Local Author Cooks With Rachael

When author Rhoda Janzen took a really bad week and turned it into a memoir, she caught the attention of a lot of people. This week she begins a book tour with a stop at the Grand Rapids Public Library Thursday at 7pm. She will read from her book, “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress” and take questions from the audience. Today she talks about the book – and shares one of her family’s recipes with Rachael. She says in her house, they were always called Kwarkkuchen, sometimes spelled Quarkkuchen. According to Rhoda, some times eastern Mennos call them by another name altogether: Glums Koki. She remarks, “You’d think we Mennonites could get together on our weird foods.” She goes on to explain, “Kwark is a dry hoop cheese not unlike the French fromage frais–not aged, and very light. I grew up making these with the traditional dry-curd cottage cheese (hoop cheese), which is getting harder to find these days. I always had luck at Russian delis when I lived in LA, but since I have moved to a smaller town, I have had to improvise.” That’s where the alternate version made with regular cottage cheese came up. Rhoda says the dry-hoop-cheese version is better, but the cottage-cheese version is also delicious, accessible, and inexpensive.nnThe traditonal version comes from The Mennonite Treasury of Recipes:nnIngredients: n1 1/2 cups dry-curd cottage cheese n3 eggs n1/2 cup flour n1 teaspoon saltnnCombine cottage cheese and eggs; mix well. Add flour and salt and stir until combined. Drop from spoon into hot greased pan; I usually use a splash of canola oil. Fry lightly until golden brown, about five minutes on each side. Serve warm with fresh summer berries and my homemade-version of creme fraiche. Mix equal parts sour cream and heavy whipping cream; cover; leave on counter for eight hours. Some folks also sprinkle the kuchen with sugar when plating, but I like them better without the sugar. These are also delicious with a dollop of homemade jam atop the sour cream. It’s a cozy dish for brunches or holiday breakfasts.nnRegular Cottage Cheese Version:nnIngredients: nHalf of a 1-lb container of regular cottage cheese n3 eggs n1/4-1/2 cup flour n1 teaspoon salt npinch baking powder, as on the tip of a knifennPrepare as above.



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