Why Now Is The Time To Drink Wines From Georgia (the Country)

Source: http://www.grubstreet.com

By Chris Crowley

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The main thing you notice about Mariam Losebidze’s 2014 Tavkveri is that it tastes like it’s infused with smoked fat. This is wine, albeit obscure wine, and wine tends not to taste like bacon. But Losebidze is one of only a handful of female winemakers from the country of Georgia — the former Soviet republic sandwiched between Russia and Armenia’s northern border — and her wines are unapologetically bold. They were also, until recently, largely only available in her home country. But now some of America’s most progressive importers and sommeliers have turned their attention to Georgia, which produces wines that are unlike anything else.

Just as you might expect, plenty of Georgian wine is a far cry from grand cru Burgundies or the Pinot Noirs of California. For Western palates, much of it can seem, frankly, weird. In a lot of ways, the growing appreciation for Georgian wine is an extension of the continuing demand for so-called natural wines, the catchall term that refers to wines made with minimal processing, resulting in unpredictable, rustic wines where the makers — as opposed to the grape or region — are often the focus.

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News from Georgia: Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown Visits Tbilisi, Georgia!

Source: http://www.cnn.com

By Anthony Bourdain

Georgia's 'hangover soup' (CNN)I was late to Georgia.

My flight was stuck in Istanbul and we’d had only a small window to shoot in the off season resort city of Batumi, so a last minute substitute was called in.

Like John Shaft, he’s a complicated man.

Like Wolf Blitzer, he’s got the credentials and experience to tackle any subject.

Like Bambi, a struggling medical student, he WILL pole dance if no other employment options exist.

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How To Eat Street Food Without Getting Sick

By Jodi Ettenberg

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Read How to Eat Street Food Without Getting Sick. This is a super helpful piece on how to enjoy street eats on your travels.

Merry Christmas from Serbia!

Serbian Christmas (Badnje Vece) Recipes

By Barbara Rolek

3699c2a642705cb04837c529fb6e4af9 Most Serbians are Orthodox Christians who follow the Julian calendar. Thus, Christmas Eve is celebrated on Jan. 6 and Christmas on Jan. 7. In the old days, on Christmas Eve morning, Serbian fathers would take their eldest son to chop down (or in more recent times, buy) a young oak tree called a badnjak.  There is a festive badnjak burning at night and then a meatless meal which varies from family to family. Typically, wheat grass, that was planted on St. Nicholas Day, symbolizing a good harvest, and cesnica, which isn’t eaten until Christmas morning, are on the table.

Read more about how Serbians celebrate Christmas.

Preparing Jollof rice, the Ghanaian method

Published on May 7, 2013 by AdomHomeCooking

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Click here to see video.

Ingredients in this recipe for 4 Adults:

  • 4 cups of rice
  • 8 pieces of Chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 3 large onions
  • Pepper, garlic, ginger (amount optional)
  • Chicken seasoning/ seasoning of choice
  • 2 cups mixed veggies
  • 1 can Tomato Plumps &Tomato puree
  • Salt to taste
  • Maggie cube( optional)

Procedure

1.

  • Prepare chicken, wash and pat dry.
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt to season
  • Blend onion, ginger, garlic and pepper.
  • Add to the chicken, add chicken season if you want.
  • Steam the chicken for about 8-10 min.

2.

  • Blend plump tomatoes, with some onion and pepper depending on how spicy you want your Jollof.
  • Slice the remaining onions into medium sizes.

3.

  • Start making the stew or gravy by frying the sliced onions in about 3 table spoons of veggie oil and allow to cook for about 2 mins
  • Add 4 tablespoons of tomato puree and keep stirring for about 8 min till it is reduced.
  • Add the blended tomato mixture and allow to cook and reduce for about 10 more minutes, stirring intermittently.

4.

  • When the steamed chicken is ready, strain and reserve the stock, allow stock to cool.
  • Deep fry chicken for the golden brown crusty finish.
  • Put the fried chicken aside.

5.

  • Add the stock to the stew and allow to cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add your chicken to the stew( optional as chicken can be served separately when the entire meal is done).
  • Add the mixed veggies and cook for a couple of mins.( scoop some stew out if preferred to be served with Jollof later).
  • Add the rice and reduce the heat to very low. Cover the rice with kitchen foil and allow the food the steam through.
  • Check and keep stirring intermittently till rice is cooked through, about 20 min.

