Recipe: Albanian Cornbread

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  Serves 6-8 The cheese and green onion make this cornbread unique. Dense and flavorful, the cornbread makes a great accompaniment to stews. Ingredients: 1-1/2 cups cornmeal 16 ounces cottage cheese 4 eggs 1 cup chopped scallions, plus 1 Tbsp for garnish 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted 1/4 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp thyme 4 ounces feta cheese, chunked 1/4 tsp salt Method: 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8" square casserole. 2. In a large bowl, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Byrek ose Lakror (Leek Pie)

The filling sets up after properly cooling.

Serves 8 Byrek ose Lakror emerges from the oven with a beautiful, shining crust. Cut into the pie too soon, however, and your dreams will shatter. You must wait a full hour for the pie's juices to redistribute. Ingredients: Leek Filling 2 large leeks, cleaned and very thinly sliced (use only the white/light green part. Thick slices and/or green parts won't cook properly) 6 eggs 1/4 cup greek yogurt (or regular yogurt strained for 30 minutes) 1 lbs. cottage cheese, strained … [Read more...]

Albanian Folk Music

Introducing Albanian folk music from 1945. This is seriously old school. I find it electrifying in an "I like to watch old movies" kind of way. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCAIvWzn_9k] … [Read more...]

Tidbits about Albania

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1. Businesses shut down around noon for a few hours to enjoy the main meal of the day. I could get behind this. Really, I could. 2. Dessert is not common, but oranges, apples, nuts, and berries are. The question is not if, but how my husband would murder me if I removed sweets from our home. 3. Men and women traditionally eat at separate tables. I was always a fan of the children's table, but not so much this.  Afterall, I have opinions and they need to be heard by as many … [Read more...]

Video & Poll: How to make Albanian Lamb in Yogurt

How do Albanians prepare their food? Who better to ask than a local... with an accent to die for. In this video a woman from central Albania prepares Tava Elbasani, Lamb in Yogurt. She literally bathes the lamb in yogurt prior to baking. The resulting gravy-custard is the most intruiging part of this dish. This Saturday I'll give it a whirl... would you? [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-ayktdc2P4&feature=related] I really want to know... Would you? Could you? In your … [Read more...]

Menu: Albania

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When the weather drops below 30, I crave hot, filling food. This last month Oklahoma saw snow, sleet, and ice, so I filled our menu with Albanian comfort food.  Mmm, I can hardly wait! Byrek ose Lakror (Leek Pie) [Recipe] Sautéed leeks and cottage cheese are the stars of this dish. Tava Elbasani (Lamb baked in yogurt) [Recipe] In central Albania lamb is traditionally baked in yogurt custard. This dish even makes mutton moist. Turli Perimesh (Vegetables with parsley) … [Read more...]

About Albanian Food – Single in Albania

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Whimsical. A pinch of this. A dash of that. This is how I cook. This is not, however, how Albanians cook. In fact, they are known for choosing only one spice (or herb) to enhance each dish. According to the National Tourist Organization of Albania (NTOA), Albanian chefs rarely mix spices, instead choosing one that harmonizes most closely with the dish’s natural aroma. Red pepper, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and mint are common. Thanks to the climate Albanians can easily grow … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Afghanistan

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This is Meal #1 in my personal challenge: to eat one meal from every country in the world. No one moved an inch. Afghan music tiptoed softly about the room. Steam rose from our plates. I knew, as hostess to our dinner party of four, I had to make the first move. Holding my breath, I dipped my fingers into the slimy eggplant and brought the food to my lips. There was a pause. "Wow. This is.... good!" I said. The tension gave way to giggles. My … [Read more...]