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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

BreAnna decided to search for this particular recipe, thanks to a wonderful meal at the Great Market (described in To The Market!!).  BreAnna successfully located this particular recipe at: Hungarian Langos.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1.25 teaspoons of yeast
  • 0.75 teaspoons of salt
  • water
  • oil for frying

This Sunday Night Dinner had 3 pairs of hands involved in its creation; My hands, BreAnna’s hands, and Clare’s hands. Our friend Clare owns the two puppy dogs, Judae and Buddy (see Puppy Love).  We actually doubled the recipe since it said it produces four small langos or two large langos, and our hunger called for 4 Large Langos.

Instructions:

Step 1: Combine the flour and yeasts with your fingersBreAnna stepped up to the plate, and we figured so far, this is.

Step 2: Add the salt and lightly stir throughYep, going well.

Step 3: Add sufficient water to make a thick sticky dough – basically just enough to absorb the flour, not too much or you’ll need more flourI began adding water, a few pours at a time and BreAnna stirred the increasingly goopy mess. We analyzed the amount of water needed, added a few more pours and plopped into the next step.

Step 4: Mix together well and turn out onto a board or workbench to kneadHaving only plastic cutting boards that I felt were too small anyway, we wound up spreading flour on the kitchen table for our work space. I remembered enough from previous experience that excess flour was necessary to keep the dough from gluing to the table. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the dough from gluing to BreAnna’s hands. So, I took over the kneading, BreAnna washed clumps of dough from her hands, and Clare added flour when necessary.

Step 5: Knead in the French style, making sure to capture much air in the dough. (Pick up the sticky dough in the middle, whack one end onto the bench and fold over the other end, repeat). VIDEO Demonstration by Me!

Step 6: The dough will eventually become smooth and springy. Set aside to rest for 1/2 hourFacebook Time!

Step 7: Once rested, carefully tip out the dough onto a floured surface and then carefully stretch out into a square. Cut into four (or two for larger langos).

Step 8: Stretch out each piece with your fingers into a rough square with the centre being thinner than the edges.  The only issue: our dough squares didn’t want to stay stretched!  Eventually, Clare and I wound up with 4 oval pieces of dough.

Step 9: Place into hot oil, turn once such that each side is goldenBreAnna and Clare busied themselves with frying the dough as I was briefly occupied with an email.  They began to smell delicious!

Step 10: Optionally brush with garlic oilWe decided to forgo this option since I was planning to put jam on part of my langos, and garlic + jam didn’t sound appetizing.

Step 11: Top with grated cheese and sour creamOur particular toppings involved sour cream, stir fried mushrooms, and cheese. BreAnna and I also tried strawberry jam.

Langos with jam, and mushrooms, sour cream, and cheese

Results:

  • Fried dough and toppings = A scrumptious meal that we couldn’t stop discussing.
  • I can’t decide which I liked better, the strawberry jam or the mushroom/sour cream/cheese version because they were both delectable.
  • I’m going to make this meal for my family when I return home, although with 5 people, I’ll have to at least triple the ingredients.
Feb 26, 2012

BreAnna wants me to take the picture faster because she's hungry.

Ready to Eat.

What a wonderful Dinner with Friends!

Both topping types were wonderful!

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This entry is about a week late because I’ve been trying to get back on track after the Pécs trip (Feb 11-12).  We made this dish last weekend, February 19.  I try to add an entry at least every 2 days, but with the promise of warmer weather, outside exploration may impede my blog posts.

The Story

The creation of our Vegetarian Gulyáswas an adventure.  The word “Gulyás” is Hungarian, and the English version is Goulash (pronunciation is basically the same).   The full recipe can be found at:

http://low-cholesterol.food.com/recipe/vegetarian-goulash-279773#ixzz1lulpjnbu

Ingredients Included: olive oil, onion, celery, mushroom, green bell pepper, veggie crumbles (or veggie steak strips), garlic cloves, paprika, whole canned tomatoes, red wine, oregano, carraway seed (optional), tomato puree, sugar, salt and pepper.  All of the ingredients are ultimately cooked in a skillet.

Our Version: Our vegetarian gulyás was slightly altered.  First of all, veggie crumbles don’t seem to exist in Hungary, and trust me, we looked.  Second, we were having issues locating caraway seed, so we decided not to exert any more effort since it was optional.  Third, BreAnna and I had purchased a green pepper a little over a week earlier in preparation for cooking that Sunday night.  Due to exhaustion following our trip to Pécs, we decided to forgo our Sunday night dinner.  By this Sunday night, our green pepper had obtained a ring of white, fuzzy mold.  We pitched it, and eliminated pepper from our recipe because the few grocery stores that are actually open on Sunday are closed by 8pm.  Finally, since we were worried the elimination of the veggie crumbles would cause the gulyás to be overly soupy, instead of a skillet, we cooked our gulyás in a pot.

