Here is an old time favorite of mine … It was getting colder here so I thought it would be time to prepare for the winter. I enjoy eating garlic during the colder months, it is very healthy but I can live without that harsh taste. Pickling the garlic keeps all its health benefits but the garlic loses its strong taste. So this week, I would like to post a recipe for pickling garlic, the Chinese way. It is so easy to make and it is so delicious … but yes it will take 12 weeks to make…
In the recipe, proportions are given. The amount will depend on how much garlic you use. I used 4 heads of garlic. You can figure out the liquids after you put the garlic in the jar. Add the peeled garlic, enough to fill about 3/4 of the jar. Mix the 2 liquids, about half the soy sauce and half the rice vinegar and pour over the garlic. Make sure the liquid covers the garlic.
You will also need a jar. I like to use a wide mouth jar so I can take the garlic out easily. Also, I sterilize the jar before putting anything in it.
Jar of garlic, peeled
1/2 part soy sauce
1/2 part rice vinegar
1/2 part honey
Please see above for directions.
Peel the garlic. When you peel the garlic, make sure you do it gently and not cut the garlic. If you do, not a big deal, just the cloves will be a little unappealing but still edible.
Fill the jar 3/4 full with the peeled garlic.
Pour the vinegar/soy sauce mixture over the garlic and let it macarate for 6 weeks. Make sure the garlic is well covered with the liquid.
Then after 6 weeks remove the vinegar/soy sauce mixture and discard half of it. Replace it with honey. Pour this liquid back in the jar. You can gently warm up the honey so it can be mixed with the macerate.
Wait for six more weeks and then the pickled garlic is ready.
This delicious dish is very easy to make. I probably should have called it the bachelor/bachelorette sauerkraut dish … but it is not just for the bachelors/bachelorettes, it is the perfect dish whenever you want to make something quick but tasty and healthy. Of course, you can never go wrong with sauerkraut, it is so healthy.
It is a super easy recipe but I would like to note a few things. The onion has to be finally chopped and the dish needs to be cooked well otherwise it will have a raw taste. Don’t forget to rinse the sauerkraut well with cold water as its liquid it is kept in is very acidic.
There are two types of sauerkraut. One is preserved with vinegar and the other is processed with salt. I prefer the salted version as it is less acidic and is better for health. This version acts as a probiotic and supports gut health and digestive functions. Of course, the vinigar version would be fine to use, too.
Serves 6-8 people
1 onion, finally chopped
oil (sunflower, lard)
4 large slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp sweet paprika powder
1 cup of cold meat stock
1 apple, cored, peeled and chopped
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp mustard
2 lbs of sauerkraut, well rinsed
red chili pepper (optional)
1 lb of kielbasa or sausage
sour cream to serve
rice or potatoes to serve
salt and pepper to taste
Chop the onions making sure they are finally chopped. Also chop the bacon. Sauté onions and bacon in some oil for about 10 minutes on medium high heat. Sauté the apple pieces for a few minutes.
Add the paprika, stir for 1 minute to activate and add the cold stock, stir.
Rinse sauerkraut well with water.
Add the sauerkraut, stir. Continue adding, the mustard, red chili pepper (optional) and caraway seeds. You can add the meat too. If the meat is already cooked, you do not have to add it at this point. Although I personally like it if any meat is cooked in the dish regardless whether it is precooked or not. If you don’t include it at this step, just add it at the end.
Cook for 45-60 minutes until the sauerkraut is well cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with sour cream and your choice of bread, potatoes or rice.
In the summer when we were hiking in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, we found a quaint little restaurant that served simple and very tasty dishes. When we went hiking, we treated ourselves to a delicious lunch every time. Here, I found this interesting soup with sauerkraut, potatoes and beans.
Jota, the Slovenian soup with sauerkraut, potatoes and beans is just a simple dish that can warm your body and soul on a cold winter night or a cool, rainy day in the mountains in the summer.
