Monday, 23 April 2018

Oatmeal Scones

I've made scones with leftover cooked oatmeal before, but these do not require such a level of advance planning, or lack of advance planning, whichever it is that produces quantities of leftover cooked oatmeal. These don't need the overnight soak that Oatmeal Farls require, either, although I will admit I like the Oatmeal Farls just a little better. These will certainly do in a pinch, though!

Twenty four scones will be quite small; just the thing to serve with afternoon tea. Eight or 12 will be more suited for breakfast. In either case you can expect these to disappear quickly. 

8 to 24
30 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

Oatmeal Scones

2 cups soft unbleached flour
1 cup quick cook oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust it with flour.

Mix the flour, oats, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until it is about the size of small peas, then stir in the buttermilk. Work just enough to form a smooth dough. You may need to add a spoonful or so more buttermilk.

Transfer the dough the prepared parchment paper. Pat it out into a neat rectangle about 1" thick, and cut it into however many scones you would like to have. Space them out a bit.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until firm and just showing a little colour.

Last year at this time I made Crispy Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Scottish Farmhouse Eggs

I first came across this recipe at Epicurious but a little research suggests that it is in fact a fairly traditional Scottish egg dish. You will note that many of the quantities are a bit vague, and there are a number of choices. It is that kind of a dish - use what you have and what you like.

I didn't try to shoe-horn it into the instructions, but you could also replace the bacon with 100 grams (4 ounces) moderately fatty breakfast sausage; crumble it up before cooking and treat it in the same way as the bacon. Or you could instead use ham, sautéed in a little fat, just enough to keep the ham from sticking and to grease the pan. Keep in mind, though; they're pretty rich even without any meat added.

This can be made all year, but the herbs are not always available. If they are not, they can be replaced with a couple of shallots, peeled and minced, and cooked in the butter. You may then wish to add a sprinkling of some dried but green herb over the top for a bit of colour. 

2 servings
30 to 55 minutes - 10 minutes prep time

1 teaspoon butter OR 4 slices bacon, OPTIONAL
1 1/2 to 2 cups finely cubed stale bread
80 grams old Cheddar or other strong, hard cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped chives or green onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (if available)
4 large egg, chicken or duck
a sprinkle of Cayenne or paprika
freshly ground black pepper to taste
about 3/4 cup 10% cream

Use a cast iron skillet or other shallow baking dish that can go into the oven, and also on the stovetop if using the meat. Preheat the oven to 375°F. If not using any meat, butter the dish well.

If you wish to add bacon, etc, chop it fairly finely and cook it in the pan over medium-high heat until about half cooked. Drain off any excess fat but leave enough to coat the pan well. 

Slice or crumble up the bread into small cubes or crumbs. Spread two-thirds of them in the pan, mixing in the meat if it is being used. Grate the cheese and sprinkle half of it over the crumbs. Wash, dry, and mince the herbs finely, and sprinkle half of them over the crumbs. Break the eggs into the dish, spacing them evenly.

Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the eggs. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and herbs. Season with salt and Cayenne, or any good paprika. I think a smoked one would be very good. If not using Cayenne, you may wish to add a little black pepper.

Gently dribble cream all over the dish, paying especial attention to the crumbs around the edge but getting them as evenly soaked as you can. The crumbs should all be moistened, and they should be sitting in a discernible puddle. The goal is to keep the crumbs moist but not soggy, and allow the tops to crisp up and brown in baking, so the exact amount of cream will vary with the depth of the dish and the absorptive abilities of the bread.

Bake the eggs for 20 to 30 minutes. Twenty minutes will give you firm whites but very soft runny yolks. Forty minutes should cook them to Mr. Ferdzy's taste; bone dry. I do not recommend but it's your funeral.

Last year at this time I made Aloo Mattar Chowder.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Trevor's Champ

"boiled potatoes
spring onions
butter, grated cheese
little milk
salt, pepper

Mashed together. Carrots may also be added. "
                                              from Dad's cookbook, circa 1983

Champ is so simple it is hardly a recipe, but please indulge me as I indulge myself in some nostalgia.

