Monday Meal Review: Albania

This week Albanian Vegetables were my favorite

This is Meal #2 in my personal challenge: to eat one meal from every country in the world. I'll be honest with you. I spent most of Saturday feeling a bit put out.  I rummaged through my spice drawer for nothing in particular. I picked up and put down a head of garlic at least 5 times. Cooking with just one herb or spice per dish felt very, well, foreign to me.  None of these dishes even had garlic in them. Exercising restraint was not easy but, as we all know, this is what I am here … [Read more...]

Recipe: Llokume (Turkish Delight)

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Makes approximately 50 pieces Llokume was popularized in Eastern Europe and North Africa during the Ottoman empire. This recipe makes enough Turkish Delight to share. Bring the confection to a special friend or a party, and you will learn why Albanians are just one of many cultures that find this dessert delightful. Ingredients: For the candy: 4 cups granulated sugar 1 Tbsp real lemon juice 1 1/2 cup water, plus an additional 2 3/4 cups 1 cup cornstarch 1 tsp cream of … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tava Elbasani (Lamb Baked in Yogurt)

Lamb in Yogurt

  Serves 4-6 Although this dish is simple, the tender lamb and tangy yogurt are very satisfying on a cold winter's day.  Use Hungarian Paprika to give the dish mild heat. Ingredients: 3 lbs lamb, cut into 10 pieces 2 cups cooking water from lamb 2 Tbsp butter 2 Tbsp flour 4 eggs 3 cups greek yogurt 1 tbsp white rice 1 tsp red pepper (paprika) salt Method: 1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sear the lamb on all sides. Do not crowd. You may have to sear … [Read more...]

Recipe: Turli Perimesh (Albanian Vegetables)

Albanian Vegetables

Serves 4-6 Turli Perimesh is a light and refreshing accompaniment to meat. The influence of Italian cusine on Albania is apparent both in the use of squashes and fresh parsley. Ingredients: 2 medium onions 2 zucchini 1 yellow squash 1 white potato 1 can diced tomatoes (in the summer use 2 fresh tomatoes) 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 1 cup water olive oil Method: 1. Dice all vegetables in 1 inch cubes. 2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add onion … [Read more...]

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...]