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Poppy Seed pastries

On the far off chance that butterfly happens to find this revived thread, I'd advise considering beigli (makos beigli, specifically), which is Hungarian, rather than Russian, Polish, or Ukrainian, but seems to match the description. The dough is made with yeast and is typically not terribly sweet. The shape resembles strudel, but beigli is rolled into a log, rather than layered. It's a traditional Christmas treat, but I believe that my mother's Slovak-Jewish family passed down a beigli tradition as well as the Hungarian side (Slovakia was, after all, a part of Hungary from the 10th-20th century).

Maybe there were some crypto-Hungarians in your lineage.

Jun 26, 2010
Michael Juhasz in Home Cooking

Totally homemade gefilte fish - baked

Halaszle is fish soup (or, I think, fisherman's soup, more acurately). Halsli is the Hungarian name for stuffed goose neck, which is called helzel by non-Hungarian Ashkenazi.

Apr 24, 2008
Michael Juhasz in Home Cooking

Totally homemade gefilte fish - baked


Apr 21, 2008
Michael Juhasz in Home Cooking

What's New and Good in MSP?

So, somehow, I've convinced my college's newspaper editors that it's in their best interest to pay for my meals.

We've worked out a delicious deal wherein I eat a lavish meal, which I can't afford, then write a scrumptiously self-indulgent review and my school picks up the tab (hm, considering that I've now paid this school about $160,000, I guess I'm paying for the meal in a roundabout way). Essentially, the only stipulation is that the restaurants I review must have opened recently - though recent is being used pretty liberally here; I wrote a review of Brasa a couple of weeks ago.

Where should I go, next?

Money's not really a concern, though I might have trouble fitting in with a crowd of stuffed-shirt-stiffs. Actually, this raises another question I've wondered about for a while: I'm originally from Seattle where there is, more or less, no dress code, ever, anywhere - except perhaps for a loose stipulation that the cuff of your jeans mostly obscures your white socks. How does Minnesota compare? Can I wear gold-striped black shoes, levis and a "vintage" sports coat? I suppose the rules of Minnesota nice prohibit anyone from actually saying anything to me about my improper attire, but might my dinner experience be at all affected? Will the waiter, say, fart on my soufflé if my gloves don't match my belt?

Central Market, Budapest question

There's an ATM directly across the street, either right next to, or maybe even attached to the McDonald's...or maybe it's a Burger King. Anyway, it's across the street, to the North, on the corner of Vamhaz Korut (the little ring, just as it comes off of Szabadsag bridge) and Vaci utca.

Hungarian Paprika Chicken Recipe Needs Help!

This is puzzling: is there a difference between gulyas (goulash) and gulyasleves?

I grew up thinking that goulash was this thick beef stew, as well. However, when I lived in Hungary, the gulyas I sampled was nothing like my image, which was nearly the same thing as what Springhaze has described. The gulyas was a clear meat based soup, which roughly cut vegetables and noodles; the kind of thing a herdsman (or gulya) would make. Though, perhaps this was gulyasleves (leves = soup) and gulyas is something else...

As others have suggested, though not with enough zeal, the key to adding flavor to almost every Hungarian dish is lard. There's lard in everything. Paprikas, pogacsa, toltott kaposzta (forgive the lack of accents); makes it hard for us Hungarian Jews.

Lastly, someone mentioned something about a lightly seasoned (or something to that effect) Hungarian dish. Lightly seasoned and Hungarian are never associated, in my mind. Hungarians like to cook the hell out of their food.

Nov 16, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Home Cooking

Cheese Recommendations

I agree. Smokey Blue is not Rogue Creamery's best offering. Try instead their Crater Lake Blue, which is generally pretty firm, though often not as much as Rogue's Oregon Blue, which has more of a bite and less mellow, fruit flavors than Crater Lake.

For nuttiness, try Tomme de Savoie, a raw cow's milk cheese from the French Alps. You'll recognize it by it's thick, fuzzy, gray rind (inedible - you might be tempted to try eating it if, like me, your curiosity at the possible taste of such a substance gets the better of you. Don't. It's not pleasant). Not particularly salty. More beefy than nutty, though still very much worth your while, I'm sure.

Also, if you could find it, I'd recommend Beaufort, the "prince of Gruyeres."

Nov 04, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Cheese

Favorite Seinfeld food moments

Haha! I got two: Kramer's trying to eat a slice of pizza when approached by the menacing "Van Buren Boys." Fortunately, he's holding a pepper (parmesan?) shaker between his thumb and index finger, so that he inadvertently flashes their secret sign.

