Dumpling Dough

З ст. flour (approximately) 

1 egg 

1 tsp salt 

1 tsp sugar 

1 tbsp. vegetable oil 

180 ml of milk 

70 ml of boiling water 

Sift the flour. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of flour into a bowl. Mix with salt and sugar. Pour in warm milk, and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl whip an egg and add to the mix. Add the vegetable oil and mix until smooth. Stirring quickly, pour in the boiling water. Add the remaining flour and knead into a dense, elastic dough. Place into a plastic bag or cover fully with plastic food wrap. 

Leave for at least 30 minutes before starting to roll it out as thin as possible to use for dumplings or knishes. It can be refrigerated for up to two days or frozen. Let it come up to room temp on the counter if starting with refrigerated or frozen dough. 


Pain aux raisins

I have been a long time admirer however haven't ventured into making my own pain aux raisins. Now, having made it, I have a dual appreciation of the bakeries I've purchased these from before. Not only are there pastries involved from the dough proofing and butter incorporating perspective, the sheer amount of butter (read: there is a reason they are addictive)  is enough to make this a worthwhile bakery purchase investment. That said, I loved making them as much as consuming them. 

2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup boiled, hot water 
1.5 tsp dry yeast
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter (yes, really)

Shift all the dry ingedients together. In a separate container combine the water and milk. Add to the dry mixture. Kneed until a uniform ball forms. Oil a bowl, place the dough into it and let rise for one hour. 

In the meantime, make the patisserie creme. There are plenty of recipes on the web, so choose your favorite. I used 2 cups of milk to 3 yolks/3tbsp sugar ratio and ended up using half the resulted creme for the pastries. Let the patisserie creme cool completely before using.  

Soak 1.5 cups of raisins in hot water.   

Roll the flattened but cold butter into your  proofed dough. Fold and roll out again. The more you do this the more flaky the resulting dough will be. The key to this process is keeping the dough cold to the touch the entire time not to melt the butter. The best way to achieve this is to work fast with your dough, relying on the pressure from your rolling pin and least amount of handling with your warm hands. You want to do this at least 8-10 times.  The minute the dough starts getting back to room temperature, transfer it to the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-24 hours. 

Roll out the cold dough into a rectangle. The thickness should be around 1/4 in. spread the patisserie creme 2 inches from the long end. Sprinkle with drained and dried raisins. Roll from the long side in the direction of the rectangle  uncovered with creme. Rest the resulting roll on the dough seam and transfer to freezer for 30 minutes. 

Remove from the freezer and cut into 1 inch rolls. Place rolls on parchment covered cookie sheets (you'll end up using two), spacing them well to allow for the rise. Let rise for 1 hour. Cover with egg wash. 

Bake in a preheated over at 400F for about 15-20 minutes. 

Let cool on a rack and enjoy!


Cinnamon Sugar Challah

It's too long since I made challah and I finally found the right spot of time, except I also wanted cinnamon rolls. Indecision can breed innovation.  Here's my take on the combination of the two.

1/2 cup water & 1/2 cup milk (warm)
1 tbsp dry yeast
4 1/4 cups of flour
2 extra large eggs + 1 yolk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup of honey
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg white, for egg wash

3/4 light brown sugar
1/4 cups softened butter
2 tbsp cinnamon 

Mix warm water/milk with the yeast (add a teaspoon of sugar), let stand until it starts to bubble. For fresh yeast, typically 10-15 minutes. Mix flour and salt, add in the yeast mix, oil, honey and beaten eggs. Knead to incorporate and create a smooth, consistent dough.

Let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.

Roll out on top of an oiled parchment to about the length/width of your cookie sheet. Spread the butter on top evenly, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Leave about a quarter inch along the sides to prevent cinnamon from spilling over. Roll the long side until you have the seam beneath the roll. With kitchen shears, start cutting half inch, into the roll, and positioning "leaves" to the left and to the right. You can get quite creative here. The shape was something I leaned on Pinterest at some point. 
Transfer the parchment onto the cookie sheet.  Mix your egg white with about 2 tablespoons of water, and brush your Challah.  Place into a preheated 350° oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until Golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and let's sit on top of a cooling rack for about 20 minutes.



