Hungarian Cuisine - Ludlab Torta

Lúdláb Torta, or Death by Chocolate and Maraschino Cherries

There are a few famous Hungarian desserts (famous, that is, among those with an interest in Hungarian cuisine). The Dobos torta and its many layers. The Rigó Jancsi and its saccharine history. The Gundel palacsinta and its secret recipe. Less known is the lúdláb torta, a chocolate sponge cake with cherries and chocolate mousse or buttercream, covered with chocolate glaze. […]

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Croatian Food - Maraschino Cherries

Maraschino Cherries

Unbeknownst to most of us, maraschino cherries haven’t always been the overly sweet, rubbery, bright red mess we are accustomed to in our cocktails. You can read their fascinating history on Wikipedia, from their royal origin to their post-Prohibition descent into mediocrity: The name maraschino originates from the Marasca cherry of Croatian origin and the […]

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Sweetbread and Chanterelle Tartlets

One of the things that first got me interested in exploring Eastern European cooking was the great potential for what high-end Hungarian cuisine could be. To help illustrate this, I adapted a recipe from Le Camélia in Bougival, France. We start with a trio of Hungarian ingredients: wild mushrooms, offals and paprika. Of course one might object that […]

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Road to Sighnaghi - Buying Chacha

Georgian Adventures, Part 2

Our trip to Kakheti started with an abandoned mountain road that our questionable map had identified as the shortest path to Telavi, the administrative center of the region. Despite lack of road signs, the fences blocking access, and the police officers mounting guard, we had now crossed the Gombori Pass, and drove through the village […]

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Guinea Hen Satsivi

Satsivi is a thick Georgian sauce made with walnuts, onions and spices. There are many Georgian nut sauces, but this is the most famous. The sauce is served with poultry — especially turkey — or sometimes with fish. Although this is traditionally a cold dish (tsivi means cold in Georgian), I prefer to serve it warm. I choose guinea hen because […]

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Restaurant Review: Skovorodka

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report! First up, Skovorodka in Brighton Beach: Conveniently located by the B and Q trains, Skovorodka, which […]

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Uzbek Lamb and Green Pea Plov

A relative of pilaf, plov is a dish from Central Asia in which rice is cooked in a broth. The traditional version from Uzbekistan distinguishes itself in several regards: The base ingredients are fatty lamb cuts, rendered lamb fat, carrots, onions, garlic, hot pepper and spices. Depending on the region and season, each recipe adds other […]

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Road to Sighnaghi - Soviet Mosaic

Georgian Adventures, Part 1

Over the past few summers, I have traveled throughout the Caucasus, from the capital cities to the most remote mountain villages. I will share with you some of those adventures. Let’s start this series about Georgia with an unlikely theme: food representation in the public Soviet art of the Kakheti region. Located in the Eastern part […]

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Baked Paskha

Paskha is a traditional dessert made of tvorog and shaped like a truncated pyramid. Culinary writer William Pokhlebkin notes that the cost of the dish used to mean that simple people could only afford it about once a year, and chose to time it for the end of the Lenten fast in the orthodox faith — in […]

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Flageolet Beans

I found these beautiful flageolet beans at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City last Saturday. Since they are typically available for a couple weeks at most, you have to act fast. I gathered a mix of seasonal vegetables to use as a soffrito, and added some tomato compote. Cooking the beans in a […]

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