Trout in Orange Dijon Vinegarette

Serves 3

1.5 lbs of skin on trout filets
2 tbsp flour + salt + turmeric + chilli powder + paprika 
1 egg + 1/2 c almond milk

Cut fish into 2 inch sections. Dip into egg mixture and then dredge in flour mixture. Repeat. Fry on coconut oil for 2 min on each side on medium heat. 

Vinegarette + Assembly
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients above and whisk to a uniform texture/color. And add:

1/2 c chopped cilantro
2 chopped green onions
1 navel orange, sectioned and chopped

Pour over fried hot fish and enjoy.


Chocolate Chip Goodness

These were unbelievably chewy and rich, and not overly sweet! Based on David Lebovitz's recipe, I made some adjustments to the sugar content and fillers. I prefer no nuts in my CC cookies.

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
2 eggs, room temp
2.5 c fluffed flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
5 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
2 oz 99% chocolate roughly broken 

Cream butter, sugars and vanilla for 10 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time. Add in flour, salt and soda, mix for another 5 minutes. Add in the chocolate. Roll dough into Saran Wrap at about 2-3 inches in thickness and refrigerate to harden. Slice off 2 cm rounds and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, about 3 inches apart on parchment paper. These should be ready in 10-12 minutes. Cool on a baking rack. 


Kale Salad in Cilantro Vinegarette

Half of a bunch of kale (stems removed)
1 cup white grapes, seedless
1 cup cilantro
1 tbsp Vinegar
1 tbsp Sunflower seed oil
1 tsp Sesame seeds 

Blend cilantro to a paste with vinegar and oil. Add salt to taste.

Chiffonade the kale and quarter the grapes. Mix kale, grape and cilantro dressing in a bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.




3 c flour
1 c water
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tbsp vinegar


4 peeled and boiled potatoes
1 c stock or milk
1 chopped onion
Olive oil
Salt + pepper

Roast the chopped onion in 3 tbsp olive oil until golden brown.  Rice the potatoes and mix in the roasted onions and oil in which they cooked. Add milk or stock until the consistency is of thick mashed potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Mix all the dough ingredients and kneed until consistent. Roll out and than stretch  dough out on a tea towel until paper thin, taking care to keep it a consistent thickness and not to make holes.  Line the long end of the dough with filling. Roll dough starting with the end with the filling on top. Use the tea towel to assist (similar to sushi rolling).

There are two ways to cook this. For separate knishes, pull off 1 inch sections and tuck / pinch the dough on the ends together.   Or bake as is in the roll, to be cut later after baking. 

Place on a buttered cookie sheet, seam side down. Brush with an egg wash if you want these to be shiny, and bake in a preheated 375* oven for 20-25 minutes. 


I bought 99% chocolate just to see what it was like...long story short - not for eating, but a can of left over condensed milk in the fridge gave me an idea. 

5.4 oz of 99% chocolate (3 bars)
1/4 c heavy cream
6 tbsp condensed milk
1 tbsp orange extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder + 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

Heat heavy cream, stirring until very warm. Add in condensed milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and orange extract. Mix to a uniform consistency.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Scoop spoonfuls and roll into balls. Drop into combined cocoa and cinnamon mixture. Roll to cover.  Refrigerate for another 2 hours before enjoying. 

Makes about 25 truffles.


Carrot, parsnip and apple latkes

This recipe is super easy and carries a hint of sweetness and root veggie flavor. 

1 carrot, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
2 apples peeled
1 egg
4 tbsp flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

Grate the parsnip and carrot on a fine grater, and the apple on a course grater. Mix the grated fruit/veggies with the rest of the ingredients. Drop tablespoonfuls on a hot pan (with preheated oil). About 2-3 minutes on each side on medium heat.

Serve with sour creme or condensed milk as breakfast item, or as a side to meal...of say bratwurst.


Upside Down Strawberry Rhubarb Cake

Chipmunks and Oranges

Lemon Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream

Birthday cupcakes attempt that still makes me laugh. Those bees look slightly drunk but E loved them. 

(recipe forthcoming)

Kale: Raw Attempts

I decided on a large bag of kale on a recent shopping trip, in an attempt for healthy eating. I decided to keep it raw, so that mostly meant smoothies. I was surprised that it was much better then I thought.

