Monday Meal Review: Montenegro

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I'm at the grocery store, eyeing shelf upon shelf of neatly stacked packages of noodles. There are about 25 brands - each boasting some variation of regular, whole wheat, gluten-free, or loaded-with-spinach pasta. Three feet over there's another 5 brands sitting pretty in the chiller. These are the fresh pastas. The ones that taste like you made them yourself. The ones that cost $10 for two servings. Hello. I feel my anxiety mounting. Deep breath. It's just pasta. It's just pasta. How … [Read more...]

Recipe: Chilled Buckwheat Noodle Salad with Feta & Cracked Black Pepper

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It only seems natural that we eat something black during our week at the Black Mountain (a.k.a Montenegro).  But here's the thing - nothing in life is black and white. There are all sorts of shades of gray (that's where the beauty is - somewhere in the muddled middle). So, in the spirit of variety, we're adding a few shades of gray to our pasta. We've got black pepper, white feta, and charcoal grey buckwheat noodles with a bit of sparkle from pools of golden olive oil. This is simple as … [Read more...]

Recipe: Balkan Burger (with poll)

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You don't have to know how to pronounce it to enjoy eating it. Pljeskavica. If this long, meandering string of letters makes you stutter, just clap your hands, because that's what Pljeskavica means - the sound of hands clapping as the "Balkan burger" patties are formed. And this is not just a big word. This is big food. This is the original "super-size." Not only are the patties large enough to cover a small plate, they contain as many as 6 cuts of meat from three different animals. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Ajvar, Roasted Pepper Spread

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Some days I dream about reinventing myself - pulling myself up, out of the ordinary into the wildly wonderful. On these ornery-sorts-of-days, I imagine myself strutting around in a bold color I've never worn before, like mustard yellow. On really good days I actually make these dreams happen. I become a mustard-wearing queen. Other days I just end up wearing mustard. Literally. That's the way life goes: sometimes change works, sometimes it doesn't. The fun is in the trying. Are you willing … [Read more...]

Menu: Montenegro

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I might be a little ahead of myself this week. I can't help it. People have been asking me when the pools open. Women are wearing sun dresses and sunglasses.  On Sunday Ava said "my head is crying," with a look of astonishment, as beads of sweat dripped down her head after a good play session. You see, way back in April the weather spiked straight up, into the 80s and 90s. It might be May, but we might as well be in the heart of summer. I'm ready to kick off my shoes, run through the … [Read more...]

About the food of Montenegro

Black Lake, Montenegro. Photo by Nije Bitno.

This week we're eating Montenegro - where the mountains reach right up, into the clouds, like giant forks. By all appearances, they hold up the very sky herself. And then there are Montenegro's lakes which sparkle like eternal springtime. With beauty that has even captured National Geographic's attention for their coveted magazine cover photo, Montenegro is at once rugged and disarmingly serene. Funny that the country means "Black Mountain," a name which sounds straight out of Lord of the … [Read more...]