Setting Your Table: Cheese Blintz style
The dish that I will be presenting as a part of my cookbook project is Cheese Blintzes! A blintze is almost a crepe-like pancake that is filled with all kinds of different mouth watering delicious cream cheese’s. They are called blintzes because the shape that these treats are folded into is called a blintz. These blintzes are made by spreading the cheese at the bottom of the crepe, then folding in both sides. After this you then roll up the crepe into a small filled rectangle ending with the seam on the bottom, therefore creating a blintze. These blintzes are apart of the Jewish religion, but are from Hungarian origin says https://www.myjewishlearning.com/recipe/blintzes/ . These delicious pancakes are filled with every kind of various fillings that you can imagine, called “palacsinta,” are very common in Hungary. This special dessert was adopted as a specialty of Shavut when it is customary to eat dairy dishes. This dish is important because, https://toriavey.com/what-is-shavuot/ Talks about how Shavut celebrates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people, this “Feast of Weeks” occurs on the 50th day after the 49 days of counter Omer.
This is how https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/shiksa-blintzes/ talks about making these delicious cheese blintzes. Preparing this dish involves placing the ricotta cheese that was made from the filling ingredients (see below) into a a strainer lined with cheesecloth placed on top of a bowl. Cheesecloth is a cotton cloth that is woven very loosely, almost ressembling gauze. It helps to drain excess liquid out of things such as; cheese. A problem that I anticipate during draining the liquid out of the cheese is that it turns out how my partner’s butter did, just a complete mess with no end result. Once you have drained all the excess liquid out. Once you have done this, you are now ready to blend up all of the blintze ingredients together. Once blended, you should see that the consistency of the batter should be smooth with no lumps (just like pancakes).
After the batter is perfectly smooth you are ready to pour the blintze batter. You pour the batter by 1/3 cupfuls into the pan. Then just like when you make an omlet, you tilt the pan around almost in a circular motion ensuring that the batter covers the entire pan. Should look as if it is an extra large sized pancake in the bottom of your pan. Once all blintzes are done being cooked to a tan/brown color, you are ready to make your filling. Mix all ingredients together until smooth but litely clumpy. First putting 3 tbsp of filling on the lower part of the blintze, then folding the edges up like stated above, you are now ready to fry your blintzes. After cooked to a golden brown after roughly 2 minutes, they are ready to be served warm and delicious. What attracted me to this dish was just the amazing look to them.
Cheese Blintzes Nutrition Facts
The cheese blintze is a delicious pancake folded into a circular form incasing the sweet cheese or fruit on the inside. This is what the majority of people see from the outside of this delicious dessert but what they do not know, is the rich history that tales this dish. A cheese blintze or often called a “blini” in early Russian times. This dessert is a type of pancake originally made from wheat that is mouthwateringly served with a butter, tvorog or smetana center and then is saute. A tvorog is a type of fresh dairy product that is comparable to cream cheese, and a Smetana is a delicious smooth sour cream that is often used in all aspects of a meal such as; appetizers and cuisines, soups, meat dishes, salads and often main courses as well. The history of the blintze also known as crepes can be traced back to ancient Slavic rituals. The ingredients of a blini go as follows; to start, you need a delicious sour cream to pass around that will appeal to all guests. After you have found the perfectly delightful cream cheese you need half a cup or more of sugar, for taste, a half pound of cream cheese, 2-3 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter obviously for taste because honestly there can never be enough butter. After the butter you need to make sure to have vanilla extract to add, three egg yolks, half of a tablespoon of oil, and then some to grease the pan. You need half a teaspoon of salt, one egg, two/thirds cup of water, one cup of flour and lastly one and one/fourth cups of milk.
