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Upcoming Trip in the Kitchen

Whether or not our September Poland tour occurs, I am celebrating our trip by cooking a classic dish (all new to us) each week.

Last night we made Hungarian Chicken Paprikash using the following recipe from We Love Budapest on facebook. Chicken paprikash

We used a deep teflon skillet so we had quite a bit of paprika "soup" to add our sour cream mixture to and next time I would reduce that a bit before adding the sour cream or use a little more flour to thicken the sauce up just a tiny bit so it is a bit more sticky. We did use the full 4 Tablespoons of fresh, sweet paprika. It was very tasty and this recipe is now on our permanent menu. I did cheat and use bowtie pasta rather than make my own pasta bits. An alternative would be shells that would help hold the creamy sauce. We added a side of party peas and served in shallow bowls, eating with spoons to get up every bit of the wonderful sauce.

Up next week is home made Pierogies.

Posted by
3911 posts

Nancy, what a fabulous idea. We need to give this some thought 🤔. Our trip to Bavaria isn’t likely to happen in late summer so maybe our French bistro patio should be turned into a mini Biergarten with appropriate snacks!

EDIT: and thanks for the actual report. We look forward to next week’s installment.

Posted by
32220 posts

I am interested in how you make pierogies. Please post the story next week, I am looking forward to it with baited breath (and tongue).

We can get them here in the Polish stores but I am sure they are nothing like home-made. And I can’t get into the Polish stores right now because of remaining in the house.

Posted by
985 posts

Mona, I hope you do it and please share what you decide to serve!
There are several recipes I would like to try like cucumber soup and cold borscht soup, but hubby is somewhat of a picky eater and refuses anything with cucumbers in it and isn't too keen on beets either.

For those of you on the coast or who love shrimp/veggies:
I have a divine Mexican shrimp soup/nacho dip that I will share below for those planning a coastal trip because while meat can be somewhat scarce in our grocery, the fish is full in stock. It includes cucumbers but I have to substitute zucchini for the cucumbers now or else separate into two different bowls before adding cucumber to mine. And although it is not part of my trip theme I am glad to share the recipe here because it is so very, very good. It is a lovely summer offering dished up like a cold soup and served with crackers or nacho chips. I have made it several times so can vouch for the recipe.
It makes a lot so I would reduce by 1/2 if feeding 2-3 people and you should still get a couple of meals out of it. My sister and I ate this for three-four days for both lunch and snacks when the rest of the household/visitors refused to eat it due to cucumbers or the fact that the shrimp weren't fried.
You could also leave out the shrimp and just add more veggies.

Mexican Shrimp Dip - Cold Soup

It should have the consistency of a thick soup

1.5 lb. medium shrimp....cooked (I use frozen de-veined and just thaw)
1 -2 coarsely chopped avocados (the more the better so I use 2)
1 can minced clams in clam not drain
1 cup chopped seeded cucumbers
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 or 3 de-seeded, finely chopped fresh jalapenos to taste...I start with one and add until I get the spiciness I want.
1 lime--squeezed for juice

In non reactive bowl (that means don't use metal!)
1/2 Lg. bottle (I think it is 64oz) of low sodium or regular Spicy V8....more if making for lots of people...(increase ketchup accordingly)
1/2 cup ketchup

Mix all the ingredients in the V8 mixture.....taste...may add season salt if needed. Cover and chill for 4 hours to blend flavors. Even better if sits overnight in fridge.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Posted by
985 posts

Nigel - I will certainly update my post next week with the recipes I try. I am considering making a variety of fillings instead of just one so we can have both sweet and savory to sample.

Posted by
3815 posts

Travelling from the kitchen is a favourite of mine, even before all of the current unpleasantness. I commend you for attempting homemade Pierogi :) I have made them on a few occasions, you can get pretty creative with the fillings too, last time I made them with baked salmon.

Almost as important are the toppings of the Pierogi, for sweet fillings (farmers' cheese) breadcrumbs sauteed in butter works well or for savory fillings (like meat) caramelized onions are a must ;-)

I am also interested to hear how they turned out, as for myself I will be traveling to New Orleans today with an attempt at Gumbo!

Posted by
6180 posts

Nance, my husband hates beets but loves Polish beet soups, both barszcz and chlodnik (should be a barred l, but my keyboard isn't working right.)

