Monday, January 23, 2017

THE OLD BOHEMIAN PEASANT COOKBOOK

THE OLD BOHEMIAN PEASANT COOKBOOK


Now that I'm retired I have some extra time on my hands. In the past several years I have collected lot of recipes for old Bohemian peasant meals. Most of these recipes were not originated by moi although I took time to cook some of the recipes and adjusted them to my taste and contemporary way of cooking. No more open fires and big kettles on daily basis.

The cookbook contains main and popular traditional peasant kitchen meals which are simple and easy to prepare. It also contains some more elaborate cooking which is not so peasant style but was included because these meals are popular even today. The cookbook contains over 300 recipes and gives everything one needs to know to cook in Old Bohemian Peasant style.

If you are interested the cookbook is available as an electronic file. Send me an e-mail to george.kovats@gmail.com and I will send you the cookbook. All I ask is a contribution of $10.

Here is a typical old Bohemian recipe:


GRANDMA’S BAKED HAM AND NOODLES

(ŠUNKOFLEKY)

This is a popular traditional Bohemian peasant dish. The square noodles, “fleky”, are not available in America but there is a good substitute – Extra Wide Egg Noodles. The word “fleky” means “spots” in English. The recipe for authentic Bohemian “fleky” is at the end of this recipe.

Ingredients

1 lb. Extra Wide Egg Noodles

1 round boneless ham steak at least ¼ inch thick (approx. 1 lb.), cut into ½ inch squares

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 eggs

1 ¼ cups milk

2 T lard or vegetable oil

salt and black pepper

fat for greasing the baking dish

plain breadcrumbs

lard or butter for topping


Makes 6 servings


Preparation

Cook the noodles per instructions on the package.

Put cooked and well drained noodles into a large mixing bowl.

Below is a recipe for making your own authentic “fleky”.


In a large frying pan, while noodles are cooking, melt the lard or heat the oil, whichever you are using.

Sauté onions and ham together until onions start turning color.

Add to the mixing bowl with noodles.

Sprinkle the mixture with salt and pepper to your taste.

Mix everything well.


Select a large deep baking dish, grease it generously and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Pour the noodle mixture into the baking dish and level the mixture.

Top with very small pieces of lard or butter.

Put the dish into oven preheated to 375°F. Bake for 20 minutes.


Whip the eggs in milk with a pinch of salt.

When the noodles start to change color to light honey pour the egg mixture evenly over the noodles.

Continue baking until the milk-egg mixture is fully absorbed.

Take the baking dish out of the oven, cover with linen kitchen towel or tea towel and let rest for 5 – 10 minutes.

Cut into individual portions and serve with sweet and sour pickles (German style pickles are the best, use bread and butter pickles as a good substitute).


Authentic “Fleky” Recipe


12 oz. Wondra brand flour (use this flour for the authentic taste)

2 eggs

¼ cup water

salt


Pour the flour on a kneading surface. Make a depression in the center of flour.

Break eggs into the depression. Sprinkle with salt.

Add water and start mixing with a knife.

When the dough starts to hold together, knead with your hands.

Adjust water and flour as you go. Flour the surface as needed.

The dough needs to be stiff and firm. Knead for at least 5 minutes pressing hard.

Wrap the dough into plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.

Cut the dough into 3 parts.

Roll out each part separately into thin rectangular sheet of dough. Let dough dry and rest for about 5 minutes.

Cut off all uneven edges of the dough sheet. Cut 3/4 to 1 inch wide strips out of dough.

Stack the strips on top of each other into several stacks and cut them into 3/4 to 1 inch squares.

Spread the dough squares on linen cloth so they do not stick together.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Cook in oversalted boiling water for about 10 minutes depending on the dough thickness.

Drain cooked “fleky” in a large colander and "wash" them with cold water for few seconds.

Let drip drain in colander.

Place the “fleky” in a large bowl and add about 1 tablespoon butter and stir well.


