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Monday, July 7, 2014

Dill time, time for clatite

It's dill time, which means it's clatite time. I've been eating it as often as possible. Apparently lots of other folks like the dish, because my post about it gets more hits than most of my other posts.

There are no sufficient words to describe the delicious combination of flavors produced by fresh dill, cottage cheese, and a good dough.

I've been making clatite with a dough made of Bisquick with four eggs and more milk than indicated on the pancake recipe on the box.

My daughter-in-law Katie Sweet makes clatite with homemade wheat crepes. We compared the two recipes this weekend, and found the crepe version even more fabulous than my Bisquick version. The thinner dough allows you to better taste the cottage cheese and dill.

I was trying to describe to Katie how my husband's Romanian grandma made her dough. I watched Grandma Stoia make clatite once. I swear, she stood in the kitchen with the pot sitting down in the sink. She ran some cold water into the pot and grabbed a couple of handfuls of flour, mixed it all up, and deep-fried it. I don't remember seeing her add any egg; maybe she did. But if anyone could make a dough without an egg, it would be Grandma Stoia. She knew how to stretch food; she had seven children. I wish I could remember at what point - or how - she added the cottage cheese and dill.

I have a Romanian cookbook inherited from my mother-in-law. The recipe for clatite simple, plain pancakes, indicates using flour, salt, vanilla, powdered sugar, eggs, and milk. The sugar makes sense to me because the little bit of sweetness in the Bisquick was pleasing.

I see in the cookbook that clatite cu brinze is the term for "pancakes with cheese." We often heard Grandma Stoia say "cu brinze" (pronounced "chebrunza"). We assumed that "cu brinze" was the term for cottage cheese. Thus, when we scramble eggs with cottage cheese, we call it "chebrunza eggs."

Whatever you call it, however you make it, clatite is a great way to use dill this time of year!

Gail Grenier is the author of Calling All Horses, Dog Woman, Don't Worry Baby, and Dessert First, all available from

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