A is for… Albania: More Than Just Mob Wives

Albanian flag

I love me some trashy reality TV! Seriously, right now everyone who knows me is shocked that I didn’t choose Armenia for the letter A because in my mind the Kardashian sisters and I are best friends 4-eva (I wish I was kidding, but I’m not). Alas, I think it’s best that I save my first foray in to Armenian cooking for the day that me, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe are side by side in Kris Jenner’s beautiful kitchen talking about boys and braiding each others hair and stuff.

I will cut a bitch, but first let me get this lamb in the oven.

Instead I’m honoring the heritage of another reality star. Surprisingly  I’ve never actually watched VH1’s Mob Wives. However, due to the fact that my brain in a storing house for completely useless and nonsensical information that will never help me in any aspect of my life, I happen to know that Mob Wife Drita D’Avanzo is of Albanian decent. So in honor of my love of trashy reality TV (or because of my love of both lamb and yogurt) I decided to make a dish from Albania.

Tave Kosi, according to the website where I found the recipe, is Albanian comfort food. Chunks of lamb are browned and then placed in a baking dish and covered with a yogurt sauce and baked. With 4 cups of yogurt, 5 eggs and a stick of butter this isn’t exactly low cal heart healthy cusine, but whatever, I never promised healthy recipes.

Tave Kosi 

  • 1.5lbs lamb stew meat
  • 3 tablespoons white rice
  • 32 ounces plain greek yogurt at room temerature
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • olive oil or butter for browning meat
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Roll meat in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat butter or olive oil  in heavy bottom pan and add meat chunks, turning each over as to brown meat on  each side. Low-medium flame, be careful not to burn.

Once browned, add 1/2 cup water and let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes  until tender.

Remove meat and place chunks 1-2 inches apart in a roasting pan.

Beat eggs.

In a medium pot (off heat), stir yogurt together with flour, rice  and salt and pepper to  taste. Add eggs. Stir until smooth.

Heat mixture on low-medium flame, stiring constantly, until mixture begins  to thicken. Approximately 5-10 minutes. Do not boil.

Pour thickened yogurt over the meat that is already in the pan. Cut butter  into small pieces and spread evenly over top of yogurt mixture.

Bake at about 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Yogurt will firm up  and yellow, like a quiche.

My Tave Kosi just out of the oven


I totally get why this is comfort food, as the texture of the  yogurt sauce once baked becomes airy and custard like, but I think it would’ve benefited from more seasonings. Also, as much I loved the texture of the yogurt custard their was just way too much custard to lamb ratio and also not enough rice. I’d consider making this again, but I’d increase the lamb to 2 pounds, add some garlic and maybe some other spices and double the rice.

My dinner

Ju bëftë mirë!

I Got 26 Problems But a Dish Ain’t One

Hello and welcome to 26 dishes!

I love to cook and I love trying new recipes so I’ve decided to go through the alphabet and cook a dish from a country that starts with every letter from A-Z and to chronicle the experiment here. I also love to travel, but, due to lack of time and funds, don’t do it nearly as much as I’d like so maybe these recipes will help take the edge off what one of my friends calls my “wanderlust.”

Here are some things you should know:

1. I live in a 250 square foot apartment which means my kitchen is is about 2×5. In other words, I’m not making my own pasta or butchering a whole chicken any time soon. Mostly I’ll be cooking at my place, but on occasion I might go out to New Jersey to use my parents kitchen which is nearly twice the size of my whole apartment.

2. (and this is the biggie) I have A LOT and I do mean A LOT of very serious food allergies. I won’t list them all here, but it will make this hard and you’ll see that very few of these recipes are going to be Asian or Middle Eastern (nuts, beans, sesame = death). Still I’m going to try to keep these recipes as authentic as possible.

3. I’m doing this for no other reason than my own enjoyment so if you don’t like it you should probably just not read it.

Since it will take quite awhile for me to get through 26 new recipes I will likely use this space to post other recipes, restaurant reviews, food related articles, etc.

If you have any recipes to share I’d love to hear them, so please pass them along!