Saturday, September 05, 2015

WHAT TO EAT IN CZECH REPUBLIC AND SAVE MONEY



Is this situation familiar to you: You just entered a foreign country and spotted McDonald's fast food restaurant and you and your party sprinted so you can have a typical American fast food greaseburger. After all it's been full 12 hours since you left home. I have never understood this kind of mindset.


I'm a big advocate of eating local when visiting a foreign country. So, assuming that you didn't fly all that way to Prague or other destination in Czech Republic to eat at McDonald's what do you do? Where do you eat? I suggest you eat at a restaurant or neighborhood pub serving traditional Czech kitchen. I use the word kitchen because the traditional Czech food is of peasant origin and has little to do with cuisine which suggest a snobbish place and food.


Let's assume that you and your party are frugal travelers and you stay in a hotel or pension in the suburbs. You only have one problem: breakfast! But as luck would have it this problem is easily corrected. I'm saying that breakfast is a problem because no restaurant is open at 8 a.m. Generally, there are very few places that serve breakfast. Pricey high end hotels serve western style breakfast but it is super expensive.


Let's start with the local people. What is the typical Czech breakfast?


Breakfast


Here are your choices for traditional Czech breakfast:


1. Salty rolls either plain or buttered with jam of your choice, milk, coffee or tea.
2. Sweet rolls, doughnuts, kolache (small round pastries with various fillings) or a cut of fruit kolach (tart), milk, coffee or tea.
3. Rolls with cold cuts, pates and cheese, coffee or tea.


Again, assuming that the place where you are staying does not have even a coffee machine you have to do the shopping in the evening. Your best bet is to go to a super market or small neighborhood food store and buy everything there. The milk will keep couple of days without refrigerator and so will the cold cuts. You can buy specialty coffees in a small carton although I suggest drinking milk with your breakfast. And that takes care of breakfast. Expect to spend no more than 20 Kc (Czech crowns) per person unless you splurge and buy the cold cuts and cheese.


Lunch


Let me reveal to you a secret so you are not surprised: lunch and dinner are the same. That is the size of the meal in the restaurants is the same whether it is lunch or dinner. The dinner menu may have few meals added and also have few expensive meals. There is no such thing as small lunch unless you eat in bistro, butcher shop eatery, food from street vendors or café. So what do the locals eat? Here are the recommended main choices available daily in most restaurants:


Soups
1. Potato soup
2. Garlic soup
3. Goulash soup
4. Beef broth with noodles


Main Dishes
1. Pork schnitzel with boiled potatoes or potato salad
2. Karbanatky (fried meat patties) with boiled potatoes or potato salad
3. Goulash with bread dumplings
4. Roast pork with bread dumplings and sauerkraut
5. Roast beef with potato dumplings and creamed spinach
6. Roast beef tenderloin in cream sauce with bread dumplings
7. Roast duck with bread dumplings and red sauerkraut
8. Spanish birds (in essence this is Czech bracciole) with rice
9. Steak tartar (raw beef) with toasts
10. Pan fried trout with mashed potatoes


Light Lunch
1. Greek salad in restaurant
2. Baguette sandwich from street vendors or small food stores
3. Open face sandwiches from delicatessen or bistro or baker's shop - this is a must
4. Grilled sausage with rye bread and mustard from street vendors downtown
5. Fried potato pancakes from street vendors downtown
6. Pizza from a pizza shop


There are butcher shops with New York style eateries (you stand at a high table) serving traditional meals. The choices are not extensive but they always offer at least one soup and about 5 or 6 main dishes. If you ever come across one of those you must try it. It is really cheap and usually great.


Expect to spend anywhere from 100 Kc to 175 Kc per person in a neighborhood restaurant (that includes beer, of course). In a downtown restaurant the same meal will probably cost double. Open face sandwiches are 16 - 25 Kc each. Grilled sausages are about 40 Kc.


Dinner


As I have already intimated lunch and dinner choices are usually the same. If you eat dinner at a better restaurant expect to spend up to 400 Kc per person with about 250 Kc being the average cost of a dinner in better restaurant. Better restaurants have contemporary cuisine (yes it is a cuisine) and they may offer French and Italian dishes. Italian style pizza is very popular these days.


