alexpgp: (Default)
Going through stuff continues, whereupon I have unearthed a small cache of recipes. One is for something called "Bavarian cream." I recall my grandmother making this once.


I have not read the recipe through to the end, and am looking at it for the first time as I type this post. My mother's index card is dated March 4, 1945.
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream (light)
  • 1 envelope gelatin (1 tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Mix eggs with sugar. Pour in milk and mix again. Pour gelatin into a glass and add warm water. (Put the glass into hot water to thoroughly dissolve the gelatin.) Put the egg-sugar-milk mixture into a saucepan and put it on a medium flame, stirring constantly. When the mixture thickens and starts to steam, remove it from the stove. Beat and let stand one minute. Pour gelatin into the custard and let it cool. Meanwhile, pour cream into a dish. Attempt to beat. To accelerate cooling of the custard, put the saucepan into cold water. When it is cool, add cream and mix. Get a larger saucepan full of ice and lower the custard saucepan into it. Stir. When the contents thicken, beat with an eggbeater. Put the saucepan into the refrigerator for a while (about an hour).
I seem to remember my grandmother scraped the insides of a vanilla bean and mixed the fine seeds into the sugar before mixing the sugar with the eggs.

I shall have to try this.



Mar. 5th, 2017 10:08 am
alexpgp: (Default)
I would have ventured to say that relatively few of us Americans have eaten fish eggs, but the widespread popularity of sushi cuisine would have put the lie to that assertion. Still, I believe few people in this country have eaten sturgeon caviar, which consists of fine black eggs and is hugely popular in Russia, where it goes by the name ikra (икра).

Apropos of which, for some time, I have wondered about the link, if any, between the Russian word ikra and the Japanese word for salmon eggs, ikura, commonly encountered in sushi restaurants. (According to Richard Blaine, writing for, ikura does, indeed come from Russian.) But I digress...

Genuine sturgeon caviar is expensive, for reasons that would probably fill a small book. There is, however, another kind of ikra that Russians revere, so called because—if you don't look too closely—the product exhibits numerous black specks of eggplant goodness.

You heard me right. Eggplant caviar.

And everyone seems to have his or her own recipe. Galina's, for example, includes finely chopped carrots and lots of tomato sauce.

Among my late mother's index cards is a recipe that she got from Mrs. Rennenkampf. It lacks the quantitative precision of the recipe presented a few days for okroshka, but it does seem very approachable.
Put an eggplant into boiling water and cover the pot with a lid. When the eggplant becomes soft (use a fork), draw and cool. Once cool, remove the skin. Put the eggplant through a grinder of chop it finely.

Take 2 large onions, chop them finely and fry in Mazola or Wesson oil until they are golden brown. Then add the chopped eggplant, some finely chopped green peppers, 2 cans of tomato sauce, and 2 scant tb of sugar. Cover the pan (saucepan) tightly and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. When almost ready, add garlic powder, dill, salt, and a little pepper.

The recipe does not really explain how much "some" chopped green pepper might amount to, or how to tell when this "caviar" is "almost ready," but these are not insurmountable problems.

I would whip up a batch later today, were it not for the fact that we are currently facing a food glut.

I'll put it on the list. :)



Feb. 25th, 2017 11:15 am
alexpgp: (Default)
There was a time my mother apparently took an earnest interest in cooking and wrote down recipes for various dishes on index cards. (That said—and I do not mean this as criticism—our diet during the time I grew up was pretty bland and predictable, but I think that had more to do with my stepfather's wishes than anything else.)

I ran across one such card with a recipe for a cold soup called okroshka, apparently told to my mother by her friend Mrs. Rennenkampf, and it goes about like this:
2 c of cold diced meat (almost any kind can be used—beef, veal, tongue, ham, chicken, duck), or two kinds
3 tb minced scallions
1 t minced tarragon
1 t minded dill (optional)
1 t salt
1 t sugar
freshly ground pepper
3 tb sour cream
1 t prepared mustard
1 t lemon juice
1 t vinegar
2 small cucumbers, diced
1/2 dill pickle, diced
2 cups consommé (white or canned)
1-1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 c ice water
1 c sparkling water
1 c crushed ice
2 hard-cooked [sic] eggs, chopped

Begin by putting minced scallion, tarragon, and dill in a large bowl. Add salt, sugar, and a dash of pepper and mash well with a wooden spoon. Add mustard, sour cream, lemon juice, and vinegar. Stir thoroughly. Put in diced meat, cucumber, pickle (peeled and diced), the consommé, wine, and ice water. Chill at least 4 hours. Add sparkling water, crushed ice, and hard-cooked eggs just before serving.

You know, this looks eminently easy to do.