Posted by
2003 posts

Carlos..ever try making your roux in the microwave? Easy and fast, but keep a close eye on it towards the end...our NOLA friends say it should be the color of an old penny. Whether you add okra is up to you and the topic of many “discussions”.

Borscht in our Jewish/Hungarian home was always vegetarian, cold, and served with a dollop of sour cream and a cold boiled potato. Non-beet lovers might enjoy schav, another cold soup made with sorrel, spinach, chard or whatever’s on hand and is green. Or simply green beans, potatoes and lots of fresh dill boiled to death, allowed to cool, mixed with sour cream and served cold. As I recall, it was “Unnterfershlugenahbundelech” or however my 7 year brain heard 70 year old Yiddish. Stay healthy and well fed, everyone!

Posted by
3815 posts

@Denny - yes it sounds like a Paella from back home in Spain, always up for discussions and interpretation, everyone has their own better recipe lol! I will look into the microwave tip, thank you for that.

As for the other ingredients, I am forced to use what I have on hand, most is Spanish ingredients. I'm planning on sauteing some Jamon Serrano, using the drippings as the base for the roux, then I will use Spanish Chorizo sausage instead of the Andouille one (I think they are similar) from there I'll see what else I can throw in in terms of vegetables and protein haha!

Posted by
10133 posts

What a great idea. I will have to make some dishes that would fit with the trip we cancelled for the fall. Just coincidentally, in the last couple of weeks I've made Schweinschnitzel, Chinese food (potstickers and Mongolian chicken) and Cornish pasties.

Edited to add after reading the post from Janis - I made matzoh ball soup a few weeks ago as well. Her post jogged my memory of that.

Posted by
3961 posts

Thanks for all the recipe ideas! Love Pirogies. I was thinking that the Chicken Paprikash would be great on top of Spaetzle? I was looking to buy a Spaetzle maker from a favorite local business. Speaking of pierogies, I make Potato Knishes reminiscent of my Jewish/Russian heritage. (Labor intensive, but worth it). As Denny mentioned. we too had cold Beet Borscht and cold Schav (Spinach). Unfortunately I don't have the recipe for the Schav. All I can recall is the Spinach, sour cream, green onions. Another favorite- Matzoh Ball Soup. A lot of "Noshing" going on these days!

Posted by
2052 posts

Oh this is a great idea. I buy cookbook as souvenirs. I think some Turkish food will be my choice for next week.

Posted by
8319 posts

I grew up with pierogies and learned to make them with my mother. Her tip is to run your wet fingertip around the edge before you crimp the edges together to help it stick. We took a class in Krakow where the chef said there is an annual contest on making new creative fillings. His tip was to use egg in the dough only if the filling will be something very wet (like fruit). My favorite filling is sauerkraut (cooked first) with minced corned beef. But I usually only make the standard mashed potato with cheese filling. I freeze a bag full to have them ready.

The journalist Anne Appelbaum wrote a very good Polish cookbook, that would be my first choice.

Posted by
10024 posts

How appetizing—food and travel. We buy cookbooks in different countries, too, small paperbacks.
Anyway, a local woman originally from Bologna, Italy dropped off a homemade meat lasagna and spring-vegetable lasagna yesterday. These fresh pasta treats are heating up as I write. Where to tomorrow? Maybe North Africa.

Posted by
2996 posts

I always think of my trip to Madrid and Barcelona in 2016 when I use my pimento spice that I bought there.
I always buy hot pepper flakes in Italy to bring home , and cheeses in France.
I've got salt from Switzerland, and limoncello from Italy.
So we can all travel every time we open our kitchen cupboards! :)

Posted by
985 posts

Denny and Janis - thanks for the info about Shava. I think we'd like that. We also love dill so the green bean, potato, dill cold soup sounds delicious.

Janis - I think Spaetzle would be an interesting experiment. Try it and let us know.

Carlos - I'm sure your gumbo came out great. Here we have bags of gumbo mixed veggies in the freezer section but I always add more okra. Thanks a lot for your advice!

Jane - good to know about the beet soup. Maybe I will just make it, serve it, and see what happens.

Andrea - I had to double check Schwein to verify my mind thinking swine. I haven't had good German food regularly for years.

Stan - thank you very much for the "wet finger" tip when sealing the pierogies. I haven't researched enough about the dough to know about not needing egg except for wet fillings. Some of mine be though with what I have in mind.

