Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Welcome to My Czech Recipes Blog!

Welcome to my favorite Czech Recipes page. I created this recipe site with the intention of sharing my family’s favorite Czech recipes to all browsers of this site. These recipes go back numerous generations and I am sure a few of these recipes have even been tweaked here and there along the way. These dishes bring back fond memories of family gatherings at my Teta’s summer home, as well as large dinners at Babi’s (Grandmother’s) house. These Czech recipes have established a label of “comfort food” in our home and have enjoyed sharing these meals with good friends, not to mention a cold pilsner. It is true I really enjoyed these dishes when I was a young boy. My Czech ancestry was inherited from my father who is 100% Czechoslovak. When they were newlyweds, Dad had no problem persuading my mom (of German and French ancestry) the wonders and fulfillment of this rich hearty eastern European food. My mother caught onto these dishes right away having a history of preparing German food. As my brothers and I grew up we looked forward to Mom’s fall/winter meals of Dilled Pot Roast (Koprova), Bread Dumplings, Bohemian Style Roast Duck and Pork Roast with Caraway, Marinated Beef (Svickova), and a host of other delectable dishes as well as tasty desserts. My favorite to this day is the Koprova with dumplings. I have made it a priority to recreate these dishes for my wife and children so that they make experience the tastiness of bohemian fare. In addition to the recipes I have decided to share, I have also possessed some great cookbooks that are out there that produce some exceptional meals. These books were written not only by Czechs from the old country but from migratory pockets within the United States. Searching this country’s Czech heritage, I have noticed that we Czechs are from all over these fifty states, with highly concentrated pockets in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Illinois, etc. My grandparents, great aunts and uncles resided in suburbs of Chicago. I am creating the site with the purpose of not only sharing family recipes I have enjoyed throughout the years, but also as a reference for those of you who want to give these Czech Recipes a try. I plan on posting my favorite recipes as well as experimenting with new ones every few weeks, so please check my blog on occasion as you will find something tasty. Please feel free to offer up any feedback if you are going to try some of these dishes, or have a different way of preparing the same dish. I notice through experience that some common Czech dishes have different ways of being prepared. It is also interesting how many of these Czech dishes are alike with their German and Polish neighbors. For example the marinated beef dish of Svickova is much akin to the German made Sauerbraten. These similarities run throughout Eastern Europe.

The first recipe I would like to share with you is the staple of Czech cooking, dumplings. Dumplings are the quintessential starch we Czechs use to absorb all the sauces, gravies, etc that accompany the prepared meats. There are a variety of dumplings out there in the Czech recipe made up of different starches (potatoes, semolina, grits, etc). I have found a traditional bread dumpling recipe from my Teta that is pretty easy to prepare and tastes pretty good with just about any Czech dish. The recipe is as follows:

Bread Dumplings (Knedliky)

2 eggs
½ cup milk
Pinch of salt
3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 slices of bread cut up into small pieces

1. Beat eggs, salt & milk into large bowl while adding the flour gradually.
2. The mixture will become dense and thick.
3. Fold cut up bread into dough mixture with spoon.
4. Take out dough and shape into loaf (with wet hands).
5. Roll loaf into tea towel and immerse into large pot of salted boiling water.
6. Cook dumplings for 45 minutes covered. Let a small amount of air to escape so you don't have boil overs.
7. Remove dumplings from pot and slice dumplings immediately with string or (dental floss). Do not use a knife for this will mush the dumpling down.
8. Serve or cool and freeze for a later meal.

The finished product should look like the picture above. It is best to triple the recipe so you can freeze these for later meals. Good Luck and Good Eating!

No comments: