Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Warm Fresh Fava Bean Salad ... Perfection

Revisiting all those great Egyptian and Middle Eastern dishes I had in Vienna really got me craving specific foods and flavors. Things like garlic and olive oil and fresh vegetables. Beautiful cheeses and herbs. Something sort of Mediterranean. Then I spied fresh fava beans at the market,  and I knew it was time to return to an old favorite of mine.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Paging Dr. Falafel! World Cuisine in Vienna; Plus, I Get Interviewed on Egyptian-European TV

Take two falafel and call me in the morning:
You might not think that a trip to Vienna would include dim sum, dhal, stuffed grape leaves, and lots and lots of delectable falafel, but mine sure did. And then some. (Of course, along with my adventures in international cuisine, I also had more than my fair share of knodel, knockerl, spaetzle, dumplings,  and cheese, which I'll talk about in a future post!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

International Pizza Pie Incident: Lángos, aka Hungarian Pizza, Three Ways

 Because a little tiny bit of fried pizza never hurt anyone ...

Welcome to the second International Incident Party, in which food bloggers from around the world put their own spin on a different dish each month. For April, we celebrate the birthday of the Incident Crew's founding member, Penny aka Jeroxie, with variations on the theme of pizza pie. (For full details and info on how to participate, check out her post about it here.)  

I must admit that when pizza was announced as the theme, I initially felt a bit stymied. You see, though in general I don't tend to be overly didactic or rules-y about cuisine, pizza, to me, is a simple and beautiful thing. It's a plain New York-style pie, with no toppings other than a modest amount of mozzarella cheese, maybe a bit of fresh basil,  and that beautiful, tangy tomato sauce. That's how I always used to order it in Brooklyn, and that's how I make it at home.

I wanted to  break out of my own pizza preconceptions and go a completely different route for this party, but what to do? Well, my quandary was instantly obliterated during my trip to Budapest, where I tasted the delectable lángos, otherwise known as ... Hungarian pizza! Bingo.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beans in Pumpkin Seed Cream, Courtesy of Weinhof Wieninger's Chef Mike

If you're following along at home, you may recall that in my post describing my wine-soaked visit to the Wieninger Heuriger in Vienna,  I promised to share one of the recipes that Chef Mike generously gave me. You remember Chef Mike (Miriam, this gratuitous shot is for you):
 You're welcome.

Now, you might think that "pumpkin seed cream" sounds a little heavy,  but this dish is actually quite light. (In fact, even his baked gnocchi in pumpkin cream is much lighter than you would think it would be, thanks to a little secret he divulged to me. But that's another post!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Heurigen Hopping: An Austrian Dispatch with Plenty of Food, Fantastic Views, and Lots and Lots (and lots) of Wine

Mmmm, liters and liters of Wieninger wine:
 Heurigen are uniquely Austrian establishments.  At these cozy neighborhood wine taverns on the outskirts of Vienna, wine-growers serve patrons their newest vintages - the "neue wein."  And,  thanks to a decree issued by Emporer Franz Josef II in 1784, which stated that proprietors may, along with wines they've produced,  sell "other food," there's usually a substantial selection of homemade goodies - things like cheese, bread, dumplings, salads, sweets -  on offer as well. 

And in keeping with the unhurried Austrian approach to all things pleasurable,  a heuriger is a place to while away as many hours as you please, to sip and snack and unabashedly relax and enjoy life.  I definitely approve.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Very Veggie, Very Healthy, Very Spicy Hungarian Goulash

I sampled some mighty tasty treats during my two days in Budapest, but one thing I craved that I couldn't have was some really spicy, fiery, paprika-loaded goulash. I'm not complaining, but the fact is, in Hungary, there is no such thing as a meatless goulash.  For a pepper head like me, this was a sore trial indeed.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hungarian Detour: Two Frantic Food-Filled Days in Glorious Budapest

 Stealing a peaceful moment in bustling Budapest:
Where Vienna is order, Budapest is frenzy. If the Viennese tend to be slightly undemonstrative and reserved, in Budapest emotions seem to bubble to the surface, where they spill over. While German (at least to this Western eye and ear) seems logical and somewhat decipherable, Hungarian Magyar is nearly impenetrable. It's closest linguistic relative is, after all, Finnish.

All this is to say that in my too-brief two-day stay, I fell completely in love with this strange, hectic,  and beautiful city.