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A Dinner in Honor of Longtime Food52-er Kukla

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Over the holiday weekend, we received some sad news in our editors' inbox: The grandson of one of our longtime community members, Kukla, wrote to tell us that she passed away at the end of October.

Photo by Kukla

"Food52 brought joy to my grandmother every day since she began there," her grandson wrote us. "From what I understand, her recipes were well received, and she even won a few site-wide contests."

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That's an understatement: In the more than 4 1/2 years that Kukla was a member of the Food52 community, she won 4 contests, and her recipes were recognized as Community Picks 25 times. She uploaded a whopping 282 recipes to the site (psst: That's more than Amanda Hesser or Merrill Stubbs).

Kukla's Georgian Khachapuri
Kukla's Georgian Khachapuri Photo by James Ransom

Kukla's recipes were hugely well received with the rest of the Food52 community, too: Enthusiastic notes from other cooks fill the comment sections of her recipes—and Kukla would answer nearly all of them, wishing them the best, thanking them for cooking from her recipes, and often offering helpful tips. (Just look at the exchanges on her recipe for Lemon-Ricotta Bars.)

She wrote often in her contest winner Q&As about finding culinary inspiration in the cooking of her mother and aunt, and reflectively, her recipes often celebrated her Eastern European heritage. She introduced us to the herb-stuffed Azerbaijani pancakes called Kutabi; the garlicky hand-formed sausages Mititei; and to Shalotta, a pickled lettuce condiment that quickly won us all over (and taught us that you can pickle lettuce!).

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To celebrate Kukla, who, wrote her grandson, found great happiness in the Food52 community, here's a feast of some of her recipes. So that we may be continued to be inspired by her:

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Smoked Salmon on Mustard-Chive and Dill Butter Toasts

5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001 Kukla
987 Save Recipe
Serves makes 20:
  • 10 ounces of the best quality smoked salmon in medium-thin slices (Norwegian or Wild Alaskan)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 31/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped chives or green onions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 thin, long French Baguette, cut into 1/4-inch slices
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B1c9a716 5eb5 4f2e bc7d 10660efcf793  food52 05 07 13 0801

Shalotta, Mom's Pickled Lettuce Condiment

5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001 Kukla
300 Save Recipe
Makes 1 quart
  • 2 large bunches Green Leaf or 2 medium heads Iceberg lettuce, washed and dried
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium bunch fresh dill, thick stems removed and fronds roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, tart cherries, or raisins
  • 1 cup boiled warm water
  • 1/2 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or your favorite hot chile pepper, finely diced
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9ad6f8fe 6cca 4b72 96ea e501e7ad699a  2015 0602 spiced shrimp lemon ginger sauce mark weinberg 300

Spiced Shrimp in Lemon-Ginger Sauce

5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001 Kukla
171 Save Recipe
Serves 4

For the Spiced Shrimp

  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 whole green onions, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 cups water

For the Lemon-Ginger Sauce

  • 2 large lemons, zested, white pith and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shrimp stock, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish
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Afafd4c6 28af 43eb 9fdf 83e4727bcaca  2013 0611 wildcard herb stuffed pancake 011

Kutabi, Azerbaijani Savory Pancakes Filled with Greens and Herbs

5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001 Kukla
435 Save Recipe
Serves 6 to 8

For the dough

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for kneading and rolling
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons warm water

For the filling

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium bunch (about 7-8) green onions
  • 1 medium bunch (about 6) green garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter for sautéing, plus more melted butter for the tops
  • 1 medium bunch fresh sorrel, thinly chopped
  • 1 medium bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 medium bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded and diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
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E1260ebd d4f7 47c9 b116 603efc2513f7  18

Crunchy Celery, Radish and Turnip Salad-Slaw in Blue Cheese Sauce

5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001 Kukla
668 Save Recipe
Serves 4 to 6
  • • 1/2 head celery (about 6-7 stalks), peeled and thinly sliced, leaves picked and reserved
  • • 1 bunch radishes, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
  • • 1 bunch young turnips, ends trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
  • • 5 spring onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • • 1/2 cup fresh flat leave parsley, chopped
  • For the sauce:
  • • 3 tablespoons Gorgonzola Dolce blue cheese, room temperature
  • • 2 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
  • • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice plus 2 teaspoons zest
  • • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • • 10 grinds black pepper
  • • 2 teaspoons sugar
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91a76169 ce84 4007 8f47 93e6174f2a7d  2014 0218 jenny herbed chicken in a bag 010

Herbed Chicken Thighs Roasted in a Paper Bag

5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001 Kukla
671 Save Recipe
Serves 8
  • • 8 large free ranch chicken thighs
  • • 6 garlic cloves
  • • 3/4 cup mixed fresh herb leaves (such as thyme, sage, rosemary)
  • • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • • 2 tablespoons fine red wine vinegar
  • • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • • 1/2 cup good dry white wine for the baking dish
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7b35f539 d619 4383 b557 20849dbbf9b2  2015 0505 filled georgian khachapuri cheese bread james ransom 044

Georgian Khachapuri Filled with Ramps, Green Onions, Herbs, and Cheese

5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001 Kukla
223 Save Recipe
Makes 4 (7-inches in diameter) or 8 (4- by 4-inches square) pies

For the dough:

  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 ounce active dry yeast
  • 1 cup hot water (about 120º F)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta, drained (a soft goat cheese also works)
  • 1/2 cup Havarti cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup good quality feta cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for frying and brushing the tops
  • 1/4 ground coriander seeds
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 5 whole ramps (bulb and leaves), washed, dried of excess water, thinly chopped (when not in season, use spinach)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk
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33ce692c a16b 4659 bef8 fa223096f814  food52 01 30 12 1994

Lemon-Ricotta Bars

5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001 Kukla
2,443 Save Recipe
Makes 18, 2-inches squares

For the Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1-inch pieces, slightly softened plus extra for greasing pan

For Lemon-Ricotta Filling

  • 8oz (1 cup) fresh whole milk Ricotta, drained
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice from 3 to 4 large lemons, strained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
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Tags: kukla, in memoriam, food52 community