ETW: Albania Completed!

 Tonight we feted Albania with Logan and Cassie. Our meal consisted of  Brezolla pe Deri Me Qepe (Baked Pork Chops with Onion Sauce), Turli Perimesh (Vegetables), Byrek ose Lakror (Leek Pie) and Kadaif (Sweetened Shredded Wheat) with whipped cream for dessert. And, I’m happy to say, it was quite the pleasant meal. Simple (except for the bajillions of seconds used to slice, chop and dice all the ingredients), straight forward and all about vegetables…goodness was it all about the vegetables (see earlier comment). 

This first picture is of the Byrek ose Lakror or “Albanian Leek Pie.” It was pretty tasty, although the first thing Dylan said was, “It tastes like dirt.” And after assessing our looks of incredulity food-and-wined it up to “well, it does have a distinct earthiness to it.” Righhtttt. The rest of us thought it was pretty grand, although, I did cut into the pie a few minutes earlier than the hour mark and did indeed have some running of the filling. But it was pretty set so it didn’t completely fall. And frankly, the puffy, golden crust certainly made up for that imperfection. 

This second picture is of the Kadaif (our dessert) right after I took it out of the oven. 

 I think that this was the recipe that I was most skeptical about. I mean…shredded wheat with a cinnamon simple syrup and nuts? Funny enough however, this is the one dish that completely disappeared. Granted, we did serve it with a healthy dollop of whipped cream but it was quite tasty. Ada even ate it up (and then tried to tell us that we hadn’t given her any whipped cream with what measly bits were left on her plate).

I’d never heard of Kadaif before but then again, I’ve never tried cooking Albanian food. I looked it up after finding the recipe we went with and here’s what I found:

“Kadaif is a classic Middle Eastern pastry, traditionally tossed with lots of butter, filled with cheese or nuts and drenched with a heavy sugar syrup. The dough is typically a finely shredded phyllo dough.” 
Now, I couldn’t find that kind of specific dough as I am a bit Midwest to find many “ethnic” things but I read that shredded wheat cereal in place of authentic kadaif dough comes pretty close as apparently it resembles thin shreds of phyllo. 
I think that I would make this again if I (or Ada) was struck with a sweet craving because the ingredients were simple and things I generally have on hand. Well, maybe not the plain shredded wheat. We are frosting kind of people.
The next picture is of Brezolla pe Deri Me Qepe or “Baked Pork Chops with Onion Sauce.”
This wasn’t what Dylan or I were expecting. At. All. But, with that said, it was okay. I am such a freak about eating pork, not in the common “I-don’t-want-to-get-brain-worms-so-I’ll-over-cook-this-poor-piece-of-pig-to-a-rubbery-dry-consistency” but rather the “Eat-it-Juicy-or-Forget-It” crowd. Thus the times in the recipe seemed a bit long, but wanting to stay as true as possible, I forged ahead. The end result? Not bad, but a little dry and not all too flavorful. Like I said earlier, this meal was definitely all about the vegetables and the sauce certainly was the only taste to the pork. Although it may be because Dylan and I are generally heavy-handed garlic and pepper monkeys and none of today’s recipes called for much of either.

Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables! Or Turli Perimesh for the cultured.
This was okay too…pretty plain, not a lot of seasoning. I think with more garlic, pepper and a tad bit of salt they would’ve been awesome. But again, garlic-pepper monkey here. 
On another note, I had Dylan puree up some of the leftovers in his beloved Magic Bullet and am going to give them to Nellie over the next couple of days. It’s all vegetable with a little parsley…gotta be better than canned meat and vegetables. 
Speaking of Nellie, here she is with tonight’s feast: 

 And last but not least, the leek pie…sadly unset but still delicious. 🙂

Ooooh…and local apricots that I picked up from our local health food store. Juicy little buggers. One even attacked Cassie’s arm. 
So, all in all, tonight was fun. We enjoyed the good company of Logan and Cassie (and later Terry who scootered over from his house) for dinner and then a bonfire outside in the backyard. And of course Ada got to take a before-bed-scoot with Grandpa Terry. 
Next up: Algeria…

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