Kelbimbo Kontinental- Baked Brussel Sprout Gratin

I never ate mushy Brussels sprouts growing up.  In fact, I never ate any Brussels Sprouts at all, so I never quite understood the constant verbal attacks on the poor vegetable.  It was only in my adult years that I gave them a try.  By that time, I’d already been heavily influenced by the Barefoot Contessa, i.e, roasting was my go-to vegetable preparation technique.  Steaming, boiling, and plain old baking seemed too boring and too flavorless.  And when I finally tried roasted Brussels Sprouts, drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, it was clear that Brussels Sprouts were undeserving of their bad reputation.

But as good as they are, a girl cannot live on roasted Brussels Sprouts alone.  In this Hungarian dish, Brussels sprouts are parboiled and then combined with a pork-flavored sour cream sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden and bubbling.  With a preparation like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if all Hungarian children loved their Brussels Sprouts.

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Baked Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

* 2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
* 6 cups water
* 2 Tablespoons salt
* 1/4 cup minced salt pork (note: salt pork is easier to cut when nearly frozen)
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons black pepper
* 1 1/2 cups sour cream
* paprika
* 1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a medium-to-large baking dish (I used a 9 x 9 glass Pyrex dish, which worked perfectly)

Wash and trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts. Bring the water and 2 Tablespoons of salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the Brussels Sprouts and let them boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Fry the salt pork in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the bits have browned and become crispy. Remove the salt pork bits with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the onion to the rendered pork fat and cook over medium heat until the onion has softened. Add 1/4 cup of water, one teaspoon of salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Stir in the sour cream and mix thoroughly. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir well to combine and coat each sprout with the sour cream mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with paprika and the reserved salt pork bits. Top evenly with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

Boszorkanyhab- Witches’ Froth- Baked Apple Mousse

Even if this recipe hadn’t looked very good, I might have made it anyways just because of its name.  Luckily for me it was a winner: baked apples are pureed and combined with vanilla sugar, egg whites, rum and lemon juice and then whipped until light and frothy.

Hungarian food tends to be pretty heavy: lots of pork, veal, sour cream, etc., etc.  This is a nice and light dessert that shouldn’t contribute too much to any post-meal food coma.

One final note: a lot of Hungarian dessert recipes use vanilla sugar.  I was too lazy to make some so I cheated by using regular sugar but I substituted homemade rum vanilla extract, which had plenty of vanilla bean seeds, in place of the regular rum. It worked out very well, so feel free to go this route if you have homemade vanilla extract at home.

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Witches' Froth

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

* 4 baking apples
* 1 cup vanilla sugar
* 2 egg whites
* 2 Tablespoons rum
* 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
* whipped cream, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and bake the apples for 50-60 minutes, until softened. Let them cool, peel and core them, and puree the pulp in a blender or food processor.

Stir in the egg whites and sugar and beat 10 minutes with an electric mixer, until fluffy and thick. Add the rum and lemon juice and continue beating for another 5 minutes.

Spoon into individual serving glasses or bowls and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: This dessert uses raw egg whites, so please be aware that there is a small risk of salmonella contamination.

Sziasztok Hungary!

Photo via Maxted Travels with Modestine 4

Really excited to learn more about Hungarian cuisine.  Let’s just hope that I’m able to focus my attention on something other than Austro-Hungarian cakes and pastries.  Two weeks of tortes, strudels, crepes and roulades would be amazing, but I’d probably need to purchase some pants with elastic waistbands. 

Annyonghi Kyeshipshiyo South Korea!

Photo via Holiday Check

My apologies for once again butchering the Korean language.  I have no idea whether annyonghi kyeshipshiyo is the correct way to say goodbye.  Korean seems like a really complicated language; I think I’m better off sticking to the romance languages.  Korea’s food, however, I’m all over. 

As excited as I am for my next country, I feel like Korea has so much more food I need to try- like spicy squid and Doenjang pork.  And I haven’t even gotten to Korean barbeque!  But move on I shall.  With reluctance.  Rather than dwell on sadness, I’ll remember the good times.  Like this awesome kimchi fried rice,  these seafood and green onion pancakes, and this iced matcha green tea latte

Thankfully, there was only one major flop- this daikon kimchi.  I should have known that the recipe was a stinker when it called for 2 cups of salt and didn’t mention anything about rinsing it afterwards.  Even with a thorough rinse, it was totally inedible.  Live and learn I guess.

Although it’s time to move on, Korea, I’ll always remember our time together.  I sneak in some kimchi and tofu over the next couple of weeks so that the break doesn’t feel quite so jarring.

I hope my next country is forgiving of my cheating ways…

p.s. If you’d like more Korean food inspiration, check out the Korean Food Gallery for a foodgawker-like site with just Korean recipes.  Thanks again Jenny for the head’s up on that site!