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Filtering by Tag: recipes

Hilde’s “Overdue” Carrot Soup • Ruth Zamoyta

Brett Rawson

Note from curator Rozanne Gold: This recipe, rumored to induce labor, was lovingly shared with me by Ruth Zamoyta who is the Development & Communications Director at New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a published poet and playwright.  The recipe was written by Ruth’s South African friend, Hildegarde Webber.  Hilde and Ruth’s husbands were both students at Yale’s School of Management in New Haven, Connecticut in the early 1990s.  Ruth keeps this piece of handwritten history in a recipe box that her mom, Carolyn Zamoyta, gave her – “a box overflowing with ingredients scribbled on index cards, cut from newspapers, magazines, mayonnaise jar labels, and sugar boxes.”  I made the soup; it is delicious.  

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Hilde’s “Overdue” Carrot Soup by Ruth Zamoyta

My baby was due December 7th, 1994.  I had planned ahead.  All the Christmas presents had been bought, wrapped, and placed under the tree by November 30th, in case he arrived early.

Ha.

By December 15th, I was dragging my 40-pound-overweight body around downtown New Haven, Connecticut, trying the old wives’ remedy for over-dueness: walking. In the Yale bookstore I ran into my friend Woody who was studying midwifery. I told her that I was trying to induce labor by walking. 

“It’s actually the opposite,” she said. “Your uterus needs to relax and store up some energy.  Go home and take a nap.”  So, I retraced my steps back home to graduate family housing — one whole mile — and collapsed in my bed. I woke up around three o’clock.  No contractions.  That’s when my friend Hilde called.  She sighed and said, “You need the soup.” I asked her to explain. 

Hilde said that when she was overdue with her son, a friend had given her a special carrot soup recipe known to induce labor instantly in the most wretched and piteous of overdue mothers. I told her I was desperate and would try anything, so she drove over and gave me this recipe, transcribed in pencil, on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. Note the bottom line: "If all else fails, try castor oil!" 

The ingredients were pretty standard, except for the heavy cream, so I had my husband run out and get that. As I sliced the carrots, I instinctively knew that this would work. I threw everything in the pot and stirred occasionally, envisioning holding a baby in my arms the next morning. I glanced at the front door of the apartment, to make sure my overnight bag was at its side, ready to grab and go. I looked in the freezer and made sure the pre-made dinners were still there. I glanced at the tree, twinkling in the living room. 

Soon the soup was ready.  I filled a bowl for myself (my husband wouldn’t touch it) and ate the last spoonful.  It was time to go to the hospital. 

It was a fairytale birth, a long but happy pain, and the biggest surprise was when I was on the delivery table, waiting for the next urge to push, and I pushed, and the baby crested, and the nurse down below exclaimed, “He has red hair!”  My husband (brown hair) and I (a blonde) looked at each other incredulously. Minutes later, when I held my little son to my chest, I looked down and saw that it was true: I had given birth to a carrot top.  

There are some other interesting phenomena surrounding my son, Colm O’Toole’s, birth and hair. When we heard that red hair must come from both sides of the family, my husband and I had to do some investigating. It turns out that my grandfather's mother had red hair, and on Sean's side, his grandmother had had red hair, though it was already white by the time Sean was born, so he hadn't known. 

It just so happens that Colm was born on December 17th, Sean's grandmother's birthday — the granny with the red hair. Also, if you count back 9 months from December 17th, you get March 17th — St Patrick's day.  Colm is now 21, and my other children Róisín O'Toole, 24, and Liadain O’Toole, 12.  No soup was required. 

 

Hilde’s “Overdue” Carrot Soup by Ruth Zamoyta

 Serves 6

Hilde’s “Overdue” Carrot Soup
4 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
1 onion, chopped (5 oz. onion)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 10 oz.) 
1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled & diced (about 10 oz.) 
2 sprigs parsley
5 cups chicken stock (or canned broth)
1 cup heavy cream
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot, add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the potatoes and parsley and stir two minutes.  

Stir in the stock and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Put through a strainer or vegetable mill or puree in a blend or food processor.  

Return to the pot, stir in the cream, add salt and pepper to taste and reheat without boiling.  Serve hot or cold (Can also add paprika and other spices to taste.)  (If all else fails, try castor oil!!!)    

