Sunday, October 3, 2010
Vaiva's Home: My first five days in Vilnius
After 500 kilometers on a bicycle, on top of 3 months of nonstop traveling, I landed onto a plum-colored couch..owned by Vaiva, the best hostess in Vilnius. Vaiva loves cooking, meeting people, and hospitality in immense amounts.
Not only did she afford me quality vitals and a warm, cozy place to stay, she assisted me with finding my own flat, mobile phone, internet service AND the exciting experience of Lithuanian basketball. (See next posting). She is fantastic!!!!
We went to Kalvariju Farmers' Market where we purchased many of the fresh ingredients for her tasty food.(photos)
Vaiva's idea of bringing a weary traveler to life is a bowl of her Lithuanian style soup. This hearty mix contains white beans, carrots, dill, smoked pork, pearl barley and forest mushrooms, and accented with a dollop of sour cream. Yum!
A breakfast with Lithuanian style pancakes, which are more of a wrap than the American version, are eaten with soft cheeses, ham, honey, butter, or jams. Pancakes with Vaiva's homemade apple jam was superb!
Dinner was always robust and delicious. My favorite is Vaiva's beef liver. She soaked the liver in milk prior to battering it in flour,with dashes of salt and pepper. Fried quickly in a lightly oiled skillet, enough to keep a hue of pinkness, the liver is then combined with cooked onions, apples, and zucchini. Next, cream is folded into the dish. It is now ready for serving. (photo)
Some of Vaiva's side dishes included her beet salad, apple sauce, forest mushroom salad or potatoes. Lithuanian breads are some of the finest I have eaten. Full of grains and rich in texture, these aromatic dark breads put US breads to shame. Breads in liquid form embellished evening meals, which include one of the many excellent Lithuania beers, either Svyturys, Utenos, or Fortas. Lithuanian beer now is one of my favorite libations!
Being apple season, we spent an evening peeling and cooking apples for jam. A portion was cooked with forest cranberries to give a nice tart tasting flavored jam with a crimson red color.