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Dar, vorba lunga-i saracia omului, asa ca:
Regardless of the fact that it is Transylvanian or not, this dish is to die for. I can only quote Maestro, as I praise his teachings in the art of cooking.
The other day, I went to ORADEA (an old and beautiful Transylvanian city right at the border between Romania and Hungary) and as usual, I paid a visit to the local Farmer’s Market. Why? Because always there are some Hungarian women bringing home made pickled vegetables you cannot get anywhere else! This time I also found horseradish roots: big, healthy, white fatty looking and already peeled! Who likes to peel the roots anymore?Once I got back home, I started working on two different types of recipes (one from the Western part of Romania – Transylvania – and one from the Southern part of the country – Oltenia). And because I am a “Westerner” – even some of my roots are from other geographical areas of the country – I gave priority to the “Transylvanian horseradish dip” as the first dip/gravy shown in the new Edition of “Oala Lumii” ( World’s Pot).
Of course I had a pair of “Virsli” (sheep or goat meat sausages specific to Western Romania) close by so I could get the “whole nine yards” of such inviting and teasing endeavor. And believe me: the combination between the dip and “Virsli” went together fantastically!
I am not sure if this dish was ever a gastronomic landmark in Transylvanian Cuisine (which is so influenced by its ethnic diversity), but the dip and sausages (Virsli) accompanied by a local excellent Tirnave wine ended up in giving the horseradish a well deserved front seat at the dinner table.
But enough of talking and let’s get down to business:
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– What are you baking there, Mrs. Ani? I asked this question with all the innocence and the honesty a 12 year old kid can ask when enters the kitchen of an excellent cook as Mrs. Ani (our Hungarian neighbor) was.
– Apple, semolina and biscuits pie said the old lady while petting one of the cats that was “helping” her with the cooking. Then while still smiling, she turned to her husband – Joska bacsi – and with a voice that did not accept any sort of opposition asked: “one full basket of apples, peeled and grated! Please!”
The man smiled and disappeared from the kitchen where Mrs. Ani and her five cats soon took over. The cats knew that “something was cooking” as they were circling around and between our legs with their tails raised in a sign of supreme pleasure.In the meantime, the woman stirred into a steaming pot that was spreading some absolutely enticing scents. Then she pulled a cooking tray from the stove and greased it with soft butter. And the layer was pretty generous!
There was one of those typical fall afternoons when a drizzle specific to the Apuseni Mountains this time of the year had been relentlessly falling for few days. Inside the kitchen was so nice and warm from the wood burning stove and it was smelling so good from all those spices Mrs. Ani mixed up prior to starting the pie making activity!
And the same way the drizzle was falling on the ground, the semolina mixed with crushed biscuits fell through her fingers into the cooking tray previously greased with a lot of butter. She shook the tray so the layer of semolina and biscuits would sit better onto the bottom and set it on the side. Ioska bacsi showed up right in time with a big bowl full of grated apples and in a basket with the apples’ peels. Now this was for me a bit strange…why would you keep the peels?
Mrs, Ani started squeezing the grated apples and after collecting the juice, she gave me a glass full of this wonderful liquid.
Then grabbed a couple of sugar and cinnamon sachets and started pouring over the freshly squished grated apples. What were the quantities? Don’t ask me, because this dish is one of those I learnt how to make just by looking at its making, not by following a written recipe. Also, Mrs. Ani knew very well how to keep its cards as close as possible to her chest! Not too much information was leaking out and whatever I saw with my eyes, is what I am posting here.
Certainly is that after a good judgment, one spoonful of cinnamon sprinkled on top of the powder sugar that was already laying on top of the apples would do the trick. You can use your own judgment and if you want to play around with your own ratio: sugar powder / cinnamon – just go ahead! It will not hurt for sure!
Then she took the semolina cooking tray and sprinkled the grated apples (earlier mixed up with the sugar and the cinnamon) on the top of the semolina and the crushed biscuits.
Once this activity was completed, the cooking tray was placed on the side and 5 whites from 5 eggs were beaten up with a pinch of salt. When they started raising, she pulled another tray out of the oven that had something white sprinkled all over: sugar!
– Why did you warm it up?
– I’m not going to burn my hand!
I did not understand what she said. Probably the egg whites had to be warmed up above a steaming water and this why she chose to better warm up the sugar…
And the same way as the rain outside was falling over the high hills of the Zarand Region, the sugar from the tray kept into the stove, fell onto the white eggs and the beating process started all over.
Finally, the tray was shoved into the stove and I guess she barely waited for the time she had flip the radio stations to an old Hungarian station music that was one of her all time favorites.
And the nostalgias of a passed youth were now resounding in the little kitchen to the rhythms of the old, forgotten Hungarian “Chardash” music.
With a curious eye, she removed the ashes (that were blocking her access to the tray) and let the tray cook for about 30/40 min at a medium temperature fire until the layer on the top started to slowly raise like the cake dough. Then after another 20 minutes, she deemed the goodie inside the cooking tray as being ready while her blue translucent eyes were showing signs of uncontrollable joy. I cannot describe the aromas generated by the cinnamon and the smells released in the kitchen by the apple pie! How about the taste? You can only describe it by closing your eyes and take bites out of that wonder which just came out of that old wood burning stove. And trust me: this pie I made today (30 years from the time I first saw it being made), tasted exactly the same as it did back then as the memory of those times were well stored into one of the many little shelves of my brain.
