“Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance!”

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean area, where it grows wild and in huge masses on rocky hillsides near the sea where the soil is dry and chalky with lots of sunshine.

It has been in use in that part of the world since 500 B.C, now we find it  throughout  Europe and in the U.S.  The name is derived from the Latin “ros” and “marinus,” meaning “dew of the sea.” This shrub/herb can grow up to six feet tall along the Mediterranean coast. 

Originally it was used for medicinal purposes, especially among the ancient Greeks when they intertwined branches in their hair to guard against “weakness of the brain” especially at a time while taking exams, and was thought to cure ailments of the nervous system.

As folklore tells us it carries many superstitions and is a member of the Mint family.  Through the ages rosemary was tossed into graves at funerals, as a sign that the deceased would always be remembered.  Shakespeare tells us in Hamlet: “There’s Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance.”  Rosemary also symbolizes fidelity, from the time of Anne of Cleves who wore a rosemary wreath when she embarked on her ill-fated marriage to Henry VIII.

Rosemary is a very aromatic shrub with numerous branches that grow low to the ground when young and later becomes woody with  grayish-brown, scaly bark.  The narrow, leathery leaves are spiky, with a dark green upper surface and a pale gray, underside.

The silver-green, needle-shaped leaves are highly aromatic and their flavor hints of both lemon and pine.  Its small blossoms are pale blue and sometimes pale pink and are a special delicacy to bees.

In the markets today this herb is available fresh, in whole-leaf form, as well as dried and powdered.

In your gardens, harvest Rosemary from midsummer through late fall.

Rosemary can be used as a seasoning in variety of dishes including fruit salads, soups, vegetables, meat, particularly lamb, fish, egg dishes, stuffings , and dressings. Also, one cannot overlook the many possibilities in breads and muffins.

Its unique flavor is particularly excellent for barbecued and grilled meats, not only in marinades, but throwing it onto the coals for flavored smoke. It is also especially useful in the making of sausages, and is a prime ingredient in “Herbs de Provence.”


Rosemary Marinated Flank Steak

1 ½ pound Beef Flank Steak

¼ cup Soy Sauce

¼ cup Olive Oil

½ cup Sherry

2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary Leaves, chopped fine

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 Tbsp Juniper Berries, slightly crushed

Put the steak on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, make

Shallow diagonal crisscross cuts on both sides of the steak so that the steak is scored in a diamond pattern.  This scoring will both tenderize the steak and prevent curling during cooking.

Place the scored steak in a shallow non-reactive dish.  Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour that mixture over the meat.

Allow to marinate at least 1 hour but no more than 3.

Turn meat several times while it marinades.

Preheat broiler or barbecue grill, then broil or grill the steak quickly about 2-inches from the heat source.  Cook the steak for about 8 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second….or altogether less……..if you desire the meat a little  rare in the center.

The real secret to a tender flank steak is the carving.  Position the cooked meat on a carving board so that the smallest end is angled slightly away from you.  Secure the meat with a fork or tongs and, with the blade of your knife almost parallel to the surface of the steak, make very thin slices diagonally across the grain of the meat.

You can make a delicious sauce with the remaining marinade by straining it and placing the liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Combine 1 Tbsp Cornstarch with 2 Tbsp Cold Water.  Add to the heating marinade, mix well and allow to thicken slightly.

Sprinkle in a tad more finely chopped fresh rosemary, mix well and serve over the sliced meat.

My personal encounters with the herb – Rosemary ………..

After I graduated from College I found a position as a Medical Research Technologist at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

At the end of my one year contract I found myself with a group of friends vacationing on the Coast of the Adriatic Sea.  We were on a Sail Boat hopping the islands in those most beautiful blue waters.  The islands were barren of any kind of growth, but Rosemary and Sage.  These two herbs grew in such abundance that whole herds of sheep found enough food to sustain their livelihood.  As I was gazing at this amazing sight of green and gray bushes, inhaling the powerful aromas of these herbs, watching the energetic sheep munching away in lively exuberance, I could not but think………that their flesh is already marinated before they are slaughtered for human consumption.


