Cookin’ Romanian Style

  So, there are some really AWESOME, mouth-watering traditional dishes here in Romania, all of which, I have mastered.  So today I made Sarmale, pronounced:  Saar-mall-ay.  Had a little meat left over, so I stuffed some bell peppers.  Here’s the 411 on how to make both!

 

Ingredients:

  1. 1 KG. Ground Beef
  2. 1 KG Ground Pok
  3. 1 Large Onion, chopped
  4. Salt – to taste
  5. Pepper (I prefer White) – to taste
  6. 2 bunches fresh Dill – chopped
  7. 1/2 Kilo uncooked white rice
  8. Grape Leaves*
  9. Steamed Cabbage leaves*
  10. Tony’s (if you like)
  11. Sausage, or some sort of meat on the bone – you’re choice
  12. Large Pot
  13. Bell Peppers
  14. 3-4 Tomatoes
  15. Tomato Sauce
  16. Sour Cream – for when you eat
  17. French Bread -  for when you eat

*Okay, the Grape Leaves can usually be purchased from a store that deals specifically in items from the other side of the world.  In Baton Rouge, there is a little Arabic store off of Sherwood Forest, near the Harrell’s Ferry intersection, that sells the grape leaves.  They are in a jar.  Basically they’re soaking in some sort of salt-water solution.  They might carry the cabbage leaves like this as well, you’ll have to check.  If not, the buy fresh cabbage, and steam or boil until the leaves are tender.

 

Okay, get your pot, ad place the sausage in the bottom:

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Note – use your hands to mix

  1.   Mix meats together thoroughly
  2. Add onions, rice, dill to meat and mix well 
  3. Add salt, & pepper to taste, for a little extra something, I add a little Tony’s.
  4. Add about 2 Spoonfuls of Tomato Sauce
  5. Mix well.

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Now your meat is ready to be rolled up.  What you want to do is place the cabbage or grape leaf in your hand like so:

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Now pinch off some meat with the other hand, and make it into a small roll:

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Now, start rolling it up, then tuck the ends into the roll:

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Place in the pot, keep rolling and placing in the pot:

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I used some cabbage as well as grape leaves.  I used the cabbage first, so they are in the bottom of the pot, pictured above.

Once you have exhausted either all the meat or all the leaves, chop 2 tomatoes and place on top of the rolls, spoon some more tomato sauce on top.  I sprinkle a little more Tony’s as well.  Cover with water, and place over medium low heat, and allow to boil for approx. 30 min. to 1 hour, or until the meat and rice are thoroughly cooked.

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NOW, I had a bit of meat left, and lots of bell peppers, so I stuffed a few.

Wash the peppers thoroughly, and cut the tops off. To do this, insert the point of the knife in the pepper around the edge of the stem, and cut around the stem, once all the way around, pull the stem up and out:

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Turn the pepper upside down and knock out as much of the seeds as you can.  Then start stuffing:

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Once you’ve stuffed all your peppers, slice a tomato, and place over the opening Then add some water and a spoon of tomato sauce, cover and let boil till meat and rice are cooked.  Approx. 30 min.-1hour:

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Now fix your plate, spoon some sour cream over your sarmale (or pepper), grab some french bread, spoon a little of the water the sarmale cooked in over your sarmale, and Bon Apetit, or as they say in Romania, Pofta Buna!

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Fried Green Tomatoes

  So we went to a friends house last night, and she had a HUGE crate full of green tomatoes, so I had my husband ask her if I could get some from her, cause I wanted to make some “fried green tomatoes”.  This has never been heard of in Romania, so of course a strange look followed said statement.  She gave me the whole crate!!

