March 31, 2014

Romania at a glance!

A month ago, I left a cold Pittsburgh, went to a spring-like Romania and came back to an even colder Steel City.  But the time in Romania was worthwhile as it was filled with birthday parties, barbecues, frequent trips to the open market, and home-cooked meals with my grandmother.  Nothing short of perfection!   

It was a whole year ago that I went to see my family in Transylvania and the trip coincided again with my birthday, which is always celebratory and exciting!  If last year, I specifically insisted that my Grandma Vicki included these spectacular Nutella filled Cookies on my birthday dessert menu, this year, her epic Chocolate Cake with Walnut Brittle took center stage.  And Adrian’s cousin Alex called it “the Bomb”!  Stay tuned for this recipe, you will not want to miss it!  

Of course, in my grandma’s kitchen one dessert is never enough, so the Chocolate Cake was nicely accompanied by a Coffee Cream Cake and a Chestnut Cake.  All gorgeous and mouthwatering! 

After an outrageously mild winter, spring came early in Romania.  The moment the sun was out and the temperatures started to climb, Romanians had two things on their mind: picnics and grilling.  As always, the mititei, those small sausage shaped patties, were extremely popular; and so were the pork steaks, chicken drumsticks, fish and these amazing Chicken Burgers, which got me a standing ovation!

As you can see, people love to crowd around the grill, literally, and get lost in a cloud of smoke!  

When spring fever hits, Romanians start vegging out in parks, soaking up the sun and relishing some crunchy pretzels.

I prefer a trip to the open markets that are overflowing with fresh produce the moment spring rolls around.    

And I can never turn down a visit to a traditional restaurant!

Apple crusted pork chops with mashed potatoes and caramelized plums.

Spicy pork shoulder with rice, runny egg and homemade pickles.

Gulyas – Traditional Hungarian Beef Stew.

But more often than not, home-cooked meals are the best and even more gratifying when you introduce your hero, in this case my grandma Vicki, to new recipes such as the juicy Chicken Burgers, this elegant Maple Sweet Potato Cake or this one of a kind Pudding Cake of Honey, Cinnamon and Plums!   

Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)