Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Cheese Filling for Blintzes

A classic filling
Makes enough filling for about 16 blintzes, but your mileage may vary.
Shopping List
14-16 ounces of farmer cheese
1 egg
1 TBL butter
3 TBL sugar
1 tsp vanilla

First off, the amount of farmer cheese is a range because the primary producer of packaged farmer cheese, Friendship Dairies, has reduced the size of their packages from eight ounces to seven. If you can buy farmer cheese in bulk, buy the larger amount, but also, don’t bother buying 3 packages of farmer cheese just to get to 16 ounces. This recipe isn’t that precise.

Read the notes at the end of this recipe if you would like to flavor the cheese filling differently, as my mother did, or if you can’t find farmer cheese.

In a mixing bowl, combine:

  • 14-16 ounces of farmer cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 TBL melted butter
  • 2-3 TBL sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix thoroughly. Fill the Blintzes as described in that recipe, making sure you don’t overfill them. Cook them as described there. My mother would often serve these with a Blueberry Sauce although I personally prefer sour cream.

NOTE: My mother preferred a citrus flavor, so instead of vanilla, she used 11/2 tsp lemon juice and 21/2 TBL Curacao. I’d consider using some grated lemon rind if I wanted a citrus flavor.

NOTE: If you are unable to locate farmer cheese, don’t despair. My mother often had that problem in Colorado and came up with two substitutions. For the recipe above she would drain 2 cups of cottage cheese in a strainer to eliminate some of the liquid: it probably took a 2-3 hours. Alternatively, she’d use equal parts (8 ounces each, by weight) of cream cheese and dry curd cottage cheese, which is much drier than farmer cheese.

Inspired by my mother’s recipe.

Oniony Potato Filling

Generally used to fill blintzes or knishes, but you can also just eat it as is. It is very dense. If you want a lighter potato filling, look elsewhere.
This can make as much or as little as you like.
Shopping List
3 pounds potatoes (red bliss, Yukon gold, etc.)
11/4 pounds yellow or white onions
1/4 cup vegetable oil

This is a large recipe, suitable if you are making 3-4 dozen Blintzes, I would guess. My mother would often make larger batches of this filling with 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of onions. It is dense. Very dense.

Peel and dice

  • 11/4 pounds yellow or white onions

In a large skillet, heat

  • 3 TBL vegetable oil
Onions, fully cooked
Onions, fully cooked

over a medium-high heat. Add onions and stir from time to time as onions begin to brown. Onion pieces should brown (see photos). You might need to add a little water to remove the fond from the pan. Make sure the onions are sweet and tender. Add more oil if needed, because it’s what will give moisture to the potatoes.

In the meantime, peel

  • 3 pounds potatoes (such as red bliss or Yukon gold)

and cut into large dice. Place in large pot and cover with well-salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until pieces are fork-tender, about 15 minutes once it comes to a brisk boil. Drain the potatoes and return to pot. Mash them thoroughly, tasting for salt. Add the cooked onions. If the potatoes seem dry, add a bit more oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. ATTNThe mixture should have a distinct presence of black pepper.

This is a traditional family recipe.

Blintzes

My mother made blintzes, sometimes in batches of more than 100, for big family gatherings.
Makes 18 blintzes, but scaling instructions are provided.
Shopping List
1 cup flour
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
3 TBL vegetable oil, plus more for cooking them

While this might sound like a big production, in fact you can throw these together pretty quickly once you’ve done it a couple times. The entire process consists of these steps: make the filling(s), make the batter, cook the blintz wrappers, form the blintzes, cook them, eat them. I prefer to make the filling first so it will be ready to use when as soon as the wrappers are done. Family favorites are Oniony Potato Filling and Cheese Filling for Blintzes.

Mixing the Batter

The recipe as given here is best made in a blender, but if you scale up beyond the 4-egg version, you will have to work in batches, mix it with an immersion blender, or use another appliance to mix it.

Combine in the jar of blender

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 TBL vegetable oil (ATTNDo not use olive oil or other strongly flavored oil)

Run blender to mix. Turn off, add

  • 1 cup flour

and process again to mix, scraping the blender jar (when stopped) if any flour sticks to the side.

