The Ballet Cook Book: Jillana's Recipes

On Jillana's first day of Kindergarten, she went up to the teacher and whispered, "Don't tell anyone but I'm really a princess." Born and brought up in New Jersey, Jillana is well known around the world as a former Principal dancer with New York City Ballet.

The chapter on Jillana from The Ballet Cook Book talks about how, at the time, she stuck to a "one-track diet: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches" but deviated when it came to her grandmother's soup called "Markkloesschen (Marrow Balls)" -- find that recipe and others below!


Jillana's Markkloesschen (Marrow Balls)

4 marrow bones, each about 3 inches long

Melted butter, if necessary

3 T chopped parsley

Pinch nutmeg

1/2 C dry bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

2 egg yolks, well beaten

Beef broth, homemade or canned

Scrape marrow from bones with a knife and melt it over low heat. Strain and measure marrow. There should be 1/4 cup, but if short, add melted butter to make the difference. Pour melted marrow into a bowl, add parsley, nutmeg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and beaten egg yolks to mix well. Refrigerate until firm. Form into small balls and if necessary refrigerate again until firm. Drop balls into gently boiling beef broth and simmer 3-4 minutes.


Jillana's Celestial Cabbage Recipe

1 medium head cabbage

6-10 scallions, chopped

2 T butter

1/2 C diced, leftover roast lamb

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

2/3 C sour cream

1/4 C Chablis or other dry white wine

Grated Parmesan cheese

Slice cabbage and parboil 5 minutes; drain. Saute chopped scallions in butter and add diced meat to brown. Combine cabbage and meat-scallion mixture in a casserole; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Thin sour cream with wine, pour over cabbage and stir to mix. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake at 350* F 20-30 minutes, until bubbly. Serves 4-6.


Jillana's Leek and Squash Pie Recipe

1 butternut squash, or 1 frozen, cooked squash

1/2 t salt

Pinch pepper

2 T cream

4 T butter

Bread Crumbs or wheat germ

4 leeks

1 pint sour cream

1 egg, beaten

Peel, dice, and boil squash until soft; drain. Mash and combine with salt, pepper, cream, and 2 T butter until the consistency of mashed potatoes, adding more cream as necessary. Line greased pie pan with bread crumbs or wheat germ. Spread the mashed squash evenly over the bottom of the pie pan.

Wash leeks well and slice finely. Saute in remaining butter until lightly browned. Spread leeks over squash. Combine sour cream with beaten egg, mixing thoroughly and pour over leeks. Bake pie at 350* F until lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Serves 4-6.


Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for a new chapter every Friday.


Le Clercq, Tanaquil. “Jillana.” The Ballet Cook Book,

Stein and Day, 1966

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