  So here I just finished making some fried green tomatoes.  I followed this recipe, well sorta.  I didn’t have bread crumbs, and of course I used Tony Chacherae’s – which I had my parents ship me, and they are shipping me more, as it is a staple in my kitchen – hello I was raised in Cajun country!!!  Geaux Tigers!!!!  Anyway, they aren’t too shabby, I’m eating them now….in between thoughts!  I topped with some grated parmesean, not fresh unfortunately – I can only find local cheeses here, which are great, but not the same.  No cheddar, barely any mozerella, or swiss, but LOTS and LOTS of Feta, which is great with some summer sausage, fresh tomoatoes and bread!!!  Yummy!  So here is a picture of my finished F.G.T.’s:

The Dinner Rolls that almost were

  Okay, continuing the previous blog about dinner rolls and the fresh vs. active dry yeast debacle, has come to it’s fruition.  While the rolls are great fresh out of the oven, it is evident that once they have cooled they can be used as projectile weapons of nearly mass destruction.  I’m not laughing.  I take pride in my cooking, and I rarely have a miss, however I did with these, and I believe it comes from said yeast debate!!!  I think I used too little yeast, not to mention the fact that my house is colder than it should be as we have NO heat, yes you read that right.  It’s too expensive to pay for heat, 200 RON/month.  When you are only bringing in say 2,000 RON a month, minus 750 for rent around 60 for water, at least 200/week for food, and about 400/month on gas for your car, you really don’t have a lot left over for heating your home. Instead you bundle the crap up!!!

  So I need to find a better answer to the whole yeast conversion thing; not just the fresh vs. dry, but also U.S. measurements vs. metric.  Math was never my strong suite, so GOD help me please!!!

Where’s the western influence when ya need it???

  Oy-vey!!!  So where is all that “We wanna be like America” crap when you *really* need it???  So I found what sounds like a perfectly delightful and scrumptious recipe for French Bread Dinner Rolls.  Of course, like most baking recipes that call for yeast – the call for Active Dry Yeast.  The only thing I can find here is Fresh Yeast, which is great, but kinda hard to do all the mathematical conversions of grams to tablespoons, etc.  Then trying to figure out how much of  the 25g package of fresh yeast to use for 6.5 grams!


  So I make the dough, I eye-ball the yeast.  I don’t know if it will work, maybe I used to much, maybe I didn’t use enough, I don’t know, we’ll see in about 2 hours.  Just another one of those things that makes me want to bang my head against the brick wall!


  The dough so far doesn’t look like it’s rising – of course it’s only been 10 minutes!  I can’t find measuring cups here either, I had to have a friend mail me some!!!  I’m not one of those people who can eyeball everything, unless I am making something I’ve made millions of times, or that I came up with on my own.  I need a cast iron skillet to make my cornbread for t-day, no such luck here!  However, my dad sent me and email this a.m. said he was mailing me something but wouldn’t say what!  He knows how much I love t-day and making my grandma’s dressing, so who knows.  Of course he could be sending me a coffee pot – the french drip kind that Melissa raves about.  Speaking of which, check out the rest of Melissa’s blog – she’s funny, witty, and sweet!  I’ve known her since middle school I think, not sure I just know it’s been a LONG time!!!


  I’ll let you know how the rolls come out!

Holiday Cooking

 Thanksgiving is upon us, one of my favorite holidays!!!!  Unfortunately I won’t be able to make my sweet potato casserole this year, since I can’t find sweet potatoes here!  Grrr….  However I can make my cornbread dressing, a killer turkey, and green bean casserole.  However for the green beans I’m gonna have to figure how how to make the french fried onions – that could prove disastrous, but I’ll keep you posted. 

 If you are looking for some good recipes for the holidays, might I suggest visiting www.allrecipes.com They have some really great recipes that you have to try.  One of them is my grandmother’s cornbread dressing.  I probably shouldn’t be giving away family recipes, but her dressing was the absolute BEST dressing I have ever eaten.  You can find it here.  If you want a really juicy, succulent turkey, then use this recipe.  This is the BEST turkey ever!  Really awesome apple pie??  Then try this.  The pie shell for this apple pie can be found here.

  There is a plethora of great recipes to be found on that site.  I’m not the greatest chef, but if you have questions about anything let me know.  I have a treasure trove of information!!