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Sochi (Olympics) Dinner

Saturday, January 25, 2014

So a few years ago, when the Olympics were in Greece I turned to my sister and said "I'm looking for an excuse to learn to make Greek food. Lets make a bunch of things we have never made before and watch the Opening Ceremonies."

Neither one of us has looked back. China was particularly adventurous. I had to look up where Sochi was - its in Southern Russia on the shores of the Black Sea. So for this year's Olympics dinner we're going with an Ottoman Empire theme. There is a limitation on the dinner since we are going up to Bennington Vermont to watch with my aunt and uncle. Everything needs to be made ahead of time and transported. Since my amazing sister found all the links and typed everything - I thought you might want to see it in case you want to make your own party! Go forth and try new things!

Lyutenitsa - Bulgaria - a red pepper dip/spread

-Notes: Entirely make-ahead. Add eggplant and carrot. Serve with crusty bread.

Vegetarian Sarmale - Romania - stuffed cabbage
-Notes: I've had the meaty version and this looks to be the most authentic recipe. Romanians love sauerkraut like breathing. Will modify to vegetarian using rice.

Mains Lamb Kebabs - Turkey
I'll be making a Kofta (ground lamb meatballs) style with a tzaitki sauce. They're served with lavosh flat bread.

Georgian chicken stews
Notes: If this website is to be believed, holy MOLY but do Georgians love chicken stews, and some of them look *amazing*. I'll be making the tomato and pepper version called Chakhokhbili

Starches - there is a local flatbread that is relatively close to naan. I'm not including links here because ... you can BUY naan. There is a *limit* to this insanity.

Shopska (tomato, cucumber, feta) salad - Bulgaria
Notes: most of the recipes called for a lot more parsley. All emphasized it had to be sunflower oil. Will *try* and find Bulgarian feta/sirene.

There was much conversation both internet and in person that Bulgarian feta is different from Greek feta. Something about it being creamier with a softer flavor. There were also a number of fairly opinionated people who did not have nice things to say about the food nomenclature rules of the European Union. Oddly enough apparently feta cheese is one of the easier cheeses to make and the difference is only leaving the starter culture in for 30 minutes instead of 1 hour for traditional feta. (So sayeth the internets and they NEVER lie!) My sister *has* made some cheeses and butter before, but has never tried her hand at feta - not being a big feta fan. So if she has time, she's going to try it. I do like feta and eat it often on salads - I will report back.

Nope, sorry. Making your own cheese? No limit to the insanity.

Dessert -
Yabluchnyk (Ukraine)
Notes: Apparently a classic Ukrainian apple cake. There are two variations, one layered with batter and one with streusel.

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