6.

  • Scoop some of the rice in a small bowl and press to form a nice mound, turn into your serving plate. Add your chicken.
  • Can be served with salad ,gravy, coleslaw etc.

Enjoy your meal.

Tbilisi Street Food – National Geographic Discovers Georgian Cuisine

Source: http://www.georgianjournal.ge/georgian-cuisine/28629-tbilisi-street-food-national-geographic-discovers-georgian-cuisine.html

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Disclaimer: I have no clue why the producers of this video chose music so far from anything possibly known to Georgia. Georgian music is so beautiful and unique, why this crazy stuff?   If only you could delete the music sound track, Turkish captions and keep the visuals and Georgian speaking subjects it would be perfect. 

National Geographic TV Programme Street Food Around The World visited Georgia. Focusing on the most widely used ingredients, Ishai Golan had 25 hours to taste all the foods Tbilisi’s streets had to offer.

"Despite a turbulent past, Georgian cuisine has maintained an exceptional variety of foods. Ishai has 24 hours to taste all the foods Tbilisi’s unique streets have to offer", National Geographic website reports.

"According to an ancient Georgian legend, representatives of all the peoples came before God as He was about to distribute land to each. Only the Georgians, who were busy eating and drinking, did not attend. When they did finally appear before God, He said to them, “Now you come? I have already distributed everything”. To which the Georgians replied, “We were celebrating in Your honor with food and drink…” and they invited God to join them. God enjoyed himself so much that he gave them the plot of land that he had kept for himself. Thus it is called “God’s Acre”.

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Worth the Trip to NYC! – See you soon Brenda and Mike.

Source: http://goo.gl/64cWEo

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At first, it seems like a joke. There’s no way they can be serious, you think, as the giant flatbread is deposited unceremoniously before you. It’s shaped like a football, with puffy crusts surrounding a moat of molten white cheese called sulguni. On top of the cheese is a barely cooked egg, its yolk peeking out over the sea of dairy. And then the waiter gives a little nod, leans over, and starts mixing the egg into the cheese, leaving you with an enormous, delicious bread boat to contend with. This is khachapuri adjaruli, and it’s serious business indeed.

Khachapuri adjaruli makes up just a small part of Georgian cuisine, but it’s probably the most craveable, though the oeuvre of other khachapuris—some cheeseless, others filled with beans or corn—is vast and equally tempting. Still, if you’re going to seek out Georgian food at two newish Georgian restaurants downtown, save room to go beyond simple carbohydrates.

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Chicken Soup with Egg and Lemon (Chikhirtma)

Source: http://georgiantable.com/2014/06/21/chicken-soup-with-egg-and-lemon-chikhirtma/

img_4914crop The Georgian palate gravitates toward tart flavors in all sorts of dishes, and soups are no exception. This elegant chicken soup takes its tang from lemon juice (or, alternatively, vinegar). It appears creamy due to the addition of eggs, but it contains no dairy. The hint of cinnamon adds a touch of sweet perfume, but the flavor remains delicately savory.

I like to serve this soup as a first course before a vegetarian entrée, or as a meal in itself with a thick slice of grainy bread and a mixed green salad.

Chikhirtma
Serves 4-6

1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts at room temperature
7-8 cups water or chicken stock
2 Tbsp. butter or oil
1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Juice of one lemon*
2 eggs, beaten
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh herbs to garnish (any mix of cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, basil, dill, mint)

*Tip: Roll the lemon around on the counter, pressing down on it hard with the palm of your hand, before slicing it in half and juicing it. This softens the membranes inside the lemon and will allow you to squeeze more juice out of it.

  1. Place the chicken breasts in a pot and pour the water or stock over them. Bring the liquid to a simmer (not a boil) and maintain it there until the chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve the strained broth. Use your fingers to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.
  2. In the large pot, cook the onion in butter or oil until soft, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the flour, salt, coriander, and cinnamon over the onions, stirring well to combine. Add the strained broth to the onions and bring to a simmer.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the beaten eggs and lemon juice with 1 cup of the warmed broth, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from clumping. Add the egg mixture to the soup, stirring as you pour. Add the chicken pieces back to the soup and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  4. To serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls, grind a bit of black pepper over each and top with chopped herbs.