1 large onion, diced
2 strips of bacon
8oz smoked pork products of your choice (ribs are great)
2 cloves of garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp of sweet paprika powder (optional)
1 tsp caraway seeds, 2 bay leaves, 1 Tbsp black peppercorns (optional)
2 cups of uncooked kidney beans or 30 oz canned kidney beans
1 fresh tomatoes, diced or canned
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 pound potatoes (diced)
1 pound sauerkraut (drained and rinsed)
1 heaping Tbsp of flour
salt and pepper to taste
sausage or eggs, optional
Clean and soak the beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Rinse soaking water off. Add fresh cold filtered water, bayleaves and cook the beans for 1.5 hour or until soft but not mushy. Set aside.
In a large pot, sauté onion and bacon for 10 minutes. Add paprika, stir and add garlic, stir. Add a tomatoes, tomatoe paste, stir and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse sauerkraut. Add potatoes, sauerkraut, caraway seeds, bay leaves, pork and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes or until potatoes and sauerkraut are very tender and the mixture is thick.
At the end, in a small bowl put 1 Tbsp of flour, mix it with some cooking liquid until smooth. Add into soup and cook for 5-10 minutes.
If you like your soup to have a thicker consistency, you can take out the potatoes and put them in a blender with some of the cooking liquid.
Add the cooked beans with some of its liquid and warm up the pot so the beans are warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with bread, sour cream, sausage.
This can be served right away but will taste better the next day or even just a few hours later.
This is a simple tasty salad that is great for the winter. I just cook the beets and then use vinegar, oil, caraway seeds and salt to prepare the salad. I like to make a big jar full and keep it in refrigerator. You can serve it as a side dish.
For me, beets are the perfect plant to transition from the the winter into spring. Yes! Spring will come sooner or later, OK most likely later in the Midwest …
Beets are grounding, nourishing and detoxifying making it to be the perfect vegetable for this time of the year for the winter and the spring. They are sweet and rich in nutrients for healthy body with important vitamins and minerals. They nourish and detoxify the liver getting the body ready for the spring.
I used only one spice, caraway seeds. The bitter and aromatic caraway seeds have been around for a long time and used in many European countries to make food taste good. It is one of the herbs that the ancient Greek doctors first started using in cooking because of its health benefits especially for digestion. I often take caraway seeds for granted but it is such a neat little herb that needs a little more attention. Please check this website for more info on caraway seeds .
4 smaller beets (about 1 lb)
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/8-1/4 cup vinegar + 7/8 -3/4 water
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
pinch of sugar
black pepper, to taste
Cook beets for 1 hour until soft but not mushy. I like to put them on a steamer.
When done take the peel off with a sharper small knife. Slice or shread the beets thin. You can do this with a knife or a slicer.
Make the dressing. Put 1/8 cup of vinegar in 1 cup cup. Add enough water so the cup is full. So you are adding 7/8th of a cup of water. Pour it in a medium sized bowl.
Add sliced cooked beets, caraway seeds, salt, oil and a pinch of sugar. Mix.
Grind some black pepper on the salad if you wish. Mix.
Serve at room temperature on the side of any dish.
This tasty soup is a fun twist to the regular chili soup. The difference is that the beef is replaced with turkey or chicken and the chili beans are replaced with black beans but otherwise it is very similar to the well known beef chili soup … just even better in our opinions. Of course, you can add all your favorite foods that you would otherwise add to a chili soup.
The biggest change in the recipe is the meat. Many people prefer the lighter turkey or chicken meat. The chicken or turkey is very nice here, the thigh gives more flavor and is cheaper but the breast would work well too.
Maybe it would be more accurate to call this soup black and white chili soup. The white makes sense with the white meat but I used black beans instead of white beans because I think it has more flavor. Of course, you can use either.
EDIT: I decided to make a minor change to the title to better reflect what this soup is all about so I added black bean in the title. I have been calling it the white chili soup for years so I did not even give it much thought when I posted the recipe. I apologize but this will be more accurate otherwise it is still the same tasty soup recipe.
