hungarian Tag

Here’s a weeknight special from the menu plan. Paraj (“pa-rye”) is a Hungarian comfort food classic. It’s something you can get from one of the fast-food főzelék places around Budapest, or even pick up in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store. But it’s ridiculously quick and easy to make yourself, and you can make it lighter or creamier to suit your taste (or suit your suits, if you’re dieting). The addition of an egg on top makes it a filling and nutritious meal, but you might also toss in chunks of potato, croutons or cheese. With its vivid green color and soothing flavor, this is a favorite bright spot for a grim chilly day. (more…)

Emperor’s Crumbs or császármorzsa or smarni or Kaiserschmarrn was our first recipe on this blog. I felt like revisiting it for three reasons: first, it is our name and signature recipe, so we should try it with American ingredients. Second, we are delighted to mention that we’re featured on The Hungarian Girl’s website and I don’t want to risk any mistakes! Most importantly, my mother-in-law had a birthday recently, and a decadent breakfast reminiscent of fancy Austro-Hungarian weekends was a perfect way to celebrate it. So I remade the recipe to serve 5-6 instead of the original 2. I also made it more “California compliant” and used less eggs and almost no fat, while keeping its outstanding flavor. It still tastes rich and delicious. If you want to know the background of emperor’s crumbs then check back to our first post and the old recipe.

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Hungarian style Chicken

This recipe was born when we invited my in-laws for a Hungarian picnic. Traditionally, the protein part of the meal would be cold cuts: thinly sliced Hungarian paprika sausage or the famous Pick/Hertz winter salami.  You can’t get those here, though,  and substituting sugar-soaked ham was not an option for me. The other popular Hungarian custom for picnics is to take their big kettle and cook goulash, fish soup, bean stew or paprikash. I would be all for this, but I do not think it will make the California firefighters happy.  The grass is so dry that you can light it up just by looking at it. I also had doubts that the picnic grounds would be happy to see some crazy Hungarian making a huge pot of goulash while burning their turf, and I definitely didn’t want to risk expulsion from the Marin Cheese Factory. Where would I get my healthy dose of Camembert?  So under pressure, I threw together this recipe, with a very Hungarian result. It’s maybe best served warm, but kept cool in the picnic basket, it makes a great sandwich filling. (more…)

Körözött is a Hungarian classic and every household makes it differently. It is kept in the fridge for moments when you do not have the mood to make lunch or dinner, or when your offspring is going to school and you just barely tumbled out of bed. You reach for a slice of bread and körözött. Eat it with good tomatoes and Hungarian wax peppers and you are instantly transported to the Hungarian countryside – close your eyes and you will find yourself on the beach of lake Balaton while staring at the sunset and soaking your feet in the lake’s warm water. And if by any chance you will hear your washing machine going trrrrrr, you and your bread with körözött might take you on a friendly Hungarian train ride, where snacks appear on the table as soon as the conductor blows the whistle. (more…)

Gluten free cake
There is not a mistake in the title – yes, it is Valeria. Valeria was my grandmother, who I never met, but I was named after her. Everybody in the family remembers her as an amazing cook and queen of Hungarian recipes.  During the war (WWII), she ran a small workers’ kitchen, and her cooking is still remembered by those who outlived her. The problem with my grandmother’s recipes is that she wrote them for herself. She did not write a lot about how to prepare this cake,  at which temperature to cook it, how long to cook it, what kind of cake pan to use. I tried to check online and asked some friends but when I mentioned the ingredients, they said “no flour? you must be missing a page!”. So I looked into early twentieth and late nineteenth-century cookbooks, and there it was. Potato torte,  at least 4-5 versions. Mr. Kugler (a Hungarian pastry celebrity from the early twentieth century) explains a lot about the cake, but my questions were still unanswered.  It seems that since then this recipe has been forgotten. So we had to experiment and bring it back. The main difference between my grandmother’s and Mr. Kuglers recipe is that my grandmother wrote it during or right after war, so she used a limited range of ingredients.  Her version of the cake is great not only for people with gluten intolerance but for people watching their fat intake and for people who watch their wallets. A great cake for hard economical times.

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