Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whole wheat, butter rolls

A healthier alternative to the sour cream rolls I so love. They are fluffy, buttery-delicious and full of fiber.

1.25 cup water
2 tsp yeast
1.5 cup all-purpose flour
2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt

Bloom the yeast with the honey in a quarter cup of warm water.

Add the remaining warm water, flour and salt. Cut in the butter.

Work the dough until it comes together, then knead for 5 minutes. An elastic dough should result.

Coat with oil and allow to double in size in a warm place. Punch down and form into eight equal rolls. Place the rolls into an oiled pan, brush with oil or melted butter and cover with plastic foil.

Allow to double in size again. Bake in a 375F preheated oven until golden brown.

Cool on a cookie rack and serve warm, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chocolate cream pie

My favorite pie is chocolate pie. On the occasions it was served in the dining hall during my college years, I never failed to inhale half a pie. This version is not too sweet, and the saltiness of the crust sets off the bitter edge off the chocolate and the sweetness of the whipped cream. I am not a chocolate fan. In fact, I don't like chocolate. But this dessert is irresistible.

1 pie crust
0.25 cup starch
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder
0.25 tsp salt
2 cup milk
4 oz equal or less than 60% cocoa chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Bake the pie crust according to the instructions on the box. I will not attempt pie crust without proper equipment, but unfortunately the shop-bought alternatives remain inferior. Hopefully at some point I can reproduce this with a proper pie shell.

Chop the chocolate.

Mix the dry ingredients in a pot, except the chocolate. Whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Fold in the chocolate and vanilla. Pour into cooled pie shell.

Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Before serving, whip up some cream with sugar and vanilla until hard peaks form. Start slow and increase the speed of the mixer. Make sure the cream is properly chilled.

Top the pie with the whipped cream. Indulge!

Sunflower harvest bread

I got the idea for this bread from Kriszdom among my references. It seemed to be the perfect harvest bread to make for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately I don't have tons of extra money and time to prepare my holiday recipes two weeks before the holiday, and post the results here. But it will be up here next year.
This bread was absolutely delicious, buttery, soft and generally beautiful as well.

1 cup warm milk
0.5 tbsp yeast
0.5 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
700g flour
2 tbsp sour cream

1 stick butter (113g)
edible seeds like flax, sesame, sunflower, caraway
1 egg
1 tbsp water

Bloom the yeast with the sugar and 0.25 cup milk. Mix the flour with the salt, add in the room temperature sour cream, eggs, remaining milk and the yeast mixture. Mix and knead into an elastic dough.

Allow to double in size coated with oil and covered.

With the help of a scale cut into two equal pieces. Set aside one half. Cut the other half into five equal pieces.

Roll four of them into 22cm diameter discs. Layer them with half-melted butter.

Roll the last part into a 25cm disc and place on top. Tuck in the edges and coat with butter. Set aside.

Take the other half of the dough and cut off a quarter of it. Set aside. Cut the rest into five equal pieces. Roll the first four into 18 cm discs. Butter and layer as before, topping with the last disc rolled into a 20cm diameter disc. Tuck in the edges.

Make four slits in the first set of discs, starting 1 cm from the edge.

Fold out the resulting triangles.

This will yield a flower shape.

Place the smaller disc-pile in the middle. Cut four slits again, making sure that the slits fall where the leaves are on the outside ring. Fold out.

Finally, shape the dough set aside into a round ball and place in the middle.

Coat the entire thing with the remaining melted butter and brush with egg wash made from one egg and a tbsp of water.

Sprinkle the leaves with various seeds.

Cover and allow to double in size again.

Bake at 375F until golden brown. Cool on a cookie rack covered with a clean kitchen towel.

Serve with butter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberrry sauce

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. The cranberry sauce gives soul to the stuffing, mashed potatoes and turkey. But I just like to eat it with a spoon.

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla
0.25 tsp cinnamon

In a large pot dissolve the sugar in the juice, while heating. Rinse the cranberries and add to the pot.

Bring the contents to a boil stirring constantly, and cook for about 10 minutes, until most of the berries are popped.

Add the vanilla and the cinnamon, stir.

The sauce thickens as it cools. Serve with your Thanksgiving meal...or with a spoon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Strawberry-cottage cheese

This is nothing special, but a healthy, super-cheap dessert. I usually manage to buy a large tub (one pound) cottage cheese for less than one dollar. Well, it does require watching my favorite supermarket's circular, but it definitely happens once a month. When things are discounted, I usually buy enough of them to last until the next likely opportunity to buy the item cheap. Expiration dates will sometimes prevent me, but most things can be frozen without trouble.

So, if you want a quick, protein-rich snack. Take a tub of cottage cheese, add 2 tbsp of your favorite chunky strawberry preserves and eat!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The hungry woman meal :-)

I was positively ravenous when I got back from lab today. I needed something protein-rich, tasty and heavy. And a large meal, sized like the meals I usually have when I visit home. What follows is some mouth-watering sandwiches I assembled in five minutes, before scarfing them down and taking a two-hour nap. While pickles, cravings and large quantities of food feature, I assure you, I'm not expecting.

