We are going to do a bit of “globe trotting” with our recipes today—all the way from the deep south to Lithuania, to Italy, to Hungary—just all over.

One thing about American cooking is that we have taken recipes from many cultures and have adopted and adapted them into a rich tradition of cooking.

Elsewhere in the paper today you will find the article about Maria Levenson. The Lithuanian recipes are hers. Beets are a staple in much of Eastern Europe and many delicious recipes come from there. I like to sometimes buy fresh beets at the store and roast them, and they are truly delicious. One time I was at a dinner and one of the featured items was a “Russian” potato salad to which beets had been added. Not only was it delicious, but it was beautiful, too.

I hope you will find something today that you’ll try. I’d love to hear from you!

Lithuanian Beet Soup (Barscaiai)

2 to 3 quarts soup stock

4 to 6 medium beets

1 onion

1 Tbs. butter

1 tsp. flour

1 cup sour cream

Make soup stock of either beer, smoked ham or shoulder or lamb. Strain. Cook whole beets separately, peel, grate coarsely or cut into julienne strips. Add to hot soup stock. Cut onion in small piece, fry lightly in butter, stir in flour and two to three tablespoons of the soup stock. Add to soup. Ladle off about a cup of the soup and allow it to cool slightly and then gradually stir it into the sour cream. Pour this cream mixture into the soup which has been removed from the heat as cream will curdle if the soup is too hot. One to two tablespoons lemon juice may be added to the soup if a tartness is desired.

Lithuanian Potato Pudding (Kugelis, Tarke)

Richard’s Note: while the name says “pudding” this is actually more like scalloped potatoes and is very much like the version my mother made.

10 large potatoes

1 medium onion

5 slices bacon

2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup hot milk or evaporated milk

3 eggs

Peel and grate fine the potatoes and onion. Cut the bacon crosswise into narrow strips and fry till crisp. Pour fat and bacon over potatoes. Add hot milk. Add beaten eggs one at a time, and the salt and the pepper. Pour into a greased pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and bake for 45 minutes longer. Cut into squares. Serve hot with sour cream as a main course or else as a side dish.

Mom’s Vinegar Pie

Richard’s Note: The Vinegar Pie is an old recipe and no doubt has its origins in “hard times,” If you have never had or made a vinegar pie you really should give it a try, and I think you will be surprised at how good it is. Growing up we had it often, and it really is very good.

1 quart hot water (put on low heat to keep hot)

2/3 cup vinegar (can use cider vinegar)

2 cups sugar (can use brown)

3 Tbs. flour

1/2 to 2/3 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup butter

Crust:

2 cups flour

2/3 cup shortening

Water enough to moisten

Roll one-third of the dough and cut into strips and place across the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle one-half of the sugar, flour and nutmeg onto the layer. Dot with butter. Roll out another one-third of the dough, cut into strips and make a second layer. Sprinkle with the rest of the sugar, flour, and nutmeg and dot with butter. Roll out the rest of the dough and cut into two pieces. Secure at the sides. It will have a slit in the middle. Pour the vinegar and water on top. Bake at 450° for about an hour.

Diabetic Pecan Pie

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

1 cup fruit sweetener

1 Tbs. cornmeal

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 Tbs. water

2 Tbs. cornstarch

3 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbs. very strong coffee or espresso, prepared

24 pecan halves

Prepare pastry and place in 9-inch pie pan. In large bowl, combine fruit sweetener, cornmeal and applesauce. Beat with an electric mixer. In a small bowl, blend water and cornstarch until smooth. Add to fruit sweetener mixture and blend. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and coffee. Pour mixture into pie shell. Decorate top with pecan halves. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until custard is set, at 375°. Cool slightly before cutting.

Crock Pot Pizza From Bob Creamer

Brown in skillet:

1 & 1/2 lb. Ground Chuck or use venison

1 large onion chopped

1 green pepper chopped

1 (1 lb.) box Rigatoni, cooked and drained

1 pkg. pepperoni

1 4 oz. can mushrooms

1 (48 oz.) jar Ragu Chunky Garden Spaghetti Sauce

2 large bags of Mozzarella cheese

Layer in Crock-Pot starting with the Spaghetti sauce then the Rigatoni and ending with the cheese. Let cook for one and one-half to two hours (Note: You can add anything that goes on a Pizza. Just use your own ideas on what goes into making a good pizza.)

Sauerkraut Casserole

2 pounds ground beef

I pkg. wide egg noodles

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 (14 oz.) can sauerkraut

2 cans tomato soup

2 cups Swiss cheese

Cook two pounds ground beef, drain. Then, drain two,14-ounce cans kraut. Cook one package of wide egg noodles. Then in a 9x13 cake pan put the drained kraut on the bottom. Sprinkle three-fourth cup brown sugar over the kraut and add ground beef in a layer. Put the cooked noodles over the kraut and beef. Then mix two cans of tomato soup with one can of water and pour over the top of noodles get it down the sides. Top with two cups Swiss cheese bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes. You can make this 24 hours ahead of time and refrigerate, but then you’ll have to bake it for 60 minutes.

