Sunday, December 20, 2009

On to ITALY!!!!

So, the theme of the evening which was technically hosted by Bill and Alicia even though it was held at Beth and Rob's (due to the crazy and sneeze-inducing cats on Littlestone Ave) was threesomes. Yes, folks, that meant that there were threes of everything! Well, except for dessert, but that would really have been overkill. We were also joined by two other friends, Jeff the farmer and Nancy the enforcement.

Of course, there was much wine that we enjoyed as well as killing an entire bottle of sambuca. I can't remember all the wines, and the bottles have already been recycled. Suffice to say that they were all good enough to drink!

Without further ado, here are the appetizer recipes. The rice balls were my favourite, probably since they were such a reward for the time they take to make:

Olivada - Black Olive Pate

1 cup pitted back olives (preferably oil cured

4 sprigs of flat leaf parsley

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

1 tbsp butter

1 ½ tsp grated lemon zest

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bread (any kind you like)

Olive oil


  1. In a foot processor, combine all ingredients, except bread and olive oil. Blend until a smooth paste forms
  2. Brush bread slices with olive oil. Grill or toast until golden. Spread each slice with about 2 tbsp of the olivada. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Funghi Marinati con Olio e Limone

Mushrooms Marinated with Oil and Lemon

1 pound fresh button mushrooms

½ lemon, freshly juiced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, cut in thick slices

2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper


  1. Wash mushrooms quickly as they can get waterlogged otherwise. You also can brush them clean if they are not too sandy.
  2. Steam mushrooms in a large double boiler for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain on paper towels and pat dry.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Put mushrooms in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour liquid over all, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally. About ½ hour before serving, remove from refrigerator, discard garlic, stir again, and transfer mushrooms to a serving dish. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 8-10.

This recipe can be prepared a day in advance.


Stuffed Rice Balls

1 ¾ cups chicken stock or water

1 cup rice

½ tsp salt

¼ cup pecorino or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

2 tbsp salami, finely chopped

2 eggs

4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in ½ cubes

1 tbsp water

¾ cup finely ground bread crumbs

Olive oil for frying


  1. In a large saucepan over high heat, add stock or water. Cover and bring to a boil. Add rice and salt and stir. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 15-17 minutes or until rice is tender but not mushy. Remove from heat, mix and let air dry, uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the cheese, parsley, salami, and one egg, well beaten. Mix thoroughly. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, add remaining egg and water and beat well. Put bread crumbs in a flat dish.
  3. Using a scoop or measuring spoon, place 1½ to 2 tbsp of rice into the palm of one hand. Roll into a ball. Press thumb into the centre and tusk in a square of cheese. Roll to seal cheese securely. If rice is too sticky, dredge hands in flour before forming the ball. Put rice ball on a cookie sheet and repeat the process until all the rice is used up.
  4. Roll each rice ball in the egg bath and then in the bread crumbs and return to the cookie sheet. Repeat until all are coated.
  5. In a large, heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, add about 1 inch of olive oil. Fry the rice balls a few at a time; do not crowd. Turn constantly and cook until golden brown, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Do not leave unattended. Drain on paper towels and serve hot or warm.

Makes 22-28 rice balls depending on size.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Sorry about the lack of photos...I really should have remembered my camera!

What's hungarian for fabulous? Sutemeny Rigo Jancsi...

well, close enough:

Hungarian Chocolate Mousse Cake Recipe - Sutemeny Rigo Jancsi

This traditional recipe for Hungarian Chocolate Mousse Cake - Sutemeny Rigo Jancsi - has a delightful history.

Rigo Jancsi was a famous Hungarian gypsy violinist. In 1896 while in Paris, Jancsi played for Prince Josef and Princess Klara. Fascinated by his swarthy good looks, she fell in love. Klara left her husband and children to follow Jancsi who divorced his wife. The affair didn't last but the cake Rigo created with a confectioner in Klara's honor did - Sutemeny Rigo Jancsi. It remains a favorite Hungarian sweet.

Makes 8 servings of Hungarian Chocolate Mousse Cake

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes


Sponge Cake:

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs, separated

Pinch salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour


1 1/2 cups heavy cream

10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

4 tablespoons dark rum

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla


1. For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter with 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add cooled melted chocolate and beat in egg yolks one at a time.

2. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and pinch salt until whites cling to the beater. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

3. Lighten the chocolate mixture by stirring in 1/3 of the whites. Then, carefully, fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the flour over the batter and, carefully, fold it in without decreasing the volume.

4. Pour into prepared pan and bake 12-15 minutes, or until cake starts to pull away from the sides. Do not overbake. Cool a few minutes on a wire rack and then invert onto the rack. Remove parchment paper and let cool completely.

5. For the filling: Meanwhile, Place 10 ounces chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in the microwave or on the stovetop and pour over chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes. Add rum and vanilla and stir until smooth. Refrigerate 1 hour. When cold, whip the filling until volume has doubled.

6. Assembly: Cut the cake in half and place one half on a rack. Spread the filling over the cake and top with the remaining cake half. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

7. For the glaze: Meanwhile, Place 7 ounces chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a microwaveable bowl. Heat on full power 1 minute. Add vanilla and stir until completely melted and smooth. Let cool 10 minutes.

8. Set the rack holding the cake over a pan to catch drips. Holding the glaze 2 inches above the cake, pour the glaze evenly, using a spatula to cover the sides, if necessary. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until glaze is set.

9. This cake is very rich. Cut into 5 by 7 rows for a total of 35 small squares. Refrigerate leftovers.

More Hungarian entrees!

Shredded Cabbage Soup (S'chee )

2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons bacon fat, butter or margarine
2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans) condensed beef broth
2 broth cans water
1 small head green cabbage, coarsely shredded (5 cups)
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 stalk celery, with leaves, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
Dairy sour cream
Dill weed or parsley

Cook and stir onions in bacon fat in Dutch oven until tender. Add beef broth, water, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and celery. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes.

Top each serving with sour cream. Garnish with dill weed.

Makes 12 (3/4 cup) servings.
Source: [ ]

And...Hungarian potato dumplings
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour I used one cup of potato flour and 1 cup of regular flour

salt and pepper
fresh dill weed
1 large potato, boiled,peeled,and grated (I used three, actually)
1 (1 lb) container low-fat cottage cheese or 1 lb of diced and boiled cabbage

1 boil, peel, and grate a large starchy potatoe.
2 Combine with flour, egg, and salt and pepper to taste.
3 Drop by 1/2 teaspoon into a large pot of boiling water.
4 Dumplings are done when they float.
5 Remove from pot and drain well.
6 Empty water from pot and return dumplings to it.
7 Sprinkle dumplings with dill weed then combine with cottage cheese (I prefer small curd but either works).
8 Re-warm dish to eating temperature (cottage cheese will reduce temperature) and serve.
9 Alternatively combine with boiled cabbage instead of cottage cheese (also very tasty).

Source: [ ]

Hungarian entrees

My favs were the paprikash and the dumplings...

Hungarian Sticky Chicken

1/2-cup lard
1 chicken cut up or the equivalent chicken parts, skin on. (Do not use boneless chicken)
1 large onion peeled and chopped
2 cups of raw white rice, washed in cold water and slightly drained
1 heaping Tbs. of Hungarian Paprika
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 small green or banana pepper chopped
1 Bay leaf
1 1/2 cups water
6 peeled and seeded fresh tomatoes chopped -OR- 1 can of whole tomatoes, not drained but pulled apart.

If you have it, use a heavy black iron pot with a heavy lid. If not a dutch oven will do.
Put into pot 1/2 cup of lard and just brown all sides of chicken legs, wings, breasts, backs, etc. If you have liver and gizzards use them also. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
In the juices and lard in the pot, sauté 1 chopped onion along with the 2 cups of rinsed raw rice. Just sauté rice and onion until onion is transparent. Stir in 1 heaping Tbs. of Hungarian Paprika and 1 1/2 teas. of salt.
Into pot, add 1 chopped green pepper, and one can of whole tomatoes that were not drained but pulled apart. Throw in 1 bay leaf and mix up the rice and veggie mix. Now layer the browned chicken into the rice and veggie mix. I just scoop up some rice mix and lay chicken underneath the rice layer. Give the pot a shake to settle everything.
Now start the pot to simmer on a moderate heat on top of the stove, when it all starts to cook, LOWER THE HEAT and put the cover on and DO NOT LIFT UP THE COVER FOR AT LEAST 60 MINUTES.
You must slowly cook and give it a shake once in a while, but do not uncover.
You will smell the wonderful aroma of cooked chicken when it is done.
If you smell burning, your heat is too high. Use the lowest heat possible; you can hear if it is cooking.
Adjust salt seasoning, this dish should not be sloppy like a stew, it should be moist.

