All posts filed under: Bulgaria

Cold soup recipes from around the world.

Chill out with 7 cold soups from around the world

A few things have changed since the early days of this blog (namely the photography), but one thing is certain: I love a good, chilled soup in the summer. Here are seven awesome cold soup recipes from around the world that aren’t gazpacho – because, my goodness, there are other cold soups besides gazpacho! So, without further ado, summer’s almost over – let’s skip the heat and chill out. 1. Mul Naengmyeon | Korea [Recipe] This Korean recipe is the most recent addition to our collection – a soup so cold, it is actually served with ice. It’s claim to fame? The balance of flavor between earthy buckwheat noodles spicy cucumber, sweet Asian pear, and tart vinegar. The best part? This soup is DIY, so everyone can add exactly what they like (and leave out the rest) – perfect for picky eaters who want to stovetop travel to Korea! 2. Rye Bread Soup with Homemade Rhubarb Raisins | Iceland [Recipe]   A soup made with bread? Yup. It’s thick, heavy on the rye, and just odd enough to get …

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Monday Meal Review: Bulgaria

“Where’s the beef?” said Keith’s dad, wide eyed. In all his sixty-plus years on earth, this was probably his first vegetarian meal. Ever. What can I say. He’s Oklahoma, through and through. Six months ago, I would have been nervous about putting this feast in front of him. I’d probably have served a platter beef on the side. Heck, I who am I kidding. The entire meal would have been a meat-lover’s delight. I’m a people-pleaser, to the max. But eating food around the world has changed me. I love trying new foods with friends and family. I love the discussion it generates, the unexpected reactions, the laughter, the fun. Although he didn’t say much after his initial wide-eyed outburst, I could tell by the polite, but pained look on his face that this was not a meal he’d eat again. Too cold. Too weird. Too … meatless. Still, I took pride in the little I could do to broaden his palate of experiences. Simply put, watching him eat an entirely cold, vegetarian meal was …

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Iced Fruit Drink | Kompot

Makes 3-4 liters Many eastern European countries enjoy Kompot all year round. This sweet, chilled drink is refreshing on a hot summer’s day and, in the winter, Bulgarian children enjoy kompot as part of the Christmas celebration. Feel free to use your favorite fruit to make this recipe your own. Mint could even be added for fresh flavor. When serving, be sure to give everyone a few bits of fruit at the bottom of their glass! Ingredients: 10 cups water 1 cup sugar 6 oz prunes 4 oz currants (about 3/4 cup) 3 oz dried apricots 4-8 cups ice 1. Add all ingredients, except ice, to  a large pot. First the prunes – not just for old ladies, you know! I keep prunes in my fridge door for snacking on. I can only get Keith to eat them if I call them dried plums. Go figure. Next, the dried apricots. This particular brand is organic. I’ve never seen such dark, sultry apricots before – they look like fireplace embers, right before they burn out. Then, …

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Roasted Eggplant & Bell Pepper Dip | Kyopolou

Serves 4-6 Kyopolou melds roasted, sweet peppers, eggplant, and ripe tomatoes to make a dipping sensation. Serve with pita bread or alongside white fish. Be sure to prepare a day ahead (or at least several hours) so that the flavors can properly distribute. Otherwise the garlic will be too sharp and bitter. If you simply must serve this dish right away, use less garlic. Ingredients: 3 eggplants 4 red bell peppers 3 tomatoes (I used roma) 2-5 cloves garlic fresh parsley, to taste 1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar olive oil, as needed salt pepper Method: 1. Rinse and poke holes in the eggplant. This prevents unsightly explosions. 2. Roast eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes on a medium-low grill for about an hour, flipping once. You may also cook them at 350F in a conventional oven. NOTE: For a mellow garlic flavor, you may roast the cloves. Wrap in foil and remove when soft and sweet – about 30 minutes. Everything will get all wrinkly and charred. I know what you’re thinking. Looks like “ew.” I promise …

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Chilled Cucumber Soup | Tarator

Serves 4 Is your air conditioner busted? No problem – you’ll be cool as a cucumber as you sip on chilled Bulgarian cucumber & yogurt soup (Tarator).  Heck, take a bath in it. All that yogurt and cucumber has to be good for the skin. Right? Although many people enjoy this soup with little pieces of cucumbers, I liked it extra vevelty smooth. If you would like the texture, reserve half a cucumber and thinly slice it. I’d do half moons, or even smaller. Ingredients 2 small cucumbers, peeled, diced, salted & drained 3 cups Bulgarian yogurt 1 Tbsp olive oil 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2-3 cups ice water (optional) dill for garnish Method: 1. Place all ingredients (except water and dill), into a blender. Removing the bitter skin of the cucumber makes the soup smooth and light. Salt draws out any lingering bitterness in the flesh of the cucumber. Let the juices drain out for about 30 minutes. You can skip this step if your cucumber tastes sweet. Here’s the best part of the …

