Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Every month, I’m lucky enough to get the newest Bon Appetit in my mailbox (subscribe here). I always look through it and bookmark all the recipes I want to try. There are way too many, so I like to try at least one recipe from each issue. Back in November, I saw a recipe for a gratin and knew I had to try it. I just didn’t know it would take me MONTHS to actually do it. Not that it was hard or anything, but there are just SO many recipes on my to do list that I don’t always get around to making some until way later than I want. And sometimes when new recipes come along and the ingredients are already in my pantry, older ones just get pushed aside (but never forgotten, because of course I write them down).

Does anyone know a good way to cure myself of this too-many-recipes-on-my-to-do-list syndrome? That doesn’t involve turning off food network or browsing cookbooks. Because otherwise I would be bored. Continue reading

Noodles and Kelsonnes, Revisited

A while back, Stephanie posted about kelsonnes, a traditional Syrian stuffed pasta dish. While many people use pre-made dough, making it from scratch is not so hard. It’s pasta that you can make without a pasta maker, so it’s totally worth it. The stuffed pasta is so giant that you get a ton of cheese, which is amazing. We usually eat these with egg noodles baked with butter. The buttery noodles get nice and crispy, mmm.

The recipe said that it yields 60 kelsonnes. I made 50. It really depends on the thickness of the dough. And no, I don’t serve/eat all of them at once. I usually make about 4 per person (of course we serve this alongside other traditional Syrian foods) and freeze the rest for an easy dinner later in the week.

I made individual bowls of noodles and kelsonnes here. You really don’t have to do that, but I like to take advantage of my oven proof bowls, so I do. If doing it this way, reduce the oven time and watch them closely. You don’t to burn the noodles too much!

Kelsonnes, adapted from the red Deal Delights cookbook:

For the dough:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 2 cups water

For the filling (I cut the original recipe in half for you – otherwise there is WAY too much leftover cheese):

  • 1 pound meunster cheese, grated finely (I use the grating disc in my food processor), about 5 cups
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

1. Make the dough: combine flour, eggs, and salt. Add the water in a slow stream and mix together until you get a soft dough.

2. Combine filling ingredients, set aside.

3. Split the dough in half and roll out each half of the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.

4. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture every 3 or so inches on half the dough (make sure you have enough room to close the dough between – see picture).

5. Cover the mounds with the other half of the dough.

6. Cut out the rounds with a round cutter (about 2 1/2 inch).

7. Repeat with remaining dough.

To assemble the dish:

For 4 people you will need:

  • 1 pound bag egg noodles
  • 12-20 kelsonnes, depending on how much your eaters like them
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Some salt

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

3. When boiling, add the kelsonnes. Boil for 5 minutes before adding the pasta.

4. Boil according to the time written on the package. Drain.

5. Combine butter, a pinch of salt, noodles and kelsonnes in a large casserole. Mix until the butter melts.

6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until the top noodles begin to brown and get crispy.

Potato Gratin

Before we share a recipe with you, please join us in wishing our sister Rayna a very happy birthday!

And a happy Hanukkah to everyone!

Now, back to food:

When we were in Ireland, we had the most delicious potato gratin at a little cafe on Inishmore, the largest of a group of islands called the Aran Islands. We had to take a ferry there from where we were staying in the amazing town Doolin, and the water was rough, but this recipe was worth getting seasick on the trip back. We spent the day exploring a place much more remote than the island we live on, seeing beautiful old sites and gorgeous green views! This gratin was one of the only vegetarian things on the menu at the cafe, and one of the few things that didn’t include sausage, which is why we ordered it. After the first bite I asked them how the prepared it; I had to recreate it at home!

The beautiful prehistoric ring fort, Dún Aengus:

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Meatless Mondays: Spanach Jibben

We just hate all those commercials about how gross vegetables are that they have to hide them in gross fruit drinks! We love vegetables, so here’s a traditional Syrian way to eat them. It’s an easy way to get spinach into your diet, even for those picky eaters, and a great Meatless Monday dinner! Continue reading

Quesadillas

You can put almost anything inside two tortillas and pan-fry them. The insides get gooey and the outsides get crisp and you can cut them into tiny wedges and they will be delicious.

quesadillas

I prepared six of these in advance, fried them up a few hours before I was ready to serve them, and then heated them on a cookie sheet immediately before serving. Continue reading

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is really very easy to make. It’s also really expensive at the supermarket. I decided to give homemade a try, and the result was soft and creamy, a perfect filling for my manicotti dinner!

ricotta_cheese
Basically, all you have to do is heat milk. I chose whole milk because that’s what I had, but you can use  any – skim, heavy cream, or a combination.

Do not let the mixture boil.

When it is just before the boiling point, add a teaspoon of acid. I used lemon juice, but you can just as easily use vinegar. Watch the curds and whey separate (it’s very cool!). Let the mixture sit for a while and then drain it in a cheesecloth (or paper towel) lined sieve.

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Noodles and Kelsonnes

These baked egg noodles and kelsonnes (kel-SON-ess) are easy and delicious. We keep the ravioli-like envelopes in the freezer and boil them with the noodles for a quick dinner.

The crunchy and almost burnt parts are my favorite.

The crunchy and almost burnt parts are my favorite.

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