Serving suggestion: if you like a garlicky soup or are trying to ward off a cold, add 3-5 cloves of minced garlic to the soup when you add the chicken pieces back in towards the end.

Celebrating Bulgaria Adoptive Families Reunion 2014

Source: http://bulgarianadopteesreunion.blogspot.com/2014/06/bulgarian-recipes-from-2014-potuck.html

Bulgarian Recipes from the 2014 Potluck

Our reunion potluck is always made extra special by the dishes contributed by our native Bulgarian friends.  One of my favorite parts of the reunion each year is hearing some of our older Bulgarian kiddos get really excited about eating food they used to enjoy in their birth country.  If you want to make these treats for your family throughout the year, here are the recipes shared by Dani G. and Anna G.

Cucumber soup ("Tarator") – serves 8-12 (unless born in Bulgaria, then fewer 🙂

1 big container of yoghurt (organic varieties & Greek Gods taste more like yoghurt in Bulgaria)

1 long/European cucumber (diced or grated)

1-2 tbs olive or sunflower oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced (may substitute with garlic powder)

12 oz water (add more if you prefer rarer soup)

1-2 tbs dill (fresh is better)

1 tbs grated walnuts or pecans

salt to taste

Serve chilled.
There is a salad version of the soup with the same ingredients as above minus water, however, the yoghurt is strained in a cheesecloth for a few hours and the cucumber may be substituted for diced pickle ("Snejanka").
Pastry ("Banitsa") – recipe from Anna

1 pack FILO dough

4 eggs  + 1 1/2 cups of milk mixed

Feta cheese

Layer 2-3 sheets of FILO, sprinkle w crumbled cheese, fold into a roll and place in a pan, then repeat with more FILO, more cheese until FILO is over. Cut in small squares, spill over the milk and eggs mix, bake at 425 for 45min. Alternative fillings are a mix of cheese and spinach/diced leeks or grated pumpkin mixed with sugar. Old Bulgarian women do not use Filo dough but spread the dough, which is made of water, salt and flour with a rolling pin until almost transparent (idea for next year’s activities!)

Peppers Burek ("Chushki Byurek")

4 big red peppers grilled well from all sides and peeled

2 cups Bulgarian feta cheese

2 tbs unsalted butter (optional)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tbs dill

1/4 ts or less black pepper

other spices if desired

3 eggs &

5 tbs flour

Mix the cheese, butter, garlic, dill and black pepper. Fill the red peppers with the mix. Cover with the eggs & flour and fry.

Lazy casserole version (adjust quantities to fit pan) – instead of baking fresh peppers, buy fire Roasted Yellow & Red Baked from Trader Joe’s (or another brand that does nor contain vinegar). Layer of eggs/flour, layer of peppers, layer of cheese mix, another layer of peppers and top with eggs/flour. Bake until there is a nice golden crust on top.

Baklava

1 pack FILLO dough

1 cup melted unsalted butter (or coconut/olive/etc oil)

9 oz walnuts

1 tbs cinnamon

1 1/2 lbs sugar/brown sugar

1 lemon

20 fl oz water

Coat a pan with the butter. Two layout options: 1) layer 2/3 of the FILLO dough in the pan, cover with the walnuts and cinnamon and put the rest of the FILLO dough on top, then cut into 2×2" squares; 2) take several sheets of fillo dough, spread some of the walnuts and cinnamon on top and fold the FILLO dough into a roll, then repeat with the remaining ingredients until the pan is full. Bake on medium heat until golden. Boil the sugar and water for 2 minutes, then add the juice of the lemon. Cover the baked fillo with the sugar syrup. Leave in the fridge for a night.

Thanks Brenda Smith!!!!

Khachapuri: The Butter Topped, Cheese-Stuffed Bread Vessel Of Your Dreams

Source: http://gothamist.com/2014/04/29/khachapuri.php?utm_source=Gothamist+Daily

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Khachapuri is pronounced like this, but let’s just call it by its other, perfectly Americanized name: butter pizza. This is what a writer at WaPo recently dubbed it after trying it at a new spot in D.C. And just look at it, who could disagree with that assessment?

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