Monthly Archives: July 2013

Crisco and Crackers: The Food World of Paula Deen

When I announced to my family that I was going to do a Paula Deen post, they were not particularly supportive. To quote Jessie’s text message: “I don’t exactly have high cookbook standards and I have never been tempted to buy one of her cookbooks!” Danny suggested that I should take the same approach to Paula Deen and her recent remarks as Nancy Pelosi took regarding Michelle Bachmann’s remarks on the DOMA decision: “Who cares?” However, I have laid down my rules for this blog: I must cook at least two recipes from every cookbook I own (if at all possible), and report on the results. I happen to own three Paula Deen cookbooks, and so my course is set.

I do not intend to get into the question of whether Paula is a sassy Southern “lady” or a racist redneck; nor will I discuss the morality of being a closet diabetic for three years while promoting a diet that almost guarantees succumbing to type 2 diabetes. I will also attempt to resist making fun of Paula, as she is just too easy a target. To be positive, it is easy to admire Paula for developing her vast food empire from absolutely nothing, and she appears to be loyal to and supportive of her family.

The obvious question is: how did I end up with three Paula Deen cookbooks? Two of them were mistakes: they were book club selections that I did not decline in time. The Lady & Sons Just Desserts I actually decided to keep; it has some of the same attraction that community cookbooks often have. Even if the recipes are not great, this type of cookbook reflects (sometimes rather horrifyingly) the way real people cook and eat, and is of anthropological interest. As for Paula Deen Celebrates!, I do not remember why I did not return it, but I should have done so. Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, named one of the five unhealthiest cookbooks of 2011 by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, was actually an intentional purchase, as I approve of her visible ghost author, Melissa Clark.

It turned out to be quite difficult to find things to cook from these books. Paula has been lambasted for her overuse of sugar and butter; I find her use of vegetable shortening (i.e., Crisco), saltine crackers (I’m not sure if any other cookbooks I own have an entry for “saltine crackers” in the index), and lots and lots of processed ingredients much more problematic. Nevertheless I persevered: I looked for recipes without noxious ingredients; I looked for recipes that were standards; I looked for recipes that I thought Paula had just copied from someone else and never cooked herself. I ended up with two amazingly good desserts, a cole slaw that definitely merits a place on my slaw rotation, and a very good tomato soup. There were also a couple of dishes that Henry, a world class picky eater, enjoyed, as well as a satisfactory macaroni salad, and a total loser of a hot pasta dish. There was not much else, though, that I found of interest in these books, except for a novel apple butter-pumpkin pie, that I may make at some future date. Also, after eating this food, I did feel the need to get up and run eight miles the next morning.

deen dessertsThe Lady & Sons Just Desserts is the earliest and best of the three cookbooks. This book, which originally came out as a spiral bound book in 2002, is somewhat charmingly unprofessional. There are two sections of unattractive color photos, heart-warming (if you are a Paula fan) family stories, and helpful hints, which I found somewhat unhelpful. Recipe headnotes are often scant or absent; the lengthier ones usually credit the source of the recipe (which is good), or tell a restaurant story. As for the recipes, there are some really scary ones! The recipe for “Gooey Butter Cakes”, one of Paula’s signature recipes, is for a tricked out cake mix with an extra half pound of butter and pound of sugar. “Peach Cobbler” calls for a large can of peaches in heavy syrup: aren’t there any fresh peaches in Georgia? The ingredients for “Cherry Torte” include broken saltine crackers, a tub of Dream Whip, and two cans of cherry pie filling.  Not everything in the book, though, is completely processed or fake.

pearcakexxxI’m not sure that Paula Deen would recognize my version of “Fresh Pear Cake” (page 38). Actually, I’m not even sure that this is a recipe she has ever made, since it calls for fresh, not canned (in heavy syrup) pears. I halved the sugar, going from two cups to one cup. I thought about reducing the oil, but the recipe called for the same amount of oil I use for carrot cake, which I had tried, without success, to reduce. Thus I settled for using walnut oil, more expensive than Wesson oil, but lots more flavorful and healthy. I think I ended up using more pears also. The resulting cake was so delicious. Danny commented that Paula Deen really knew how to get the right amount of sweetness. I laughed and laughed.

chesspieThe first time I had chess pie was when I was ten, on a family visit to High Point to see relatives: Aunt Jessie, Cousin Lettie, and Dorothy (an archetypical female trio if ever there was one). Chess pie is a plain pie, composed of eggs, butter, and sugar, as well as a tiny bit of cornmeal and appropriate flavors: vinegar for plain, or lemons for lemon chess pie, chocolate for chocolate chess pie. Proportions in chess pie recipes vary; Paula’s recipe (a lemon chess pie) is heavy on the sugar, light on the butter. She says her recipe is 60 years old; it is identical to the lemon chess pie recipe in Prudence Hilburn’s A Treasury of Southern Baking. Their ingredients are: 2 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon cornmeal, 1 tablespoon flour, a pinch of salt, ¼ cup melted butter, ¼ cup milk, 4 eggs, and the juice and grated zest of 2 lemons (Prudence gives volume measurements for juice and zest). Mix it up, pour it into a partially baked pie shell (homemade, please), and bake at 350º for 30 to 40 minutes. Who needs convenience food when something this good can be so easy? Nobody pretends that chess pie is health food. I have made it perhaps three times in the last thirty years, but I like it so very much. I encourage the curious to do a Google search on chess pie to find out a bit of its history and some other recipes.

I should note that Paula Deen never, in this cookbook, gives a stand alone recipe for pie crust, and is very inconsistent in specifying crusts for her various pies. This, to me, is a sign of bad (or nonexistent) editing. I suspect that Paula usually uses store-bought frozen crusts, as her “tip”, to run the unbaked crust under the broiler before filling, simply does not work for homemade unbaked pie crusts.

pala deen celebratesIt would be incorrect to say that Paula Deen Celebrates! was a disappointment, since I was not expecting much. The most positive thing I can think to say about this book is that Paula’s make-up artist applied considerably less make-up to Paula’s eyes than for photos in subsequent books. The book is arranged according to various celebration events, only one or two of which (out of twenty-one) I might even begin to consider observing. (Elvis’s birthday? Sunday afternoon football party? Okay; I know her fans lead different lives.) The book is studded with “Paula’s Pearls of Wisdom” and “Brandon’s Decorating Tips”, and there are lots of family photos. As in the previous book, there are two sections of unattractive color photos, including one of radioactive “Crème de Menthe Brownies”. It was a problem finding recipes, but I eventually tried three (three!) recipes.

“Macaroni Salad” (page 138) looked safe, and safe it was: macaroni plus vegetables and hard boiled eggs, in a sour cream-mayonnaise dressing. Paula used three parts sour cream to one part mayonnaise; I think that I would have preferred these proportions reversed. But this salad was perfectly adequate as far as macaroni salad goes.

olivethings“Baked Olive Puffs” (page 135) were a little strange. Pimiento stuffed green olives are encased in a cheesy pastry. Both Danny and Henry were quite surprised to bite into one of these and find the big green olive. Henry, however, ate these up during his midnight maraudings, so there is some virtue to these things.

 

biscuitsxSeveral moths ago, I saw some King Arthur unbleached (I don’t like to use bleached) self-rising flour at Hiller’s, our local grocery. I grabbed some up, since lots of British cookbook authors (e.g., Nigella Lawson) call for self-rising flour. I know I can just add baking powder and salt to all-purpose flour, but it’s easier not to, and I assume that self-rising flour is made with softer wheat. Thus I was primed to try out Paula’s “Buttermilk Biscuits” (page 28). Paula’s recipe is identical to the one on the bag of flour, except she doubles the amount of fat, and adds a little bit of sugar. Paula, of course, calls for vegetable shortening; I used butter. Hot homemade biscuits are pretty good; these were no exception. I made these in the food processor, and I think the time to make these is when you already have the food processor out to make something bready such as pie crust. Pulsing the butter and flour, then adding the buttermilk and pulsing a little more is no more work than cracking open a tube of pre-made over-salted artificial-tasting biscuits from the grocery.

