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Barbara Rolek

Eastern European Food

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Hungarian Bean Soup Perfect for Ham Leftovers

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Hungarian Bean Soup or Bab Leves
Hungarian Bean Soup or Bab Leves
© Barbara Rolek
Many of us will be munching on leftover Easter hamsandwiches for awhile, but what else can you do with it? This Hungarian Bean Soup recipe or bab leves (bawb LEH-vesh) is the perfect candidate for a meaty ham bone and leftover drippings from the roasting pan. In fact, ham stock is what gives it such a wonderful flavor. You can make your own by adding water to ham drippings or use purchased reconstituted ham base.

It's not a bad idea to save the cooking water from a smoked pork butt and freeze it for just such an occasion. There's nothing like smoky-flavored stock to enhance a soup.

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Trappist Cheese at Home in Hungarian Ham Crescents Recipe

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Are you familiar with Trappist cheese, also known as monastery-style cheese? It's a semi-hard cow's milk cheese that slices easily and melts well, and is one of the most popular cheeses in Hungary. If you can't find Trappist cheese, substitute Edam or Port-Salut in this Hungarian Ham Crescents Recipe - sonkás kifli.
Hungarian Ham Crescents or Sonkás Kifli
Hungarian Ham Crescents or Sonkás Kifli
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.


This recipe is a perfect candidate for the soon-to-come leftover Easter ham. Here are more leftover ham recipes.

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Eastern European Leftover Turkey Recipes

Tuesday April 22, 2014
Who isn't looking for a new way to use leftover turkey? Well, this list of Eastern European Leftover Turkey Recipes should shake things up a bit.

Turkey Torte
Turkey Torte
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Tetrazzini, sandwiches and croquettes be gone! Enter Hungarian Pumpkin-Turkey Goulash, Polish Hunter's Stew, Croatian Turkey Lasagna, Bosnia Turkey Pot Pie and more. There are also links to international recipes for using leftover turkey. Gobble it up while you can.

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Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

Monday April 21, 2014
Creamed Eggs and Asparagus
Creamed Eggs and Asparagus
© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
So you colored eggs with impunity this Easter, eh? Well, never fear, no more stuffing them in kids' lunchboxes and hiding them in your spouse's coat pockets. These recipes will do you proud and you'd never know the eggs weren't purposely cooked just for these dishes! There are even two delicious cookie recipes that make use of hard-cooked egg yolks. Enjoy! Sign up for the Eastern European Food newsletter
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Beyond Tetrazzini for Turkey Leftovers

Monday April 21, 2014
How did turkey and Tetrazzini get hooked up, anyway? Did they meet at some late-night poultry-pasta bar and decide they were made for each other? Or were the two linked together because of the T alliteration?

Chicken Tetrazzini is said to have been created and named for opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini. In any case, it's a rich dish that combines cooked spaghetti with cooked chicken or turkey strips or chunks in a sherry-Parmesan cream sauce. Buttered breadcrumbs are sprinkled over the top and the dish is baked until bubbly.

Leftover Turkey Soup
Leftover Turkey Soup
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Oh, but there's so much more to turkey leftovers. Check out these ideas for what to do with leftover turkey. No need to hide the bird in sandwiches anymore. Get creative like I did with this Turkey Dinner in a Soup Bowl. And, if your family had ham yesterday, here are ham leftover ideas.

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Two Romanian Recipes Perfect for Leftover Ham

Monday April 21, 2014
If you froze leftover ham from Easter, here are two candidates worthy of defrosting. Romanians love ham, although theirs is a bit different than Western ham, and schnitzels. When you combine them, you have a match made in heaven.

Romanian Pork Cordon Bleu
Romanian Pork Cordon Bleu
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Another good pairing is ham and cheese. Add some pasta and you have a complete meal. Romanians refer to meat or poultry cooked with eggs and milk or cheese and sometimes pasta as "puddings," but they are definitely savory, not sweet.

Romanian Macaroni and Ham Pudding
Romanian Macaroni and Ham "Pudding"
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Here are two Romanian main course recipes sure to please. And here are more leftover ham recipes. Sign up for the Eastern European Food newsletter
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Easter Monday Is Smigus Dyngus Day in Poland

Monday April 21, 2014
Smigus-Dyngus Casserole
Smigus-Dyngus Casserole
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
If you've heard of Śmigus-Dyngus Day, you must be Polish. This obscure little tradition also known as Wet Easter Monday is a thinly veiled excuse for boys to "beat up" on girls with water -- buckets, squirt guns, whatever's available! (And now the girls are playing turnabout!) Its origins date to 900 A.D. when Poles were baptized into Christianity.

This good-natured fun doesn't happen in every American community, but Buffalo, N.Y., celebrates big time with a Śmigus-Dyngus Day festival. Sometimes this is incorrectly spelled "smingus," probably because it rhymes with "dyngus," but śmigus is the correct spelling of this word, which refers to the drenching aspect of the holiday. Dyngus refers to the house-to-house trick-or-treating and prank playing. If dousing your family with water, isn't your (or their) idea of fun, feed them this Śmigus-Dyngus Casserole Recipe.

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Try Easy Croatian Mussels for Good Friday Dinner

Thursday April 17, 2014
Are you looking for something a little upscale for Good Friday dinner? Something that's easy but will knock your family's and / or guests' socks off? Try this Easy Croatian Mussels Recipe.
Easy Croatian Mussels
Easy Croatian Mussels
© Barbara Rolek


This easy dish is popular along the Dalmatian coast where there is a wealth of seafood and a strong Italian influence. It's known as dagnje na buzaru, or školjke na buzaru. "Buzara" in Croatian literally means "stew," but buzara-style cooking simply means that some type of shellfish or crustacean is cooked with olive oil, wine, garlic, breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. If mussels aren't your thing, try Croatian Shrimp Buzara.

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Recipes for Passover from 'A Taste of Pesach'

Wednesday April 16, 2014
"A Taste of Pesach" (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, 2014) features more than 150 recipes that are perfect for Passover or anytime of year, especially for those who follow a gluten-free diet.
Flanken Potato Kugel
Flanken Potato Kugel
© "A Taste of Pesach" (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, 2014), used with permission.

The beautifully photographed book was born out of a pamphlet fundraiser for a Jewish high school. There's something for everyone here and there's even a gebrokts section with recipes containing gluten for those who have no religious or dietary issues. Here are three recipes from the book reprinted with permission. Sign up for the Eastern European Food newsletter
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Poles Celebrate the Drowning of Judas on Holy Wednesday

Wednesday April 16, 2014
In days gone by (and to some extent today), on Holy Wednesday, village youngsters would throw a straw effigy of Judas from the church steeple (or as high up as they could get). It was then dragged through the village, pounded with sticks and stones and what was left of it was drowned in a nearby pond or river. This rather savage ritual is known as Topienie Judasza or the Drowning of Judas.
Polish Custom of Drowning of Judas on Holy Wednesday
Polish Custom of Drowning of Judas on Holy Wednesday
© Pol-Am Journal


Compare this with the Drowning of Marzanna or the Winter Witch also known as the Frost Maiden on the first day of spring. In Polish, this is known as Topienie Marzanny.

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