I hardly ever follow a recipe, even my own. I tend to change things around based on my mood, the contents of my fridge, and how distracted I might be :-). I know I've said this before, so when faced with a request from a friend of how to make borscht, I gladly obliged. Months later after she had another bowl and conveniently pulled out a copy I sent her a time ago, she started quizzing me whether I followed my own directions. Short story – I didn't.
When I start making something, I can envision what it should or would taste like. So along the way I adjust, cajole and improvise to get to my final destination. This is especially true with soups. 

So in the recipe below I gave many different options, but I would encourage you to improvise as well.

1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, grated (sometimes one grated, and the others chopped into quarter inch half circles)
2 celery sticks, chopped (occasionally I will skip these)
1 lb stew beef (or short ribs, or osso Buco, or no meat at all)
1 bunch beets (about four medium sized, or three large)
1 can, canned tomatoes (or three large peeled tomatoes chopped, and their juice)
1 can, tomato paste (for half a cup of Heinz tomato ketchup)
1/2 head of cabbage, Core removed
Salt to taste
1-2 teaspoons Smoked paprika
Fresh ground black Pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tablespoons of chopped dill

In a thick bottomed pot, heat olive oil. Roast onions until turning golden and add carrots and celery. Cook on medium heat until carrots are starting to turn golden. Add beef and roast for 7 to 10 minutes.  Add water to cover and add peeled beets. Bring to a boil on medium heat and turn down the heat. Skim off any protein. Cook with lid close for 1.5 hours. Remove the beets, grate and set aside. Add canned tomatoes. Remove 1 cup of soup and mix with tomato paste and add back to the pot. Add the grated beets. Salt to taste and add about 1 tsp of smoked paprika. Shred cabbage and add to the soup. Turn off the heat, add the dill and close the lid.

Enjoy with a heaping tablespoon of sour cream, and for those that know me, with a teaspoon of hot mustard. A great addition I learned from my dad.


Farina Buttermilk Pancakes

1/4 c dry farina
1/4 c boiling water
1 egg
1/4 c flour 
1/2 c buttermilk
1/4 c finely shredded carrots (purple carrots are the coolest looking)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt

Mix farina and boiling water and let stand. Whip the egg, sugar and salt together. Add in buttermilk and baking soda, then mix in the farina, carrots and flour. Let stand for 20 minutes, then fry in coconut oil.


Kefir Crepes

2 eggs
1 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup kefir
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
2.5 tbsp vegetable oil

Whisk eggs for about a minute and add in salt. Whisk in water in a thin stream as you continue whisking. Whisk in the kefir. Slowly start adding flour and soda while whisking. Add in sugar and oil. 

Fry on a heavy pan (like cast iron) on both sides; turning when the crepe turns golden.


Chicken Mole with Cilantro Rice

3 pounds of skinless chicken thighs
14 ounce can of tomatoes (skinless)
14 ounces of water
2 chilis in adobo sauce
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
3 clothes of garlic
1 medium onion
1/4 cup  slivered almonds
1/4 cup  raisins
1/4 cup  dry cherries
1/4 cup dry dates
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 tsp roasted cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Season skinless chicken thighs with salt and lay them into the slow cooker. Purée the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Taste the sauce and adjust salt/ingredients as needed. Pour sauce over the chicken. Slow cook on low for eight hours.

Skim the fat off the top. Reduce some of the sauce on stovetop on low heat for 15 minutes, to thicken.

Cilantro Pesto
1/2 cup of cilantro 
1 Persian cucumber 
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
One clove of garlic

Blend and adjust seasoning to taste.  

Serve sauce a top of rice, with a side of chicken in the mole sauce.


Miso, Dijon and honey dressing

1 tbsp honey
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
1 heaping tsp miso paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c orange juice


Apple Cider Pork Shoulder

5 lbs pork shoulder, deboned
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 large shallot, cut into wedges
4 c apple cider (or enough to cover the pork)
Salt + pepper

Season the pork. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours. 

Sausage and apple stuffed pork loin

3 lb Pork loin, with a layer of fat on the top
Lemon grass paste

3/4 lb Maple flavored sausage 
2 Granny Smith apples 

4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp spicy mustard 

Butterfly the pork loin into a 3/4 inch thick, flat piece. Pound between Saran Wrap with a tenderizer to flatten if nessesary. Rub with lemon grass paste (this contains salt). 

