Monday, June 20, 2011


Background: The introduction in the Factbook doesn't read very well.  Losing side of both World Wars.  Became Communist under the Soviet influence.  Struggles with the Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Turks.
Location: Southeastern Europe, between Romania and Turkey on the Black Sea.
Size: Over 100,000 sq km; 104th largest in the world
        Slightly larger than Tennessee
Population: Over 7 million; 99th biggest in the world
Birth rate: 204th largest in the world
Death rate: 13th largest in the world
Capital: Sofia
Drinking water and sanitation: 100% of their population has access...This seems to be a new stat for the Factbook.
Source: CIA Factbook

There were a lot of resources out there for Bulgarian food, which is not such-a-bad problem to have.  I found some nice listing sites, and was able to cross-reference things to make sure they were authentic.  I made Kevin pick some recipes, and then I compared our lists.  We ended up with two recipes from this site: Monastery Gyuvetch and Potatoes au Gratin.  Those were the only ones that Kevin picked without lamb or veal.  Again.  He did go for the olives though.

I like the story it gives behind the Monastery Gyuvetch.  The history is well-defined and singular.  Authentic.
Down to the cooking!  First we start the potatoes, so they can boil.
It always amazes me how heavy potatoes are.  You don't need a lot.
I halved the Gyuvetch, because wow...that's a lot of food.  I used stew beef, since that was the only way to buy the right quantity of meat from the Commissary.

Most of the steps weren't too complicated, mostly adding one ingredient after another.  Make sure to do the chopping beforehand!
Browning beef in oil.
Add the onions, beef stock, and paprika.
Rice tends to confuse me, but luckily Kevin was able to help.  Uncooked rice.  It should be obvious to me, but never is.
Mushrooms and the rice have been added.
Nice red tomatoes.  Which I did not peel, as per usual.
Tomatoes, salt, butter, sugar and olives.  I can honestly say I did not expect to string out that list of ingredients.
Estimating volume is another things that I am not very good at where Kevin excels.  Nice to have him around.
Fitting perfectly, ready to go into the oven.
There is enough time during the breaks between ingredients to handle the potatoes au gratin too.  Since it only needs to bakefor five minutes, oven timing wasn't a critical issue.
I'm not a big fan of swiss, and the only way I have found to buy whole-milk mozzerella is get it in blocks.  I am now using my food processor a lot more often.
Creating my bechamel sauce, and it doesn't seem weird to me.  How far I have come.
It took quite a bit to get it melted.
Topped with Parmesean cheese.
[Insert witty transition to cats here.  I can't think of anything.]
We ran out of dry food for them, and this is what happened when we finally replenished.  Actually eating out of the same bowl!
Tesla tries to be quite regal when he can.
Curie has a thing for Kevin, and tends to sit on his lap while we eat.  Every time.
The Farmer's Market had fresh fruit that made me go weak at the knees.
Peaches, strawberries, blueberries.  Wonderful
After everything comes out of the oven, you just put some parsley on and serve!

It is a good thing we had two pans that size.

This is what we needed.  This motivates me to continue.  The Monastery Gyuvetch was wonderful.  It had different flavors that blended well together, and it was just a balanced and delicious dish all around.  It also wasn't too hard to do.  Kevin's only feedback was that the olives didn't fit, which is odd since he loves them.  He ate the rest of them plain.  Perhaps it would have been better if they were cut up?

We ate 2/3 of it in one sitting, and Kevin took the rest for lunch the next day.  I didn't even get any leftovers!  Guess I shouldn't have halved it.  I guess I'll just have to make it again.  Yay!

The potatoes were okay.  I think a sharper cheese, like cheddar or blue, would have been better.  The mozzarella was too normal, too soft.  The fruit was great, of course.

Yay for another good meal!  When there are a bunch of blah ones, it really makes it hard to get motivated to go on.  Bulgaria, you have really helped me.

Next time: Burkina Faso

1 comment:

  1. looks delicious! maybe i'll have to make the monastery gvetch one of these days!