Entries tagged with “family”.
Did you find what you wanted?
Wed 18 Jan 2012
Posted by Dana under Sweet
One day, not too long ago, I got to spend the morning and afternoon with my Baba, making pounchki. She hadn’t made them in a number of years, but when I asked if we could make some, she was only too happy to oblige.
Food can ingrain some very detailed memories, and pounchki do that for me. They are like little fried doughnut holes, filled with a poppy seed filling. Pounchki are also known as paczki or pampushky. They are so good, and even better if you dust them with a little bit of icing sugar.
My Baba didn’t have a written recipe and my mum knows how to make them, but not the proportions of what you make them with. Now, after paying some studious attention, weighing and measuring as we went, we have a recipe. As we kneaded, rolled and pinched the morning away I got to hear about my Great Baba, her mother-in-law whom I never had the chance to meet. From what I’m told, she is the reason we only make pounchki in the winter.
I’m really happy with the way they turned out, and also that I’ve got a recipe so that we won’t be out of luck when my Baba decides she isn’t going to make them anymore. The following recipe is for a lot of pounchki, because my Baba does not make things in small batches. Feel free to halve or quarter the recipe.
For the dough:
5 Cup warm water
2 Tbsp yeast
1 Cup vegetable oil
1 Cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp salt
13 Cups of flour
For the filling:
- In a bowl, bloom the yeast with 1 Cup of the water and 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Allow to sit while you assemble the other ingredients.
- Beat 8 eggs together in a big bowl.
- Stir in the oil, remaining sugar, vanilla, salt and bloomed yeast.
- Mix in the flour until the dough will not take it in anymore, and then tip out of the bowl and knead, knead, knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Baba says: “You want a nice, soft dough.”
- Cover the dough with a damp tea towel and let it rise twice, punching down between rises, while you prepare the filling.
2 pounds of poppy seeds, ground with a coffee grinder (This way you can control how well ground they are, and they will be less likely to be rancid)
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup honey
2 Cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice
- Combine all of the ingredients.
- Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often to ensure it does not burn.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Spreading the filling on a sheet pan to increase its surface area will help it cool more quickly.
- Roll our your dough, in portions, to about 1/4″ thick, and then cut it, with a knife into small squares, ~1 1/2″.
- Spoon about 1 1/2-2 tsp of filling onto a dough square. Pinch the corners of the dough together across the filling, and then pinch the seams closed, sealing the filling inside the dough.
- Roll the pounchki in your hand a little bit to help it become more spherical.
- Repeat the above three steps until you run out of filling.
- Deep fry the pounchki in batches in a pot of oil that is hot but not smoking, until puffed and golden brown. They do grow a fair amount during frying.
- Set fried pounchki on paper towels to drain away extra oil.
Serve as is, or dusted with icing sugar if you’re feeling fancy. If you have extra dough left after all of the filling is used, make doughnuts!
Pounchki are so good. These bring me straight back to being probably six or seven, in my mum’s kitchen, biting into my first one before even getting to the table.
Mr’s Babcia makes something very similar, but instead of poppy seed filling each golden bun of goodness contains a prune. Mr was not a fan of the pounchki I brought home, but in this case, Mr is crazy! He liked the doughnuts though.
This time last year: Spaghetti with Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Acorn Squash and Labneh
Sun 9 Jan 2011
Posted by Dana under Savory
Every family certainly has a recipe, or a flock of recipes, that trickle down to the children and are brought forward through generations. Maybe it’s Mum’s cheese buns, Uncle Mark’s latkes, Baba’s fried chicken, et cetera, but all families seem to have at least one. I’d wager that all families have specialties that become tradition.
Sometimes, though, these recipes are elusive. They don’t take to being written down with ease. Measurements can’t be given in precise increments, “And then you add some potatoes…” Or this family recipe needs to be made with some especially specific ingredient to be right, “My pickles tasted better when we still lived on the farm. The water is different here.”
What I’m trying to get at here, is that as a culinarily inclined individual, I’d like to be able to recreate some of the phenomenal food I grew up with, recipes that stand out in my family. It is so frustrating when I just can’t make it the way that George or Auntie Louise does. You go back to clarify recipes and follow them to the tee (which is hard for an improviser like myself) and still the way you remember it, the dish you’ve eaten dozens of times just isn’t the same as the result.