Filling: Peel and chop the apples into 1/3 inch cubes. Remove sausage from casings and mix the meat and apples.

Place the filling onto the seasoned, butterflied pork, along the edge, making sure when you roll up the meat the bit of fat end up on the top exterior. Roll up the meat as tight as possible and tie off with butchers twine, spacing by about an inch.

Preheat oven to 450f. Place the stuffed pork loin onto a shallow baking sheet, and brush with the glaze. Cook at 450f for 20 minutes, then switch to 350f until it reaches 145f at its thickest point (about 30 more minutes but will vary based on your oven and size of the loin). Rest for 20 min before cutting. Slice as thinly as possible; I preferred it even more the day after cold.


Cinnamon Raisin Babka

This really should otherwise be titled, "stick to what you know".
I used a challah recipe with the cinnamon sugar creamed butter, and raisins. While the spreading & rolling technique works well with other breads, it wasn't the best here. Nonetheless the finished product is delicious.


Lamb Plov

It was one of those fall days when the air is crisp, leaves are skirting the yard and sunshine through the trees appears a colorful stained glass window. You want to wear a chunky knit and dine al fresco on a hot soup. Except not a hot soup, but a spicy, pungent one-pot stew.

2 lamb steaks (cut into 1 inch cubes)
3 carrots, shredded
1 parsnip, shredded 
1 onion, chopped
1 cup, chopped cilantro
2 cups, jasmine rice
1 full head of garlic, cloves peeled
10 prunes
1/4 cup barberries
2 quarts of low sodium stock
Spices: cumin, paprika, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon 

Wash the rice, cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Let stand for 15 minutes and drain. Do the same with prunes but use boiling water, drain after 15 minutes.

In a Dutch oven, heat some oil and add onions. Cook on medium heat until turning golden, add carrots and parsnips. Cook mixing for about 4 minutes. Add a bit of salt and spices/barberries, and cook for another minute. Add lamb and cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro. Spread rice in a uniform layer on top. Carefully pour in the preheated stock without disturbing the rice. Note that water has to cover the rice by about 1/2 inch, if your stock isn't enough, add some boiling water to make up the difference. Insert garlic cloves and prunes into the rice. Cook uncovered until the liquid is fully reduced. Cover with lid and turn the heat off. It's ready to enjoy in 30 minutes. 


Smoked Sausage

This was my second time using the sausage attachment on the kitchenaid. And I will honestly say, like the first time, I find natural casing to be very disturbing. That said, it's a surprisingly fun (and funny, there I am a 5 year old) process. The first batch was made with friends and grilled for dinner, following Sausage Bible cookbook.  Today, I wanted something between kielbasa and Canadian bacon...

5-6 lbs pork shoulder 
1/2 cup oatmeal (dry)
5-7 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of cracked pepper
2 tsp of dry coriander 
10-15 juniper berries crushed
Salt (I used about 2 tbsp)

Debone the pork shoulder and remove skin. Separate meat and fat. The lean meat chop into cubes about 1-2 cm, and the rest process in a grinder. Cook the oatmeal in 1 cup of water and cool before using.  Crush pepper and coriander in a mortar until uniform and add to the meat. Crush juniper berries and garlic add to the meat. Add the cooled oatmeal and season with salt. Mix and stuff into natural casing. Smoke over water bath with cherry and hickory wood chips until fully cooked through. Serve cooled on a sandwich or reheated on the grill with braised cabbage (my plan tomorrow!)


Build Up to Uova da Raviolo

I've been trying out pasta dough recipes to find just the right one for my dream dish. Today's attempt is a strong competitor so it's worthy of recording.  

3 c flour
1 c water (warm)
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil

Kneed together and let stand at least an hour covered before rolling out.  

I used the dough for some simple meat ravioli.


French Crullers in Pink Glaze

1 cup water
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar 
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
3 eggs
2 egg whites

Bring to a boil water, butter, sugar and salt, until butter is fully melted. Turn the heat to low. Add in the flour, all at once, and stir vigorously until smooth. Cook stirring for about a minute.  Mix in 3 eggs, one at a time. Then stir in the egg whites. For those of you who may think this is too eggy, you know who you are, there is chemistry at work here, trust the proportions!

