Zsofia Pasztor: the joy of cooking what you have grown, raising it

by Zsofia Pasztor / Herald Forum

“over there.” I said as I looked at him with a smile. “Sixteen kinds!”

This will do it. The onions were already fried, and their sweet and slightly spicy aroma filled the air. I took a deep breath. I said to myself medicine.. Food is medicine. This would be the perfect dinner!

It was raining on the deck outside. There was another river in the atmosphere making its way northeast above us. A new normal, one every few days of these extremely wet storms, is a sign that weather patterns are in fact changing as a result of climate change.

He was finishing up cutting the meat. We slaughtered some cocks. They wreaked havoc long enough; Time to go to freezer camp. There is nothing tastier than the food that one grows and raises. We knew our livestock, we grew onions, we grew peppers in greenhouses, and we made paprika sauce. the tallow we brought from the fat we bought from the local butcher; The pig was born and raised in our province, eating in the open pastures of a friend’s farm.

He handed me the bowl with the jam rooster. Nice meat. I quickly put the pieces on the onions and began to brown them. Oh, the smell! Rooster paprika is a real treat. It doesn’t taste like simple chicken paprika, it’s a thousand times more tasty! Probably because the rooster that ended up being slaughtered was often a troublemaker, ran so often and painted how to jump on innocent people walking beside him, his meat had an adventurous flavour.

Since the meat was browning well, I started adding our seasoning. He would hand me jar after jar and bag after bag, 16 different kinds of red pepper. one can never It contains many types of sweet pepper. Paprika is one of the most basic foods out there. Sautee onions, meat, a little garlic, sometimes a little wine, broth, salt, pepper, and lots and lots of paprika. Cook it together slowly and serve it up with a good side dish. Spaetzle, rice, potato or shell pasta, perhaps a great vegetarian dish. However, there are the paprikas, and then there are the paprikas ones one will remember forever.

The dish gets a deep, almost surprising richness of flavor with every kind of sweet pepper being added to the soup. The most the best.

Each type of sweet pepper has a slightly different flavor. Crops grow on different soils, the microclimate is slightly different, so they are exposed to rain and sun at different times, and the scorching sun, pushing the sweet pepper crop to its full flavor, heats up the fruits formed at different times of the day. Maybe the seeds are different too. Try tasting paprika with eyes closed and focus only on the taste, you can feel the floral tones and earthy colors as they come through the different red powders.

We grow our plant in greenhouses, but in Hungary pepper plants are usually outdoors. They start it in greenhouses, but as soon as summer came, they left it uncovered. During the summer the temperature rises quickly in the sunny fields and it doesn’t cool off much overnight either. The air becomes very hot, and it vibrates above the ground. The soil warms up and in the early afternoon you feel the heat on your bare foot.

Plant roots grow deep while searching for water. Even with watering, they grow in dry heat for long days at a time. Some farms in the Yakima region grow peppers like this one, too. Heat is the secret of good flavour. Our record hot summer with heat domes sitting over our area for days at a time, we’ve had the perfect weather for growing sweet peppers in Puget Sound this year. Everything else was having a rough time, including wildlife and most crops, but sweet peppers loved every minute of my 110-plus days. Climate change may just make us a country of sweet peppers.

I was measuring out tablespoons of each of 16 paprika. There is not much of this splendor that one can add. He threw six cloves of garlic, too, from the same garden in which the onions grew. He opened the wine bottle and added a good helping of this sweet sweet. I taught him well. Only good wine makes good meals! Chicken broth, salt and a little black pepper. I added a few fresh peppers from the freezer. Every year I save some of these gems from the summer garden and freeze them, along with a few tomatoes. I also dropped one tomato, stirred them together quickly, and put the lid on the pot.

I love so much! It is red, like freshly ground paprika, and has a nice white coating inside. The perfect dish for preparing great stews. The thick metal walls help take out the heat and cook at a balanced pace, as it cooks perfectly over low heat, turning the meat into butter slices with a spoon once served.

I wasn’t going to pay $400 for Le Creuset though. I can make a five star dinner every night of the week for the whole family with that much money. Costco has had a more affordable version of it years ago, and it’s a Lodge brand. It has been used every day now and is still as good as new. It was worth $55. Good cooking equipment adds to the flavor, too. The food does not burn, heats up evenly, the flavors melt and blend seamlessly, mixing at the same time in every part of the soup during cooking.

Taste is not just a seasoning, it is a product of the entire cooking process. and patience. Meat takes a long time to cook for it to fall off the bone. And it is not easy to wait for the aromas to fill the air, and one cannot help but devour everything with a giant inflated spoon. Waiting is the hardest part of cooking.

He is my QC. He was ready with his plate and spoon to test. I was right behind him. nations. Nice. It will never get old. That was all we’ve always known.

I was thinking back to the many paprikas we’ve had. Always amazing, always healing, always medicine. The red sauce would thicken on its own from the slowly cooked meat and simmer for hours. The chops had it all: the bones, the skin, the meat, all of which cooked together and added flavors, giving the sauce texture.

The window opened a little. Steam was accumulating in the kitchen. The sound of the restless torrential rain was mixed with the gusts of strong winds blowing through the trees. I knew very well what the privilege of this “simple” dinner was for us.

Since we’re grown, we can be sure we’ve used only the most delicious ingredients, and this meal will cost anyone else an arm and a leg. I remembered those times when paprikash was made with whatever we could afford. Good thing, this is a recipe that can be made using any meat, meat substitutes, boiled eggs, or even mushrooms or any other vegetables. There were years when we could barely buy food at the table and didn’t have the money to buy broth. Yes, I made our own when I had the time, but sometimes I added a little water to the dish instead of wine and flavor-packed broth.

I’ve never used less than four sweet peppers. It had to, because for Hungarians, the lack of at least a few types of paprika simply means no paprika in the kitchen.

He’s already made crusty noodles and has it ready on the table. Someday we’ll make Spaetzle from scratch again. But at this time, the pasta was perfect. I wanted to relax a bit before we went to bed and not spend all evening in the kitchen. We didn’t have sour cream either. Forgot to get that at the store. Well, it was fine without the dairy!

Some recipes require adding flour to thicken it, we like to keep it lighter, no need for a lot of carbs. A nice big bowl of salad is what we add on the side. Fresh dill or parsley, still growing in garden beds, cut on greens, with plenty of roasted root vegetables, summer comes to life with every bite even though we’re getting close to winter.

While enjoying our delicious dinner, we were talking about the upcoming new year and how the changing climate could affect our crops for the upcoming season. I think we should all be planting more peppers for sweet peppers next year! That is if enough farms survive the floods that we now regularly experience. Perhaps we can promote local food sources for each market and store. The more local and seasonal foods we eat, the better for our environment. Every part helps. Winter is here and our food choices should reflect that. With the dark and long nights come rain, wind, and storm.

For us, that means soup time! In Our Hungarian House: Lots and Lots of Paprikas Time! in good health; Joe upsets!

Zsofia Pasztor and her husband immigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1989. She is the Farmer Frog Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to create edible gardens in local schools.


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