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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

I made playdough today. It was really pretty. See?I made a valiant attempt to keep the colors from being irreversibly mixed.

I failed.So Daddy had the brilliant idea of turning it into planets.

I suppose I knew that the colors wouldn’t stay separate forever. I just hoped it would be a little longer than an hour.

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Hummus Extravaganza

I made the last recipe in my hummus extravaganza today. I started last week and I’ve made one recipe every couple days. Review of recipes:

My favorite: Cilantro and Lemon (recipe here)

Least favorite: Artichoke, although it was still good (recipe)

Most fun to make: Roasted Red Pepper (recipe)

Quickest and easiest to make: Sun-dried Tomato (recipe

Also totally delicious: Parsley (recipe)

3 of these recipes came from the blog Pinch My Salt, and 1 is from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I love both these blogs and owe their authors thanks. I also found a pita bread recipe that’s pretty easy and good. I found it here.

The extravaganza was really fun and I feel like I’ve got a good recipe base for hummus now. I’ve tried hummus two or three times without much success, so I was really surprised at how well all of these turned out. Pita bread is fun to make, too, although I still can’t get it to make the pocket it’s supposed to. I got one decent pocket out of about 2 batches of pita bread. Someday I’ll get that worked out.

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Culinary Failure

Budapest has certain culinary deficiencies. Cheddar cheese would be one, any kind of cream of anything soup would be another, but the one that really gets our family is the lack of anything Mexican. I found taco seasoning the other day at the Wal-Mart style store and was pretty excited about it until I looked at the price… $2 a packet! They also had tortillas if you were willing to pay a couple dollars per pack of 8. So… I decided I would try and make taco soup and come up with my own taco seasoning. I had a little recipe… cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, etc. I actually had most of the stuff except for cumin.

So we’re at the store this week looking at the spice aisle and we see a packet that says kömény and has a picture on the front of it that looks just like whole cumin seeds. So we made sure to get the ground kind and figured we were good to go. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that it wasn’t cumin, but can you guess what it was? Caraway. It was caraway. I’ve never used caraway in my life! I couldn’t even tell what it was by sniffing it, but I could tell it sure wasn’t cumin. So my dreams of home made taco seasoning went down the drain and instead we have caraway chicken waiting to be made into taco seasoning-less taco soup. ::sigh::

Part II

We’re going in reverse chronological order. About a week after I got here I decided I would try to make sausage casserole. It’s a family favorite we call “grass” because it kind of looks like grass. I thought I could get everything that I needed except for a packet of lipton soup, which I had very cleverly brought with me from the states.

Our first problem was sausage. For a country very proud of its Kolbasz sausages, I thought sausage would no problem. Apparently they only really go for the already cooked and smoked kind. There was no ground sausage to be found. I’ve asked since then and the closest I can get is a friend whose husband works at the American embassy says she can special order Jimmy Dean twice a year from the commissary. So, we looked and the unending line of hot dogs and rolled meats and decided we’d try a roll of “parisian pig.” We thought it might be close… it wasn’t really. It was more like balogna. We cooked some up and threw it in anyway.

My next problem was that the recipe calls for a 9×13 pan. I only have a 9×9 that I picked up at a church swap activity the day I got here. No problem, I just half the recipe. Except I remembered to half everything except the rice. And I remembered after I had already thrown the “sausage” and cut up vegetables into the pan with it. So I had to try and fish out a half cup of rice back out of the pan around celery and onions and parisian pig. Then the chicken… Hungary also doesn’t do canned meats except for spam-like products. So I shredded some I had fried up earlier that week.

Then came the soup. I was so excited I had brought the packets of soup with me and I was feeling so clever. It wasn’t until I already had the water boiling and had opened the packet of soup that I realized I had brought onion soup packets, not noodle. Completely the wrong soup. ::sigh:: I boiled it anyway, it was already open after all, and it went into the pan alongside the half an onion I had fried the “parisian pig” in.

The oven provided our next hindrance. My oven is gas, and I managed to figure out how to get it lit, only to realize there are no temperature setting markings on the dial. There’s a picture of a big flame and a quarter of the way around the dial a picture of a small flame and that’s it. No degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, not even any 1, 2, 3 gas numbers. I have no idea how hot my oven is at any given time. So Ivan looked up a boy scout trick where you see how long you can keep your hand in the oven and we basically guessed.

By this time I had pretty much given up. But I stuck it in the oven and left it for the hour it was supposed to cook. I checked on it 20 minutes before it was supposed to be done and it looked okay. I pulled it out about five minutes early and it was kind of burned. The rice stuck to the bottom of the pan really badly, but it tasted alright. So I’ve decided I’ve come up with a new recipe: Parisian pig and super onion soup grass. I don’t think I’ll try it again, though. And all baking except for potatoes has pretty much been put on hold until I find an oven thermometer.

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