Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pizza crust IV.

Another try at our family favorite.

1 oz whole wheat flour
5 oz white flour
small pinch yeast
1/3 tsp salt
small pinch sugar
2 tsp olive oil
0.5 cup lukewarm water

Mix the flour with the other dry ingredients, except for the cornmeal. Add the water and mix until it comes together. Cover and let sit for at least 18 hours.

Deflate the dough on a floured surface and form a ball from it. Set aside and sprinkle with flour.

Prepare the toppings, and preheat the oven to 550F. Dust an 11inch pizza shape with cornmeal.

Stretch the dough into an 11 inch circle. Place onto the pizza shape. Top.

Bake on the bottom rack in a 550F oven for 4 minutes, then on the middle rack for 5 more minutes.

Allow to cool on a cookie rack. Serve!

Simple cabbage salad

Quick, tasty, Vitamin C rich.

1 small cabbage
4-5 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground caraway
3 tsp sugar

Clean and shred the cabbage.

Salt heavily and let it sweat for about 30-40 minutes. The cabbage will collapse and release a lot of water. Squeeze out the water and move the cabbage to a different bowl.

Add the black pepper and caraway.

In a separate bowl mix a cup of water with the sugar, vinegar and salt to taste. Adjust the measures to yield a sweet and sour dressing. Pour onto the cabbage to cover it. Allow to sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

To serve, spoon the cabbage allowing the water to drain away, onto a smaller plate. Garnish with whole caraway seeds and freshly ground black pepper.

New England fish chowder

Used to be my favorite soup in the school dining hall. Now I have to make it myself.

5-6 slices of bacon
5 potatoes
2 carrots
1 cup corn kernels
0.5 pounds of fish or 2 cans (~6oz) clams
2 packages of leek soup mix (1.8oz)
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper
fresh parsley

Cut the bacon into smaller pieces and cook it on medium-high until browned. Remove and set aside.

Wash and dice the potatoes and carrots. Fry in bacon fat with corn for 5 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the broth (or clam juice, if making clam version) and simmer until potatoes are just tender.

Add the leek soup mix and stir until smooth. Then stir in the fish (or clam) in smaller pieces and add the milk+cream (or equal volume half-and-half). Mix in the chopped leaves of 4-5 stalks of flat-leaf parsley.

Bring to a boil and simmer until it thickens to creamy (~15 minutes).

Serve with oyster crackers, or bread.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


A tasty Macedonian dish I was introduced to this summer.

3 lean center-cut pork chops
black pepper
0.5 cup water
1.5 cup flour
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
0.5 tsp sugar
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp lard

Bloom the yeast with the sugar in lukewarm water. Add the flour and salt, knead for 10 minutes, then mix in the butter. Coat with oil and allow to rise in a covered bowl.

Remove all fat from the pork and cut into small pieces. Mix with black pepper, paprika and salt to taste. Set aside in the fridge.

When the dough finished rising, cut into two an press into elongated boat shapes. Press half of the meat into the center of each boat. Spread a tablespoonful of lard on top of each.

Bake in a preheated 425F oven until the meat is cooked. Serve with hot peppers and rakia!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hungarian rice cake

This is kind of a souffle, but I'm not sure it fits the technical definition. It used to be my favorite dish on cold winter evenings, after a long walk out in the icy weather. So, I'm posting it here in celebration of the 150th entry on this site.
16 people that 'follow' the blog, hopefully a few more who make use of some ideas here...and of course, the great benefit of being able to search my recipes easily. At the risk of losing all ability to impress and surprise with a tasty meal, I will continue posting my recipes here and revealing how simple it is to cook affordable, scrumptious and healthy food.

120g long grain white rice
500mL milk
100mL water
50g sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 eggs
20g butter
1 tsp flour
chocolate or vanilla sauce

Cook the rice in the milk and water, also adding the sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat. Leave to cool overnight. Do not stir.
Mix the egg yolks with the butter and vanilla and add it to the cooked rice. Mix in the flour and fold in the egg whites whipped to form hard peaks.
Pour into a buttered, floured baking shape. Bake in a 320F preheated oven until it sets.

Allow to cool somewhat and serve either warm with cold sauce, or as I prefer it: cold with a warm chocolate or vanilla sauce.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Baked chicken thighs

Chicken thighs, drumsticks, legs and wings are usually the cheapest chicken meat to buy. Funnily enough, they also happen to be the most flavorful. Removing the skin and fat will leave you with a rather boring protein, that's not good for much besides being a flavor-carrier. Which is ok. That role has its place in the world as well. But today, I'm going to share a simple, delicious and super-cheap meal option: baked chicken thighs, served with rice cooked in the chicken broth. Now you just need your favorite salad. Or some tasty green beans or asparagus.

4 chicken thighs
black pepper
1 cup rice
1 tsp lemon juice


Rinse the thighs and dust with salt and black pepper all around. Place into a glass dish with the lemon juice in it.

Sprinkle the tops with paprika and bake covered in a 400F preheated oven for 1 hour. If the meat is done (juices run clear), remove the cover and broil for a few minutes, so the skin gets crispy. This manner of cooking allow the chicken to preserve all its juices, but ensures that the outside has that beautiful crust.

Collect the juices from the baking shape and add to a pot. Add 1 cup of rice and enough water to bring the total liquid to 2 cups. bring to a boil and simmer at medium-low until all liquid got absorbed and rice is cooked.

Serve with your favorite side greens!
If you are being creative, these are even better with some rosemary sprigs stuck under the skin before baking.

Mushroom goulash

A veggie adaptation of the Hungarian staple.

16 oz mushrooms
1 small yellow onion
1 clove garlic
0.5 tbsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Piros Arany (Hungarian hot pepper sauce)
0.25 tsp black pepper
0.25 tsp Vegeta

Chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Set aside.

Cut the mushrooms into quarters.

Sautee the onion until translucent, then add the garlic and other spices. Cook through for 30-60 seconds. Do not burn.

Add the mushrooms and cook on high heat stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are cooked in their own juice. You may add some water at the end if necessary.

Serve with pasta.

Blueberry-white chocolate pancakes

Just a little variation on the good old blueberry pancakes.

0.25 cup frozen blueberries
1 portion pancake batter
2 tbsp white chocolate chips

Prepare the pancake batter, and before the last step add the blueberries and white chocolate chips.

Before using, rinse the still frozen blueberries with warm water. Do not fully melt them. This will allow them to remain whole and not become a blueberry mush in the pancake batter.

Serve with maple syrup and whipped cream. Sooooo delicious!

Whole wheat rosemary bread

Since both my husband and I enjoy good bread, I have been making our own for the past three years. The possible variations are infinite, and since I make 1-2 loafs of bread every weekend, we do test a great variety. Here is just a recent one. This whole wheat rosemary bread was perfect for tuna melts. At least so my husband claims.

1.25 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
2-3 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp flax seeds
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

The night before warm the oil and add the leaves of the rosemary to it. Do not fry, just warm up together. Set aside to sit at room temperature.

The next day add the yeast and sugar to a bowl, then mix in half of the water to bloom the yeast for 10-15 minutes. Add in the remaining water, the whole wheat flour, salt and 1 cup of the all purpose flour. Mix.

Knead and slowly keep adding the whole wheat flour. When it comes together, move onto a floured board and knead for 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. It should yield a beautiful, elastic dough.

Place onto a bowl and oil its surface. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until double in bulk.

Punch down and work the dough for 1 minutes. Shape into a round loaf and set on a baking shape liberally dusted with cornmeal. Cover with foil and allow to rise for another doubling.

Preheat the oven to 375F, score the loaf and bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove onto a cookie rack and cool covered with a non-fuzzy, clean kitchen towel.

Toasted almond-garlic green beans

A simple, healthy side dish.

1 pound fresh green beans
3 cloves of garlic
0.25 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp butter

Clean the green beans, cut off their ends and blanch them for 4 minutes. Drain.

To a large skillet add the almonds and toast on high heat. Then add the butter and lower the heat to medium. When melted add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, till fragrant.

At this point, mix in the green beans, salt to taste and heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Serve!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

French toast

While french toast is usually a sweet dish in the US, we eat it savory where I come from. Lacking proper Hungarian bread, this was prepared using home made whole wheat pita breads.

2 home made pita breads
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
Hungarian spicy sauce
vegetable oil for frying

Slice the bread pieces in half to yield four circles.

Beat the eggs with the milk, then add salt to taste.

Dip the bread pieces in the egg mixture, then fry them starting with the outside part of the pita pieces on the bottom. Pour some more egg mix on top.

Flip, and cook in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides.

Serve with hot sauce on top, or spicy sour cabbage (sauerkraut) salad.

Tuna melts

An easy but nevertheless utterly tasty meal.

1 piece of bread
0.25 portion of tuna salad
2 oz sliced pepper jack cheese

Spread the tuna salad onto the chosen piece of bread. Best with pita bread or whole wheat bread.

Place cheese slices on top.

Broil for 5 minutes, or until cheese is golden.


