Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Recipes! Love from Bulgaria- Tarator and Baked Feta

My good friend Matt married a lovely Bulgarian lady named Rali not too long ago. We got to visit over New Year's, and the talk turned to- what else? Yep, food. We talked about the differences in the foods of our native countries. Rali also told us all about preserving food for winter in Bulgaria, and how her whole family would work together to fill the larder. Even with my very small experiences in canning, I know how essential all of those hands must have been with that much work.

I got a fantastic gift the other day from Matt in the form of two Bulgarian recipes, a yogurt soup called Tarator and Baked Feta. Enjoy!

Tarator is an awesome cold yogurt soup. It's a staple and one of the dishes that is approachable for foreigners - i.e., not too exotic...

300-400g cucumbers (10.5-14ozs)
1/2 kg yogurt (1 pound, 1 oz)
7-8 chopped walnut kernels
5-6 cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chopped dill
salt to taste

1. Peel and dice cucumbers
2. Beat yogurt with fork or whisk, thin with water until soup consistency, and pour over cukes
3. Add walnuts
4. Thoroughly crush garlic, add vinegar, and add to soup
5. Add oil, salt and dill

Baked Feta in Gyuveche (also called Gyuvechete)

400g Bulgarian feta (~14 oz) (note: BG feta is different than regular Greek feta. It's a bit more sour, and is more wet - it's stored in water like mozzarella)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tomatoes
2 bunches green onions (or 2 onions)
4 eggs
4 roasted chili peppers (optional)

This dish is prepared in small, single serving ceramic or oven-safe bowls, with lids. It is served hot, out of the oven, with fresh bread

1. Put 1 tablespoon of butter in each bowl (note: Rali doesn't use butter so I don't think you need it)
2. Chop onions, dice tomatoes, and crumble cheese (or cut in small cubes)
3. Break 1 egg over mixture in each bowl
4. Cover bowls and bake for about 10 minutes in moderate oven (350?)
5. Remove lids, put a chili pepper in each bowl, serve.

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