Dessert


Czech do not usually eat desserts with their meals. Surprise! Czechs eat various pastries and cakes with coffee around 3 p.m. There is one exception, actually two. Some traditional restaurants offer two desserts that you should try: Crepes with various fillings and traditional round doughnut like cakes (livanecky) with plum butter and whipped cream topping. This is another must!


And there you have it. Now you are equipped with knowledge about what to eat on your next trip to Czech Republic and save some dough.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

HOW TO BE CZECH

Ever since I started to visit my homeland regularly I was being "discovered" as a foreigner, be it in the restaurants, shops, on the street or really anywhere. I asked my friends what's wrong with me and they told me: Lose the American garb! This was a big discovery to me. I thought I was dressed normally but I was told that my clothes are colorful and my shoes are shined. That's what gave me away. So, here is a valuable advice on How To Be Czech in 10 Easy And Not So Easy Steps for those who plan to move to Czech Republic or spent a long time there. Follow my advice and you will cease to be a foreigner or at least you will become an acceptable foreigner. Here is what to do when you want to become Czech:


1. Drink Beer
Czechs are consumers of beer. They drink far more beer per capita than any other country in the world. Czech beer is the best in the world. Czech Republic is the home of Pilsner Urquell, the first light (by color) lager in the world, the home of the real Budweiser and lot of other beers too numerous to recount here. As Czech you must drink beer and like it! You must never waste an opportunity to drink beer. Czechs drink mostly beer from tap in pubs and restaurants. Next time you are in Czech pub or restaurant try this: Take a beer coaster from a stack in the middle of the table and place it in front of you. Within several seconds there will be a beer on the coaster. You do not need to speak Czech to order beer, it's automatic! Bottled beer is not considered to be a beer but a good substitute for emergency situations. No self respecting Czech will drink beer from an aluminum can. Ever! That is a beer heresy. There are two things to remember about beer: Beer is not considered to be alcohol by Czechs, and, the small beer (12 oz.) is for Grandmas and kids.


2. Wear The Right Garb
On your next trip to Czech Republic observe regular people and what they wear. Then locate and visit your nearest Vietnamese market and buy your Czech clothes there. Men, get several T-shirts, flood pants, and sandals and fancy tennis shoes. All these clothing items must be in various shades of undeterminable color that used to be called "uniform communist grey". You will also want to mess your clothing up a little with some grease spots in strategic locations. Tear or two are helpful. During cold spells you can put on a nice black leather jacket, nothing too obvious, of course. Ladies will need to get few of the shortest skirts they can find, some sweaters and T-shirts all with deep necklines to reveal the . . . ehm . . . cleavage. High heel shoes or boots are a must. Piercing and tattoos are encouraged.


3. Personal Appearance
To fit in men need to grow long hair. Once your hair gets longer wear a pony tail. Three to four day old beard is in! For women, you cannot go wrong with a straight hair.


4. Eat Heavy Czech Food
Czech food is heavy and could be labeled unhealthy by today's standards. The origins of Czech cuisine dates back to an era when the peasants worked hard and needed heavy food but it stayed with the people until the present time. The popular staples include dumplings and heavy cream sauces. And who doesn't like roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut? Any meal usually consists of soup, main course, and dessert, and, of course, lot of beer. When visiting friends and acquaintances and a meal is served you must eat! And eat a lot! Better get used to it, you will be offered far more food than you can eat in one sitting. It is an art to politely extricate yourself out of such situations without harming your relationships. And whatever you do, you must never ever refuse to eat whatever is served, be it tripe soup, liver, hearts or kidneys. Lucky for you, during most of these friendly visits only open face sandwiches and finger food are normally served.