UPDATE: Galina says that the soup she is familiar with uses diced lunch meat, e.g., sausage, salami, bologna, ham, etc.
alexpgp: (In there)
Something found typewritten, on an odd scrap of paper, most assuredly something of my mother's, from a time I assume she assiduously pursued the middle-class, Ozzie-and-Harriet dream (though it may very well be that my assumption is dead wrong, too).
Sunshine Punch

6 oranges
6 lemons
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 quarts ginger ale
1 quart charged water

Boil sugar and water to a syrup and cool. Add orange and lemon juice. Place in large punch bowl over cake of ice, add ginger ale and lastly the charged water and serve at once.
I wonder if this will taste any different if I pay cash for the water? <rimshot>

alexpgp: (Default)
None of the recipes that keep cropping up on odd pieces of paper represent any kind of haut cuisine, but it beats the heck out of not knowing how to cook at all. I just ran across something I can't wait to try, once I have a kitchen in which to work.
Lamb Stew

1-1/2 lb.lean lamb (part of a leg) for stewing
2 or 3 potatoes
3 carrots
2 onions
2 small parts garlic, cut up (optional)
some dill (optional)
string beans or green pepper (optional)

Wash all ingredients and put all in together into cold water. Cook about an hour and a quarter.
Apropos of dinner, we had stuff mostly out of plastic bags from Costco. Yech.

I'm about halfway through what needs to be done before I call it a night. I have not been particularly aggressive about it, but now that it's 9:15 pm, I better start hunkering down.

alexpgp: (Default)
The plate is empty (though I have yet to invoice the latest work), and the lingering accomplishment of the day was the use of the cliché "eyewash and window dressing" in a translation. (This, after struggling to remember the formulation to begin with.)

Galina dragged me out of the house to go look at things that we'll likely have to shell out for, and the stroll around the IKEA store in Hicksville was enough to well and truly tire me out. Among other things, the kitchen, which was supposed to be here on the 11th, will be here on Monday.

I am truly amazed at all the little things that need to be addressed in the house, all the more so if we're to rent it for the summer months. (Just as I'm getting used to the place... again.)

Last night, something was apparently prowling around the house, as Shiloh kept jumping on top of the couch in my office - the better to look out the window - and erupting in a short growl every few seconds. With the lights off and me helping look out the window, I could see nothing moving under the nearly full moon.

I ran across one of my mother's recipes, typed on a yellowing 3x5 index card, for "Lamb Hearts Chez Nous." It's a fairly simple recipe, except that neither supermarket in the area carries lamb hearts (heck, they barely carry beef heart), and in calling one of the few remaining independent butcher shops in the area, I was told they hadn't stocked lamb hearts in years. (I'm figuring I can probably replace the lamb with beef, but still...)

There's a second card, with a recipe for "My Own Clam Chowder," as follows:
12 to 18 large clams
2 or 3 large onions, sliced and fried lightly in butter
4 or 5 carrots, sliced and halved (large)
2 or 3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 leek, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
about 1/2 lb of fresh peas, shelled
a generous handful of string beans, cut
2 to 3 stalks of celery, sliced
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 white turnip, cubed

Fry onions well, prepare vegetables and put all into a large pot. Cover with water just enough to cover. After 45 min, add clams, cut into halves. (The clams you steam open after washing them with a brush and putting them into a pot with about 1-1/2 in of water on the bottom.) Strain the clam juice through 4 layers of cheesecloth and some cotton. Add about 1 cup of clam juice to the chowder (not too much, or else it will be too strong). Melt the butter, add 4 tbsp of flour. Add 1/2 cup or so of milk or light cream. To that, add 1 can of tomato sauce. Let it cook a few minutes and then add it to the chowder. Cook for 10 more minutes.
I am thinking of making this soup this weekend, except that we've been eating a lot of soup lately, and may be, um, "souped out." We'll see.

One of these days I need to see about "capturing" Galina's recipe for borshch.

alexpgp: (Default)
So let me see if I can make sense of a recipe scrawled in pencil on an index card that has turned yellow with age.

Bavarian Cream

2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup light cream
1 envelope gelatin
1/4 cup warm water
Mix eggs with sugar. Pour in milk and mix again. Put gelatin into glass and add 1/4 cup warm water. Put glass into hot water to thoroughly dissolve the gelatin. Put milk-egg-sugar mixture into saucepan and cook with medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture thickens and starts to steam, remove it from the heat. Beat and let it stand 1 minute. Pour gelatin into the custard. Let it cool.

In the meantime, pour cream into dish. Attempt (!) to beat. To accelerate cooling of the custard, put the saucepan into cold water. When it is cool, add cream and mix. Get a saucepan of ice and lower the custard saucepan into it. Stir. When the contents thicken, beat with an eggbeater and put in refrigerator for an hour or so.

Comments: I seem to recall my grandmother making this when I was a kid, and helping her scrape out the inside of a vanilla bean, the stuff of which she then mixed with the sugar. Also, I don't quite understand the part about "attempting" to beat the cream. Might that mean something like "beat the cream, but don't try to make whipped cream out of it"?

This looks easy enough, though if truth be told, the only ingredient I think I have in the house at the moment is the sugar.



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