Eat The World

195 Countries

One Good One Bad July 20, 2012

Filed under: Albania — Emily @ 10:33 pm

The first dish I made this week was eggs with peppers, onions and tomatoes. This dish was from The Best of Albanian Cooking and is pretty similar to some Italian recipes I’ve tried. I served it with pita bread. I fried a bell pepper, 4 tomatoes and an anaheim. When they were cooked down, I cracked 4 eggs into the pot and covered it for 3-4 min. I enjoy a liquid yolk but John doesn’t. Cook longer if you want it more solid!

Image

Another dish I made this week was chicken and spinach cooked in yogurt. I used a frozen spinach and it was just way too much spinach. The way it was cooked, the yogurt became very sour and unpleasant. We were not fans. And as you can see below, I served it over rice even though a flat bread would be more authentic.

Image

I didn’t have a lot of time to research or read this week so this is all for  now on Albania! I would like to make Turkish Delight like Global Table Adventure but I’m not sure I will have the time for it.

Advertisements
 

2 – Albania July 12, 2012

Filed under: Albania — Emily @ 3:10 pm

It appears from some light reading on the subject, that a favorite food of Albania is chicken livers! I’m afraid I’m not very epicurean and our little family draws the line at offal. Luckily Albania has a ton of delicious dishes and I was able to cook two this week!

Albanians have a number of savory pies called Byrek.

This recipe is from the Best of Albanian Cooking by Klementina and John Hysa and also inspired by Global Table Adventure. This recipe is lighter.

Cook 4 leeks in a ton of butter until soft. Add 1/4 lb. ground meat (we chose chicken) and saute until cooked. Remove from heat and add in 3 eggs, salt and pepper. Don’t be stingy with the salt. Prepare the crust by using 1 package of fully defrosted phyllo dough. Be sure to lay a damp cloth over the dough while you are working with it because it dries out super fast. Layer two sheets at a time, brushing with oil between each two, on the bottom. Use half the package here. Add the filling and then use the remainder. You might choose to make a pretty design if you are a kitchen goddess but I just tucked and folded and tried to make it not look like a train wreck.

Cook at 350 for 35 min until top is golden brown. Make sure to let it rest for a good half hour before cutting into it.

The flavor was reminiscent of a quiche but the phyllo was nice and crunchy. Byrek’s are a very common pie and have a number of different fillings including the one used in GTA’s blog with feta cheese or cottage cheese. John gave this two thumbs up.

I also had time to make dessert.

I found this recipe on a blog but it is originally from the Moosewood Cookbook. The recipe is an Albanian Walnut Cake with Lemon Glaze and as the blog author mentions, it’s more like a muffin-y/coffee cake batter. We all loved it and best thing is, it was easy to make.

I ate my piece while doing OChem!

I was curious how authentic this recipe was and as I looked through the Albanian cookbooks, I didn’t really see any cakes similar to this. Typical Albanian desserts are halva, stewed fruits, baklava, and fruit jellies like Turkish Delight. I found a recipe in one cookbook under Turkish food called Soft Walnut Cake “Ulutma” which was a walnut cake with semolina flour and a lemon syrup glaze.

An interesting thing when looking into the cuisine here is the large influences from North, South, East and West. Albania owes a large part of it’s cultural heritage from two main sources, Greece and Turkey. It is positioned directly north of Greece and you can see that with the feta cheese, phyllo dough, baklava and moussaka. Albania was also invaded and occupied by the Ottoman Empire from Turkey for a considerable length of time. From Turkey you see the kofta, korma, halva and other of those very typical Middle Eastern dishes.

I’m excited to get into Albania as this is another country that I know little of its past. My reading list is quite long this time and finals are coming up so we’ll see exactly how many more I can get through!

Cookbooks:

  • The Best of Albanian Cooking – Klementina and John Hysa
  • The Ottoman Kitchen – Sarah Woodward
  • The Balkan Cookbook – Vladimir Mirodan
  • The Balkan Cookbook – Jugoslovenska Knjiga

Other:

  • The Albanians: A Modern History – Miranda Vickers
  • The Bridge on the River Drina – Ivo Andric
  • The General of the Dead Army – Ismail Kadare
  • Black Lamb and Grey Falcon – Rebecca West
 

Kofta July 7, 2012

Filed under: Afghanistan — Emily @ 12:20 am

Like just about every country in Europe and the Middle East, Afghanistan has a meatball dish. Meatballs are an easy thing to make and are especially delicious with a creamy sauce. Since we are in the Middle East, we went with yogurt.

This recipe is adapted from the same cookbook as the other Afghan recipes, Afghan Food and Cookery by Helen Saberi.

The gist is, take some ground meat (we used turkey but lamb is more authentic) and mix it with a chopped onion, cilantro, ground coriander, cumin, ground cloves and cinnamon. Just a tiny bit of those spices. Add an egg for a binder and shape into balls or lil loaves.

The sauce was 2 chopped onions browned in oil with a Tbs. of tomato sauce. Brown the meatballs in the pan on all sides and then add some water to thicken the sauce and cook on low for about 30 min or until your meat is cooked through.

I will confess, I used the rice cooker. I’m sorry, nothing beats that for convenience. And since we had asparagus, I had to saute that in butter and add some lemon juice.

This was my last Afghan meal and John’s favorite. All the meals I made really revolved around meat and bread and I was hoping for more vegetables. With the future countries I’d like to try some veggie recipes and perhaps some dessert ones since I’m a huge dessert person. It was interesting to see the different influences on Afghan food.

One last tidbit about Afghanistan. The country has definitely had a tumultuous history having been invaded many times. Recently I watched that horrible history of Alexander the Great with Angelina Jolie in it as his mother. At any rate, Alexander was one of the many who invaded Afghanistan. Next came a Samanid invasion that converted the majority of the population to Islam. Afghanistan was also invaded by Genghis Khan, the Turks, the British and the Soviet Union. We are the latest in a long line of conquerors of this battered country.

This website has some beautiful photos of the country.

Next  up: Albania!