Paula Deens Southern Cooking BiblePaula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible is presumably Paula’s magnum opus, although she is busy enough with her other projects that I wonder how much she actually had to do with it. Her publishers found for Paula a well-established ghost author, well-established enough to have her name mentioned (and I think that Melissa Clark should perhaps think twice in the future as to just where she wants her name to appear). It is surprising that for as important (?) a book as this that Paula’s publishers did not try to integrate the photos, but like the previous two books there are just the two section of unattractive color photos. This book has over 300 recipes, and I would not be surprised if there were at least that many uses of the contraction “y’all”. There are plenty of dropped “g”s also, so we may well imagine Paula talking to us in her folksy manner (as, no doubt, scripted by Melissa). Some of the 300 recipes are indubitably Paula’s: we get a variation on “Gooey Butter Cakes”, namely, “Ooey Gooey Butter Layer Cakes”. I am not sure that Paula has been near some of the other recipes, but since Melissa chose them to match Paula’s style, they are still pretty terrible. I did find two very nice recipes, though.

deenslaw“Coleslaw with Raisins. Dill, and Honey-Roasted Peanuts” (page 49) looked like just another cole slaw, and since I disliked the currants in Mollie Katzen’s cole slaw, I was expecting to dislike the raisins in this one. But somehow this cole slaw worked! Or at least, the version I made worked. I salted my cabbage, and used more vegetables or, equivalently, less dressing. I could not find Paula’s honey-roasted peanuts in the bins at Whole Foods Market, and so had to settle for maple syrup-roasted cashews. At some point, I started preferring agave syrup to sugar as a slaw sweetener, and so I used that here. And, by the way, raisins are a lot better than Zante currants, which are not really currants at all but just small tasteless raisins. Finally, I must give Paula (or Melissa) credit for not going overboard with the sugar.

deensoupWe all liked “Creamy Creole Tomato Soup” (page 83). The title of the recipe says it all: it’s just a standard cream of tomato soup (which one could make lower fat by just using milk instead of cream) with “Cajun seasoning”. I found some product at the grocery called “Creole seasoning” that provided a low level but pleasing amount of heat.

 

badpasta“Pasta with Creamy Primavera Sauce” (page 112) was totally tasteless. This is a pasta with not particularly spring-like vegetables in a cream and Parmesan sauce, with a gratuitous chunk of cream cheese thrown in. I can only imagine eating leftovers of this with a generous squirt of sriracha.

Thus I finish my Paula Deen adventures. The conclusion I reach is that she doesn’t have many recipes that I want to try, but there are amongst the few that I do want to try some good recipes, at least if modified to my taste.

 

Pear Cake

Adapted from Paula Deen, The Lady & Sons Just Desserts

1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1½ cups walnut oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 pears

Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter or otherwise grease up a Bundt pan. (I used Spectrum spray on coconut oil.)

Mix the dry ingredients together. Beat together the oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix together. The batter will be thick and clumpy at this point. Peel, quarter, and core the peaches. Chop up the pears, preferably in the food processor, into small pieces. Stir into the batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done. The cake will be quite moist, so you do not want to err on the side of being underdone.

 

Buttermilk Biscuits

Adapted from Paula Deen with Martha Nesbit, Paula Deen Celebrates!

1 cup unbleached self-rising flour (e.g., King Arthur)
1 teaspoon sugar
2-4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pulse the flour, sugar, and butter together until the butter is in small pieces, with the largest piece of butter about the size of a popcorn kernel. Add the buttermilk and pulse just until the dough comes together. You may have to dribble in a little more buttermilk. Remove the dough from the food processor and gently shape into a rectangle. Cut the rectangle into six square biscuits. Put on the baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, until nicely browned.

I halved the standard recipe because we don’t eat that many biscuits, and these are best served hot out of the oven. You can easily double these amounts, or even use a larger factor.

 

Cole Slaw

Adapted from Paula Deen with Melissa Clark, Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible

1 cabbage (small to medium)
Salt
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
Black pepper
2 carrots
1 sweet onion (e.g., Vidalia)
Fresh dill
½ cup raisins
½ cup maple syrup-roasted cashews (or honey-roasted peanuts)

Shred the cabbage and rub in about one tablespoon of salt. Let the cabbage sweat for at least half an hour. Then rinse, squeeze, and drain the cabbage.

Mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, agave syrup, and a few grinds of pepper for the dressing.

Peel the carrots and onion and chop them into chunks. Add to the food processor together with a handhul of dill with the thick stalks removed. How much depends on how much you like dill. Pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped. For the last few pulses, toss in the raisins. Alternatively, grate the carrots and chop up the onions and dill by hand. Whack the bag yopu have the nuts in a few time with a rolling pin to break them up.

Combine all the ingredients.

Joyce Goldstein: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean

About twelve years ago Joyce Goldstein came out with three beautiful and wonderful cookbooks, now unfortunately and undeservedly out of print: Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen (1998), Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean (2000), and Saffron Shores: Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean (2002). The recipes in these books are, for the most part, traditional, tweaked for maximum flavor and adapted for the modern kitchen. Although not vegetarian, there is plenty for the vegetarian in these pages. I found myself paging through these cookbooks, marking recipe after recipe as ones I must try. All the recipes are kosher, and Joyce provides in each volume a brief introduction to the Jewish dietary laws. One caveat, which Joyce mentions in passing but does not elaborate on: many of the recipes which Joyce labels kosher for Passover are kosher only by Sephardic and not by Ashkenazic standards.

cucina-ebraica-flavors-of-the-8744l1Cucina Ebraica, as the subtitle indicates, deals with the cooking of the Italian Jews. As we learn in the introduction, the Jews of Italy fall into three main categories: the Italkim, on the Italian peninsula since the second century B.C.E., the Sephardim, arriving with the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, and the Ashkenazim, who began showing up in the fourteenth century. We find herein many familiar Italian dishes that are of Jewish origin: ingredients, such as rice, artichokes, pumpkin, or eggplant are a giveaway, as well as cooking techniques: frying is one such technique. Then there are the Italian dishes adapted to conform to Jewish dietary laws, with, for example, meat broth replaced by a vegetable broth, or a cheese sauce replaced by an egg sauce. Of course, there are the Italian dishes that are kosher without any changes, and that everyone eats. This book does not cater to the twenty-first century fondness for a color picture for every recipe, although there are colored photos interspersed throughout the text. The headnotes for the recipes do far more for me than a photo, and not only provide a description enticing me to try the recipe, but give some background on the recipe.

sephardicIn Sephardic Flavors, Joyce gives the same treatment to the food of the Jews of Greece, the Balkans, and Turkey, parts of the Ottoman Empire that absorbed many of the Jews of Spain and Portugal. Her brief historical introductions, “The Jews in Spain and Portugal”, “The Sephardim of the East”, and “The Sephardim in the United States” are informative and a pleasure to read. The recipes in this book are a bit less familiar than those in its predecessor, as the cuisines highlighted are less familiar, at least to me. Still, on page after page are inviting recipes. One thing that I do not like in this book is the photo of the unhappy dead fish on page124.

saffron-shores-jewish-cooking-of-8670l3To complete a circle around the Mediterranean, the third volume, Saffron Shores, covers the cooking of the Jews of the Maghreb (Northern Africa). If I had to pick a favorite of these three books, this would be it. I really like the flavors: olives and oranges, cumin, mint, and lots of olive oil. And of course, there is the hallmark of North African cooking, preserved lemons. I have yet to make my own, but I will have to do so someday, since I cannot help but suspect that the ones I buy are not quite as good as they could be. Joyce has instructions for preserved lemons that seem easy enough to follow (page 50): pack the lemons with salt and pour lemon juice over all.

Moroccan Chopped Salad

Moroccan Chopped Salad

Saffron Shores has a lot of good salad recipes: I tried three Moroccan salads. The “Moroccan Chopped Salad” (page 78) is just a standard chopped salad: tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, etc., but what makes this chopped salad special is the addition of preserved lemon. When I served this salad at lunch, there were no leftovers. There were leftovers of “Moroccan Orange Salad with Olives” (page 76), which was good since this one was my favorite. Oranges and olives are one of those improbable

Moroccan Orange Salad with Olives

Moroccan Orange Salad with Olives

pairings that are absolutely perfect together. The third salad, “Moroccan Carrot Salad with Cumin” (page 74), I first made many years ago. A Moroccan Jewish woman had brought a similar dish, half cooked carrots submerged in spicy olive oil, to a communal meal, and they were incredibly tasty. I went home, and immediately opened up Saffron Shores to this recipe.  The Tunisian version, given as a variation, is more exciting, with harissa and extra garlic.