Having my roots in Croatia and am from Austrian heritage……

I remember going to weddings as a child, I saw that when the bride and groom entered the church that they were given a small bouquet of Rosemary that was pinned on them, to assure happiness as long as they live together.

When my parents immigrated to the U.S. and when my father bought our second home in Los Angeles, CA, my mother planted a Rosemary bush on the side of our house.  This bush grew to be quite large through the years.  I graduated from college, spent my three years in Europe and came back to marry my husband within a year and a half of returning.

To my biggest surprise and pleasure my mother announced that we would make little buttonière of Rosemary to be pinned on every guest that came to my wedding.  We made 160 of these little bouquets and wrapped a little white ribbon around each one of them.  During the wedding ceremony the whole church was sitting in an aromatic cloud of Rosemary fragrance.

After our honeymoon we visited my parents only to see that the Rosemary bush had died.  I think it knew that my mother planted it for a purpose……..and when that purpose was fulfilled…it died!

My husband and I are still together after 41 years of marriage. That little twig of Rosemary kept it’s promise!

Why do you like this herb, Rosemary…or do you not like it?

How do you use it….in cooking, baking, medicinally or therapeutically?


Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at:maria@majaskitchen.com   Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website,http://www.majaskitchen.com

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Winter 2016


The world around me turned white…

The snow fell quietly…

And dressed nature in a while cloak..

It gave the impression of a magical stillness….

 Camera in my hand….

Framing pictures…

While my imagination created…

With a thoughtful eye….

A painting in white…

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Copy Right….Maria R Springer

Maja’s Kitchen LLC






Pea soup serving 003Yesterday’s Crock-Pot cooking!!! I like to cook large batches of “winter soups”…have one dinner on the day of preparing it…and freeze the rest in 3 cups measure in quart-size freezer bags, or in plastic containers…I line them up in an old Tupperware container and freeze them for days when I do not have time to cook dinner or am too busy baking pastries…I serve this split-pea soup with a dab of sour cream. Oh, and, my split-pea soup is cooked to where the peas are cooked but still have a little crunch in it….

I do not have a recipe for this soup…but will give a description of how I make it.

I had a ham-hock that I cooked in water for a couple of hours the day before. it is not necessary to stir it. After 2 hours I just left the lid on and left it on the stove over night. Having not stirred it or touched it …it stayed sterile on the stove without having had to refrigerate it.

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Next day……I used two bags of dried split-peas, looked through them for little stone and other debris, then rinsed them 3 times with cold water and added them to the Crock-pot. Having removed the fat off the cooked ham-hock and added it with the broth to the split peas I continued adding the following:

1 cup of chopped celery

1 cup of sauteed onion and garlic

1 cup of cubed ham

fresh Thyme

Bay Leaf


You can add cubed carrots as well

For the liquid I like to use home made chicken broth, and enhance the flavor with a Chicken Paste. There has to be enough liquid in the pot to allow the peas to absorb it,therefore, while it simmers in the slow cooker keep checking if the there is enough liquid, keep adding a cup or two of water until the peas are completely cooked.

If your soup is too liquid you can add a little corn starch to bind it all together….(1 Tbsp of corn starch + 1/2 cup of water ) add that mixture to the soup and keep stirring until the soup thickens.
At the end taste the soup and finish it up with McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning, or any other spices you prefer.

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I like to add a Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar + 1 Tbsp sugar and some salt to your preferred taste.


Maja’s Kitchen LLC


Maria Reisz Springer

Member of

International Association of Culinary Professionals

Member of the International Wine and Food Society

The beautiful Plum and it’s irresistible juiciness!

The beautiful plum and its irresistible juiciness makes it the perfect fruit to create a wonderful jam or dropping it into a dough for a perfect ending…

When the plums ripened in the late summer at my grandparent’s orchard in Croatia…life around the house became very busy. Every morning the maids had to go and pick up all the plums that had fallen off the trees and gathered them in large buckets.  Then my grandfather hired men from the village to set up the still just outside the barn and the process of making Slivovic was started.  Sliva is the word for plum in Croatian and Slivovic is the brandy that comes from plums.

