July 28, 2008

"Who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne" (The very IMPORTANT kitchen talk)

"Who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne" (The very IMPORTANT kitchen talk)

I know, not many people would want to read my posting, but I really want some of you think about it. I'm taking a risk to shpil away about an old dilemma.Recently I came across the article in JewishSF, which is both interesting and controversial.

If many years ago Jewish women used to complain about a requirement to be a "Jewish shiksa", nowadays they consider non-Jewish men over Jewish ones. Is it the end of the tribe? There is no doubt, Jewish women are quite sensitive to a social atmosphere.

It looks to me, it's always about men and their egos. It's always about THEIR respect and disrespect of an honorable idea "to be married and be a family man". For women, it's ONLY about finding a RIGHT one. Let's think about simple interpretation of the "family". The very first thought, which comes to my head, is that FAMILY is about woman and man and their respectful relationship. Don't worry, I don't forget word "LOVE", because LOVE begins with respect. Somehow, living in DEMOCRATIC society, WE are losing RESPECT to each other. It's not a bold statement; it's an idea, which stirs us to a wrong direction. And as usual, it's up to us, if we want to follow this path or change a direction.

Now we just have to find out, how RESPECT works... (I welcome any input!)

July 27, 2008

Ricotta apple streusel bars

Ricotta apple streusel bars

It's a quite delicious bars. I'm sure, you will make this recipe over and over again.

2 cups flour, 3/4 cup butter or margarine, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder
250 gramm ricotta cheese, 100 gramm sourcream, 2 large eggs, 2 large sheredded apples, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla extract

Make a streusel. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form. Remove 1/3 cup flour mixture; place in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together ricotta, sourcream, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and shredded apples.

Press rest of the dough evenly over the bottom of a buttered 9- by 9-inch baking pan. Spread ricotta-apple mixture evenly over dough. Crumble remaining dough evenly over ricotta mixture; pat lightly.
Bake in a 350F° oven until streusel is lightly browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Place pan on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. While still warm, cut into bars. Let cool completely in pan.
Яблочные пирожные с крошкой из итальянского творога "рикотта"

2 чашки муки, 3/4 чашки сахара, 150 г сливочного масла, 1 ч.л. пекарского порошка 250 г рикотты, 100 г сметаны, 2 яйца, 2 крупных кисловатых яблока, 1/2 чашки сахара, ванильный экстракт

Просеять муку с пекарским порошком, размешать с сахаром. Сливочное масло нарезать небольшими кусочками, добавить в муку и перетереть пальцами, пока не получится крошка.

Протереть рикотту через сито, добавить сметану, сахар, ваниль и яйца, размешать. Яблоки разрезать на четвертинки, очистить от кожицы и семян, натереть на крупной тёрке. Смешать с рикоттой. Выстелить пекарской бумагой квадратную форму (9 inch square form), бортики смазать маслом. Выложить на дно 2/3 крошки, на неё - яблочную массу, разровнять и засыпать оставшейся крошкой. Выпекать 45-50 минут при температуре 350Ф.

July 25, 2008

Summer salad with healthy dressing for a longer life

Summer salad with healthy dressing for a longer life

Recently most dieticians raised a question about healthy dressings. How to make a healthy salad with dressing? This dilemma might be easily solved with exceptionally healthy ingredient such as YOGURT. Here’s what I found about yogurt:

Whole Foods specialists

WebMD specialists

Wikipedia specialists

Cucumbers and Radish Salad with Yougurt dressing
Serves 2

1 thinly sliced cucumber, 4-5 thinly sliced radishes, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2-3 tablespoons yogurt, salt and pepper by taste, sugar (optional), 2 tablespoons shopped dill.
In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, lemon juice, dill and sugar. In a medium bowl, combine sliced cucumbers and radishes. Pour yogurt mixture over vegetables and toss gently. Add salt and pepper by taste. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Летний салат из огурцов и редиски с заправкой из йогурта.

На 2 порции.

1 огурец, нарезанный на тонкие ломтики, 4-5 редисок, нарезанных на тонкие ломтики, 2 чайные ложки лимонного сока, 2-3 столовые ложки йогурта, 2 столовые ложки мелко порезанного укропа, соль и перец по вкусу, сахар (по желанию)
В небольшой посуде смешать йогурт, лимонный сок, укроп и сахар. Полить заправкой нарезанные огурцы и редиску. Посолить и поперчить. Поставить в холодильник на 30 минут.

