Monday, March 05, 2007

some links, and kitchen news

Here's the best thing I read about the Oscars (1st saw it at Foodgoat); I was also thrilled that Helen Mirren won.
Some people are gardening already--I have seedling envy. My garden still looks pretty much like this, although some of the snow has melted.
Some other people (well, only one) have lost 1/2 their weight, which makes feel like a slacker for not being able to lose 10.
March 1 was National Pig Day, which I didn't know--but I'm planning on eating bacon this week anyway, in belated remembrance, perhaps in this tempting recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini, which is basically mac and cheese with hazelnuts and bacon: mmmm. (Clothilde's cookbook is coming out in May!)
I was looking for something quite different the other day (can't remember what it was), and found a site with Czech and Slovak recipes, which reminded me that I want to explore my native cuisine (one of them: I'm a mongrel). The only ones I recognized were klobasa (which we knew as kielbasi)--the beloved smoked sausage of many Eastern European countries; and palacinky, which the site described as "sweet stuffed crepes." I felt almost offended by the name--I could feel my dormant Slovakness rising up: a French name for one of the only Slovak dishes my mother made for us? Quel horreur!
But I guess they are crepes, we just didn't know it. To us they were a seldom, special treat, and everything about them was lit with magic: the way the batter gaily spread in the pan to make the thinnest of (pancakes) (crepes) palacinky, the red gleam of the jelly spread on the finished product, the powdered sugar dusted on the rolled palacinky, the squidginess of the roll under the fork, the separate tastes of egginess, jelly, sugar in the mouth.
Sometimes Mom would say, "my mother used to make these for us," for her and her 10 brothers and sisters, and that would make them taste even better, imagining my grandmother making them on the farm, and maybe even back in what we then called "the old country." Food from the past, from Europe, from where our grandfather worked as a forester, like something in a fairy tale.
Here's the best picture I could find of palacinky--it appears to be a mix for palacinky. Ours were never served with whipped cream or berries, although I wouldn't say no.

News: the kitchen is almost, almost finished. See D, left, putting a coat of primer on the ugly redness. There is a stage and a half left: the half is the refinishing of the cupboard doors, which we decided to do separately from the cupboards themselves, since it's going to involve paint remover which we'd rather do outside. The whole stage is the floor, which will be no doubt involved and awful in ways we can't even imagine, but which we won't think about before we have to.
So this weekend, my daughters and their families will come to visit and we'll be able to cook something for them in an attractive kitchen (if you don't look at the floor), free of its plastic veil--I am elated. And I can make palacinky--possibly on Saturday I'll be pouring batter, spreading jelly, dusting sugar. Can't wait.


MBR said...

We didn't have red jam when my mother or grandmother made them, which I guess would have been red currant in Cz-Sl, it was almost always apricot. But we always had the powdered sugar--whipped cream seems a little too overpowering to me. How about floating in slivovitz? It's less a Slovak specialty I found when in the "old countries" than totally claimed by the Czechs. But then the Czechs are the folks who decided to found the Czechoslovak Republic on Oct 28, 1919, and somehow forgot to tell the Slovaks about it until 2 days later. True story, according to the guidebook, which was published in the UK, so it probably isn't a Slovak inferiority complex thing.

Brian Kornell said...

I love the gray inside the cabinets. It looks great with the yellow walls and white cabinets.