BreAnna and I were doing fairly well at cooking our gulyás until we realized that we hadn’t yet opened the bottle of wine.  Having never used a wine opener, BreAnna and I encountered several false starts.  Finally, I realized that our concept of how the wine opener SHOULD be working was completely opposite of how it ACTUALLY works.  I succeeded in extracting the cork partway, but I didn’t have the arm strength to hold the wine bottle on the high counter top to completely pop the cork.  So, I manned the bottle and attempted to keep it from jumping across the counter, and BreAnna tugged at the bottle opener.  For a good 2 minutes we were hauling and grunting and laughing our asses off.

A satisfying pop accompanied the cork’s release.  Unfortunately, as BreAnna successfully opened the bottle, the vengeful cork directed the bottle opener into her face.  She escaped with a small slice upon her cheek, a tiny reminder of our wine bottle extravaganza.

After patching herself up from her mini scuffle, BreAnna waltzed back into the kitchen, smiling.  The gulyás finished cooking and we dug in.

Cooking the Gulyás

Results:

-It’s ok.

-Probably should have made some rice to go with it, but we were so consumed in actually completing the gulyás that rice wasn’t about to happen.

-It would have been better if we’d had the pepper and veggie crumbles to add.

-Paprika = spicy

-Personally, I don’t like the tomatoes (but then again, I never have), and if we’d added more ingredients, the tomato taste would have been counterbalanced.

Dinner is Ready

Feb 19, 2012

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For me, Saturday night’s dinner in Pécs was a highlight.  A few people had some issues with their meals, but they’d chosen a different menu.  I had picked Menu C, which was the only all-vegetarian menu option.

Menu C Included:

1. Two pancakes stuffed with courgette and mushroom.  Aka, a vegetable crepe.  I’ve tasted veggie crepes before, but they rarely live up to their fruit-filled versions.  Note: courgette is zucchini.  The crepes I wound up with were deliciousness under a blanket of cream sauce.  If these two crepes had been dinner, I would have been happy because they were quite enough for a meal.  However, this was only the first course.

Pancakes stuffed with zucchini and mushrooms

2. Potato with spinach, tomato, cheese and roasted vegetables.  At least, that’s what the menu said, but what arrived appeared to be a sandwich, not a baked potato.  I was wondering if they’d added a biscuit to keep the vegetables together.  When I took a bite, I realized that the “biscuit,” was instead fluffy potatoes.  I couldn’t eat more than half of this sandwich because I was nearly full.

Potato with spinach, tomato, cheese, roasted vegetables

3. Sponge-cake.  When I looked at the menu, I was disappointed that the only menu I could choose had such a boring dessert (the other menus looked like they had amazing deserts).  Then my plate arrived with three snowballs covered in chocolate sauce.  They tasted more like sponge-cake ice cream, and they were amazing.

Sponge-cake

The entire meal was a little richer than my usual chosen cuisine, but it was a nice change from noodles and bread.  I had a fabulous meal, and I honestly have no idea how to recreate any of the food.  Perhaps I’ll try to look up similar recipes and add them to our Sunday-night cooking attempts.

Feb 11, 2012

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Saturday, our group of main campus students boarded the bus for Pécs (pronunciation similar to “page”), and yawned away the drive across Budapest.  We skidded over the Danube River.  I was considering how impossible it would be to leap from ice chunk to ice chunk, and my imaginary self’s dangerous game ended with slipping, tilting, and finally smashing into the water.  I would be encased in ice within seconds.  We drove through the Buda side and the city’s buildings drifted behind power plants, massive tubes, and smoke stacks.  Finally, we watched the last few bilboards slide behind us.

Imaginary Krystina was traversing the ice chunks

Brrrrrrrrr.

Then the world went white.

We were thankful for the casing of heat provided by the bus.  Everyone quickly discovered that a colorless world is highly unnerving.  Power-lines draping across silver metal soldiers swooped above us every couple of miles, and sometimes shivering trees provided a bare definition to the starched fields.

Whited-out Smoke Stacks

Several people speculated the chances of our bus stalling, leaving us in a lost world, and there was mild excitment when our bus stopped unexpectedly.  We watched our driver purchase wine from a road-side vender, a small motion on a tree-lined lane.  Hungary is dominated by fields, ones which I saw back in high school swaying with feathery stalks.  The view in winter was of a desolate land mixing with the swirling sky.