July 23, 2008

Holidays are coming

We have some time to be prepared for the Holiday season.

How to find a good honey? It's not easy, but it's possible.

Please, visit Honey Locator

July 21, 2008

Ricotta raisin bread

Ricotta raisin bread

You will love this bread from the beginning. Simply speaking, it's delish....

Recipe came from Rose Levy Beranbaum's blog

I just rolled out the dough, sprinkled with raisins, baked and glaze with my universal lemon drizzle..

Universal Lemon drizzle: 1 tbsp margarine, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 c icing sugar Mix together completely softened margarine with 1 tbsp of lemon juice and the icing sugar.Make a thick paste, add more lemon juice to make a thickish but pourable drizzle.
Here's a reprinted recipe from Rose Levy Beranbum's blog
This recipe was adapted from one that came to me as a gift from Diego Mauricio Lopez G. of Pandora bakery in Columbia South America after the publication of The Cake Bible in 1988.

Equipment: A baking sheet lined with parchment, or sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. A baking stone or baking sheet.
If using active dry yeast proof it. To proof, dissolve it with a big pinch of the sugar in 2 tablespoons of the water warmed only to hot bath temperature, 110°F./43°C. Set it in a warm spot for 10 to 20 minutes. It should be full of bubbles. Add it when adding the ricotta.
Mix the Dough
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and instant yeast. Place it in a food processor with the dough blades. Add the ricotta, softened butter, egg, and salt and pulse about 15 times. With the motor running, add the cold water. Process 60 to 80 seconds but be careful not to allow the dough to get hot—i.e. not over 80°F/27°C. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it is not soft, spray it with a little water and pulse it in. If it is sticky, transfer it to a counter and knead in a little flour at a time. After the first rise it will become firmer and difficult to shape if it is not soft. The dough will weigh about 2 pounds, 5 ounces/1048 grams.
Let the Dough Rise
Place the dough into a 4 quart or larger container, coated lightly with cooking spray or oil. Press down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise, ideally at 75 to 80°F./24 to 27°C., for about 2 hours or until doubled Preheat the oven to 375°F./190°C. at least 30 minutes before baking time. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place an oven stone or heavy baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan on the floor of the oven before preheating. (You can line it with foil to prevent rusting.)
Rolled out the dough, sprinkle with raisins and roll in shaping as a bread. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk about 1 hour. Mist the dough with water and quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (A instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200°F./93°C.). Halfway through baking, turn the pan around for even baking.

Transfer the loaf to a rack and brush with the drizzle if desired. Cool until barely warm—at least 1 hour.

In Season: Blueberries

Blueberry Health Benefits: From research labs all across the country and the world, there is growing evidence that blueberries are an important part of a healthy diet.

Chana Rubin about blueberries
Serious Eats about blueberries
Cheese blintzes with blueberry sauce

Blueberry Bonanza: Part 1
Blueberry Bonanza: Part 2
Blueberry Bonanza: Part 3

Blueberry Buns (Shritzlach)

Source: This recipe is adapted from the one used by Toronto's Open Window Bakery.
Yield: Makes 8 buns

For dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla

For Filling:
2 cups (1 pint) fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg plus 1 tsp. water for egg wash
Sugar for sprinkling

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand until mixture begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.

Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add shortening, yeast and water, eggs and vanilla and beat until dough is smooth. Let stand while preparing filling.

Mix filling ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8" thickness. Add flour whenever dough threatens to stick. Cut dough into pieces 5" square.

Place 1 tbsp. of filling in center of square, then fold dough over on top and pinch to close. Pinch ends closed. Cover buns with a towel and let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush buns with egg wash and sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake until browned, about 16 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

July 16, 2008

July 14, 2008

I'm a winner again...

Finally another report was posted on www.yahoo.com. Who could believe that our Plymouth could be the BEST place to live? The best thing, I live in this area.

No 1: Plymouth, Minn.
Population: 70,100
Miles from Minneapolis: 10
Number of lakes: Eight
Rank of its main school district: Top three in the state
Pros: Plenty of green, great schools, close to the Twin Cities
Con: A long, cold winter

Please read full article

July 12, 2008

Honey-butter mini pear galettes

Honey-butter mini pear galettes

Serves 6
1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry, 4 Tbsp melted butter, 2 Tbsp honey, 3 pear, peeled, cored and sliced, icing sugar, to dust (optional)

Preheat the oven to moderately hot 200°C (400°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the pastry into six even squares and place on the lined baking tray.

