Kosovo (Europe) 27 May 2022

Kosovo is located in the continent of Europe. It has Serbia to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the east, North Macedonia to the south, Montenegro to the west, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest.

The capital is Pristina.

The official languages are Albanian and Serbian.

The climate is moderate due to the location with the Mediterranean Sea. Summers are warm with temperatures around the 80’s F, and the winters temperatures are around the 40’s.

The staple foods are dairy, meat, bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, pies, kebabs and so much more (https://www.chasingthedonkey.com/kosovo-food-in-kosovo-travel-blog/#:~:text=Dairy%2C%20meat%2C%20and%20bread%20are,plated%20up%20in%20the%20winter).

https://www.britannica.com/place/Kosovo

SARMA (Stuffed Cabbage) (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/18863/sarma-stuffed-cabbage/):  

  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • ½ lb. ground ham
  • 1 C uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. sauerkraut
  • 1 C tomato juice
  • Water to cover
  1. Place cabbage in the freezer for a few days. The night before making the rolls, take it out to thaw.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, ham, rice, onion, egg, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Form meat mixture into oblong balls, using ½ cup of the mixture at a time. Then wrap a cabbage leaf around each ball.
  4. Spread the sauerkraut in the bottom of a large pot, then layer cabbage rolls on top, placing them seam-side down.
  5. Pour tomato juice over rolls, then add enough water to cover.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 hours, adding more water as necessary.
Here is how my Sarma turned out. I would do it a little differently next time by using a string to tie it together. Still a great flavor!!

RYE BREAD (https://savorthebest.com/no-knead-rye-bread/):  

  • 3 C bread flour
  • ½ C rye flour
  • ½ C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 TBSP caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 TBSP molasses
  • 1-3/4 C warm water
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, rye flour, whole-wheat flour, caraway seeds, salt, and the yeast.
  2. Combine the molasses with the warm water and add to the flour mixture. Stir with a spoon until well combined.
  3. Scrape the dough into another large bowl that has been coated with oil spray. Cover the bowl with either a damp light cloth or a sheet of plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free area for 3 hours.
  4. Coat a large piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and set it aside.
  5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and using a bench scraper or oiled hands, fold the dough over several times and shape into a large mound.
  6. Lift the mound of dough and place it on the center of the parchment paper, seam side down. Using the parchment paper as a sling, transfer the dough and set it, and the parchment paper into a large bowl to retain its shape while rising.
  7. Cover the bowl and return it to the draft-free area and let rise for 30 minutes.
  8. While the dough is rising, place a 4 to 6-quart Dutch oven into the oven and set oven temperature at 450F.
  9. Remove the heated Dutch oven and remove the lid.
  10. Using a sharp knife, scissors or a taser blade, score the bread dough on the top with a slash (scoring the bread dough on the top is not mandatory but doing so will allow the bread to expand and give it more height. It also adds a nice decorative touch to the finished loaf).
  11. Lift the dough, together with the parchment paper, and carefully set it into the hot Dutch oven. Cover with the lid and return to the oven.
  12. Bake the bread for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake the bread an additional 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.
Here is my rye bread. It turned out really good!!!

FRESH FRUIT SALAD    

I decided on fresh blueberries and strawberries with a little cream of coconut on top!!

BAKLAVA (https://foodfolksandfun.net/baklava/):  

  • 1 C unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lb. frozen phyllo, thawed

For the Sugar Syrup:

  • 1-1/4 C granulated sugar
  • ¾ C water
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3 large strips lemon zest (removed in large strips with vegetable peeler)
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  1. Combine syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a full boil over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring to ensure that sugar dissolves.
  2. Transfer to 2-cup measuring cup and set aside to cool while making and baking baklava; when syrup is cool, discard spices and lemon zest (Cooled syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days).

For the Nut Filling:

  • 8 oz. blanched slivered almonds
  • 4 oz. walnuts
  • 1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Pulse almonds in a food processor until very finely chopped, about twenty 1-second pulses, transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until very finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses, transfer to bowl with almonds and toss to combine.
  3. Measure out 1 TBSP nuts and set aside for garnish.
  4. Add cinnamon, cloves, sugar, and salt; toss well to combine.

Assemble:

  1. Brush 13×9-inch traditional (not nonstick) baking pan with butter. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Unwrap and unfold phyllo on a large cutting board; carefully smooth with hands to flatten. Using the baking pan as a guide, cut sheets crosswise with a chef’s knife, yielding two roughly evenly sized stacks of phyllo (one may be narrower than the other). Cover with plastic wrap, then damp kitchen towel to prevent drying.
  2. Place one phyllo sheet (from the wider stack) at the bottom of baking pan and brush until completely coated with butter. Repeat with 7 more phyllo sheets (from the wider stack), brushing each with butter.
  3. Evenly distribute about 1 cup of nuts over phyllo. Cover nuts with a phyllo sheet (from the narrower stack) and dab with melted butter (phyllo will slip if butter is brushed on). Repeat with 5 more phyllo sheets (from the narrower stack), staggering sheets slightly if necessary to cover nuts, and brushing each with butter. Repeat layering with additional 1 cup nuts, 6 sheets phyllo, and the remaining 1 cup nuts. Finish with 8 to 10 sheets phyllo (from the wider stack), using nicest and most intact sheets for uppermost layers and brushing each except final sheet with butter.
  4. Use palms of hands to compress layers, working from the center outward to press out any air pockets. Spoon 4 tablespoons of melted butter on the top layer and brush to cover all surfaces. Use a bread knife or any other serrated knife with a pointed tip in a gentle sawing motion to cut the baklava into diamonds, rotating the pan as necessary to complete the cuts. (Cut on the bias into eighths on both diagonals).

Bake until golden and crisp, about 1.5 hours, rotating the baking pan halfway through baking. The top should be golden brown. Immediately after removing the baklava from the oven, pour cooled syrup over cut lines until about 2 tablespoons remain (syrup will sizzle when it hits the hot pan); drizzle remaining syrup over the surface. Garnish the center of each piece with a pinch of reserved ground nuts. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, about 3 hours, then cover with foil and let stand at least 8 hours before serving (Once cooled, baklava can be served, but flavor and texture if left to stand at least 8 hours. Baklava can be wrapped tightly in foil and kept at room temperature for up to 10 days).

Here is the Baklava I made. Again I would do this a little differently next time, but it still tasted great!!!
Here is the overall meal!!! Very delicious and definitely one to do again!!

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