Friday, January 31, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls and their friends :)

Everyone loves cinnamon rolls. But how about some new fillings in those doughs? Today we made the good old fashioned cinnamon rolls and two other variations: 

I made a half a batch of this dough recipe and it was still enough for 4 pans of rolls. 

Quark and Chocolate: 
 Mix some quark (biezpiens) aka farmer's cheese or curd cheese, with sugar and a little sour cream if it is very dry. Spread and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Roll, cut, let rise and bake. YUMMY! 

Pizza Rolls:
Roll dough, spread with a light coating of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with pizza spices (oregeno, basil), top with a good amount of grated cheese and some chopped meat (I used pepperoni sausage). Roll, and slice. Let rise and bake. A great appetizer or snack for kids. 

Other variations: 
caramelized milk and chopped nuts
quark and berries
vanilla pudding, topped with glaze and coconut


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Biezpiens-Quark-Farmer's Cheese

Here I have lived in Latvia for 8 years and spent a whole lifetime in the States before that and I have been totally sure that there is no such thing as "biezpiens" in the USA. A few times now I have seen the word translated as "quark". Finally, I remembered to look up the subject and as it turns out this type of cheese is widely spread throughout the world.

Quark is made by warming soured milk . . . you can read about it online if you are interested. 

Sometimes it gets translated as cottage cheese- but the cheese we think of in the States for cottage cheese is not like this. This is typically dry, crumbly and not creamy- though it comes in a wide selection here as well. It is eaten both as a sweet dish and salty dish. My kids love it mixed with sour-cream to make it creamy, sprinkled with sugar or with jelly or jam. That is a popular breakfast here in our home.

In the USA it is known as farmer's cheese. I must say that I personally never saw nor ate it when I was growing up in the States- but it does me good to know it does exist there:)

So next time you are living in the States and want to make a Latvian recipe or recipe from another country that calls for quark or biezpiens you will know you can find it, or something similar.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mom's Chili

It is cold, very cold. And nothing warms like a bowl of chili and a side of cornbread. This was our lunch today:


1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
2  T. brown sugar
2 T. 5% vinegar
1 glass water (or more if you like it more watered down)
1 quart tomato juice (or tomatoes in juice, or crushed tomatoes which is what I used. )
1 onion- diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2-3 cans kidney beans- drained.

  • Brown meat, drain of fat if necessary. 
  • Add onion and garlic and saute until tender. 
  • Put this in pot, add remaining ingredients and simmer for some time so that flavors blend. 
  • Serve with grated cheese and cornbread. YUMMY

June's Cornbread Supreme

This is a family favorite of ours for cornbread, given to us by our dear friend June and adapted by me. This is a lovely side for chili. 


1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
4 eggs
1 can creamed corn or normal corn
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheese (jack and cheddar)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 175 C
  2. Melt butter
  3. Mix together all ingredients
  4. Bake in 9x13 greased pan or in iron skillet ( this is what I do) 
  5. Bake until golden and until toothpick inserted comes out clean- 20-40 minutes. .

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pumpkin Streusel Pie

For Thanksgiving one always needs Pumpkin Pie. I have always liked pumpkin pie, but am not crazy about it. Until this year when I ran across this twist to the traditional pie from HERE.

I used my own pumpkin pie recipe and just added the streusel topping. It is soooooooo yummy and adds such a nice crunch to the pie. You don't even need whipped cream if you top it with this.

I had too many pies at Thanksgiving, so I froze one of these- unbaked. I took it out today and baked it. My husband would not even wait until it cooled off and he gave is a high rating. Now believe me (he is my biggest critic), so if he says it is good, then it is really GOOD! 

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Crumble together these ingredients and sprinkle on top of pie last 10-15 minutes of baking. Cook until nicely browned. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pizza- Our way

 The varieties of pizza are as unique as each person I would think. But this is our favorite dough recipe and a few of our favorite topping combinations: 

Dough: I got this dough recipe from my good friend Lena. This is a good, fast recipe. When I have more time I make my mom's "real pizza dough recipe".

2 1/4 t. yeast
1 1/3 c. warm water
3 1/2 - 3 3/4 c. flour
2 T. olive oil
1-3 t. salt  (we use less)
1 T. sugar


Mix until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise 1-1 1/2 hours. (Sometimes I don't even let it rise that long). Makes 2 pizzas.

My favorite:
-Deep dish (cooked in my stone pan)
-Thick crust, sometimes cheese filled edges.
-Homemade tomato sauce
-Spices: basil, oregano and rosemary
-Toppings: American style pepperoni, mushrooms and olives, and if I have it feta cheese.

His favorite:
-Medium thick crust
-Tomato sauce
-Spices: basil, oregano
-Toppings: smoked chicken or chicken fillet, curry sauce (mix cream with curry powder), pineapple, bell peppers, sometimes ham and he loves hot peppers on it too. But I don't bake them on the pizza otherwise the spiciness spreads way to much!

-Any thickness of crust
-Spread with white garlic sauce (it is sold here that and in Germany)
-Toppings: As desired, but as usual I like American pepperoni, and whatever else is on hand at the moment.

Other sauces to try:
-BBQ sauce
-Pesto sauce
-Cream cheese
-Fresh sliced tomatoes-yum

Get creative with those toppings!

What are your favorites?