I decided to post this recipe now because beans especially black beans are great in the winter. The warming black beans have a sweet flavor and nourish the kidneys. They are antibacterial, anti-parasitic, detoxifying and have high levels of disease fighting antioxidants, numerous vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber. In addition, it has heart, skin protecting and anti-cancer properties. It also improves digestion and is great for overall health. It is native to the Americas and have been used for thousands of years. No wonder the natives ate it with almost every meal.
I like to make up my own chili spice, please follow the recipe below or you can use whatever you have on hand or buy it in a store already made. It is cheaper if you buy it in bulk vs buying in a jar and has no additives either.
You can experiment with the vegetables of course, I added corn, carrots and green beans. In the summer, I like to add zucchini too. But please feel free to add whatever you would like.
Vegetarian readers might be wondering if this soup could be made vegetarian. The answer is yes! – you can take out the meat and just use vegetarian stock and I also added eggs. I have made it without meat, it is tasty.
Surprise your guests at a party or just treat yourself. Honestly, we believe that this version is even tastier than the original soup.
1 large onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 strips of bacon
1 lb ground chicken or turkey thigh or breast
28 oz canned chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp of tomato paste
5 tsp of chili seasoning (please see recipe below)
2 garlic cloves
3 medium sized carrots, sliced
8 oz corn (frozen)
8 oz vegetables. I used green beans. Also zucchini would be fine
2 cups of uncooked black beans or 28 oz of canned beans
salt and pepper
yellow cheddar cheese
Chili seasoning ingredients
1 Tbsp (3 tsp) chili powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Wash and soak beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Pour off the liquid and wash well. Add cold filtered waterm and cook for 2 hours or until soft but not falling apart. Omit if using canned beans. The home-made beans are well worth the extra effort though, they taste so much better.
Make the stock. Omit if using ready made stock.
Heat oil in a large pot with a large surface area. Add the chopped onion, celery and the chopped up bacon, sauté for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent and render the bacon.
Add 5 tsp of the chili seasoning, mix. Add the crushed garlic cloves, mix.
Quickly add the tomatoes, stir. Add the tomato pure and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes make a nice sauce.
Add the carrots and enough stock so the liquid covers the soup well. Cook for 1 hour or until the carrots are soft.
Add the corn and the vegetables at the end so they can be cooked for 10-15 minutes.
My recipe today is potatoes with rosemary … yes that is it, just the two main ingredients plus the garlic, oregano and the salt. They should complement many winter meat or vegetarian dishes easily. I like using them in cooking because they both taste great and are good for digestion. I get very excited about rosemary in general as it has such rich and colorful history steeped in the culinary world, legends and folklore.
Rosemary is such a culinary delight, a popular plant in the kitchen especially during the colder months. Chefs use it in a wide variety of dishes from soups, bean dishes to meats particularly for lamb and chicken. It is not just used for enhancing the flavor of a dish but it also helps digestion. Also, it can preserve food, an important consideration in the old days before refrigerators were invented so I can imagine that rosemary was essential in a Medieval kitchen…
The aromatic rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has been around for thousands of years. It is native to the Mediterranean region. Its Latin name is derived from the words ‘ros’ which means dew, and ‘marinus’ that means sea and as its name suggest it can in fact survive on the spray of the sea air. Persian doctors valued it as one of their best remedies. It has also been recognized as a powerful medicine in the Mediterranean countries. Rosemary along with the other digestive remedies of the region like thyme, oregano, fennel have been used in the culinary world for their medicinal values. Earlier, the ancient doctors started using them in dishes so people could get their benefits on a daily basis. So yes we can thank these wise doctors for all these fabulous dishes.
Ancient cultures thought of rosemary as a protective plant that could ward off evil. If we look at all the benefits that rosemary has, this statement would become more clear and less mysterious. Its health benefits come from its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer abilities. It is also a restoring remedy as it can improve heart, liver, gallbladder, brain and kidney functions, circulation, digestion and the nervous system. It brings warmth to a cold, debilitated body. In the 13th century, Queen Elizabeth of Hungary claimed that rosemary wine was the secret to her long life and cured her paralyzed legs.
