Two Items Become Six

This day has been great. Even though three times bad dreams and visits to the john interrupted my sleep. I punched in early at Santa’s factory and finished a series of baby steps on my latest project. I punched out by two p.m. and had lunch with Peggy. Afterwards I scoured the news sites and cleaned e-mails. The afternoon was late but still sunny, so I asked Peg to go for a ride.

We headed south and east making a huge square around the proposed third airport site in south-east Cook County. The farmers are just starting to harvest the corn and beans. We ended the tour by driving down Aberdeen Road in Frankfort. It is beautiful just as the sun falls below the tree line and casts deep long shadows across the emerald-green lawns. Oh how I miss living there. On our arrival home I immediately went to my mother’s old green covered Hungarian cook book, and found the recipe for Turos palacsinta (Crepe suzettes with cottage cheese). I scoured the frig and the pantry for ingredients and discovered I lacked two items. Off to the grocery store to buy two items. Six items later we left Mariano’s for the kitchen. My stomach told me I should not begin cooking a complicated thing like crepes at seven p.m. The last time I made them was in 2006, or in other words a long time ago. The recipe remained open next to me until I finished. Peg assisted by cleaning and cutting strawberries (item three in the basket) for the topping. We finally sat down to eat by eight o’clock. By the time we ate, and cleaned up the big hand stood straight up and the little hand pointed directly at the nine.

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Left over Crêpe Suzette

Occasionally I need an ethnic food fix, and the crepes were it today.

P. S. Items four, five and six were a raspberry coffee cake, a pound of thick sliced bacon, and a quart of pistachio mint ice cream. They all had Peg’s finger prints on them.

I Watched Mom Make Thousands of Them

Santa let me out of the workshop just long enough to bake some cookies for Christmas. It was a special day. I picked up my nine-year old grand-daughter from school and we came to Santa’s kitchen to bake a special recipe.

As a kid, I watched my mother bake often. She was expert at making delectable goodies which I loved to devour. One of them is kifli, or crescents. They are squares of dough rolled over a filling. My favorite filling is walnut. My job for Mom began by cracking hundreds of walnuts to pick out the meat. I’m sure that out of every pound of nuts Mom got about nine-tenths of it for baking. The other tenth went down the hatch, hymmmm. Over the course of her lifetime, Mom made thousands of these cookies. She never tired of it. The faster we devoured them the more proud she was. I helped her many times and watched her make those thousands. I testify to eating thousands too. Although my favorite filling is walnut, she made apricot, poppy-seed, and prune filling also. All are delicious.

This was a special adventure for me because even though I watched Mom make these cookies often, I never made them myself. It has been sixty years since I witnessed the action in her kitchen. All I have is a faint memory, and her Hungarian recipes.

I taught grand-daughter how to grind nuts, separate yolks from whites, how to make meringue, and how to roll dough. My daughter cooks with Jenna often, so when my Jenna works with me she comes as an accomplished kitchen worker. One mix of dough gave us six small batches of about a dozen cookies each. By the sixth batch our kifli began to look like the ones Mom made. We didn’t roll the dough thin enough on the first batch, the crescents looked like doughy bread. On the second batch we cut the squares too small and we had trouble rolling them. By the third batch we got the dough thin enough, but over compensated on the size of the squares. Anyway, by number six we got the dough thin enough, and the squares just the right size. Thankfully, we didn’t over bake any, and they came out a light golden color.

I used one of the eight recipes for kilfi shown in Mom’s cookbook, the one with the green cover. The ladies of the Dorcas Guild of the Magyar United Church of Christ who compiled the recipes must each have had their own recipe, and to save argument, they published all eight. The cook book is only forty-four pages long but is has the basics for any Hungarian palette.

Here is the recipe in all its simplicity.

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Sprinkle the finished product  generously  with powdered sugar to make a scrumptious treat. I can’t honestly say which batch these kifli are from. No matter, I’m enjoying them just like I did Mom’s.

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