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myMEGusta

Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

The Grand Budapest…..

..Eating Vacation!

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a delightful Mittel-European pastry of a movie, just long enough, just silly enough, with a very fine cast (including beautiful baked goods) and enough of a plot line to hold one’s interest. But, most importantly, it reminded MyMEGusta of her visit to Budapest a few years ago, and all the wonderful food.

Veal Paprikash with Cucumber Salad

Veal Paprikash with Cucumber Salad

Situated on the Danube, this is the marriage of two cities, Buda and Pest, and it drips with Old World charm, although as it becomes more cosmopolitan and a tourist destination, it will surely be affected by Starbucks- and McDonalds-creep. Eminently walkable, Budapest also has an excellent subway and streetcar system, easy to get around.

New York Cafe

New York Café

Breakfast at the New York Cafe

Breakfast at the New York Cafe

And, with the proliferation of old-fashioned coffee houses, like in Vienna, you’ll need the walk.

 

 

 

 

There is also the Grand Market Hall, an indoor market bursting with fresh and dried peppers (paprika) in all forms, and even a strudel stand where you watch the pastry being made by hand, then walk away with the perfect, decadent snack.

Making Strudel

Making Strudel

 

Strudel Fresh from the Oven

Strudel Fresh from the Oven

One can feast on traditional Hungarian fare such as paprikash with spaetlzles, often accompanied by a delicious cucumber salad. Or seek out lecso, another type of stew (traditionally made with tomatoes, yellow banana peppers and, sometimes, paprika seasoning).

Café Kor, a modest, cash only restaurant full of locals, was myMEGusta’s favorite, with delicious, hearty victuals and a daily menu posted on butcher paper.

Café Kor

Café Kor

One quandary was whether to order ocean fish in this land locked city, but those fears were unfounded, particularly when eastern European touches found their way into two excellent dishes: Grilled (perfectly cooked) salmon with horseradish/crumb topping over beets with arugula and “Meunier” cod with a dollop of celery root puree (note to self reads: “Hard to stop eating.”)

Long time readers of MyMEGusta may recall the August 4, 2013 posting, “The Red Peril,” all about paprika in its many forms, including the ubiquitous paprika pastes and condiments found all over Budapest. Check it out in the archives!

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Upside Down on April Fools’ Day

It’s an upside down day, so MyMEGusta is looking at things that we take for granted that are, well, upside down.

{Pineapple Upside Down Cake

{Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple upside down cake is the most obvious. But look at all the things we flip before serving, or I preparation, like pancakes.

Sticky Buns

Sticky Buns

Sticky buns, if done the classic way, start with a layer of sugary caramel on which the spiraled, cinnamon laced dough bakes. At the end, flip and the little rolls are soaked in delicious sweet sauce.

The French favorite, caramel custard (crème renversee au caramel) is another upside down treat. One of the few eggy dishes liked by myMEGusta, this is simply a baked custard, like the sticky buns, with the caramel on the bottom. When finished and overturned, voila!

Starting the Crème Caramel

Starting the Crème Caramel

Crème Caramel

Crème Caramel

 

 

Crème Caramel Ready for the Oven

Crème Caramel Ready for the Oven

But the glory of all upside down food is the Tarte Tatin, classically made with apples (use granny smiths or some other firm type), but now frequently showing up on menus made of pears, and, in the summer, tomatoes as a savory, not sweet dish.

 tarte Tatin Ready to Flip


Tarte Tatin Ready to Flip

Tarte Tatin Ready to Serve

Tarte Tatin Ready to Serve

 

Named for the Tatin sisters, Stephanie and Caroline, who ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, in the late 19th century, this pie has the crust on the bottom, and the baked apples are soaked in that wonderful caramel sauce (and a very buttery caramel, if it is authentic).

Among the myths surrounding the tarte Tatin are that it was created by mistake when one of the sisters accidentally burned the crust, and flipped it over to hide the evidence. Another is that they didn’t invent anything at all, fruit cobblers and this type of upside down dish being typical of the Sologne region (“tarte solognote”). And, by the way, the sisters never called it by its current name; that came after their deaths when the tarte became wildly popular at chi chi places like Maxim’s in Paris.

No joke, there is no such thing as a bad tarte Tatin, but the best are not too sweet, are served right from the oven, so the crust is still crispy, and come with a dollop of crème fraiche, or whipped cream if that’s all you have, stateside.

And, don’t forget about Tarte Tatin a few months from now when your farmers market – or garden – is overflowing with tomatoes!

Tomato Tarte Tatin

Tomato Tarte Tatin

 

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