I feel blessed that my children and grandchildren come to stay over at my house in Connecticut for holidays and birthdays and occasionally just to hang out. It reminds me of when I was a kid and visited my grandma -- almost every weekend -- along with practically everyone else in my mother's family (aunts, uncles and cousins).
That was back in the day before children had so many other activities. Sure, there were brownies and cub scouts, but back then I never heard of things like soccer or gymnastics. Art classes happened during school hours. The only cooking classes for children took place in your own kitchen if you were lucky to have a Mom like mine who let you patchky around.
Weekends were strictly for family activities.
I'm not saying one way of life is better than another. One size does not fit all, as they say. And maybe today's kids are better educated or are more well-rounded than we were.
But I have wonderful memories of that life.
It was good. I got to play with my cousin Leslie every weekend. She and her family lived with our grandma.
I also got to eat some of my grandma's wonderful food.
I hope that in years to come my grandchildren will feel happy when they recall their visits to Ed and me. And have good memories of some of the favorite foods I cooked when they came.
My grandma also made matzo brei and macaroni and cheese. But one of her signature dishes was blintzes.
She filled the blintzes with cheese, the classic, but, as I learned later, most people made the cheese filling sweet, seasoned with vanilla and/or cinnamon. My grandma's cheese-blintz filling was lemony, with just a hint of sugar.
Also, because there were so many of us, she had no time to fry them a couple at a time and still have everyone eat at the same time. So she placed the blintzes, seam-side down, on a baking sheet, topped each with a little dab of butter, and baked them until they were golden brown.
Me? I still love blintzes lemony and baked. And -- surprise to me! -- so do my grandchildren.
Her recipe is below, but the filling instructions give you the option to make the more popular vanilla version (and also how to fry them). Don't worry if the wrappers don't fry into perfect circles -- you're going to roll them and if they're a little off, no one will ever know.
Grandma Rachelle Hoffman’s Blintzes
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk, approximately
- 2 large eggs
- softened butter for frying
- 1 pound farmer’s cheese
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
To make the wrapper, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir to blend the ingredients. Add the milk and eggs and whisk until the batter is smooth and uniform (you may do this in a food processor). Add more milk if the batter seems too thick (it should be the consistency of heavy cream). Set aside for 30 minutes. Place a small amount of the softened butter in a crepe or omelet pan and place the pan over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and the foam is beginning to separate, add enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan (for an 8-inch pan it will be 1/4-cup), shaking the pan quickly to spread the batter evenly. Cook for a minute or so or until the bottom is lightly browned. Turn the wrapper over and cook briefly. Remove the wrapper and proceed with the remaining batter, separating the cooked wrappers with aluminum foil or waxed paper.
To make the filling, place the cheese, egg, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the lemon peel OR vanilla extract and mix in thoroughly.
To fill each wrapper: use the first fried side as the inside of the blintz. Use about 2 tablespoons of filling for an 8-inch wrapper and place the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the bottom side up, over the filling. Fold the left side, then the right side over the filling, then roll up to enclose the filling. Fry the blintzes seam side down first over medium heat (using the same method as for frying the wrappers – let the butter melt and become foamy). Or, you can bake the filled blintzes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the blintzes in a single layer on a jelly roll pan, top each with a tiny piece of butter. Bake for about 10 minutes.
Makes 8 8-inch blintzes