If you want to scale the recipe up or down, use these measurements. And yes, they are not exactly linear so pay attention to the chart. 

Eggs2346810
Milk (cups)
1/31/22/3111/22
Water (cups)1/31/22/3111/213/4
Oil11/2 TBL2 TBL3 TBL1/4 cupscant 1/3 cupscant 1/2 cup
Flour (cups)1/23/4111/221/423/4
Yield9
1318263750

Cooking the Wrappers

To make the blintz wrapper, you need one or two skillets that have a flat bottom about 6 to 7 inches across. It’s better if the sides curve up to a wider width (like an omelette pan) or the sides are very low, like a round, small griddle. It’s harder with a pan with straight vertical sides, but it can work. Two skillets will make the work go faster, but one is fine if that’s all you have.

Heat the pan(s) but when you start working make sure they’re on a low heat. If the pan is too hot, the batter will bubble and the wrappers will develop holes. While the pans heat, spread out a clean dish towel on a counter near the range.

In a small bowl, pour

  • 2 TBL vegetable oil (or margarine or butter)

With a folded paper towel, pick up a little oil and spread it liberally on the bottom of the skillet. It takes a little more than 2 TBL of batter to make each wrapper and you can easily measure this by using a half full 1/3-cup measure, but whatever works for you is fine. If you’re lucky, you have a ladle that’s just the right size.

Making a Wrapper Animation
Making a Wrapper Animation

Grab the skillet handle with your dominant hand, quickly pour the measured batter into the center and start to move the pan in a tilting circle to spread the batter out into an ever-widening circle until it reaches the edge of the flat area of the pan. If you reach the desired size and there’s still some batter you can keep circling to distribute the batter or pour the excess back the bowl/blender jar containing the unused batter. Set the pan back on the heat and wait for the wrapper to cook.

If there’s a hole or two, you can always use a spoon to drip a few drops of batter to fill in the problem area. If the wrapper is dotted with many small holes, it means the pan was too hot. Don’t despair, such wrappers work for more solid fillings like potato, but will be problematic for moist fillings like cheese and fruit.

When it’s done cooking, the wrapper will have no wet areas on the surface. Run a butter knife around the edge of the wrapper to release it from the pan. Invert and knock the pan onto an empty spot on the towel. The wrapper should release easily and hopefully it has a bit of color to it. (If it doesn’t, just move on and let the next one cook a bit longer.) Return the pan to the burner immediately. ATTNBe sure to remove any attached crumbs from the pan and grease the pan before making the next wrapper.

As the wrappers are made, you can overlap cooled ones on the towel, but don’t put them right on top of each other completely as it will be hard to separate them.

If you want to make a lot of blintzes or delay the filling operation to, store the wrappers. To do so, tear a square of waxed paper and place it on a dinner plate. Place 3 wrappers offset enough that they barely extend past the edge of the plate and don’t overlap completely. Repeat layers of waxed paper and 3 wrappers until they are all stacked. Put the entire plate in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate. ATTNDo not wait more than 24 hours to fill them as they tend to stick as they are somewhat moist.

Forming a Blintz

To roll up a blintz,  follow these steps. Keep in mind that it’s a little easier to learn with a solid filling like potato rather than a looser filling like fruit or cheese.

Rolling a Blintz Animation
Rolling a Blintz Animation
  1. Put one wrapper in front of you on a flat dry surface. ATTNBe sure the browned side (the cooked side) is UP and the uncooked side is down. Re-read the last sentence!
  2. If the wrapper has uneven edges or holes on one side, put that area closest to you as it will wind up on the inside of the finished blintz.
  3. Put about 2 to 3 TBL of filling in an area about 1 by 3 inches crosswise, about 2 inches from the closest edge.
  4. Lift the edge closest the filling and fold it over the filling.
  5. Bring in the side edges making sure that as you do, it folds over the ends of the filling and that the longer edges are parallel or actually come in a bit. (If blintz gets wider as it rolls up, you will not be able to close the blintz completely: disaster awaits.)
  6. Roll the entire assembly, gently and set it aside with the open edge down so it doesn’t try to unroll. If it tears as you roll, it means you tried to force too much filling into the blintz.