Bets - yay on the lasagna! I love a good veggie lasagna when I am tired of meat. I live in a house of carnivores so haven't gotten to enjoy one for a good bit.

SJ - yes on Italian and the limoncello. While in Monterossa we had several creamy limoncello's as a late breakfast. I've never seen it available here in the states and may have to research making my own. Do you make your own limoncello?

The only thing I am determined not to try to make is poffertjes. I don't have the pans and don't have the pants that I would need after eating bunches of those!

Thanks all for contributing to the thread. We have some great advice and ideas going here!


I made pierogies once. My family and I got a lot of laughs out of it. Sadly, my Polish grandmother did not pass her cooking skills on to me, or the language.
My dough was thick; I made them too big and put too much potato in them. You can put mashed potatoes, carmelized onions or both in them. Then, serve with sour cream and/or brown sugar.
I hope yours come out better than mine! Find a YouTube video on them. (If I could say - Bon Appetit - in Polish here, I would.)

Posted by
6180 posts

Here's my go to recipe. It isn't really Italian, but it always makes me think of Italy, because it's simple, pure, and has pasta.

Peel and devein 1 lb shrimp. (or more - I use 1.5 lb for me and Stan. We like leftovers, and I always take a serving or two to my dad.) Fresh Gulf shrimp if you can get it. If not, the frozen gulf shrimp from Whole Foods is surprisingly good.

Optional: Marinate the shrimp in olive oil, garlic, and if you like, some herbs. I have oregano and rosemary in my garden. Not long; 15 minutes or so is fine.

Gently POACH the shrimp in the marinade in a skillet large enough to have the shrimp in a single layer. The olive oil should cover the shrimp. We're talking gently, here. Let the oil just barely bubble.

Start whatever pasta you like. If I had my druthers, I'd use linguini, but my husband likes angel hair, so that's usually what we use. If you have stock on hand, cook the pasta in the stock. Otherwise, in water with generous amount of salt.

Optional: Chop up some fresh herbs - oregano, rosemary, basil, sage, parsley, thyme - whatever you have. Set it aside.

When the shrimp are just barely cooked through, toss in a handful of basil leaves. Fresh if you have it; I always have some in the freezer from last year's harvest. Turn off the fire, unless you're using frozen basil. As soon as it thaws, turn off the fire.

When the pasta is done, drain it. If it's going to sit a while, toss it with a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Put some pasta on your plate, top it with the (optional) chopped herbs, then ladle on some shrimp with plenty of seasoned olive oil from the skillet. Then go back and get some more of that oil.

Smile, and serve with plenty of napkins. White wine is lovely with this. (Of course.)

Posted by
6180 posts

Sun-Baked: Smacznego! means Bon Appetit! My uncle, who had very few redeeming qualities (sorry, but it was true) made amazing pierogi he learned from his mother, my grandmother. He fried them in butter, often with onions. Bliss.

Posted by
1367 posts

My well stocked pantry has 3 packages of potato tomato gnocchi
.... what would you use as sauce?

Posted by
2996 posts

Nance asked if I make my own limoncello....I suppose I could.....but we usually only have one small glass a couple of times in the summer, before swearing off it and its effects till next time!
Also, I don't like cooking very much.
Good thing my husband will eat anything...
I do love foreign grocery and kitchen shops though.

Has anyone else been to the grocery store in Venice on the Strada Nuova that is inside an old theatre?
The security guard sits in what was the old box office and there are some frescoes , if I remember correctly.
You feel like singing as you select your cheese....

Posted by
5697 posts

Great idea! I had made chicken paprikash after our January stay in Budapest, but had not thought of cooking my way through German foods to replace our planned September trip. Sauerbraten recipe, anyone ?

Posted by
985 posts

Laura B - Sauerbraten is one of my favorite meals along with some red cabbage and potato pancakes. The only time my mother made this she used a Julia Child recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it was freaking fabulous!!! I looked online but was not successful. Maybe your library has a copy of the books? I remember the roast sitting in the fridge in wine and spices for at least a day or two before she cooked it. Some of the recipes I saw online did not require the roast to sit and I wonder how flavorful the meat would be?

Posted by
3507 posts

Sauerbraten must sit no less than a day or the flavor just isn't there. My grandmother let her's sit a minimum of 4 days, turning it every 8 hours to insure proper absorption of the flavors. The marinade also tenderizes the meat which is really good when a tougher cut is used. My mom was never a fan of it, so we almost never had it at home. It did give me something to look forward to when visiting grandma.

