Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye, 2009.

I don't like to be too emotional...hah..that is lie!  I get sappy about the silliest things; like not finding the other half to my favorite pair of socks right before I want to take off on a hike.  So, here it is, a great excuse to be sappy a bit today.  Reflecting not only on the past year, but the past decade.  What have I accomplished? Hmm..lets see, shall we?
Fell in love...check.
Purchased a new couch to replace the sad old love seat...check.
Began to understand more Polish than I thought I ever would...check. (My boyfriend is Polish and very cute:)
Fell in love, again...with a mastador puppy...check.  (Who is now our 1 year old, Maggie.)
Camped, canoed, hiked and climed almost every weekend...check.
Visited my sister in Memphis, Tennessee...check.
My sister visited me in Iowa City, Iowa...check.
Watched "Romi and Michelle's Highschool Reunion" with my sister...check.  (Actually, she watched it while I fell aslepp after 10 minutes.)
Gambled for the first (and probably last time) in a casino with guess, who....MY SISTER!...check. (I won too.)
Baked countless hours making pastires, baked goodies, yummy treats....check.

What a busy year, I am quite exhausted, actually.  I wasn't going to write much today, on this last day of 2009. That is until my Mom called me from Hungary to let me know I have not posted anything since Dec. 17th. How dare I, right?

So, here it goes, to my Mommi, granny Manna, my sister Kata (and her family in Memphis) my brother Ocsi (and his family in England) our friends and loved ones all over Europe and here in the US, and all of my followers, customers, Cream Puff Groupies....HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish you all health, happiness and love and the promise of seeing each other soon either in Europe or here in the US.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Shop.

I love being at the store. It is in a picture perfect small town; hometown of President Herbert Hoover.  The place is what my Mom would call "oh, so cute!" (Especially considering one of her all time favorite movies is "Funny Farm" even though she does not speak a lot of English. I guess everyone can appreciate Chevy Chase and the squirrel.)

I took some of these pictures of the shop, so my friends and family can picture what I am talking about when I begin telling my sister for example, where I set up a new cake stand. By the way, although my sister doesn't know it yet, I am on a mission to have her and her family move up to Iowa, so her and I can run the little shop together. After all, two funny, baking Hungarians is always better than one!  :)

The shop...

Pastries.  Come to my belly...

Lots of vintage gifts.

Handmade cards, wrapping papers. I am addicted!

The red cabinet on the side is filled with soy soaps and candles. My favorite scent is Lemongrass & Sage and Silent Night.

The pastires up close and personal. The selection changes daily and I think I am running out of space!

Stary night.

Is it real?

I have been getting this question pretty often lately: "Is it edible?"  Many customers come to my shop smell the yummy smells of pastries but ask if certain ones are real or just "pretend." I feel honored, that some consider my treats pretty enough not to eat. is sooo much better in your belly. Trust me on this one. I am a highly experienced taste tester. (After all, quality control is very important!)

So, I decided to make the following sign...

The only things that still receive the "is it real" question are my handmade sugar cookie ornaments. These particular ones are in honor of our university football team, The Iowa Hawkeyes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"What is a Ridli??"

There has been a kitchen utencil in my family's posession for generations.  It is called the "Ridli." My Grandmother has used this tool numerous times, to make her famous "Sajtos Rud," or as we would call it Cheese Straws. 

We made this recipe often, but no matter what we always had it on New Year's Eve.  I still have vivid memories of staying up late night as a kid (waaaay past our bed times) on New Year's and nushing on these cheese treats. (With of course candy, sweets and whatever we could get our hands oh. Hey, it was a holiday!)

My Grandmother, who is now 80 years old came to the US the first time 2 years ago to visit.  Along with her stories and recipes, she brought something special: the "Ridli." It was to be mine, to be cherished, and used to continue making her Cheese Straws.

Parmesan cheese everywhere...

This is my Grandmother's old "Ridli"

So...what does parmesan cheese filled dough and a ridli equal to?


Friday, December 11, 2009

Going Nuts...

I make these candied nuts every holiday season. Cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts and macademias covered in rich homemade carmel. Yummy!!!

Meet the puffs.

Cream Puff Day. One of the first goodies I ever made as a pastry chef were creampuffs and today is puff day again. As I wrote in my post yesterday, I've been pretty busy lately. (Coool!)
I will always be greatful for the long hours I spent making choux pastry, filling endless rows of my puffs and building a bond with each one.  I am also grateful  the little following I could build, thanks to my puffs...a group I affectionately like to call "Cream Puff Groupies."  I decided today, they deserve their own club and membership card, better yet, the Cream Puff Groupies Punch Card!

So, let's meet the puffs...before cream...

...and with cream..

Thursday, December 10, 2009

In marching order.

With my little pastry business taking off, I have been pretty busy lately with orders. This is one I am working on as we speak.  All I need to do, is box it and ship it out.

My dear Ischler, how could I forget you?

I was reading a book a while back about Hungarian and European coffee house cultures in the 50's. (See, I firmly believe I should have been born back then, but that is for another post.) I read about this Austrian pastry chef, Ischler, and a light-bulb went off in my head: " Wait a minute, I remember eating Ischlers, growing up!" Frantic search, followed by the victorius " I got it" shout: I found the recipe for it.
For those who are not familiar with Ischler, it is a very filling and addicting "cookie." Two rich walnut butter cookies held together by raspberry marmalade and glazed with my homemade chocolate ganache. It is luxurious, yet simple.  I made Ischler right away and we had it for dessert that night. 
I will never forget my first bite...brought back all my childhood memories: my mom taking us to a coffee house in Budapest. We nibbled on our Ischlers while she was enjoying her espresso...I will never forget.

Testing, testing..

When it comes to baking, fixing some unexpected problems, adjusting oven temperatures, I am all confident. When I decided to start this blog, I must admit, I was nervous. I know what I would like my site to look like (which what you currently see is not.)  My friend, Anne is the "blog Master" as far as I am concerned. I am fairly certain she is going roll over laughing seeing my sad little attempt at my own blog site. But have no fear, where there is a will, and plenty of baked goodies, there is a way.

Welcome to my blog...of Strudels and Puffs.