Pipe 1/2 inch thick, about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 6 minutes, turn the temperatures down to 350 and bake for another 7 minutes. Turn off the oven, leaving the door ajar, and keep the doughnuts in it for another 10-15 minutes.

Glaze: 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp water, a few drops of orange extract, and a few drops of beet juice for the color.

Leg of Lamb in a Blackberry Balsamic Reduction

After seeing a friend's Greek Easter celebration spread in pictures, I was inspired to make lamb. 

2-3 lbs boneless leg of lamb 
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Salt + pepper

Rub the lamb with spices, olive oil and salt. Insert garlic into inscisions (1/2 inch deep) in the lamb.

Bake covered with foil at 375 for 40 min and then uncovered for another 50-60 min. Add seasoned young potatoes into the baking sheet with the meat, if using, when you uncover the meat. 

Sauce: Reduce 1 cup of frozen blackberries, 1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt for about 10 min on medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and taste (may need a bit more salt for balance). Remove from heat and add 1 tbsp of truffle oil.

Rest the meat for 15 minutes and then slice. Serve with fresh English peas, potatoes and the sauce.


Ramp Wrapped Dover Sole in Tequila Butter

It's been a very long winter, and despite the unnaturally cold April day, spring is still here. Ramps were for sale...even though they looked a little sad, I decided if I cooked with them, I am going to will warm weather to get here.

7-10 ramps
1 lb Dover sole filets
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c tequila 
Salt + pepper

Season sole filets with salt and pepper on one side. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of olive oil and roll them up. Rinse and trim off the leaves off the ramps. Reserve the staulks. Wrap each fish roulette with a leaf, tucking the ends under each other. 

Place rolls, seam down, on a preheated pan with olive oil and butter. Turn heat to low and cook the fish about 7 minutes. Adding the tequila and lemon juice after about a minute.  Cooking time may vary if  your filets are bigger.

I served this with pan roasted radishes, about 5 min on medium- low heat, sprinkled with chopped ramp staulks.


Turkey Bolognese

I made a non traditional bolognese that I thought was worth recording. 

1-2 lbs ground turkey meat
2 large parsnips, peeled
1 onion
2 c milk
2 c red wine
2 c water
1 can diced stewed tomatoes
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Dash of cumin

Melt butter in olive oil on medium heat. Add chopped onions. When onions turn transparent, add grated parsnips. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add turkey meat and mix to break down clumps of meat. When mostly consistent and broken up, season a bit of salt, cumin and pepper. Add milk and cook on low heat until most of it is evaporated. Add the wine and do the same. Now add the diced tomatoes and water and simmer (no bubbles) until it reaches the desired consistency.  Check the seasoning.

Serve over pappardelle with parm slivers.


Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant

This is a variation of the stuffed eggplant I've made before (http://farejudgement.blogspot.com/2011/05/stuffed-baby-eggplant.html ). I wanted to make a slightly healthier version, mostly, to use up the remaining quinoa in the pantry (I purchased the black quinoa for salads that I can't wait to open!).

1 cup cooked white quinoa
1 large tomato, skinned
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small shallot, minced
1-2 tbsp lemon juice ( adjust acid based on taste)
Flesh of 3-4 baked baby eggplants
Fontina cheese, grated (for the top)


Stuffed Chicken Breast

1 split chicken breast filet, skinless
1 c, Riesling wine or mirin 

3 baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
2 prunes, chopped
1 shallot, minced 
1 c panko
1 egg, yolk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mushroom powder (dry porcini blended)
Salt + pepper

Mix all the ingredients of the stuffing together. 

Pound chicken between two pieces of Saran Wrap, until about 1 cm in uniform thickness. 

Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the stuffing at the edge of the chicken breast.  Roll tightly to encase the stuffing.

In a ovenproof pan heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the chicken breast seam side down onto the pan. Panfry just barely to give the chicken breast some color. Add the wine to the pan carefully. Transfer to a preheated 450° oven for 20-25 minutes. Baste with pan sauce about every five minutes.

To serve, cut into 2 cm sections and finish with some pan sauce on top. I served with colorful couscous.