All posts by lobstah

Blueberry Sauce


Perfect with cheese blintzes, but it will work over ice cream and on other desserts.
Makes about 2 cups.


Shopping List
2 cups blueberries (frozen are fine)
1 TBL butter
2 TBL lemon juice
1/2 tsp cornstarch

This recipe makes a good topping for cheese Blintzes. See the recipe for Cheese Filling for Blintzes.

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine

  • 2 cups blueberries (frozen are fine)
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 2 TBL lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt

and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring as it comes to a gentle boil. Let simmer on a low heat, stirring regularly for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.


Inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe.

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. 

Eggs 2 3 4 6 8 10
Milk (cups) 1/3 1/2 2/3 1 11/2 2
Water (cups) 1/3 1/2 2/3 1 11/2 13/4
Oil 11/2 TBL 2 TBL 3 TBL 1/4 cup scant 1/3 cup scant 1/2 cup
Flour (cups) 1/2 3/4 1 11/2 21/4 23/4
Yield 9
13 18 26 37 50

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.

Summer Squash with Mint


Simple and delicious. Best served at room temperature.
Makes one portion, but easily scaled up.


Shopping List
very small summer squash (generally one per serving)
1 glug olive oil
shallot (to taste)
fresh mint (generally 1-2 stems of mint per serving)

The measurements in this recipe are vague. Don’t let it throw you. When shopping, look for the squash with the smallest diameter. They should be cylindrical in shape more than bulging or the seeds will overwhelm the results.

Using careful knife skill, a mandoline or other gadget, cut

  • very small summer squash (1 per serving)

into very thin slices. Heat a large skillet on a high flame. Add

  • a glug of olive oil

and add the sliced square although ATTNcook in batches if you are making a sizable quantity (relative to the surface area of the pan being used). Stir to coat with oil and then let the squash brown a bit before stirring. When it’s cooked enough, set aside in a bowl. Cook additional batches of squash.

Lower temperature on heat and add

  • thinly sliced shallot, to taste

and cook without browning. Add to cooked squash in bowl.

Pluck mint leaves from 

  • stems of fresh mint (1-2 per serving)

Combine the mint and salt to taste with the squash and cooked shallots. Serve at room temperature.


Inspired by several different restaurants in and around Bologna, Italy.

Roasted Banana Ice Cream


To be clear, the bananas are roasted, not the ice cream!
1 quart


Shopping List
4 bananas, lightly speckled
2 TBL vegetable oil
2 TBL brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup coconut milk
11/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice

  • 4 bananas (ripe, with a few speckles), cut into 1/4-inch slices

Toss with

  • 2 TBL vegetable oil
  • 2 TBL brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

Spread on parchment paper and bake until caramelized, about 15-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

In a small saucepan, combine

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Heat over medium heat just until sugar and salt dissolve. Let cool to room temperature. In a blender jar, combine the cooked bananas, sugar syrup and

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 11/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

♦︎If your blender can’t handle all of this, just blend what it can accommodate and stir in the rest in a bowl. Alternatively use an immersion blender. Pour the liquid through a fine metal strainer or cheesecloth.

Lightly toast and reserve

  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces, if desired

Chill the mixture for 2 hours and then process in an ice cream maker. Near the end of processing, before the ice cream is too hard, add the walnut pieces.


Inspired by a vegan banana ice cream recipe from the book Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream.
.

Cullen Skink

Don't let the strange-sounding Scottish name for this delicious soup scare you away. It's smoked-fish chowder. Perfect for a cold winter's day.
4 servings
Shopping List

16 ounces smoked haddock fillets

3 cups milk

1 bay leaf

2 large potatoes

2 large leeks or 1 large onion (or a mixture)

3 TBL butter

3/4 cup heavy cream

parsley for garnish

In a shallow broad (frying) pan, place

  • 16 ounces smoked haddock fillets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups milk

and heat until it’s steaming but don’t let it boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the fish is fully cooked. Turn off the heat, remove the fish to a cutting board, and reserve the milk and bay leaf.

In a 2-quart sauce pan over medium heat add

  • 3 TBL butter

and when it is foamy add

  • 2 large leeks, finely sliced and cleaned (or 1 large onion, minced)

Add back in the bay leaf and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup water

cover and let steam until potatoes are just cooked through. Add the reserved milk. Simmer 5 minutes. Meanwhile flake the fish, removing any skin or bones.

Add the fish back to the pan and add

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Remove the bay leaf. Season with black pepper to taste. (It probably won’t need any salt, but check.) When serving, you may want to garnish with some chopped parsley.

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.