5. Drink Coffee
These days you are lucky, you have a choice of coffees. The traditional Turkish coffee called "turek" is still served everywhere coffee is served. Next in line is espresso called simply "preso". Then you need to try Vienna coffee, which is a watered down espresso or standard drip coffee topped with whipped cream. Latte and macchiato are also available as is mocha. Proper way to drink coffee is in the afternoon in a traditional coffee house with some cake or torte on the side.


6. Exercise in Public
These days people exercise a lot and they do it in public. To fit in you need to select at least one way to exercise in public places. Good for you that you have lot of choices. The lazy of you need to take up walking. Next is running, there are lot of people running these days, usually in scenic areas or large parks. Cycling is also very popular and so is swimming. In winter you must add skiing and skating to the list.


7. Spend Weekends in Nature
Most Czechs live in urban areas and, therefore, are looking forward to weekends outside of the city. Lot of people own small cottages (chata) or small farnhouses (chalupa) in the country. Those unlucky who do not own these weekend houses in the country either know someone who does and invite themselves or they spend weekends camping or doing just day trips. For the day trippers any castle within 50 km of a city is a good destination. There are other natural attractions within the easy reach from any city or town. Public transportation is excellent and relatively cheap so you have no excuse. At the very least take a train to a small town or village and go to the woods for a walk and then drink beer in a local pub.


8. Carry a Book
Czechs like to read and you will observe that lot of people carry a book with them anywhere they go. Try this, go to your local park and read in the shade of a tree.


9. Learn History
Take time to learn the history of the Czech Lands. The traditional lands forming Czech Republic are Bohemia, Moravia, and southern Silesia. Learn the major events in the Czech history from the sixth century when the first Czechs came to the area of today's Czech Republic.


10. Learn the Language
Czech is the most difficult language in the world for a foreigner non-Slav to learn. But lucky for you Czech is fully phonetic language meaning that you pronounce all the letters you see and the pronunciation is regular. This is the only regular feature of the language. Everything else is mostly irregular. Despite all of this you need to learn the basic sentences. Czechs will appreciate that you made the effort and it will give them the opportunity to make little bit of fun of your pronunciation, all in good spirit, of course.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

GUN CONTROL

Once again we are witnessing a liberal feeding frenzy to remove freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution from the citizens of the United States of America. The liberals stooped so low as to use two recent mass murder incidents at the hands of psychopat criminals to legislate gun control. This issue is being seriously debated in public but it is mostly being shoved down our throats just like ObamaCare was.

It would be amusing if it was not very serious that absent from the public debate is the debate on the constitutionality of any gun control. I'd like to know where is the authorization under which government can legislate gun control. The Second Amendment could not be more clear. In part it say".......the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". Conscise and very clear. Just to be on the safe side I looked up the word "infringe" in the latest edition of Webster Dictionary and read the definition "impair, violate, trespass" were the major meanings. In view of the indisputable meaning of the Second Amendment I have few questions: Why do I need a permit for concealed gun, Why is it that I cannot own an assault weapon, Why is it that I cannot own a magazine with more than 10 rounds, and most importantly Where does the government get the right to legislate any gun control?

I have a piece of advise for those wishing to usurp our rights, maybe even a revelation: If you do not want the people to keep and bear arms work on changing the Constitution! Eureka! I bet you that this is furthest from the liberals' minds. Why do it the hard way if it can be done by unconstitutional legistaltion?

It is a well known and proven fact that gun control legislation does not work. Look at Chicago and Mexico. It is not the law abiding citizens who commit those hyenous crimes with their guns. It is always the criminals or psychopats. These shady characters could care less about our laws. If they decide to murder they will find a weapon be it a gun, knife or hammer to do their dastardly deeds.

And I'd like to know one more thing: If the safety of the people is on the legislators' minds uppermost why aren't knives and hammers outlawed. These weapons killed many more people than guns. And what about medical malpractice causing death of patients?

I do not necessarily like guns and I do not own any guns but we have the freedom to own them. Freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. All I see is that our government is trampling on the Constitution and our rights and is conveniently and totally disregarding it. That is not a Republic but a Dictatorship!