I’m now sitting here at my desk with a bunch of rosemary and sniffing its aromatic oils…
2 lbs of red potatoes
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
leaves of 4 stalks of fresh rosemary or 2 tsp of dried rosemary
1/4 cup of oil
Preheat oven to 475 F.
Soak the potatoes in cold water so the dirt can come off easily. I like to leave the peel on but if you prefer you can peel the potatoes without soaking. If using fresh, take the rosemary springs and pull the rosemary leaves back on the vine to get the leaves off. Cut the potatoes into cubes (halves and quarters) and put them in a larger bowl with the oil, crushed garlic, oregano, salt and the rosemary. Toss until the potatoes are well coated.
Oil a baking sheet and spread the potatoes on it.
Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tender. Flip the potatoes twice during baking to ensure even browning.
Hope you all had a lovely Holiday and got to eat lots of delicious food. Now I feel that it would be nice to eat something refreshing, more cleansing though … and turnip is a tasty vegetable that could be used. I always think of the Russian folk tale, The Giant Turnip when I hear the name, turnip. Also, the Russians have many sayings that include the word turnip like “this turnip seems to be as sweet as an apple for us” (“Нам и репка за яблочко кажет”) means that people do not need a lot of wealth to be happy. In fact, turnip is an important staple in the Northern countries like Russia. So let’s go to Russia and get their famous recipe for stuffed turnip.
This is a very simple dish at its best. The main ingredients are the nutty buckwheat, the earthy mushrooms and the pungent turnips that mainly create this special dish. There are no exotic ingredients or spices. Honestly, I only used thyme, salt and pepper to flavor.
I got this recipe from a website called http://www.Russianrecipebook.com but I made some minor changes. I cooked the buckwheat in stock instead of just water. I also reduced the amount of the mushrooms in my recipe. In addition, when cooking, you need to be careful with the turnips as they cook fast. They need to be boiled for only about 10-12 minutes to get the right consistency. Otherwise, it is a very easy and quick recipe. This dish is more like the everyday people’s food. I also like to make the stuffing with 1 cup of buckwheat (rest of the ingredients should be adjusted) so I can have some on the side as well.
Wonder if we had cooked tasty dishes like this in my Russian classes, I would speak Russian now …
Turnips have been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. A cold climate loving vegetable, it is native to Northern Europe and is still popular today. Turnips have many beneficial properties. They are great source of vitamins, minerals, anti oxidants and fiber and may be used among others for indigestion, detoxification, diabetes, jaundice. In Chinese Medicine, they have a neutral thermal nature and have pungent, sweet and bitter flavor at the same time. They are considered to be useful for their dispersing abilities in lung ailments; however, this quality is only available in its raw form. They are also used for improving circulation and remove damp conditions in the body. The green top is also valuable.
Serves about 2 people.
4 smaller-sized turnips or less if bigger
4 oz fresh mushrooms (I used crimini)
1/4 cup uncooked buckwheat (1/2 cup of cooked buckwheat)
1/2 cup of bone or vegetable broth or water
1/8 cup shallots or half of a small onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated cheese (mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, or parmesan for extra flavor)
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil and/or butter
1 tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme (optional)
Preparing the buckwheat
Clean buckwheat kernels and soak for a couple hours.
In a medium sized pot start boiling the stock or water. Add them to the boiling liquid and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Preparing the turnips
Clean well and peel the turnips. Boil them for about 10-12 minutes or until they are just soft enough to scoop out the insides. The bigger ones will take more time. This is the most difficult part of the recipe. You really need to keep an eye on those turnips, they should be somewhere slightly cooked. Try not to overcook them. When done, take out turnips and let them cool. You can put them in cold water.
Cut off enough of the bottoms to create a flat surface that will allow them to stand upright on a baking sheet. Save the cut portion. With a spoon and/or a small knife, scoop some of the flesh out of the top end to form a cup. Save the scooped flesh as well, they are so tasty. (You can scoop the inside of the turnip out with a watermelon scooper or a measuring spoon).
Preapring the stuffing.
Sautee the onions or shallots in some oil for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile thoroughly clean the mushrooms and chop them up. Add them to the onions and continue to sauté them for about 10 more minutes or longer for some wild mushrooms and then let them cool.
Add the cooked buckwheat, bread crumbs, grated cheese and the saved chopped turnip pieces. Mix well. I would like to invite you to take a bite of the stuffing, it is so delicious.
Stuffing the turnips
Preheat oven to 375°F.
On a well-greased baking sheet, arrange the turnips in an upright position with the scooped-out wider portions facing up (like cups). (I used tomato sauce for the bottom of the pan). Fill the turnips with stuffing. Ideally the stuffing should heap above the surface of the turnips, although this will depend on the size of the turnips, and the amount of stuffing.
Put a small piece of butter on top of each turnip and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, until the turnips are heated through and crusty on top. The turnips should not be raw but nicely baked. If it is still raw, just bake it a little longer.
Mushroom sauce recipe
4 ounces of mushrooms
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp dried sage or 2 fresh leaves
1/4 tsp of dried rosemary crushed or 1 fresh spring
1 Tbsp oil
1 cup of stock
1/4 cup of creme
While the stuffed turnip is baking, prepare the mushroom sauce. In a saucepan, warm oil over medium heat, add rosemary for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and mushrooms are well browned. Stir frequently. Add thyme, sage and let cook for one minute. Add stock, stir, and let simmer for 10 minutes and reduce heat to low.
Transfer half of gravy to a blender and puree until completely smooth. Add pureed mushrooms back into mushroom mixture and stir. See if you like the consistency. If not thick enough, puree a little more of the mixture.
Serve turnips hot, with sour cream and mushroom sauce. Decorate with parsley. I also made additional stuffing to serve on the side.
I figured folks might not be very interested in complex dishes after the holidays and I would like to spend time with my family, so I decided to post a recipe for something simple, making popcorn- the old fashioned way … no gadgets needed, just a pan with its lid that you already have in your kitchen.
Corn does not necessarily have a connection with the winter but I chose making popcorn for now because I enjoy listening to the popping sound that the corn kernels make as they are popping. As our lives are slowing down, our sense of hearing is more heightened, we can hear things that we might not have paid attention to before. And those warm popcorn straight out of the frying pan hmmmm so delicious ….
This is a nice and tasty snack to be enjoyed during the long winter nights. You can add a little butter, salt and pepper and other seasonings of your choice. I personally like to have it without anything added.
There are 4 things you should try to watch out for:
Pan should be hot before you put the kernels in.
Keep lifting the top of the pan to release the extra steam.
Keep shaking the pan to avoid the kernels from burning.
When the kernels stop popping, take the pot off immediately.
1/4 cup of corn or more if you have a bigger pan.
seasoning of your choice to taste
Heat up a pan or a pot with a lid. My pan is 10″ in diameter. When it feels hot, put in about 10 kernels for testing. After they start popping, shake the pot a little so your kernels don’t burn. When they stop popping pour them in a metal bowl.
Add in 1/4 cup of corn kernels. About every 1 minute, lift off the top of the pan allowing the steam to escape for one second until you stop hearing the kernels popping. Keep shaking the pan. When you start hearing the kernels pop less frequently, get ready to take pot off the burner.
Flódni is a unique traditional Jewish Hungarian dessert. The original recipe uses apples, poppy seed, walnuts, plum jam and all these ingredients are baked into a flour pastry. This recipe uses the three main ingredients: apples, poppy seeds and walnuts plus the plums but has no crust. It is a gluten free recipe, in fact it is a very clever gluten free twist to the original recipe as the carbohydrates come from the poppy seeds. Its sour, bitter and sweet flavors come together to give a distinct culinary experience.
Traditionally, it is made at the end of the year for Christmas and Hannukah but can be eaten any time during the year. It is filled with symbolic meanings for the end of the year. Each layer is rich and decadent and according to folk traditions can supposedly bring prosperity, health and protection for the entire family.
I was inspired by the recipe that came from a website – credited at the end. I have been making this delicious alternative at Christmas time for years. I made some changes to the original recipe. I moved some sugar from the nut filling into the poppyseed filling. I also added plums and some alcohol to the poppy seed filling as the original version calls for it and I believe they worked nicely here too. Oh and honestly adding a little ginger to the walnuts can do wonders.