Serves 4 to 6.

Portobello Paprikash

1 1/2 pounds Portobello or large button mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
3 gloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tbsp for garnish
1 ripe red juicy tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice, with juices
1 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika (or to taste)
1 tbsp hot Hungarian paprika (or to taste)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup no-fat, low-fat or normal sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim the ends off the mushroom stems and wipe the caps clean with a damp paper towel.

Cut each cap into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan (or a wok). Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook over medium heat until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes, stirring a needed with a wooden spoon.

Increase the heat to high and stir in the mushrooms and two
tablespoons parsley. Cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook 7until the mushrooms are tender and most of the mushroom and tomato juices have evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Briskly simmer the paprikash until the sauce thickens. Stir in the sour cream, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top and serve over rice or homemade pasta.

H is for Hungary...or hungry.

Wow - lots of fresh veggies and paprika in this meal! Here are the apps:

Hungarian Beer Breadsticks Recipe - Sorkenyhenyer Palca

This recipe for Hungarian Beer Bread can be formed into sticks - sorkenyhenyer palca - rolls, loaves or pretzels - sorperec.

I think the sticks and pretzels are the best use for this no-knead, one-rise bread that is lots of fun to make with the kids (the alcohol in the beer cooks out). Translate this into a healthier snack by using white whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose. These have such a nice crunch, they would be great with cocktails for the big kids. Click here for a larger image.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen sticks or pretzels, 12 rolls or 1 loaf of Hungarian Beer Bread

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (not rapid-rise)

4 cups all-purpose flour or white whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup beer, at room temperature

Coarse garlic salt


Note: Using instant yeast means you don't have to dissolve the yeast in water before adding it to the remaining ingredients. There is no salt in the dough because of the garlic salt coating.

In a large bowl, combine yeast and flour. Add the remaining ingredients, except the garlic salt, and mix until well incorporated. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on 2 baking sheets and sprinkle with garlic salt. Punch down dough and, using a cookie scoop, portion out balls on a silicone mat (or a VERY lightly floured surface). Using your hands, roll balls into 8-inch-long by 3/4-inch-wide sticks.

Place on prepared baking pans. Brush sticks with water and sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden in color. To make pretzels, take the dough stick ends and loop them in toward the center, crisscrossing the ends.

Hideg cseresnyeleves (spiced cherry soup)


1 lb Sweet red cherries

1/2 lemon rind

6 Whole cloves

1 3-inch stick cinnamon

1/3 c granulated sugar

1/2 ts salt

3 tb quick-cooking tapioca

1 c red wine

4 lemon slices

Commercial sour cream

3 c water


Day before or early in day: Wash cherries; remove stems. With vegetable peeler remove rind from lemon in strips; stick cloves into rind.

In saucepan combine cherries and lemon rind with cloves, cinnamon, sugar, salt and water.

Simmer uncovered 15 minutes.

Gradually stir in tapioca; bring to a boil; then remove from heat; stir in wine allow to cool. Remove and discard lemon rind cloves and cinnamon; then refrigerate until serving time.

To serve ladle ice-cold soup into individual soup bowls or plates; top each serving with lemon slice and a spoonful of sour cream (or if preferred stir in cream).

June Meyer's Authentic Hungarian Liptauer Cheese Spread

Unless you were rich or were an aristocratic family you did not serve appetizers. Most families ate a Hungarian cheese called Lipto. It was made of sheep milk.

This cheese spread made with sheep's milk was often served in the gambling casinos in Hungary.

My Father often served this cheese spread along with a whole smoked Salami. He hung the Salami by a nail on a tree under which he and his friends would play Pinochle. The knife for cutting the Salami was stuck into the tree. The Liptauer Cheese made everyone thirsty. There would be a little wooden barrel of cold beer sitting in the shade. They played for pennies. But there would always be a lot of slapping down of cards and shouting. My Mother insisted they play outside because she didn't want all that cigar smoke and the incessant spitting that cigar smokers do.

