Trowel and Fork

Chicken Paprikáš with Halušky: Sour cream, sweet paprika and dumplings!

Mains, Recipes | May 27, 2015 | By

Chicken Paprikáš with Halušky
Chicken Paprikáš was a staple at our dinner table in winter. With its flour dumplings and sour-cream heartiness, it always warmed the kitchen when it was cold and snowy outside in Salt Lake City. Paprikáš is a dish served throughout the former Austria-Hungary, but I can’t help but be partial to the one I grew up with. Here’s my mom’s recipe:
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  1. 6 chicken breasts, 8 chicken thighs, 8 drumsticks (all skinless) or any other combination you like
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 4 tablespoons sweet paprika
  5. ½ cup boiling water
  6. 2 tablespoons Wondra
  7. 1-1 ½ cup sour cream
  8. ¾-1 teaspoon salt
  9. ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Halušky
  1. 2 ⅓ cups (300 grams) Wondra flour
  2. ½ teaspoon salt
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 cup (220 ml) water
  5. Pat of butter
  1. Heat electric skillet or large, but shallow saucepan to medium-high heat. Dice the onion and coat the hot skillet with oil. Add the diced onion and saute until transparent. Add skinned chicken pieces to onions and sear on both sides until light brown. Remove skillet from heat and add paprika and mix thoroughly. Return to heat and add ½ cup of boiling water to chicken mixture; add salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken and set aside. Mix flour into the sour cream and then add to the onion-paprika sauce. Mix with wire whisk until smooth and add salt, pepper and sour cream to taste. Slowly heat until it boils and maintain boil for five minutes. Add chicken piece back into the sauce. Heat and serve with halušky.
For the Halušky
  1. Mix ingredients together until it’s a paste-like consistency. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, similar to one you’d prepare for boiling pasta. Prepare a colander in the sink to drain the halušky and place a glass bowl with a pat of butter in an oven at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Dsp a wooden cutting board into the boiling water and Spread the dough mixture onto the board until it’s about a half-inch thick. Take the side of a soup spoon and flick little pieces of dough into the boiling water.
  2. When all the dumplings are made, bring pot to boil for a few seconds and then pour the halušky into the colander. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Put them into the heated buttered bowl and return to oven for about five minutes.
  3. Serve halušky topped with chicken paprikaš.
Trowel and Fork

Gardener’s Twofer: First Ketchup ‘N’ Fries Plant Hits U.S. Market

Mains, Portfolio | February 12, 2015 | By

Love growing potatoes and tomatoes? This spring, gardeners in the U.S. (and Europe) will be able to get both tuber and fruit from a single plant.

"It's not just any old tomato or any old potato. It's actually a really good, all-around potato at the base," says Michael Perry with Thomas

“It’s not just any old tomato or any old potato. It’s actually a really good, all-around potato at the base,” says Michael Perry with Thomas

It even has a catchy name: Ketchup ‘n’ Fries.

“It’s like a science project,” says Alice Doyle of SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables, the company that’s licensing the variety for U.S. markets from the U.K. company that developed it. “It’s something that is really bizarre, but it’s going to be fun [for gardeners] to measure and see how it grows.”

This isn’t a genetically modified organism but a plant of two different nightshades: the top of a cherry tomato grafted onto a white potato.

“Tomatoes and potatoes are in the same family, and that makes it feasible,” says John Bagnasco, also of SuperNaturals.

Grafting, the technique of taking two different plants in the same family and fusing them together, has been around since ancient times. Today, fruit trees, grape vines and roses are still grafted onto well-established rootstocks. (A New York artist is even attempting to graft branches from 40 different kinds of stone fruit onto a single tree, as The Salt reported in August.)

Grafting is advantageous for higher yields and disease resistance. For example, a tree that is genetically resistant to soil diseases might not produce a juicy peach or a perfectly tart apple. So plant breeders can take branches from trees with tastier fruit and graft them onto the hardy rootstocks.

Sam Van Aken’s grafted fruit trees are still quite young, but this artist rendering shows what he expects the “Tree of 40 Fruit” to look like in springtime in a few years.

Guerrilla grafter Tara Hui grafts a fruiting pear branch onto an ornamental fruit tree in the San Francisco Bay Area. She doesn’t want the location known because the grafting is illegal.

Over the past century, botanists have discovered vegetable or soft-tissue grafting. Grafters will take two separate seedlings — with stems of the same size and shape — and cut them in half. The top of one is then matched with the wound of the bottom. They are fused with a tiny plastic clip and taken into a special greenhouse while they grow into one plant. If the combination is correct, the whole organism should be stronger.

This idea of the tomato-potato twofer isn’t actually new either. In the early 1900s, botanist Luther Burbank successfully grafted a potato top onto a tomato root, creating a viable plant — except that it was, shall we say, fruitless. He even experimented with a tomato-potato hybrid, affectionately named a “pomato.” Since then, home gardeners have experimented with these chimera-esque grafted plants to varying success.

Finding the right partners is tricky at best. You have to find two plants that work well together to produce a balanced harvest of fruit and tubers.

“If you’re growing a potato from a seed, as the potato germinates, the stem is much thinner than a tomato when it germinates,” says Bagnasco. “You have to start the seeds at separate times and try to get the potatoes’ stem up to size.”

The plant is an early tomato grafted to a late-producing potato. The two can be harvested throughout the season. SuperNaturals

The plant is an early tomato grafted to a late-producing potato. The two can be harvested throughout the season.

After five years of experimenting, SuperNaturals decided to license an already successful variety developed for Thomas & Morgan, a U.K.-based plant company. About 40,000 TomTatoes were sold last year in the U.K., says Michael Perry, a product development manager for Thomas & Morgan who worked on TomTato. He says the goal was to make a combination that was more than a novelty plant.

“It’s not just any old tomato or any old potato. It’s actually a really good, all-around potato at the base,” Perry says. “Then on the top you’ve got the potential to have up to 500 super-sweet fruit.”

The nearly translucent Glass Gem Corn looks more like a work of art than a vegetable.

They also had to find an early tomato and late-producing potato, so the two could be harvested throughout the season. It took 15 years to develop the winning combination.

The TomTato is being released as Ketchup ‘n’ Fries in the U.S. this spring, and the producers say the plant is sparking new interest in gardening. Perry says it wasn’t just his usual customers who were interested in this last year in the U.K.

“It was also teenagers and kids — people who wouldn’t have been interested before, so it kind of opened it to a wider audience,” he says.

SuperNaturals says garden centers across the country will be stocking Ketchup ‘n’ Fries in the spring. It’s also available online at Garden America and at the Territorial Seed Co.