Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Tour of Albania

Albanian Vegetable Pie


1 cup (240 mL) oil, preferably olive oil
1½ packets (or about 30) pastry leaves (Filo dough)
pounds (680 g) spinach, chopped
1 cup (240 mL) diced feta cheese
½ cup (120 mL) chopped green onions
2-3 eggs
t salt

A medium-sized, round baking pan is recommended because it's more authentic but any medium-sized baking pan will do.
Brush the baking pan with some of the oil, and start laying the pastry leaves inside. First, lay two leaves, sprinkle or brush with oil, then lay two other leaves, and repeat the procedure until half of the leaves are laid. Make sure that they cover the pan by hanging them about one inch over the edges of the pan.
Sprinkle spinach with salt, then mix well by hand. Add the feta cheese, oil, onions, eggs and salt, and spread this mixture over the already laid pastry leaves. Finish by covering the spinach with the rest of the pastry leaves repeating the first-half procedure and then roll the hanging edges of the bottom leaves over the pie (think of a pizza crust), sprinkle top with oil and bake moderately at 350°F (175°C) for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot, accompanied with buttermilk, or beaten yogurt, thinned down in cold water or with chilled stewed prunes. Sometimes a green salad adds to the meal!
Serves 4-6.

Albanian Burger Steaks

1 1/2 lb Ground beef
1 Egg
1/4 cup Onion, minced
1/2 tsp Black pepper
Mint leaves
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 slices Bread, soaked in milk and squeezed
2 tsp Salt
3 tbl Minced mint leaves

Method:Times staff writer Rose Dosti's mother adapted Albanian flavor preferences to American hamburger with these results.Combine beef, garlic, egg, bread, onion, salt, pepper and mint. Shape into 4 oblong patties and fry 8 to 10 minutes on each side in lightly greased skillet. Serve on hot plates and garnish with additional mint leaves, if desired.

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