I typically do my cooking on Sundays. Occasionally I would cook on a Saturday if I knew I was going to be gone on a Sunday (like for Easter, for example). But now that I’ve decided to stop by Center for Inquiry on Sundays for coffee and conversation about science and reasoning, I’m experimenting with cooking on Saturdays. I may still keep it on Sundays for the most part, though. We’ll see. Life is an experiment in and of itself.
|These are so versatile. I could eat them all day.|
|These were kind of like a baked beans with paprika.|
The next dish I made was a side dish called tavce gravce. I had a little trouble with this one. I put my Great Northern beans into a pot and covered them with some water. Then I added in some vegetable oil, some green chilies (probably not authentic, but I didn’t want to make it spicy), and some onions. I cooked them for about an hour until they were soft. I definitely should’ve been watching my water levels a little closer. I’m pretty sure the bottom of the beans may have been scorched a little. I had to keep adding a lot of water as it cooked. Just before they were due to be done, I made my roux of oil and paprika and poured it on top of the beans. I was supposed to add in some salt at this point, but I forgot so I just added it in when I served it. Then I transferred it all to a casserole dish and baked it at 400ºF for about 30 minutes. To be truly authentic, I should’ve transferred it to a clay pot, but I don’t own one, so a casserole dish it is. Other than needing some salt at the end, I thought it was pretty good. I actually used an applewood smoked sea salt, which gave it a nice smoky flavor. And strangely enough, I never really did find any evidence that I burned the beans, so I got lucky, I suppose.
|For those who need protein...|
And then came the main dish: selsko meso. This carnivore’s delight was actually really tasty. I started with making meatballs: I mixed ground beef with some grated onion (that’s really hard to do, it turned out half grated, half diced), a little salt, garlic powder, dried basil, and dried oregano. (The spices were my choice.) Then I fried my meatballs until they were done and set them aside. I cut my pork loin into cubes and fried it in the same oil I did my meatballs in along with a little onion once it was almost done. I added in some diced ham, mushrooms, red pepper, salt, and a little tomato paste (I thought I had a can of tomatoes, but I apparently used it. I’m just grateful I saved the tomato paste from the other day). I let this sauté for about five minutes before adding my meatballs back in. Then I poured in about a ½ c of chicken broth (with 1 tsp flour added in and mixed well) and about 2/3 c of pinot grigio. Then I transferred this to a casserole dish and baked it at 400ºF for about 30-40 minutes (the recipe called for 1–1 ½ hours, but we were hungry). I thought this was rather tasty. I didn’t put in as much wine as it called for, and I think it made it taste better that way. Wine can overpower a dish, even if it's a somewhat lighter wine. So, after trial and error in the past when cooking with wine, I’m glad I played it safe by cutting it back a little. I think it would’ve been better over some egg noodles, though. An idea for next time, I suppose.
|Very much of a comfort meal.|
And even though I was taught how to read and follow directions in kindergarten some 30-odd years ago, I still apparently have trouble reading and following directions for a recipe. I tried to make a Macedonian dessert called bombici, which is basically a chocolate graham cracker truffle. But I skipped a step, and it didn’t set up. And I was too tired to try again. Again, another recipe for another day. It reminded me of those exercises when we were in school where the teacher would hand us a paper with 27 different things to do on the paper. The first item was to read all the directions first, followed by 25 random things to do, and the last one said, “Ignore all the other things, just put your name on it and turn it back in.” I suppose I didn’t really learn my lesson with that one. As with the quasi theme with this meal, there’s always next time.
Up next: Madagascar