By now the local markets are stacked with a large variety of young and fresh vegetables, such as asparagus, radishes, carrots or rhubarb. The latter is categorized often as fruit, although it’s only the stalk of a plant. Probably it’s considered as a fruit, because it’s mainly consumed sweetened by sugar or syrups. Savory interpretations of rhubarb are rare, which is unfortunate, because the tart aroma of rhubarb adds freshness to a plate and replaces vinegars perfectly in spring or summer dishes. In this dish below I used rhubarb as a refreshing sour element.
Last year in December a friend of mine, Anna called for a “vegastromania month“, where she invited everyone to cook at least one vegetarian or even vegan meal during the Christmas preparations. The main goal of this project was to make people think about vegetarian dishes and what they are eating everyday – which is usually far too much meat. The participants were allowed to submit any kind of recipe except for desserts, because they are mostly naturally vegetarian, less healthy and we already have more than enough of sweet recipes. Anna also assembled some famous Hungarian vegetarians, who picked their favorite recipe. The winner was invited to a very special vegetarian dinner at Anna’s home and also recieved a voucher for an ayurvedic massage. Fortunately, I got picked by the jury, so this January I had a wonderful dinner with Anna, Ági and Noémi. One of the dishes Anna served at this dinner was Mrs. Myrtleberry’s nutcake, which was quite an extraordinary and surprising experience. First, it’s absolutely delicious. But its texture was even more interesting, because it tasted just like minced meat – although there was no meat in the cake at all.
Two friends of mine, Gabi and Gaba recently launched a new Hungarian food blog with recipes and information about fish and seafood. Because I love to work with local fish like trout or char, they asked me to write a guest post with a recipe featuring trout and seasonal ingredients. Although winter is dark and cold, the ingredients of this season aren’t nearly as grey and dreary as they are often told. This dish is a good example for the bright colors of winter. Actually, the colors of the vegetables are complemented by the single grey element on the plate only, the trout.
Kale is definitely one of my favorite ingredients this winter. I usually buy one large or two smaller plants on Saturdays at the market and cook them quite often Asian style once or twice a weak. Because a kale plant is huge, it’s impossible to keep it in the refrigerator. Fortunately, in winter I can store it in a bag on my balcony, because cold and frosty nights are no problem for kale. Actually, temperatures below 0°C makes kale taste less bitter and more sweet. That is also a reason why it is such a great winter vegetable.
Last year in spring I tried a new technique for cooking chicken legs. I carefully removed the bones, rolled the meat up and fixed it with kitchen twine. Then I roasted the chicken roll on all sides and baked the leg in the oven. The result turned out really great, so now in winter I gave the same technique a try using duck legs.
In the northern part of Germany “Grünkohl mit Pinkel” is a traditional winter dish. It is basically a combination of kale (in German “Grünkohl”), oatmeal, onion and a smoked pork sausage made with oatmeal called “Pinkel”. You can find this dish at almost every winter festival like christmas markets, where it is prepared continuously in huge steaming pans. The main advantages of this dish are, that it is made completely from local produce, it is very simple to prepare, scales well and reheating is no problem either. It is also very stodgy and warms well on cold winter days. I thought that this traditional dish could be easily transformed into a more elaborate version by rethinking some of the main components and by restructuring the dish. Below you see my result.