I'm not a DIY kind of a guy. Really, I'm not. At all. Lately, I've found myself knee deep in projects that stupify me. Not only are they tedious and frustrating, they keep me out of the kitchen. Pouring concrete, re-building window frames, grouting, sanding, and painting have left little time for me to fuss around in the kitchen.
This past Sunday was filled with projects. Because they were my primary focus for the entire day, I needed our Sunday supper to practically cook itself, unattended. The ticket? A long slow languid braise.
German and Slavic flavor profiles inspire me. They're part of me. I was born in Germany, lived in Austria, and was cared for by an escaped Eastern Bloc Czechloslovakian hotel chef. My younger years were influenced by the similar culinary traditions of those three countries. Frau Olga, my nanny, was a wonderful cook. She cooked effortlessly and constantly, preparing meals inspired by her native Czechloslovakian cuisine intertwined with Austrian and German undertones. Her loving devotion to braising, simmering, and baking filled our house with warm comfortable aromas that gently wafted up and through the elaborate black wrought iron spiral staircase that anchored our 5 story Vienna apartment. I was a lucky kid.
I craved that aroma and comfort last Sunday, so I drew from the spirit of my dear Frau Olga and adapted an unconventional version of her incredible braised Czech pepper steak.
I did both.