Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cooking In Croatia

 It was only a matter of time...

Until I tried to bake in another country.  Keep in mind, the difference between cooking and baking:  Cooking is an art; Baking is a science.  You try doing a science project, in another country, in a foreign language -- complete with conversions & translations.  Yeah, it was an experiment to say the least.

We had a delicious lunch of leftovers -- Villager pizza & Waiters' Pizza with risotto and pasta! Dad heated up the pizza in the oven so the bottom was nice and crispy.  We're kind of pizza snobs like that... no soggy slices for us, please.

If you're wondering what that black stuff is (above), it's cuddle fish risotto -- and it looks better than it tastes.  Yeah, the fact that I put something purple/black and fishy in my tummy means it has to be noteworthy.  Below is my newest obsession: Empty-the-fridge Salad.

I've discovered the best way to get your greens - Top it with tons of food (it is the best "dressing" you could ask for!!)  So far on this trip, I've topped salad with Bolognese, pasta, risotto, pizza, cevapcici...

My plate: 

So, on to the baking.  A little background info -- sister has been mad craving peanut butter.  She's made us go into every single market and grocery store in search for anything close to nut butt (hahaha my new name for peanut butter... not as appealing). 

Our last hope was the big Konzum store in the city.  Low and behold, we found a tiny jar of nut butt (peanut butter) on the top shelf, next to a gazillion jars of jam, nutella, and vanilla creme.  They call it "kikiriki" over here in Croatia.  How cool is that name?!? It sound like I found a name for my first born child.. "come here kikiriki!"

We decided to make brownies with peanut butter swirled in - a classic American dessert, right?

Wrong! After looking up recipes, translating the ingredients into Croatian, asking all the store employees for help, coverting the measurements to metric, guessing how the oven works... our "brownies" came out a little differently than planned.  Think a layer of peanut butter and chocolate, ooey gooey butter and sugar, and some random cake-like part at the bottom.  The only reason there are layers, is because we left the pan out while we were eating lunch, and the flour all settled at the bottom of the pan... and thus, we had "layered brownies."

THEY WERE DELICIOUS!  We served them with vanilla and chocolate ice cream (after heating them up in the microwave...) and our guests - family from Croatia - loved them.  They even asked for the recipe!  People had seconds!  Sister and I were in shock... they were not the brownies we planned for, but they turned out better than expected.

Uh-Oh Brownies
We doubled the recipe to fit a 10 by 14 1/2 pan, so feel free to reduce or adjust anything here

- 4 sticks of butter (we used 2 sticks of butter, 2 of margarine)
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour (we got the Croatian equivalent)
- 4 cups of granulated sugar
- 4 tsp of vanilla extract (we used 5 packets of vanilla sugar... couldn't find extract)
- 8 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups of cocoa powder -- we used chocolate powder not cocoa powder and we think this definitely changed the recipe
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt

Directions:  Heat the over to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in the microwave (stirring occasionally).  Place melted butter in a large mixing bowl and add in the sugar until dissolved.  Stir in the eggs, stir in the cocoa (chocolate) powder, flour, salt, baking powder, & extract.  Next step is critical: let the pan sit out for 15-30 minutes if you want layers... then bake for 40 ishhh minutes :)  ENJOY!

With our brownies, we also had dinner:

Appetizer of bread, proscuitto, and smoked cheese

We kept with the American theme and grilled steak, terriyaki chicken, zucchini, onions and tomatoes

Check it out!! I'm showing off my blog to the Croatians :)
They're new fans.

Off to empty the fridge with Dad and Sister !!!
Later gators :)

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