Peach-Sweet Tea Sherbet

I'm not a fan of sherbet but I really loved this: captures the taste of fresh peaches perfectly, and it's not icy.
1+ quart sherbet
Shopping List

3  large fresh peaches (or frozen)

1/2 cup buttermilk

almond extract

1 tsp citric acid

11/2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

3 TBL black tea leaves (loose, not from tea bags)

2 tsp tapioca starch OR 4 tsp cornstarch

The book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream is an outstanding source of information and recipe ideas for ice cream. I found the amount of almond flavor overwhelming and suggest a smaller amount here.

Peel

  • 3 large fresh peaches

If using frozen peaches make sure they are peeled.

Cut the peaches into chunks and heat in a small saucepan, mashing. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool and strain through a medium-to-fine sieve. You need to obtain 11/4 cups peach puree and to it add

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 couple drops (1/8 tsp) almond extract
  • 1 tsp citric acid

Refrigerate this mixture.

In a saucepan, combine

  • 11/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (The book provides other options)

Over medium heat, cook and stir until it comes to a full boil.  I prefer to use tapioca starch, but ATTNif you are using cornstarch, add

  • 4 tsp cornstarch dissolved completely in 2 TBL water

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

If you are using tapioca starch, add

  • 2 tsp tapioca starch dissolved completely in 2 TBL water

Add

3 TBL black tea leaves (not from tea bags)

Steep for 6 minutes, but ATTN no longer as it will impart a bitter taste. Strain the hot base through a fine sieve and cool in an ice bath. When the temperature is cool to the touch (50º F), combine with the peach mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (to get a better texture). Churn in ice cream freezer. While  you can eat it right away, it’s much better packed and frozen for at least 4-6 hours.

Dana Cree’s excellent book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream

 

Mango Lassi Frozen Yogurt

The hint of orange flower water really makes this frozen yogurt a delight. It's tangy.
1+ quart of frozen yogurt
Shopping List

2 cups full fat Greek yogurt

2 or 3 fresh mangos or 300g frozen mango pieces

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp orange flower water

1 cup heavy cream

2 TBL milk

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 tsp tapioca starch OR 4 tsp cornstarch

The recipe in Hello, My Name is Ice Cream is a much more nuanced description of how to make this frozen yogurt, giving you a number of options for thickeners (“texture agents”) and it has a more subtle mango flavor. I pushed up the mango puree volume substantially. I encourage you to track down the book if you have any interest in ways to improve the result through the use of other texture agents or alternatives to the corn syrup I used. Don’t use low-fat Greek yogurt: it will change the texture of the result because of the higher water ratio.

In a blender, puree about

  • 300g (3/4 pound) mango peeled cubes (fresh or defrosted)

run through a medium strainer to remove any stringy bits. You should have about 11/3 cups mango puree.

Combine and refrigerate

  • 11/3 cups mango puree
  • 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp orange flower water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a saucepan, combine

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup  (The book provides other options)

Over medium heat, cook and stir until it comes to a full boil.  I prefer to use tapioca starch, but ATTNif you are using cornstarch, add

  • 4 tsp cornstarch dissolved completely in 2 TBL cold milk

Reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

If you are using tapioca starch, add

  • 2 tsp tapioca starch dissolved completely in 2 TBL cold milk

Cool the hot base mixture using an ice bath. When the temperature is cool to the touch (50º F), pour the base through a fine sieve to combine it with the mango mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (to get a better texture). Churn in ice cream freezer. While  you can eat it right away, the frozen yogurt will have a  much better packed and frozen for at least 4-6 hours.

Dana Cree’s excellent book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream

 

Fresh Cherry Crostata

Easy to make and adaptable to other fruit (see notes)
Makes a 12-inch crostata, serving about 8 people
Shopping List

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter

1/4 cup sugar

2 TBL almond flour or blanched, slivered almond ground finely

2+ cups  flour

3 pounds fresh cherries, pitted (or other stone fruit)

1 TBL tapioca starch or corn starch (for other stone fruit)

A crostata is a homestyle pie that is made in a free-form shape on a flat pan.

In food processor bowl, combine

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 TBL sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add

  • 6 ounces (11/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into dice

Pulse food processor until mixed. With the motor running, in a slow stream begin to add

  • 1/2 cup ice water

ATTN however you will not use all the water.  As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop the motor. (Discard any extra water.) Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a sealed container and ATTN refrigerate for at least one hour.

Prepare the fruit just before the dough comes out of the oven. If using cherries, wash and pit them, removing stems. If using peaches or other larger stone fruit, peel them by dipping briefly in boiling water, cut into wedges or desired pieces..

Preheat oven to 400º F.