If you run out of space for the blintzes, stack them with waxed paper between layers and leave a little space between them if you can.

When you have formed all the blintzes, you have a couple choices. You can cook them immediately (see below), you can refrigerate them (wax paper between layers, space between the blintzes on each layer and stored sealed in the refrigerator for up to a couple days) or freeze them on wax paper-lined trays leaving space between each blintz. After they are completely frozen they can be transferred to bags (no wax paper needed). Frozen blintzes can be defrosted in the refrigerator before proceeding with cooking.

Cooking the Blintzes

To fry the blintzes, obtain an electric frying pan with a pink handle. Yes, an electric frying pan set to 375º F is ideal for cooking these, but if you don’t have one, use frying pan(s) on the range, but once they heat up, keep an eye on the heat so the blintzes don’t brown too quickly or burn. Use vegetable oil (or margarine or butter) to grease the pan, then add the blintzes, leaving space between them. I try to cook them on 3 sides (the ends never get cooked), which means after the first side cooks I have to prop them up against one another (see photos).  I think my mother just cooked them on two sides. Once they’re nicely golden all around, serve them.

I like to eat the onion or cheese ones with sour cream, but my mother served Blueberry Sauce on the side with the cheese blintzes. You can eat them plain if you like. And I encourage you to try coming up with your own fillings. (But do not attempt to serve me a jalapeño, blueberry or other modern bagel!!)

From my mother’s recipe, who started with Jenny Grossinger’s classic recipe.

Fresh Herb Kuku

Tons of herbs create a delicious flavor and a vivid green color.
40 to 60 pieces, depending on how you cut it.
Shopping List

6 to 8 eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cumin

3 cloves garlic

1 bunch scallions

2 bunches fresh parsley

2 bunches fresh cilantro

2 bunches fresh dill

1 TBL dried fenugreek leaves

1 TBL flour

2-3 TBL olive oil

1 cup full-fat yogurt or labneh

1-2 tsp dried mint

1/2 tsp dried rose petals

lavash bread (quantity varies according to size of pieces)

Preheat oven to 400º F. Wash and dry the following fresh herbs.

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 bunches fresh parsley
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro
  • 2 bunches fresh dill

For the parsley, discard the stems and keep the leaves. For the cilantro, trim away the bottom part of the bunches, keeping the remaining stems. For the dill, remove the very thickest stems. For each herb, place separately in food processor and operate until it is finely chopped. You should have about one cup of each herb. As you finish each batch, add it to a large mixing bowl. Add

  • 1 TBL dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 TBL flour (or rice flour for a gluten-free version)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 6 beaten eggs

NOTE: You may need an additional egg or two if the mixture is very thick.

Oil a 9×13 baking sheet with sides (half-hotel pan or jelly roll pan preferred to a cake pan). Line with parchment paper and oil that too. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

Bake at  400º F for 25-30 minutes until done. (A toothpick inserted will come out clean.) While the pan bakes, make the following mixture:

  • 1 cup full-fat yogurt or labneh
  • 1-2 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 clove garlic, crushed or minced very fine
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle top with

  • 1/2 tsp dried rose petals

When the kuku is baked and cooled, cut it into pieces. I like to cut it into 13 1-inch strips and then cut the strips in anywhere from 3 to 6 pieces depending on the size of the servings. Cut lavash into pieces that are the same length as the kuku pieces and a little more than twice as wide wide.

To serve, put out the room-temperature kuku, lavash and the yogurt mixture. Encourage your guests to spread the yogurt mixture onto a piece of lavash and fold it around a piece of the kuku. (The kuku can be served without the lavash and dipped in the yogurt mixture.)

Note: Leftovers need to be kept refrigerated.