Tuna salad

Tasty in wraps, sandwiches and tuna melts. Must avoid during pregnancy.

2 cans of tuna
2 tbsp mayo
0.5 tsp ground black pepper
0.5 red bell pepper
0.5 small yellow onion

Drain the tuna. Dice the pepper and onion. Mix all ingredients and serve.

Whole wheat harvest bread

My first attempt at whole-wheat bread. Healthy, easy to slice and surprisingly tasty.

1.25 cup whole wheat flour
0.75 cup lukewarm water
0.25 tsp dry yeast
1 portion overnight
1 cup mashed roasted squash
2.75-3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
0.25 cup water
1/3 cup flax meal

Mix the overnight and allow to sit covered at room temperature for 12-16 hours.

Mix the preferment with the water, salt, yeast, squash mush and flax meal.

Add half the flour and mix, then add the rest of the flour in small amounts. When it's ready for kneading and separates from the bowl, remove onto a floured surface.

Keep adding the remaining flour and kneading for 10 minutes.

Coat with oil in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise till double in bulk.

Remove from bowl and press to deflate. Cut into two parts and shape into round balls.

Place onto a baking shape liberally dusted with cornmeal. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in bulk again (1 hour). Brush the loafs with milk, then score them.

Bake in a preheated, 375F oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool covered on a cookie rack.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Baked acorn squash

It's the season for all things squash and pumpkin here. To celebrate we had the most delicious maple-roasted acorn squash for dinner.

1 acorn squash
2 tsp butter
2 tsp brown sugar
4 tbsp maple syrup
0.25 tsp salt

Cut the squash in half and clean out the seeds.

Poke with a fork all over, then rub 1 tsp of butter on each half.

Add the sugar to the center and pour 2 tbsp maple syrup into each.

Place into a baking shape and fill with water to 1 inch deep.

Bale for 50-60 minutes at 400F in a preheated oven.

Scrape out, mash and serve.

Fried steak

I've never had breaded, deep fried beef before. Ever. But this was tasty!

two 6 oz. cubed steaks
0.25 cup flour
1 tsp black pepper
oil for frying

Dust the steaks with salt, cayenne and black pepper. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Drench in flour mixed with black pepper.

Fry in hot oil for 3 minutes on each side.

Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy, or your favorite side.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Carrot cake

This version is much sweeter than the previous one, but equally tasty nonetheless.

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
0.5 cup brown sugar
3 cups carrots
8 oz crushed pineapples, drained
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp vanilla extract

8 oz cream cheese
4 oz butter
1.5 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Combine and pour into greased floured baking shape (may want to cut some baking paper for the bottom of the pan).

Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes.

Meanwhile, whip up the room temperature ingredients for the frosting.

After 1 minute remove the cake from the pan. When the cake cooled, spread the frosting onto it.
I prepared this in an 11x9 baking shape, and it was way too much to eat for the two of us.

A good trick for storing it is slicing up the cake and placing it into the freezer with the frosting on for 2 hours. Then wrapping the individual slices up in plastic wrap, before freezing it fully.
I put the wrapped pieces into a baking shape and covered them with aluminum foil before placing into the freezer.

To that, just remove from freezer to fridge for overnight or room temp for 1-2 hours. The cake should be still inside the wrapping at this point, or water will condense on it.

Carrot cake a'la Magda

Before coming to the US, I never imagined one could put vegetables into a cake. It is just not done where I come from. So, imagine my surprise when it turned out carrot cake is delicious.

I'm not a fan of excessive icing, so my favorite version of this cake was plain, served with yogurt.

2 cups finely grated carrots
2 cups flour
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients till smooth, eggs, oil carrots in one bowl, dry ones in another. Combine.

Bake in a greased and floured baking shape at 425F for 35 minutes.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Moussaka burger

Inspired by chef John, but modified slightly due to laziness, availability of ingredients and just cause I felt like it.

0.5 yellow onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small eggplant
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ketchup
0.5 tsp black pepper
0.5 tsp cumin
0.25 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 pound ground lamb
4 rolls
mild blue cheese
mint leaves
rice vinegar

Peel and dice the eggplant, onion and mince the garlic.

Saute the onion in the olive oil, then add the eggplant, garlic and spices. Cook until lightly browned. Set aside to thoroughly refrigerate.

Mix the eggplant with the cold, freshly-ground beef, assemble into patties.

Grill until cooked through. It's crumbly!

Serve on toasted rolls with tomatoes marinated in rice vinegar with mint leaves. Optional mayo on the top roll and melted blue cheese.

The BEST burger I've ever had.