In a small bowl combine the following

  • 2 TBL almond flour
  • 1 TBL flour
  • 1 TBL sugar

ATTN If using fruit other than cherries, add

  • 1 TBL flour (for a total of 2 TBL)
  • 1 TBL tapioca starch

Roll the dough into a 15-inch circle, even up the edges of the dough and transfer to a baking tray that has sides Spread the almond/flour mixture in the center 12-inch circle and place the fruit in that area. Fold the outer 11/2 inch edge of dough in, making a pattern of decorative folds with the excess. Spread

  • 2 TBL melted butter

on the dough and then sprinkle with

  • 2 TBL sugar (sometimes I use coarser sugar)

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbling. Remove and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine.

 

Kiffling (Wedding Cookies)


Rich crescent-shaped almond cookies with a light, crunchy texture. Despite the powdered sugar, they're not too sweet. They're easy to make.
Makes 3 dozen


Shopping List
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1/3 cup sugar
8 oz almonds (unroasted, skins on)
2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

These cookies have a delicious crumbly texture. I’m not a fan of confectioners’ sugar, but the coating on the on the outside works perfectly.

Using a mechanical grinder (meat, nut, whatever), grind

  • 8 ounces almonds

I suppose you could use 8 ounces of almond flour, but leaving the skins on provides a darker result and more flavor.

In a bowl, cream

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter

Add

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

When thoroughly mixed, add the ground almonds. Then blend in

  • 2 cups cake flour

to make a uniform dough. ATTN Using cake flour provides the cookies with a better texture. Place the covered dough in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325º F. After the dough has rested, measure out uniform pieces. I  used a scale and aimed for 22g pieces: they’re a little bigger than I’d have liked because (to my surprise) the dough rose a bit as it baked. You can just use a spoon or approximate uniform pieces with your eye: ATTN that’s better for your mental health.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Form crescents, making sure they taper down at the points. Place the cookies on the parchment-lined pans: they can be fairly close because they don’t expand much.

Kiffling waiting to go into the oven.
Kiffling waiting to go into the oven.

Bake for about 12 minutes and then check on them. If you need to rotate the racks or swap the racks top to bottom. Keep an eye on them until they are golden. At the size I made the cookies they took about 22 minutes to bake, but your timing may vary. You definitely want the cookies watch the cookies until they take on a nice color.

When the cookies come out of the oven, coat them in confectioners’ sugar. The cookies can break, so my approach was to dust them using a strainer with confectioners’ sugar right over the cookie pans. Then I used a spatula to move the cookies over a little to place the bottoms onto some of the spare sugar on cookie sheet.

Some people dust them a second time after they cool, but it’s more sugar than I like.

From my sister, Mindy, who probably got it from a family friend.

 

Rum Balls

Easy: no baking involved.
Makes about 30 cookies
Shopping List

about 11/2 cups vanilla wafers

about 5 ounces pecans

2 TBL cocoa

about 11/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

 

If you have a food processor, it will make chopping the nuts and pulverizing the vanilla wafers, but do each one separately. Next time I make this I’m going to grind the pecans instead of chopping them.

Measure together in a bowl

  • 1 cup (95g) of vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup (135g) finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (110g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 TBL (10g) cocoa powder

Stir to combine ingredients. Add

  • 1/4 cup rum or bourbon
  • 2 TBL corn syrup

Mixture should be refrigerated a couple hours (or overnight) to allow the dry ingredients to fully absorb the liquid. Roll into small balls. (I overthought this and weighed them to target about 14g each.) Roll in confectioners’ sugar. Store in refrigerator.

NOTE: The original recipe made double this quantity, and Betty suggested making half with cocoa and half without cocoa.

From a dear family friend, Betty Rosen. I get a smile on my face every time I think about her.

 

Autumn Soup

Indian flavors and fall vegetables make a great combination
6 to 8 servings
Shopping List

olive oil

large bunch leeks

small pumpkin or butternut squash

2 turnips

1/2 pound potatoes

red pepper flakes

ground cumin

garam masala

fenugreek leaves (dried or fresh)

Saute

  • 4 cups (12 ounces) chopped leeks (white part), cleaned of any sand

in

  • a glug of olive oil

When tender, add

  • 4 cups (18 ounces)  peeled pumpkin (or butternut squash), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 11/2 cups (8 ounces) turnip, peeled and cut into dize
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) potato, peeled and cut into dice

Add water to cover (4 cups) plus

  • 1 tsp salt
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 TBL dried fenugreek leaves (or more, if fresh)

Bring to a simmer and cover to cook for 45 minutes. Check to see if vegetables are tender. Puree when done. Adjust seasonings, adding lemon juice if desired.

 

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
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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