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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Catskills Mountains - Deer Hunting

Roasted Rack of Venison in Cider Sauce… and the Failed Deer Hunt

As I reported in a previous post, I went deer hunting earlier this month. While somebody who actually knows what he’s doing was driving the hunt, I was hiding in tree stands or blinds like this one, observing my little patch of forest. Believe me, after 4 hours spent sitting in a tent without moving, […]

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Goose Confit, Sausages, and More

In Hungary, raising geese is a centuries-old tradition, its secrets handed down from generation to generation. A whole bird is used to prepare all kinds of dishes: roasts, soups, and even fat that will be spread on bread. Similarly, I wanted to explore a variety of ways to prepare all the parts of a goose, […]

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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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Golden Beet Tartlets

Golden Beet Tartlets

I have a confession to make: I’m not very fond of beets. I can enjoy beet juice in cooking, and I’ve made the occasional beet risotto and beet pasta, but eating the vegetable whole tends to be too much for me.  Luckily, farmers’ markets have been providing less earthy alternatives to the common red variety, […]

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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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