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  • iamronen 7:40 pm on September 7, 2015 Permalink |  

    Zacuska 2015 

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    This has been a prosperous jam year: mullbery jam, elderberry jam and pear jam are stocked up in the summer kitchen.

    In addition abundant corn relish and tomato sauce batches have been prepared.

    It’s now time for the zacuska … and I am approaching it differently this year … for a couple of reasons. First is that I had a sad zacuska making experience last year. I lost three batches of zacuska (one with mushrooms and two with beans) that spoiled (there is a theory why, but that is another story. Second, there are alternatives Last year I collected a few options which provided a richer palette then zacuska spread. This includes things like humus, lentil paste and and a bean-paste which is like zacuska … but is made in fresh batches using freshly cooked beans together with a pre-made zacuska. Bottom line there is less need for making a ton of zacuska in advance.

    So this year it is down to three things:

    1. Classic aubergines and peppers zacuska.
    2. Bhudeva classic roasted peppers in wine and honey zacuska.
    3. Pepper and tomato sauce – a liquidy zacuska used for making the bean paste.

    I have recipe’s for the first two. The third Andreea and I made in the past but I don’t have the recipe. I am going to ask Andreea is she can find it and Annelieke if she has a general direction she can suggest for making it based on her familiarity with it and her cooking skills.

    I will be getting the produce for the first two tomorrow and making them in the coming days (probably with Iulia’s help as she is planned to be here in the coming days). The third I hope to do during the next couple of weeks.

    After that there is pickling … and preparations are pretty much done for this abundant winter.



    • annelieke 7:48 pm on September 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Can you publish the “classic” zacuska recipe here, Ronen? Good starting point for adaptations……

      • iamronen 8:00 pm on September 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This is the recipe for the bean zacuska that spolied twice last year:


        • 1kg beans
        • 2kg round red peppers (gogosar)
        • 2kg long red peppers (capia)
        • 1kg onion
        • 1kg carrot
        • 2-3 heads of garlic
        • 1 liter oil
        • 1 liter tomato sauce
        • salt + pepper


        • cook beans until soft
        • roast both peppers (optional)
        • chop onions
        • chop peppers
        • chop carrots
        • put everything except the beans in the pot
        • cook for ~1 hour
        • add salt and pepper
        • add beans
        • cook until desired thickness
        • pack
        • iulia 7:32 pm on September 8, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I share my mother-in-law recipe here too (I like it’s taste):

          2.5 of white onions
          5 kg red peppers (gogosari)
          500 – 600 ml oil
          1 liter tomato juice
          5 kg roasted aubergines
          salt, pepper

          I like it’s taste, I also like it cause it’s not oily (my mom puts 1 litter of oil in her recipe and it gets oily).

          We also played with beans for some of the aubergines: 800g cooked beans in place for half of the aubergines.
          With beans it gets even more non-oily, as beans absorbs liquids.


          cook beans until soft
          roast aubergines, clean, wash, drain
          roast peppers (more tasty, clean them) or not
          get everything in the shredding machine (onion – separate, pepper, aubergines, beans)

          Cook onion in oil; add peppers. Boil until peppers are soft (stir(?) / amesteca constantly). Add the rest of the ingredients (keep steering). Boil for everything to come together, taste for salt and pepper.

          Then the sterilizing process…

          Out of this we got about 18-20 jars – 400 ml each (smaller ones).

          We also did some batches like:

          only with beans (no aubergines),
          with some (harvested from the forest) cooked & shredded mushrooms instead of beans.

          PS: we always did like 3-4 batches at the same time (in a 50l cast iron boiler), don’t know if this counts for the great(for me) taste! 🙂

      • iamronen 9:21 am on September 9, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        the “classic” is, as I understand it, based on aubergines and peppers and this is the base recipe I am using. This year I have decided to remove the green peppers (ardei gras) and put it only roasted red peppers (gogosar). This is the only real zakuska I am making I’ve opted for a larger 1.5x batch.


        • 10kg aubergines
        • 4kg peppers ardei gras (green peppers)
        • 4kg gogosar (fat red peppers)
        • 1kg carrot
        • 3kg onions
        • 1 liter oil
        • 2 liter tomatoe sauce
        • salt + pepper


        • roast aubergines + peppers roasted
        • blend aubergines + peppers
        • chop carrots
        • chop onions
        • warm up a pot with oil and add onions
        • add everything else and cook and stir until desired thickness
    • annelieke 8:04 pm on September 9, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Mmmmm, looking forward to taste this year’s results 😉

      Comparing recipes and imagining variations possible based on a standard batch of zacuska, I have the following suggestions:

      » No garlic, can be added fresh all winter and has a better taste raw and fresh.
      » In the bean pastes we made last year, I liked the extra tomato flavour. No need to add more tomato juice to the standard zacuska. It can be added while preparing a fresh portion of a zacuska variation (beans, mushrooms, ………), by soaking the beans (or mushrooms) in tomato juice, or, in the case of the bean paste, when it needs more liquid anyway, thin with tomato juice instead of water after cooking the beans.
      » Instead of starting to blend aubergines and peppers, start with oil and chopped onions (sauté them lightly). This adds to the full taste.
      » Use more carrots, 2-3 kg instead of 1kg. This will give more sweetness to the basic zacuska and will help to compensate for the “floury” taste of the beans. I think the taste gets more interesting and subtle adding more carrots then adding more peppers.

      Enjoy the making!!!!!!

    • annelieke 7:25 am on September 10, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Ah, and I agree with the pepper decision, only red (gogosar)

  • iamronen 2:15 pm on September 7, 2015 Permalink |  

    Flour Mill 

    Given that both Iulia and I make bread regularly I’ve been thinking about getting a flour mill for Bhudeva so we can purchase grains (which store better) and make flour as needed. I’ve asked Iulia and she was interested!

    I’ve consulted Iulian (the producer who makes bread at Cutia Taranului) about this and his main feedback was first focus on finding quality cereals. He also provided a link to a friend of his who imports these mills to Romania.

    When Andreea and I thought about this a few years ago I did some research and came across the Komo brand often mentioned also in the USA and available in Romania (online buying options I came across are here and here). I’ve also seen Komo on ebay.de.

    Two differences I noticed about the two companies:

    1. The mills from Iulian’s friend are made of pine while the Komo mills are made from hardwood.
    2. The mills from Iulian’s friend have 5 years warrantee while the Komo mills have 10-12 years.

    When I visit Annelieke this fall I will have a chance to see what it is like to use the mill she has (physically larger then the mills I’ve been looking at and powerful ~600w compared to 200-360w in the mills I’ve seen) and allow that experience to further inform me.

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