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GEORGIA ON MY MIND…..

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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2019 at 10:36
Sometimes when I write a response or post something new on this board, it disappears when I hit the "Post Reply" button.  I'd learned to copy it before posting but had forgotten about the problem.  This happened yesterday morning to a long response.  Frustrated, I gave up.  Not the first time and probably not the last.

I did look at "Supra" and decided to order it since my copy of "The Georgian Feast" has been so slow to arrive.  In fact, almost everything Georgian I've ordered has been slow in coming.  Dried sour plums just showed up yesterday along with wild dried barberries. Who knows where my Tkemali is?  This reminds me of ordering out of catalogues in my younger years.  Fill out the catalogue order check list and pop it in the mail and the waiting game will now begin.  Amazon Prime has spoiled me.

"Supra" will arrive tomorrow.  If the universe is properly aligned, so will my copy of "The Georgian Feast".

The Ketsi

The ketsi, a frying/baking/serving pan, "is made out of two different materials as people of Guria cut them out of a stone, while mountainous villages of Imereti – Shrosha, Makatubani and Satsamleti create Ketsi with the oldest clay technology. Stone and clay pans differ in sizes and thermoregulation systems." --Borjomi Georgian Gastro Guide

Red clay Ketsi  I'm trying hard not to order one of these.  I love handmade clay cookware
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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 February 2019 at 09:12
A note on spices.  Something I forget, from time to time, until a purchase smacks me in the face. This time it was Khmeli Suneli.

I ordered this spice blend from 2 different vendors.  One ground from an online source, another from a spice house I have done business with before.  World Spice Merchants. 

The pre-ground Khmeli Suneli arrived first.  Having no experience with this mix, I unscrewed the cap, removed the foil vacuum barrier for a quick whiff.  Very nice!  Things are looking up.

2 days later the World Spice Merchant's take on Khmeli Suneli arrived.  I ordered it whole, not ground. It arrived in a plastic bubble wrap lined manila envelope.  Unopened, I could smell it at arms length.  Opened, the spice mix was sealed inside another plastic bag.  Taking it out the fragrance filled an entire room.  I triple wrapped the plastic bag with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil because the plastic wrap wasn't enough.  Quite extraordinary.

The moral of this story is, always buy the best spices you can afford.  I've always had better luck with dedicated spice houses.  Especially the WSM. 



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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 February 2019 at 09:18
Following along and looking forward to how things turn out. I was lucky enough to get a couple of those spice blends from Brook and yes, they do smell amazing!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2019 at 11:58

The clay pot is a dedicated yogurt pot.  Clay has 3 advantages when making yogurt at home.  It is porous an allows moisture to evaporate making for a thicker end product.  If you further dedicate a clay pot by using only one culture, that living culture will embed itself in the porous clay and culture other batches without a starter.  Finally, clay pot yogurt just plain tastes better.

This pot is for Georgian Matsoni yogurt.  Pronounced matzoon, matsoni is a mesophilic culture which cultures at 70-78ºF so no yogurt maker required.  It is also an heirloom culture so we can use a small amount of our last batch as a starter for the next batch.  1 tsp finished yogurt to 1 cup whole pasteurized milk does it.  A max of 2 qts can be cultured at one time.


Almost forgot an important ingredient

Gotta love this logo

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2019 at 17:25
Looks like you're on your way, G-man.  

Have you had a chance to look through Supra? What do you think as compared to the other two?
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2019 at 19:05
"Supra", as I'm sure you are aware, was written by Tiko Tuskadze, native Georgian and owner of London's Little Georgia Cafe. It is excellent. I love the personal family anecdotes that are peppered throughout.  The photography is outstanding.  But what I like most about the book is the recipes.

This book touches on the stars of Georgian cusine recipes but mostly relies on other, not as well known dishes.  Tico writes about what a hard sell Matzvnis (sour cream soup) was in the cafe until a few more adventurous customers  tried it.  Now it is asked for regularly, even when not on the menu.

Other recipe examples include Bebia's Supi (Tiko's grandmothers soup)
Akhali Kartophili  (New potatoes with chili and herbs)
Kotnis Lobio ( Fragrant rose coco beans)
Pomidori Kverzkhit (Baked tomatoes and eggs)
Kartophilis Chashushuli (Spiced potato and egg stew)
Khajos Namzxvari ( Cottage cheese cake with apricot) Not a cheese cake, but a cake made with cotage cheese

You get the idea. 

There is one problem with this book.  It is poorly manufactured.  My copy's binding as already in trouble and I'm not sure how long the book will stay together.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2019 at 19:35
What a great thread!

When I was in Ukraine with Slavyanka we went to a Georgian restaurant in her home city. The names of the sauces escapes me but we had some traditional bread, a cheese platter and a meat platter, ground meat pressed into kabobs and grilled. All with a nice local red wine from a monastery.

We’ve already booked tickets to go to Ukraine this summer. I’ll definitely hit this place again.

Here are some pics.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2019 at 08:52
Wanabebewana, 

Wow !!  Definitely quite a feast of  Specialties. 

Love the bread !  Phenomenal ..  

Wonderful photography too  !  
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2019 at 07:17
First things first.

Activating the heirloom Matsoni yogurt culture. This, and the regular culturing, is normally done at room temperature but we dropped below zero so I set my bread proofer set at 76ºF for added insurance.  The activation can take as long as 48hrs and from what I'm seeing my culture will need every bit of that time.


With the top on

My first Georgian dish got a late start and I was a little disorganized. I had planned on cooking this on my grill but below freezing temps and snow changed my mind. Also, I didn't make ajika, didn't make the Gomi ("polenta and cheese" accompaniment ) and forgot the Tkemeli. All work and no play make gracoman a dull boy. 

Sakonlis Khorzis Kharcho (Spiced Beef And Walnut Stew) is a classic Georgian dish. Most kharcho I've seen are soups but this recipe, taken from 'Supra", makes a stew.  Walnuts and egg yolks are added to the sauce making it especially rich. The author describes this dish as Georgia on a plate which is why I began here.

Making the walnut sauce. Photo was taken before spices were added.  This is what we would call walnut butter.

Spiced Beef And Walnut Stew simmering in an unglazed clay pot.  Pic was taken after the heavily spiced walnut butter was added.

Plated over rice (yeah, I forgot to make the gomi)

If you look carefully, you will see a dusting of cayenne.  Best I could do under the circumstances.  Next time sauces will be made first so I don't run out of time.

The recipe I used was taken directly from the book "Supra".  It is copyrighted material so I don't know if I'm allowed to post it here.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2019 at 07:19
That would be khachapuri, Margi,  the iconic cheese bread of Georgia.  It's almost always made in that shape, or variations of it.  But, whether round, oval, boat-shaped, or what-have-you, it always has those "handles" extending from two sides.

IMO, the best khachapuri are made in a clay ketsi over an open fire, which imparts a slightly smoky flavor to the bread.

The bread is filled with a fresh, slightly sour, cheese.  Several types are used in Georgia, none of which are available in the U.S or EU.  Farmer's cheese makes a good substitute. Or see my notes and comments on this near the beginning of the thread. The mixture I came up with may not be authentic, but it works well and tastes great.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2019 at 07:36
For a forgetful old man it came out looking pretty good, G-man. :>)

Where did you get the Matsoni culture? When I ordered it, it was only available as part of a 3-yogurt kit, and I wasn't interested in the other two.  
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2019 at 08:04
The Matsoni was part of a 4 part culture kit. Each culture come with a back up for a total of 8 culture packets.  I wasn't much interested it the others myself but supposedly I can place them in my freezer for long term storage for when that itch needs scratching  If ever.
 

I appreciate the back ups that came with these cultures.  I've killed off more sourdough starters than I care to admit.  The Matsoni yogurt culture will probably (ugh, who am I kidding) definitely suffer the same fate.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2019 at 09:37
Excellent so far, g- wonderful photos!

I was able to try one of the "other three" cultures, and plan to try another. They fit in perfectly with my explorations of Scandinavian foodways. One day, I must try the Matsoni, as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2019 at 13:08


Thank you Brook for all the details on the Georgian Traditional Bread.  Definitely sounds wonderful.  

We do not have Farmer´s  Cheese in  Spain however, we do have Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukranian and  Georgian Cheeses !!    

The post states the bread was served in a Georgian Restaurant in The Ukraine ..     

Maybe one day I shall embark on such a Project !  or make a trip to the Ukraine, Kiev in particular  and  Georgia  !     

I have some French Pastry Chef contacts in Kiev who teach bread baking and pastry making .. I shall ask them ..   








Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2019 at 05:34
Whoops! I meant 4-yogurt kit. The same one you ordered.

I even had some email exchanges with the Cultures For Health people, trying to persuade them to offer the Matsoni by itself. But no joy.  Apparently, they don't believe there's a big enough market for it. 

Margi, are you sure about having Georgian cheeses available?  My understanding is that Georgian dairy products cannot be exported to the U.S. or EU.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2019 at 06:57
Sulguni cheese, Georgian mozzarella,  is available in Russian mkts.  I don't know the source although the cheese in the link is distributed by Georgian Products Co.  May not be raw milk cheese or from cows/sheep grazing in Georgia but knowledge like that is above my pay grade.  I believe it is also sold in at least one Russian mkt near me.

Imeretian cheese, however, is another story.  It may be sold in one of my local Russian mkts but I haven't gotten that far yet.  Both seem easy enough to make at home so I will probably try that just for grins and giggles.  No cheese press required.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2019 at 07:05
We buy farmers cheese at the Russian market. It is made by Elwest Cheese, Brampton Ontario Canada.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2019 at 08:07
Matsoni activation was a success after 48hrs. 

1st qt of Matsoni yogurt is playing in my dedicated clay yogurt pot.  Proofer is set at 77ºF.  Should be done in 12-18 hrs


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2019 at 08:31
Looking great, so far - I'm really liking that clay pot. I've wanted one for quite a while, ever since I saw this one:



I need to just get off my duff and get one!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2019 at 16:24
I got mine here.

Stuff is a little pricey but it's all high quality. 
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