All posts filed under: Macedonia


Monday Meal Review: Macedonia

THE SCENE It took four batches of dough. Eight pizzas… I think. Honestly, I can’t be sure. I lost count. There were many casualties. First, my fingers, from impatiently grabbing hot crust. Then the tip of my tongue, from greedily tasting the pizza too soon. And, of course, my clothes, the counters, and even the cat all groaned under a thick coating of flour. Even Ava was out of sorts on our first tasting, throwing an all out temper tantrum on the floor before begrudgingly sampling half a tiny bite of pizza. Hoping to get the recipe right, I persevered. Over and over again I made the dough, diced the pork, and popped Macedonian pizzas onto the searingly hot baking stone. Sometimes the egg didn’t cook. Sometimes the dough didn’t rise (one batch, a bit too stiff, was simply too dry to puff up). Sometimes the egg slid off the pizza completely. And one time, it seemed the oven was 100 degrees hotter than expected. I’m not entirely sure how that happened, but the result …

Read More

Rice Pudding | Sutlijash

Looking back, I’m not sure how I resisted for so long. Honestly. We’re more that halfway done eating the world and, yet, I haven’t made regular ol’, plain Jane, rice pudding (something altogether different than the exotic sticky rice coconut pudding I made for Laos). I find this fact is so surprising because, whenever I crack open my cookbooks to research the food of another country, I run into rice pudding. Rice pudding iseverywhere, on every continent, in all forms. Since globalization has made rice easily available to most peoples, this basic dish continues to spread throughout the world like wildfire. The dessert is a staple on our world “menu,” especially for the tropical countries, along with anything plantain, avocado, or banana. So, here we are. I’m giving in. I’m going for it! You can thank Macedonia, where they enjoy a version called Sutlijash. The simple recipe brings a happy stick of cinnamon and fresh lemon peel to the pot, which adds a subtle, sunshiny note to an otherwise sweet, hearty pudding. As for my delay? Perhaps I didn’t broach …

Read More

Roasted Pepper & Eggplant Salad

While I’ve always loved a good ratatouille, there’s something so … soft about it. While that’s fine for a cloudy sort of day, on bright, cheery days, I’m in the mood for definition. Clear edges. Decisiveness. Which brings us to today’s roasted salad, from the Macedonian Global Table. She’s all of those things while still being easy-breezy. The reason she’s so defined? The eggplant and peppers are pre-cut and roasted, which gives good browning and clean edges. Once tossed with fresh tomatoes and a sprinkling of lemon juice, this salad just begs to be eaten with crusty bread and a glass of wine (Macedonia has long produced good wines and CNN even called her the new Napa Valley in 2010). This is a minimalist salad; every single ingredient gets the attention it deserves. I wish the same for you. Ingredients: 1 eggplant, cubed 3 bell peppers, diced 2 large cloves garlic, sliced salt & pepper oregano, optional 1/4 cup olive oil, more to taste 1-2 tomatoes, diced lemon juice, to taste Method: The best way to …

Read More

Macedonian Pizza | Pastrmajlija

The air buzzes with excitement. Ava pats the dough and we’re on our way to Macedonian pizza (Pastrmajlija), an addicting combination of diced pork, olive oil, and cracked eggs.  Together, her little hands next to my big hands, we shape the pizza two ways -first in a traditional full-moon circle and then in a Valentine’s-inspired heart. While some might say the shapes taste the same, I beg to differ. Anything heart-shaped tastes infinitely better than that same thing not heart-shaped. Dressed up in a dusting of black pepper, the pork sizzles in the oven and turns slightly golden. The rich, golden yolk makes the entire pizza taste like a dreamy breakfast. Simple to make and yet so full of flavor. That’s love. NOTES: Traditional Pastrmajlija is made with pork smoked in a “pusnici” during the cool winter months (October-February).  This video shows what a pusnici looks like. Since I lacked access to the traditional method, I used fresh pork. Seek out smoked meats, however, if you can! Here’s what an authentic Pastrmajlija looks like:   Also, you may wish to …

Read More

Menu: Macedonia

Global Table Adventure has a weird way of knitting bits and pieces of my life together. For example, today my best friend from my college years, upon seeing we were cooking Macedonia, wrote to inform me that her first marriage proposal was from a Macedonian man. This would be altogether unremarkable, except for the fact that, despite keeping in touch here and there over the years, I knew nothing of any marriage proposals, let alone a “first.” Had I never cooked Macedonia, I might never have found out. And now I am left to wonder… Who is this mysterious Macedonian? How did it happen? Was she in Macedonia, or was she at home in NYC? Were they star-crossed lovers, or was the entire affair simply a flash in the pan? I eagerly await her reply although, as with all mysteries, it’s also fun to imagine the answers on my own. Today, in honor of learning new things about old friends, here’s our Macedonian menu… full of easy comfort food and a lot of love. What …

Read More
Lake Ohrid, in the Republic of Macedonia. Photo by Markus Bernet.

About the food of Macedonia

Mmmm… M! We’re finally here. Yesterday, when I told my husband Keith (a.k.a. Mr Picky) that we were about to launch into the M’s with this week’s Macedonian Global Table, he was surprised. I’m pretty sure he never thought we’d make it. And to be honest, I’m not sure I did either. Every letter until now has seemed like the beginning of the alphabet – the beginning of the Adventure. The thing about M is how much it sounds like progress – like we’re going places. Then Keith calculated that we’d be here for the next five months or so. Hmmm. Time to get comfortable. So, M… Macedonia. Let’s go and say hello… (Just be sure to look up while we do. Literally. Macedonia roughly translates to “tall ones” … most likely in reference to the ancient people’s height and to the mountainous terrain). In fact, everything seems to be scaled up… and way up high. To say that she’s studded with mountains is an understatement. In fact, most likely thanks to her gritty geography, Macedonia lays claim …

Read More