butter and rub in to the dry ingredients.
  • In a small bowl whisk an egg with fork and add to the flour mixture.
  • Using your hands fully incorporate the egg. The dough will be a bit on the stiff side.
  • Press it into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes.
  • Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the bottom of your cookie sheet.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Unwrap the chilled dough and place it on the parchment paper.
  • Roll the dough out to the size of the parchment paper.
  • Lift the parchment with the dough and transfer to the cookie sheet.
  • Cot into squares and poke each square with a fork
  • Place in preheated oven and bake for 16 minutes or until the sides begin to brown a little.

21.3.16

CHERRY SQUARES - CSERESZNYÉS PITE

One of my fondest food memories were a mixed tray of goodies from the Hauer Cukrászda. Ignoring the lúdláb and the dobos, I honed in on the cherry pite. If I remember it correctly, I ate three, but I may have eaten four and after that I just laid down to digest it nurturing my awakening taste buds. It was nothing short of ecstasy. The year was 1972 and after five years of sunshine and food deprivation in Northern B.C. I was ready to eat. I can’t promise you the same effect but this pastry is worthy of more than one slice. 

Cherry Squares

1 batch of Linzer Pastry – click on link
1 batch of Cooked Cherry Filling – click on link.
2 Tbsp ground walnuts
1 lightly beaten egg for glazing

  • Following the directions make the Linzer Pastry first.
  • Press it into a rectangle, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for half hour or longer.
  • While the pastry chills, make a batch of Cooked Cherry Filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Next line a 9X13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Place the chilled pastry on a large cutting board.
  • Divide the pastry in two and following directions roll out the first pastry to fit the prepared baking pan.
  • Sprinkle the top with the ground walnuts.
  • Without disturbing the ground walnuts, spread the Cooked Cherry Filling on top and set it aside.
  • Following directions roll out the second pastry. Make the second pastry a little larger because the baking pan is somewhat larger on the top.
  • Lay the pastry over the cherry filling and lightly press down.
  • Brush the top pastry with lightly beaten egg and poke holes in it with a fork.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top has a light golden brown color.
  • Let it cool for 20 minutes. Pastry is ready to cut while lukewarm.  




COOKED CHERRY FILLING


The uses of cooked fruit fillings for pies, tarts, fruit bars and various pastries are endless. Traditional Hungarian fruit fillings were made from fresh fruit with the juices squeezed out. Most Hungarian food bloggers add cooked pudding for thickener these days. Not wanting to do either with my lovely frozen cherries, I began to experiment with cooked cherry filling.


The recipe will work with fresh or frozen pitted cherries. Fresh cherries let a considerable amount of juice when pitted. Hold onto the juice. Frozen pitted cherries, with some of their juices gone, require some additional liquid to cook. Avoid defrosting the cherries before cooking. 

Cooked Cherry Filling

4 cups of fresh pitted red cherries including their juices
or 4 cups of frozen pitted red cherries + 1/4 cup of pure apple juice or water
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2+1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp butter

  • Place the frozen cherries with their liquid and lemon juice in a medium sized pot.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar and give it a gentle stir.
  • Let the cherries stand for 10 minutes.  
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch.
  • Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and stir to combine.
  • Slowly bring it to boil.
  • Simmer fresh cherries for 5-10 minutes stirring often. If using frozen cherries, simmer only until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove pot from heat and immediately stir in the butter.



17.3.16

HOMEMADE SPINACH PASTA WITH WALNUTS


I know it's Saint Patrick's Day but the green is entirely coincidence. I don't drink, I don't pray to saints and I never rebel rouse without a cause. One day I was video surfing for a stand up comedy special and I got a list of string theory and cooking videos along with Ricky Gervais, since nothing is private these days. You may delete the history, but the Computer Deity knows all about you. That is how I came upon this spinach pasta video. 


I bought a package of spinach pasta once. It must have been during one of my health attacks. They seem to come and go, because we both enjoy good eating. As I recall the store-bought spinach pasta gave us a bad food experience. “Never ever OK?” said the Jim.

Responding to divine inspiration, I decided it was time I gave spinach pasta another chance. Although spring is in full swing in British Columbia, nothing edible is growing in the garden.

I took out a package of spinach I froze from last year’s crop. I freeze my spinach squeezed flat, it takes no time at all before I can chop it up. I chopped it very fine, minced it actually, and instead of a homogeneously green pasta, mine ended up cheerfully speckled. I made it again and for sure I make the speckled kind. Jim and I found it tasty and satisfying. With toasted walnuts, this spinach pasta makes a great meatless meal.

Homemade Spinach Pasta With Walnuts

Pasta:
2 eggs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cooked or frozen minced spinach,
1/3 cup flour for kneading, rolling and cutting

Walnut Topping:
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

  • Place the first three ingredients in the beater bowl and using the paddle attachment combine.  
  • Gradually add 1-1/2 cups flour. 
  • Add the minced spinach.   
  • Change to dough hook and beat until dough is smooth. 
  • Alternatively, you can do this mixing in a large bowl by hand.
  • Place 1/3 cup of flour on a large cutting board. 
  • Knead as much flour into the spinach dough as you can.
  • The remaining flour will be used up for rolling the pasta. If you are rolling by hand, you will need additional flour.
  • Divide the dough in 4 pieces.
  • Take a piece of dough and flatten it.
  • Dust both sides with the flour.
  • Set the pasta roller to the widest setting.
  • Feed the flour dusted dough through the roller.
  • Repeat, dusting with flour and rolling.
  • When all the pieces are rolled out, set the roller to a lower setting.
  • Dust with flour again and continue rolling on a lower setting to the lowest setting.  
  • When all the pasta sheets are rolled through the lowest setting, dust with flour again and one by one feed them through the fettuccine cutter.
  • Dust with flour again and loosely move your hands through the fettuccine and spread it out on the cutting board.
  • Alternatively, you can roll and cut the pasta by hand.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to full rolling-boil and add the spinach pasta.
  • Stir gently with fork so the fettuccine won’t clump together.
  • Cook until the water comes to full rolling-boil again. 
  • Drain, rinse and drain the spinach pasta.
  • Meanwhile heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat and add the chopped walnuts.
  • Stir until the walnuts emit a toasted aroma, but do not brown.
  • Transfer the cooked pasta in a warmed serving bowl and stir in the olive oil toasted walnut pieces.
  • Adjust the salt and serve it hot.
  • Serves 2 to 4.



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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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