#50: Hungary

Lucky #50!

It’s mother’s day weekend and we are tackling our fiftieth country!! It has been raining cats and dogs (and geese and cows– and anything else for that matter. Just buckets.) here in the Mile High City all week. So, for a very soggy mother’s day weekend, we greeted snow and another bye for soccer. It’s something wonderful when everything turns the most incredible shade of emerald though, so we aren’t complaining.

THE DINNER: For mother’s day weekend, mom wanted to take a trip back to Hungary. We went about 5 years ago and while we stayed in Budapest, we ate the most earth-shattering food. For me, Hungarian cuisine was one of my favorites on the whole trip. It was everything wonderful about slow cooked meats and peppery paprika…smothered in sour cream, obviously, and served over noodles. All these things are good by themselves and then to add them together….nirvana. 

So, it goes without saying, that we picked up a few recipes from “the old country” and used these for our meal this week. I have taken a picture of the recipe instead of being able to post a link as usual. The recipe was Chicken Paprikash. And, yes, before you ask, I will confess that I do say it like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally… whether or not that’s proper and dignified, I don’t care. I know Julia Child herself would have had a good laugh about the pepper on her paprikash scene. It’s classic. Speaking of classics, this dish is a staple of Hungarian households. It’s like the pot roast of the Hungarian culture, something that’s made on the weekends when family comes over.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

imageimage

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this Dinner!
All the ingredients were super simple to come about here in the states, save one: Hungarian Paprika. We picked up a package when we were there at the urging of our tour guide, Collette, and that was the smartest thing we’ve done. We use it sparingly and for special recipes just like this one, and it’s lasted all these years. It’s special because it’s “spicy” and more “peppery” than typical sweet paprika you find here. If you can’t come by any, I would suggest increasing the amount of cayenne pepper in the recipe to account for the taste shift. Apart from the frying and being patient, this recipe is pretty simple, as with most Hungarian and eastern European dishes, it’s low fuss– unlike it’s Western European counterparts. Two stars out of five for difficulty. Not to shabby for the pay off.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Dinner!
Listen. You had me at “sour cream”… let’s be honest. And then you go and add paprika and egg noodles and chicken and stew it all together till it gets “nice and happy” as my mom likes to put it and it’s just lovely. So hard to go wrong. I was a huge fan of the particular noodles we used. They were Hungarian specifically and were made of dumpling flour, which gave them a really unique texture. They were perfect because it was exactly what we ate when we were there. So, for that alone it was very authentic. The peppery paprika added a very subtle background “kick” to the dish that didn’t overpower the chicken or sour cream. It was a very nostalgic meal and it was prefect for mother’s day.

image

With the big #50 complete we are heading to South America to spend some time in Peru for week #51! I have always wanted to hike with llamas to the ancient Incan cities and see Manchu Pichu, so I guess till i make it that way, I’ll get to explore all the food that the nation has to offer. I’m definitely looking forward to this one!

Happy Mother’s Day to all your mom’s!
– L & K

Advertisements

#49: Argentina

Greetings, Food Lovers!

It’s raining cats and dog here in the 303. I’m positive that it’s cats and dogs, because if it were “raining men” I’d be well aware of that fact. (Hallelujah). Luckily April showers bring May flowers and what do May flowers bring? Not Pilgrims– but wedding bells here in Brovskyland. With a week away from the Eaker-Brovsky affair, it’s been nice to spend a little time in the kitchen and around family before big changes are in store next weekend.

THE DINNER: We traveled off to Argentina for our meal this Sunday. It was lovely to stop over in a country that is central to the entire world’s Malbec production. The purple grapes needed to make this type of red-Bordeaux style wine are very much happy growing at altitude. Which we have in common, as I too am very happy growing at altitude (and happy with purple altitude loving grapes that make wine). With this being taken into account, we made sure to pick out a good Argentinian wine to go with our meal. We had our choice of many wines but settled on a good recommendation that turned out to be very dry (as is expected) and well matched with the spicy food and sausage we prepared.

