Why we're here

Welcome! My name is Jordan and this is why we're here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Hungarian Goulash with Rivels

requested by: everyone and their brother

This has been the dish I've gotten the most requests for since the recipe box came to my house. The problem has been that Dad and I both looked and could not find the recipe. So this one is actually based on what Dad and Grandpa remember of Grandma's recipe. I made it a couple months ago and Dad said it tasted exactly like he remembers it. The only things I would change would to be to get better-quality paprika since it's pretty much the only seasoning in the whole dish, and I personally thought it was too potato-y, so I would probably only use one large potato next time.

So here you go, everybody. It's super easy and super simple; old-world comfort food at its finest.

Hungarian Goulash with Rivels
Serves: Probably 6 people at least (or my case, 3 people and a lot of leftovers)

for the goulash
2 T. light oil
2-lb beef chuck roast
2 lbs yellow onions
1-2 large Russet potatoes
3 T. paprika
7 c. water 
Salt & pepper to taste

for the rivels (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 c. (or so) flour
3/4 c. water
1/2 t. salt

Making the goulash
Dice the onions (1/2-inch dice) and set aside. Cut the chuck roast into about 3/4-inch pieces, removing anything iffy as you go. Heat 2 T. oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the meat and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on all sides. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to cook down. Add the paprika and let cook for another minute. Add the water and simmer for 2 hours. Dice the potatoes (3/4-inch dice) and add them to the pot. Continue to cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Taste for seasoning, add more salt/pepper if needed.

Adding the rivels (which are basically tiny dumplings)
Beat one egg in a bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix together. It will look pretty doughy. Add water a tablespoon at a time until it looks more like batter. Drop the rivel batter in small spoonfuls into the simmering broth, spacing them around the pan so they don't clump up. Cover and let cook for about 3 minutes until rivels are cooked through. Stir in the rivels and serve.

Beverage Note: Dad and I paired the goulash with some kind of European-style brown ale (that I don't remember the name of) and it went together nicely. It's a pretty heavy dish, so a bright white wine would probably work well also.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Picnic Salami (or Summer Sausage)

requested by: Aunt Laura

Picnic Salami
In a large bowl, mix well:

4 lbs. ground beef (maximum fat content: 25%)
1/4 c. curing salt
2 T. liquid smoke
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 t. ground black pepper

Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Divide mix into fourths, shaping each into a compact 8" log. Roll each log tightly in a piece of nylon net approximately 12"x18", tying ends securely with string. Place on rack with drip pan underneath on broiler pan.

Bake at 225ºF for 4 hours.

Remove from oven, take off net, and pat rolls with paper towels to absorb excess fat.

Cool slightly, wrap each in foil and refrigerate. Can freeze also.

Mission and Memoriam

My name is Jordan, and I love to cook. I also love art and writing. You know who else loved those things? My Grandma. Even though we lost her early in 2007, any time I'm cooking for a special occasion I feel connected to her. Cooking with my parents will always be one of my best memories, but sadly, there weren't too many times I actually got to cook with Grandma. So while I don't have those memories, I do have my own kitchen now and box full of her recipes.

Me and Grandma at my college graduation, December 2006
While I'm not really a fan of the word "matriarch," that is essentially what she was to my dad's family. On top of that, when my grandparents owned a little burger and ice cream shop, she became the matriarch of that family too, which grew to include some of my best friends. Even though I stood on that ever-sticky green floor and made my last ice cream cone over a decade ago, some of my brightest memories of Grandma either take place behind those greasy walls or on the Saturday nights my grandparents would trade my parents baby-sitting my brothers and I for a shift of running the grill, deep-frying all the things, and stabbing plastic swords through wax paper-wrapped sandwiches.

Ever since I quasi-inherited her antique tin of recipes, I've been trying to think of a creative way to share them with the rest of the family. Sure, I could just scan them all, make a PDF and email it to everyone, but that just didn't seem like enough. Finally, I think I have a plan that will make this project interesting for me and for anyone else that stumbles across it.

The plan is this: as time permits, I'll choose one of my grandma's recipes, cook it (obviously), either photograph or illustrate the meal, and then post it here along with the recipe. This way I'm combining all of the things we both loved.

The last ingredient (pun totally intended) in this project is family, because that love is what this is really all about. If any of my family or friends would like to contribute which recipes were your favorites, the stories you have, or pictures of your family making these recipes, I would love for you to email me, so I can file your memories away here, alongside mine.

Welcome to River House Kitchen. <3