200g (about 1 cup) poppyseeds
1 Tbsp melted butter (coconut oil for dairy free version)
4 eggs divided
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of thick plum jam or plum pieces
handful of raisins
peel and juice of 1 orange or lemon or both
2 Tbsp of rum (optional)
1 kg (about 7 medium) tasty cooking apples
1 Tbsp fresh ground ginger or 1.5 tsp dried ginger
2 Tbsp of sugar or honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 ground cloves
150 grams of ground walnuts
4 egg whites
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp dried cut and sifted ginger
Making the apples. Wash, peel and core the apples. Grade them through the large holes of a cheese grader. Add 2 Tbsp of rum, ginger, ground cinnamon and cloves, pinch of salt and 2 Tbsp of sugar/honey. Put the mixture in a medium sized pot and cook it on high medium heat until the liquid evaporates.
Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C).
Making the poppy seed layer. Grind poppy seeds. (Coffee grinder works well). Mix with the melted butter, 1/4 cup of sugar, egg yolks, plums, the raisins, rum, orange/lemon peel, pinch of salt and the juice of the orange or lemon. Beat the 3 egg whites until stiff. Gently fold it into the poppy seed mixture.
Spread the poppyseed mixture onto a lightly buttered baking pan (8×11.5×2″). Gently spread the apple mixture on top of the poppy seed mixture and place the dish in the preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
Walnut/egg white toping: Have the ground walnuts ready. By the end of the 40 minutes, beat the 4 egg whites until stiff. Gently fold in the walnuts and the 1/4 cup of sugar. Spread this mixture on top of the apples and put the dish back into the oven at 250F (120C) for another 30-40 minutes.
Let it cool and settle. Serve at room temperature.
The floral, earth flavored poppy seed (Papaver somniferum) is a popular winter food. I can’t imagine winter especially Christmas without it. It is often used in sweet savory dishes, like the poppyseed roll, beigli. The poppy seeds pair nicely with the sour sweet oranges along with some raisins in this tasty sweet dish from Hungary. Particularly, poppy seeds symbolize health, fertility and prosperity that are important themes for the Christmas and winter solstice celebration.
When I got married there were two desserts that I could make. One for the summer and the other for the winter and ooops I forgot one for birthdays. Of course, beigli was for the winter. Not sure how this worked out but I’m guessing it is because there is no Christmas without beigli and my husband picked up the tradition very quickly as well. I have to let you know that it takes 4-5 hours to make this dessert, of course most of this time is needed for letting the dough rise.
There is a little history. Poppy seeds have always been an important staple in the Hungarian cuisine. Beigli has been around for a while but no one knows the exact story behind it. One possibility is that it had originated in the old Hungarian city of Pozsony, today known as Bratislava that is now in the Czech republic. Beigli started appearing on the Christmas tables only about 200 years ago. Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time so it makes sense that so many other Central European countries make it for Christmas as well. According to historical counts, it was Franz Jozeph, one of the Austrian emperor’s favorite foods next to the isler and the sacher.
You will need to get a lot of poppy seeds. The little bottles that they sell at the supermarkets will not be enough as this recipe requires 10 oz. I purchased mine at penzeys.com but you should be able to find it in many smaller grocery stores. When I got poppy seeds recently at Penzey’s, the clerk checking me out reminded me that poppy seeds needed to be stored in the the freezer if not used up. Poppy seeds go rancid easily because of their high fat content. I told her that this will not be a problem because we eat it fast. Her mouth just dropped open. I bought almost 1 lb. Just warning you, you will need to get a lot of poppy seed, I know people in the US are not used to using so much.
The seeds will need to be ground as well. I have a vitamix that grinds poppy seeds beautifully. If you don’t have one, no worries! You can also use an electric coffee grinder. Supermarkets do sell canned ground poppy seed mixed with the sweeteners, flavorings, preservatives etc but you will not get the same results with those.