** Note from Rozanne: I added a large pinch of garam masala and used fresh thyme from my window box, instead of parsley.

 

Pizza da Vovó (Grandma’s Pizza) • Ligia Mostazo

Brett Rawson

Note from Curator Rozanne Gold:  I met Brazilian journalist Ligia Mostazo one evening at the New School where I was guest lecturer during Stacey Harwood-Lehman’s “Food Narrative” class.  Ligia is a currently a student, honing her prowess as an essayist and food writer.  I was quite happy that she wanted to share a part of her history, but was even more impressed that in addition to perfecting her storytelling skills, she tested her recipe several times before sending it to us.  I know from personal experience how challenging it can be to make pizza dough in a home oven!  Many, many thanks to Ligia. 

Note from Ligia:  I am journalist. Although I have worked in hard news, I prefer texts that are more enduring. That’s why I became a screenwriter and editor of documentaries.  In the Summer of 2014 I moved from São Paulo, Brazil, to live in New York, where my journalist husband is working as an international correspondent for a Brazilian Broadcast news service.  We have two sons: João is 24 and is a graduate student in Literature. Thiago, who’s 22, lived for one year in New York with us, and went back to Brazil, where he’s an undergraduate student in journalism (one more!). They both now live together in São Paulo.  I always loved to cook and as I have to cook almost every day here in New York, I decided to explore new flavors, ingredients and recipes. Surfing the internet, I found the Food Narratives classes at The New School, where I was introduced to this lovely “Handwritten” project.

Pizza da Vovó by Ligia Mostazo

This pizza recipe is considered one of my family’s treasures. The tradition to bake began with my great grandfather, Manoel Mostazo, who moved to Brazil in the early 1900s from Periana, a small city in the south of Spain.  He left his hometown after an earthquake devastated the city and his family. Manoel was a young man with an entrepreneurial spirit and soon started his own business, a bakery. 

This bakery was the first in Santo Andre, a city nearby São Paulo where my family grew up, and became a business passed down from generation to generation. My great-grandfather learned to make pizza, cookies, and many varieties of bread from the best bakers he knew. He taught my grandfather, Antonio, who taught my father, Walter, from whom I inherited the love and respect for all things that grow with yeast and turn into food in the oven.

My father owned his own bakery, but it did not survive the Brazilian economic crisis in the 1970s. With three kids to raise, my mother, Elza, had the brilliant idea to sell homemade pizza dough, their bakery’s signature dish. The first clients were friends and family who already knew the delicious pizzas from the Saturday dinners in our house. Local rotisseries and restaurants became clients as well. We adapted our garage to house a professional oven, a big table, and other tools. My siblings and I helped my parents attend to clients. We usually had to make more than 500 pizza discs per week.
 
For more than fifteen years this was our job. Working together, we were able to afford the bills and keep the legacy of our family alive. Eventually, my siblings and I went different ways.  None of us became bakers. But pizza is still a great reason to gather the family around the table. 

Our favorite toppings continue to be mozzarella, simple and delicious; smoked sausage and onions; caned tuna, corn and onions. All of these sit upon a layer of fresh tomatoe and are finished with oregano and olive oil as soon as they come out of the oven.

In the early 2000s, when my father was teaching my sons how to make the best pizza dough, we decided to write the recipe down. In honor of my mother, we called the recipe Pizza da Vovó, which means, Grandma’s Pizza. I think this moment was the first time the recipe was written down! Although we now have the recipe, we never made pizza without my parents around. 

I had my first experience baking pizza alone in New York, far from my parents, far from home, and far from my country. I did it to take the pictures that you see here. My first attempt was frustrating. The dough was too soft. I called my father, who did not answer the phone. I didn’t have much time because the yeast was working fast. I was nervous. It was my sister-in-law who saved me with a simple piece of advice. “Follow your instinct,” she said, “add flour and try to remember how you felt the dough in your hands when you used to make it with your parents.”  

I recovered my self-confidence, but it did not work very well. After baking, the dough was too harsh. When I finally got to talk to my father he said the same: “follow your feelings and add the flour slowly, you will know when it is good.” 

The second time, the recipe worked and I could make the recipe adjustments needed to give you the correct quantities. Now that this recipe has been tested and approved, it can go on to nourish future generations.

