Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blog the 12th....recipe the ninth is the book club that propelled me in the right direction for my blog. I've been loving the books! The current read is The Language of  Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber, a food memoir of the author's Jordanian-American family. The family lives vacillate between their American life and their Jordanian roots. They live in upstate New York. If anyone is unfamiliar with the upper regions of New York let's take a moment together. I feel that full disclosure here may be necessary, as I must confess that I am not a big fan. Now don't get me wrong the land is beautiful, peaceful and filled with serenity, yet many of the towns are quite rundown, almost forgotten. I've often driven around and wondered how and why the towns get this way. Is it lack of industry...wanning farms...state aid issues....or some combination of the above. Not all of upstate is like this, however there is a percentage in the land that time forgot.
     I apologize for the digression from the book, but I feel it is important to understand that two completely contrasting worlds have converged into this family. There is quite a bit of cultural conflict occurring especially for Bud, Diana's father, who is Jordanian. Diana's story is the tale of her relationship with her family and food. Her father's semi-erratic behavior had a profound effect on her. Her dad is a man who loves food and it's mystique for people. The stuffed cabbage chapter (which I plan on trying at a later date) was particularly moving. In thinking about the last three books...Ruth Reichel was heavily influenced by her unbalance mother(whose food knowledge was highly questionably), while Molly Wizenberg's dad was a strong positive influence and fabulous cook. They all had their catalyst.
      On a side note...I made the Tabbouleh salad and was very disappointed with the results. I followed the recipe to the letter! I really enjoy tabbouleh salad and was wondering if anyone had a sure fire recipe.
     Dear family loves cream puffs so I was hoping for success here...and it happened....they enjoyed them.

Mona Lisa Cream Puffs
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 package instant vanilla pudding

Choux Pastry:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar

1 dark chocolate bar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the filling ingredients and put aside to set.
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the butter and boil until melted.Add the flour and salt all at once and stir until it forms a dough, then scrape into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs one by one and beat in with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes, until lightly brown. Let cool, then split open each pastry into equal halves.
Spoon the filling onto the bottom half of each pastry, shave the chocolate over the filling, then top with the other half of the pastry. You can also conserve some of the chocolate bar, melt it, and pourthis over the top of the cream puff, for those who like the crowning touch.
Makes 8 to 10 cream puffs.


  1. The cream puffs sound delicious. I had to sit this one out and was keeping an eye out for reviews....I'm going to read the book the moment I get a free second :)

  2. You are right on about Upstate NY, and being familiar with the area added a lot to understanding the book and the family situation. Thanks for the heads up about the Tabbouleh Salad, and glad the Cream Puffs worked out. I am a sucker for cream puffs :)