Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chicken Paprikash

This is one of those dishes that wafts through the house, calling everyone to the kitchen to peek into the pot. "Paprikash! You're making Paprikash?!?" There's no hiding it, and once it's on the table, everyone is silent as they savor each bite.

I serve this over mashed potatoes or with basmati rice. If you haven't tried basmati, do yourself a favor and get some today. It fills the house with the most fabulous aroma, kind of like popcorn. I try to add a bit of chicken broth to the cooking water if I have any extra. Make more than you need to whip up a batch of fried rice for lunch!


Chicken Paprikash

2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (not the hot kind)
1/2 cup chicken broth (I especially like Kitchen Basics brand)
1 cup dry white wine

Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in skillet with butter. Remove chicken from pan. In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and saute onion. Add the flour and paprika and stir. Add chicken broth and stir well. Let simmer for one minute. Add the browned chicken pieces to the broth mixture.
Add the wine to the skillet you used to cook the chicken, stirring to loosen the drippings (this is when a cast-iron skillet comes in handy. You can scrape without fear of getting teflon in your food!)
Bring the wine to a boil.
Pour the boiling wine over the chicken pieces.
Cover and simmer on very low heat for one hour or more, until chicken is very tender and falling apart.
Separate chicken with two forks.
Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.
Can be frozen for later use.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Onion Rings

This recipe comes from the fabulous Aunt Hazel (third from the left) who shared it via the family cookbook. Make these in a big cast-iron kettle either on the stove-top or over an open fire. Absolutely delicious!


Aunt Hazel's Famous Onion Rings

3-4 large onions
2-3 cups buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon red pepper
2/3 cup milk
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
oil for frying
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice onions. Separate rings. Pour buttermilk into a large zip-type bag. Add onion rings and soak 30 minutes or more. Combine dry ingredients in a separate zip-lock bag. Add milk, egg, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix until smooth. Heat oil to 375 F. Remove onion rings from buttermilk, discard buttermilk (here's where a pig comes in handy!), and dip onion rings in the batter. Fry and drain. Serves six.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Grandma Jane's Special Potato Salad

Grandma Jane had a way with food. Everything she made was delicious--perfectly seasoned, just the right balance of everything, and always plenty for everyone. Her potato salad, for example, was a special treat. There are some things in life that you just *know,* and getting potato salad when you went to Grandma Jane's was one of them. My main goal when visiting her was to wake before everyone else in the house so that I could devour my special breakfast. Potato salad.

I've had this recipe for years. Grandma wrote it out especially for her daughter-in-law and me. Yet no matter how many times I make it, I just can't get it to taste like Grandma's. Still, it's a big hit in our house and everywhere else we take it.

I've altered the recipe a bit to use yukon gold and red potatoes, which just need to be scrubbed but not peeled. Be careful not to overcook the potatoes!


Potato Salad Special

Cube about four cups of Yukon Gold and red potatoes, and place them in a pot, covering with just enough cold water to cover them. Add a tablespoon of salt.
Place two eggs, whole, in the pot, too, to boil while the potatoes cook.
Bring the water to a slow boil and cook until you can *just* put a fork in them. You don't want them to fall apart, but you don't want them to be too firm. This usually takes about ten minutes from the time the water starts to boil.

While potatoes are cooking, get a large bowl and mix together:

1 1/2 cups REAL mayonnaise, either homemade or Hellman's
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup finely diced celery
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 small sweet pickle, diced
salt to taste

When potatoes are done cooking, drain them. Remove the eggs and place them in a bowl of cold water to cool. Cool potatoes, gently turning them occasionally to keep them from further cooking in the bowl.

When eggs are cooled, peel them and chop them very fine. Add this to the mayonnaise mixture.

When potatoes are cool, add them to the mayonnaise mixture, stirring well, but being careful not to mash the potatoes. Sprinkle top with chopped parsley.

If it seems too dry, add more mayonnaise.

Chill all of this, preferably overnight, as the flavor is better the next day!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gorgonzola Spread

This one is breaking the mold just a bit, because it doesn't take a whole lot of time to prepare, with the exception of finding a source for Gorgonzola cheese if you don't live in an area with a good grocer.

Serve this with a good-quality cracker.


