Culinary Travel Part III … and travel “on a dime.”


Last night was the third installment of Christian’s and my “Culinary Travel Adventures” that we have every Sunday evening. It was Christian’s turn to choose the “destination,” and he chose Lithuania. We had a heck of a time finding ANY books on Lithuanian literature at the library, so we resorted to a child’s book on Lithuania to read during dinner. And Lithuania’s culinary repertoire is not so vast. Basically it’s all about meat (pork), potatoes, cabbage, carrots and onions, so we had to dig deep to make sure we didn’t overlap on our respective dishes, lol. Christian picked out the music (very good, folksy music, by the way), and we just bombed on finding a Lithuanian movie to watch after dinner. SO, instead, we watched Lithuanian short documentaries on YouTube 😉
As an appetizer, I made Lithuanian Cabbage:

LITHUANIAN CABBAGE
Printed from COOKS.COM
1 med. head cabbage
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 med. head purple cabbage
1 med. can sauerkraut (strain a little)
1 lb. bacon, chopped and cooked (pour some fat off)
1 med. onion, chopped and sauteed in bacon fat
Cook cabbage in small amount of water for 10 minutes or until crisp and tender. Cook onion and bacon until bacon is crisp. Combine cabbage, brown sugar, bacon, and onion. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Christian said it was very similar (sans beef broth and cooked less) to a kraut dish served by his mother, so the taste was familiar and good for him. Talk about a hearty, healthy winter dish that costs so little! I only used half a head of cabbage of red and white, and we will be eating this for days.
Christian made the entree… basically “Lithuanian Latkes,” for lack of a better description. Again, SO good, hearty and penny-pincher friendly:

LITHUANIAN POTATO PANCAKES (BULVINIAL BLYNAI)
Printed from COOKS.COM
7-8 potatoes or 3 c. cubed potatoes
2 eggs
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
Peel and grate potatoes. Mix in other ingredients. Melt fat or heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in frying pan. Drop spoonfuls of mixture onto hot skillet. Brown each side to a golden brown. Serve with sour cream or applesauce.

It was tough finding a dessert for our Lithuanian meal. I guess folks in that country are too full to think about a post meal dessert. I know I was almost ready to pop (no, not pregnancy related!) after three pancakes. But here’s what I found and made:

SALTANOSIAI (COLD NOSES)
1-package won-ton wrappers
Berries (blueberries, raspberries or blackberries)
Sugar
Sweetened sour cream (Stir in approximately 1 teaspoon honey or Sugar per 1/4 cup sour cream.)

1. Use an inverted glass like a cookie cutter to cut the won-ton wrappers into rounds. Or, if you prefer, wrappers can be left square.
2. Place lightly salted water on the stove to boil while preparing the dumplings. Use enough water so the dumplings can move freely about without crowding, otherwise they will stick together.

3. Place about one teaspoon of Berries in the center of the won-ton wrapper. Be careful not to use so many Berries that they are likely to leak out during cooking. Place about one teaspoon of Sugar on the Berries.

4. Moisten the edges of the won-ton wrapper. Fold over the edges sealing well. If you used round wrappers, your dumplings will now be in half circles. If you used square wrappers, you will have triangular shaped dumplings. Repeat until won-ton wrappers or Berries are used up.

5. Reduce the heat on the boiling water to a gentle simmer. Drop the dumplings in the hot water one at a time. To prevent the dumplings from sticking together, stir once around the pot with a wooden spoon. Do this only when necessary, as you do not want to break open the won-ton wrapper and have the filling leak out. Simmer gently about 5 minutes.

6. When done, remove dumplings from water using a slotted spoon. Drain well.

7. Using small serving bowls; place 2-3 dumplings in each bowl. Top the dumplings with a dollop of the sweetened cream.

It will be an adventure thinking up the next “culinary travel” destination next week. But after last night’s hearty meal and today’s scale reading, it just might be somewhere tropical, fruit-based, and where staples grow high up in trees, not under the ground, lol.

•••

And another couple’s adventure that we’ve decided to start up this week? Starting today, we’re going to be doing our version of the “staycation,” or “Travel on a Dime,” since this is how it works: We lay out a map of El Paso and toss a dime in the air. Whatever grid that dime lands on is the area we explore next. Today it’s going to be somewhere in the Eastside, near Railroad Drive. Never heard of the area, mostly residential it seems, but it has a park. We have no plans other than to just check it out, take some photos and see how others live. Who knows…if we keep this up, we’ll become our own Google Maps and not ever get lost in the city again. At least the dime didn’t land in South, South El Paso right on the border (yes, we have set limits!)

•••

Yesterday was a major milestone day for us… we installed the car seat and put together the travel system for Hannah!!!! Hey, I get my thrills in small ways, my friends.It was so amazingly cool to have her system set up and good to go for whatever could happen early (god forbid, but we wanted to play it safe), and to watch Christian set it up in no time and for us to actually have that little car seat base permanently installed in the Jeep really makes me feel like a mom, lol 🙂

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4 responses to “Culinary Travel Part III … and travel “on a dime.”

  1. your dessert sounds good. its a bit similar to what i like to make, all i do different is i use pastry dough, you can fill it with strawberries, cherries, apples, well, almost every kind of fruit you like. in germany i was always using quark but as you can’t get that here i am using cream cheese. and you don’t cook it, you bake it.the german word for that is plunder.
    Also like your “Travel on a dime”. When i was still living in germany with my kids we did that with a dice. and we ended up spending weekends in france, spain, italy, holland, switzerland, austria, etc, i soooo miss that !!!!!!!

    • I will definitely use pastry dough for next time, since the wonton wrappers were just much too “slippery” and strange! Oh, and I wish there were quark around here, too. How do you prepare the cream cheese to be most like quark? Any special tricks?

  2. i mix a little bit sour cream in the creamcheese, some honey too, but it just does not come close to quark, i do it for Kaesekuchen, too, but it tastes different

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