Mix together butter and honey.

Spread 1 tsp of the honey-butter mixture on each square, leaving a 1.5cm border. Arrange the sliced pear on the top and sprinkle with honey-butter mixture again. Repeat with rest of the pieces of dough. Place in a refriderator for 30-40 minutes. Take out of refrigerator and bake for 18 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Dust lightly with icing sugar and serve warm with thick cream or ice cream, if desired.

Открытый французский пирог (galette) с грушей.

На 6 порций.

Эти пироги обычно пекут летом, когда фрукты очень доступные и дешевые. Их называют французским словом "galette".

1 лист замороженного слоеного теста, 4 столовые ложки размяченного сливочного масла, 2 столовые ложки меда, 3 груши, сахарная пудра.
Разморозить тесто при комнатной температуре в течении 30 минут. Нагреть духовку до 400Ф. Груши очистить от шкурки и нарезать на продольные кусочки. Дечко устелить пекарской бумагой.

Смешать масло и мед.
Разделить тесто на 6 равных квадратов. Помазать смесью масла и меда тесто, выложить половину одной нарезанной груши, оставив свободными 1,5 см от края.
Аккуратно завернуть тесто на начинку. Смазать тесто смесью масла и меда, посыпать сахаром. Повторить всю процедуру с оставщимися частями теста. Выложить на деко и поставить в холодильник на 30-40 минут. Вынуть из холодильника и поставить в нагретую духовку. Печь в течении 18-20 минут, готовое тесто будет золотистого цвета. Вынуть из духовки, остудить и подавать с мороженым или со сливками.

There is a children’s song about galette:
“J’aime la galette, savez-vous comment ? Quand elle est bien faite, avec du beurre dedans.” (“I like galette, do you know how? When it is made well, with butter inside.”)

Everything about Puff pastry

July 09, 2008

What do you think makes the ideal chocolate chip cookie?

Are you ready to bake the best chocolate cookies?

If yes, please read the article in NY Times

Here's a recipe to bake and much more :

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Jacques Torres

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour, 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract, 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content. Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.

July 06, 2008

Do you know...

Every time I say "I live in Minneapolis", someone pops up a question "Where is it?" This rhetorical question always gives me a bad time. How to explain someone who lives in a center of universe like NY, LA or SF, that Minneapolis is a city? Usually the conversation would be ended after this question.

Yes, it's a city and there is a Jewish community here. Unfortunately, it's a shrinking one, especially a Russian-speaking side. Looking for love, many people have already left a city hoping to meet a RIGHT ONE. Many people used to say: "If you want to get married, move to NY or LA. Definitely Minnesota is a wrong place."

For many years I could not find the RIGHT answer, but now I found. Today www.yahoo.com posted a very interesting and, even a challenging for many Americans info, about best places to build a wealth Surprisingly for everybody, except me, Minneapolis is one of the 5 top cities to build a wealth. Yes, I can live somewhere else, but I feel like a winner, who has the BEST argument against boring people, who is TOO attached to the labels and old standards. I think, after such captivating article many people should consider to move to Minnesota. Minneapolis could be a right place to build a Jewish family.

New York is worst city to build wealth - survey
Monday June 30, 7:19 pm ET

If you'd like to build a nest egg with your paycheck, it may be time to give up New York and head for Plano, Texas. A survey by pay experts at Salary.com evaluated 69 cities with more than 250,000 people and ranked the Big Apple last. Plano came in first among American cities in which to build personal wealth.
The survey, based on census data and Salary.com analysis, focused on local salaries, the cost of living and unemployment. Secondary factors, such as diversity of the local economy, residents' education, percentage of population below poverty level and commute time were also measured.
According to the survey, the top five cities are home to some of the nation's largest companies and have recorded strong periods of growth. Following first-place Plano came Aurora, Colo., Omaha, Neb., Minneapolis, MN and Albuquerque N.M.
New York's diverse economy and highly-educated residents couldn't save it from sinking to the bottom due to its high cost of living and paychecks that just aren't "inflated" enough to make up the difference, the report stated.
Following last-ranked New York were Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco.