Steel Soldiers

When we arrived in Pécs, we had an hour to ourselves, so BreAnna and I drifted down several streets, watching snowflakes drop upon the unfamiliar town.  After returning to the hotel, we met up with our group to began the guided tour.  We had tours on Saturday and Sunday which involved shifting from monuments to buildings.  We visited the Cathedral of Peter and Paul, saw an old Christian burial site, strolled through a museum of Zsolnay porcelain, and gaped at humongous painting by Csontvary Kosztka Tivada.  While we were able to see impressive artworks, and interesting ceramics, most of the time was spent attempting to complete our worksheets.  The worksheets involved photos of places and art that we had to name, so most of our focus was upon running around and searching for the answers.  I didn’t enjoy myself as much because I was overly concerned about finding the answers.  We knew using the Internet was permissible, and ultimately most of the answers were found online. Our group mainly wound up cold and interested solely in returning to the hotel.

There were a few bright points of the trip:

  • Saturday Night’s Dinner was delicious, and I’ve decided to have a separate blog post for its description.
  • On our second day, following our “educational” itinerary, we were given an hour and a half for lunch.  A mounting tension of anticipation had been forming over the past few minutes as several of our group had found entertainment in launching a snowball or two.  Immediately upon our release, snowballs went flying.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting revenge on BreAnna for encouraging Jade to pummel me with snowballs earlier that week.
  • Following the snowball fight, the majority of girls in our group decided gelatos sounded good for lunch.  We trooped down the street that our hotel had been located upon and turned into a gelato place.  I had a wonderful combination of strawberry and chocolate gelatos.  Then, we sat, chatted, and kept warm for most of the remaining time. Right before our appointed meeting time, we grabbed pizzas for actual sustenance for the bus ride.  I got a wonderful pesto and spinach pizza.

Spinach and Pesto Pizza

Sunday, after eating gelatos and buying our pizzas for the bus, we shuffled down hill to our meeting point for boarding the bus.  We arrived a few minutes early, greeted our professors and stamped into a huddled circle to wait.  The meeting time was 12:50, so as 12:55 ticked by with no sign of the guys of our group, we were really annoyed . Not only was it snowing and freezing, but standing around in the cold watching our pizzas freeze was far from entertaining.  Even our professors were annoyed, and they attempted to contact the guys to light a fire under their behinds.  I think the winter wind and snow doused the fire.

When the guys finally reached our group over 10 minutes late, they learned that the meeting time was not 1:00pm.  They stood discussing how they’d heard 1, not 10 till 1, barely showing any remorse.  Our professor requested an apology for the frozen half of the group and we received a few mumbled sorry’s.  The instant our professor turned, a barrage of complaints erupted from the guys including, “Why did we have to apologize? It was only 10 minutes.” “I’m not sorry.” “10 minutes, it’s not like it was 30 minutes.”  One of the girls told them they’d caused our pizzas to ice over, and some guy’s response was, “Well you should have come with us, we went to a great place, it was like Texas Roadhouse.”  I was pissed at the lack of consideration.  I can understand the misunderstanding, but to be entirely unremorseful, and then to tell us their experience was better?  NO!  We had a fine time getting gelatos and chatting, and if we’d been with the guys then everyone would have been late, making the professors stand alone in the cold.  They’d have been standing there, feeling lost in white.

Feb 11-12, 2012

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A little bit about me:

I grew up vegetarian, which is rather unusual for an American. I think I’ve met only one other person in my life who’s diet was vegetarian from birth.  Now, I have met a barrel-full of people who are vegetarian, but a significant portion of them made the decision to become vegetarian around middle to high school.  My younger sisters were also raised vegetarian, so we had the opposite option of eating meat.  Our parents made the decision to change to a vegetarian diet before I was born (and I’m the eldest).  Both Mama and Papa grew up eating meat regularly, and I believe the main reason for the switch was for health reasons.

In the past few years, I’ve determined that I’m vegetarian by default; I have no strong feelings about eating meat, I just don’t eat meat because it’s not in my diet.  Throughout my life, I continuously run into people who can’t seem to wrap their heads around vegetarianism (Note: Not a religion).  I’ve had to explain my diet in a number of ways to classmates, roommates, friends, co-workers.  Vegetarianism does not include fish (that would be a pescetarian), does include milk, eggs, and other dairy products (so not a vegan), and most certainly doesn’t include meat.  You’d be shocked how many people have to confirm with me that I don’t eat meat.

Other clarifications I’ve had to make include:

  • This is my diet, I’m Not ON a diet.
  • I CAN in fact survive without eating meat: beans, peanut butter, eggs, sprouts, spinach, etc, contain protein.
  • I WILL get sick if I eat too much meat, it’s not a myth, my body can’t break down the abundance of protein that exists in meat.
  • On the flip side, I can taste a little bit of meat if I choose, and in the past, I have tried meat.
  • And yes, I’m vegetarian, NO, I don’t like Tofu!  But, I will consume it under a few circumstances (Nothing to eat. It’s in the meal I’m served. I’m starving).