If you want to improve it by adding more spices to it, it is purely your call. But for me, the way I am giving it to you, represents the simplicity taken to the perfection. Simplicity tailored by Mrs. Ani while babysitting a kid in one of those rainy, cold fall days when nothing really can be done outside of the house. And how can you keep a kid quiet other way but making her help baking a pie that promised to be a “to die for” indulgence for anyone with a sweet tooth.
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Ca tot pomenii de schimbare (vezi aici), azi veni si rindul congelatorului. Printre recipientii frumos pusi la pastrare am dat si peste unul de care uitasem cu desavirsire. Si amintirea soarelui unei primaveri nebune decreta calea bucatarelii de azi: salata de muguri de feriga. Brrrr..ar zice unii ! Hmmm, vin si zic eu!
Daca aveti o limba curioasa si aventuroasa, daca va place gustul de sparanghel combinat cu cel de spanac si de ciuperca de padure atunci ati ajuns pe tarimul mult visat.
Si, desi culesesem mugurii intr-o preatimpurie primavara(ca-i musai asa sa fie) si-i pregatisem pentru o iarna ce va sa vie, nici ploaia de acum nu se lasa mai prejos in oferta de comfort la care am subscris in fata focului din vatra si-a unui blid plin ochi cu salata de muguri de feriga.
Cu atentionare speciala:
-toxicitatea ferigii este cunoscuta fiind destul de naravasa daca nu-ti iei masurile de precautie necesare astfel ca, e de preferat sa cumperi mugurii de feriga daca nu esti sigur pe ceea ce intilnesti in padure (in acest sens poti vedea un material aici ).
1 mina plina de muguri de feriga (spalati foarte bine, fierti in apa usor sarata aprox. 10 minute, clatiti apoi bine cu apa rece si scursi; unii spun ca doua fierberi ar fi necesare pentru a indeparta gustul usor amarui si toxicitatea ferigii)
1-2 l-te ulei de masline sau unt
2 catei de usturoi feliati
fulgi deshidratati de ardei iute
Soteaza mugurii in uleiul sau untul incins cam 5 minute. Adauga usturoiul si ardeiul iute si mai lasa la foc pentru 1 minut.
Sareaza dupa gust apoi serveste-i imediat. Daca vrei, mai arunca si niste bucatele de brinza peste muguri.
Fiddleheads Fern Salad
1 handful of fiddlehead ferns( trimed and rinsed; remove any brown ends or mushy parts;cooked for 10 minute and then
well drained and rinsed with cold water)
1-2 tsp. olive oil or butter
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
hot pepper flakes
In a frying pan, heat oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add fiddleheads. Cook’em and stir for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes, if you want, then cook and stir again until garlic is fragrant and just starting to color(about 1 minute).
Salt to taste. Serve immediately. If you really want, you can drop few pieces of salted cheese over all.
To cook fiddleheads fern, it’s advised to remove the yellow/brown skin, then boil the sprouts twice with a change of water between boilings. Removing the water reduces the bitterness and the content of tannins and toxins. The Centers for Disease Control associated a number of food-borne illness cases with fiddleheads in the early 1990s. Although they did not identify a toxin in the fiddleheads, the findings of that case suggest that fiddleheads should be cooked thoroughly before eating. The cooking time recommended by health authorities is 15 minutes if boiled and 10 to 12 minutes if steamed.(Wikipedia sources)
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Cind il pocneste pe om il pocneste adica. Cred ca stiti la ce ma refer, fiecare trecind, poate, prin stari de genul asta. Si ma pocni si pe mine sa-mi mut oala in casa noua asa ca…blogspot ramase ca un fel de tinut natal spre care nostalgiile pleaca ori de cite ori e cazul sau vor ele sa faca pe nebunele.
Daca tot e schimbarea cuvintul zilei, vrusai sa schimb tot. Si-am inceput cu-n divort cu cintece si nabadai pe care l-am finalizat acu’ o saptamina; am continuat cu schimbarea de casa cind am constatat ca, omu’ cu trecerea anilor, devine mai Diogene decit Diogene adunind multe si marunte care nu-i folosesc…pe principiul „las’ c-o fi bun odata”; am schimbat atitudine( nu ca nu era necesar), am mers pina acolo incit mintea-mi circula spre zone in care nici cu gindul al mai indepartat n-as fi visat sa ajung (o sa vedeti despre ce este vorba, insa toate la timpul lor), am mai schimbat ceva din look (e cool cuvintul, nu?)..nu ca n-ar fi fost musai !
Ce sa mai troglodesc a lela? Vrusai azi sa-mi cinstesc spiritul si trupul cu ceva special intr-o zi nespeciala si-am ales ce-am ales, deliberind cu instinctul si cu limba. Si-a iesit o trozneala de gusturi si arome de mi-a oprit in loc, pret de citeva secunde, orice urma de ratiune.
Capsuni marinate, hmm, suna bine, nu ?
1. Icecream raspberry 2. An icecream as a story 3. Goat cheese icecream