Thursday, July 30, 2015

Šaltibarščiai - aka "cold soup" - from beetroot


As the name might suggest to my fellow Hungarians, this is everything but Hungarian dish :), however, it is summer, and hot, and the last thing I felt like eating was a warm soup.

Not to mention how I miss our travels through Europe, which feel so far away as it is hard not to get homesick.

One of my favorite soups was the cold beetroot soup. OK, all cold or hot beetroot soups were one of my favorites, and I even posted already one here, but it was time for the next one.

This is I think my absolute favorite Baltic beetroot soup, and we are still in season for making it.
The difference between the one posted earlier and this? For this you'll need the WHOLE vegetable, including the leaves and the stem.
It also requires one healthy godness: buttermilk.

If you are not yet convinced you should prepare it, let me tell you that is ready in 20-30 minutes, depending what tools you have at hand and how effective you are, of course :). For me it takes 30 minutes, 'cause I'll be searching for various cooking tools for at least 10 minutes.. *sigh*

Ingredients (serves 6)
1 bunch of young beetroot, with leaves
1 medium/small cucumber
1 bunch of chives
1 small bunch of dill
1 liter (quart) buttermilk
salt, pepper
radishes - optional

hot boiled potatoes, 1-1.5 / person
boiled eggs
dill, chives 

In a small pot put couple of potatoes to boil in their skin.

Cut and clean the beetroot heads, cut the in 4 and put them to boil for about 5 minutes in ~ 1 liter of water.
Meanwhile cut the stem, and the leaves in small pieces and stripes.
Remove the beetroot from the water with a skimmer. DO NOT discard the hot water!
Add the chopped stem to the water and boil for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile in a food processor crush the beetroot heads.
When the stems were boiling for 5 minutes, add the beetroot leaves and boil for additional 5 minutes.
At the end add the crushed beetroot and boil the together for additional 2 minutes.
Chop the chives in very small pieces, ad well as the dill.
Peel and grate the cucumber.

Drain the boiled beetroot, but again, DO NOT discard the water!
Place 1/2 - 1 egg / person to boil. I like it with the yolk still orange and soft, so I add them to bioling water and boil them only for 4 minutes.

Place the beetroot in a glass serving bowl (any bowl), let it cool slightly. Add the buttermilk, salt (I added about 1/2 tsp), pinch of black pepper, mix, and slowly add the wonderfully dark red water in which the beetroot boiled.
Last, mix in the chopped chives, dill (save some of both for serving!), and the grated cucumber.
If you chose to add radish, do not forget to either chop or grate those too and mix it in the soup.
Drain the potatoes, skin and cut in half or four.

Serve with hot boiled potatoes on the side, with some extra Greek yogurt if preferred more sour, the boiled eggs and some chives and dill for garnish!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rázott, alias "shaken" or nyers lecsó

Ok.. This is cheating, 'cause it isn't really baked or cooked. But it's season, and summer, and I just love it.
Just couple of years ago, khhhmmm..  I reached teenage age and appearance started to matter. And me, the picky kid who ate only the meat sauce with bread, rarely the meat itself, and tho' loved veggies I wasn't choosing it over some comfort food, moved from the block of flats to my grandparent's village with a HUGE garden full of seasonal veggies.
Every evening I went to water the tomatoes, peppers and at the same time pick a handful for dinner.
My favorite was the beef tomato, so I picked a large one, with a medium sized pepper, a yellow, sweetish pepper, and a green onion with a large head.
Night, after night, after night...
I guess, besides the veggies, I loved the ritual as well: first doing my duties, that picking the tasty, fresh reward right away.
Those summers changed my life forever.. Having experienced this, I'm so happy that in addition to our little home garden, the schools around, including our elementary school, started to "grow" some green thumbs as well :).

I prepared this salad for middle one for dinner tonight and I thought I'll take the opportunity to snap a pic and share the story with you.
Our garden offers an amazing variety of tomatoes, thanks to the organic plants I purchased from Costco months ago.
In the picture you can see some of them: green zebra, sweet 100, super sweet 100, better bush and plum tomato. One is more delicious that the other, and they all taste DIFFERENT! What a feast!

Well, the story behind is longer than the ingredient list, plus I described it already, but here it is.

Ingredients for 1 person
1 large tomato
1 medium sized pepper
2 green onions (you can add half or quarter of a sweet onion as well)
1-2 tbsp oil, I like avocado oil for this purpose
pepper (optional) 

In a small bowl, a cereal size bowl, cut the peppers in small finger size, sprinkle with salt. Cut the tomatoes in your favorite shapes, add to the pepper, as well as the onions, cut into small slices.
Sprinkle the oil on top, add more salt if wanted, SHAKE them together, and enjoy!
I suggest serving it with a freshly baked baguette or a slice or two of home made bread.
Or just as is..
Don't forget to dip the bread in the sauce left to clean the bowl completely :D.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sticky chicken wings

This was just THE BEST chicken wings I have ever eaten in my life!
I ate home made by me and others, store bought, American BBQ and Asian style, I even made some Hungarian style, but none ever compared to this one.

There are two magazines I truly enjoyed reading, one was Food and Wine, and this recipe is my treasured finding. As I am baking it during the night and my phone is broken, I decided to borrow their image until I can snap a picture of my own.

I always make some changes to the recipes and this is not an exception, sometimes due to lack of ingredients, or just because me or the family doesn't like them. One for sure I won't add cilantro :), but I added the link to try the original version for yourself. I might try a version with ginger and fish sauce.
Next, I wonder if this can be made on an grill, outdoors, but it is to be seen only when I finally get a grill..

12 wing cut in half, end discarded, 
I actually used 20 pieces of organic chicken drumettes from two trays
2 tbsp of sunflower or grape seed (call me mad but I NEVER by canola oil)
1 tsp salt
black pepper
4 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup light yellow miso (shiro miso)
a large pinch of smoked chilly pepper powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 - 2 flat tbsp light brown sugar (3 for me is VERY sweet, edible, but less enjoyable..)
(I added a flat tsp of organic mustard, not because it is asked in te recipe, but because I don't like to throw away things, and my youngest had a tsp mustard left from his dinner on a plate :) )

Preheat the oven to 400F, 200C. Prepare a rack set over a baking sheet., you'll need a large one you can buy.
In a bowl toss the wings in the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and arrange them on the rack.
Bake the wing for 40 minutes, turning them half way.
Meanwhile in a small pan mix 3 tbsp of water, heat it slowly, add the sugar and mix until dissolved. Mix in the other ingredients: miso, lemon juice, soy sauce, chilly pepper until makes a smooth, tooth-paste like glaze. (I also added the mustard when I took it off the heat).

After 40 minutes brush both sides of the wings and bake it for 10 more minutes. I actually chose to turn the wings after 10 minutes and bake them 10 more minutes, it gave the glaze a nice caramel color on both sides.

Serve with lime wedges and cilantro if you wish.
Bo appetite!