Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No time to slow down!

Well the fall rush to do everything at once has started. Here in Budapest the days are still warm, thankfully the evenings cool down so we can breathe. Yesterday was another day that ran out of time for me . Suddenly it was time for dinner and I had not a clue what to do .
Then I remembered an old favorite of mine that is fast and very easy.

1 carrot
250 grams of mushrooms any kind
150 grams if snow peas
1 small onion
1 chicken breast sliced into thin strips
smoked thick bacon cut into small pieces ( approx. 1/2 cup) 
soya sauce, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar

Fry the bacon until it is almost crisp and then add the onion for vegetarians just use oil.

fry that until the onion gets glassy
Add the carrots and fry that until they start to soften
add the snow peas and fry another 5 minutes

then add the mushrooms

The mushrooms will give off water and combining everything gives it a great taste
When the mushrooms are soft I add the soya sauce to taste (2 tbls) and a little Balsamic vinegar ( 1 tbls)
While all this is being done I am making the rice .

I make my rice like pasta, just boil a large amount of water and add the amount of rice you need, boil this until the rice is done around 15 minutes. no need for a lid
Now this quick delicious meal is done
On a plate is looks great with all the colors, the aroma is wonderful  as it is being made and this meal is a no brainer. You can not make a mistake. You can also add different  vegetables but I have found that some times adding more vegetables you loose the taste and you have to add a lot of soya sauce to compensate.

This weekend will again be time for baking , I found a pumpkin! I am not sure what I will make yet , it depends on the time I have but I can hardly wait. To me fall starts when I have something sweet made from pumpkin .
I have never seen a child trick or treating here ,  they celebrate oct 30th a different way.  We used to live near a cemetery and we went along with hundreds of others to light candles there. It was really beautiful . People came and put flowers and lite candles on their family grave stones and walked around and looked at all the other displays . If you are here and near a graveyard it is worth while going out and checking the graves that are filled with flowers and candles .The best is to go just before it gets dark as then as the light fades the candles really shine. But even with the candles it gets very dark in there so bring a flashlight!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Poor mans caviar an amazing vegetarian dish

A couple of years ago we were invited to the home of a gourmet chef who hosts weekend parties. There were about 10 of us. It was a long way from Budapest and the gps was not working too well so we drove around for awhile in the gorgeous countryside.
This is what I like about the fall on the weekends there is not a rush to get outside and tan and make sure you get the last ray of sunshine and only then come in . In the fall it is a more peaceful time. You can get out enjoy the fresh air no need to hurry.
While I was thinking about that weekend I remembered a recipe that just floored me.  We were served caviar on small pancakes , not blinis just regular tiny  pancakes.  I am not really a fan of caviar so I initially did not take one . But everyone was raving about this creation so I decided I had better try one also. Well this looked like caviar but the taste was so different. We were all trying to figure out what it was while eating a ton of these appetizers. I don't think anyone wanted to anything other than these, which of course was not good  as the dinner was a 10 course meal and we were just starting.   Anyway finally we cornered the chef, he called it  his take on the poor mans caviar.

The weekend was filled with many wonderful dishes but that one stayed with me .
So today I will make this not as an appetizer but as a meal. It is a great vegetarian meal.

400grams of mushrooms , I like using brown mushrooms
2 purple onions
3 cloves of garlic
salt and black pepper
sour cream
chopped chives for presentation colour .
1 lemon

1.5 cups of  flour
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
oil for frying
1.2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup of soda water

This is such an easy recipe but just needs some preparation.
The mushrooms,garlic and purple onions you chop up into the tiniest pieces, think of the size of a pearl of caviar.  I also take the stems off the mushrooms, freeze them and use later for something .

Now you put oil in the pan and add the onions and garlic and quickly fry for about 2 minutes  then add the mushrooms.

No water is needed as the mushrooms give off water. Now you just fry this stirring on occasion.
 Notice how much water is given off by the mushrooms.
 The 'caviar' is done when the water which came from the mushrooms disappears and it starts to get dry.
 I cooked this for another 15 minutes until you can not see the difference between the mushrooms and the purple onions. Before it is done squeeze the juice of one lemon on to this mixture together with salt and pepper and continue to cook. The taste will just come alive.

During the last 20 minutes start the pancakes.
Pancakes are also easy to make. Just add the milk to the flour  and the baking soda and stir.

Now add the 2 eggs and stir until nicely blended.

This we will leave for about 30 minutes. That is the time I finish the mushroom caviar and set the table.

Now we wipe the frying pan with a paper towel that has some oil on it , heat the pan to medium high , ladle a small amount into the pan. These are to be made little like 3 inch diameter. So you can make a bunch of these very quickly.
 When the insides start to bubble then you flip them .
So this is how they will look and then you place them on the plate. They are ready very quickly do make sure you watch them !

Now that these are done and so is the "caviar" it is time to put it together. Place a spoon of the mixture on the pancake add a tiny bit of sour cream and sprinkle some chopped chives on top.

Make a bunch of these and then serve immediately. Whatever is left over you can keep in the fridge for a couple of days. This is a great appetizer for a dinner party or for a cocktail party also. It will get everyone talking as to what is in it !
I realized that this batch I did not make the onions as small as they should have been but my husband still ate 15 of them! A few times while I was cooking he came out and asked when it was ready . This is the type of meal that everyone loves. It is light, easy , tastes great and actually is an elegant way to start off a great dinner party. Or like we did tonight make it a meal!