I cannot describe the process of making Slivovic, all I remember I was watching the men sitting around this contraption (the still) talking and tasting the drops that came out of a small tube/hose at the bottom of the barrel.  One afternoon I found all four of the  men snoozing in their chairs.  I gathered up my courage to taste the next drop that was hovering at the end of the tube to drop into the container below.  I put my finger under the drop and when it fell onto my finger I stuck it into my mouth and to my horror it had a terrible flavor.   At this point one of the men woke up and I had just enough time to escape his reaching hand that was going to let me know that I was not to be where I was.

I was about 6 or 7 years old….

You see, my grandfather had an Inn  that was a part of the big house called Bela Villa.

And while the Sliovic was brewing, my grandmother was busy making a Plum Cake – Pita od Slive, but not just one, she usually made several cakes to be sold as dessert at the Inn.

Here is my version of a Plum Cake which is translated from my mother’s recipe.

Plum Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

zest of  1 to 2 lemons – depending on the size of the lemons

1 tsp Vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 cup milk


2 lbs of any kind of Plums


Set the oven at 350 F

Prepare a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, by greasing and dusting it with flour.

Remove the stones from the plums by cutting them in half and slice each half into 2 quarters.

With an electric mixer or hand mixer beat the butter and sugar until very light in color, and very fluffy.  Add the eggs  one at a time.  Add the zest of the lemons

and Vanilla.   Mix the flour with the baking powder.  Add the flour mixture to the butter, sugar and eggs alternating with the milk.   Mix well until it becomes a smooth, soft dough. Transfer the dough to the tart pan and smooth it with a spatula.

Add the cut plum sections, skin down, on to the dough.


Bake the cake at 350 F for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Cool the cake on a rack completely then transfer it onto a serving platter.

Serve with softly whipped heavy cream sweetened with powdered sugar before serving.


Or… just dust it with powdered sugar and serve it with Coffee or Tea!

Everyone loves this cake in my family especially with a big serving of ice cream!


Do you have a Plum Cake or Tart recipe?


Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: maria@majaskitchen.com   Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, http://www.majaskitchen.com

Find me on Face Book! LinkedIn and Pinterest!

Maria Springer's photo







An American pastry!

It is a very special day today. Fourty-four years ago I found out that to keep a husband happy I had to learn to cook American meals.   I am not sure if I totally succeeded, but we survived our different tastes in food and heritage…and have enjoyed learning from each other and loved every moment of our married journey.

These Blondies always make him smile!

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When I first became engaged to my husband-to-be, I was invited to visit for the first time with the Springer Family  in Hollywood, Florida; to be introduced to the family and friends during an evening reception at their home.

There was a lovely buffet of appetizers and desserts for everyone’s enjoyment while the cocktails were served. Since I do not like alcoholic drinks I went straight to the dessert section of the buffet.  Holding a plate in my hand I picked up something small.  It was a square little bite that looked simple but intriguing. The little piece was light brown in color with chocolate pieces peaking out of  its cake.  It had no icing or any kind of cream on it which promised my fingers would not get messy or sticky.   It definitely was a very safe bite that would not even mess up my lipstick, yes, I am vain when it comes to looking my best and this was an evening when I wanted to be as “perfect” as I could.

This little bite of pastry was delightful.  It had a pleasant density, a crumbly feeling on the tongue and the chocolate melted in my mouth like a sauce that enhanced every goodness that it held…

Through my “culinary” life I have seen many recipes that are almost identical to Elenore’s Cookies, they are called “Blondies.”

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Today I want to share my version of this simple little cake/pastry and hope you will bake it as often as I have throughout my many years of marriage…after all it is my husband’s favorite treat.


3/4 cup Margarine

1 lb light brown sugar

3  Extra Large eggs

2 cups of flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 cups of finely chopped walnuts – I chop them in an old fashioned nut grinder

1 cup of chocolate chips


Pre-heat oven to 350 F


Melt the margarine in the Microwave oven using a large glass mixing bowl

Add the light brown sugar to the melted margarine and add the 3 eggs one at a time while mixing well with an electric hand mixer.