Adapted from Silk Road Cooking by Najmieh Batmanglij.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

No butter, no oil, no flour: a delicious, moist cake with the flavor of almonds and orange. Served with a marmalade sauce.
Makes an 8-inch or 10-inch cake
Shopping List

2 navel oranges

65g or 100g brown sugar

130g or 200g granulated (white) sugar

4 or 6 eggs

165g or 250g almond flour

1 tsp or 11/2 tsp baking powder

orange marmalade

This recipe can make either an 8-inch or 10-inch pan. Whichever you use, ATTNmake sure it is at least 11/2 inches high.

Simmer, covered thoroughly in water for 2 hours:

  • 2 navel oranges

Alternatively, place them in a 6-quart pressure cooker with enough water to cover (even if you have to hold them down to measure it) and process at high pressure for 20 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Discard the water.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line the bottom of the greased baking pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine

  • 65g or 100g brown sugar
  • 130g or 200g granulated (white) sugar
  • 4 or 6 eggs

Process until it forms a fluffy mixture. Cut the cooked unpeeled cooked oranges into 8 pieces. The two oranges I used weighed just over 600g (total) after cooking, so for the 8-inch cake I used only 400g of the orange and discarded the excess. For the 10-inch cake I used the total amount of the oranges. Add the orange pieces to the food processor and process until it has been fully incorporated: you’ll see small pieces of skin floating through the mixture. ATTN For the larger cake I had to process it in two batches.

Combine in a bowl

  • 165g or 250g almond flour
  • 1 tsp or 11/2 tsp baking powder

Transfer the liquid mixture to a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake. ATTNYou may need to cover the top loosely with foil if it starts to get too dark. The small cake takes about 45 to 55 minutes. The 10-inch cake bakes in 55 to 65 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, run knife around pan and then invert twice (removing parchment paper) and leave it on a rack to finish cooling.

Thin out some orange marmalade with water at a simmer. Let cool. To serve, combine some mascarpone with milk or cream, served on the side of a slice of cake, drizzling the top of the wedge with a spoonful of the thinned marmalade mixture.

Adapted from the Polpo cookbook

 

Aloo Gobi (Potatoes and Cauliflower)

A dry-style Indian dish. I like it spicy, but feel free to adjust to your taste
enough for several people as a side dish
Shopping List

1 medium-size head of cauliflower

2-inch piece of peeled ginger

3 or 4 cloves of garlic

1 TBL ground coriander

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder or paprika

1/2 tsp hot chili powder

2 TBL peanut oil

1 jalapeño pepper

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 pound yukon gold potatoes

fresh cilantro

Wash, trim and cut into medium-sized florets

  • 1 medium-size head of cauliflower

Grate

  • 2-inch piece of peeled ginger
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic

Place in a small (2-cup) bowl and add

  • 1 TBL ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add

  • 2 TBL peanut oil

Heat until shimmering. Add

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stem removed and cut in two halves. I retained the seeds.

Let cook for 30 seconds. Add

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

ATTN It may spatter and the seeds will begin to pop. When they do, add the water-spice mixture ATTNwhich may spatter so be careful.  Cook about 2 minutes, then add the cut cauliflower and

  • 1 pound yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut the slices into half-circles if they are large.
  • 1/2 cup water

Stir the mixture to coat the vegetables and reduce heat to a low enough level to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Uncover, as the dish should dry out some as it finishes: this is not a saucy dish. Test for salt and add more to taste. When the potatoes are cooked, serve, garnished with

  • 2 TBL chopped cilantro leaves

Adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/cauliflower-and-potatoes-aloo-gobi-recipe.html

 

Farfalle with Wild Mushrooms

Makes 2 servings

1 whole head of garlic

4 plum tomatoes

1/4 cup dried porcini (scant 1/2 ounce)

1/2 pound assorted fresh mushrooms such as shiitakes and chanterelles

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large shallot

2 tablespoons Marsala

1/2 pound farfalle

11/2 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup shaved parmesan

6 fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 425°. Cut one inch off the top of

1 whole head of garlic

Set the head on a piece of aluminum foil, cut side up. Pour

1 teaspoon olive oil

over the top of the cut garlic, wrap it in the foil and roast for about an hour. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins into a small bowl and mash well. Cover with plastic wrap.

Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss together

4 plum tomatoes, quartered

2 teaspoons olive oil

salt and pepper

Lay the tomato wedges on their sides and roast for 30 minutes or until tender and browned on the bottom. Using a spatula, transfer the tomatoes to a plate.

In a small heatproof bowl, combine

1/4 cup dried porcini (scant 1/2 ounce)

1/2 cup boiling water

Set aside to soften, about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid and rinse them under running water to remove any grit; reserve the liquid.

In a large frying pan heat

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add in an even layer

1/2 pound assorted fresh mushrooms such as shiitakes (stems removed) and

         chanterelles, halved or quartered depending on their size

Season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until deep brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Stir the mushrooms and continue to cook, until tender, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.

Add to pan

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large shallot, minced

and cook for about 3 minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add

2 tablespoons Marsala

Simmer until reduced by half, pour in the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, stopping when you reach the grit at the bottom. Add the porcini and the roasted garlic puree.

Cook

1/2 pound farfalle

in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, rewarm the roasted tomatoes and the mushroom sauce. Add the sauteed fresh mushrooms to the sauce, swirl in

1 tablespoon butter

salt and pepper, to taste

Drain the pasta and toss with

1/2 tablespoon butter

Add the mushroom sauce and toss well. Mound the pasta into two serving bowls and top with the roasted tomato wedges,

1/2 cup shaved parmesan (use a potato peeler)

6 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded

Adapted from Food & Wine magazine

Fettuccine with Grated Beets and Cheese

Wonderful flavor, beautiful colors and so easy to make.
Makes 6 servings
Shopping List

  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 11/2 pounds beets
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced chives

In a large heavy saucepan, over a high heat, toast

  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds

stirring until they smell slightly nutty. It takes about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

to the same pan and cook over moderate heat until the butter starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in

  • 11/2 pounds beets, peeled and finely grated in a food processor
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until the beets are tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook

  • 1 pound fettuccine

in boiling salted water. Drain and transfer to a large warmed serving bowl. Toss the fettuccine with

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Stir in the cooked beets, sprinkle with the toasted poppy seeds and add

  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Garnish with

  • 1/4 cup minced chives

Adapted from Food & Wine magazine

Ricotta and Coffee Cream

Simplicity says it all. This is one of the best and easiest dessert recipes we know. Use the best ricotta when you make this.

Makes 6 servings

11/2 pounds fresh ricotta

2/3 cup sugar

5 tablespoons dark rum

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons very strong espresso coffee

36 espresso coffee beans, for optional garnish

Put

11/2 pounds fresh ricotta

2/3 cup sugar

5 tablespoons dark rum

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons very strong espresso coffee, cooled

in the food processor and process to a creamy consistency. Pour the mixture into six individual glass dessert dishes and store in the refrigerator overnight. Just before serving you may optionally garnish each with six crisp coffee beans. Serve cold.

Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan

Cabbage and Ginger Slaw

This is an incredibly refreshing salad.

Makes 8 to 12 servings, depending on your guests

6 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage

1 large red bell pepper, cleaned and finely sliced

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup finely slivered pickled ginger

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together. If making ahead, chill up to six hours, but it is definitely better the fresher it is. We prefer to mix it all together just before our guests arrive.

Adapted from Sunset Recipe Annual, 1996 Edition

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Cabbage

A few basic ingredients make a delicious dish
Serves 4 as a main dish

Shopping List

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large onions

4 large cloves garlic

6 cups thinly sliced cabbage

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 pound pasta

Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Heat in a large heavy skillet

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

over medium-low heat. Add

  • 2 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch slices, broken into rings
  • Salt and pepper

Saute until soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Do not try to rush this step. Add

  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Stir well, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until very tender, about 45 minutes, stirring often and adding a little more water if it dries out. Meanwhile, cook

  • 1 pound pasta

in boiling salted water. Add drained pasta to pan when the cabbage is done, toss well to combine for about 5 minutes. Serve hot, with

  • freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Adapted from teriskitchen.com