Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel was largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
I’m a little (okay, a lot) late with getting around to making this post. I made these dishes back in May and then life got so chaotic (in the best way) that I never actually got around to writing anything up, and we have not done a country meal since. It’s okay to take breaks to enjoy the summer, right? Yes. Absolutely. The country was Romania, known for quaint villages, massive wooden churches, mountainous landscapes, and charming countryside.
Romania has so many interesting dishes, I couldn’t just pick one. Instead, I opted for three small plates that made one delicious meal. The dishes I chose were Salată de Vinete (an eggplant dip), Mititei or Mici (a street food), and Papanasi (cheese doughnuts).
These three dishes were featured in the following blog posts about culinary traditions in Romania: this list by Rolandia.eu, this list by Chef’s Pencil, this list by In Your Pocket, this list by Travelling Balkans, this list by TasteAtlas, this list by CultureTrip, and this list by Romania Experience. We used the following recipes:
We started with Salată de Vinete. I’d tried eggplant at least once previously, but never used it in my own cooking. I was surprised by the texture and composition and how fast it browned, almost like an apple. I roasted the two eggplants and prepared the dip. It was really tasty with crusty bread, but perhaps a little mayo-forward for my taste. Would I make it again? No, I don’t think so. Did we enjoy it? Yeah, for sure we did.
Next, I made the Mititei, which is a meatball (shaped into more of a roll than a ball) cooked on the BBQ. A popular Romanian street food, Mitiei (also known as Mici) is usually served with ketchup and mustard. These were really easy to prepare on our smokeless Ninja Foodi Grill. We gobbled these up super quickly and would probably make them again for a potluck or family cookout given how easy and flavorful they are.
Finally, I made the Papanasi; doughnuts made from ricotta cheese, sugar, flour, and egg. These were the star of the show. They were fun to make and decorate. The dough was surprisingly easy to work with (dough is usually my downfall) and kept its shape when we fried it. The ricotta and sour cream perfectly balanced the sweetness of the sugar, fruit compote, and syrups. I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert and would definitely make it again for friends and family. Plus the little doughnut hole placed on top is too cute!
I am so excited to finally have time for more country meals each weekend and can’t wait to see what next week has in store.