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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Zlevanka - A Dessert Cornbread from Croatia

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Every so often, I feel the need to escape what's become familiar in my kitchen and give something completely different a try. Several weeks ago, I bookmarked a dessert recipe I found on a site called Kitchen Nostalgia, and I had the opportunity to give it a try last weekend. The recipe was for an unusual sweet and dairy rich cornbread that originally came from Croatia. It sounded offbeat enough to be interesting, so I pulled out my bowls and whisk and gave it a try. I liked it and I think some of you will, too. I did make some minor changes to the recipe because, despite a google search, I was not able to verify that cornstarch and corn flour are the same thing. I just couldn't imagine making a cake with that much cornstarch, so, I took the coward's way out and decided to use a really finely ground cornmeal instead. I also have a suggestion to make regarding its preparation. This is a very moist cake and the next time I make it, I will let in cool in the pan for the standard 10 minutes, but then turn it out to cool on a rack, so the bottom has a chance to dry. I try not to do this kind of recipe too often because I know not all you share my passion for the different and unusual. That aside, I hope some of you will give this simple recipe a try. I  think you'll be pleasantly surprised. It is a great way to end a barbecue and it would not be out of place on a brunch table. Here is how the cake is made.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Grape and Apple Sharlotka

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Sharlotka is an apple cake that is very popular in Russia. It is simple and inexpensive to make, and it is undeniably delicious. It is a marvelous fall dessert that can be made well ahead of serving and requires only 30 minutes to prepare. The version I'm featuring tonight is a riff on the classic cake. I was fortunate enough to find Canadice grapes in one of the markets I frequent and I love to bake with them. This is an early ripening seedless grape that is unique because its wonderful grape flavor also carries a hint of spiciness. It is smaller than most supermarket varieties, and, while it is small, it can stand up to mixing without bleeding into the surrounding batter. I decided to make the cake with grapes as well as apples to see what would happen. The sharlotka is a sponge type of cake that typically envelops an apple filling, and I thought the grapes would make a good cake really interesting. It worked. I really like this version of the cake. I prefer to serve it warm from the oven, but the cake can be made early in the day and reheated for serving if you know you will be pressed for time. In Russia the cake is served as is, but a scoop of ice cream will do it no harm. I do hope you'll try this simple peasant-type dessert. I suspect you'll really enjoy it. Here is how the cake is made.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Table for Two - Buttermilk Waffles

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Waffles have been a fixture on American tables for years. Thomas Jefferson so loved the waffles he had in France and Belgium that he had irons shipped to his home in Virginia, so he could continue to enjoy them. Pancakes remained more popular with most folks because no special equipment was needed to make them and recipes for their preparation were generally less involved. All that changed during the 1950's as wages and lifestyles improved. Small appliances and gadgets swept the nation and middle class kitchens proudly displayed a "wired" array that included electric mixers, frying pans and waffle irons. For a period of time, waffles were the craze for Sunday night supper. Folks who had a large meal at 1 or 2 in the afternoon still needed a light supper and waffles were a perfect and novel solution for many families. Perhaps it was too much of a good thing, but whatever the root cause, the waffle craze ran its course and irons fell into disuse and became found objects in most homes. There has been, of late, a rash of new recipes for waffles, and some of them are really marvelous. Unfortunately, they do not lend themselves to quick preparation and they are scaled to feed way more than two people. The Silver Fox and I are children of the 50's, so it is no surprise that we love waffles. I've developed this recipe so the two of us could enjoy them whenever we have the urge. It takes about 30 minutes to get these to the table. They are delicious and I know those of you who try the recipe will love the waffles, so, please dust off your irons and give them a try. Here is how they are made.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


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