Option 1

2 cups of kale leaves 
1 banana
1 cup passion fruit juice

Option 2

1 cup of kale leaves
1/2 banana
1 peeled apple
1 cup water

Option 3

1 cup of kale leaves
Juice from one pomegranate
2 persian cucumbers
2 cup water

My favorites were 1 and 3 - I will keep trying more. These are great!

Mushroom Risotto with Poached Egg

Long cold day. I wanted something comforting, and no other proteins in the fridge except for eggs. I will have to keep this combo in mind - huge success with E and hubby!

1 onion
1 box of portabella mushrooms, sliced

2 cups arborio rice
6-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 cup of parm cheese 

In a heavy pan, heat olive oil and add chopped onion. When starting to turn translucent, add in the mushrooms and cook about 7 minutes on medium heat, or until

Most liquid is gone. Toss in the rice and toast it for about 2 minutes. Start adding the heated! stock one ladel at a time, stirring carefully, each time cooking off the liquid before adding more. Keep going about 15 minutes. The rice should release its starch and start to get softer. Keep tasting until it gets to the 'al dente' state you prefer continuing the stock addition process until ready. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.

Serve with a poached egg on top and some avocado slices. I used some fresh herbs too - mostly sage.


Tom Yum Soup

1 chicken breast quarter/skinless, bone in
2 quarts of water
2 tbsp sliced, peeled ginger
1 red chilli pepper, sliced and seedless 
2 tbsp fish sauce
2-3 stalks of lemongrass, chopped into pieces to fit your pot (easy to remove)
2 tsp sugar
5 shiitakes, sliced
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled
2 tomatoes
2 limes
3 scallions, chopped into 1/2 lengths
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Place chicken in a pot with 1 of the lemongrass stalks and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes removing anything that floats to the top of the stock.

Add the rest of the lemongrass, ginger (in a sash) and chilli. Let simmer another 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to cool.

Keep going with the stock, adding fish sauce, sugar and mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add your shrimp. Watch your soup, as soon as shrimp are opaque, remove the pot from the stove. Remove the lemongrass and the sash of ginger from the soup. Debone and chop up your chicken into bite sized pieces and add back to the soup. Season while still hot with scallions, lime juice and cilantro. Taste to see if more salt is needed or more spice. I usually just add a bit of sriracha or chilli oil at the end if the soup needs more kick.


Semolina Cake

This cake makes me think of childhood. It must be the farina, hot cereal association...but much more grown up.


1 c farina
1 c sour cream
3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 c flour 
Orange extract 


1 c water
1/2 c sugar
4 tbsp butter
Juice from one lemon

Mix sour cream and farina and let stand for about 1 hour. Mix eggs and sugar, add in the sour cream mixture and orange extract. Mix in baking powder and flour until uniform.  The texture should be like pancake batter.

Preheat oven to 350f. Butter and flour a 9" baking pan, and pour in the dough. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Heat all ingredients of the glaze until they come together and remove from heat just before boiling.

Run a knife on the inside of the pan and remove the cake onto a rack. Place a platter under the rack, and soak with glaze while the cake is still hot. Let cool completely before slicing. 

Serve with whipped cream. 


Sea Monster Paella

Dusting off a few things I didn't get to post this summer, I came across the super seafood paella, made at the Cape. This was probably enough to feed twice the people it was made for, but who's counting. 

The variant from prior versions was the lobster stock used. I cooked lobster separately, with spices and very little salt, removed meat and kept cooking the shell until reduced in half.  The stock is strained and seasoned with usual spices.

The other difference was the stove. It was the first time I cooked inside, thanks to the giant gas stove in the summer house. This allowed for more control of heat, which fared a better rice.

Topped with lobster and cilantro after cooking was complete gave a fresh/sweet kick to the dish. 


Rum Cake

A collegue shared a piece of an awesome rum cake a little while back. After I recovered from the buzz, I asked for a recipe.  Thank you Mark!


1 box cake mix (vanilla or chocolate, could also be crazy and use strawberry or whatever)
1 box pudding mix (vanilla or chocolate, etc.)
4 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
½ cup rum (Myer’s Dark Rum)
½ cup sour cream

Put the cake and pudding mixes in a bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients. I beat the eggs before I put them in the mix. Once it was mixed fairly well by hand I used an electric mixer until it was smooth. Put mix in a bundt pan and cook for 1 hour at 325 degrees.


I found that the chocolate mixes were lighter and stayed in the proper shape after cooking. With the vanilla ones, the middle of the cake sinks down a bit once the glaze is added. Both taste equally great.
Leave the cake in the pan for 20-30 minutes before applying glaze.

Glaze (you will need to do this TWICE, once for the bottom of the cake, then again for the top):

½ stick of butter
½ cup white sugar
1/8 cup water
¼ cup rum (darker the better. I used Captain Morgan Black, but I was making enough cakes to warrant buying two bottles of rum! Myer’s would work just as well, no doubt)

Melt butter on the stove on medium heat. Add the water and white sugar, then mix. Once the mixture is boiling, let it continue boiling for 2 to 2.5 minutes. Stir it every 20 seconds or so during that time. Take the mixture off the heat and slowly add the rum, mixing it in as you go. Just to warn you, there will be a lot of steam when you do this!

Use a fork or a skewer and poke holes in the exposed part of the cake in the pan (what will eventually be the bottom). Apply the glaze to the cake in one of two ways:

Pour it on. Less effective, but quicker.
Use a brush to apply the glaze in layers.

If applying with a brush, you can do it two ways:

Apply glaze waiting just 2 or 3 minutes between layers. The glaze will still be hot when it has all been applied, and it will all soak into the cake this way.
Wait 10 minutes between applying layers of glaze. The last few layers will be cooler and won’t sink in, creating a layer of icing on the cake.

For best effect, leave the cake in the pan for 2 hours after you glaze the bottom, letting the glaze soak in. Then, turn the pan over onto a plate to remove the cake.

Repeat the steps for creating the glaze. Poke holes in the top and sides of the cake, and apply the second batch of glaze.

If you wanted to do this more quickly, you could cook ALL of the glaze at one time (1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, ¼ cup of water, and ½ cup of rum, boil for 5 minutes instead of 2 to 2.5), apply half to the bottom of the cake, then immediately remove it from the pan and apply the other half to the top of the cake. I can’t vouch for the taste if you do it this way, but since it’s still rum cake, it will probably be great nonetheless.

Cabbage, Scallion and Cilantro Slaw

This is a simple side dish, or a great topper for a pulled pork sandwich which is how I purposed it.  Variations of this are endless of course but I did enjoy this combo.

1/2 medium cabbage (green)
3 scallions
1/4 cup, chopped cilantro
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1-2 tsp salt

Split cabbage half into 2, and remove core.  Slice on a mandolin or with a knife into uniform strips (short way) about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Toss with salt in a large bowl.  With your hands, squeeze cabbage strands and "massage" in the salt for about 1 minute. Chop scallions and add to the cabbage. Mix vinegar, water, sugar and cilantro.  Pour the dressing over the cabbage and toss quickly.  Let stand for about 10-15 minutes and it's ready to eat.

Plum and Apple Tarte Tatin

Ever feel like a dessert to satisfy a cold weather craving? The classic tart tatin is beautifully rustic. Now enter plums, just cause they were on my counter top and I love their tartness in dessert.

4 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 apples, peeled and cored
4 plums, halved and seed removed
pate brisee (pie crust dough)

In an oven safe, cast iron or stainless steel pan on medium high heat, add sugar and butter.  Mix once the butter is melted and let cook for about 5-6 minutes, add in your plums and apples and lower the heat.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  With apples only, I usually turn them half way through the cooking, but I didn't with this tart.  There was plenty of juice so I didn't think it was necessary.

Preheat oven to 385F.  Remove pan from heat.  Cover top of apples/plums with pie crust. Try to carefully tuck it down around the apples/plums.  Place pan into the preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Remove pan from oven.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Take a heat proof plate and place on top of the pan, and flip the pan over leaving the tart in your plate (hopefully). 



