Friday, May 18, 2012

Jokai szelet

 Jokai szelet, Jokai bars, a traditional Hungarian pastry.
Named after the great romantic Hungarian author, Maurus Jokai from the 19th century.

I have a very old memory of being a four year old little girl and my beautiful Mother asking me if I would like to have a "tea party".    She used my miniature china tea set, made tea with milk and sugar and served it to me with some saltine crackers layered with cherry jam.   I remember  the warm afternoon sun shining in our cozy kitchen as I sat and enjoyed my first cup of tea.  These bars remind me of those layered jam tea treats.  They're rich, so just a small bite will do with your afternoon tea or coffee.  Enjoy, darlings!

2 3/4 Cups flour
2 sticks unsalted butter room temp.
2/3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Filling is homemade raspberry, cherry or apricot jam.

2 egg yolks
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the topping:

1/2 Cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 Cup raisins
 Preheat oven 350.  Mix and roll out dough to four equal sized rectangles.  Add in a little extra flour if it is too sticky.  Bake for about 12 to 14 min, until golden.  Remove, place on cooling rack and wait till it cools a little.  When they are about room temperature you can spread the jam on top of three of the layers.  Place the last layer on top and spread the icing on it and then sprinkle the walnuts and raisins.   Put it back into the shut off oven just until icing is set ( about 12 min. or so). 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cast Iron Apple Pie

Here is a favorite recipe of mine that everyone goes nuts over.  Baking the pie in a cast iron skillet allows the brown sugar and butter base to caramelize into a big, gooey, praline like apple pie.  Makes you feel like an honest to goodness lumber jack when you take it out of the oven.   And so downright sinfully rich, you'll need to attend church after devouring it.  

                                            Cast Iron Apple Pie                           
 2lbs. granny smith apples
2lbs. braeburn or gala apples
3/4C sugar
2Tblsp.  instant tapioca
1tsp. Vietnamese cinnamon
1/2tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
grated peel of half of a lemon

Melt one stick of butter and one cup of brown sugar in the cast iron skillet.  Lay half of a double pie crust over the melted mixture in the pan and form it up the sides.  Add in the apple mixture and put the top crust over that, tucking in the edges .   Brush egg white on top of pie and sprinkle sugar and more nutmeg .  Cut about 6 vents and bake at 350 for one hour and 10 minutes.   Make sure to use foil as a drip pan under pie while baking.  Cool  about one hour. 

My Mom's Pie Crust Recipe
2C flour, 1/3C +2T Crisco, 1/2tsp. salt, 6T cold water
Cut shortening into dry with pastry cutter till pea sized.
Add in water, I mix with my hands and knead several times till smooth.  Divide in half and use for double crust pie.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pillsbury's 1963 Cottage Cheese Cake

    In a world of  high tech living, 3D Smart phones with options like "gingerbread", 3D  enemy voice recognition, turbo light speed dial, and who knows what else, our lives have sped up so fast that we are forgetting what it was like to make and enjoy slow, comfort foods from our childhood.  We are also forgetting how to communicate with each other.  Ever notice how someone using their cell phone looks up as if you're pointing an AK-47 at their face when all you've done is say "hi"?  Let's go back in time a bit, shall we?  The year is 1963, it's a cool September morning.  Mom has spent the day tidying up the house and has picked out an interesting recipe from her Pillsbury Cookbook.  She's sure it'll be a winner for dessert!  When the kids come home from school and Dad walks in from work with his tender smile, the home smells of a wonderful aroma of freshly baked buttery cheese cake and Gilligan's Island resonates from the warm wooden console TV.   Wonderful food, cooked with  patience and love in the soft embrace of  home.  Those were special times.  Make something nice for your family to come home to.
                                             Cottage Cheese Cake
3/4 C butter ( room temp.),  3/4 C sugar,  4 Eggs separated,  1 C all purpose flour,  3 Tbsp cold water,  2 C cottage cheese,  3 oz. cream cheese,  1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla
  • oven 375
  • cream 1/4 C butter, add 1 Tbsp sugar, creaming well. Blend in 1 Egg yolk and beat well.  Add flour and mix until particles are fine.
  • Sprinkle water over mixture and stir 'till dough holds together.
  • Press into the bottom and sides of a 9" cake or spring form pan.  Butter the sides a little bit too.
  • Bake at 375 - 10 minutes
  • In large bowl, blend the 3 Egg yolks with remaining sugar and beat until thick and lemon colored.  Add remaining butter, creaming well.
  • Put cottage cheese, cream cheese and salt in food processor and pulse 'till smooth.  ( They did not have food processors in 1963, I just like to mix it this way, you can mix it by hand if you want).
  • Beat Egg whites till soft peaks form.  Fold all together gently but thoroughly.  Pour into partially baked crust.  
  • Bake 325 for 50 to 60 min.  Let cool on rack.  Chill about 12 hours. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tomato Soup for the Soul