Regards, June Meyer.


Cream together in a bowl until well blended

8 oz. of Lipto cheese -OR- if you cannot buy Lipto you can substitute 8 oz. cream cheese -OR- 8 oz. Feta cheese

1/2 cup soft butter

3 Tbs. thick sour cream

Mash 2 anchovy fillets

1 tsp. capers and add to bowl with cheese mixture (Optional)

Add to cheese mixture and blend ingredients thoroughly

1 Tbs. finely chopped onion

1 Tbs. prepared mustard

1 1/2 teas. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Caraway seeds smashed or bruised to release flavor

1/2 teas. salt

Shape into a smooth mound and make slight indentations in mound with tines of a fork. Sprinkle with Paprika.

Garnish with chopped parsley on plate.

Let flavors mingle in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

Goes well with beer. Serve with Pumpernickle or Rye bread.

Makes1 3/4 cups of spread.

The missing G

Hi all,

Looks like it's been about two months since we updated the site. Sorry for the delay.... In any case, we have been trying to move our way through the alphabet by country thus far. However, we have decided to skip the letter G as we are planning to actually visit Greece instead. More details on that later!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Crème Brûlée

And yes, you do need butane to use a kitchen torch...they don't work well without!

Coffee-Caramel Crème Brûlée

The custard in this clever crème brùlée tastes just like a rich caramel cappuccino.

2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup dark-roast coffee beans (such as French roast; about 3/4 ounce), crushed with mallet in plastic bag
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
2 cups half and half
8 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 teaspoons raw sugar*


Bring 1 cup cream and coffee beans to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Stir 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 11 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add remaining 1 cup whipping cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel is smooth. Stir in half and half. Strain coffee-infused cream into caramel cream; discard coffee beans in strainer.
Whisk yolks, salt, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in cream mixture. Strain custard into large measuring cup.
Arrange eight 2/3-to 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups in roasting pan. Divide custard among ramekins. Add enough warm water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins or custard cups.
Bake custards until just set in center, 65 to 70 minutes. Transfer custards from water bath directly to refrigerator. Chill uncovered until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Sprinkle top of each custard with 1 teaspoon raw sugar. Using kitchen torch, melt sugar on each custard until deep amber. (Alternatively, preheat broiler. Arrange custards on small rimmed baking sheet; broil until sugar topping melts and browns, about 2 minutes.) Refrigerate custards until sugar topping hardens, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour (do not chill longer than 1 hour or topping will start to soften). Serve custards cold.
* Also called turbinado or demerara sugar; available at most supermarkets and at natural foods stores.

Really, though, the best crème brùlée that I've ever had was this one:

Ginger and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
For Custard
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks

For Crème Brûlée
12 teaspoons sugar
Sliced tropical fruit (such as mango, papaya and/or kiwi)

Make custard:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Place three 4-inch-diameter fluted flan dishes* in each of two 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pans or place six 3/4-cup ramekins in 1 pan. Mix cream, sugar and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Add seeds and bean to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer. Cover pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavors. Strain into large measuring cup.
Whisk yolks in medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture just to blend. Return custard to measuring cup; divide among dishes. Pour enough hot water into pans to come halfway up sides of dishes. Carefully transfer pans to oven.
Bake custards until almost set in center when pans are gently shaken, about 30 minutes for fluted flan dishes and 35 minutes for ramekins. Using metal spatula, transfer custards in dishes to work surface; cool 30 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Make Crème Brûlée:
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over each custard. Working with 1 custard at a time, hold blowtorch** so that flame is 2 inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns, about 2 minutes.
Refrigerate until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle, at least 2 hours but no longer than 4 hours so that topping doesn't soften. Garnish crème brûlées with fruit.
*Four-inch-diameter fluted clear glass flan dishes are available at cookware stores and many hardware stores. They are about 2/3 inch deep and hold about 1/2 cup liquid.
**Available at some cookware stores.

