All posts filed under: Albania

Recipes from an Albanian Menu

Monday Meal Review: Albania

Exercising Restraint in the Albanian Kitchen I’ll be honest with you. I spent most of Saturday feeling a bit put out.  As I cooked my way through Albania, 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 – a trait I found in all the recipes we tried this week – felt, 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 for! Turns out paring down the aromatics in a recipe amplifies the main ingredient, resulting in big dose of bright, clean flavor. As with a theater performance, when a bare stage allows for the star to shine, each of these Albanian dishes left room for the main ingredients to steal the show. The Albanian Recipes Tava Elbasani | Lamb in Yogurt [Recipe] What did I like most about this dish? The tangy yogurt laced with Hungarian paprika makes …

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Lamb in Yogurt

Lamb Baked in Yogurt | Tava Elbasani

    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 just a few pieces at a time. 2. Add all pieces back into the pot and cover with water. Add a generous amount of salt and simmer for 1 hour. 3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add flour and stir until they blend and cook together. When the mixture thickens and begins to turn the color of light peanut butter, begin adding the water. Heat until thick, stirring constantly. You are essentially making gravy.  Let cool. 4. Preheat the oven to 350F. NOTE: I …

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Turkish Delight | Llokume

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 tartar 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 1 tsp rose water 1 tsp orange extract yellow food coloring red food coloring For the coating: 2lb bag confectioners sugar 1 cup cornstarch Method: SPECIAL NOTE: Be careful when cooking with boiling hot sugars. Only use glass or metal bowls/containers. No plastic. Day One: 1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan combine sugar, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture reaches 240F, or soft ball, on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. NOTE: Sometimes thermometers are slightly off. …

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Albanian Vegetables

Albanian Vegetables | Turli Perimesh

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 and saute until translucent. 3. Add zucchini and squash, browning lightly. 4. Add potato, tomatoes, parsley, and water. 5. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are tender and water has absorbed. Serve immediately. Votes: 1 Rating: 5 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Turli Perimesh is a light and refreshing accompaniment to meat. The influence of Italian cuisine on Albania is apparent both in the use of squashes and fresh parsley.Turli Perimesh (Albanian Vegetables) CourseSides & Salads LifestyleGluten-Free, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian Food TypePotatoes, Vegetables Servings Prep Time 4-6people 15minutes Cook Time 20minutes Servings Prep Time 4-6people 15minutes …

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Albanian Cornbread

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, combine all ingredients (cornmeal, cottage cheese, eggs, scallions, melted butter, paprika, thyme, feta, and salt. 3. Pour into prepared casserole and spread evenly. 4. Bake at 400F until lightly browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 35 minutes. 5. Garnish with remaining scallions. Serve warm. NOTE: This dish was excellent warm, but dries out quickly. On 3/27/12 I adjusted the recipe for more moisture. The first time we gave the little we had leftover to the birds. After the adjustments, even leftovers were moist and yummy. Adapted from Home Cooking Around the World, by David Ricketts and Mark Thomas Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: …

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The filling sets up after properly cooling.

Leek Pie | Byrek ose Lakror

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 for 30 minutes 4 oz crumbled feta cheese 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme, or dried thyme, ground salt, to taste (remember, feta cheese is very salty) 1/2 tsp pepper Pie Crust 1 package puff pastry 1 egg, beaten Method: 1. Preheat oven to 400F. 2. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients, except for leeks. When the mixture is smooth and blended, add diced leeks. Set aside. 3. Roll one sheet of puff pastry into a 15″ circle. Place pastry on the bottom of a 9″ pie dish. NOTE: You can also lay the puff pastry down in your pie dish …

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Tidbits about Albania

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 people as possible! 4. Albanians eat dinner around 8pm. I’m already in my pyjamas at 8pm. This would never work in our home. 5. Heart disease and obesity are rare due to low consumption of meat and high consumption of vegetables. Yum, vegetables! Eat more vegetables! 6. Heart disease and obesity are due to low consumption of meat and high consumption of vegetables. Repeated for my husband’s benefit. Source: Albania, Enchantment of the World, by David K. Wright Lifestyle influences diet: Historically, rural Albanians spent most of their time outdoors …

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Menu: Albania

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) [Recipe] A distinctly mediterranean blend of tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, potato, and parsley. Albanian Cornbread [Recipe] Scallions and feta make this cornbread memorable. Llokume (Turkish Delight) [Recipe] Plan four days ahead to indulge in this delectable confection. Our recipe comes in two flavors: orange and rose.

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