To go about making these delicious masterpieces goes like this. First of all, you begin by grabbing yourself a medium sized mixing bowl, to be able to add all of your ingredients into! To begin, you add the milk as well as the water to the flour gradually. Do not just dump in all at once! While beating your milk, water and flour mixture strongly, you then add the egg, oil and salt and you beat the batter until it is deliciously smooth, just like pancake batter would look! After these steps you leave the ingredient filled bowl to sit and rest for roughly one to two hours. After letting your bowl sit, head over to your stove top and heat a nonstick frying pan. While heating your frying pan to a medium/high heat you are going to want to grease the bottom of the pan ever-so slightly with oil. Just enough to cook and almost fry your blintze, then once your pan is heated you are going to pour roughly half of a ladleful of batter into the frying pan. Once poured you are then going to move the pan around so the entire surface is covered with batter, just like you would when cooking an omelet. The end cooking result of the batter should result in a very thin pancake. Once this is achieved you are going to cook your blintze until it is slightly browned (like a marshmallow) and ensure that it is detached from the pan and not sticking and burning. Then turn your blintze over with your spatula and cook the other side momentarily. Once finished with your first blintze, continue these steps until all of the batter is then used up and put your delicious pancakes into a pile. These delightful treats can be filled with an assortment of fillings such as apple filling, cherry filling, and most any flavors you can imagine! Then for the delightful tasting filling in the middle, you blend up the cream cheese and the sugar, along with the egg yolks, and vanilla. If you have on hand and it is more convenient, use a food processor. After blended to a smooth creamy delicious texture, take each pancake just one and a time and put two mounding tablespoons of filling onto the lower bottom half of the blintze. Then proceed by folding the edge of the pancake over the filling, and tuck in the sides just like you would folding a burrito. Once folded in, then roll the “blini” into a slim, perfect bite size roll. After you have rolled and folded all your blintzes, place them side by side in an oven dish and drizzle your two to three tablespoons of butter evenly over the top and bake in the oven preheated to 375. Bake these delicious treats for 20 minutes, then serve delicious and hot! Recipe found at https://www.myjewishlearning.com/recipe/blintzes/
The blintze has a very deep history rooted in Russia and the early Slavic times. As called “blini” in old times, these treats were thought to be a symbol of the sun due to their roundly folded form. As https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blini#cite_note-1 says, traditionally they were prepared at the end of the winter season to honor the rebirth of the new sun. This week was also called “Maslenitsa” or better known as “pancake week” or “butter week”. Traditionally the Russian “blini” was made with batter that has been yeasted which means it is left to rise and then diluted with either milk or water. From the days of the early Russians, the word of the delicious treats quickly spread over to the United states by European Jewish immigrants who used them commonly in their Jewish cuisine. Aside from “blini” being made with the delicious sweet fillings, these desserts were also commonly made by instead filling the inside with ground meat or chicken or an assortment of different fillings to accommodate guests. This dish can most certainly be made with attention to the four elements of well-being, social justice, environmental justice as well as religious freedoms. Based off of those four elements you can change the variety of this dish by making it with an assortment of different ingredients to fit the accommodations of all your guests to ensure that you do not offend anyone’s religion, you can change things such as the fillings that go inside the dessert. To accomodate guests religious freedoms you can also change ingredients within the dish to ensure that the dish does not offend anyone.
It all begins with the ingredients; these are truly the most important part of the dish. As many famous people have stated, you cannot build a grand skyscraper without a great, strong base, and that’s very similar to this dish. All the ingredients in the picture above can make delicious dishes separately, but when combined together make something great and delicious. When the ingredients such as the flour, eggs, sugar and vanilla were thoroughly mixed together they came to a delightful look like this:
The look of the batter was highly comparable to that of pancake batter, but better. For me, the batter of the blintze was better due to the sweet mouth watering scent of the vanilla. It caused me to take several taste tests before even cooking it. It was very smooth, and easy to stir, and better yet while you were stirring about the batter the delicious aroma of vanilla filled the air. The vanilla added a special, sweet, and mouthwatering smell that just made you want to be eating the batter with just the spoon. Once all the ingredients were fully stirred into the smooth batter, it was ready to be stirred and cooked. When pouring the batter, you just pour 1/3 of a cup into the pan. You don’t just let it sit there and cook, you first have to tilt the pan around in a circular motion to ensure that all of the batter is covering the bottom of the pan creating a nice and even cook. Once the bottom of the pan is completely covered with batter it will look as this:
As you can see from the picture above the entire bottom of the pan is completely covered with batter. This blintz pictured above was about a half cooked blintz, the objective of the cooked blintz is for the surrounding edges to have a light brown color similar to a marshmallow. But as you can see, this one has only parts of it browned. Once the blintz is cooked to complete you have to remove it from the pan and set aside to later be filled with delicious filling. This part was difficult for me, as you can see here in this picture. It was difficult at first because I didn’t know how to properly flip the blintze, but once the pan had enough cooking oil sprayed on it combined with my own perfected method of flipping the blintze, I had it down.
Once all the blintzes were cooked to complete and set aside, it was time to move on to the filling. Once all the filling ingredients were mixed to complete, they combined to look like the image below. The filling was a cream cheese filling that I made sure to add a little extra sugar too because I am a lover of sweets.
