Monday Meal Review: Hungary

hungary.chicken-paprika

THE SCENE: "No, no, no. That's not how you make it! You need much more paprika." I looked down at the heaping tablespoon in front of me. Like, what? Two tablespoons? I asked, raising my eyebrows. "At least." Mom waved her hand like she was shooing a fly. "As much as you can stand." She looked down at Ava's head and wrapped another strand of hair around the soft cotton curlers. In a few short hours they'd have matching curls. I tasted the broth. My eyes began to water. "It's … [Read more...]

Recipe: Mom’s Chicken Paprika

hungary.img_1385b

"Whose recipe is this? No, no, no. Much more paprika! Heap it on!" And so the Adventure to recreate a favorite childhood supper began. I say this is mom's chicken paprika, but it didn't start out that way. I had a basic recipe and then asked for her help to execute it. As we simmered along, however, mom tossed corrections my way - saving me from disaster and cluing me into how she would have made it, if she was the one wielding the wooden spoon. I promise you - although Chicken … [Read more...]

Recipe: Chilled Cherry Soup

hungary.img_1541

Serves 2-4 Relaxing has never been so easy. Dive into this cool bowl of deep violet cherry soup and feel the blissful calm of Hungary overtake you. It only takes 12 minutes to make, 10 of which you'll be daydreaming in a lawn chair with your sunglasses on. That's the kind of cooking I can get behind on a hot summer's day. If you can get your hands on fresh tart cherries (a.k.a sour cherries), the soup will be even better. In fact, if you do, you'll be able to float some whole cherries on top … [Read more...]

Hungarians like their bacon on a stick

hungary.img_1638

Stars poke holes in the black sky. Crickets chirp. A campfire crackles. A few dear friends sit in a circle, chattering. They laugh until they cry and cry until they laugh. And, since they're Hungarian, they're holding bacon. Giant cubes of bacon. On sticks. Welcome to Hungarian summer. Campfire bacon kabobs, a.k.a. Gypsy Bacon (Cigany Szalonna) are an integral part of any Hungarian barbecue. In Planet Barbecue Steven Raichlen states: There once was a time - perhaps it's true still … [Read more...]

Recipe: Palacsinta (Hungarian crêpes)

hungary.img_1500

Serves 2-4 Ah, the glories of simple love. Simple food. Simple summertime breakfasts in Hungary. My mom has been making palacsinta under the guise of crêpes for decades. Despite being half Hungarian, she even calls them crêpes -I suppose because it's easier to say. Still, like any good Hungarian, she's made an art of rolling them up with fruit, yogurt, and nuts. Today - in her honor - we make the simplest preparation of all: smeared with apricot jam, sprinkled with crushed walnuts and … [Read more...]

Menu: Hungary

Ava-and-Grammie-Sue

Ava calls my mom Grammie Sue, but it really comes out more like "miss you," which is exactly how we're feeling today. Living far from my family was okay when I was single, but became excruciating once Ava was born. It's like Keith and I have a home filled with starlight and each day she glows and smiles and spreads joy all over the place. Not being able to share that on a regular basis feels like a crime. After a completely lovely visit, Mom flew back to Boston in the "ahww-pwane," as Ava calls … [Read more...]

About the food of Hungary

Molnar

I'm Italian-Hungarian on my mother's side. Which is like saying I'm wet-dry. Hot-cold. Tall-short. In our family, the Italian side is loud, boisterous and in each other's business. On the Hungarian side no one talks about anything. Discussions rarely surface and, if they do, they begin and end with "just forget about it." I rather like the combination. It makes for interesting family gatherings. When I quizzed my mother about our Hungarian heritage, she said "I don't know. It wasn't like … [Read more...]