Monday, March 19, 2018

Relishing in Romanian Food...

Hai sa mancam! Let's Eat! Today it's all about Romanian food! Romania is an East European country nestled in the Balkan Peninsula, and a home to a few of my lovely friends. Their most important staple is corn, milled into fine meal used in polentas-- mamaliga and porridges, and potatoes is a close second. A long tradition of vegetable cookery ensues, particularly during Lent with widely grown beans, sweet peppers, tomatoes, squash, asparagus and eggplant. A love that is witnessed on the store shelves and ready-made counter at Toronto's ABC Euro Deli, opened in 1996 by the Milos family wanting to preserve the meal-time memories of home and using traditional hand-down recipes through generations. In their newly expanded location, they continue to specialize in European products extending their product lines and imports with a wide selection of cured meats, cold cuts, fresh meats, sausages, cheeses, pastries, dairy, grocery and hot table items. Funny, it took my friend Mihail living in the homeland itself, to point it out to me :D...

This friendly store located in Scarborough, east of downtown Toronto carries mainly Romanian products but also imports from Hungary, Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Germany, and many more.

Shelves full of pickled vegetables from different kinds of sauerkraut to beans, mushrooms and peppers. Other notables include vegetable spreads, conserves, jellies, jam, snacks, teas, liver pate and various canned foods. 

Lots of grilled red pepper relish often concocted with eggplants seasoned with chiles and garlic.

Pickled fish such as herring and caviar!

So many kinds of pierogies from cheese, to savoury to fruit sweet.  

East Europeans love their pickles!

Pickled whole green tomatoes-- interesting!

Layered cakes and treats seems to be their sweet thing! 

Milka chocolate assortment-- must have been the entire line of flavours.

Love it all, but this is the main attraction... what I really came for :D

Cured, smoked... so many, so little time. Of course I had to get some Romanian salami...

Love the ham pieces suspended in gelatin (animal collagen).

The hot table was my next go-to... Schnitzel and cabbage rolls-- I must have them all!

The beef goulash caught my eye! Filled with beef chunks, potato and dumplings (flour and milk), this was one traditional soup that was guaranteed to warm my family's heart and tummies tonight! Yum...

I made off with a hefty dose of goods that was sure to satisfy at my table. The ladies at the counter wasn't sure when I'll leave with my constant hop-skippity-jump back to ask questions and to order some more. Such lovely and patient service with a smile :D.

Dips, sausages, olives, soup, cabbage rolls and schnitzel.

This beef goulash was my favourite of all-- so hearty, flavourful and delightful (dreaming about those slightly yielding dumplings)... I must make this very, very soon. Did I say very soon?

I love cabbage rolls... these ones were filled with pork and vegetables, but they aren't my favourite. Maybe it was the slather of red pepper oil that didn't agree? I adore the Polish ones most bathed in a thin tomato sauce. My Romanian friend Mihail promised to share his version with us as a guest blogger real soon... I'm really looking forward to hearing what he does and finally try my hands on cabbage rolls- maybe change my mind on which cuisine reigns supreme?

Laying out the appetizers including my sublime avocado with red onions and lime for a bit of freshness, and some bread to sop up dip and soup. 

Bean stew and eggplant & mayo serve as side accompaniments or dips with bread.
Olives and pickles for a bit of slick and sour. Rolled Romanian salami (roll-back-of-head
deelish-- tender like ham and perfectly flavoured for easy eating), and chicken calbano
sausage (a bit bland for my taste). Beef goulash was out of this world!

Out comes the main event-- pork and chicken schnitzel and pork cabbage rolls. Served with some mayo.

A nice helping of Romania on the plate right there!

I've actually tried cooking Romanian dishes before. Or shall I say tested recipes? A global cuisine cookbook is coming out (and I'm in it!!) -- although it has been over two years in the making (bless my passionate Oregon friend Julie Cockburn doing this solo), latest I heard, it's going to print! Earlier then, nearing the final development stages, we were asked to test each other's recipes which involves noting anything that is unclear or confusing, errors, or ingredients that are a challenge to come by. I tested four recipes by fellow contributor and native Romanian Dana Burlacu Visternicu and the results were sensational! See my previous post for more on the cookbook and my results.

From Top Right Clockwise: Testing Dana's traditional Romanian recipes of Tocinei
(potato and cheese pancakes), Trout with Sour Cream and Dill served with Corn
and Potato Porridge. And to cap it off with something sweet-- Papanasi
(cheese donuts with sour cream and jam).

Join me in a few weeks to see my culinary and food advocate friend Mihail from Romania feature his cabbage rolls! 
Can't wait!

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