Well, here we are– Olympics underway! America is kicking ass and taking names (unless you’re the USWNT… then you’re down and out). I think it’s the best to see how everyone gets into the spirit of the games, even people who aren’t innately competitive find themselves screaming and jumping when Phelps takes ANOTHER gold or watching in awe as Bolt lives up to his name and makes it look so easy to shatter records. It makes me wish that we didn’t have to wait every four years to feel this kind of national pride. I guess we will have to settle for the winter games next 😉
THE DINNER: To the matter at hand, we picked Lithuania to tackle this week on AW195S! Whenever we hit up an Eastern European country, it’s any wonder that my whole family doesn’t just do cartwheels and jump for joy. It’s in our heritage and blood, but also… sour cream!? WHO CAN’T get on board with that!? and also cabbage and pork. Those are ALL givens whenever we are in that part of the world. So, with all that on the docket, I set out on my weekly sojourn to find a recipe that reflected the nation at hand… and came across this gem: http://matadornetwork.com/life/9-things-lithanians-explain-foreigners/?single=1 which is “9 things Lithuanians have to explain to foreigners”.
Entertaining read to say the least! This is one foreigner that actually learned quite a few things in reading that, particularly the last names bit. Had no clue, but also it makes for a little confusion I would imagine. As a foodie, I also was fascinated with the 12 meals at Christmas dinner! And as much as they love potatoes- we had those last week in Mali so we took a break and went for the cabbage rolls. Balandeliai as the natives call them are literally meat-rice-onion-bellpepper stuffed cabbage leaves that are then egg-rolled (yes, I made that word up) into a tomato sauce that then gets sour creamed. Lord, have mercy.
Lithuanian Cabbage Rolls (Balandeliai) Recipe: http://www.10thkitchen.com/2012/03/lithuanian-cabbage-rolls-balandeliai/
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
Okay. To be real with you guys, which we always are, we have been dancing around making these for a while now. We were scared. We were nervous. We were intimidated. THEY WERE EASY! The hardest part was the rolling, but even then, it was just so ridiculously simple that we almost feel silly for being such culinary chickens (See what I did there?? Chicken? haha, no it was pork. But you dig that I’m kicking). Regardless, the ingredients were handy and there were no translations or conversions. SCORE.
Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
Uh-Mazing. Simple ingredients– in fact, there were only two spices in addition to the obligatory salt and pepper: Garlic and bay leaves. That was all she wrote! And yet, it was so flavorful. I loved the cabbage/tomato/sour cream sauce… I might have eaten that with a spoon by itself and called it bisque. But honestly, it was simple and good and hearty. All the wonderful components of comfort food and Sunday cooking were there. We unanimously gave this one five stars– even from our tough Russian judge (my dad) who devoured four of these.
Where in the big wide world will #114 take us for our next country?? Central America for some time in Nicaragua!!
Keep on, Keeping on!
– L & K