Case in point is my Mum’s Parmesan chicken. She clipped the recipe out of a magazine sometime in my childhood. I’ve copied it down from that recipe clipping with her annotations. Her Parmesan chicken is so darn good. Still, every time I try to make it something is off. It still tastes good, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t taste like hers.
What is especially weird in this case is that my mum’s approach to cooking is very scientific and methodical. Everything gets measured and you don’t mess around with a recipe that isn’t broken. We’re so opposite in the kitchen it’s a little bit ridiculous. Therefore, logic would suggest that if I have the recipe that she follows, and follow the recipe carefully, we should get the same result. Logic fails in this case.
This last time that I made it, it came close. I brought it to a potluck, and everybody enjoyed. Normally, we do these for dinner as full chicken breasts, but I cut them into strips because there is so much food to taste at potlucks. My mum’s Parmesan chicken is so moist and savory and flavorful and so I’m going to give her recipe to you. Maybe if you make it you will get to experience Parmesan chicken the way she makes it, and if it comes out the way it came out for me, that will work too.
(adapted by my mum from a long ago recipe clipping)
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 Cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
6 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter, melted
- Combine Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, oregano, parsley, paprika, lemon pepper and pepper in a shallow dish. This will be the coating for the chicken.
- Dip the chicken breasts, one at a time in the melted butter. This ensures the chicken will stay moist and delectable, and helps the coating stick.
- Dredge the chicken in the coating, patting it on so that it is well coated.
- Place chicken pieces on a oven safe tray, and cook at 400° F until the juices of the chicken run clear and everything is cooked to a golden splendor (~40 minutes), flipping the pieces for even browning half way through.
This chicken will always make me think of my mum, and the kitchen I spent most of my life growing up in. We did some serious mother daughter bonding in there, cooking and singing along with the radio, dancing up a storm. I wish this recipe would let me replicate the way she makes it.
I love you mum.
Thu 14 Oct 2010
Posted by Dana under Sweet
… So I know that I’m really late on this (or, for you Americans, super early). Thanksgiving was earlier this week. I spent the holiday with some of my nearest and dearest, and ate entirely too many mashed potatoes. Entirely too many, but how can one say no to mashed potatoes?
One of my family’s holiday traditions, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or otherwise, is my Grandma’s cranberry orange relish. We aren’t much for cooked cranberry sauce, or the stuff that comes out of the can, our cranberry component to the big holiday meal comes in relish form.
It sounds weird, I know. You hear the word relish and cucumber relish is probably what comes to mind. But it isn’t that at all. It is, really simply, just cranberries and an orange run through the food processor with some sugar. At the same time though, it is so much more. It’s a gorgeous smell, refreshing and clean. It’s palpable texture, a little bit of bite, rather than the squish of a cooked sauce. It’s sweet from the orange, a hint of bitter from the peel, sour from the cranberry. It’s just so good.
My addiction to cranberry orange relish rivals my addiction to mashed potatoes. My mum is known to make double batches before a holiday so that we can keep half at home for ourselves. I’ll eat this on toast, on ice cream, in applesauce and on it’s own by the bowlful. (In a few days, there’ll be a really special yummy thing I made that included some of the relish. But you’ll have to come back to see what it is!)
So this year, in addition to being thankful for cranberry orange relish, I am thankful for: my loving and supportive family and friends, the beautiful wondrous country I call home, the bountiful freedoms and safety I live with, my somewhat-broken-but-still-splendid house, you people out there who come and read all of the random things I make and write about, and Mister for loving me and being exactly who he is. There are days, like today, when I look around me and wonder what kind of karma I had to have all this.
Thank you all.
Cranberry Orange Relish
12 oz cranberries, fresh or frozen(thaw first)
1 navel orange
3/4 Cup sugar
- Wash all of the fruit thoroughly.
- Quarter the orange.
- Place all of the orange pieces in the food processor. Yes, the whole orange goes in, peel and all. Pulse until they are all cut up into small pieces, kind of like this:
- Then, add the cranberries to the food processor. Continue to pulse until everything is cut up into teeny tiny pieces. Think of the relish you put on hot dogs, pieces that big, just cranberrier and tastier.
- Move everything from the food processor into a bowl that you can put a lid on. Add the sugar to the bowl and stir to mix.
- The relish will be at its best if you put the lid on the bowl and stick it in the fridge overnight, giving it time to marry makes a big difference. Or you can be like me and steal just a little right away, and then put it in the fridge for the next day.
Happy belated, or very early, Thanksgiving everyone! What are you thankful for this year?