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Photo Courtesy of The Bulgarian National Museum of History

Three Interesting Facts About Bulgaria (with Poll)

It’s a beautiful morning here in Tulsa. The birds are chirping, the sky is blue, and Keith got up with the baby last night! Here’s a few fun facts … Bulgarian Rose oil Bulgaria is one of the world’s largest producers of rose oil. This liquid gold is used to flavor chocolates, liqueurs, and jams. Oh, and rose scented perfume, but you shouldn’t eat that. The primary producer is called the Valley of the Roses (located in central Bulgaria, in the town of  Kazanluk). Hidden treasures in Bulgaria In 1985, a villager from Rogozen was digging a well in his vegetable garden and unearthed 165 silver and gold vessels. The loot is now on display in Bulgaria. This is just one of several similar stories! What would you do if you found treasure in your garden? Turn it in, sell it, or keep it? Yogurt & cheese are staples Cheese and yogurt are extremely popular in Bulgaria. Sirene cheese is salty, crumbly, and firm – much like feta. Kashkaval is technically the Bulgarian term for any …

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Savory Cheese Pastry | Banitsa

Serves 6 My husband is officially in love with Bulgaria. To be fair, he didn’t stand a chance. Second only to pure sugar, Keith loves anything that includes butter, pastry, or cheese. This recipe boasts all three, and in eye-popping quantities. Not to say it was love at first sight. It wasn’t. After all, my pastry skills are minimal. But, hey, we can all use a little forgiveness in the kitchen, from time to time. Especially when it comes to pastries. Thankfully, phyllo dough spreads, puffs and crackles haphazardly, hiding flaws brilliantly. Bulgarians serve this vegetarian cheese pastry room temperature or cold with plain yogurt on the side. Add spinach for a healthy variation. Note: Bulgarian yogurt, a little runny and decidedly tangy, is available for purchase at health food stores. Ingredients: 6 eggs 1/2 tsp baking soda 3/4 lb sirene cheese (or feta) 1/2-1 stick butter 1/2 package of thawed phyllo dough (about 21 individual sheets) Method: 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Melt some butter. NOTE: You’ll need half a ton of butter, or …

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Menu: Bulgaria

We’ve been huddled around the air conditioner for, oh, about 2 months now. That’s why, this week, I’m making a completely “cool” dinner, made possible by Bulgaria. Thank goodness for chilled soup, dips, drinks, and pastries. Mmm. P.S. This meal just so happens to be vegetarian (with one vegan dish). Chilled Cucumber Soup (Tarator) [Recipe] Refreshing blend of Bulgarian yogurt and cucumber, with a hint of garlic. Garnish with dill and/or crushed walnuts. Savory Cheese Pastry (Banitsa) [Recipe] Phyllo dough filled with salty cheese, egg, and baking soda. Quick, easy, and impressive. Serve room temperature or chilled. Roasted Eggplant & Bell pepper dip (Kyopolou) [Recipe] Smoky roasted eggplant, bell pepper, and tomatoes pureed with fresh garlic, parsley, vinegar, and olive oil. A great dip for parties, kyopolou is best served the day after preparation. Vegan. Chopped Salad (Shopska Salata) [Recipe] We made Shopska Salata for Bosnia and Herzegovina. This refreshing tomato, pepper, red onion, and feta cheese salad is also popular in Bulgaria, with the common addition of sliced cucumbers. Iced Fruit Drink (Kompot) [Recipe] …

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About Bulgarian Food

Bulgaria will always make me smile. Exactly one week before I was to cook our Bulgarian Global Table, a young man from – you guessed it – Bulgaria came knocking on our door. I still haven’t pick my jaw up off the floor. I live on a tiny street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for goodness sakes! These things just don’t happen. Tall, gawky and very kind, Nick had one mission: to sell educational children’s books during his summer break. When my mother discovered the origins of his thick accent, she threw caution to the wind and pulled him inside. Cornered, he had no choice but to cooperate while I gave him the third degree. What did you eat as a child? What’s your favorite dessert? After thirty minutes, when the color had completely drained from his face, I finally let him talk to me about his books. It was the least I could do. I learned several important points from Nick. Bulgarians eat many of the things we eat here, in the United States. “We have …

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