France Entrees

All recipes from

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce


  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 whole allspice, crushed
  • 2 (12-ounce) pork tenderloins

  • 5 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon


Mix wine, garlic, oil, rosemary, thyme, and allspice in large resealable plastic bag. Add pork and turn to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove pork from marinade and place on rack on rimmed baking sheet; discard marinade. Spread 3 tablespoons mustard all over pork. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork registers 145°F, about 25 minutes. Transfer pork to platter and let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil cream, broth, tarragon, and remaining 2 tablespoons mustard in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to 1 cup, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season sauce to taste with pepper.

Slice pork crosswise into rounds and serve with sauce.

Duck with Raspberries (Canard aux Framboises)


  • 4 pounds boneless magret duck breast halves with skin (about 4)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1 cup demi-glace (6 1/2 ounces; preferably D'Artagnan duck and veal demi-glace)
  • 2 cups raspberries(12 ounces), divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits


Put a large shallow flameproof roasting pan in middle of oven and preheat to 400°F.

Pat duck dry and trim off any excess fat. Score skin in a crosshatch pattern at 1/2-inch intervals with a sharp knife, then season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total). Roast, skin side down, in hot pan until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally into center registers 125°F, 20 to 25 minutes.

Turn on broiler. Turn duck skin side up. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer duck to a cutting board and let rest (skin side up) 10 minutes.

While duck rests, pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan, then add shallots and garlic and saué over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and cook, stirring, until dissolved. Stir in vinegar, scraping up brown bits. Add demi-glace and bring to a simmer. Stir in half of raspberries.

Force sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan, discarding solids. Skim off excess fat. Over low heat, swirl in butter. Remove from heat and add remaining raspberries.

Slice duck and serve with sauce.

And, the piece de resistance:

Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat (Pommes de Terre Sarladaise)

  • 1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold
  • 3 tablespoons rendered duck or goose fat
  • 1/2 cup packed curly parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves

  • Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer


Peel potatoes, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices with slicer. Rinse in 2 or 3 changes of cold water until water runs clear. Drain and pat very dry.

Heat fat in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until melted. Cook potatoes with 3/4 teaspoon salt, turning gently, until coated with fat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, turning occasionally, until golden in spots and potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop parsley and garlic together.

Gently stir parsley mixture into cooked potatoes


So, it took awhile to get France off the ground and I'll take the blame for it - so much rugby! Please notice I did not say "too" much rugby! However, we were able to work it all out with holidays, summer vacation and "early preparation" ie, preparing to be away from work.

France, the land of wonderful wines, incredible apperitifs, and invincible food. Wow. This was the best installment of the AlphaGourmet Club yet! Our appetizer recipe is AWOL at the moment...ahem...but our entree and our dessert (to only call it dessert is really an injustice - it was divine) recipes are ready to go.

Oh, and we made this small discovery of Ricard apperitif from France. Actually, Alicia just invited us in to her little secret. It's also good on carmelized peaches as we discovered a few weeks later!

Egypt Pictures

The table and yummy food:

And, finally:

No...I can't do it. Suffice to say, an embarrassing photo should probably not go on the internet.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Egypt Pictures

Prior to dinner, Tigger finishing off a dead hamster...I mean, Kibbeh.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Finally - Egyptian Dessert!

Stevens and I apparently have different ways of spelling "phyllo" pastry..."fillo" anyone? Whatever the spelling is, it was damn tasty.

Desert: Om Ali (translates to "Mother of Ali"Bread Pudding)

We used this recipe from "Egypt Online"

6 sheets of fillo (or any puff pastry, pancakes or bread)
6 T of butter, melted
2/3 C. black or golden raisins
1 C. mixed whole or slivered almonds (blanched), chopped hazelnuts and chopped pistachios (we used pecans because we like them)
5 C. whle milk
1.25 C. heavy cream
1/2 C. sugar
1-2 t. of cinnamon

Keep fillo pastry or bread in a pile, covered with a damp towel to keep them from drying out. Brush each with melted butter and place on top of one another on a buttered baking sheet. Bake in a 350 F. oven for about 10 minutes or until they are crsip and a bit golden on top. When cool enough to handle, crush the pastry/bread into pieces by hand and put into a deeper baking dish in layers with the nuts in between.

Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a pan with the sugar and pour over the pastry. Sprinkle with cinnamon and return bake at 450 F. for about 20-30 minutes or until slightly golden Serves 8. We served warm but would have preferred ice cream to go with for a Northamerican twist.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Hamada's Authentic Egyptian Kusherie


1 cup lentils

1 quartered garlic clove

1 tablespoon cumin

3 large onions

1 cup oil

6 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni

2 cups dry rice


chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 dash lime juice

2 minced garlic cloves

1 dash yellow mustard

2 tablespoons vinegar


1. Chop the onions into small pieces ( I use the small electric food chopper and chop them in batches ) Reserve 1 tablespoon of the chopped onions for use later in the sauce

2. Heat the oil on med high heat, you want the oil to be very hot before putting in the onions.

3. Add the onions in batches and fry until you get a deep brown (but not burned) color. You want them to be crispy. Be sure to watch them carefully as they go from medium brown to dark kind of quickly.

4. Drain them onto paper towels and set aside.

5. Boil lentils in water (about 4 cups) along with 1 clove garlic cut into quarters, and 1 tablespoon cumin until cooked, drain and set aside. MEANWHILE:

6. Boil the macaroni until done (about 10 min).

7. Cook the rice in the chicken stock add salt if the broth is unsalted.

8. Put them all together in the same pot and mix well.

9. Make the sauce.

10. In 1 tablespoon oil heated over medium heat add 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped onions that you reserved from before, and a dash of salt, stir and fry about 2 minute

11. Add 1 and ½ teaspoon sugar to the onion garlic mixture and mix well.

12.Next, add one can 15 oz can tomato sauce.

13. Now add 2 tablepoons vinegar, a small squirt yellow mustard and a dash of lime juice. You can adjust the amounts according to your personal taste but it should have kind of a slight puckery bite.

14. To serve, put the kusherie onto a plate and add a SMALL amount of sauce to the top. (A little goes a long way, and you can always add more according to taste) Sprinkle the whole thing liberally with the fried onions. Mix together and enjoy!

Lamb Pie!

So, so good!

Egyptian Lamb Pie


1/2 cup dried apricot

1 large onion, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb ground lamb

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons fresh coriander leaves, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup beef broth

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

8 sheets phyllo dough, halved crosswise and stacked between sheets of waxed paper, and covered with a dampened paper towel.


1. In a small saucepan combine the apricots with 1 1/2 cups water and them over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Drain the apricots and quarter them.

2. In a skillet cook the onion in the olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring, for 8 minutes, or until they are softened. Add the garlic and cook the mixture for 2 minutes. Add the lamb and cook the mixture over a moderately high heat, stirring for 5 minutes, or until the lamb is no longer pink. Add the cumin, the coriander, nutmeg, cloves, beef stock, and the apricots and simmer the mixture, stirring stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add pepper to taste and let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.

3. Brush a 10 inch cast iron skillet with some of the butter, put 1 piece of phyllo in the skillet, and brush it with butter. Layer 7 more pieces of the phyllo in the skillet,, brushing them with butter in the same manner, spoon the filling with a slotted spoon into the skillet and smooth the top. Layer the remaining 8 pieces of phyllo buttering them, over the top of the filling and tuck the edges under. Score the top layer of phyllo into 6 wedges and bake the pie in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes, or until it is golden.

4. Let the pie cook for 15 minutes and cut into wedges.

Spicy Chickpeas

Spicy Chickpeas

Recipe of the Week

Mary Kay Radnich


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seed

½ tsp salt

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp lemon pepper

1 thinly sliced bell pepper

3 tomatoes, chopped

2 15 oz cans garbanzo beans, drained

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 onion, chopped


  1. In a large pot over low heat, warm oil and cumin; heat until cumin turns a darker shade of brown.
  2. Add salt, chili powder and lemon and pepper seasoning; mix well.
  3. Stir in tomatoes; once the juice begins to thicken add in chickpeas and mix well.
  4. Add in lemon juice and mix well; add onions and bell pepper and stir until they become soft.
  5. Remove from heat and place into a serving bowl; serve immediately.

