Thursday, February 20, 2014

Georgia

File:Hpim3433.jpg
Image from Marco Petrovic found on Wikipedia
Background: Received most recent independence in 1991 from the USSR
Location: Southwestern Asia between Turkey and Russia
               Georgia views itself as part of Europe
Area: Almost 70,000 sq km; 121st largest in the world
         Slightly smaller than South Carolina
Population: Over 4.5 million; 122nd largest in the world
Capital: Tblisi
Disputes: Contains two areas, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, that claim they are independent.  Russia recognizes them as separate from Georgia.
Etymology: The name Georgia appears in numerous early medieval annals, but it is unsure where it is from

Sources: CIA Factbook, Wikipedia

I believe the first time I realized there was a country named Georgia was the geography bee in grade school.  The person who answered the question got it right.  I would not have.  Who knew that a US state shared a name with a country on the other side of the world?

Google searches, the start of most knowledge pursuits today, kept leading me to Khachapuri.  It is basically bread stuffed with cheese.  There are some variations based on where you are in the country and such, but that basic description doesn't change.  My response: yes please.

There are tons of recipes out there, but I went with this one from the LA Times because I could follow it and it seemed like it had a good chance of being authentic.

It seemed like it would make a ridiculous amount of bread, so I halved the recipe.  I am often really bad at halving things - I keep forgetting.  So I made sure to remind myself repeatedly this time.  Half it half it half it.

First you are supposed to make some yeast bloom with some sugar and milk.  I decided to start mixing the rest of the ingredients while that happened.  All while chanting "half it half it half it."

Of course, this is the point where I reread the rest of the directions to see what else I could prep ahead of time.  That's when I saw it.  This recipe doesn't make individual breads like I thought.  Oh no.  It is supposed to make one big "pie" thing.  In a 9" pan.  That isn't really halfable.  Ooops.

Time to start over, since I couldn't really just add more milk and stuff.  Ugh.

Milk, sugar, yeast.  Don't half it don't half it don't half it.  Luckily I could just add more to the flour and such I started mixing.
Wait ten minutes.  Has the yeast doubled?
Sure, why not?
So then you mix it with the other dough ingredients and then start kneading until it creates a "medium stiff dough."  I don't entirely know what that means, but I do know that my days of rolling dough at Little Caesars helped.

Then begins the let it rise, punch it down, let it rise, punch it down cycle.  At this point it seems like my little halving and then not halving mishap doesn't matter much, other than delaying dinner, right?  Except I didn't have enough of the cheese to double that part.  So my lovely husband and son got to go run to the store for me while I punched dough.
Risen!
You can tell from the lovely weather that day that this was a looong time ago.  Editor's note: We haven't seen our grass in at least 2 months.
Brendan was getting used to the cupholders in his new carseat.
Braaains.
The rest is pretty simple in concept (isn't it always?).  Roll out the dough.  Carefully transfer it over a 9 inch pan, sorta like a pie crust.  Make sure you press it down into all of the corners.
It is kinda a ridiculous amount of dough.
I used their suggestion of rolling it around the rolling pin to transfer it to the pan.  Worked pretty well.
Success!  Minus pushing the dough into the corners...
Then you fill it with the filling.  What filling, you say?  Muenster, egg, and butter.  Couldn't ask for much better!

Fold it over to make it covered and bake.  Mine...let's just say it wasn't pretty.  But it was folded.

 I made some Garlic Leek Soup with Egg to serve as well so we weren't only loading up on carbs.
Brendan helped.
First time poaching eggs!

It was...super super thick and rich.  I'm not even sure that either of us finished a piece.  So much to get through.

There wasn't anything specifically bad about it.  Just couldn't get through it.  Less dough needed, maybe?  But even the filling felt overdone.  The leftovers just sat there and never got touched.  Harumph.  That was a lot of effort for something that didn't get eaten.

I wasn't a big fan of the soup either.  Not bad just...I don't know.  Not my favorite.  So all-in-all, not a successful dinner.  I guess we'll have to try again next time...

Next time: Georgia, Again

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