 

Grandma’s Pizza

(translated from Portuguese by the author)

1-kilo (2.2 lbs) all-purpose flour
100 grams fresh yeast
200 ml vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
500 ml water

Step 1. Crumble the fresh yeast in a big bowl and add sugar. Wait until the yeast dissolves and then add water, salt and oil. Mix the ingredients well and add the flour little by little.  Mix until the dough is smooth and unglued from the bowl

Step 2. Sprinkle a work surface with flour. Reshape the dough into seven balls of the same size and put them on a lightly floured surface. Cover the dough and let it rest about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put six to eight (it depends on the size) ripe tomatoes in a blender, process quickly and rest in the refrigerator. 

Step 3. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Press one dough ball at a time on the work surface with your hands, adding flour as needed to roll the dough until it is as thin as you want.** Fold the flat dough in a half and transfer to the baking sheet.  Unfold the dough and press down around the edges. Transfer the processed tomatoes into a colander with a plate underneath so it does not retain water. Sprinkle salt to taste, mix and spread a thin layer of tomato over the dough. Bake for about 5 minutes. The idea is to make a pre-baked dough.  It will be ready when the lower part is baked and light in color. The pre-baked dough can be used immediately, refrigerated for a week, or frozen for up to six months.

Step 4. Heat the oven to 350-400 degrees. Spread your favorite pizza toppings on the pre-baked dough and bake for an additional 10 minutes. 

** If you want to make mini-pizzas, divide the ball into four parts and open each of them by hand doing a small edge. Then follow the same steps listed above.

 

The Talloczy Family’s Hungarian Stuffed Peppers • Allison Radecki

Brett Rawson

Note from curator Rozanne Gold: This week’s recipe comes to us via New York City caterer, professional chef, and former restaurateur Irene Khin Wong. It is an old Hungarian recipe, inherited without modifications, from the family of her Hungarian partner, Zsolt Talloczy. Three generations of Hungarian women have embraced this recipe, beginning with Zsolt’s great grandmother, Franciska, his grandmother, Anna, and his mother Agnes Zatonyi Talloczy. It is lovingly fastened to Zsolt and Irene’s refrigerator door. With that, a fourth generation now makes the treasured recipe in late spring and early summer, when tomatoes and wax peppers are freshly available. I especially love the grace and styling of Agnes’ European handwriting. With thanks to Irene and Zsolt for sharing this recipe — one that reminds me of my own childhood with my own beautiful Hungarian mother.

The Talloczy Family's Hungarian Stuffed Peppers By Allison Radecki

These lusty stuffed peppers remind Zsolt Talloczy of a cherished childhood and memories of his mother and grandmother. When he prepares them, he wistfully said, “It smells like spring and lazy sunny afternoons in Budapest.” Whiffs of the dish also dish trigger thoughts of his wife Irene’s first trip with him to Budapest and his parents’ home nearly 10 years ago.

Irene and Zsolt first made each other’s acquaintance while waiting to pick up tennis permits within a sporting goods store off of New York City’s Union Square. Zsolt, a trained scientist who now works in microbiology, was studying at Columbia University at the time. 

“I wearing pajamas on a Saturday afternoon,” remembers Irene. “I had worked a late night, until 3 am, and just threw on a long jacket to accompany my eager friend to fill out the permit forms. ‘Who cares if you’re wearing pajamas,’ said my friend. WHO is going to see you?’”

A quick chat about tennis skills led Zsolt to offer Irene his e-mail address (“he didn’t even have a cell phone”). After a few e-mail exchanges, they met up to play. Irene then proposed that they meet up another day at the iconic Jewish appetizing store, Russ and Daughters, before trying out courts on the Lower East side.  

“I figured that everyone in New York knew Russ and Daughters,” said Irene, who originally hails from Burma, “but Zsolt never arrived. I couldn’t call him, he had no cell phone, so I waited.  Sitting in front, while eating my bagel and whitefish, I saw him running by. I almost missed him. I think I gave him the wrong address.”  After an extended trip to Asia together (“four countries in six weeks and we never had an argument”) the couple realized that they had found a rare match, indeed. 

A trip to Budapest was next on the horizon. “I remember thinking how Budapest was almost like Paris—but in the 1960s. Zsolt’s father, Imre, would buy trays and trays of different types of pastries—the most incredible pastries — it was like something you would get in Paris or Vienna.” 