Cheese Filled Pastries

Cheese Filled Pastries

The “Arabic Filled Pastries”, or “Sambusaks”, also from Saffron Shores (page 62) are the sort of food that I could happily nibble all day. The recipe here is for bite sized turnovers consisting of a filling of feta cheese, eggs, and mint in a butter and olive oil crust. My first attempt to make these did not quite work out because I had made the dough the day before and refrigerated it. Even after letting the dough warm up back to room temperature, it was nearly impossible to work with. The pastries were so good, however, and I had leftover filling, so I made another half batch. This time I did not refrigerate the dough, and it behaved much better. I also used white whole wheat flour for half the flour and I had to add significantly more water than specified in the recipe in order to get the “very soft” dough that the recipe describes.

Pizza Ebraica

Pizza Ebraica

A long time favorite in our house from Cucina Ebraica is “Pizza Ebraica di Herbe” (page 34). This is a double crusted tart with a filling of parsley, spinach, peas, and artichokes. “Ebraica”in the title of this recipe refers to the artichokes. I only started cooking with artichokes when I started making this tart, and I am still amazed and somewhat troubled by the amount of artichoke that has to be discarded to get to the edible part. Plus, it is something of a pain to pull off all those leaves in order to get to the

Filling for Pizza Ebraica

Filling for Pizza Ebraica

edible part. Despite this, I have learned not to use canned or frozen artichoke hearts for this tart, as they lead to a distinctly inferior filling.

There are two vegetable recipes from  Cucina Ebraica that I have made in the past, but did not make during this most recent cooking frenzy: “Suffocated Cabbage” (page 83) and “Sweet and Sour Squash” (page 92). The squash is as described: butternut squash with vinegar and sugar, and is probably as good as butternut squash gets. The cabbage merits a bit more comment. There are raw vegetables, under-cooked vegetables (not very good), vegetables that are cooked just right, and over-cooked vegetables (ugh). Then there are vegetables that are cooked to death, cooked way beyond the over-cooked phase. Many vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, morph to an entirely different state, with the noxious compounds that give these vegetables the taste that some people do not like completely nullified.  In fact, after making Mollie Katzen’s Brussels sprouts as directed by her recipe (see the post Freshmen, Virgins, and Mollie Katzen), I was unimpressed, but after I left these same Brussels sprouts on my hot plate for several hours, the nasty Brussels sprouts taste was gone, and they were actually quite good! Joyce Goldstein gives cabbage the cooked to death treatment, buts cuts the traditional cooking time from three or more hours to 30 minutes. The longer time is better.

Another excellent recipe from Cucina Ebraica is “Spaghetti al Tonno” (page 60). At first glance, this just looks like spaghetti with a boring tuna tomato sauce, and it can be just that if you use boring ingredients. But if you get the best tuna, anchovies, and capers that you can find, this dish suddenly becomes really good.

friedspagA simpler pasta dish is “Fried Noodles” (page 115) from Sephardic Flavors. Here, you fry up some very thin pasta (e.g., vermicelli or angel hair) in a generous amount of olive oil. When it turns brown, add broth and tomatoes and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Simple, but tasty: this is one of those more than the sum of its parts dishes.

 

spinach“Spinach Gratin”, also from Sephardic Flavors (page 95) uses a lot of spinach, flavored with anchovies (which I omitted since I couldn’t find my anchovies hidden on the shelf), capers, garlic, raisins, and pine nuts, cooked up in an egg custard. When spinach is the main ingredient, I like to get loose spinach instead of the bagged baby spinach (and do not even think about frozen spinach), but spinach is not that cheap, and it is a total pain to clean. Thus, although this recipe was tasty enough, the taste to trouble ratio was a bit low. So I doubt that I will make this one again., unless it fits precisely into some future menu.