Secondly, I can't believe no one's mentioned O'Henry in The Caddy:

Jackie: O'Henry? That's one of our top-selling candy bars. It's got chocolate, peanuts, nougat, it's delicious, scrumptious, outstanding!

this has been mentioned, but not with appropriate detail:

From the Summer of George:

GEORGE: Yeah! Look at me! I was free and clear! I was living the dream! I was stripped to the waist, eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery!

JERRY: Before we go any further, I'd just like to point out how disturbing it is that you equate eating a block of cheese with some sort of bachelor paradise.

Oct 03, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Not About Food

Best Eats in Pike Place Market (SEA)??

Beecher's is certainly worth checking out, if you're interested in semi-local (from the West Coast and the North West in particular) cheeses, difficult to find anywhere else. Even those cheeses that might be found in nicer grocery stores are likely to be in much better condition and slightly cheaper when purchased from Beecher's.

I heartily second howard's suggestion of Cafe Yarmarka. Those Russian immigrants are relishing their successful participation in the American dream - obvious, on account of the cooks' surprisingly friendly attitudes and that calendar posted on the wall, displaying a tremendous picture of the Statue of Liberty, the words "GOD BLESS AMERICA" emblazoned across her forehead.

Vienna, Budapest and Prague on a Budget this July!

While I studied in Budapest, I relied on a terribly inexpensive cafeteria-style restaurant called Főzelék Faló like the wandering Jews relied on manna in the desert. The rather poor quality food is not much of a bargain during the day, however, after eight-thirty every night, in a rush to dispose of the unfinished dishes, they mark everything down by half.

Where are you going to be staying in Budapest? I could point you to an even cheaper destination (the sort-of food court above the market near Móricz Zsigmond körtér) if you're on the Buda side. The price of a meal drops dramatically here, as does the quality, but it's very authentically Hungarian and you'll have the lucky opportunity to fratrenize with the unemployed Budapesters who spend all day sipping cheap wine and lukewarm beer at the pseudo-bars in the food court.

As for late-night options, many of the kabob places tend to stay open late enough to cater to the dolled-up but disheveled previously partying people who'll stumble towards the warm glow of the neon sign and the smell of roasting "meat" on their way home from a mind-numbing, drum and bass-fueled danse party. You can find little convenience stores open 24 hours a day, but typically the grocery stores close pretty early. Actually, I often had trouble finding places that continued running as long as I typically do. Plan ahead.

The "finer dining" establishments most typically recommended on this board differ only minimally from those recommendations you can find in any Budapest guide book. Go to the library and pick up a Lonly Planet - Budapest (which has an hilarious picture on the cover - look for the creepy voyeur concealed in the mist), or it's equivalent. You'll get the same reviews, but with more accurate spellings and addresses.

How sexy is Humboldt Fog?

Humboldt Fog looks pretty sexy and will impress your friends, but won't be that astonishing in bed. Pretty rich and expects you to empty your wallet for her company, without really being able to make the investment worthwhile. When the two of you really get acquainted, you'll find that Humboldt Fog's alluring appearance and provocative reputation are accompanied by a bland lack of character, a dull lack of complexity and an unmemorable lack of depth. You know the type.

You're better off going after a more plain looking cheese, whose apparent modesty hides a unique, enchanting personality known only to those with an intimate knowledge of the cheese.

I can't stretch this metaphor any further.

Don't buy the hype, or the cheese.

May 15, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Cheese

Must visit places for seattle

Skip Piroshki Piroshki, which might be the place you're thinking of in the Market (located in the Stuart House, right along Pike Place street). Their food's pretty decent, but not a great value.

Instead, look to Cafe Yarmarka, which is a block and a half south of Piroshki Piroshki, tucked away with pretty poor signage in Post Alley, near the Seattle's Best Coffee (which you also must avoid, like the plague). Cafe Yarmarka, serving freshly prepared pelmeni, piroghi, stuffed cabbage, borscht and slightly less fresh pastries, has got to be one of my favorite lunch spots in Pike Place (I spent all of last summer working in the Market, so had ample opportunity to try every possible meal I could scrounge up). I tried to become a regular there over the summer (I've, for a long while, had fantasies about being a regular somewhere - too much "Cheers" as a child, I think), which was a bit of a struggle as the joint is run by a regularly rotating staff of not-quite bilingual Russians, who, as a people, are not the most friendly lot. Don't get me wrong, the service is always courteous, just devoid of the phony smiles pasted on the staff of the more gentrified Market employees.

How Long will Gorgonzola Dolce Last?

It will certainly "make it;" though potentially in a different condition than that in which you purchased it.

