Hai, să mâncăm! (Let's eat!)

You knew it was coming... after all, this is a girl whose family plans our vacations around what we want to eat. Here it is, the post where I tell you about some delicious Romanian mâncare -- food!

Last night there was a festival in town to celebrate St. Mary -- if your name is Mary, then La Mulți Ani! Happy St. Mary's Day! Festivals are great times to eat mici (meech), a kind of sausage without casing. Yum. I also bought a Hungarian bread that is basically pretzel dough rolled into a cone and sprinkled with various toppings. Cinnamon sugar is my favorite. I didn't think to take a picture before I ate it.

mici with mustard (background: flags handed out at the parade)
Today, before heading next door for a cooking lesson, I made a big batch of banana pancakes (while singing the Jack Johnson song, since I was in the apartment by myself). The significance here is that I purchased bananas from the grocery store all by myself. Yes, I can do that, thank you very much. Over here, when you buy produce, you weigh it yourself. Choose what you want, set it on the scale, press the number (bananas are #1), and then take the sticker that prints with your price. I have a dear ex-grocery-clerk friend who would probably appreciate this system.

But I diverge... Food. Da. Yes.

I took lots of pictures today to share with you. Let's start with Salate de Vinete -- Eggplant Salad. You can use as many eggplants as you want, depending on how much salate you want. We prepared three, then cooked a few more to store in the freezer.

First, burn whole eggplants on heavy iron plates.

Next, peel the skin. Burning makes this easier and also gives the eggplant a nice smoky flavor.

Drain for a few minutes to get some of the liquid out.

 One at a time, put the eggplants on a cutting board (fund) and chop with a big knife (cuțit mare). 

Then add salt and oil, and stir. Finally, add mayonnaise, onion, and garlic to taste (optional). I like it with onion and very little mayonnaise. Serve on firm white bread, such as a French loaf.
finished Salate de Vinete, after a few samples have been taken
Now let's make plăcentă (pluh-chen-tuh) -- pie. For this we need foi, pastry sheets in a pack from the grocery store. Filling can be anything, but we will use apples and pears and also make one with just walnuts. After grating the fruit and pressing out the juice, we are ready to assemble the pies. We take two sheets of dough and spread them with oil, distribute the filling, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Side note: Scorțișoara (skort-see-shwah-ruh) is one of my favorite things to eat and say.
filling ingredients for apple/pear pies
spreading oil and walnuts
When the filling has been spread (walnut pie shown), roll the sheet to make a long roll.

Place the pies together on a baking sheet and baste with oil, then spread a thin layer of sour cream on top. This gives the crust a nice color and good flavor.

Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 40 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
slice of finished plăcentă cu mere și pere (apple/pear)

Ok, so who's going to try this in America? Hmm? 

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