lentilbulgurI often look longingly at kibbeh recipes, fried croquettes usually made of bulgur and lamb, so I was pleased to find the recipe “Lentil and Bulgur Croquettes” in Sephardic Flavors (page 53). I fried these up in two batches, but the first batch was not very successful: the patties fell apart. I was hoping that on cooking, the egg in the patties would firm them up, and so omitted the “¼ cup … matzoh meal, or as needed” requested in the recipe. When I added matzoh meal to the yet unfried mixture, the patties behaved themselves. Both the nice looking patties and the bad ones were quite good; the bad ones might even have been better because they absorbed a lot more olive oil.

carrotcakeAll the recipes discussed above range from the very good to the sublime. The two desserts I tried were good enough, but did not come near the heights reached by the other dishes. “Torta di Carote del Veneto”, or Venetian carrot cake, from Cucina Ebraica (page 174) was cobbled together by Joyce Goldstein from three different carrot cakes, all of which she saw as having problems. The end result was very like an American carrot cake, but without as many add-in ingredients (raisins, coconut, chopped nuts, pineapple…) and the cream cheese frosting. I wonder if I would have liked one of her original recipes better.

raisinwalnutThe “Raisin and Walnut Jam Tart” from Saffron Shores (page 165) tempted me by its headnote, reading in its entirety “Rich, rich, rich.” The raisin and walnut jam consisted of raisins and walnuts cooked in a sugar syrup with cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla. I kept waiting for this concoction to assume some transcendental state, but it remained merely raisins and walnuts. The crust was quite difficult  to roll out; I ended up partially rolling and partially pressing in the crust. The finished tart certainly looked nice, and I am sure that fans of raisins and walnuts  would have found the taste pleasing. I like walnuts, but am less thrilled with raisins, so this tart was not the sort of dessert on which I like to spend my dessert calories.

There is still lots for me to mine in these cookbooks. I have not even given up on the desserts.

 

Spaghetti with Tuna Sauce

Adapted from Joyce Goldstein, Cucina Ebraica

1 pound spaghetti
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3.5 ounce jar anchovies, drained and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
6.7 ounce can or jar best oil packed tuna, drained
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped if large
14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Black pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the spaghetti and cook until done.

While the spaghetti cooks, prepare the sauce. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the onion. When the onion begins to brown, add the anchovies and garlic; stir while the anchovies break up. Add the rest of the ingredients, and heat until hot throughout. Drain the spaghetti, and toss with the sauce.

 

Lentil and Bulgur Patties

Adapted from Joyce Goldstein, Sephardic Flavors

¼ cup French lentils
½ cup bulgur
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 hard boiled eggs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup matzoh meal or dry bread crumbs

Bring about one cup of salted water to a boil, and add the lentils. Cook until done, adding more water if necessary. This should take about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the bulgur, and enough additional water to just cover everything. Let the bulgur and lentils sits for an hour or so for the bulgur to absorb the water. If you have added too much water, you can just drain the bulgur and lentils.

Heat a little bit of oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cumin and cook until the onion begins to brown, turn off the heat and stir in the hard boiled eggs, salt and pepper, mint and parsley. Add the onion mixture to the lentils and bulgur and add also the beaten egg. Mix and mash it all together, then add the matzoh meal and mix and mash some more.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet (the same one you have already used, if you wipe it out). Form the lentil mixture into patties, and fry on both sides . Drain on paper towels.

 

Cheese Filled Turnovers

Adapted from Joyce Goldstein, Saffron Shores

Filling:
8 ounces feta cheese
1 egg
Leaves from several sprigs of mint
Black pepper to taste

Dough:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup olive oil
¼-½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds

Whiz all the filling ingredients in the food processor. I suppose you could also do this by hand: mash up the feta and chop the mint finely.

To make the dough, melt the butter, and then add the olive oil and ¼ cup of water. Put the salt and flours in the food processor. Add the butter and oil and pulse until the dough comes together. You will have to add more water. You want a soft dough.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough, pie crust thick. Cut out 3 inch circles; I use a drinking glass to do this. Put a spoonful of filling on each circle. Wet the edges of the dough circles with water, then fold the top over the filling, and use a fork to seal the edges. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet, brush with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds (I forgot the sesame seeds when I made these). Cook in the oven until done and golden brown, about 20 minutes. You can also deep fry these, but that is something I dare not try.