July 05, 2008

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Fruit Filling

3 cups sliced rhubarb, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons butter. Mix lemon juice with cornstarch
In a saucepan combine the rhubarb, sugar, butter, add lemon mixture. Bring to a boil and add cornstarch. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered until almost tender, about 7-10 minutes, being careful not to break up rhubarb. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature.

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp salt, 8 TBSP unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm, 1 3/4 cups cake flour
Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.


1 1/4 cups cake flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 6 TBSP unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool, 1 large egg, 1 large egg yolk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/3 cup buttermilk
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish. Since I made individual ones, I used a muffin pan(my square one). Just butter and flour(or use baking spray).

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

Transfer batter to baking pan(or muffin pan if you are doing individual); using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Evenly spoon the fruit filling on a top. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over filling, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes(the individual ones only take about 22 minutes…watch them closely). Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan or from muffin tins.

Тертый пирог с ревенем.

Фруктовая начинка

3 чашки мелко нарезанного ревеня, 2 столовые ложки лимонного сока, 1 чашка сахара, 2 столовые ложки кукурузного крахмала,2 столовые ложки сливочного масла.
Растворить крахмал в лимонном соке. В небольшую кастрюлю положить ревень, сахар, сливочное масло и лимонную смесь. Поставить на огонь и нагревать до закипания. Уменьшить огонь, добавить крахмал и оставить тушиться на 7-10 минут. Снять с огня и остудить до комнатной температуры. 

1/3 чашка сахара, 1/3 чашка коричневого сахара, 3/4 чайной ложки корицы, 1/8 чайной ложки соли, 8 столовых ложек размягченного сливочного масла , 1 3/4 чашек муки.
Перемешать два вида сахара, соль, корицу и масло. Добавить муку и замесить затирку (крошки). Поставить затирку на нужнюю полку холодильника на 10-15 минут.

1 1/4 чашки муки, 1/2 чашки сахара, 1/4 чайной ложки соды, 1/4 чайной ложки соли, 6 столовых ложек сливочного масла, 1 яйцо, 1 желток, 1 чайная ложка ванильного экстрата, 1/3 чашки кефира. Нарезать масло на 6 одинаковых кусков.

Нагреть духовку до 325Ф. Покрыть специальной пекарской бумагой квадратное 8-инчей деко. Смазать маслом и посыпать мукой.

Замесить тесто миксером. Смешать муку, сахар, соду и соль. Не выключая миксер, добавить масло, яйцо, желток, кефир и ванильный экстракт. Продолжать взбивать еще в течении 1 минуты.

Вылить тесто в деко. Равномерно распеделить по всему дну дека. Наверх выложить начинку. также равномерно распределить начинку и посыпать затиркой. Печь 35-40 минут. Вынуть из духовки, дать остыть. Подавать с чаем или молоком.

Можно приготовить за день до подачи на стол.
Dough has been adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. You can also view the similar recipe without fruit filling on Browned Eye Baker

July 04, 2008

Go Green...

I think, having a couple relax-minutes during Holiday, you might be interested to read about benefits of GREEN TEA.

I know, there are a lot of speculations around this ancient product, but we should try to reexamine our knowledge again. Let's do it!
Some recipes to try it! (all of them have already been tested by bakers-bloggers)

July 03, 2008

Pickled herring canapes

Pickled herring canapes

It goes with borscht very well. Enjoy as much as you can.
Clean, skin, and bone 4 picked herring fillets; flake the fish. Wash 2-3 ribs of celery; chop finely. Peel and dice 1/2 small red onion, 1/3 cup chopped fresh green onions. Combine the herring, celery, onion and green onion in a bowl, add 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise and freshly ground black pepper. Gently mix together, and let stand for 15 minutes. If mixture is too think, add a lemon juice. Spread mixture on toasted bread or slices of French baguette. Garnish with parsley.

Бутерброды с селедкой к борщу.

Почистить селедку, вынуть косточки и отделить от кожи. Филе селедки мелко нарезать. Помыть 2-3 молодых побега сельдерея и нарезать на мелкие кусочки. Мелко нарезать 1/2 маленькой головки красного лука, 1/3 чашки свежего зеленого лука. Смешать сельдерей, два сорта лука и селедку, добавить 2 чайные ложки майонеза и приправить черным перцем. Все перемешать и дать постоять 15 минут. Если паштет очень густой, добавить немного лимонного сока. Выложить паштет на приготовленные куски свежего хлеба. Можно украсить мелко нарезанной петрушкой.