Gorgonzola Spread

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon of milk
1/2 cup chopped pimento-stuffed olives
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped.
1/2 clove minced, fresh garlic

Mix it all together and serve!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chicken Noodles

2 tablespoons butter
1 14 1/2 oz can chicken broth, plus water enough water to make 5 cups
1 tablespoon non-msg chicken base
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 8oz pkg fine noodles

Brown the butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the chicken broth/water, chicken base and salt.
Stir the noodles into the broth.
Bring to a boil.
Stir, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 20-25 minutes. Add chunk chicken, if you like.
Stir and serve.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hungarian Pork Roast and Caraway Sauerkraut

For our New Year's Even houseconcert, I wanted to try something different, something other than my standard Lentil Soup fare. And since I'm a very big fan of pork roast, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, I went searching for a recipe that would make my mouth water. This recipe was surely it, and ended up being a very big hit with the houseconcert guests. The comments were made mostly in regard to the thickened sauerkraut and the onion gravy. Cook the pork sl-o-o-o-o-w-ly for maximum tenderness and flavor!


Hungarian Pork Roast with Onion Gravy and Caraway Sauerkraut

1 large pork roast (6-7 pounds)
7 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar to caramelize the onions
salt and pepper

Seer all sides of the roast in a hot roasting pan over high heat. Do not add any fat.
Put all the chopped onions and 2 tablespoons sugar into a roasting pan (I use my electric roaster when doubling this for a great big batch) and cover.
Cook at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Check periodically to turn it over and push the onions around. The onions should caramelize, or take on a rich, brown color.

When roast is finished cooking, remove it from the roasting pan.
Mix 2 tablespoons of flour into 2 cups of water.
Stir the water/flour mixture into the onions, scraping the sides of the pan to get all of the onions/juices into the gravy. Season with salt and pepper.

Caraway Sauerkraut
2 pounds of Sauerkraut, preferably the bagged kind, rinsed and drained
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of lard or butter, partially melted
2 tablespoons of flour

Put the sauerkraut in a pot. Add the caraway seeds, sugar and water.
Slowly cook until the kraut is soft, about a 1/2 hour.
In a small bowl, mix the lard or butter and the flour. Stir into the kraut. Stir until thickened.
Simmer for five minutes.

Serve this with mashed potatoes (be sure to make your mashed potatoes with plenty of butter, cream cheese, heavy cream and salt/pepper).

Original recipe found at June Meyer's Authentic Hungarian Recipes. It's packed with fabulous foods! This particular dish includes a recipe for Farina dumplings which I have not yet tried, but look fabulous and can be frozen for use in other recipes. Her recipe for mashed potatoes looks great, with the addition of egg and sour cream.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Breaded Chicken Fingers

Some of the best meat dishes I have call for some type of brining or marinating before cooking. This recipe infuses the chicken breast with flavor by a 2-4 hour marinade in egg, buttermilk and garlic. Using a cast-iron dutch oven for the frying is the best way to get a beautiful, golden brown pile of chicken fingers. Serve with a heap of mashed potatoes and a scoop of fresh corn. You'll be smitten!


Breaded Chicken Fingers

6 partially frozen chicken breast halves
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
oil for frying (about 4 cups)

Cut the partially-frozen chicken into 1/2 inch strips using a sharp knife. In a zip-lock-type bag, combine beaten egg, buttermilk, garlic and chicken strips. Refrigerate in the sealed bag for 2-4 hours or more. In another bag, combine the flour, bread crumbs, salt, baking powder. Drain the chicken and discard the liquid. Place the chicken in baggie, seal, and shake to coat. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet to 375 degrees F. Carefully place coated chicken in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and juices run clear, about 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. It takes about 4-5 batches to cook them all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ohio Buckeyes

When a group of young choristers from Germany came to visit my area recently, I thought long and hard about what I would give them as a welcoming gift. It finally occurred to me that I should offer what I love most--food! So I contacted local businesses and gathered together our rural county's best tastes--cheese, fresh-pressed cider, and chocolate buckeyes.

I remember buckeyes from my childhood, how my neighbor mixed the big bowl of peanut butter stuff which her daughter and I rolled into little balls. I thought it was magical, how she dipped the peanut butter balls into melted chocolate and they looked just like buckeyes.

Now we make these treats at Christmastime to share with friends and neighbors. They do seem to be time-intensive, but I have a lot of hands to help with the work, so it goes quickly. But as good as these little treasures are, they go quickly, too!

I like this particular recipe because it doesn't call for paraffin.


Buckeye Candies

3 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
2 lbs confectioner's sugar

Mix together. Form into small balls.

For coating: melt 16 oz of melted dipping chocolate. Using a toothpick, dip the balls into the chocolate, leaving some of the peanut butter exposed on top to look like a buckeye nut. Refrigerate until firm.