Punjene paprika w/ kacamak & buranija

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A truly tasty trio.  The pepper — about what expected — stuffed with rice, protein of choice and some veggies, then simmered in a tomato-y broth for around 45 minutes.  One of the few dishes where the parsley is more than just a color; the potato added a nice contrast in texture.  Though pooh-poohed by potential partakers, using gyro-style seiten added outstanding flavors, and still a hearty meal for these days of spring snows and frozen nights.  Outstanding.

The potatoes were deemed doubly delicious, mashed in water and therewith added in white corn meal, then, feta cheese!  The recipe calls for a drizzle of oil, but that was deemed gluttonous.  Mashed potatoes with feta cheese.  The texture was on the order of malto meal — the favored hot cereal of youth, but long eschewed, but perhaps needing re-consideration anew.  There were no leftovers of this dish because William ate them by the fistful.

The final stretch of the triptik were green beans, tango’d with a lovely and simple sauce of onions, broth and some herbs to delightful effect.  The youths are gratefully keen on the bright, blanched green beans, but wouldn’t touch them in the sauce.  Sauce, children, often makes the meal.  Or, as the saying goes, behind every good meal is a strong sauce.  Additionally, it can be fun to get saucy, and good to get sauced.  Just — don’t get drowned in the sauce.

Dumplings with ema datshi

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Jen looked over disparagingly at the ema datshi and asked, “So…  Whatcha curdle there?”  Not a thing!  Thar be cheese!   And delicious dishes of cheese to boot!  Served with some chill(i) bok choy dumplings:

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The dumpling filling is very good, but overwhelmed by the dough – probably, should have run that through the press to get it thinner. They were greatly improved by pan searing them in a little butter, for an after-the-fact lunch.

Served with the ema datshi makes it moot, regardless, as the soup/stew/sauce predominates. This is purportedly an ubiquitous dish in Bhutan and, despite its simplicity, it has a remarkably good flavor.  The obvious:  Cheese and peppers.  However, the garlic totally makes this dish, breaking through with a marvelous pungency, almost giving effect to it as if with a dash of tart wine! Very similar sort of parting flavor as that with saginaki and the ouzo. Really simple and excellent – would be good on rice, or even something hideous like Brussel sprouts.

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Albania responds: Eggplant Burek and Tirana Fergese with Peppers

Albania is a name given to the country by foreigners. In the native language, Albania is called Shqiperi ; Albanians themselves are called Shqipetare and the language itself Shqip. An indulgently wonderful set of dishes, perfect to fuel hours of sub-zero snow shoveling.

The earthiness of the eggplant is accented wonderfully by the crispy, salty phyllo, and the Tirana fergese is outstanding, combinging the sweetness of the roasted peppers with feta and just a little kick of cayenne.  Four men dressed as Santa Claus and carrying automatic rifles danced and sang their way through a shopping mall in Tirana on Christmas Eve and then robbed a jewellery store.

This would make a fantastic appetizer, as well, easy and quickly ready, to be served, spooned over sliced baguette.

This also cannot be stated emphatically enough:  The Tirana fergese is outstanding!