Cheese Blintzes and Brem

Amit said it was Shavuot. In her family they always eat cheese blintzes to celebrate that day. She hadn’t made cheese blintzes, but she had her mother’s recipe. How hard could it be? I offered the use of my kitchen.

Bali isn’t known for its cheese, and wheat flour isn’t a staple here. So when she sent the list of ingredients asking what I might have on hand, I was able to supply the salt, sugar, and eggs (if duck eggs will work?) and Bali lemons which are a bit more like limes…sort of. Amit would bring the rest.

Half-way through the day I received a text message. “No cottage cheese at Delta. Can you pick up at Coco’s?” I answered in the affirmative, flagged down Gede and his motorbike, and zipped over to Coco’s. Bee-lining it to the refrigerated section at the rear of the store I scanned the shelves. Yogurt in many flavors, sour cream, mascarpone, and light cream cheese were readily available. I scanned again, hoping that in the jumble of products bearing labels from at least 89 different countries, I had somehow overlooked cottage cheese. But to no avail. Ricotta! There was a tub of ricotta. Wasn’t that similar to cottage cheese? I quick texted Amit, “No cottage cheese. Will ricotta work?” In a flash she answered, “Could try…why not!” I grabbed two tubs and headed for checkout via the liquor shelves and grabbed a bottle of Brem, my favorite Balinese rice wine. If the blintzes flopped we could drown our sorrows.

Amit arrived with the recipe. It was the classic pinch of this, a little more of that if too thick, and mix until creamy. We collected the ingredients. Where were the lemons? They had been in the refrigerator before Ibu came that morning. Now they were gone. I haven’t quite figured out Ibu and the refrigerator. She keeps the house offerings in there and I store fruits and veggies. But on a disturbingly regular basis, some of my fruits and veggies go missing. And on other occasions, an abundance of unasked for produce appears…like 8 avocadoes, or 5 bunches of bananas. When I ask her she just says, “No problem.” What can you say to that? So the cheese blintzes will not have the squirt of lemon juice. Amit points to the recipe. It says ‘lemon juice optional’. Saved.

She stirred the eggs while I sprinkled in the flour alternately with a little water. Pretty soon we had what resembled a crepe batter. Amit seemed pleased until she asked for a pan and I handed her the wok. “Don’t you have anything with a flat bottom?” She looked puzzled, maybe even a bit dismayed. “This will work, won’t it?” I asked, avoiding the question. She scanned the 2 remaining pans hanging over the counter. It was quite obvious that the wok was far and away the best option.

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So the blintz-making began with Amit blessing the wok…perhaps…or maybe she’s testing the temperature?

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She spread the ‘creamy’ batter and worked it up onto the edges as best she could

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The first one was a bit thick-ish in the center, but after we realized we could pick up the wok and swirl the batter up the sides the quality improved

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A bit of ricotta mixed with a pinch of salt and a dab of sugar gets bundled up in the eggy little pancake

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Mission accomplished! We polished off that plate and, since this was the sole dinner, made a second, similar batch and devoured those as well.

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I’d forgotten how much I like cheese!

Cheese blintzes and brem for Shavuot! What a treat! And a good time was had by all…thanks, Amit!

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