What does "well-sealed" mean? Be aware that cheese can often pick up flavors from particularly odoriferous items in the refrigerator and plastic wrap (if it's been wrapped in plastic). However, the flavor imparted by plastic is usually rather slight and doesn't generally permeate through the surface to which the plastic is exposed.

To ensure minimal change in flavor and texture, one ought to wrap the cheese in butcher paper and store in the vegetable crisper (nowhere near a sliced onion, obviously), which has a more stable temperature and humidity level than the rest of the fridge.

I wouldn't be too concerned. In the worst scenario I can imagine, you might have to shave off a bit of the outer layer of cheese, but the rest of the piece ought to be fine. It's not like blue cheese can really go bad (if it's properly refrigerated). I mean, it's gone bad already. What, it's gonna go worse?

May 10, 2007
Michael Juhasz in General Topics

Goulash in Budapest

Read up on Budapesti eats at

You can get pretty good gulyas, which is how the anglicized "goulash" will appear on Hungarian menus, at any decent Hungarian restaurant. I've never had fantastic gulyas, but I've never been to Borbíróság or Dió.

Goat Cheese - What say you?

You ever try Laura Chenel's aged tomme?

It was my favorite cheese of last summer.

Nothing too fancy, but a really well crafted, honest, aged chevre.

Apr 30, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Cheese

Goat Cheese - What say you?

Our friends are obviously talking about fresh chevre, the most commonly sold form of goat's milk cheese.

As NickSr imagines, many fresh chevres (as is the case with most fresh or briefly aged cheeses) are quite mild and deliciously creamy. Even within the bounds of fresh chevre, one can find countless varieties in taste, texture and quality. As with every other form of cheese, I'd steer away from anything that's "processed," comes from an unidentifiable source, or is mass produced. OK, that's only half true. I'd be lying terribly if I claimed to only eat artisanal, or farmstead, handmade cheeses. I too can often be found mowing a three-pound brick of Crayola-orange Tillamook cheddar. I've enjoyed plastic tubes of processed chevre in all shapes and sizes. I've even (get ready for this one) used pre-shredded kraft cheese-like-whatever-it-is in a jam.

I can't suggest that anyone stop enjoying those types of cheese. I can and emphatically do suggest that one not limit oneself to those familiar staples.

Whole Foods generally seems to have a pretty decent cheese selection and hopefully a pretty knowledgeable staff working behind the cheese counter (that is, if a cheese counter exists in your Whole Foods. Maybe I shouldn't always assume that's the case...). If your interested in sampling some more interesting goat's milk cheeses, ask an employee for a recommendation. Were I working at that Whole Foods and if that Whole Foods resembled mine (in Saint Paul, MN) I'd recommend the boucheron, which they generally seem to have in stock and sells well enough that it won't be inedibly old.

Boucheron, a briefly aged (5-10 weeks) goat's milk cheese from France's Loire Valley, has an accommodatingly mild flavor and interesting texture. Boucheron belongs to the family of "soft-ripened" or "bloomy-rind" cheeses, along with more well known Brie, Munster, Livarot, etc. Accordingly, Boucheron has that "Brie-like" rind and the paste (the interior of the cheese) near the rind is similar to Brie in appearance and flavor. Because a soft-ripened cheese ages from the outside towards the center, the middle of a disk of Boucheron is much firmer and drier than the edges and more closely resembles a fresh chevre. As I've mentioned, Boucheron is approachably mild and might provide a gateway to a wider world of goat cheesy exploration and appreciation.

Apr 29, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Cheese

Looking for good (healthy) sandwich ideas

I eat a lot of sandwiches.

Recent favorites/it's hard to eat well when you're living in Romania and don't have a kitchen:

My dad's sandwich - sliced avocado, sliced hard cheese (whatever you have on hand, but generally the saltier, semi-hard cheeses work best) between toasted oatnut bread.

The Romanian - sliced tomato, mild sardines, semi-hard cheese on a crusty, white, peasant bread

South of the Romanian Border - lettuce, sliced avocado, chili flavored sardines, chopped garlic on that same crusty, white, peasant bread. This sandwich could also be called "the worst thing that's ever happened to your breath. Ever."

Apr 24, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Home Cooking

What does "real" Munster cheese look/taste like?

Perhaps this is not what you're after, but "real" munster is, firstly, not from Germany, but from the Alsace region of France and secondly, quite different than what I imagine all of you have been describing (which I assume is the American Muenster or the so-called German Munster, which is nothing like its French namesake).

AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) Munster is a soft, washed-rind cheese made from unpasteurized cow's milk. The rind of a ripe Munster should be something like reddish-straw colored, not beige, which suggests that the cheese is past its prime. You actually ought to be quite careful of Munster in this state. AOC Munster, quite unlike what you've been eating, is very strong, full of that washed-rind smelly-sockness. Once this cheese peaks, the paste will become oozy and its plesant, assertive flavor will come to resemble horse manure.

The non-AOC Munster and American Muenster, while potentially quite nice, are never going to present you with an "authentic, actually flavorful" experience.

Apr 24, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Cheese

Cheese course at restaurants-why bother if you can't do it right?

I'll agree with your multiple knife sentiment, with a qualifier, or two:

There is some sense in offering multiple knives if one or more of the cheeses is quite runny, or is otherwise likely to stick to the knife. As opposed to an entree, wherein all the foods served on the plate are to be enjoyed in conjunction, a cheese tasting (or any kind of tasting) requires that each morsel be enjoyed on its own and sequentially. If you've been served a very runny, mild cheese are are expected to then slice...well, anything else, another knife would be required.

If, however, the cheeses are all hard and dry enough to not stick to the knife, multiple knives are, indeed, unnecessary. The only exception would be if one is slicing a blue cheese and then a softer cheese AND that softer cheese is not going to be finished at that point (this situation would not arise during a cheese course at a restaurant, but might at home) you must change knives. If the softer cheese (really an cheese, it's just more likely in softer cheeses) is cut with a knife that has touched blue cheese, there's a chance that the mold from the blue could be spread and eventually grow on the softer cheese.

Apr 24, 2007
Michael Juhasz in General Topics

Shima Sushi on Bainbridge Island

Shima is not best sushi you can find in the Seattle area. It is, however, the best Bainbridge has to offer (that is, it's either Shima, or the stuff from Town and Country, the local grocery store).

Actually, I quite like Shima. Their sushi is not bad, just not great, but the somewhat diminished quality is reflected in a highly diminished tab. At my last dinner there, my friend and I each had a bowl of miso soup, green tea and enough nigiri and maki to stuff us to that perfectly contented state of fullness one rarely experiences outside of a Japanese restaurant, for about $30, total. $15 a head is not bad.

I find the decor charming, though very much on the brink of crossing the line into obnoxious pretension, or kitsch, I can't quite decide which. Anyway, they make good use of their snug space.

Though their sushi is beatable, I've been told that some of their other dishes (specifically the grilled eel and I think the grilled items in general) are terrific.

Don't rush off to Shima immediately, you might be disappointed. Rather, wait until a warm, clear evening, enjoy a slow ferry ride on the sun deck, above the drained, listless commuters, stroll lazily down Winslow Way, making sure to stop by Black Bird Bakery, as it will be closed by the time you finish your dinner and amble into Shima (you might want to make a reservation first, as I said, it's quite tiny) without expectations of being swept off your feet. Should make an enjoyable evening.

Beers that you like but with names that you're embarrassed to say

I don't know; I kind of like the idea that micro-brewed beer has yet to be shoved into a snooty niche, which would disallow a sense of humor about the product.

Don't you find it sort of fitting that a product which makes you drunk doesn't take itself too seriously? Perhaps the brewers imagine that after you've imbibed a bit of their product, you'll find yourself pleasantly amused by their attempt at comedy.

By the way, I'm curious, when you write about "cool" labels and names, does that category include "Seadog?" In which universe is a cartoony dog in a hat cool and not absolutely kitschy? Perhaps the same universe where people are still saying "sick."

Apr 22, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Beer

where's the coffee?

Did you used to think that Starbucks' coffee was any good?

The simplest explanation I can think of, is that the coffee sold by those two companies is not very good. Sure, we can thank Starbucks for introducing a formerly uncomprehending American population that coffee has more uses than moistening a cheap doughnut. Yes, the coffee that Starbucks sells is of higher quality than McDonald's, Texico's or perhaps your neighborhood greasy-spoon. However, Starbuck's coffee is far from top of the line.

Sadly, I can't really recommend alternative brands, unless you live in the Seattle area, as (I know this whole sentance sounds unbelieveably snooty - sorry) in general, I only buy coffee that's roasted and sold locally.

I'm sure you know of some non-franchise coffee shops in your area that sell coffee of higher quality than Starbucks. It's not untypical for those independent shops to sell the same beans that they serve. Ask them for some beans. Don't buy the hype. Starbucks is not the pinacle of coffee excellence.

