After getting home last night from the first part of my Christmas break travels, I slept in late this morning. It was wonderful to wake up in my own bed - what I have come to call my own bed, anyway! I spent the morning unpacking, washing, and hanging out my clothes. Since it has been raining all day, I hung them on the line on the porch - they may be dry in a couple of days. I went for a nice run and showered, then I finally got to cook! I have offered to help Tea in the kitchen over and over again, but she always smiles and says, "No, you sit down" - the Georgian way of making a guest comfortable. But I love to cook, and I don't love to sit! Maybe someday the Georgians that I am getting to know well will understand these things about me..... maybe. So, anyway, I was so excited to have my hands in the food-prep business today! New Year's here in Georgia is all about the food, and Tea had so many things to make today, she was finally willing to let me help. It's not that she doesn't want me to help, it's that she doesn't want to make me work. Hopefully after today's foray into the cooking territory, precedent will have been set strongly enough that she'll feel comfortable letting me help on a regular basis. The things we made are nothing like American food.... Here's what we made:
Vinegreti - this is the closest to anything I make in the States - It's a salad made from boiled carrots, potatos, and eggs - finely chopped with pickles, cilantro, dill, mayo, salt, and pepper.
Stuffed carrots - boiled carrots with the centers hollowed out, stuffed with a mixture of cooked, shredded carrot, onion, cilantro, chili paste, and hazelnut paste.
Stuffed peppers - sauteed sweet peppers stuffed with the same stuffing in the carrots.
Cabbage salad - cooked, shredded cabbage, carrot, onion, chili paste, and I'm not sure what else....
Pelamushi - grape juice, sugar, and corn meal. I was out for my run when Tea made this, so I still don't know how to make it.....
Khachapuri - thin bread dough patted into a pan, sprinkled with fresh cheese and brushed with egg, then baked - Tea makes the best in town.
Gozinaki - roasted hazelnuts, crushed, mixed with honey - boiled for a few minutes, then cooled.
Fresh bread - a daily (or every-other) ritual.
Fresh cheese - ditto.
Chicken, Cow, Pig - I didn't help with the killing, butchering, or cooking of any of these.
Bazhe - a sauce made from ground hazelnuts and spices.
Cake - a huge, two-layer chocolate cake with golden raisins and caramel frosting, drizzled with coffee.
At midnight we sat down to eat - and eat - and eat..... Now it's 3:48, and I'm going to sleep until I wake up.
Happy New Year, everyone!