Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cremini Mushroom Soup for the Winter Solstice

One of my favorite days every year is the day of the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year, after which I know, the day starts growing and the mornings and evenings will not be so dark. 
The soup in my today's menu is easy to prepare and very, very tasty. Do you know what makes it special? The mixture of cremini and wild mushrooms and, of course, the cognac, which adds its specific aroma. This is the source of the recipe.
Bulgarian icon from Etura

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Marinated Raw Red Beet Salad with Shredded Greens

Raw beet salad

The red beets included in this salad are nearly raw - they are not boiled or roasted as most of the recipes call for. They peeled and cut into chunks beets are just added to a hot marinade for some hours. Hot marinated beetroot is crisp, but not as hard as the raw one and it is packed full of flavor due to absorbing the taste of the marinade. All the important nutrients are preserved that way. Vinegar prevents the nice red color from leaking out and balances well with the clear sweetness of the honey.
So you get a salad which is healthy, beautiful and full of taste.
If you wanna try a delicious salad with raw red beet without marinade, I highly recommend you this one.
Marinated raw beet

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dolmades with Minced Meat (Bulgarian Sarmi with Vine Leaves and Meat)

Dolmades (called in Bulgarian ‘Sarmi’) are perceived as a strictly Greek dish, which is a kind of misunderstanding. Rice stuffed grape leaves (which are vegetarian and very tasty) or meat stuffed vine leaves are specific for all the countries on the Balkan peninsula and are widely served in Bulgaria and Turkey. In fact, they are probably part of the heritage of the Ottoman cuisine (even the word 'dolma' used in Greece has a Turkish origin) and every nation has adapted the recipes in line with the specific taste of the population. Stuffed grape leaves take a little bit of time to prepare and require some patience, but nothing is as tasty as the slow food prepared at home. Meat dolmades are served warm with a dollop of yogurt and vegetarian dolmades are served cold. Another very tasty dish prepared during the winter months in every Bulgarian home are the Sauerkraut rolls with chopped meat. Unlike most of the popular recipes for stuffed vine leaves I pre-cook the rice and the minced meat which provides a far better and intense taste.
Vine leaves

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Baked Carp with Tomato Sauce for Saint Nicholas Day

Baked carp
As I wrote last year, St Nicholas day is one of the widely celebrated feasts in Bulgaria and according to the tradition carp shall be served on the table.
Frankly said, we eat carp only on this day of the year - we definitely prefer the sea creatures or the fast-swimming freshwater fishes like trout. Carp is kind of lazy freshwater fish which tends to contain a lot of fat and has often a kind of strange taste, referred to as muddy. I prefer smaller carps, slightly above 2 pounds (about 1 kg), which contain less fat. 
Today I prepared my carp with some tomatoes and oregano and it was light and tasty.
Baked carp with tomato sauce