The texture of the filling came to an almost pudding-like texture. When tasting the filling, your mouth was immediately filled with a delicious, soft, yet creamy filling that you just wanted to eat more and more of. You were now ready to move onto putting the filling on the blintz and get ready to fold it into completion.
At this stage, you pour another 1/3 cup of your filling onto the bottom of the blintz and it is then ready to be folded into greatness. The end result is a mouth watering sight that you cannot wait to sink your teeth into, I will just let you see and be the judge of it yourself… After making the blintze, I wasn’t the only taste testing judge, my roommates all took a try for themselves. Everyone that took a try of my dessert agreed that it was delicious, with a very sweet crepe, almost tortilla like outside, with a very sweet cream cheese filling.
When talking about the ethical principles of cheese blintzes and the worst way that it could go possible, the first thing I think about is the dairy products that this dish includes. More importantly, the well being of the animals. When animals such as cows are treated with antibiotics, these medications ultimately get filtered through and come out the animal’s milk. When this happens, the probiotic bacteria in the milk then has a hard time fighting the antibiotics and may cause the milk to not reach the right acidity as well as the proper texture or good coagulation when aged. When milk is collected from animals that have been fed cheap grains and fermented foods this can also cause further issues. Animals such as cows are meant to be feed quality foods such as plants and grasses, but when they are fed these fermented foods it causes a gas buildup that causes the cheese to almost explode and form holes in the texture of the cheese that are not supposed to be there, this causes an unwanted nasty bitter flavor and aroma. Another case scenario that may go wrong when making this dish, is someone brings up the environmental justice and the issues that surround it. When talking about cows and farm animals and farms, these operations can really tear up the environment. From the semi’s taking animals to and from feedlots, or truly to anywhere, from all the animals in the fields pushing the topsoil further into the ground and ruining the farm soil.
When mentioning social justice and how it pertains to this dish the only thing that comes to my head is vegetarians and their views on eating animals and dairy products. This would be a very large issue with my dish due to the fact that everything that dish includes has to do with dairy as well as animals in some sort. From the milk used in the shell of the blintz, to the eggs used and to the various cream and the ricotta cheese that I used for the filling. You have to be very careful when making a dish such as cheese blintzes. If you are having vegetarian guest then you need to be very careful with the ingredients that you use to ensure that you are not breaking anyone’s vegetarian views, as well as their religious freedoms. A major problem with this dish pertaining to religious freedom has to do with the religion of Jains. Since Jains aren’t aloud to eat any food such as “lacto-vegetarianism”. Since this dish has eggs in it, as well as milk and lots of other dairy products, this dish goes far against the rules of the Jain religion.
Truthfully, the reason that I picked the cheese blintze for my project was purely because the delicious appearance of of the dish. When I was looking around and searching dishes that were related to religion, I was scrolling through and saw the delicious strawberry drizzle that was on top of the blintze and I was sold. After choosing this dish, making it then eating it I realized why the people of the olden times began to make it. When thinking about the foods they ordinarily eat, I believe they started making this dish because it is fairly easy, cheap, and quick to make. When I think about the food I ordinarily eat, often times it is much different in comparison to the cheese blintz. The food I normally eat is very healthy and often expensive. When you go to the grocery store often times the healthy food is the most expensive food and that is why many American’s are obese, because the only food that they can afford is the unhealthy junk food. In the case of the cheese blintze, it is very cheap and easy to make but you can make it in a healthy way, or in my case it was quite unhealthy. This is all based on the set of ingredients put into the dish! The religious significance of this dish is a holiday called Shavuot or “feast of weeks” which is a Jewish holiday that the blintz is very commonly served on. From the beginning to the end this dish is a religious dish. I say this because when this dish is made it is most commonly made for that specific Jewish holiday, so I imagine this dish being made in such a religious environment and that in itself is special.
Roden, C. (2003, May 21). Blintzes. Retrieved April 25, 2019, from https://www.myjewishlearning.com/recipe/blintzes/
Avey, T. (2018, July 29). Cheese Blintzes - How to make the perfect blintze. Retrieved April 26, 2019 from https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/shiksa-blintzes/
Tori, A. (2018, August 29). What is Shavuot? Retrieved April 26, 2019, from https://toriavey.com/what-is-shavuot/
Blini. (2019, March 17). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blini#cite_note-1