Zsolt’s mother, Àgnes, made these stuffed peppers for Irene to welcome her to Budapest. “Zsolt knows that I can eat spicy. They were so flavorful. It reminded me of home.”

The prototype for this family dish originated in Hungary and is based on a traditional recipe with some German-Hungarian influence from Budapest’s ninth district, Ferencvaros/Franzstadt. This zone was considered the ‘stomach of Budapest’ with a multitude of blooming family businesses, restaurants, butcher shops, and bakeries. It was the neighborhood where Budapest’s first chocolate factory, and famous brandy factory (Zwack Liqueur, maker of the beloved national digestive herbal drink, Unicum) were located, as well as the capital’s central slaughter house. 
 
The typical pepper used in its preparation is the Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper variety, which is fragrant, smooth and ripens like the sunset from yellow to orange to red. This pepper, or paprika, as it is called in Hungarian, is usually harvested before maturity when its skin exhibits a yellow-greenish hue. It is easy to stuff and peel and produces fruits whose ends taper to a rounded point. Alternatively, you can make it with green bell peppers. 
 
As anyone who has visited Hungary knows, you can hardly walk ten feet without encountering this pepper — whether it is threaded onto strings and hung from balconies to dry in its reddest, most mature state, piled high in a fragrant yellow tower in a food market, or taking its traditional place, in its red, pulverized version (as the ground spice, paprika) alongside the salt and pepper shaker on most Hungarian tabletops.

Zsolt is the chef when it comes to this family stuffed pepper dish which he cooks for Irene, so they both can remember their flavors of home. A yearly import of two kilos of Hungarian paprika, which his parents buy directly from a small producer in the nation’s Szeged region (and Zsolt carries back to New York on the plane) allows him to truly capture those authentic flavors. Zsolt also regularly imports frozen portions of his mother’s home-cooked stuffed peppers for his wife when she can not accompany him back to Budapest for his yearly visit  “Àgnes freezes the peppers in a container, which she then wraps in three or four Ziploc bags,” describes Irene. “The dish is still cold by the time the plane lands.” Talk about take away.

As the famous Hungarian restaurateur and restaurant consultant, George Lang, wrote in his book, The Cuisine of Hungary, "Paprika is to the Hungarian cuisine as wit is to conversation- not just a superficial garnish, but an integral element…the marriage of paprika and Hungarian cooking was almost predestined." Considering that the wax pepper originated in the New World and made its way into to Hungary by way of the Turkish invasion in the 1500s, it covered a lot of ground before reaching its most famous culinary destination.

 

Hungarian Stuffed Peppers 

For the Stuffing (to be prepared first):

1-3/4 pounds ground pork   
Scant ½ cup raw rice      
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 hot pepper (jalapeño will do), finely chopped   
2 tablespoons smoked bacon, chopped      
1 teaspoon of Hungarian hot paprika
A pinch of dried marjoram
A pinch of ground cumin
1 whole egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

For the peppers and cooking liquid:

6 tablespoons flour  
Pork lard or oil
4 cloves of garlic
¼ cup Hungarian paprika powder (sweet or hot)
2 liters of tomato juice
8-10 Hungarian wax peppers (with seeds and stems removed)

1. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the stuffing and set aside. 

2. Brown flour in melted lard or oil until it turns light brown in the pot. Add chopped garlic and cook several minutes until soft (but not brown.)  Add ¼ cup paprika to begin (add as much as you like according to taste – a mixture of sweet and hot paprika) and immediately remove pot from flame to avoid burning the paprika. 
 
3. Pour in 2 liters of tomato juice and break up any clumps of flour by stirring. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes to concentrate
 
4. Cut the Hungarian waxed peppers (8-10) around at the stem and pull out the seeds. 

5. Fill the peppers with the stuffing. Any leftover stuffing can be rolled into meat balls. Add stuffed peppers to a separate pot from the tomato liquid, add any ‘naked,’ leftover meat balls a bit later to the pot. Fill the pot with water to cover all peppers.  Salt and simmer for 30-40 minutes
 
6. When the stuffing in the peppers is cooked through the middle (cut and test to see when ready), transfer them to the tomato liquid pot and fill up with some chicken or beef broth as needed. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes while constantly stirring to finish.