Posted by
5697 posts

Thanks, Nance and Mark. I hadn't thought to check Julia -- I still have my copy from 1966! Couldn't find the recipe, though; is it under another name? And yes, I did know it was a multi-day process.
DH said it's one of his favorites, but I'm sure no recipe will be as good as Mother made it.

Posted by
3507 posts

Here is a recipe that appears to be very close to what my grandmother made. The ginger snaps are an important flavor that is glaring obviously missing when the recipes (lots of them) don't call for it. That and the 3 days of marinating. Grandma also had no idea what soy sauce was. She used more Worcestershire.

I don't have grandma's recipe with me. I will check with the family and see if anyone still does and post it here if found.

Julia Child mentions having sauerbraten to accompany her braised cabbage recipe in "The Way to Cook". But I also cannot find any recipe from her for it.

Posted by
3815 posts

Just reporting back that my New Orleans Gumbo made with Spanish ingredients came out a big success! I'm really happy with how the consistency and colour came out too, as recommended I waited until the roux was like an old penny. I used chorizo, jamon serrano, Argentine red shrimp, and Ñora peppers (used for Paellas). Unfortunately most of the stores in Los Angeles are sold out of regular flour, so I had to use gluten free flour as the base for the roux instead 🙃

Posted by
1209 posts

I know this was posted on an earlier thread, but for those who may not have seen it, Sarah Murdoch, a RS tour guide, has been posting Italian cooking recipes/how to videos from her home most evenings at Adventures with Sarah. I love tuning in for my daily fix. Probably the biggest lesson I have learned so far is saving my veggie scraps in addition to any meat/poultry bones to make stock. Now, I make this at least once per week. Thanks, Sarah!

I like to cook for holidays pertaining to countries I like to visit: Risi e Bisi for St. Mark's day a few weeks ago, farls for St. Patrick's, and my family recipe for potato strudel made for Easter. I also just made Jota from Trieste - not holiday related that I know of. And, probably one of my best solaces for this lock-down has been purchasing the new Alpine cookbook right before self-isolating. Before Covid, I had not looked at my baking board for maybe years. Now it lives on my dining room table and shares space with my work computer! I like the adjustment in priorities.

Oh, one last shout-out re Two Greedy Italians. Again, I think someone else posted about them on this forum. I watched a few episodes on YouTube and then found a close friend owns the cookbook. It has now joined the pile on the dining room table! Thanks for this thread. I will consider pierogies once I make significant raids on the freezer.

Posted by
2003 posts

Carlos...glad to hear your gumbo was a success!! My friends in NOLA were a bit taken aback by the unorthodox ingredients but are willing to grant dispensation on the condition that you deep fry the remaining soup.

Happy cooking, and safe kitchen travels to all.

Posted by
1367 posts

Janis, thanks for the suggestion. I think one of my struggles with gnocchi is it's similarity to spaetzle... so that's how I ended up treating it
Found a mysterious "seasoning" packet in My pantry that ended up being chicken sauce with lemon, served it w pork loin. I have 2 more packages of gnocchi and 3 of pork loin, also some envelopes of brown gravy mix. Pls don't judge.
When I was in Germany for the passion play 20 yrs ago seems like every pork loin and spaetzle meal was served w red cabbage. Our tour group included a German war bride and I asked her if she had a recipe for it. She told me to just buy a jar of Aunt Nelle's. I may have to buy a jar this weekend.
And the reason I had 3 packages of gnocchi and no plans or experience? It is the high end store brand, and periodically they offer a sweepstakes of a trip to Italy if you *surprise * buy a package of their pasta. Sigh
Gnocchi is their cheapest product


Posted by
15542 posts

Does alcohol count? Or is that just a sign of my mental/emotional state?

I visit Italy with an afternoon Aperol Spritz or France with a Kir Royale. Since neither prosecco or champagne is available here, I use Spanish Cava, so I count that as visiting Spain on the same trip. After supper, I may indulge in one of two locally produced sweet drinks, a golden fortified wine that is nearly a tawny port or a sour cherry liqueur that is very like ginginja . . . both make me feel like I'm back in Portugal.

As the date of my cancelled US trip approaches (in three weeks), I may start of the Jack Daniels . . .