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Hello everyone!  This past weekend I made some seitan which turned out delicious!  I used the seitan recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance with a few modifications.  I was looking to make a stringy seitan and I attempted to do that by kneading the seitan dough and then I stretched it and repeated with the kneading for about 5 minutes.  I think the stretching made a great difference in the texture of the seitan.  I really enjoyed the texture of this seitan and I will try to continue to experiment with the texture.  

Moving on to the recipe!  My grandparents were preparing to cook some stewed green beans with beef.  I asked my grandpa if he needed all the green beans and he said no, so I took about two cups of the green beans.  I really wanted them to make the dish with seitan but they were not fully convinced.  They have both tried seitan a few times but are still not convinced to use it in their dishes yet.  They always laugh at me when I tell them I am making “meat” from flour!  I keep explaning to them that it’s so pure and simple it’s just wheat gluten, a couple of spices, broth and that’s it.  I really want to get them to eat seitan instead of meat but that were probably take so long as they don’t like to explore many different foods.  Anyway I decided to make a delicous vegan adaption of their dish they were making!  I really enjoy stewed green beans and I have blogged about them before.  This time I decided I wanted to step it up a notch and add some seitan!  Stewed Green Beans is a very popular Albanian dish that my mom would make all the time when she cooked, she usually made it with smoked meat.  That is where I got the idea to flavor my seitan with some liquid smoke and smoked salt for a delicious smokey taste.  The smokey seitan really give the recipe some kick!  I like adding potatoes to my stewed green beans which I learned from my grandma.  As the potatoes cook they thicken the sauce really good.  I really enjoyed the taste of this stew!   

Stewed Green Beans with Smokey Seitan

Albanian Style Stewed Green Beans and Potatoes with Smokey Seitan
Serves 2 people
This Stewed Green Bean recipe is a great flavorful way to use green beans! The recipe makes enough for two hungry people, so if you have more people at home double the recipe. The recipe uses three tablespoons of olive oil so if you want to make this lower fat feel free to reduce some of the oil.  I use smoked salt in this recipe which is very tasty and perfect for creating a smokey flavor in addition to the liquid smoke. 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups of Seitan, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups of Green Beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 small red potato, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
3-4 garlic cloves
1 medium tomato or one half of a large tomato diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
2 cups vegetable broth or water ( You may need to add more liquid)
3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons – 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke (My liquid smoke was a bit weak flavored so I had to use more until I got the right flavor, so adjust to your taste)Smoked salt to taste (Optional, if you don’t have smoked salt feel free to use regular salt)

Heat a medium pot over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot enough, add the seitan and saute until golden on all sides about 4-5 minutes. Towards the end at the liquid smoke and Smoked Salt. Remove from pot and set aside.

Now add about 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil to the pot. Add the onions and saute for a good 8 minutes until they are translucent and tender. If your pot has burned pieces from the seitan, deglaze it with a bit of vegetable broth. Add the garlic and saute for a minute until fragrant. Now it’s time to add the green beans and potatoes. Saute the green beans and potatoes for about 5 minutes.

Now add the tomato, paprika, oregano, chili flakes and season with salt and pepper. Saute for another two minutes. Add the vegetable broth or water and bring to a boil and then to a simmer. After a couple of minutes add the seitan that you have set aside. Simmer the stew for about 45-50 minutes until the green beans and potatoes are tender. If the stew starts to get dry simply add some more broth. Re-season with salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Remember to not go heavy on the salt because the Smokey Seitan is salt already from the smoked salt. Let the stew sit for 15 minutes or you can eat it has soon has it finished cooking. 

I like to serve these stewed green beans with some rice, bread, and a side salad or vegetable.

I got a lot of things to share with everyone tonight!  Sorry for not blogging for a while.  Last week I was a bit busy so I didn’t have time to blog.   Luckily I found some time tonight!   

Brocolli Rabe and Spicy Temeph Pasta

Last Monday I made the Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli Rabe Pasta from Veganomicon.  This was my second time making this pasta dish.  The first time it was super bitter from the Broccoli Rabe, I didn’t enjoy it much the first time.  I decided to give it another chance with spaghetti this time because it was all I had.  My mom prepares Broccoli Rabe very well so I decided to ask her about the secrets.  My mom says broccoli rabe has to be blanched for one to two minutes and then dropped into ice cold water.  Just like tempeh where it has to be boiled for a couple of minutes to remove the bitterness, broccoli rabe benefits from the boiling water too.    I decidedto try the blanching and it worked great!  The blanching defiantly removes some of the bitterness of the Broccoli Rabe making it taste pleasant..  I really enjoyed the flavorful spicy tempeh and the slightly bitter broccoli rabe.  I will now make this tasty pasta dish more often.  I hope everyone reading this blog has Veganomicon, if you don’t I highly suggest getting it!  Isa and Terry have taught me so much about cooking!   

Moving along on Wednesday I made and Albanian recipe.  It is called Pita or Burek, in Albanian.

Albanian Pita

My family mostly calls it Pita, I’ll refer it to Burek since it is more popular way to say it.  There are many versions for Burek there is a coil version similar to the picture and a regular square version.  I still havn’t learned how to make the dough fully by myself.  My grandma made the dough for this pita and I made the filling.  My mom is so good at rolling Burek dough, she can make its nice and thin.  My grandma made it a bit thicker which is how she makes it all the time.  It is very rare for Albanians to have recipes, we usually just eyeball everything.  I ask my mom where are your recipes and she says “they are all in my head”.  Next time I want to actually develop a recipe for the dough which should be fun!  You can always take the easy route and just use phyllo dough but then it would be more like a Burek.  I used a mixed mushroom filling for this Burek.  Tradionally the two major fillings are cheese or ground meat and sometimes spinach/cheese.  My mom always develops interesting fillings for Burek.   She came up with this one a while back when we bought a lot of mushrooms.  The first time my mom made it I was suprised with how good it was.  I really love mushrooms and I was so happy my mom invented this new filling!  I don’t have the recipe ready completely.  I want to create an easy to follow recipe for Pita/Burek and will probably have it up soon!

 Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

Another dish I made this week was eggplant in a tomato pepper sauce.  This was very easy to make.  I just cut an eggplant into small triangles and then pan fried them.  I then made a quick tomato pepper sauce with fresh tomatoes and some canned, onions, garlic, and a green pepper.  Seasoned it with some oregano, thyme, and of course salt andharvest-blend.jpg pepper. I threw the fried eggplant into the sauce and simmered it for a few minutes and  Voilá I had an awesome dinner!   I normally don’t like eating summer vegetables in the winter time but sometimes you get that craving for a summer vegetable.  Although this eggplant dish doesn’t look too photogenic it was very tasty!   I served it with a delicous product I just discovered at Trader Joe’s.  It’s called Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend, it basically features Israeli couscous, along with red and green orzo, split dried garbanzo beans, and red quinoa.  I really like it because it cooks up so quick and it has so many different things in it.  Next time your at Trader Joe’s pick this up, you’ll love it!

I’ll leave you with my dog,  Madison.  This is her first appearance on my blog!   I took this picture a while back but I just had to share it with everyone know because she worked so hard on our little “photoshoot”.  In this picture she is in the snow, which it is actually snowing right now as well.  Look how serious she is!  I am so excited for tomorrow because my school has issued a snow day!  My school rarely gives out snowdays!  It’s supposed to snow a whole lot here in New York!

Madison

Madison says Hello to everyone reading!

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