    This morning I went out to pick up an old maple bar stool just like the one my Grandmoma used to have.   I found it on Craig's list and just had to have it.  As a child, I would sit in the worn bar stool that swiveled as I watched my Grandmoma orchestrate an entertaining production of one of her concoctions.  She would tap her wooden spoon on the soup pot as if she were conducting some sort of symphony.  The steam and aroma of her blessed soups would swirl about the kitchen and  felt like a warm, comforting blanket,  a welcome home as she placed it before us in bowls of her  inexpensive china with rose borders.  A quick giggle and a twinkling in her eyes.  Her soup was her love to us.  The bar stool lovingly placed in my kitchen brought back memories of  my happy childhood spent with her.  A good, rainy day for memories and some Tomato Soup.
                                         Easy Tomato Soup
  1. Take some fresh, washed tomatoes from the garden.
  2. Cut them up in large chunks and place in a blender with about 1/2 Cup water.
  3. Puree until smooth.
  4. Pour into large enough pot and add a hunk of butter ( about 2 T )
  5. Add in some herbs, I like dried thyme, a little oregano, S &P  and I like to use Adobo seasoning, just shake some in.  
  6. Simmer very low for the flavors to incorporate together for about 15 min.  
  7. Make sure to add water or chicken broth to your desired thickness and add in a little milk, about 1/2 Cup.
  8. Simmer a little bit and serve.  I like grated cheddar on top.
  9. Curl up with your kitties and take a nap.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Transylvanian Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

     I recently found this Oatmeal Cookie recipe in one of my  new cookbooks called  "Flour".  Flour is the name of a great little bakery in Boston.  I made these and gave them to family who swooned and fought over them.  They are the perfect oatmeal cookie, crisp edges yet soft and chewy.  There is no vanilla so the true taste of oats really comes through.   Makes you want to curl up in a blanket and watch old movies, cry, then go pour a glass of milk. 
                                       Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
2 Sticks unsalted butter, room temp.,   3/4 white sugar,  1C brown packed light,  2 Eggs,  1 3/4 C all purpose flour,  1 3/4C old fashioned oats,  1tsp. baking soda,  1tsp. Kosher salt (yes , it makes a difference in the taste),  3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 1/2 C raisins
                                                        makes about 24 cookies
  1. With electric mixer, cream together butter, sugars and eggs for about four minutes until really light and fluffy.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt , nutmeg, cinnamon and raisins. 
  3. On low speed, add in the flour mixture to the butter mixture just until combined and evenly mixed.
  4. For best results, put into container and refrigerate for overnight or at least 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Drop into 1/4 inch balls about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  You do not need to grease it.
  6. Bake @ 350 for 18 minutes , until lightly golden brown and soft in the center.  Be careful not to over bake. 
  7. Cool on baking sheet for 10, then transfer to wire cooling rack..   
  8. Unbaked dough can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tasha Tudor Day and Chocolate Cherry Scones Recipe

   Today I was remembering Tasha Tudor and the love of tea that her and I both share.  I thought I'd make a cup of my favorite brew, Twining's Irish Breakfast then I remembered that it would be better with my special, steaming hot , fresh scones, so I skipped over to the chicken coop, got my fresh eggs and voila!  Here is my very own  recipe that I make when I want something special.  They're fantastic, so indulge darlings!

       Lip Smacking Cherry Scones  
 1 1/4 C all purpose flour
3T Sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt
6 T chilled butter cut in 1/2" cubes
1/2 Cup chopped dried tart cherries
1/2 Cup buttermilk, 1 Large Egg
1 tsp. grated orange peel, 2 tsp. vanilla

Grease baking sheet.  Preheat oven to 400.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Rub in butter with fingers until pea sized.  Stir in cherries.
Whisk buttermilk, egg, vanilla and orange peel in small bowl.  Add to flour mixture and stir just until dough forms.  Flatten to a 6 inch round circle on baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges.  Bake at 400 for 15 min.
Melt a few tablespoons of semi sweet chocolate and pipe over cooled scones using a Ziploc bag or pastry bag.