Brynza, Eastern European Feta

Brynza, Eastern European Feta

Brynza, a cheese similar to feta, is made throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The word comes from brînză, Romanian for cheese. It’s an important component of Ukrainian, Moldovan, Romanian and Balkan cuisine, and there’s even an annual Brynza Festival every fall in the town of Rakhiv, in Transcarpathian Ukraine. The cheese is usually made from sheep’s […]

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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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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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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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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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