Wild Boar Bouchées

A bouchée is an individual basket of puff pastry, like a small vol-au-vent. The first bouchée was supposedly invented by Marie Leszczyńska, the Polish princess wife of Louis XV. The original bouchée à la reine is filled with mushrooms, chicken, veal quenelles and sweetbreads in a cream sauce. This iteration was inspired by a dish […]

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Blini and Oladi, Russian Pancakes

Blini and Oladi, Russian Pancakes

There are literally hundreds of Russian pancake recipes. The Bolshaya Kniga Domashney Kukhni by Svetlana and Lidia Lagutina alone counts more than 70! These recipes distinguish themselves by the type of flour or starch used (wheat, buckwheat, rye, semolina, potato), the raising agents or aerators present in the batter (yeast, baking soda, beaten egg whites, […]

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Partridge Breast and Dumplings in Tokaji Sauce

Up until the first world war, Hungary and Bohemia boasted several great estates for partridge shooting. Thousand of gray partridges were then exported to North America, making them one of the principal game birds here to this day. Although the only American partridges you will find in stores are farmed, a curious loophole allows the […]

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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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