Now, about that spicy sausage… we picked a national dish this week. Choripan is a type of Chorizo sausage slider common as an appetizer or snack. It’s typical BBQ fare for gatherings and consists of grilled chorizo on bread topped with chimichurri sauce. These aren’t called “BBQ”s though, but Asados, which refers to both the social aspect of the gathering and the process of cooking it. This sandwich/Hotdog style dish is super popular and goes by “chori” for slang.

By the by, if you’ve never had chorizo before… shame on you. I would like you to take this moment to completely reevaluate your life choices and use this point as a launching pad for reshaping your life. Get your act together. EAT THE CHORIZO. And when you fall in love, get married and have little chorizo babies, you can send us here at AW195S a big thank you card for introducing you crazy kids. All seriousness though, it’s an incredible culinary advancement and you will love it. It’s like Italian sausage’s hot, spicy cousin. The next thing you need to have more of in your life is chimichurri. You should proceed to smother absolutely everything in your life with this sauce. It’s that good and that easy to make.

Chori with Chimichurri Recipe: http://laylita.com/recipes/2013/07/28/choripan-or-chorizo-hot-dog-with-chimichurri-sauce/

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this Dinner!
This one was probably the easiest we’ve had in a long while. We didn’t have to case our own chorizo as we live in an area with access to amazing Spanish and Mexican style markets and meats like this are readily available at our local grocery stores without a special trip. We didn’t have to bake the buns. We did make the chimmichurri from scratch and that was cake– it’s like 10 ingredients but they all pile into a food processor and proceed to become very happy together with the aid of electric chopping. All hail technology. We made our own Curtido Salsa as well, which we have been making for a zillion years and never knew it was traditional Argentinian fare, which was really cool! It’s literally green onions and roma tomatoes. Again. This was ONE STAR.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Dinner!!
This was another five star weekend!! We are setting ourselves up for a let down when one falls short of the five stars– but we don’t care. This one was amazing. We had to give it it’s due. The sausage was lovely, but the star here was that chimmichurri. It was light and complimented the meat without being overpowering. It didn’t have any noted of cilantro, or even that much onion taste, it was more oil and parsley and lemon. It soaked into the bun and cut the spicy sausage just enough to add relief. It was brilliantly paired. I can easily see why this is go-to-meal for sporting events and outdoor markets. It’s solid and every single one of us had second helpings 😉 The wine was great too… I mean, that’s always a good thing though, am I right?

We here at AW195S have hit the big #50 this coming weekend! That means that we are two weeks from completing an entire year of food adventures!!! WOOHOO!! That also puts us almost at 30% completion! This week #50 country is going to be Hungary. We’re using our recipes we picked up when we went to Budapest in 2011, so be prepared for some incredible eats!

Hope you’re staying dry this week!
– L & K

#48: Namibia

HAPPY EARTHDAY!

Hope you’re enjoying your Mother Earth this week, like we always seem to do here in the big C-O. It’s been strange, but typical spring time weather around here which has kept it interesting but also turned everything into the most lovely shade of green. It’s been an exciting baseball week for the Rockies, looks like our boys have started off with the right cleat forward (let’s hope that means Roxtober). The Bronco’s schedule has been posted for 2015-2016… so that made me all kinds of warm and fuzzy on the inside. Celebrated two years at NJH this week also. Many new and fantastic things to celebrate :)The

THE DINNER: Namibian food was something of an exciting undertaking for us. We originally picked this country to tackle several weeks ago but couldn’t find a recipe that offered exotic meat that was available to us. We set out over the last few weeks to find alligator or crocodile meat so that we could tackle many of their recipes that called for this. We were sort of successful but when it came down to it, we fell in love, love, love with a recipe for Namibia that was crab based instead. We reluctantly put our crocodile tears behind us and went full into the crab recipe, guns blazing. Namibians eat a lot of fresh and salt water animals due in large part to its extensive coast line and river system. They are offered a large array of meats to pick from that many of us in the states have ever had.

I’m sure you all recall at the beginning of this journey, we hit up Madagascar for some Peri Peri Prawns. That meal was exceptional. This one harkened back to that week for us a little too, it was this spicy crab and rice dish that captivated us. We hit up the P.O.M (Pacific Ocean Market) for some fresh crabs. I was glad on this account as I recently laid to rest my bamboo plant. Turns out my bamboo liked it better when I neglected it while I worked nights. I smothered it to death with my love and attention…. May it rest in peace. So I was glad to hit POM and grab a new one. Two birds with one stone.

Namibian Chili Crab over Rice Recipe: http://thefrozenocean.com/2014/04/20/namibian-crab/

image imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: FIVE STARS out of five this Dinner!
That’s correct. You read that right. This marks our very first five star difficulty so far in our adventure. It’s 110% correct. Not exaggerated. I’m sad to report that live crabs and any sort of wok frying will increase difficulty. Apart from the cooking, the eating was difficult too. I mean, apart from shelling crab legs already posing a hardship, these were lathered in the most wonderful sauce— but that made them slippery little buggers and made it hard to get at. That being said, this was one of the best meals we have had. Ever. So please take the hardship in stride because the end product was totally worth it. The ingredient list was short and sweet and the actual cooking was a one-pot-wonder. So in reality it was just a tough go to get to the lovely meal that awaited us. Nothing to be scared about.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Dinner!!
This marks two weeks in a row where we have five star meals to report back to you. This was so completely delicious that we couldn’t get enough. It was just spicy enough. It was paired perfectly with rice to cut the spice and the sweet chili sauce was delightful. All in all, we are and have always been BIG fans of crab in Brovskyland–but in all fairness, this was beyond all boarders. We were happy to eat this and we already plan on making this again, regardless of the difficulty. It was worth every second of prep and hard shelling work. Wonderful and surprisingly light. It was not a meal that I felt stuffed and sluggish after- and I had two helpings.

Week #49 is a trip to Argentina for some South American fare (and possibly some wine… FYI: MALBEC comes from there, guys!!)! Foodies around the world can rejoice in the diverse and simple food that they offer. Can’t wait to venture back to the Americas next week!

Keep it real, home dawgs…
– L & K

#47: Greece

Γεια σου!! (That’s “Hello” in Greek)

Having recently witnessed one more passing of the Ides of March, it was something of good timing that we tackle Greece this week. In Brovskyland we are big lovers of all things Greek: Theater, Politics, Food, Culture. You name it. I think it’s all Greek to me 😉

THE DINNER: This weekend was very busy, so we were looking for something that could be roasting all day without babysitting. We found the most incredible lamb recipe from Tyler Florence. We were fortunate because this one did not include grilling the lamb (which we have already done and wanted to have other culinary hoops to jump through) and also it did not feature mint or rosemary (which are vastly over utilized with lamb recipes by our standards). No, this recipe had it all going on and a bag of chips. It’s any wonder we don’t jump for joy.

The lamb taken care of, we turned our attention to tackling the foundational Greek gyro. It’s a staple of Greek and Mediterranean food profiles and there are many ways to go about tackling this sandwich. We wanted to do it right. Homemade tzatziki was the mountain that needed to be climbed– luckily it wasn’t a hard trek. Homemade tzatziki is actually a dream come true. It’s so simple and unbelievably tasty, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people buy it. It’s like four ingredients and tastes like heaven. Just do it. The remainder of the ingredients we chose were obvious staples of Mediterranean cuisine: Greek olives, cucumbers, red onion, tomato.

Simple. Clean. Elegant.
Very Greek indeed.

Greek Roast Lamb Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/roasted-leg-of-lamb-gyros-recipe.html?soc=socialsharingpinterest
Tzatziki Recipe: http://www.mattawamum.com/2012/04/lamb-gyros/

imageimage

image

image

image

 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

imageimage

image

image

image

 

OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this Dinner!
“Quick and dirty” as they say. I don’t know about “they” or the “dirty” part, but it was quick! We loved how simple and concise the recipe was– it was short, sweet and to the point. The olive oil was my favorite part for the lamb roasting. This smell that emanated from the oven was like nothing I have smelled. It was like that cartoon where the character sees the smell wafting through the house and they gravitate off their feet and float through the air on the scent with their mouth watering the whole time… yeah, it was sort of like that. Basic ingredients that didn’t require any specialty shops. No metric conversions. Woohoo!!

