The Land Beyond the Forest 3
Andrei was in his shed when Jim entered the driveway calling him.
“Hello Jim. I'm in the shed testing my Pálinka. It has finished fermenting for the second time.”
“Will you put it into barrels?”: asked Jim. “Not this batch. I have another batch using black cherries. Here have a taste.” said Andrei as he handed Jim a small glass of his Apricot Brandy.
Jim took a taste and his cheeks reddened. Then a light sweat ran across his brow. “Whoa that must be about 60 proof.” howled Jim.
“I think it's closer to 70 proof. You should taste it slowly to taste the Apricot flavor instead of woofing it down. Give me your glass and I'll fill it. Now go slow and savor the flavor. You should now taste the enhanced flavor of apricot like your MaMa does. Her warm hands heat the glass and the contents are more flavorful with heat. If one of us feels poorly in winter we heat the Pálinka and sip small spoonfuls daily.”
The two men sat outside the shed drinking their Pálinka and talking about bottling it. They went back in and Jim helped Andrei cap and cork the bottles.
Meanwhile Sue and Shelly were over at MaMa's house planning what they would take on the picnic tomorrow.
“I think we should make it simple with homemade sausage, cheese and bread.” said Márta with a laugh. She then said she was going to go out to the hen house and collect eggs.
“Yes, good idea and I'm sure the men will bring the bottles of palinka.” said Sue. Shelly said she hoped one of them brought the sausages because both of them made better sausage than she ever made.
“MaMa gave me her recipe and it is so easy to make. I have a wonderful mother in law you know. When Jim and I were first married she told me many of his favorite dishes and recipes. The recipe I usually use is quite simple. I use freshly slaughtered beef, salt, pepper,thyme,allspice, garlic, a pinch of soda and warm bone broth. Her secret I think was to grind everything very fine and work all the ingredients well using hands then chill it in the refrigerator overnight. She cooks them the next morning.”
“ I will try that next time I make sausage. Maybe Márta will let me watch her some day. I think I like the part about chilling in the refrigerator over night might be my problem because I usually get pushed from George into cooking the sausage right away.” said Shelly.
“Cooling overnight melds the flavors together for Mititei to melt in your mouth.” said Márta as she walked into the kitchen with a basket of fresh eggs. Miau scampered over to Márta rubbing her head on Márta's leg then started purring.
“My sweet Miau I forgot your saucer of cream. She put the eggs on the counter and got the cream. Miau lapped it up with greed until it was gone.
“Let's go outside at the long wood table and have some coffee and vanilla walnut cookies. I made them last week when I had nothing to do outside. Andrei and George were restocking my wood pile and I was going crazy and bored doing nothing. I actually made three batches and stored the extras in tins on the back room shelf.” said Márta.
Sue and Shelly helped carry the tray of cups and plates along with the coffee pot while Márta carried a large tin of vanilla walnut cookies.
George had been over at Andrei's shed with Jim and Andrei sampling the Pálinka. They were walking up the path to Márta laughing and speaking rather loud.
“Looks like you men have been sampling the Pálinka. Hope you left some for us ladies.” said Sue.
“Sorry the Apricot nectar is all capped ready to sit for a month or so. I do have more up at the house for daily sipping if you'd like a taste.” laughed Andrei.
“Thanks but we will wait for the picnic when we go to the caves.” replied Sue.
Shelly told them there was wonderful coffee and cookies that Márta had slaved making over a hot oven all afternoon. Andrei went over and kissed Márta's hand saying
“Thank you, my love then I will kiss your loving hands that have made these wonderful delicious cookies.” The six sat and savored the coffee and cookies while planning their trip.
You are special,
know how to give
a family to make
©Julia A Knaake