Circa 1983 was a bit later than I would have expected this to show up in Dad's cook book. Trevor must have appeared on the scene around 1977, because I remember having a bowl of spaghetti dumped on my head when I was 16 by Dad when they were dating and Trevor didn't show up to a dinner he was invited to and I whined about it being cold when we finally ate it without him. Good thing I was right. But that's another story.

I guess by 1983 they had dated for a few years and had been moved in together long enough for Trevor to have made it a few times. I think Dad did most of the cooking in those days, since he was well accustomed to churning it out for us kids at that point.

This is a simple but classic Irish dish, really just mashed potatoes with stuff in it. Not cabbage though; if you add cabbage it becomes Colcannon, a distinction which seems a little picayune to me but there it is.

I haven't seen other recipes for champ call for carrots but I think they are a very good idea. I grated them and added them for the last couple minutes of cooking - in the absence of other instructions - because I wanted them to form flecks like the green onions. You could just cut them up and cook them with the potatoes so they get mashed though. The cheese should be quite strong, or it disappears. I saved some of it out to sprinkle on top and that helped keep it noticeable. The dairy can be almost anything - milk, cream, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream would all work.

4 servings
30 minutes prep time

Trevor's Northern Irish Champ

750 grams (1 1/2 pounds) floury potatoes (I used Purple Viking)
4 or 5 green onions
2 or 3 medium carrots
100 grams (1/4 pound) grated strong old Cheddar cheese
2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk, buttermilk, or cream
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash and trim or peel the potatoes (and carrots, if that's how you want them), and cut them into chunks. Boil them in lightly salted water for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft.

Meanwhile, trim, wash, and chop the green onions. Peel and grate the carrots - assuming they are not already in the pot - and add them to the potatoes when they have about 3 minutes left to cook. Grate the cheese.

When the potatoes are done, add the green onions to the pot. Stir them in, then drain the vegetables well and return them to the pot. Put it back on the stove, but with the heat reduced to medium-low. Mash in the butter and liquid dairy product of your choice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in most of the cheese, and once the champ is transferred to its serving dish, sprinkle the remainder over the top.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Rye Soda Bread

Rye flour does not make the lightest of baked goods and this is certainly no exception. Still, in a soda bread it rises sufficiently and it slices very nicely into thin slices. It's lovely with butter, cheese, or summer sausage. Mr. Ferdzy cheerfully piled it with jam, about which I am not so sure, but maybe.

I originally made this as a test loaf, thinking it would be half a recipe, as most soda breads are based on 4 cups of flour. You could double it for a standard sized loaf, in which case I would expect it to take 45 minutes to bake. Since soda bread is best fresh though, a smaller loaf may be more convenient.

4 servings
45 minutes - 10 minutes prep time

Rye Soda Bread

1 cup dark rye flour
1 cup soft whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a small baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl thoroughly.

Add the buttermilk and mix to form a smooth, dense, not too sticky dough. I find it easiest to mix by hand at the end. If necessary, add a few more drops of buttermilk. The dough should not be kneaded, but don't be afraid to mix it well until smooth.

Put the dough onto the parchment paper. Wash and wet your hands, and use them to shape the dough into a small loaf. Cut a line down the centre to give it room to expand.

Bake for about 35 minutes until firm and set. Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Last year at this time I made Tea-Braised Pork

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Pan-Cooked Sweet Potatoes with Balsamic Drizzle

Sweet potatoes from raw to on the table in 20 minutes! It always seems to take more like an hour and 20 minutes to roast them, even when they are cut up and cooked at a reasonably high temperature. You will have to watch them more closely but such is life. Also when I say "1 large or 2 medium" sweet potatoes, I mean the amount you will eat, obvs, whatever that is.

The balsamic drizzle is the simplest thing ever, and it definitely added to the appeal. I put in a bit of hot pepper but if you don't want things particularly hot a good grind of black pepper should work well too.

Now I'm a bit sad because our sweet potato crop was not great last year, and there are only enough left for 2 more meals. The "seed" sweet potatoes are currently sitting in glass jars to root and sprout though, so we expect to have them again next fall. Let's hope for a better growing season! 

2 servings
20 minutes prep time

Pan-Cooked Sweet Potatoes with Balsamic Drizzle

Make the Sauce:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons apple butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground Aleppo or black pepper

Mix together; and set aside, in a little serving jug or dish.