Now add the Vanilla Extract, the flour, and the baking powder to the above mixture, and mix well

When the batter consistency is uniform add the finely chopped walnuts and the chocolate chips using a spatula

Pour the batter into a large baking pan and…

Blondies and Chaocolate Musse Torte 016

bake Elenore’s cookies at 350 F for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Remember, every oven is heating differently, check the pastry before the 35 minutes, it might be baked sooner than you think.

Cut the “cookies’ into little squares and dust them with a touch of powdered sugar before you place them on a serving platter.

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The powdered sugar is my Austrian signature!

Sekelji Gulas

Jozef Sekelji was a Hungarian author who composed Hungarian songs,  wrote newspaper articles, and obviously was a cook.

Sekelji Gulas

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This is one of my favorite meals.  My mother cooked it often after we immigrated to the USA.  It was usually served with bread dumplings, but also with steamed potatoes or rice.

Here is my mother’s recipe

1 large onion, peeled and choped

1 lb bacon, browned and fat discarded

2 Tbsp light oil

1 1/2 pounds lean pork, diced – or beef

2 Tbsp paprika

2 med. fresh tomatoes – seeded and skinned

1 Bayleaf

2 pounds sauerkraut – preferably fresh or in a plastic package

1 small head cabbage – shredded

1 smoked ham hock

1/2 cup fresh sour cream + 2 Tbsp Shake and Blend flour

Salt to taste

2-4 cups beef broth…..or chicken brothRinse the sauerkraut and drain it. If it tastes too strong, rinse a second time. Squeeze gently and set it aside.

  1. Brown the bacon and drain it on paper towels and set aside
  2.  Caramelize onions in a Dutch Oen with 3 Tbsp oil
  3. Add the pork and paprika then mix well. Cook the meat for about 5 minutes

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4. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, tomatoes and ham hock. Ham hock can be precooked   and the broth can be used instead of stock.

5. Cover and cook the meat over low heat until it is just done.

6. Add the Sauer Kraut and the fresh hopped cabbage and mix it all together then cook another 30 minutes until the meat is very soft and starts to shred.

7. Salt should be added only at this point and if needed.

8. Spoon the Sekelji Gulas into bowls and add a dollop of sour cream with a sprig of fresh parsley on top of each serving.

Typically Semmel Knoedel, Bread Dumplings, or boiled potatoes are served with this meal. It freezes well.

 Sekelji Gulas 011


Member…since 1995!

Maja’s Kitchen



Maja/Maria Reisz Springer

Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: maria@majaskitchen.com   Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, http://www.majaskitchen.com

Find me on:

Face Book



If you have any questions drop me a note….

I will help in any way I can.


So many have asked for the recipe of my Viennese Pound Cake...so, here it is!

 Wiener Kugelhupf 

Viennese Pound Cake

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

6 whole eggs – separated

2 cups of flour, measured then  sifted

2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp Cointreau

6 Tbsp Milk

½  cup of raisins – optional

Zest of 1 orange

Powdered sugar

Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 F – Grease and dust Kugelhupf form….or…. 2 loaf pans!


Cream butter and sugar until light and very fluffy

Add egg yolks – one at a time, beat well after every addition.

Sift together flour and baking powder

Add orange zest and the liqueur to the butter mixture


Add flour and milk alternately, mixing gently

In a separate bowl……..

Beat egg whites to medium peaks and mix into the above dough.

Add raisins

Pour into prepared Kugelhupf form…….Bund cake form

or 2 loaf pans!

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 min.

Cool 15 min and turn out on to the platter

Dust with powdered sugar



Serve with whipped cream…….mit Schlag!


Member…since 1995!

Maja’s Kitchen



Maja/Maria Reisz Springer

Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: maria@majaskitchen.com   Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, http://www.majaskitchen.com

Find me on:

Face Book



If you have any questions drop me a note….

I will help in any way I can.