Yummm...homemade Pita Bread

Homemade Pita Bread


Recipe of the Week

Mary Kay Radnich

1 envelope dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 cups white all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Combine the yeast and sugar in a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of the warm water and let it stand for 10 minutes to proof and ferment it.
  2. Dissolve the salt in the remaining warm water.
  3. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, making a well in the middle and put the dissolved yeast and salt water into it.
  4. With your hands, blend it into a dough.
  5. You may need a bit more or less water depending on your flour.
  6. Knead the dough in the bowl with your fists for 10-15 minutes or until it is smooth.
  7. Pour the oil over the dough and knead it again until the oil is absorbed.
  8. Cover the dough in the bowl with a towel and set it in a draft free area to rise to double it's bulk (1-2 hours), then punch it down and knead it again for a few minutes.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  10. Cut pieces of dough, egg size or larger, depending on the size of the pita desired, shape them into balls with your hands and roll them out over a lightly floured board or pastry cloth to 1/4 inch thickness.
  11. Set 2 or 3 pitas on a lightly oiled cookies sheet and bake them on the lower rack 2 to 3 minutes each side.
  12. Pitas should be white and soft.
  13. Wrap the baked pitas in a clean towel until they are cool, then store them in plastic bags to prevent them from drying out.
  14. When you are ready to use them, heat a bit of oil in a shallow skillet and fry them a minute or so on each side, or until golden brown.
  15. Use them immediately, because they get hard when they dry out

E is for Egypt and all things Elegant in Food!

The short wait until Egypt was most excellent - Bill and Alicia hosted a wonderful evening and we ate well. Unfortunately, my camera did not make it home with us, so Bill is attempting to find the photos we took with his camera...might take a little while!

Here is the first recipe...lots of ground beef, but they were tasty. Some sort of salsa-ish type of dip would really add to a somewhat bland appetizer.

Kibbeh (Stuffed Cracked Wheat Shells)

250 g (8 oz) burghul (cracked wheat)
500 g (1 lb) minced beef
1 onion, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper

1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs. sunflower oil
2 Tbs. pine-nuts
500 g (1 lb) minced beef
salt and pepper
sunflower oil for deep-frying

To make the shells, soak the cracked wheat for about 20 minutes in water, then drain. Blend the meat, onion, salt and pepper in a food processor. Then process again, in batches, with the cracked wheat and continue until the mixture is soft enough to work like a dough. Knead well by hand

For the stuffing, fry the onion in oil till soft, then add the pine-nuts and fry till golden. Add the meat, salt and pepper and stir until the meat changes colour.

Wet your hands. Take a small egg-sized portion of the shell mixture and roll into a ball. Make a hole in the centre with your finger and shape into a thin-walled pot with a pointed bottom by turning and pressing it in your palm. Place some stuffing into the hole and pinch the top of the pot together to seal it. Shape the top into a point. Repeat with the rest of the mixtures, wetting your hands frequently.

Heat the oil. Deep-fry 4 or 5 kibbeh at a time until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot.

Recipe found at:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dessert via V

Vanessa recommended this dessert - it was scrumptious, and reminded me of my Dad's traditional black-forest cake in many ways! Please note, it takes a while for the cakes to bake but there is no time recommended for them. I spent about a half an hour watching cakes bake...sort of like watching water boil, but it's much slower!

Danish Hazelnut Torte (Hasselnødlagkage)
Makes 1 torte 
9 egg yolks  
2/3 cup sugar  
¾ cup blanched almonds -- ground  
¾ cup hazelnuts -- ground  
9 egg whites  
¼ cup cherry brandy  
¼ cup raspberry jam  
1 pint whipping cream  
24 whole hazelnuts  
Powdered sugar 

Beat the egg yolks until thick. Add the sugar and beat. Add the ground nuts and mix well.  

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold into the yolk mixture.  

Bake in 2 well-buttered layer-cake tins in a preheated moderate oven (350º) until the top of the cake springs back quickly when you touch it. Remove from oven and let cool.  

Cover the top of each layer with half of the liqueur, then with a thin layer of the raspberry jam. Place one cake on top of the other.  

Whip the cream and spread over top. Place whole hazelnuts here and there on the torte. Dust the top with powdered sugar. 

Even with all the food, Rob got a little hungry and tried to snack on Tigger...luckily, he'd lulled him into a false sense of security prior to the snacking....

Rolls - buttery and fine

Forgot the Butter Rolls! 