Cook the Sweet Potatoes:
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil

Wash and trim the sweet potatoes, so the 2 narrow ends are flat and parallel to each other. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/4" slices.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, or use 2 skillets if you will need that to get them all in in a single layer. The oil should cover the bottom of the pan generously, but we are not deep-frying here.

When the pan is to the usual temperature for cooking eggs, pancakes, etc, gently put in sweet potato slices. Careful - the oil may spatter. They can touch each other and generally be quite crowded, but they should not overlap. Pour in about 1/4 cup of water to each pan - stand back for spattering, again. Put a lid on the pan(s) and cook for 4 or 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and turn the sweet potato slices over. They should be nicely browned, and the sweet potatoes should show definite signs of softening. Continue cooking the sweet potatoes for another 4 or 5 minutes, this time with the lid off. When the water is all evaporated, the sweet potatoes are nicely browned on both sides, and the flesh is tender but still holding together, transfer them to a serving plate.

Serve drizzled with the balsamic sauce.

Last year at this time I made Tea-Braised Pork.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Lorenzo's Pastel de Pescado

This recipe was carefully written in Lorenzo's trained architect hand, in Spanish, into Dad's cook book, by Lorenzo. Dad met Lorenzo somewhere in South America and in typical Dad fashion went on to remain friends with Lorenzo and his family for the rest of his life; I'm pretty sure he went to his wedding amongst many other events. In fact, when Mr. Ferdzy and I walked the Camino we went and stayed with Lorenzo and his wife Judith.

This is a simple and tasty dish, and although Lorenzo gave instructions for cooking the fish it would be an excellent way to use leftover cooked fish. Lorenzo called for white fish, but noted that salmon could also be used.

4 servings
1 hour 30 minutes including cooking the fish

Lorenzo's Spanish Fish Casserole

1 medium onion
500 grams (1 pound) firm fleshed white fish
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons white wine or wine vinegar
4 large eggs
1 cup diced stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
a little grating of fresh nutmeg
OR 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Peel and chop the onion, and put it in a small pot with the fish, bay leaves, and white wine or vinegar. Bring up to a simmer and cook, covered, for 6 to 10 minutes until the fish is cooked. Let cool enough to handle.

Put a pan of water into the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl with the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and nutmeg or paprika. Remove and discard any skin and bones from the fish, and break it into small bits into the eggs. Mix well.

Butter a small, shallow baking dish generously and pour in the fish and egg mixture. Spread it out evenly. Place it in the oven, either in the pan of water or on a rack directly above it, depending on whether you have a reasonable bain marie set-up or not... yeah, I had to fudge it but it seemed to work okay. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until set and very lightly browned. Let rest for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.

Last year at this time I made Garlicky Dill Vegetable Salad.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Carrot Crepes

It took me a couple of tries to get these right, and while I keep picturing them filled with savoury goodies, like cheese, mushrooms, or spinach, I keep ending up plonking them on a plate and serving them with syrup. I'm pretty sure they would be good in a savoury setting if I can just get organized for it!  If you are going to stick with the sweet theme, though, I can really see filling these with slightly sweetened cream cheese, with a spoonful of nuts, raisins, or toasted coconut thrown in.

I found these rather delicate compared to some of the crepes I've made and they definitely cooked much better  in the steel pan than in the cast iron. I'm not sure they will hold and reheat as well as some, either. Very tasty though!

6 to 8 crepes
30 minutes prep time

2 cups grated (2 medium) carrots
1/3 cup potato starch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil

Put a large kettle of water on to boil. Peel and grate the carrots, and put them in a strainer. When the water boils, pour it slowly and evenly over the carrots. Stop and stir in the middle. There should be a slight odour of cooked carrots. Drain them well and let them cool for about 5 minutes.

Put the drained, cooled carrots into a blender. Add the potato starch, salt, and milk. Process until smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides. Keep the lid on well, as I found this mixture had a tendency to rise straight up.

Break in the eggs and process again briefly until blended.