Apr 22, 2007
Michael Juhasz in General Topics

UPCOMING FOOODIE EVENTS IN NW? [moved from Not About Food]

The Seattle cheese festival (May 18-20) has been mentioned on this board before, but it's worth bringing up again.

Let's be honest about Parmesan cheese

Pecorino is a Italian designation for hard/aged cheeses made from sheep's milk. Many excellent pecorinos are produced across Italy, some of the more famous including Pecorino Toscano (sheep's milk cheese from Tuscany), Pecorino Sardo (from Sardinia), Pecorino Siciliano (you get the idea). Probably the best known pecorino in the United States is Pecorino Romano.

Locatelli is one of the four creameries in Italy that is legally allowed to produce D.O.P. (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) Pecorino Romano.

In regards to the original poster: it could be possible that the flavor of the parmesan is simply being overpowered by the dishes over which you're grating it. I'd assume you've tried eating slices of parmesan, but if so, I'm afraid I can't really imagine how you'd call it flavorless. Most turophiles will agree that parmesan is one of the biggest, boldest cheeses produced.

Perhaps your disappointment stems from misplaced expectations. Parmesan is not really "buttery," as you'd imagined it might be. It is quite salty. Again try eating a slice, rather than minuscule shavings of DOP Parmigiano-Reggiano (which ought to be available at Whole Foods, pretty consistently), if you're skeptical about the saltiness.

Parmesan does not taste "something reminiscent of cheese," if you're imagining all cheese to taste like a Camembert, Mimolette, or Kraft single. For many with a more varied notion of what cheese should taste like, Parmesan is a standard high water mark of cheese making excellence.

Apr 20, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Cheese

morell cheese in seattle area?

I've never heard of this type of cheese. Is it made with the mushrooms?

Could you possibly mean murol, the semi-hard, washed rind from central France?

I don't know that you'd be able to find that exact cheese anywhere in Seattle, but you might try PCC, or DeLaurenti. I know that Beecher's Hand Made Cheese does not carry that particular cheese (all their cheeses are produced domestically), but you might be able to find something similar. The closest that I can think of that Beecher's carries would be the Tumalo Tomme, from Juniper Grove Farm in Oregon. It's probably going to be a bit more pungent than murol and perhaps more firm, but an excellent cheese and definitely worth trying, regardless of how it compares to what you're looking for.

What to do with the chicken from the soup?

An uncomfortably large part of my life as a kid (or at least, a large part of every Friday night) was devoted to figuring out how to escape those torturous, flavorless, colorless soggy, boiled chicken breasts that my mom couldn't possibly conceive of throwing away (what Jew could justify waisting food?).

The best I could settle on, was smothering the "chicken" with ketchup, which, I realize, sounds really unpleasant. Actually, it was really unpleasant, but somehow became a household tradition.

All of my Jewish friends remember dealing with this same problem growing up. I've never heard a reasonable solution proposed (of course, excluding all the positively wonderful suggestions posted in this thread *ahem*). The way I see it, clenching our fists into hard, little balls, tightly smashing our eyelids down, far as they can go and slurping up that unwastable leftover is one more of those unfortunate experiences that binds MOTs together.

Your kids might squirm in their chairs, lob wads of half-chewed meat across the kitchen and throw a general hissy-fit, but it'll be a delightful memory for them someday.

Apr 19, 2007
Michael Juhasz in Home Cooking

Quintessential Seattle dining experience?

Don't expect great things from Cafe Nola, if you end up dining there. I've eaten there on vary numerous occasions and have never been wowed, though never terribly disappointed either. In any case, it's probably your best bet, if you're looking for a semi-formal, sit-down meal.

Bainbridge doesn't excel in fine dining, but excellent casual eateries abound. One mustn't miss trying at least one of the three superb coffee shop/bakeries which we Islanders consider our second homes; these being: Blackbird Bakery, Bainbridge Bakers, Pegasus Coffee House. All three are not only quintessential Northwest (being the arch-typical Seattle-esqu coffee shops) but are quintessential Bainbridge Island as well.

Another good bet on the island might be Mora Iced Creamery, a rather new establishment lacking in some of the small town charm oozing out of the very pavement of Winslow Way (the main street of our minuscule downtown), has a slightly cold, pretentious air, of which it is not entirely undeserving. The locally made ice cream is enough of a treat to that I find myself able to wade through the counterfeit kindness and humorless efficiency of the staff to enjoy a cone, from time to time.

Enjoy Bainbridge, but not too much. I'll warn, you wouldn't be the first visitor to our exquisitely enticing island who, so enchanted by the natural beauty and amiable ambiance, decides to quit his dreary home in the city for this overpopulating utopia.