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE BIG STARS out of five for Dinner!!
This one was a huge, big, fat Greek FIVE STAR salute. It was lovely. I can’t say much more because it will sound like I’m working for the Greek board of commerce… which I’m not, but maybe they will hire me after this review. It was just what Greek food should be: Clean and Simple and Healthy. I loved the addition of the Greek olives (that was a liberty of our culinary choice) and of course Tzatiki is basically something I could eat on everything. Mom and I spiced up with some hot sauce, but honestly? It was massively perfect the way it was. I had leftovers and it was something of the envy of the office. Trust me. This one is a keeper.

Week #48 is going to be a surprise! We think we will just let you guys throw us some suggestions. If not, we will let you know where in the wide world of food we end up next. It’s always an adventure when you’re cooking!

Happy Opening Weekend Rockies Fans!!!
– L & K

#46: Israel

Shalom!

Happy Easter weekend, friends! Spring has certainly sprung up around the Denver area…in fact, it’s more like summer with these 80 degree temps gracing our weeks more often now. I’m not complaining. As someone with poor circulation, it’s nice to have the extra help getting my body temp up to par with humans. It’s also nice to see all the flowers and plants waking up from their winter naps.

THE DINNER: This weekend we celebrated Easter and working at National Jewish Health, it was only fitting that we honored a very big weekend in Jewish culture by having Passover and sitting seder. We tackled Israel this weekend and it was one that we wished spanned several weekends to be honest. They have such delicious food that it was honestly one of the hardest countries to narrow down a menu!

We love brisket in Brovskyland. Cooked all ways; everyday and twice on Sunday. So that was pretty much a given. We made it the traditional way which was oven roasted with veggies. It reminded me a whole lot of Sunday pot roast my mom used to make us. There was something just completely comforting about that comparison. We also made Challah bread….because how could I resist all the puns I was going to get to make with my mom (a big Gwen Stephanie fan).

Things Overheard in the Kitchen this Weekend:

  • “Wait… why would salt need to be kosher??….isn’t salt naturally just kosher?!”
  • “Challah back girrrrrrl!”  (About 100 times)
  • “Hmm… I’m not sure why I am schvitzing! I didn’t even have to knead this by hand!”
  • “Oye, I’m so glad we’re not making matzo!”
  • “Kosher salt is made without iodine…! Wait. Still not sure why that is a kosher thing…”

 

Challah Bread Recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-challah-bread-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-181004
Braised Brisket Recipe:
https://www.yahoo.com/food/the-secret-to-the-best-brisket-82403471189.html?soc_src=unv-sh&soc_trk=pi

IMG_0367

IMG_0368

 

IMG_0363

 

IMG_0366

IMG_0365

IMG_0364

IMG_0369

IMG_0370

IMG_0379

 

IMG_0374

IMG_0371

IMG_0375

IMG_0376

IMG_0346IMG_0362

IMG_0350

IMG_0352

IMG_0360

IMG_0353

IMG_0354

IMG_0357

IMG_0358

IMG_0359

IMG_0377

IMG_0378

IMG_0380

IMG_0381

IMG_0382

OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this Dinner!
Three stars… yeah, it was not easy but it was painless. The bread just takes a long time as you would anticipate homemade bread to do. It was well worth it. The brisket was more like a one star on the difficulty scale. It was “set-it-and-forget-it” type of low and slow cooking that we love to have on Sundays. All the ingredients were readily available and there were no language barriers or metric conversions to impede our progress this week. It was pretty simple. The name of the Challah game is patience, dear hearts. All good things to those how wait.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Dinner (But FIVE STARS FOR THE BREAD!)
All good things. Meat that has been slow cooked… good. Bread that is homemade…good. Side salad….good. It was all good. The best thing about this particular brisket recipe was the fresh horseradish!! Oh, how we love a good horseradish here in the Brovsky Kingdom. We used to get fresh root from the farm and it just reminds us all of those times and also we dig a good sinus cleaning. I have to say though, apart from that, this was not a particularly outrageously delightful meal. It was simple and strong and good. Not great. What was, amazing, and show stopping and heart racing!? THE CHALLAH! It was all that and a bag of chips… kosher chips. We devoured that all week and it just was better than I could have hoped. I mean, just bread right? No. For me, it was the meal.

Week #47 is going to be a fun little trip to the Mediterranean for some Greek food!! With that I will leave you with a big, loud, “Opa!!” 🙂

Mazel tov!!!
– L & K