I am not entirely sure the history behind the napoleon cake, other then the roots are obviously French. How it became one of the most popular cakes in the Russian table repertoire, other then having simple ingredients, is probably a story of its own. This is the cake served at birthdays, big holidays and occasionally just because (if someone wants to put in the time).

There are two kinds - custard and buttercream. Butter cream retains crispness of the puff pastry, but the custard kind soaks the pastry into a delectable dream. Can you tell which is my favorite? Though it's not complex to make,  this type requires some planning.

This post is most entirely dedicated to the custard, not puff pastry used. Puff pastry can be made or bought, but should be fully cooled before the custard is applied.

Serves 25 people (about 8 layers of 10x10 inch pastry)

Creme Custard

12 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp flour
4.5 cups milk
Vanilla to taste
1 stick butter (unsalted)
1.5 cups whipping cream

Whisk yolks, sugar, flour and vanilla together.  Add about a cup of the milk and incorporate.  Temper the remaining milk on the stove until very warm. Lower the heat to medium. Add in the yolk mixture and whisk continuously until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and continue whisking sporadically as the custard cools, to prevent skin from forming. Alternatively, you can cover with clear wrap and allow it to touch top of the cream, but this takes longer.  After fully cooled, place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.  In the meantime, in a mixer whip the cream until stiff. Whip butter in a separate dish, add cream a tablespoon at a time at first working the mixture into a uniform state.  Continue until butter and cream have fully come together. In a mixer, beat whipping cream mixture with the custard, for about 5 minutes. Your cream is ready to be ladled onto puff pastry on your choice. This cake is made at least a day ahead of enjoying it, but you can always use the remaining cream in a dessert of its own, with sliced fresh strawberries.


Lobster salad

2 c lobster meat, steamed
1 c fire roasted corn kernels, room temperature
1 c cherry tomatoes
3 scallions
1 avocado
3 c baby arugula

3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt + pepper

Whisk dressing ingredients together until uniform and set aside.

Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Slice avocado and scallions. Mix avocado, tomatoes, corn, scallions with the dressing. Add in the lobster meat and toss again. Serve on a bed of arugula.


Moroccan Style Fish Stew

1 lb cod fillet, sliced into 2-3 inch pieces  (any oily white fish can be used in place of cod)
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
5-6 small tomatoes, peeled and sliced (to peel tomatoes, cut an X on top of the tomato and submerge under boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and the skin should come off very easily)
1 red bell pepper, cleaned from seeds and cut into thin circles
1 - 16oz can of cubed tomatoes
12oz water (just fill 3/4 of the emptied tomato can with water)
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp minced cilantro
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp olive oil

In a pan, heat olive oil and add in the sliced garlic.  When starts to turn golden, add shredded carrots. Cook stirring frequently for about 2 minutes.  Add bell peppers, canned tomatoes in juice, lemon juice & water.  Season with a little salt, add the cumin and coriander and mix.  Lower the heat to medium.  Season the fish and lay atop the vegetables in the pan.  Place tomato circles atop the fish and cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Place minced cilantro on top of the fish, cover pan with lid and let cook for another 2 minutes.  It's ready to serve immediately.  Make sure you have plenty of bread to soak up the sauce.


Moroccan Short Ribs

A lucky find of a recipe from the Noble Pig with a few adjustments...

1.5-2 lbs short ribs
2 c baby potatoes
6 young carrots
1 onion, cut in half
1 quart + 2 cups chicken stock
6 dry apricots
1/2 c dry currants
1 tbsp lemon zest + 2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp red pepper flakes
6 tbsp flour
salt + pepper

Wash and dry the short ribs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix together the cumin, cinnamon, and ginger.  Rub onto the short ribs.  Set to braise on a foil covered baking sheet into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Lay the braised short ribs into a dutch oven.  Lay the onion, carrots and potatoes atop.  Mix chicken stock with honey and red pepper flakes. Pour over the contents of the dutch oven.  Cover with lid and cook at 350 for 3.5 hours. 

Remove meat and vegetables into a separate container.  Separate the fat from the remaining sauce, and discard.  The sauce remaining add to a large pot.  In two cups of stock add the flour and mix until no lumps are remaining.  Add the mixture to the sauce in the pot.  Add in currants and apricots.  Set the pot to come to a boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook for about 15 minutes. Add in the lemon juice finish it off.

Pour the sauce over the short ribs and vegetables and serve immediately.

The changes of finishing the sauce off separately come from the issue I had with the sauce starting to burn as soon as flour is added.  This is due to the single heat source from the bottom (stove top), which is the other driver to moving the whole recipe into the oven. 


Zrazi (картофельники)

I grew up eating these, and just discovered my hubby was deprived his entire childhood.  What a shame! I'll have to keep making them to make up for all the lost time.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 c chopped portabella mushrooms
salt + pepper
1 tbsp oil

4 large potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1 egg
salt + pepper
3 tbsp flour

For the final product
1 cup flour
2 tbsp oil, per batch

Make the filling by heating the oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add in the chopped onions and fry until they turn golden/caramel color.  Add in the mushrooms, and cook while stirring for 3 minutes.  Add in the meat, and fold in, stirring slowly.  Cook until beef is ready, about 5-7 minutes.  Season and set aside to cool.

Boil peeled and cubed potatoes in salted water, until fully softened.  Drain and mash with butter, until smooth.  Sift in the flour and add in the egg. Mix and season with salt and pepper.  Let cool completely.

Spread flour on a working surface.  Drop a heaping spoonful (a wet spoon helps) of the potato mixture and flatten a bit, and flip over.  Flatten into a circle about 1/4 inch in thickness.  Drop 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the filling into the center of the circle.  Carefully pinch the circle together and roll in flour.  Set aside and repeat until all your dough/filling is used.

Fry in batches (with oil), on medium-high heat until a golden crust forms, on each side.


Miso Everything.

There's nothing I dislike more, in context of food shopping like buying something, only to realize X amount of time later it's not been used and is beyond repair, on its way to the compost bin.  I try recipe planning and sometimes it works, but other times, especially when working with a new ingredient it does not.  Some time ago, I bought white miso.  It was a relatively large container from a Korean supermarket.  I had no idea how much miso is actually used in the recipes I wanted to try, nor did I really have much choice in quantity.  Long story short, I tried one, ONE! recipe, and a month later waved goodbye to the rest of the miso as it tumbled into the trash.

Last week I had a craving a healthy dinner and thought of miso cod.  Whole Foods is usually good with keeping up on foodie trends, and had a decent selection of miso types, ranging from red (saltier/stronger) to white (milder) to sweet.  And to my excitement, ranging in container sizes!  I decided then and there, I am going to use it to the last drop (chunk?) even if we grow sick of it (spoiler: we didn't).

I started with the cod, accompanied by garlic & ginger bok choy.  For the cod, I followed the Nobu recipe loosely.

Miso Cod

1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup sake
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup white miso

1.5 lbs cod filet

Wash the cod and pat dry.  Mix the glaze until smooth and uniform.  Spread about 1/2 of glaze on the cod and let stand for about 20 minutes as you prep your side (see the bok choy below). Preheat oven, broiler on high. Place the cod in the oven for about 3-4 minutes.  Check on it to make sure the top is starting to caramelize into a nice deep brown color.  When the char level is to your liking, take out of the oven.  Change oven from broil to bake at 375 F. While your oven is cooling, spread the rest of the glaze on the cod. Return to oven for another 6-7 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Garlic + Ginger Bok Choy

1 bunch of bok choy
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of ginger oil (or 1 tsp of grated fresh ginger)
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of stock

Separate and wash the bok choy leaves.  Dry them and trim off a bit of the white base.  I prefer them in long, but that's because I have a giant roasting pan, if you do not, you may want to cut them in half so they fit.  Watch the quantity as well, as your pan has to be closed (e.g. fit just the right amount of stalks) .  Heat ginger and oil in a pan, add minced garlic. Cook on medium heat until the garlic is just starting to turn color.  Add in the bok choy, mix to coat the leaves / stalks evenly.  Cook for about a minute.  Add in the stock, and immediately close the pan with a lid.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and serve.

Later in the week, I decided to try a similar recipe with salmon.  There are very few differences, but I felt this was a more involved, longer process then the cod.  I think, generally, the oilier the fish, the longer it needs to sit in the marinade. Thus, salmon was marinated overnight as opposed to the cod.  Because it was naturally heavier, I served it with Lemon Pepper Pappardelle.