Put the oil in a small dish. Use a piece of paper towel to brush a film of oil over 1 or 2 skillets. Heat them over medium-high heat (the usual for cooking eggs, crepes, and pancakes). Add 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of batter to each pan, swirling the pan to spread out the batter evenly and thinly as soon as the batter goes in. Let each crepe cook until it can be easily loosened with a thin spatula, and flipped. The top will be dry at that point. Cook for a minute or two on the second side, then remove to a plate in the oven (at 200°C) to keep warm, if they are being eaten at once. Otherwise, just set them aside on the plate.

Repeat with the remaining batter until it is all gone, brushing the pan with oil each time a new crepe goes in.

Last year at this time I made Creamy Tomato-Barley Soup.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Barbunya Zeytinyagli

As soon as I started looking for Turkish recipes on line, this one came up again and again and again. Funny, we didn't see it when we were there! I guess it's considered "home cooking" and not restaurant fare. Most of the recipes were quite similar but some called for this, and some called for that. I looked at a bunch and put in pretty much everything that got mentioned. We thought the results were delicious.

We grew the beans for this; an Italian variety. Italian Borlotti beans will be the easiest to get, and my impression is they are really quite similar to the Turkish beans used for this. But really, beans is beans to some degree, and you can use whatever kind you like.

It seems that right from the beginning of this blog there has been at least one bean salad recipe every late winter/early spring, and I guess this qualifies as one for this year.

4 to 6 servings
1 hour prep time plus overnight soaking

Turkish Style Borlotti Beans

1 cup dried borlotti or cranberry beans
1 or 2 medium potatoes
1 large carrot
1 medium onion
1/2 cup diced celeriac OR 1 stalk celery
4 or 5 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups diced cooked (canned) tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon rubbed mint
1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley OR green onion

Put the beans in a pot with plenty of water to cover, and bring to a boil. The pot will end up holding everything, so be sure it is big enough. Boil for a few minutes, then remove them from the heat and cover the pot. Let soak overnight.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the beans, and bring them back up to a boil. Boil gently but steadily, stirring occasionally, until tender but still whole.

Wash, trim, and peel the potatoes (the peeling is optional). Cut them into dice. Peel and dice the carrot. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and dice the celeriac, or wash, trim, and chop the celery. Peel and chop the garlic.

Heat about half the oil in a large skillet. Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery and cook slowly in the oil until softened and slightly browned; add the onions about halfway through.

Meanwhile, drain the beans to have about 1 cup cooking liquid left. Add the remaining olive oil to them. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper, and mint to them. Bring them up to a simmer.

When the vegetables in the skillet are looking somewhat softened - they will not cook through; don't expect them to - add the garlic to the pan and mix in, letting it cook for a minute or two. Transfer all the vegetables to the pot of beans. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir gently. The vegetables and beans should be kept as whole as you can manage.

When the vegetables are tender, remove the pot from the heat and add the juice of 1/2 of the lemon. Let it cool to warm or room temperature before serving. Garnish it with chopped parsley or green onion, and pass the remainder of the lemon as wedges for anyone who would like a bit more lemon juice.

Last year at this time I made Moroccan Spiced Roasted Carrots.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Strawberry Pudding

Isn't this awfully early to be making strawberry desserts? Not anymore! I've been buying Ontario greenhouse strawberries off and on all winter.

Mind you though, I only used them for the garnish. The pudding is made with frozen strawberries from our garden, and given that they get mashed and cooked, frozen is probably the best choice for this pudding, unless you wait and make it with the glut of garden berries in June or July.

When you mix milk and acid, you get curdled milk, which is why the recipe calls for you to make essentially 2 puddings then blend them together. If you use non-dairy milk, such as soy milk or almond milk, you can mix everything in one pot and cook it at once without fear of curdling. However, even though this is a simple, even homely, pudding I think it is quite good enough to justify the use of 2 pots.

I've used both quantities of sugar; it depends on how sweet your berries are and how sweet you want your pudding to be. I have to admit that in most cases I probably prefer the slightly larger quantity. Also note that while I normally call for either arrowroot or cornstarch as a thickener, and usually prefer to use arrowroot, it really gives this pudding an unpleasantly slimy, ropey, texture. Use corn starch for this one.

p.s. - Also delicious (if a little seedy) when made with frozen raspberries! Blueberries taste okay, but make the pudding a dismaying shade of grey.