George

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

What Happened to George

As you may have noticed, George was missing in action for a year since the last post. So......what happened?

Having enough computer knowledge to be dangerous, I used flash drive for storage. BIG MISTAKE! Fearing the worst, I usually transferred some of the information I considered crucial from flash drive to a hard disk at irregular intervals. Then the disaster struck. One morning I found that my flash drive is empty. The evening before I properly removed the flash drive from the computer and laid it on my wooden desk so it is not near anything else made of metal. Yet the flash drive decided to wipe itself clean overnight.

I took it to a computer store hoping they may be able to restore the files. But it was not meant to happen. Computer people told me that the flash drive spontaneously demagnetized and thus I lost everything on that drive. Bummer. They also told me that this is normal and that flash drives are not meant to be used as a permanent storage but only as temporary storage to transfer files between computers or for very short time. I was also told never to store anything on flash drive that I don't want to lose. So I lost about 80% of everything. The other 20% having been saved on my hard drive was not affected. Welcome to the wonderful world of computers!

I was discouraged by this event to do anything. I enetered a period of mourning. I had all my ATCs there, my letters, addresses and other important files. At least I considered them important. Obviously, they were not that important since I'm doing fine without them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Project 365, Week 45, Days 312 - 318























November 8 - 14, 2010

This week we present two European leaders: President of Turkey Abdullah Gul and Prince Hans-Adam II of European mini-power Liechtenstein, population approximately 35,000 when they are all at home. Interesting fact about Liechtenstein is that it is the only country in the world which did not recognize Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. The Prince is still holding grudge because at the end of WWII in 1946 the Czechoslovak government expropriated large holdings in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia traditionally belonging to the Prince of Liechtenstein as a penalty for Liechtenstein's role in WWII.
Next is Plant No. 7. The next card and the last card is part of Water Water Everywhere Swap. The two remaining cards are monotypes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Project 365, Week 44, Days 305 - 311





















November 1 - 7, 2010

The first three ATC's are Fantastic Animals done in marker.
Next is a fairy tale character Cipisek, son of highwayman Rumcajs from Czech TV evening program for kids. Then we have a well known Panama Jack in all his beauty. My self-portrait as German Chancelor is next. The last card depicts Czech President Vaclav Klaus refusing to sign the Lisbon Treaty which gave away national sovereignty of every member country of the European Unity. Although the President was forced to sign the Lisbon Treaty by the Czech Parliament he remains opposed to the treaty.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Project 365, Week 43, Days 298 - 304


























October 25 - 31, 2010

The first three ATC's are acrylic paintings titled Bloodless Coup I, II, and III.
The second three ATC's are marker and colored pencil. These cards were for a Hindu Gods and Goddesses swap.
The last card is a friendly highwayman Rumcajs from a Czech TV evening series for kids.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Project 365, Week 42, Days 291-297

























October 18 - 24, 2010

The first three cards are serial killers or mass murderers if you wish, Fish, DeSalvo, and Manson.
The next four ATC's are kind of humorous adventures of the The Birdie. I called this series New Aesop Fables as there is a morale on the back of each card.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Project 365, Week 41, Days 284-290

























October 11 - 17, 2010

In the Criminals of the World Series we have Pot Pol of Cambodia, and keeping him company is none other than Hitler himself. Next is Pope Innocent IV (yeah right) who in 1184 established The Office of the Inquisition. Appropriately, next is Maurice Strong (thanks Canada), the originator of the Global Warming hoax and con that will cost the world plenty. He was at the founding of the United Nations Environmental Programme and together with his disciples, Al Gore included, are making billions on the global warming hoax. He is also the major proponent of One World Government, One World Currency, and One World Bank. The couple of Hitlers next were actually prepared at a request of the President of George's Fan Club. The first picture of Hitler is at the moment when he was informed that Germany is not winning anything and the second picture shows him still trying to convince the world that Germans are winning after he has learned the truth. Rounding this bunch is Leonid Brezhnev who ordered the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and later the invasion of Afghanistan.