Some of my happiest and most vivid memories are of eating certain things as a child. I remember the exact place and context when I was around 6 years old and I had a piece of spoiled pineapple that was so astringent and sour that I didn’t want to eat pineapple for years afterwards. I also remember with a lot of pleasure the food I used to eat at my grandmother’s house. She was such a great cook. And now that I cook myself, I go to great lengths to try to replicate the flavors, smells, and images from my memories of the food she cooked. So far I’ve successfully reproduced her celery soup, her potato chips, her kokletn, and her chicken milanese. Others are getting closer.
The Lithuanian party about which Sarah posted a while ago was basically an excuse to try more of both of my grandmothers’ recipes. I made a lokshn (noodle) kugl, veal kokletn, gehakte leber, cold borscht, and pickles. Here are some of the recipes.
2 lbs. ground veal or chicken
4 large eggs
1 large onion, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
2 tsp. chicken bouillon
Vegetable oil for frying
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Fry onion over medium high heat in 1 tbsp of oil until golden brown and slightly blackened. Dissolve the chicken bouillon in the water. Puree the fried onions with the water in a blender. Mix the blended onions with the ground meet, eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add a spoonful of the bread crumbs to the bowl and mix. Keep adding bread crumbs by the spoonfuls and mix until the mixture is of a consistency enough to form a ball that will hold its shape.
Pour oil in a frying pan to a height of 1/8th inch and heat at medium high heat. Make large egg-shaped balls (about 2-3 size the volume of a large egg) with the meat mixture and fry. Fry about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate with paper towels and serve.
Lokshn (noodle) kugl
1 lb egg noodles (or penne)
4 tbsp butter
5 large eggs
16 oz cream cheese
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
1 lb cottage cheese
4 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepepr
Pre-heat the oven to 300 ºF. Cook pasta in salted water. Drain saving 1/2 a cup of the water in which the pasta was cooked. Mix the cooked pasta with the saved water and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a (DIMENSIONS) pyrex and bake for ~1.5 hours until all the liquid has been absorbed and the top gets browned and crispy. Cut in squares and serve.