1.5 sour cream rolls
1 egg
1 baked chicken leg
2 oz cheddar cheese
1 cubanelle pepper
Sriracha hot sauce
1 dill pickle

Toast the halved rolls until light brown. Meanwhile, preheat a skillet with a little bit of oil, and prepare a lightly-salted fried egg, with the yolk still soft.

When I baked the chicken leg, I removed the meat from it and placed it in a container covered with the drippings. I took the meat, microwaved it until the fat melted and distributed the deliciously greasy, moist pieces onto two roll-halves.

The third roll got thin-sliced cheddar on it, then the still hot fried egg.

Everything got drizzled with hot sauce, and pickles were added to one chicken sandwich, while I used peppers to top the other and the egg sandwich.

Then I dug in.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The best apple cake...ever

We will see if I need to revise that statement in the future. For now, this is my favorite apple cake. Moist and delicious.

1.5 cup sugar
3 cup flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.75 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp vanilla sugar
0.5 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 small eggs
1.5 cup milk
1.5 tsp vinegar
4 cups cubed apples
0.5 cup oil

Preheat oven to 320F.

Take two large bowls, and mix the dry ingredients in one, and the wet ones in the other.

Grease and flour a 9x11 inch baking shape. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Pour into the baking shape.

Bake until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool in baking shape.


Hungarian pizza

This was inspired by the Toki pompos we used to eat in December at the Christmas market in Budapest. I know it's not the authentic thing. For one, I couldn't even begin to prepare that without a proper wood-fired oven. But well, for me it recaptured the concept sufficiently well.

1 tsp yeast
0.5 tsp sugar
0.75 tsp salt
0.5 cup lukewarm water
2 cup flour
2 tbsp sour cream

4 tbsp sour cream
2 cloves garlic
0.25 tsp salt
one small yellow onion
4 strips of cooked bacon
6 oz shredded mozzarella

Crush the garlic to a smooth mash with the 0.25 tsp salt, and mix it with the sour cream for the topping. Set aside and allow it to equilibrate to room temperature.

Bloom the yeast with the sugar and water. When frothy, add the flour, salt and sour cream. Mix until it comes together into a ball, knead for 5 minutes, adding flour if necessary. A soft, elastic dough should result.

Coat with oil lightly and cover in a bowl. Set aside until double in size. Punch down and press into an oiled pizza pan. Spread lightly with oil. Cover with foil and allow to rise again for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Peel and slice the onion into strips. Cut the bacon into 1 inch squares.

Top the dough with the garlicky sour cream. Sprinkle the onion and bacon onto it.

Bake for 15 minutes, then top with the mozzarella and bake for another 5 minutes, and finish by broiling it until the cheese is bubbly and the bacon and onions are cooked.

Serve with extra sour cream to dip into!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hungarian potato fozelek

Krumpli fozelek is a Hungarian main dish, usually served with a nice slice of bread and some sort of meat topping, like garlicky deep-fried meatballs. It's very tasty on its own as well, and super-cheap.

2 lb potatoes
400mL sour cream
1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Piros Arany (Hungarian paprika sauce)
0.5 tsp black pepper
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vegeta
2.5 tbsp flour

Slice the potatoes to quarter inch slices, after peeling and washing them. Chop the onion, mince the garlic.

To a large skillet add the oil and onions. Cook until translucent.

Add the spices and pre-cook them for about 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly. Take care not to burn them! We are just extracting the flavors.

Add the potatoes and salt them to taste. Just imagine they are an equal amount of buttered bread, and you are salting it. Add enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil and simmer covered, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are done, but remain firm.

Mix the sour cream with the flour until smooth. Slowly begin to add spoonfuls of the water on the potatoes to the sour cream, stirring until smooth. When the sour cream mixture is possible to pour, add it to the potatoes, stirring constantly, to avoid clumping.


Monday, November 15, 2010


Spectacles is my best translation for 'papaszem', a Hungarian Christmas cookie. It stores well due to the high butter content. The jam-filled bits melt in your mouth, and the ground walnut or poppy seed filling is moist thanks to the whipped egg whites it's mixed with.

200 g flour
2 egg yolks
75 g butter
0.5 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp yeast
80 mL warm milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar

8 tbsp apricot jam
0.5 tsp grated lemon zest
50 g icing sugar
75 ground walnut
2 egg whites

Bloom the yeast in the milk with the sugar. Mix in the melted butter and the egg yolks. Add the flour, lemon zest and vanilla sugar, and knead until smooth and elastic. This yields a sticky dough.

Coat with oil and allow to rise at room temperature for one hour in a covered bowl.

Cut in half and roll each into a baking sheet-sized, thin rectangle.

Spread the two long edges of both with 2 tbsp of the jam each. Roll up symmetrically toward the center.

beat the egg whites and the sugar until had peaks form. Fold in the ground walnuts and lemon zest. Distribute evenly in the middle of the pastry.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cookie rack. Slice and dust with icing sugar. Serve!

Red wine mushrooms

A wonderful way to prepare mushrooms as a side dish, or eaten with fresh bread dipped into the sauce.

16 oz mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
0.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
250mL red wine
0.25 tsp black pepper
0.5 cup boiling water
1 chicken Bouillon
1 beef Bouillon
1 large garlic clove

Clean the mushrooms and add to a pot. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for 6 hours covered, then 2 hours uncovered.