6 servings
20 minutes prep time plus 2 hours chill time

Strawberry Pudding

2 cups strawberries (can be frozen)
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
2 cups rich milk, soy milk, or almond milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
fresh strawberries to garnish, if available

If the berries are fresh, wash and hull them. (One assumes this is already done if they are frozen.) Put them in a reasonably large, heavy-bottomed pot and mash them coarsely with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and about half the sugar, until no signs of white powder remain.

Mix the remaining cornstarch, salt, and sugar, in another pot. Mix in the milk well, a little at a time, to ensure that the starch is evenly dissolved throughout.

Once that is done, heat the mixtures over medium heat, stirring frequently. Do each one separately or you may reach a point when you are trying to stir with each arm. Cook until the mixtures thicken, stirring more often as it heats. As it approaches the end of the cooking you should stir it constantly. Once the puddings thicken, remove them from the heat. Stir in the almond extract.

Let the pudding cool for 5 or 10 minutes, then blend them together thoroughly. Spoon the pudding into individual serving bowls, or transfer it to the dish from which it will be served. Chill well before serving. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if you have them.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Taiwanese Noodles

First thing out of the garden - green onions! We have quite a few this spring as they did not die down properly last fall and we never picked them. You are unlikely to get any this early though, if you don't have them in your garden. Never mind, they are on their way.

This is usually made with pork but I had turkey, so that is what I used. Otherwise this is consistent with most of the recipes out there. I have to say if I make this again I will be inclined to add a little grated ginger and a handful of bean sprouts. Otherwise, this was a quick and easy dish.

There is no doubt a particular noodle used in Taiwan for this, but it is a wheat noodle and lots of people seem to just use a fine spaghetti, which is what I did.

2 servings
30 minutes prep time

Make the Sauce:
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Mix all in a small bowl and set aside.

Make the Noodles & Topping:
225 grams (1/2 pound) dry noodles
2 or 3 shallots
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
6 to 8 green onions
225 grams (1/2 pound) fresh shiitake mushrooms
225 grams (1/2 pound) lean ground pork, turkey, or chicken
1 tablespoon bacon fat or mild vegetable oil

Put a pot of salted water on to boil to cook the noodles. They should be done at the same time as the topping, which will require 8 to 10 minutes in the pan. Time the noodles accordingly.

Peel and slice the shallots. Peel and mince the garlic, and set it aside by itself. Wash, trim, and chop the green onions, keeping the green and white parts separate. Remove and discard the stems of the shiitake mushrooms, and slice the caps.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the meat and brown it, breaking it up into small pieces. As soon as most raw spots are gone - 2 or 3 minutes - add the shallots and shiitakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are softened and reduced in volume, another 3 or 4 minutes. Mix in the garlic and the white parts of the green onions, and cook for another minute or so.

Drain the noodles and divide them between 2 large bowls.

Pour the sauce over the pan of meat, etc, and let it boil up. Stir in the remaining green onion tops, then divide the mixture over the 2 bowls of noodles, being careful to give each equal parts of the sauce as well as the meat, shiitakes, etc. Serve at once. 

Last year at this time I made Okonomiyaki... Waffles!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Celeriac Zeytinyagli

We saw quite a few of these "Zeytinyaglis" when we were in Turkey; that is to say, vegetables cooked with olive oil and served warm to cool. This one is excellent for late winter or early spring, since the only things it calls for that are not available are the peas - but you can use frozen - and the dill. You could use dried dill, I suppose, but I have to admit I bought some. I keep meaning to experiment with starting some in a pot indoors but have yet to do it.

This comes pretty directly from Ozlem's Turkish Table. I only used about 1/3 of one celeriac, which tells you how much they vary in size. Mine was huge. I also had a bit of a heavy hand with the potatoes, as I had some to use up, and the peas, just because I like them.  

4 to 6 servings
30 minutes prep time; 30 minutes rest time

 Turkish Celeriac Salad

1 cup water
the juice of 1 lemon
2 cups peeled and diced celeriac
1 cup diced potato
1 medium carrot
3 to 4 medium shallots
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
OR 1 teaspoon dry dill weed

Put the water and lemon juice into a heavy-bottomed pot.

Peel and dice the celeriac, and add them to the pot. Peel (if you like) the potato, and cut it into dice. Peel and chop the carrot into slightly smaller pieces. Peel and chop the shallots. Add all these to the pot.