Smørdejgssnitter (Butter Rolls)

¼ C. boiling water

½ C. butter

¼ C. cream

½ t. salt

3 eggs (beaten)

1 t. vanilla

2 pckages (approx. 4 t.) dry yeast

1T. sugar

3 C. flour

1 C. nuts (ground)

½ C. sugar


We made these without the nuts because of the savory nature of the meal, but according to the Dane, these are also nice shaped as coissants filled with ham or bacon and onion (sautéed)

Pour water over the butter, cool.  Add cream, salt, eggs, vanilla and yeast mixed with the T. of sugar.  Let stand 10 minutes

Add the flour Dough will be stiff (not sticky).

Let rise until doubled. Punch down. Cut off pieces with a spoon, roll in nuts and sugar.  Twist each into a figure 8.  Place on greased baking sheets, rest 10 minutes

Bake in preheated 450° oven 10-15 minutes (till golden).

The table

Danish mains...

This was just pure heaven!

Danish Chicken Fricassee 

 3 slices bacon, chopped 
 5-pound dressed-weight fowl, cut in pieces 
 1 large onion, chopped 
 1/4teaspoon powdered cloves 
 1 teaspoon Acc

ent, Adobo, or preferred flavour enhancer (I used adobo because it doesn’t h

ave MSG and I like the garlic powder and pepper combination)
 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
 1 teaspoon salt 

4 cups cooked rice 


 1 cup half and half cream (or ½ c. cream plus ½ c. cream cheese)
 1 teaspoon cornstarch 
 2 egg yolks 
 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice 


  1. Fry bacon in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven until nearly crisp. 
  2. Remove and reserve bits. 
  3. Brown chicken in bacon fat. 
  4. Add onion during last 5 minutes of browning. 
  5. Sprinkle with seasonings, bacon bits and 1/2 cup water. 
  6. Cover and steam over low heat for 2 hours. 
  7. Transfer chicken to a warm platter. Surround with fluffy hot rice. 
  8. Beat cream, cornstarch, egg yolks and lemon juice over low heat until very smooth. Pour over chicken and serve immediately.


Danish Meatballs with Gravy

 Meatball In


1 lb. lean ground beef or veal (preferred by the Danes)

1 lb. ground pork

1-2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 medium onion, finely chopped

½ cup fine bread crumbs

1/8 teaspoon allspice

½ cup of milk

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

E.V.O.O. for frying

Gravy Ingredients:

1 T. butter

¼ cup flour

1 cup sour cream (or cream cheese)

2 T. meat drippings

28-ounces of chicken broth (low sodium of course)

1-2 teaspoons dill weed and salt and black pepper to taste


 Finely chop onion, mix into meat and milk.  Add seasonings and mix.

  1. Add just enough bread crumbs to make a moist, uniform mixture.
  2. Form into oblong meatballs in the palm of your hand.
  3. In batches, cook the meatballs in a large frying pan over medium heat and remove to rack or paper towel to drain and maintain in casserole dish in a low oven.
  4. Make a roux with 2 T. pan drippings and 2 T. butter and slowly add chicken broth.
  5. Cook gravy until thickened, adding dill and sour cream (slowly) last until heated through.  Generous sprinkle of black pepper on top!

Danish braised red cabbage


1 medium head of red cabbage (2–2 ½ lbs)

4 T. butter (cut into small pieces)

1T. sugar

1t. salt

⅓ C. water

⅓ C. white vinegar (5%)

1 small apple, diced finely

¼ C. red currant jelly or jam

 Wash cabbage thoroughly under cold running water, remove tough outer leaves and half from top to bottom.

  1. Lay flat sides down, cut away core and slice cabbage finely (yields about 9 cups)
  2. Preheat oven to 325 and roast the cabbage with butter, water and vinegar or over low heat on top of the stove, slowly cook, covered for about 2 hours. 
  3. DO NOT LET CABBAGE DRY OUT!  Add water as necessary.
  4. About 10 minutes before it is done, stir in jam to finish.  For the most flavour, let it sit overnight in the fridge and warm the next day to serve.

Baked Leeks



Butter (small pat per leek)

 Parboil well-washed leeks in water 2-3 minutes (having cut off ends and leafy green tops) Pieces should be about 8-10 cm long.

Drain water and roast with butter in a baking dish about 10 minutes at 350°

Serve in the leeks’ buttery juice.