Now, admittedly, most people are just curious, and I’ve met a few with a fair amount of knowledge about vegetarianism.  However, since arriving in Budapest, I have had to (once again) repeat the above notes to several people.  Why?

Being Vegetarian in Hungary

People I meet in Budapest are truly blown off-kilter when I tell them I’m vegetarian.  I keep running into that swinging question, “You’re VEGETARIAN? And you came to Hungary?” accompanied by a one-eyebrow launch to the ceiling.  It seems that meat is a highly valued component in Hungarian meals.  I can’t imagine what I’m doing visiting a meat-loving city after coming from a country that practically lives off of Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, and Pepperoni Pizza.  I live in Pennsylvania; kids take off school on the first day of hunting season.  I go to school in Maryland, crab cakes anyone? Sea food? Lobster?  I thought Americans were stereotyped for always eating at McDonald’s?

Furthermore, the amount of stunned faces I turn up is disproportionate to the availability of vegetarian food here in Budapest.  Now, I say “here in Budapest,” because it has been made clear to me that the further you venture into the countryside, you will find increasingly fewer non-meat options.  Since I’m cooking for myself, I have plenty of opportunity to make my own vegetable, fruit, cheese, bread, noodle combinations, which are available at regular grocery stores and fresh food markets.  However, BreAnna and I are looking for a few opportunities to eat out, although we both have restrictions due to tight budgets.

So far, Vegetarian meals that I’ve consumed in Budapest include:

1 – A buffet-style meal that we had in the first week.  We headed across the city on a metro line at night, and popped up in an area defined by the train tracks, sketchy shadows, a brick wall, and the metro station from which we were emerging.  A few feet along the walk-way, and we came to a street corner that housed our destination, and a few other dark buildings.  The first floor of the restaurant held a coat check and a wall stuffed (no pun intended) with antlers.  It seemed reminiscent of a scene in The Illusionist (2006), where Chief Inspector Walter Uhl strides down the hallway of Crown Prince Leopold’s palace.  Antlers, like branches of a winter forest, loom above Chief Inspector Uhl.  Deer heads and frozen birds ghost through the lifeless forest.  Admittedly, the restaurant wasn’t spooky, and luckily, we didn’t end up eating under the antlers.  We wound our way upstairs and sat at a long stretch of tables.  The main attraction for the restaurant was the selection of meat which they would grill in front of you, according to your request.  Luckily for me, the buffet had plenty of other options.  I found a noodle dish, which I thought, at first, was a rice dish because the noodles were chopped so finely.  It had a lovely light spicing, probably with paprika (it was distinctly coated in red).  Even though goulash (meat based) was the main soup option, there was a delicious vegetable soup settled in the next pot over.  While vegetable soup isn’t my first pick, Hungarians know how to make soup.  It wasn’t overly salty, and none of the vegetables were mushy or too firm, and the spicing added an amazing touch.  And, of course there was fruit, vegetables, bread, etc.

I'm sad when there's no Strawberry Juice

2 – A delicious rice dish acquired from the cafe at McDaniel College Budapest.  The cafe is located in the basement, but is a nice place to relax, and they give large portions for good prices.  This plate of rice had broccoli, carrots and peas and was very tasty.  For a drink, I had strawberry juice – deliciousness!

Carrots and Peas and Corn, Oh My!

3 – A second food item acquired from the McDaniel cafe, and while it’s not unique to the cafe, it’s toppings are unique to Hungary.  This is the third time I’ve had a Hungarian version of “vegetarian pizza,” and it’s quite literally called vegetarian, not vegetable pizza.  In America, I’ve had vegetable pizzas with onion, pepper, mushroom, black olives, tomato, and broccoli.  In Hungary, the vegetarian pizzas have the basic tomato sauce and cheese, but the normal toppings are corn, peas, and carrots.  Corn Peas and Carrots?  It’s what you stir in a soup, throw on rice, or eat as a side.  This particular version also had beans, adding to the “goes in a soup” assessment.  I have never before eaten a pizza with corn, peas, carrots, or beans.  It tastes fine, even though it has a very lumpy appearance.

 Final Comments:

Being vegetarian in Budapest isn’t any more impossible than in any American city.  (We’ll see how it goes when I get to small towns, but I can live on bread + water for a few days).  This weekend, my group is traveling to Pécs, where our Saturday dinner is payed for, and I’ll reveal the contents of that meal next week.  Finally, BreAnna and I are stirring up plans for another Sunday night dinner, and hopefully we won’t be so tired from the Pécs trip that we can’t cook.

Jan-May, 2012

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