Old Time Bean Soup

Note: This delicious bean soup has its origins in Eastern Europe. The beans do not have to be soaked ahead of time, which makes preparing this soup quick and easy.

1 & 1/2 lb. “smoked” ham shank,

3 whole allspice

1 large bay leaf

Several peppercorns

12 cups water

1/2 cup catsup

1 medium onion, diced

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can pork ‘n beans

1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained

1 & 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed small

1 tsp. Morton Season-All Seasoned Salt

Put ham shank, peppercorns, bay leaf, and whole allspice in soup kettle. Add 12 cups water. Bring to boil. Cook on medium for three hours (some of the water will cook away, that’s okay). After three hours, remove bay leaf, peppercorns, allspice and shank. Remove meat from bones. Discard everything but meat. Cube meat and return to broth. Add catsup, onion, tomatoes, pork ‘n beans, white beans, potatoes, and seasoning salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for one and one-half hours. Stir often. Serve. Great leftovers! (Note: If your ham shank is extra fatty, cook the broth the night before. Refrigerate overnight and in the morning remove the fat from the top. Then proceed with making the soup. Many people like to add a little vinegar to their bean soup and keep a small vinegar container on the table. I usually add about one teaspoon per cup of soup after it is in my soup bowl.)

Bela Varga’s Hungarian Chicken Paprikas

Richard’s Note: Ever since I first had this and Bela gave me the recipe, it has become one of my “go-to” recipes, and it really is delicious!

Fry one small, diced onion in one-fourth cup oil on low heat. When onion is golden yellow, add one chicken parts cut up as for frying. Saute on low heat for 5 minutes. Add two tablespoons of paprika and one-half teaspoon of salt. Stir, then add one green pepper cut into four or six pieces. Add one box fresh mushrooms washed and cut into halves. Cover pot and simmer slowly for approximately one hour or until meat is tender. (You may want to add one-fourth cup of wine or tomato juice.

Prepare Dumplings

Break one egg and add a pinch of salt and two teaspoons of water. Add regular flour until dough is like pizza dough. Cut the dough into boiling salted water with a small spoon. Make small chips. Cook until done about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook potatoes in boiling salt water until done and drain and set aside. When Paprikas is almost done add noodles for the last five minutes. The last two minutes of cooking add one-half cup of sour cream mixed with two tablespoons of water and two spoons of flour mixed to the consistency of half and half. Stir through hot Paprikas, to thicken. Serve with boiled potatoes.

Minestrone From Billie Doty

Richard’s Note: This is a good recipe, and you can vary the ingredients to suit your taste, but it is hearty and delicious just as it is!

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)

1 stalk celery, dices (about 3/4 cup)

2 medium zucchini, diced with peel

1 garlic clove, minced

3 medium potatoes (about 3/4 lb.)

3 cups Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced

1 (15 oz.) can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cans reduced sodium chicken broth

3 cups water

1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened —about six minutes. Add carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally—three minutes. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently one to two hours. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired. (Note: A lot of these things I do not measure. For instance, I have never found Savoy cabbage when needed. I simply chop 1/2 head cabbage. I do not measure onion, carrots or celery. Guessing works just fine.)

Zuppa Toscana

Richard’s Note: This wonderful soup from Tuscany is a favorite of many.

1 lb. spicy italian sausage,

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

3/4 cup diced onion

1 & 1/4 tsp. minced garlic

2 Tbs. chicken soup base

4 cups water

2 potatoes, halved and sliced

2 cups sliced kale

1/3 cup heavy cream

Add all ingredients to list

Brown sausage. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent; add garlic and cook one minute. Stir in broth, water and potatoes; simmer 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add sausage, kale and cream; simmer until heated through and serve. Ready in one hour and 15 minutes.

Paula Deen’s Tennessee Black Walnut Cake

Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1 & 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped black walnuts*

Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as necessary

1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract

1 (16 oz.) box confectioners’ sugar

2 cups finely chopped black walnuts, for garnish (optional)*

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. For the cake: In a medium bowl, stir together flour and baking soda; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together shortening and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, about two to three minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in black walnuts. Pour into prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare frosting. Melt butter in small saucepan. Add brown sugar and one-third cup cream. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about two minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until smooth. If frosting is too thick, add one tablespoon of heavy cream at a time until consistency is right. Sandwich two layers of cake with frosting. Frost the outside of the cake. Press chopped black walnuts on the sides of the cake, if desired.

*Cook’s Note: Do not substitute English walnuts for black walnuts.

Pineapple Pound Cake

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup shortening

2 & 3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

3 cups plain flour

6 eggs

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup crushed pineapple, (undrained)

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter, shortening and sugar. Add one cup flour with baking powder. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Add rest of flour with milk. Bake at 325° for one and one-half hours.

Glaze:

1/2 stick butter

1 cup crushed, undrained pineapple

1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Heat for two minutes and pour over warm cake.