Misoyaki Salmon

1.5 lbs salmon filet
8 tbsp sake
8 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp orange juice
8 tbsp sugar
9 tbsp white miso
2 tsp ponzu sauce 

Mix sake, mirin and OJ with sugar, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the miso paste and ponzu sauce. Place the marinade and salmon in a zip lock for about 24 hours and store in the fridge.  When ready to cook, pat dry the salmon.  Place the remaining sauce into a small sauce pan, and reduce sauce until thickened.  Cool the sauce.  Brush the sauce atop the salmon, place into the preheated oven on broil at high.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Change to bake at 350, and cook for another 6 minutes (this depends on the thickness of your salmon and your preferred level of cooking; I prefer my salmon medium-rare).

As my final attack of the miso, I made a breakfast dish today.  

Tomato Baked Miso Egg
 6 campari tomatoes
3 large eggs
2 tsp white miso
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut tops off the tomatoes, and scoop out the flesh and seeds.  Mix olive oil, miso and a bit of salt into a paste.  Scoop about half a teaspoonful into each tomato "shell".  Spread the miso mixture on the inside of the tomato. Break eggs, one at a time into a ramekin or a silicone cup.  Pour off egg white into a tomato "shell" to fill it, pour off the rest of the white and yolk into another tomato "shell".  I found that it took about 1 large egg, per 2 campari tomatoes, however if your tomatoes are different, you'll have to adjust accordingly with eggs.  Repeat the process until all your tomato "shells" are filled.  Oil a small metal baking pan, place tomatoes carefully in.  Place into the oven for about 15-17 minutes.  At that point, the yolks will be coddled. Serve with your favorite herb minced on top.


Lekach or Biskvit (Бисквит)

My parents have jointly been perfecting the old favorite, lekach cake.  The funny part about it, that even though everyone and their neighbor referred to this cake as lekach (and some as yellow bread, you know who you are) it's everything but!  In fact, this is a recipe for a close cousin on the angel cake, but a richer, yellower, prettier cousin. My mom refers to it as biskvit.

It's a base for a lot of cakes, but the best method of consumption is naked; in its original form.  It's light and fragrant, and low on gluten.

She volunteered this recipe, so I caution that technique and order are as important as the ingredients.  One omission, temp difference, jog across the kitchen while the cake is in the oven, and you will not reach the perfection she has many times over.  Proceed with caution, you'll thank me her later.

6 eggs (separated); room temperature
6 leveled tbsp sugar
6 leveled tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp butter + 1 tsp flour for the pan

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a small dish whip yolks with a hand mixer with 3 tbsp of sugar, until they triple in volume. Set aside.

In a separate dish, whip the egg whites with a clean hand mixer until soft peaks are starting to form.  Slowly start adding the remaining sugar & vanilla sugar as you whip into stiff peaks.

Combine in the yolk mixture, into the egg white mixture slowly folding in with a silicone spatula.  Do not over mix! This does NOT have to be a uniform color.  Sift the flour, slowly, over the bowl in small amounts as you SLOWLY incorporate by folding with your spatula. Again, do not over mix!

Transfer the mix into a buttered and floured aluminum bundt pan.  Place into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Do not open the oven during this time or the cake will settle.  At that point, an inserted toothpick should come out clean.  Cool, upside down on a board.  Remove from the pan only when the cake has fully cooled.

Don't forget a glass of ice cold milk!


Morrocan Lamb Stew

A few months back, I made a lamb stew, that in my opinion trumped my prior lamb shank undertakings.  I used the Craigie on Main recipe, that happened to coincide with every leftover in my pantry.  Today, I am recreating the same, but doing so en cocotte (which sounds significantly fancier then it is!).  This somewhat popular preparation style from Ukraine (brought over from France) in individual clay pots, is exactly what I've been craving this entire week of freezing weather. 

In the days before takeout...or rather in the location/time before takeout containers, as a kid, I recall being super excited about a mini treasure, all mine, beneath the lid.  My mom would make incredibly fragrant stews and juliennes in lidded containers, and I bet it'll please E as well.

To adopt the same recipe, use boneless lamb shank, or debone with a sharp knife.  Cut into cubes (1"x1"), and marinade as instructed in the original recipe.  The smaller size of the meat, allows for a quicker marinade (but for the truely committed, do marinade overnight).  Follow step 3, however reduce cooking time to 10  minutes. Follow the rest of the steps, however use the individual pots instead of the dutch oven.  Layer ingredients with meat at the bottom, spices (in small sachets, or in "reused" tea bags) atop the meat, dry fruit and then the vegetables.  Pour the chicken stock over the layers, 3/4 way to the top of the pot.  Replace the lids, set the pots into a cookie sheet to prevent spils, and set into the over at 325.  After 2 hours or so, the meat should be perfect.  Remove from the oven, let stand for 10 minutes and serve carefully (with kids, it may be a good idea to let the stew cool longer).


Green Borscht

This soup couldn't be easier.

2-3 rounds of osso buco
2 bunches, spring onion
1 extra large box, spinach (feel free to use frozen spinach if you don't have fresh on hand)
salt + pepper

To serve:
sour creme
hard boiled eggs

In a heavy stock pot, in olive oil, quickly brown osso buco, about 2 minutes on each side.  Add about 2 quarts of water, and bring to boil.  Remove foam from the top, and let simmer for about 30 minutes, continually clearing the top to make a clear stock.  Cover and cook for about 30 more minutes, until the osso buco is adequately softened. Add in chopped spring onions (3 mm in thickness or so), white and green parts.  Add in the spinach.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes to low-medium heat, covered.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with sour cream and half of a hard boiled egg, sliced into the soup.

Mushroom, Cherry Cous Cous with Tarragon

2 shallots, chopped
1 box, baby bella mushrooms
3/4 cup, dry cherries
2 cups, Israeli cous cous
4 cups, low sodium chicken stock
1 cup, frozen peas
4 sprigs, fresh tarragon, chopped finely
2 tbsp olive oil
salt + pepper

In a non-stick pan, roast shallots until golden.  Add chopped mushrooms to the pan.  Roast until reduced by a quarter in volume.  Add cherries.  Add in the cous cous and toast for about 3 minutes.  Add stock, stir and change heat to medium-low.  Cover with lid and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Add peas and carefully stir to incorporate them.  Remove from heat after about a minute.  Sprinkle with tarragon. Season with salt and pepper.

Like the previous post, this can totally be customized to your liking. I've done a few different combos (and unfortunately often exclude tarragon since it's an acquired taste for a lot of friends):

- onions, mushrooms and corn, chicken stock
- shallots, figs, dry currents, apricots, cilantro, chicken stock
- shallots, calamari rings, peas, parsley, seafood stock
- shallots, butternut squash (small cubes), mushrooms, sage, chicken stock

Mushroom Barley Soup

I've gotten complaints from friends that "not all [my] recipes are on the blog".  I know I am behind, but I am going to do better.  Here's one that I just recently had to dictate over the phone.

1 large onion, diced small
1-2 shallots, diced small
3 carrots, shredded
1 box (about 250 grams) of portabella mushrooms, sliced (bite sized pieces)
1 package of dry mushrooms (porcini, or shitake; about 150 grams)
1 quart of low sodium chicken stock
2 cups of hulled barley (hull-less)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
salt + pepper

To serve:
sour cream
french bread

Rehydrate the dry mushrooms in 5 cups of boiling water.  Let stand 20 minutes.  Remove the mushrooms from the water.  Chop into small pieces.  Strain and reserve the water remaining.  

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil. Add in the shallots and onions.  Cook on medium heat, until just starting to turn golden.  Add in the carrots.  Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add in the  fresh mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. 

Add stock, barley and dry mushrooms and mushroom water.  Turn heat to medium-low, cover with lid.  Cook for about 40-50 minutes.  Checking a few times to assure you have plenty of liquid  (barley tends to soak up a lot). You will likely need to add more stock or water!

When the barley is to your liking, texture wise, remove from heat.  Add paprika and season to taste.

This soup is ready to eat immediately, but is significantly better the next day.  Like most soups, this can be modified with other ingredients to your liking. Perfect après-ski meal.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, chopped dill and french bread.