I have some bad news for Vegventures fans. My health has been extremely poor, with about 5-10% of my previous functionality, since 23rd November 2011. I was already ill with an infectious neurological illness before that, but was pretty functional thanks to proper treatment. Unfortunately hypopituitarism, one complication of that illness, gets permanently worse (sometimes much worse) from even short-lived acute stress and my health has been likely permanently sabotaged by other people.
I’ve tried to keep up with Vegventures, but it’s hard when I can hardly cook these days and writing the posts also takes a lot of energy. I have also had to stop working on my vegan cookbook, which I already have a contract for and which was originally supposed to be published almost a year ago (any idea how frustrating this is!). I will have to reduce the posting frequency on this blog from three posts a month to 1-2 a month until further notice, likely permanently. With that change I hope to be able to complete the project – cook a dish from every cuisine (as explained/defined in more detail here).
Anyway, today we’re traveling to the Czech republic, which is in Central Europe (pretty much at the center of it) and until 1993 formed the country Czechoslovakia together with Slovakia. Its geography is very varied, with many low mountains. Czech republic has a rich tradition of music, literature, glass art, theatre, sports and science. It is one of the least religious populations in the world. The main export is cars and car parts, followed by electronic components. Czech is a popular tourist destination, especially the capital Prague (Praha). Future adoption of the Euro will likely increase tourism further. One of the tourist attractions is beer, especially beer festivals, but also national parks, spa towns, puppet festivals and the biggest waterpark in Central Europe.
The Czech cuisine is heavy on meat, more so than before, as well as eggs and dairy, e.g. sour cream. Meals usually start with a soup. Dumplings are a popular dish, filled with e.g. smoked meat, spinach or sour cabbage. Food may be served with potatoes, buckwheat, millet, rice or noodles, braised cabbage is a common side dish. Barley is used too. Bread is made with rye, wheat, or a combination, and usually flavored with spices. Popular vegetables include bell peppers, peas, carrot, celery, turnip, cauliflower, beet, tomatoes, onion, leek, spinach and kale. Mushrooms are a common ingredient, as they grow plentifully in the Czech forests, and they are prepared in many different ways. Desserts include e.g. cakes, pastries (often containing fruit, nuts and/or poppy seeds) and fruit dumplings.
This recipe is very simple, but the caraway adds an unusual taste to it. It is very earthy, complementing the earthiness of the mushrooms. I used a mushroom mix with chestnut mushrooms and two other types of mushrooms. I changed the recipe a bit, as it was quite greasy and you get much better results if you first fry mushrooms without any fat.
Mushrooms with caraway (Czech)
4 tbsp margarine or coconut oil
1/2 cup/1.2 dl finely chopped onion
1 lb/450 g fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp caraway seed
salt and black pepper, to taste
Fry mushrooms on a dry pan (you can add a splash of water if needed) until they have exuded their juices and most of them have evaporated. Remove from the pan. Fry the onions until translucent, 4-6 minutes. Add the mushrooms, caraway seed and salt. Sauté for 10-15 minutes. Serve hot as a side dish.