Thursday, January 31, 2008

Trashy Coleslaw

This dish is a disturbing shade of pink. I call it trashy because it resembles some disturbing concoction of marshmellows and food-coloring. Despite its unusual vegetables, it's really just coleslaw. Cabbage and other traditional slaw vegetables would fit in as well, I think.

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 beet
  • 1 green kohlrabi
  • 1 celery root
  • the juice of a half lemon
  • salt, pepper, sugar, mayonnaise

Peel and grate all the vegetables. Put them in a bowl with all the other ingredients and refrigerate for an hour or two.

So, how much salt, sugar, and mayonnaise? You need a lot of salt, but I didn't measure. Maybe a half teaspoon? I used one or two tablespoons of sugar. I assume you'd want less if your beets are very sweet, which mine never are. And for the mayonnaise, just keep adding it till it looks like coleslaw, which takes a while.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cuts of Pork in Hungarian

This won't be the most interesting post, but I hope that like this list of fishes in Hungarian and English, it will be useful.

  • hosszú karaj
    blade-end loin (the part of the loin closest to the shoulder).
  • rövid karaj
    rib-end loin (the back end of the loin).
  • szűzpecsenye
  • tarja
    Boston butt (the top of the shoulder)
  • lapocka
    picnic shoulder (the top of the front leg)
  • oldalás
  • comb
    fresh ham (the back leg)
  • csülök
    hocks (the bottom of the legs)
  • tokaszalonna
    pork belly from the front of the pig
  • dagadó
    pork belly from the rear of the pig
  • farok

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lentils with Sausage

I was waiting on line at the butcher when the woman in front of me asked about the different kinds of sausage hanging in the back. She left with with a few kilos of garlic sausage. (It's rare that I see someone walk out of the butcher with fewer than two kilos of meat.) I decided to copy her and took home a link myself.

The sausage was dry but much softer than the typical cured sausage. I ate some on bread. It was dully bland; its fat took over my mouth, but without any strong flavor but a bit of smokiness. Giovanna commented that it wasn't her favorite sausage, and I wondered if it would be better cooked. We put this experiment into action. The cooked sausage made a crunchy, intense morsel. The sausage was so much better, and the difference in flavor so reminiscent of the difference between raw and cooked meat, that now I'm not sure if that sausage was intended to be eaten raw.

I adapted this from a Mark Bittman recipe by replacing its bacon with this sausage and decreasing the proportion of lentils. (Sorry to be so Mark-dependent. When I come back home, I promise to broaden my horizons a bit.) I'm not sure what to replace the sausage with if you're outside of Hungary. It should be the softest, fattiest cured sausage you can find. This makes enough for about three people, or two people with lots of leftovers. It takes 45 minutes to an hour, not counting lentil soaking time.

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 12 dkg fokhagymás páraszti kolbász or other sausage
  • 1 large onion, or 2 smaller ones
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • less than 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Put the lentils, stock, the bay leaf, and some salt in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for two minutes and turn it off. Let the lentils soak, and refrigerate if necessary. Or skip this step.

Chop the onion, carrot, and parsnip. Cut the sausage into 1/2 inch chunks; they should be really small since the sausage is so powerful. In a medium pot, put the oil over medium heat and fry the sausage pieces, shaking them around only after they've crisped on one side. Put the sausage aside, turn the heat down slightly, and fry the vegetables in the fat that remains in the pan. Add some salt to them. After five minutes, add the lentils and stock, cover, bring to a boil, and turn the heat down to maintain a simmer. The lentils should be done in about thirty minutes, though I'm not very good at estimating lentil-cooking times. Add some more stock or water if necessary. When the lentils are soft, add the lemon juice or the vinegar. Mark Bittman suggested red wine vinegar. I didn't have any, so I used white wine vinegar and unthinkingly added about a tablespoon of it, which wasn't good but didn't ruin the dish. I figure lemon juice would be good too.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Refreshing Chicken Stew

This stew is simple enough that it doesn't really need a recipe, but there's nothing wrong with that, is there? It's bright and refreshing stew, the opposite of the delicious but sour cream laden stew I enjoyed the other day at Kulacs, which is Gyöngyös's answer to Kádár. (I have no idea what benefit they get out of their website.) This recipe is for two servings and takes about an hour and a half, most of which is just the chicken cooking.

  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • a foot-long piece of leek
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 1-2 parsnips
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper

Heat up half the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown it, and then put it aside.

Cut the leek in half the long way, and then cut these halves into 1/2 inch slices. Add the rest of the oil to the pot, set the heat to medium-low, and add the leeks, plus some salt. While they cook, stir them occasionally and chop the carrots and parsnips into 1/2 inch cubes, adding them to the pot as you cut them. Put the chicken back in the pot. Add the wine, turn the heat up, and cover. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat down and put the cover partially off and maintain a simmer. (In his article about heat, Harold McGee says never to cover your pots completely when you stew meat!) Cook till the the chicken is done, adding more wine if you need to. An instant-read thermometer should say 165 when the chicken is ready. Season with pepper, and more salt if necessary.

I served this with barley, and maybe I'll say more about that eventually. I used drumsticks because they looked the nicest at the butcher. I'm sure thighs would be fine.