Add the olive oil, salt, sugar, and pepper. Bring to a boil and boil gently but steadily for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes and celeriac are tender. Keep the pot partially covered. The water should be mostly absorbed/evaporated, but watch it towards the end as it needs to not run dry.

Have the peas standing by, and when you remove the pot from the heat, stir them in. Let the dish cool to warm or room temperature, and stir in the minced dill. If made in advance and chilled, it should be brought back up to room temperature to serve.

Last year at this time I made Irish Soda Farls

Monday, 26 March 2018

Gomel Style Cutlets

In my Russian cutlet research wanderings, I came across these Gomel Style cutlets. Gomel is a city in Belarus, about 200 kilometres north of Kiev. These are not nearly as well known as the cutlets of Kiev, but I have to say I liked them a lot.

Traditionally they seem to be made with very thinly pounded pork scallops, but many people do suggest making them with chicken. Since I can't be having with pounding pieces of meat, I used ground turkey. I did see some recipes out there calling for ground meat so I don't feel like I have gone too far astray.

The potato coating before they are fried are what make these really unique, although the mushroom and cheese filling is somewhat unusual as well. Some recipes called for these to be finished in the oven and some didn't; my experience was that it took long enough for the potato coating to cook in the pan that the cutlets were definitely done by the time the potatoes browned, so I didn't bother to bake them. I suspect they would be reasonably amenable to being kept warm in the oven if that is required though.

I found them a little nerve-wracking to form, but they came out much better than I expected. I'm giving fairly detailed instructions on how I did that. Once they were in the pan they pulled themselves together nicely. I suspect I'm going to try coating other things in grated potato and cooking them like this too - it worked really well.

3 to 6 servings
1 hour prep time

Gomel Style Cutlets made with ground turkey and stuffed with mushrooms and cheese

Make the Mushroom Filling:
100 grams (1/4 pound) mushrooms
2 medium shallots
2 teaspoons butter
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Clean, trim, and chop the mushrooms. Peel and mince the shallots.

Heat the butter in a small skillet, and cook them together until the shallots are softened and translucent, and the mushrooms are softened and slightly browned. Season with a little salt and pepper; keep in mind the cheese is quite salty. Transfer them to a small mixing bowl to cool. Grate the Parmesan and add it once the vegetables are cool.

Make the Cutlet Mixture:
1/2 small stale dinner roll (50 grams; 2 ounces)
1/4 cup milk or cream
250 grams (9 ounces) lean ground turkey, chicken OR pork
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rubbed (dry) dill OR 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Crumble the roll into a mixing bowl, and pour the milk or cream over it. Let it soak until the cream is absorbed. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

Coat the Cutlets & Fry Them:
1 large egg
about 1/2 cup barley or wheat flour
250 grams (1/2 pound) white potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil

Break the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork until smooth. Put the flour into another small bowl.

Wash the potatoes (peel them if you like, but you will need the weight above when peeled). Grate them coarsely. Season them with the salt and let them sit in a pile on the cutting board. Do not do this until you are ready to start forming the cutlets, or else the potato may turn dark as it sits.

Take one sixth of the cutlet mixture and form it into a flattened patty. Drop it into the bowl of flour. Take one sixth of the mushroom filling, and squeeze it until it holds together. Put it in the middle of the patty, and fold it up around the filling until it is covered - hold it in your hand and shape it. Once the filling is covered, roll the cutlet in the flour to evenly coat it. It will be round to ovoid in shape at this point. Roll it in the egg, allowing as much egg as is reasonable to drip off back into the bowl before rolling it in the pile of grated potatoes. Set it aside gently on a plate until you are ready to cook them.

When you have only 2 or 3 more cutlets to form, put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large skillet and start heating it over medium heat. Finish preparing the cutlets, then place them in the hot pan, not touching each other so far as is possible. Press the patties gently to ensure they are no thicker than 1" anywhere.

Cook for about 7 to 10 minutes per side, until the potatoes are nicely browned and the patties are firm. If the potato coating browns too quickly - or does not brown quickly enough - adjust the heat accordingly.

Let the cutlets rest for 5 minutes before serving them.

Last year at this time I made Rutabaga & Mushroom Soup