Monthly Archives: September 2016

Raisin and Ricotta Cheese Blintzes

My livejournal was started years before I thought of writing a blog. There are lots of fun recipes there that I’d like to share here, but rather than rewriting them from scratch, I’m going to copy and paste a few of my favourites with minimal changes, interspersed with new material. My tamales post(s) was the first time I did so. I’ll also share recipes that I posted before I had a camera.

A basic crepe recipe can be modified in many ways to produce savoury and sweet dishes like the meat-filled Hungarian dish, Hortobágyi palacsinta, or Italian crepe manicotti, like this spinach and mushroom version.

This breakfast item, however, makes a great dessert.

My mom worked in the kitchen of a Jewish deli for over 20 yrs. In that time, she learned to make a LOT of Jewish dishes. She even cooked some of them for us. 🙂 But she never made these cheese blintzes, even though she obviously knew how to make amazing crepes.

You can use cottage cheese and cream cheese/mascarpone in the filling, but I went with an Italian ricotta cheese, as well as raisins.

Because blintzes are pan-fried in unsalted butter (or vegetable oil) before being served, the crepes are often only cooked on one side. You put the filling on the cooked side, wrap it up and then, when you fry the outside, it doesn’t get too brown. It also makes the crepes easier to roll, as they’re more flexible if only cooked on one side.

Raisin and Ricotta Cheese Blintzes – makes 10 blintzes

10 9-inch sweetened crepes, cooked on only one side
475 gm (~1 pound) ricotta cheese, well drained
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg
1 cup raisins (omit if you don’t like them)
1-2 tbsp unsalted butter

Garnish: powdered sugar, fruit sauce or sour cream

NOTE: I only added 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp sugar to the basic crepe recipe.

In a small bowl, add raisins and pour 1 cup boiling water over them. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain well (pat dry in a double thickness paper towel, if you wish) and let cool to room temperature.

Combine ricotta cheese, brown sugar, lemon zest and egg. Stir in raisins and refrigerate until ready to fill the crepes.

Divide the cottage cheese filling evenly among the crepes. You’ll probably use 3-4 tbsp for each one.

To assemble, spoon the filling in a rectangular block, in the central third of your crepe. Fold the bottom third up and over the filling. Fold in both the sides like you’re making an envelope and then fold the top third of the crepe down over the filling.

Assembly – Step 1

Assembly – Step 2

Assembly – Step 3

Assembly – Step 4

In a 9-10 inch non-stick pan, melt 1 tbsp of unsalted butter over medium-low heat.

Blintzes ready to fry – See how pale they are? They won’t be that way for long. 🙂

Put 2-3 filled blintzes, or as many as will fit comfortably, in the pan. You want to leave at least an inch between the blintzes so that you can flip them with a spatula. The crepes themselves are fragile, and the filling will be soft, so they may open and the filling will spill during flipping, if you’re too forceful.

Fry on each side, about 1 1/2-2 minutes, or until golden brown and the filling is cooked through. (If you’re concerned that the filling may not be set, since it’s still quite soft while hot out of the pan, place the finished blintzes on a microwave safe plate and cook for 1 minute on high. If feeding a crowd, you can arrange all of the pan fried blintzes on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 deg F oven, for 8-10 minutes.)

Fried blintzes

You may serve these blintzes warm out of the frying pan, or at room temperature, with icing sugar sifted over the top.

I like a spoonful or two of fruit topping over my blintzes, like this mixed berry sauce, but there are people who prefer sour cream

Cracker Jack/Caramel Corn

I haven’t made caramel corn in years!

And when I went looking for my mom’s roasting pan, it was nowhere to be found. I hope I didn’t give it away in the basement clearance, but I’m afraid that I did. So I had to halve the recipe below to fit into the largest baking dish I have with a raised edge. And then I remembered the aluminum foil roaster I used when I made the two babkas. Unfortunately, it was the same size as the baking dish … just barely large enough to hold the halved batch of popcorn. Since I couldn’t STIR the popcorn every 15 minutes as the recipe requires, in order to dry out the popcorn and the caramel coating, I ended up transferring the popcorn between the two baking dishes.

Caramel Corn – makes ~16 cups popcorn

1 cup popcorn kernels
2 cups brown sugar, packed firmly
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
1/2-1 tsp baking soda
2 cups unsalted, roasted and skinned peanuts (optional)

Spray a roaster with a capacity of about 20 cups with cooking spray or oil lightly.

Air pop the popcorn kernels and place them in the roaster. For the Cracker Jack version, stir the peanuts through the popcorn.

Preheat the oven to 250 deg Fahrenheit.

In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt to a boil, stirring continuously for 5 minutes. It will foam up and bubble vigorously so make sure you have lots of head room.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the vanilla and baking soda.

Pour caramel over the popcorn trying to distribute it as evenly as possible. If you have an extra pair of hands helping, have the other person stir to distribute the caramel as you pour, while it is still hot and liquid. It will harden very quickly and be impossible to redistribute.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes to break up the clumps, until done. Transfer to another container to cool.

Break apart any remaining clumps and store in an airtight container.

PS: Before I scrapped my sourdough starter, I took some pictures of the gluten strands in the glass jar. They looked very artistic, or is that artsy? What do they look like to you?

Bean Sprouts … what to do with them?

Whenever I make Pad Thai, I always have about a pound of bean sprouts to use up in a couple of days, before they go bad.

Usually, I make hot and sour soup, because I have things in the pantry to make it with. Like a can of bamboo shoots. Dried seaweed I can rehydrate in five to ten minutes. And diced tofu in the freezer, where I keep it for a quick pot of miso soup. I THOUGHT about making chop suey but, I didn’t have any protein thawed and limited time available, about half an hour.

Of course, summer rolls (the ones with the rice paper you have to soak) or egg rolls are a possibility too, but you have to plan ahead for them. And then there’s the frying with the latter.

What do YOU do with your bean sprouts if you buy them?