May 2013 archive

Tall beef burgers.

Beef…lots of beef, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onions, Tabasco, egg yolk, salt and pepper.  Mine got stuffed with Swiss cheese.

Sides: tomatoes, onions, pickles, arugula, wild mushrooms.

Sauces: grainy Dijon mustard, homemade smoky hot sauce and mayonnaise.

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A Katerini treat.

We discovered this delicious appetizer at a cute, super packed restaurant in Katerini, Greece last February. It’s so easy to make and tastes fantastic.

Layer a finely sliced onion, slices of goat feta and a tomato, drizzle with olive oil with a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Place in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Serve with fresh bread.

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Burgas adventure.

Bulgaria is amazing, the people are easy going and friendly, everyone loves to be outside with their families and friends laughing and having a good time, the buildings are beautiful whether old or new, the food is great (unless you’re vegetarian, Eastern Europe isn’t your friend), the music is lively and everything is inexpensive.

Matt and I packed up the kittens and some supplies and headed to Burgas for an adventure. Securely parked by the city center, we left the cats to play and gawk at the pedestrians while we strolled around town taking pictures.

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We stopped at a little bistro called Ocean, located right on the main strip and ate a 5 star meal of: 

-Melt in your mouth slow roasted beef tongue with a touch of paprika.

-Shark carpaccio, a salty treat with a smoke flavor enhanced with just tiny squeeze of lemon.

-Spicy chicken breast morsels in a sweet and sour sauce.

-Chicken tenders (and I mean super tender) breaded with cornflakes with a kick ass yogurt dill dip.  

-A huge plate of perfectly cooked squid rings swimming and olive sauce.

-Homemade vanilla ice cream with black figs and rose syrup. Dessert? I actually ordered dessert!

-A silly amount of draft beers.

-And the piece de resistance; pan seared foie gras with fresh black figs in a charbroiled pineapple sauce! The first thing that shocked me was the amount of foie gras on my plate, 6 plump pieces as an appetizer? Cool! The pineapple sauce was sweet but you could pick up on the smoke flavor and the citrus from the fruit cut the heaviness of the foie gras. Simply a perfect dish (and for only $6)!!!

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The rest of the day was spent walking around the suburbs meeting new people, watching a football match; Team Burgas vs the guys in orange, eating Chinese food at hole in the wall restaurant on the bottom floor of a random apartment building, playing with our cats in the van and reading our Kindles on the sidewalk.

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Good times!

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A prrrrrfect car trip.

I realize it’s a little crazy to want to go camping with your cats but we really love our kittens and miss them terribly when they are left at home. The short 30 kilometer trip to Burgas was a test to see how comfortable Misiu and Stotinki are in the campervan.

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Step one: The Smell Test.

Before even turning on the engine, the cats got to smell every inch of the van. Eventually we passed their test and were able to start the car.

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The movement hardly startled them, to be honest they were more interested in what Matt was doing with the huge wheel in his hands.

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Unlike most cats, the twins were very comfortable, hardly said anything and eventually feel asleep.

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Bulgaria is notorious for it’s poor road conditions but thankfully the highway to Burgas got repaved over the winter and 90% of the trip drives like a dream. This is Misiu’s hiding spot when the going gets rough.

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We left them to play while we went on a date, we saw the new Star Trek movie and it was amazing!

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The trip was a great success, I almost suspect that they prefer the van over the loft. The kittens spent hours looking out the side window greeting people as they passed by, they loved sleeping on our front seats, basking in the sunlight and they especially enjoyed playing hide and seek on the loft bed.

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Next time; cat harnesses, beach and lots of playing in the sand, these two dig like little badgers.

Chickenless chicken wings with homemade hot sauce.

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The Wings:

  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • pepper
  • nutmeg

Fry the onion until translucent then stir in the red lentils, couscous (I used medium sized couscous for extra texture), chopped parsley, pepper, nutmeg and chicken stock. Cooking time takes about 20 minutes, set aside and let cool. I added a big spoonful of my hot sauce to the mix to give the “wings” a little punch.

Coating

In a bowl mix:

  • 2 cups plain cream of wheat (cornmeal or breadcrumbs work too but I’ve discovered that cream of wheat makes the best crispy coating)
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • salt and pepper

Once cooled, grab fistfuls of mix and shape it into little wings with your hands then roll each one in the coating.  Bake in a 425-450 degree oven for about 10 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy.

 

The Sauce:

  • 15-20 spicy peppers (I used jalapeno peppers but feel free to go hotter)
  • 1 large sweet red pepper
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium onions cut in half
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt

This part works best in cast iron pan or a wok but a regular frying pan will also do. Without oil, cook the peppers and the onions at high heat, the skin on the peppers should blacken and start to blister while the onions turn dark brown and caramelize. Toss in the garlic with a little oil, make sure the garlic doesn’t burn because it can turns bitter. Once the garlic is soft, remove from heat and detach the stem from the peppers. Blend all the ingredients in a blender or with a hand blender and taste. You may need a little more vinegar for tang or more sugar to taste depending on the peppers you’ve used. This should yield a full mason jar of hot sauce, a great condiment for any meal! 

Daytime sleeping = nighttime craziness.

We left the kittens at home for 30 hours over the weekend to see the Depeche Mode concert in Sofia. The cats were well equipped with toys, litter, a sleeping zone, a buffet of crunchy snacks, 4 bowls of water and each other to play with. When we returned, the cat zone was a disaster area, I literally had to hose the floor down and give them each a bath. Misiu must be part Siamese because she is a chatter box and she insisted on listing her complains for over two hours.

Last night these two gremlins didn’t let us sleep a wink, our toes were bitten, the drapes were climbed, the screen door was abused and the stairs were used as a track and field course! Usually we put them in the bathroom (they have a nice bed there), they calm down and fall asleep but not last night, all they did was scream and shriek as if dying. Holy drama queens, they must take after me…

Look how cute they are at the moment, can’t wait for tonight’s adventure! 

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BIG DAY!

Mother’s day!!!! I love my mom and I can’t wait to see her, rumor has it that she’ll visit us in September. IMG_3590_thumb

 

 

ALSO:

-It’s our 31 month Boyfriend/Girlfriend anniversary.

-It’s Neely’s birthday.

-I moved to Victoria 12 years ago

and…………….

Our 1 year anniversary of moving to Europe, what a ride!DSC08016

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