Hungarians are always worrying about cracks in the crust. If you follow my recipe below, you should fine. However, the tastiest beiglis I have eaten were cracked, like the one on the picture. I chatted with my kids and let the dough rise too long … but everybody commented it was one of the best I have ever made. They wanted to know what I did differently lol … My mom will probably comment on the appearance of my beigli but oh well. So there are some rules on how not to get cracks. For the records here they go …
Crust can crack if
dough had risen in a place that was too warm
the dough was left to rise too long
too much filling or sugar was used
work area was too warm
dough was not pricked on the sides
Let’s look at why our ancestors valued poppy seed so greatly. This plant is native to Western Asia and has been around for thousands of years… perhaps Hungarians had brought it from Asia when they were travelling from their previous place that they used to occupy in Asia. It is considered a significant source of food from carbohydrates, is abundant in vitamin B complex and E, iron, calcium, phosphorus and is rich in fatty acids. It is considered soothing and calming, boosts the immune system, supports brain, bone and heart health and can be helpful in the treatment of certain cancers.
Ancient Chinese Medicine considers it to be sour, neutral in energy and is associated with the Lung, Large Intestine and Kidney meridians. It has a kidney shape and is believed that it is benefial fot the kidneys.
Ayurveda, the ancient healing system of India believes it is beneficial for digestion and nourishes body fluids and the nervous system. Maybe a nice remedy to keep you calm during the holidays! Oh and it is also aphrodisiac!
Ingredientsfor the dough
500 g (4 cups) of organic flour (I used Bob’s Red mill)
25 dkg (18 Tbsp) butter
2 tsp dried yeast
2 large eggs
3-5 Tbsp sugar, regular granulated or powdered
1/2 cup (1dl) of milk
1/8 tsp or pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Ingredients for the filling
30 dkg (2 1/4 cups) ground poppy seed
3 dl (1 1/8 cup) milk
1 cup of sugar
peel of 1 orange or lemon or 3 Tbsp of dried peel
5 Tbsp of flour
1/2 cup of raisins or chunks of plums (you can leave it out if disliked)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Preparing the dough: Get the yeast started in the warm milk (104-108F). This is a temperature that should feel neither hot or cold on your wrist or when you stick your index finger in the solution. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm milk with 1 tsp of sugar, stir and cover for 5 minutes or until yeast comes up to the top. Meanwhile start sifting the pinch of salt and 3 Tbsp sugar into the flour. Then cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Add the eggs and the yeast mixture and quickly mix until a ball is formed. Let it rise for 2 hours, cover with a damp cloth.
Preparing the filling. Start preparing the filling right away because it has to cool. I would not make it ahead of time because it can dry out. If you start it right after you finished the dough, it should be fine. Grind the poppy seeds. Boil the 1 1/8 cups of milk, add the ground poppy seeds, orange peel (for me the more the better, I used 5 Tbsp of orange peel), sugar, flour and raisins. Mix and set it aside to let it cool.
Assembling the rolls. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and kneed shortly until they are smooth. Divide it into 2 bigger or 4 smaller pieces. For me it is too hard to get 4 equal sized balls so I either do 2 or 3 ball. Roll them out into a rectangular shape and spread half, third or quarter of the filling, respectively in about 0.5 cm thickness on the dough leaving about 1 inch from the edges. Please see picture for clarity. Start rolling the longer side not too tight but not loose either. Pinch the two sides so the filling cannot come out on the sides. Repeat with the others. Put the rolls on a lightly buttered cookie sheet so the rolled up edge is on the bottom of the cookie sheet. Do an egg wash with 1 egg and let the rolls rise in a coolish area (60-68 F) for 1 hour. Note the kitchen might be too hot for this step. Then spread 1 egg white on the rolls and cool in the fridge for a half hour. Preheat oven to 375 F. Before I put the rolls into the oven, I do another layer of egg white wash and prick the side on the sides 6-7 times to prevent cracking.
Baking the rolls. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Take out when done or when the surface has a beautiful golden finish. Try to avoid opening the stove door. Wait a good 20-30 minutes before cutting the slices.