Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Baking this Almond Bundt Cake

Andrew is not the only baker in his family.  His sister Lauren is also a great baker.  So when her birthday rolled around, he sent her a great luxury: a case of Almond Paste.  Or so he thought.  The other day he got a frantic phone call from Lauren who had, in preparation for making Kat McClelland’s Unbelievably Delicious Almond Cake (click here for that recipe:, opened her first can of Solo Almond paste only to discover that it wasn’t almond paste at all. Instead it was something called Solo Almond Cake and Pastry Filling.  Somehow Andrew had ordered the wrong thing and here was Lauren standing with an opened container of the stuff and no idea what to bake.   

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Here's my first article written of The Daily Meal after my recent Viking River adventure!

The Definitive Guide to Hungarian Paprika

Impress the locals with your knowledge of paprika, and add one of these exquisite varieties to dishes back home
You're going to inevitably buy paprika if you're in Hungary, so you better know how.
Quick! Name two Hungarian dishes. How about paprikash and goulash? And what do they have in common? Why, paprika, of course! If ever a whole country was linked to one seasoning, Hungary and paprika would top the list.
While paprika is a Hungarian word, the paprika plant, Capsicum annuum, has its roots in the New World, brought to Europe by the Spanish and Portuguese. It has been grown in Hungary since the 1500s, but it really didn’t take off in Hungarian cooking until the late nineteenth century. Its use was limited by its fiery taste. Then, it took off with a vengeance in the 1920s when a plant breeder found a plant that produced sweet fruit, making a sweeter paprika. This plant was then grafted onto others, creating a whole vocabulary of paprikas.
On tables in Hungary, you will find shakers filled with salt and hot paprika and none with black pepper. Since no visit to Hungary would be complete without bringing home at least one or two paprikas, here’s a list of what to look for when you shop for paprika in the markets of Hungary.
Különleges has a special quality and is the mildest paprika, with a deep, bright red color and a very sweet flavor.
Csemege paprika is exquisitely delicate, similar to Csíipösmentes, but more pungent.
Csípős csemege and pikáns are an even more pungent paprika.
Róaza is prized above all others for its sweet aroma, mild pungency, and brilliant pale red color.
Édesnemes is noble and sweet; it’s the most commonly exported paprika. Bright red and slightly pungent, you might want to cross this one off your list since you can likely find it in any supermarket at home.
Félédes is a blend that is half sweet and half pungent.
Erős, although light brown in color, is the spiciest and strongest of all Hungarian paprikas.
If you are in Budapest, the city’s Central Market is one of its greatest tourist attractions. This gigantic indoor market has over 100,000 square feet of space. There you’ll find sausage stands and pickle emporiums and of course, paprika.
However, you’ll have to dig around to avoid tourist-ready sacks of paprika, complete with painted wooden spoons that are wildly overpriced. Instead, look around the market for what the locals buy and be sure to take home at least two, one hot (csipös) and one sweet (édes). Or better yet, visit the non-touristy Hold Utca Market in the city center or the Hunyadi Tér Marketd in Terézváros, where prices are more reasonable and varieties are just as extensive. All these markets are on the Pest side of the Danube. 
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Morel Mushrooms in Cream on Brioche (Morilles à la Crème)

     Last week I went to see my friends Jane and John at The East End Mushroom Company.  Since the last time I saw them, they have been growing by leaps and bounds.  They now sell 13 varieties of mushrooms at their state-of-the-art facility on Cox Lane in Cutchogue.  They’ve gone from growing Shiitakes, Miatakes and Oyster Mushrooms to carrying a whole collection including such delicacies as White/Brown Beech, Velvet Pioppini and King Oyster varieties along with more familiar Criminis and Portobellos. The mushroom that caught my eye on this visit was the Morel. (You can keep abreast with all the couple has to offer by liking their Facebook page: